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CDC Confirms Cases of Enterovirus D68 in Oklahoma-September 2014
The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) has received confirmation through laboratory testing conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is circulating and causing respiratory illness in Oklahoma. Although enteroviruses are a common cause of respiratory illness, EV-D68 is a relatively rare type of enterovirus in the United States. To date, EV-D68 has been confirmed in 11 other states, including Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado.
The CDC laboratory has reported seven of 24 specimens submitted from Oklahoma hospitals and laboratories tested positive for the virus which has been associated with an increase in pediatric admissions at hospitals in the central region of the state. EV-D68 infection looks very similar to the common cold with most persons showing symptoms of cough, runny nose, body aches, and possibly a fever. However, in some children the illness can rapidly progress to something more serious where the child has wheezing, difficulty breathing, and difficulty getting enough oxygen into their lungs.
“Children less than 5 years old and children with underlying asthma appear to be at greatest risk of having medical complications from EV-D68 requiring hospitalization,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Kristy Bradley. “If a child develops a cold or a cough, parents and caregivers should just watch the child a little more closely to ensure the respiratory infection is running a normal course. If wheezing or asthma-like symptoms develop, medical care should be accessed immediately.”
Medical providers are not required to report suspected cases of the virus to state public health authorities. Therefore, the number of actual cases in the state cannot be tracked. Officials are, however, monitoring the trend of hospital admissions for acute respiratory illness, and requesting that any outbreaks of respiratory disease in daycares or schools be reported to the OSDH.
There are no specific treatments or vaccines to prevent EV-D68 infections.
People can protect themselves from respiratory illnesses by:
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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