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Virginia Department of Health

Dr. Levine

State Health Commissioner Marissa J. Levine, MD, MPH, FAAFP

Ebola Message From The State Health Commissioner

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:

Countdown to Virginia Quit Day

Oct. 20 - Nov. 20, 2014



Virginia Quit Day is November 20. Get ready to quit tobacco now by joining the Countdown to Quit. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get daily tips to help you and your loved ones be better prepared for a successful quit. You can also get help quitting by calling the Virginia Quitline at 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) or visit www.QuitNow.net/Virginia. Assistance for deaf and hearing-impaired TTY is available at 800-332-8615.

Download: Virginia Quit Day Pledge

Virginia Health Information
'Virginia Health Information' is a resource for patients and consumers looking to learn about and compare options on everything from obstetrical services, to heart care, to pricing information on commonly performed medical procedures. Virginians can use VHI information to make informed health care purchasing decisions and as the basis for an informed conversation with their health care providers. Learn more>>

boy sneezing

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

  • CDC is working closely with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to investigate reports of nine children hospitalized for neurologic illness with limb weakness of unknown cause. As part of the investigation they are working to determine whether this cluster of illness in Colorado may be linked to the large nationwide outbreak of EV-D68.
  • The Virginia Department of Health has received one report from the Northern Region of a child with acute neurological illness of unknown etiology. We are currently investigating the report and working with the health care provider to gather more information.
  • Neurologic illness with limb weakness can result from a variety of infectious and non-infectious causes.  Viral causes of neurologic illness can include enteroviruses (polio and non-polio), adenovirus, and West Nile virus but neurologic illness caused by these agents is very uncommon in the United States.
  • VDH and CDC have interest in characterizing the epidemiology and etiology of such cases. Clinicians should report immediately to your local health department any patient meeting the following case definition:

    Patients ≤ 21 years of age with
    1) Acute onset of focal limb weakness occurring on or after August 1,. 2014;
    AND
    2) An MRI showing a spinal cord lesion largely restricted to gray matter.

  • CDC Health Advisory
woman gardening

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:

  1. Wear long, loose and light-colored clothing.
  2. If possible, stay inside when mosquitoes are biting.
  3. Use bug spray with the smallest percentage of DEET needed for the amount of time you are exposed to mosquitoes. Use according to the manufacturer’s directions and DEET should not be applied to infants under 2 months old.
  4. Turn over or get rid of containers in your yard where water gathers, such as old tires, potted plant trays, buckets and toys.
  5. Remove standing water on tarps or flat roofs.
  6. Clean out birdbaths and wading pools once a week.
  7. Clean roof gutters and downspout screens.

Last Updated: 10-20-2014

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