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Current Topics of Interest
Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever
Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) is one of numerous Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers, which are reportable diseases in Oklahoma. EHF is a severe, often fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates (such as monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees). EHF is caused by infection with a virus of the family Filoviridae, genus Ebolavirus. The first Ebolavirus species was discovered in 1976 in Sudan and in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo near the Ebola River. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically.
The disease is native to equatorial Africa and is caused by infection with one of the ebolaviruses (Ebola, Sudan, Bundibugyo, or Taj Forest virus). Confirmed cases of EHF have been reported in: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Gabon, South Sudan, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Republic of the Congo (ROC), and an imported case in South Africa. With the exception of several laboratory contamination cases (one in England and two in Russia), all cases of human illness or death have occurred in Africa; no case has been reported in the United States.
The reservoir of ebolaviruses is unknown. However, on the basis of available evidence and the nature of similar viruses, non-human primates and/or bats may have a role in the chain of transmission to humans. When an infection does occur in humans, there are several ways in which the virus can be transmitted to others: direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person; or exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions. The viruses that cause EHF often spread to families and friends because they come in close contact with infectious secretions when caring for persons ill with ebola.
Symptoms of EHF include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Skin rash, red eyes, and internal and external bleeding may be seen in some patients. ( OSDH - Acute Disease)
CDC announces first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus infection (MERS) in the United States
The first case of MERS-CoV infection in the United States, identified in an international traveler, was reported to CDC by the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) on May 1, 2014, and confirmed by CDC on May 2. The patient is in a hospital in Indiana after having flown from Saudi Arabia to Chicago via London.
This virus is relatively new to humans and was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. “We’ve anticipated MERS reaching the US, and we’ve prepared for and are taking swift action,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “We’re doing everything possible with hospital, local, and state health officials to find people who may have had contact with this person so they can be evaluated as appropriate. This case reminds us that we are all connected by the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. We can break the chain of transmission in this case through focused efforts here and abroad.”
“It is understandable that some may be concerned about this situation, but this first U.S. case of MERS-CoV infection represents a very low risk to the general public,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general and director of CDC’s National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases.
While experts do not yet know exactly how this virus is spread, CDC advises Americans to help protect themselves from respiratory illnesses by washing hands often, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, avoid touching their eyes, nose and/or mouth with unwashed hands, and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces. CDC MERS Information
Beginning with the 2011-12 school year Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis) vaccine will be required for students in the 7th grade in Oklahoma schools.
E-Cigarettes & Other Vapor Products
E-cigarettes and vapor products have become increasingly popular and accessible in Oklahoma, which has raised many questions about these currently unregulated products. These links provide information about the public health perspective regarding e-cigarettes and resources to support state agencies in implementing the Governor’s Executive Order prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes and vapor products in state property.
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