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Health Tip: Protect Kids From Mosquito Bites

Posted by KEHA on September 19, 2012 at 9:15 PM Comments comments (0)

And reduce their risk of West Nile virus

By Diana Kohnle

Friday, September 7, 2012

(HealthDay News) -- Mosquito bites can transmit dangerous germs, such as the bug that causes West Nile virus. That's why bite prevention is so important.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these preventive suggestions:

•Apply just enough insect repellent to cover your child's skin.

•Use an insect repellent with a DEET concentration of no higher than 30 percent.

•Don't use a combination sunscreen/DEET product because you will need to reapply the product frequently, which could be harmful.

•Don't use insect repellents with DEET on babies under 2 months of age.

•When applying DEET repellants on older infants, don't use the product on cuts or around eyes or mouth. Apply lightly around the ears.

•Accounting for the summer heat, dress your child in long pants and sleeves. Cover baby's infant carrier with a mosquito net.

•Keep children away from areas where mosquitoes gather, such as near standing water.

•Fix any holes in window screens.

•Don't let children play outdoors when mosquitoes are most active -- at dawn, dusk and early evening.

 

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Outbreak of Hantavirus Infection in Yosemite National Park

Posted by KEHA on September 19, 2012 at 9:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Updated: September 17, 2012

Highlights

 

 

As of September 13, the National Park Service (NPS) has announced a total of 9 confirmed cases of hantavirus infection in people who recently visited Yosemite National Park. The visitors to Yosemite are residents of: California (7), Pennsylvania (1), and West Virginia (1).

Three of the confirmed cases were fatal.

 

NPS public health officials believe that 8 of the 9 people with confirmed hantavirus infection were exposed to the virus while staying at the Signature Tent Cabins in Curry Village in Yosemite National Park. The other park visitor with hantavirus infection was probably exposed to the virus while hiking or staying at the High Sierra Camps, located about 15 miles from Curry Village. The park is contacting visitors who stayed in the Signature Tent Cabins from mid-June through the end of August, advising them to seek immediate medical attention if they exhibit symptoms of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), a rare but serious illness caused by hantavirus.

The park is also providing information about HPS risks and symptoms to visitors who stayed at the High Sierra Camps this summer.

On September 12, the park sent an additional notification on HPS to all overnight visitors to the park.

 

CDC and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) are working with NPS in responding to the situation. The Signature Tent Cabins in Curry Village have been closed.

CDC is supporting the NPS response with testing of patient samples for evidence of hantavirus infection, providing guidance on clinical management of HPS and epidemiologic support for the response, and maintaining a Hantavirus Hotline for public inquiries.

The park is providing educational materials about hantavirus and HPS to all visitors to the park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact Information

 

 

 

CDC-INFO (1-800-CDC-INFO) provides information about hantavirus and HPS to callers in the United States.

 

CDC maintains a Hantavirus Hotline (877-232-3322 and 404-639-1510) and information about HPS on the Hantavirus website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At a Glance:

 

 

Case Count: 9

Deaths: 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAQ: U.S. Visitors to Yosemite

 

FAQ: Non-U.S. Visitors to Yosemite

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related Links

 

 

National Park Service (NPS): Hantavirus in Yosemite

California Department of Public Health (CDPH)

 

 

 

Case Count (State of Residence) Map

 

 

Click map to view updated & previous case count maps.

 

Epi Curve

 

 

Click graph to view updated & previous epi curve graphs.

 

September 13, 2012

 

Case Count Update

 

The National Park Service (NPS) has announced that there are now 9 confirmed cases (including 3 deaths) of hantavirus infection in visitors to Yosemite National Park since June of this year. Eight of the nine individuals with hantavirus infection stayed in Yosemite's Signature Tent Cabins in Curry Village. The ninth person hiked and camped in Tuolumne Meadows and the High Sierra Camps, located about 15 miles from Curry Village.

 

Update: Hantavirus in Yosemite

From the National Park Service (NPS) website.

 

September 6, 2012

 

Case Count Update

 

The National Park Service (NPS) has announced that there are now 8 confirmed cases (including 3 deaths) of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) in visitors to Yosemite National Park. Seven of the people with HPS stayed at Curry Village in Yosemite National Park since June of this year. The eighth person hiked and camped in Tuolumne Meadows and the High Sierra Camps, located about 15 miles from Curry Village.

 

The park is now providing information regarding HPS risks and symptoms to parties who made reservations at the High Sierra Camps this summer.

 

Update: Yosemite National Park Continues Response to Hantavirus Case

From the National Park Service (NPS) website.

 

August 31, 2012

 

CDC Health Advisory

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a national health advisory, Notice to Health Care Providers: Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome Cases Associated with Staying in Yosemite National Park, California. The purpose of this this advisory, which was distributed through CDC's Health Alert Network, is to inform state health departments and health care providers to be alert to the possibility of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in patients who may have had recent exposure to rodents or a history of travel to Yosemite National Park during June through August 2012.

 

Notice to Health Care Providers: Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome Cases Associated with Staying in Yosemite National Park, California

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

 

August 31, 2012

 

Case Count Update

 

Yosemite National Park announced that it continues to scale up its public health response and outreach as a result of 6 confirmed cases of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in individuals who visited the since June of this year.

 

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome Response Continues at Yosemite National Park (August 31, 2012)

From the National Park Service (NPS) website.

 

August 30, 2012

 

Case Count Update

 

The National Park Service (NPS) has announced there are now 6 confirmed cases of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) in visitors who stayed at Curry Village in Yosemite National Park since June of this year.

 

Hantavirus Found in Four More Visitors to Yosemite National Park

From the National Park Service (NPS) website.

 

August 29, 2012

 

Initial CDC Announcement

 

On August 27, 2012, the National Park Service (NPS) announced that there were 3 confirmed cases and 1 probable case of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) in visitors who stayed at Curry Village in Yosemite National Park since June of this year. NPS public health officials believe that these visitors may have been exposed to hantavirus while staying at the Signature Tent Cabins in Curry Village. Two people have died. CDC and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) are working with NPS in responding to the situation.

 

The park is contacting visitors who stayed in the Signature Tent Cabins from mid-June through the end of August, advising them to seek immediate medical attention if they exhibit symptoms of HPS. HPS is a rare but serious disease and confirmed cases should be reported to CDC via state health departments.

 

CDPH and Yosemite National Park public health officials are conducting rodent surveys for the purpose of monitoring the numbers (abundance of) deer mice and hantavirus activity in the park's mouse populations. They are also providing health education and prevention messages to the public.

 

The Yosemite National Park has a non-emergency phone line (209-372-0822) for questions and concerns related to hantavirus in Yosemite National Park. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a hotline number (404-639-1510) and information about HPS on the Hantavirus webpage.

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Contact Us:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Viral Special Pathogens Branch

1600 Clifton Rd

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Hantavirus Hotline

(877) 232-3322

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Page last reviewed: September 17, 2012

 

The Plague: It's Still With Us

Posted by KEHA on September 19, 2012 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Colorado girl likely the fourth infected in this 'average year,' CDC says

Friday, September 7, 2012

Plague

THURSDAY, Sept. 6 (HealthDay News) -- When Sierra Jane Downing's fever shot up to 107 degrees and she suffered a seizure, her parents knew their 7-year-old daughter had more than the flu.

Thanks to a persistent doctor, the little girl is recovering in a Denver hospital from a case of bubonic plague, the first identified in Colorado in more than six years. It's thought she was bitten by infected insects -- probably fleas -- while trying to bury a dead squirrel on a family camping trip.

Hers is the fourth case of plague reported in the United States this year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said. "Over the last 10 years we have had an average of five cases a year," said CDC epidemiologist Kiersten Kugeler. "So this year is quite average."

 

However, plague -- the scourge of the Middle Ages -- is rare, so "people should not be panicky," she said.

 

Kugeler said many more cases occurred in the early 1980s, when some years saw 30 to 40 people with plague. The reduction in infections is most likely the result of better sanitation and climate, she said.

Of this year's infections, an Oregon man was the most severely affected and needed to have some fingers amputated, Kugeler said. He came down with plague after a bite from a family cat. It's suspected that a woman who had contact with the same cat also developed plague but that case has not been confirmed. The fourth plague patient was an elderly man in New Mexico.

Most people recover with antibiotic therapy, but early treatment is important, experts say. "The last plague fatality in the United States was in 2009, because it was not recognized early enough," Kugeler said.

Fleas infected with the bacterium Yersinia pestis are the usual source of plague, but infected animals, including rabbits, rodents and pets, can also transmit the disease.

 

The biggest barrier to treatment is that many doctors don't recognize the symptoms -- which include swollen lymph nodes -- as those of plague. In addition to a tender, swollen lymph node in her groin, Downing also had low blood pressure and a high heart rate, according to published reports.

The dimpled girl, hospitalized in late August, is expected to make a full recovery, but had it not been for a tenacious emergency room doctor near her home in Pagosa Springs, her story might not have had a happy ending. That doctor reportedly called several hospitals until he found one -- Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children -- that wanted to see her immediately. She was air-lifted to their facility.

Plague can occur anywhere in the western United States, Kugeler said. "Since plague was introduced to this country in 1900, it has not passed what we call the plague line," she noted. This longitudinal line roughly falls along the 100th meridian, which stretches north from Texas to North Dakota.

 

This probably has to do with environment, altitude, humidity and temperature -- the conditions necessary for these types of fleas to survive, she said.

 

The best way to guard against plague and other diseases transmitted by infected rodents is to remove places around the yard where rodents like to live, such as wood piles, Kugeler said.

Protecting pets from fleas and ticks is also essential, she pointed out.

 

Plague almost never spreads from person to person. The only time person-to-person transmission is possible is when the bacteria reaches the lungs, she said. Then the plague can spread to those in close contact with the patient for an extended time, and then only just before they die.

 

"The last case of person-to-person in this country was in the 1920s," Kugeler said.

In 14th-century Europe, the Black Death, as the plague was called, wiped out an estimated 35 percent of the population.

 

Nothing like that can happen here, experts say.

 

"Plague will never make a resurgence," said Dr. Marc Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. "We have public health measures in place that prevent that."

 

Treatment with antibiotics is effective, Siegel said. There is a need, however, for doctors to "think outside the box and recognize the possibility of plague," he said.

 

SOURCES: Kiersten Kugeler, M.P.H., epidemiologist, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Marc Siegel, M.D., associate professor of medicine, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City

 

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Copyright (c) 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.