State Health Commissioner Marissa J. Levine, MD, MPH, FAAFP
Virginians are understandably concerned about their risk of catching Ebola. My colleagues and I at the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) have heard those concerns and are committed to protecting the health of the public. We work every day to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases of all kinds. Our epidemiologists (disease detectives) conduct contact investigations and follow-ups, work with hospitals to ensure they prevent the spread of infection and answer questions, provide discussions with patients and help to make sure that the right lab testing is done. Ebola prevention is based on the principles and approaches that we use every day. There are unique aspects of Ebola, however, that require us to make sure our plans and processes are up-to-date for this new concern.
My team and I at VDH will continue to work tirelessly to do our very best to protect people in Virginia from Ebola. This work will be done through the strong relationships that already exist with our partners to make sure that we are all prepared to respond. In addition, we will continually re-evaluate our plans and procedures as new information arises with this rapidly changing issue. We also want to be sure you have the most accurate and timely information to be able to make good decisions to protect your health. Please submit your questions and ideas for improving our communications and materials here.
Additional guidance is available at the following links:
Quick Links and Important Resources
7 Ways to Help Prevent Mosquito Bites
Mosquitoes can make you sick through their bites. Mosquitoes spread malaria, dengue fever and chikungunya through their bite. Prevent mosquito bites by controlling the number of mosquitoes around you and protecting yourself from their bites. Remember to:
VDH Closely Monitoring Increased Nationwide Activity of Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68)
A recent report in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of two clusters of severe respiratory illness among hospitalized children in Missouri and Illinois where the illness was confirmed to be due to. enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) has raised concerns about the potential spread of this virus.
As of October 3, 2014, EV-D68 has been laboratory confirmed in the Central, Northern and Eastern Regions of Virginia.
Enteroviruses are very common viruses, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 10 to 15 million enterovirus infections occur in the United States every year, with most infections occurring during the summer and fall. Enteroviruses likely spread from person to person when an infected person sneezes, coughs or touches contaminated surfaces.
EV-D68 was first identified in California in 1962, and is a less common strain of enterovirus.
The Virginia Department of Health is working with hospitals statewide and the CDC in investigating any suspected clusters of respiratory illness. There is no specific treatment or vaccine for EV-D68 infections. Many infections will be mild and self-limited, but some people with severe respiratory illness caused by EV-D68 may need to be hospitalized and receive intensive supportive care.
Citizens can help protect themselves from respiratory illnesses by frequently washing their hands with soap and water, avoiding close contact with sick people and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.
For more information, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/about/EV-D68.html?s_cid=cdc_homepage_whatsnew_001
CDC Health Advisory: Acute Neurological Illness with Limb Weakness of Unknown Cause in Children
Virginia Health Information