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Health Alerts & Advisories

THIS WEEK - December 15, 2014


According to an article written December 2, 2014, by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), "with the recent outbreaks of enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) respiratory infections and mysterious polio-like illnesses in US children fading, it seems increasingly likely that the two [polio-like illness and EVD-68] are related, says an expert with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC).  Click HERE to read the article.

The State of Maryland's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) announced it's first confirmed case of Enterovirus.  DHMH Secretary Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein said "Now that this virus is known to be in Maryland, it is important that we all take reasonable steps to limit its spread and control its impact."   
DHMH is recommending that families: 

  • Practice preventive steps, as with other ailments, by regularly washing hands with soap and water.
  • Provide special attention to children with asthma.
  • Be alert to wheezing and other respiratory ailments in children.
  • Keep sick children at home.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cough and sneeze into sleeve or a tissue.
  • Avoid kissing, hugging and sharing cups, eating utensils, etc. with people who are sick.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.

Symptoms of mild illness may include:  

  • Fever
  • Runny nose, sneezing, cough
  • Skin rash
  • Mouth blisters
  • Body and muscle aches

You can be exposed to the virus by: 

  • Having close contact, such as touching or shaking hands, with an infected person,
  • Changing diapers of an infected person, or
  • If you then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth before washing your hands

You can help protect yourself and others from enterovirus infections by:   

  • Learn the Right Way to Wash Your Hands – Soap up and sing the birthday song two times. That is the perfect length of time to get rid of germs!
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers,
  • Avoiding close contact, such as touching and shaking hands, with people who are sick, and
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

Get medical attention when:  

  • Your child has difficulty breathing or has a new the start of new wheezing.

Stay up-to-date on vaccinations, especially influenza vaccine, to reduce respiratory illness.
Keep Calm Wash Hands 

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Howard County Health Department 8930 Stanford Blvd. Columbia, MD 21045