Posts Tagged ‘spread’

Solve the Outbreak

March 4th, 2013

Check out CDC’s new iPad App, Solve the Outbreak, which lets you pretend you’re a disease outbreak investigator in the world-class Epidemic Intelligence Service by solving outbreaks based on real-life.  When new outbreaks happen, disease detectives are sent in to figure out how they started, before they can spread.  You get to investigate the outbreak and make decisions about confirming cases and implementing public health interventions like isolation and quarantine, social distancing, vaccine prioritization etc.  

The better your answers, the higher your score – and the more quickly you’ll save lives. You’ll start out as a Trainee and will earn badges by solving cases, with the goal of earning the top rank: Disease Detective.  Post your scores on Facebook or Twitter and challenge your friends to do better.  Download the free app today!  

BTW: Dr. Frieden (the CDC Director) paid us a visit during our monthly Local Health Officers meeting on Wednesday afternoon.  Check out the pictures on the Facebook.

‘Tis the Season to Be Vaccinated…

December 19th, 2012

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices released issued new recommendations to encourage pregnant women to get the whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine (Tdap) during their pregnancy.  Since most kids get whooping cough from a close family member, vaccinating parents (and teens) is one of the best ways to prevent infants, especially those who are too young to be fully protected from this life threatening infection.  Whooping cough cases have been increasing in AZ again this year, with over 900 cases as of a couple of weeks ago…  103 more than during the same time last year and 4 times more than we have in a typical year. 

There are many things contributing to the high rate of whooping cough in AZ and nationally. Symptoms are non-specific during the first two weeks- usually just a cough that won’t go away. Providers might not identify the case until weeks later when cough intensifies and the more classic signs like “whoop” are noticed. Even then, doc’s may not be able to diagnose it if the sick person looks fine during the office visit (if they’re between coughing fits). Whether the doctor is able to diagnose the patient or not, the person may have already infected others and the disease continues to spread. 

This leads to school or community outbreaks, especially in areas with low vaccination rates. This year, one outbreak has been ongoing since May.  Routine vaccination – given as DTaP in children or Tdap in adults – is important for preventing future outbreaks from occurring.  Talk to your doctor about pertussis vaccine – particularly if you spend a lot of time with babies.  Remember, the best gift for your children this holiday is to get vaccinated!

RSV Ramping Up in AZ

November 28th, 2011

Respiratory syncytial virus (or RSV) is a respiratory virus that mainly affects little kids- and circulates around this time of year. There’s no vaccine- but clinicians can give a preventive antibody treatment to folks at greatest risk (e.g. premature infants).   It spreads mostly in the winter (like influenza) but flu and RSV don’t usually peak at the same time.  Influenza activity in AZ is still pretty light- but we’ve received several laboratory reports of RSV over the past several weeks with an increase in case reports last week.

Once RSV infections begin to increase cases usually rapidly rise and stay fairly high for a few several months.  Our recent data and experience makes us think it will start circulating more widely in Arizona in the next few weeks.  Doctors who administer RSV antibody to high-risk infants might want to start incorporate this info into their treatment plans- and it’s time for hospitals to start thinking about implementing their RSV prevention plans.  Our flu and RSV website has a host of useful information about flu and RSV including periodic reports.