Heartbeats of CFMC
By Mike Loessin
Colorado-Fayette Medical Center-Weimar
Repairs on the hospital due to damage done by the tornado appear to be progressing well, especially on the roof. Removal of sheetrock and other water-damaged parts of the rooms which sustained rain damage because of the roof tearing apart or lifting up is also progressing to the point where reinstallation of new sheetrock and other parts should begin this week. Also, the nurses should be able to move back to the nurses’ station this week.
From July 12 through Aug. 3, 16 total cases of influenza A H3N2v virus infections have been reported in three different states and confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).
This virus has also been isolated in U.S. swine in many U.S. states. In 15 of the 16 cases since July 12, reported contact with swine prior to illness onset occurred while the patient was attending or exhibiting swine at an agricultural fair.
To be on the safe side, the CDC recommends the following:
•Persons who are at high risk for influenza complications (e.g., underlying chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or neurological conditions, or who are pregnant or younger than 5 years, older than 65 years or who have weakened immune systems) should consider avoiding exposure to pigs and swine barns this summer, especially if ill pigs have been identified.
•Persons engaging in activities that may involve swine contact, such as attending agricultural events or exhibiting swine, should wash their hands frequently with soap and running water before and after exposure to animals; avoid eating or drinking in animal areas; and avoid close contact with animals that look or act ill.
•Patients who experience influenza-like symptoms following direct or close contact with pigs and who seek medical care should inform their health care provider about the exposure.
•Patients with influenza-like illness who are at high risk for influenza complications (see first recommended action) should see their health care provider promptly to determine if treatment with antiviral medications is warranted.
Influenza viruses have not been shown to be transmissible to people through eating properly handled and prepared pork or other products derived from pigs.
The U.S. is experiencing its biggest spike in West Nile virus since 2004, with 241 cases of the disease reported nationwide this year so far, including several deaths. Forty-two states have reported infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes; but 80 percent of these infections have been in Texas, Mississippi and Oklahoma.
As of Aug. 10, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported 137 cases of Human West Nile Fever in 21 different counties, 214 cases of Human West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease in 27 counties, 10 cases of horse West Nile Virus in eight counties, and 828 cases of infected mosquitoes in 17 counties. The department also reported 12 human fatalities in 2012 so far. The department’s statistics usually lag local statistics because they must be verified in the lab before they can be broadcast to the public.
Dallas County reported a ninth death from West Nile virus; this one in Duncanville. There were 141 cases reported in that county alone. Tarrant County reported 123 cases of West Nile virus and one death; Denton County reported 62 cases and one death; Collin County reported 11 human cases and no deaths.
Most infections occur between June and September, and peak in August, according to the CDC. Symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Less than one percent of patients develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis. Those at greater risk are people older than 50 and those with conditions such as cancer, diabetes and kidney disease, or with organ transplants.
In The Woodlands Township in south Montgomery County, a second mosquito species has been trapped at two different surveillance sites. The new mosquito is called the Asian tiger mosquito, so named because when the mosquito slows down, you can see the black and white striped legs and black and white striped body – similar to stripes on a tiger.
The problem with this new species of mosquito is that the Asian tiger mosquito is active during daylight hours. Street spraying and aerial spraying normally target the Culex mosquito, the most common carrier of West Nile virus that is active from dusk until dawn; and the daytime biters are not impacted by nighttime spray programs. Prevention is the only effective treatment for Asian tiger mosquitoes.
The presence of a daytime biter indicates that a container of water used for breeding is nearby. Any small amount of standing water, even a bottle cap, can invite a mosquito to lay eggs.
To help prevent all mosquitoes from breeding, we should put away anything that can hold water, such as plastic swimming pools, toys, decorative pots, tires, buckets, and other items. Pet water bowls and bird baths should be emptied and refilled daily. Rain gutters should be checked to ensure they are draining properly.
Mosquito bits or dunks, a biological larvicide, may be applied to sources of standing water that cannot be drained; and ponds/tanks may be stocked with gambusia or other mosquito-eating fish.
To keep from being bitten by mosquitoes, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and use repellent when outdoors. The CDC recommends using repellents that contain DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, picaridin, or IR3535.