News & Alerts and Recalls
Health Alerts & Advisories
TODAY - October 1, 2014
From the CDC... CDC confirmed on September 30, 2014, through laboratory tests, the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States in a person who had traveled to Dallas, Texas from West Africa. The patient did not have symptoms when leaving West Africa, but developed symptoms approximately five days after arriving in the United States.
The person sought medical care at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas after developing symptoms consistent with Ebola. Based on the person’s travel history and symptoms, CDC recommended testing for Ebola. The medical facility isolated the patient and sent specimens for testing at CDC and at a Texas lab participating in CDC’s Laboratory Response Network. CDC and the Texas Health Department reported the laboratory test results to the medical center to inform the patient. Local public health officials have begun identifying close contacts of the person for further daily monitoring for 21 days after exposure.
The ill person did not exhibit symptoms of Ebola during the flights from West Africa and CDC does not recommend that people on the same commercial airline flights undergo monitoring, as Ebola is only contagious if the person is experiencing active symptoms. The person reported developing symptoms several days after the return flight.
CDC recognizes that even a single case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States raises concerns. Knowing the possibility exists, medical and public health professionals across the country have been preparing to respond. CDC and public health officials in Texas are taking precautions to identify people who have had close personal contact with the ill person and health care professionals have been reminded to use meticulous infection control at all times.
We know how to stop Ebola’s further spread: thorough case finding, isolation of ill people, contacting people exposed to the ill person, and further isolation of contacts if they develop symptoms. The U.S. public health and medical systems have had prior experience with sporadic cases of diseases such as Ebola. In the past decade, the United States had 5 imported cases of Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (VHF) diseases similar to Ebola (1 Marburg, 4 Lassa). None resulted in any transmission in the United States.
The New York Times reported "Officials on Tuesday said they were confident that standard procedures for controlling an infection can contain Ebola in the United States. The C.D.C. is sending experts to Texas to trace anyone who may have come in contact with the patient while he was sick with symptoms.
Doctors across the country are being reminded to ask for the travel history of anybody who comes in with a fever. Patients who have been to West Africa are being screened and tested if there seems to be a chance they have been exposed."
Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with:
- blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, feces, vomit, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola
- objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus
- infected animals
- Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, food.
Ebola symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to ebolavirus though 8-10 days is most common.
- Fever (greater than 101.5F)
- Joint and muscle aches
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
What can YOU do to protectec yoursel and loved ones from Ebola:
Wash hands frequently or use an alcohol-based sanitizer
Avoid contact with blood and bodily fluids of any person , particularly somone who is sick
Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person's blood or body fluids.
Do not touch the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
Seek medical care immediately if you develop fever (temperature of 101.5F/ 38.6C) and any of the other following symptoms: headache, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding.
Limit your contact with other people until and when you go to the doctor. Do not travel anywhere else besides a healthcare facility.
Over the weekend of September 27, 2014 news outlets began reporting new symptoms allegedly associated with the Enterovirus. In an article the appeared in that Washington Post "The CDC said it is investigating the cases in Colorado and has called on health officials nationwide to be on the lookout for similar symptoms. They do not believe that the symptoms are related to polio, which is caused by a viral infection that leads to paralysis, because most of the children -- eight out of nine -- are fully up to date on their polio vaccinations. Of the eight that were tested by the CDC, four tested positive for Enterovirus 68, and two others were positive for different unidentified strains of an enterovirus. "This is a very small number of patients," Larry Wolk, director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment told the Denver Post. "That's why we're asking if there are other cases. People shouldn't panic."
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:
- 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.
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