Remember when the worst infection Americans had to worry about was a bad flu?
As I reported last week, Enterovirus 68 with its potentially devastating respiratory symptoms is still spreading among American children. An outbreak has now been reported in San Diego county:
California’s first cases of a virus that has been spreading across the country were confirmed Thursday by the state’s chief health official.
Four cases of enterovirus D68 have been confirmed, all in Southern California. One was in Ventura County; three others were in San Diego County.
The patients ages ranged from 2 to 13 years old.
More instances of the disease were expected as results from lab tests come back, the California Department of Public Health said in announcing the cases.
So far, 175 cases have been formally reported, with newly documented occurrences in West Virgina.
Meanwhile, there has been a troubling infectious disease development in a Texas hospital involving newborns:
A nurse working at Providence Memorial Hospital in El Paso, Tex., may have exposed more than 700 infants to tuberculosis.
Parents of potentially infected children received a letter from the El Paso Department of Health last week, according to ABC News. They include children born at the hospital between September 2013 and August of this year, when officials discovered that the unnamed female nurse had the illness.
In the letter, parents were informed that they could receive free TB screenings at the El Paso Department of Health, along with treatment.
…The nurse was placed on leave after she tested positive for the disease. Forty-three of her co-workers were also possibly exposed to TB. The El Paso Department of Health posted an exposure schedule on its Web site, presumably detailing when the employee was present in the nursery of the hospital.
Given that newborns are much more susceptible to infection because of their developing immune system, exposure to such a serious disease is very concerning. I couldn’t begin to imagine how worried those infants’ parents are right now. A summary of this situation comes from Newsy Science.
And while I personally am more worried about these two infections, in terms of their impact on America, the African Ebola outbreak still has not been contained. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control project as many as 1.4 million cases may occur by 2015. The fact that Health and Human Services is spending millions on portable ventilators to address public health emergencies is doing little to put my mind at ease. I have to ask, “Why the sudden interest in portable inhalation assistance?”
On Canto Talk this Thursday, I am reviewing the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918, which shows how strained government resources can become in the wake of such a virulent and deadly disease.
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