A Publication by the Bureau of Epidemiology
September 10, 2002
"The reason for collecting, analyzing and disseminating information on a disease is to control that disease. Collection and analysis should not be allowed to consume resources if action does not follow."
--Foege WH et al. Int. J of Epidemiology 1976; 5:29-37.
Steven T. Wiersma, MD, MPH—Bureau Chief and State Epidemiologist
Don Ward, Deputy Bureau Chief (Management), Epi Update Managing Editor
Catie Richards, Editorial Assistant
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In this issue:
MOSQUITO-BORNE VIRUS UPDATE: Three Additional Human West Nile Virus Cases Reported
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Rob Hayes
September 9, 2002 850-245-4111
***MOSQUITO-BORNE VIRUS UPDATE***
Three Additional Human West Nile
Virus Cases Reported
-- Medical Alert Expanded to Include Charlotte, Hillsborough, Indian River,
Lee, Manatee, Polk and Sarasota Counties--
TALLAHASSEE—The Florida Department of Health (DOH) today reported three individuals – a 29-year-old Escambia County resident, a 28-year-old Polk County resident and a 38-year-old Orange County resident -- as having West Nile (WN) virus. Due to these additional cases and increased WN virus detection in animals, DOH has added Charlotte, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lee, Manatee, Polk and Sarasota counties to a medical alert already in effect for Brevard, Escambia, Flagler, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, St. Johns, Sumter and Volusia counties.
"Typically, the majority of WN cases are in people over the age of 50," said DOH Secretary John O. Agwunobi, M.D., M.B.A. "However, as these new cases indicate, people of all ages are vulnerable and must take precautionary measures to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes."
Agwunobi recommends people take the following precautionary measures to guard against mosquito bites:
The Department of Health laboratories provide testing services for physicians treating patients with clinical signs of mosquito-borne (arboviral) disease. These signs may include headache, fever, fatigue, dizziness, weakness and confusion. Physicians should submit serum and, if available, cerebrospinal fluid samples to either the Tampa or Jacksonville Department of Health laboratories. People over the age of 50 are at the greatest risk of having severe disease from an arbovirus infection.
DOH continues to conduct statewide surveillance for arboviruses, including West Nile (WN) virus, Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE) and St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE). Residents of Florida are encouraged to report dead birds by calling the West Nile Virus Hotline at 1-800-871-9703, or via the Web site www.wld.fwc.state.fl.us/bird/. For more information on WN virus, visit the DOH Bureau of Epidemiology’s Web site at www.doh.state.fl.us (click on Epidemiology, then Health Topics), call the Bureau’s hotline at 1-888-880-5782 for recorded information, or call your local county health department.