30
Oct

Ebola Virus

ebola - imageedit_14_3363191172

What is Ebola? 

Ebola is a virus that was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in Africa. Sporadic outbreaks have occurred in Africa since then. There are five (5) strains of Ebola that infect animals in Africa. Four of the strains infect humans.

 

What are the Signs & Symptoms of Ebola?

Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, unexplained bleeding or bruising.  Ebola can only be spread when symptoms begin. Symptoms typically occur between 8 to 10 days after infection.  However, symptoms may occur as late as 21 days after exposure to Ebola. 

 

How is Ebola Spread?

If a person is ill with Ebola virus, they can spread it by blood, body fluids (urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen).  It can also be transmitted via objects contaminated with the virus (like needles and syringes). Lastly, it can spread via infected bats, apes, gorillas, and monkeys. (http://1.usa.gov/1rCptdl)

 

Where is the Ebola Outbreak? Where Has Ebola Spread?

This year is the largest Ebola outbreak in history.  It has taken place largely in West Africa.  Currently, areas designated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as having widespread transmission of Ebola are in West Africa, specifically Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.  Countries that have had travel associated transmission and local transmission are (Port Harcourt and Lagos) Nigeria, (Madrid) Spain, and (Dallas and New York City), New York.  Countries that have had travel associated transmission are (Kayes) Mali and (Dakar) Senegal.

 

Are there are recent updates in Florida?

As of October 26, 2014, Florida Governor Scott issued an order mandating the Department of Health to have a 21 day monitoring of anyone who has returned from areas where individuals have been infected by Ebola virus, as designated by the CDC. (http://bit.ly/1wH4o6M) New York, New Jersey, Illinois and now Florida have instituted a 21 day health evaluation plan. Twice daily monitoring is to include measuring temperature twice daily.  Gov. Scott also stated that if individuals monitored are assessed to be high-risk, then a mandatory quarantine will be required.

 

Are There U.S. Guidelines for Healthcare Workers Caring for Patients with Ebola?

The CDC has issued guidelines for healthcare workers and healthcare settings for those caring for patients infected with, suspected to be infected with, or having died of Ebola. (http://1.usa.gov/1yJblVf) There are also CDC Ebola waste management guidelines. On October 14, 2014, the CDC admitted that they were unprepared for Ebola in the U.S. (http://bit.ly/1E4V6F4)  Since then, the CDC has formed the previously mentioned guidelines.  

 

Are there flight Restrictions from Africa?

As of October 21, 2014, the U.S. Homeland security Department announced that travelers from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have limited airport entry into the U.S.  They are limited to five (5)  international airports in New York, New Jersey, Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington, DC.  These airports will have extra screening of passengers for possible Ebola exposure, which include taking temperatures and other assessments as well.  All U.S. airports are screen for possible Ebola exposure. (http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/pdf/ebola-algorithm.pdf)  Currently, there is no travel ban from or to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to U.S. due to Ebola.

 

It is highly unlikely that Ebola will spread in the U.S. as it has in endemic West Africa. However, we must keep a vigilant eye on developments, travel screenings are necessary, and healthcare workers must follow CDC guidelines to prevent spread of this disease.

 

16
Nov

Get Smart About Antibiotics Week

November 15-21, 2010 is Get Smart about Antibiotics Week.  This is a campaign set forth by Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is a partner in this campaign.  
The goal this week is to help educate the public about the use of antibiotics, how they work, when they are  needed, and their side effects.
Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, such as ear infections, strep throat, sinusitis, and pneumonia.  It is important to know that antibiotics don't "work for everything."  Antibiotics do not treat viral infections.  Viruses cause the common, the flu, and many cases of upper respiratory infections.  You may wonder why your doctor does not prescribe an antibiotic each time your child is evaluated for his/her sore throat, cough, and stuffy nose.  That is because there is no cure for most viral infections. 
In fact, taking antibiotics unnecessarily may do more harm than good.  Your child may feel worse than he/she already does.  Antibiotics change the normal gut flora.  As a result, diarrhea is a common side effect as is nausea as well.  In addition, judicious use of antibiotics is imperative so as to prevent antibiotic resistance.  Over the decades, antibiotic resistance has increased.  This means that some antibiotics are no longer effective in their fight against infectious certain bacteria.  This occurred as a result of overuse of antibiotics in the past.  Lastly, it is important to make sure you follow your doctors directions in regards to how your child takes his/her anitbiotics.  Unless your child cannot tolerate his/her medication, please always make sure that he/she finishes the medication as directed.  In addition, do not save "left over" antibiotics and do not give "left over" antibiotics.  If you do, this leads to increased bacterial resistance.  In other words, this antibiotic is less likely to have killed the bacteria the first time, rendering it less susceptible to that same bacteria the next time.  As a result, your child will need to be placed on an additional course of antibiotics.  And no one wants that.
As always, the best resource you can have for all your questions regarding bacterial and viral infections and the treatment of your child(ren)'s illness is your doctor.  For more information, please check out the follow webpages from the CDC  (www.cdc.gov/getsmart/antibiotic-use/URI/index.html) and the AAP (www.healthychildren.org/English/News/pages/Get-Smart-About-Antibiotics.aspx).
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