Since acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) was first recognized in the United States in 2014, only two confirmed cases have been reported in West Virginia (both in 2016). Though no cases have been reported in 2017, healthcare providers are encouraged to continue vigilance for cases of AFM among all age groups and report suspected cases of AFM to their local health departments. Reporting of cases will help public health monitor the occurrence of AFM to better understand factors associated with this illness.
Influenza activity has increased significantly in the United States in recent weeks. West Virginia is characterized as having widespread activity. This influenza season is notable for the sheer volume of ill cases that has caused stress to health systems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a Health Advisory (https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00409.asp) that warned of a high-severity influenza A (H3N2) season and resulting clinical implications. As of January 6, 2018, 20 pediatric influenza deaths were reported nationally, none in West Virginia.
Late fall and winter bring about holiday celebrations and a nasty stomach bug known formally as the norovirus. According to Dr. Michael Brumage, executive director and health officer for the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, “Norovirus is highly contagious and can quickly spread. Most people recover from the illness in one to three days. The elderly, very young children, and those with underlying health conditions are at greater risk for hospitalization.”
West Virginia will report the highest number of Lyme disease cases on record in 2017. As of November 8, 2017, 571 confirmed and probable Lyme disease cases have been reported compared to the previous record of 368 cases in 2016. The geographic distribution of cases has also increased. As of November 8, 2017, 45 counties have reported at least one confirmed or probable Lyme disease case, up from 11 counties in 2012. This increase could be the result of increased reporting, increase in the number of Ixodes scapularis ticks infected with Borrelia burgdorferi in West Virginia, or a recent change in the national surveillance case definition for Lyme disease. Based on the change, West Virginia is considered a high incidence Lyme disease state, and the presence of an erythema migrans (EM) with known exposure in the state is sufficient for a patient to be classified as a confirmed surveillance case.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with federal, state, territorial, and local agencies and global health partners in response to recent hurricanes. CDC is aware of media reports and anecdotal accounts of various infectious diseases in hurricane-affected areas, including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands (USVI). Because of compromised drinking water and decreased access to safe water, food, and shelter, the conditions for outbreaks of infectious diseases exist.
The Texas Department of State Health Services, with assistance from CDC, is investigating Brucella RB51 exposures and illnesses that may be connected to the purchase and consumption of raw (unpasteurized) milk from K-Bar Dairy in Paradise, Texas. Symptoms of brucellosis can include: fever, sweats, malaise, anorexia, headache, fatigue, muscle & joint pain, and potentially more serious complications (e.g., swelling of heart, liver, or spleen, neurologic symptoms).
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas that can cause sudden illness and death if present in sufficient concentration in the ambient air. During a significant power outage, persons using alternative fuel or power sources such as generators or gasoline powered engine tools such as pressure washers might be exposed to toxic CO levels if the fuel or power sources are placed inside or too close to the exterior of the building causing CO to build up in the structure. The purpose of this HAN advisory is to remind clinicians evaluating persons affected by the storm to maintain a high index of suspicion for CO poisoning. Clinicians are advised to consider CO exposure and take steps to discontinue exposure to CO. Clinicians are also advised to ask a patient with CO poisoning about other people who may be exposed to the same CO exposure, such as persons living with or visiting them so they may be treated for possible CO poisoning.
Based on data collected from May 24, 2017 to July 26, 2017, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health Mosquito Surveillance Program is reporting several West Nile virus (WNV) positive mosquito pools across West Virginia with the greatest number of infected mosquitoes from Cabell County. WNV positive mosquito pools have also been detected in Berkeley, Fayette, Kanawha, Putnam, Wayne, Wetzel, and Wood counties this season.
In July 2016, CDC issued Interim Guidance for Health Care Providers Caring for Pregnant Women with Possible Zika Virus Exposure – United States, July 2016 (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6529e1.htm) that includes Zika virus immunoglobulin M (IgM) testing of pregnant women. However, some flavivirus infections can result in prolonged IgM responses (>12 weeks) that make it difficult to determine the timing of infection, especially in testing of asymptomatic people. Emerging epidemiologic and laboratory data indicate that Zika virus IgM can persist beyond 12 weeks in a subset of infected people. Therefore, detection of IgM may not always indicate a recent infection. Although IgM persistence could affect IgM test interpretation for all infected people, it would have the greatest effect on clinical management of pregnant women with a history of living in or traveling to areas with Zika virus transmission. Pregnant women who test positive for IgM antibody may have been infected with Zika virus and developed an IgM response before conception.
Tickborne diseases occur annually in West Virginia with most cases developing symptoms between April and September. Lyme disease is the most commonly reported tickborne disease in West Virginia. In 2016, West Virginia recorded 368 Lyme disease cases, the most ever in a single year. Counties in the northwestern and southwestern parts of the state have had increasing case counts in recent years. In 2016, 43 counties reported at least one confirmed or probable Lyme disease case. Based on new national reporting standards, West Virginia is considered a high incidence Lyme disease state.
This Health Advisory describes the identification of emerging Shigella strains with elevated minimum inhibitory concentration values for ciprofloxacin and outlines new recommendations for clinical diagnosis, management, and reporting, as well as new recommendations for laboratories and public health officials. Current interpretive criteria provided by the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) categorize these strains as susceptible to ciprofloxacin, which is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic and a key agent in the management of Shigella infections.
The epidemic of non-prescription opioid addiction has led to an increase in injection drug use, hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections, and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections in West Virginia. Though West Virginia is a low incidence state for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections, several counties have been deemed at high-risk for an HIV outbreak similar to the one in Scott County, Indiana in 2015 predominantly among people who inject drugs (PWID). In order to detect an outbreak of HIV among PWID, increased screening is necessary.
“HPV can cause cancer in men and women that can be prevented by a vaccination,” according to Dr. Michael Brumage, health officer for the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department and the Putnam County Health Department. Statistics from the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show in 2015 in the 13-17 age range about 40 percent of West Virginia girls and about 27 percent of boys were vaccinated.
Putnam County Health Department offers online Food Manager and Food Handler Safety Classes to food service employees through http://pchd.statefoodsafety.com.
Kanawha-Charleston Health Department will be participating in a full-scale, Medical Countermeasures Exercise (MCM) on April 20, 2017. The purpose of this exercise is to test our plan and capabilities for dispensing medication to the public during a large-scale medical emergency. A Mass Antibiotic Dispensing Training will take place prior to the exercise on April 6, 2017.
If your child is uninsured or underinsured they may qualify for the Vaccines for Children program that provides free vaccines to children age 18 and under without any out-of-pocket expense to the parent. Children enrolled with Medicaid or WVCHIP also receive state-supplied vaccines at no cost to the parent.
Every week our sanitarians go on location to inspect businesses to ensure they are meeting health standards of West Virginia for Housing, Water, Food, Sewage, and Clean Indoor Air Regulation of Putnam County.
Kanawha-Charleston Board of Health meeting starts at 4:30 pm and is open to public.