Friday, July 9, 2004
This Week in the News
"The reason for collecting, analyzing and disseminating information on a
disease is to control that disease. Collection and analysis should not 1be
allowed to consume resources if action does not follow."
CHD Conference Call - News From the Front
Counties provide news concerning their activities, and the Bureau of Epidemiology welcomes a new staff member.
Exposure From Mercury Vapor Lamps
Epi Update Managing Staff:
U - First in a Series on Making Things Work|
If you're wondering what, exactly, EpiCom is and how it works, this article should help you to make our communication tool less a mystery and more a practical, everyday resource.
MD, MBA, MPH,
Secretary, Department of Health
Hires Planning Manager|
Mary Hilton was welcomed to the Bureau of Epidemiology only a month ago, but her contributions have already brought about positive effects.
Division of Disease
Week on EpiCom|
If you haven't been checking up what's going on around the state, you may be missing valuable information that could impact your county.
Acting Bureau Chief,
A report outlining activities for the week June 27 - July 4, 2004 for confirmed cases
Copy Editor / Writer
A R T I C L E S
|Curt Miller, BS, Data Analyst, Chronis Disease Surveillance and Epidemiology Section||►Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System Reports Online|
Data from the Florida Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) were used in the analysis for these reports. Florida PRAMS is a random survey of recent mothers of live-born infants. It is designed to monitor the physical, economic, and social health of Florida mothers and newborns. PRAMS is a mail survey with telephone follow-up of a sampling of recent mothers of live-born infants, completed when the infant is approximately three months old. The results presented are weighted to reflect the total population of Florida mothers and infants. Florida PRAMS is supported by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you have questions or would like more information on Florida PRAMS, contact Helen Marshall, PRAMS Coordinator, at 850-245-4444 extension 2415, Helen_Marshall@doh.state.fl.us; or Curt Miller, Data Analyst, extension 2407.
The online address for these reports is http://doh.state.fl.us/disease_ctrl/epi/prams/prams.htm. Six new reports are currently in review and will join these online soon.
|Jaime Forth, Copy Editor / Writer, Bureau of Epidemiology||
CHD Conference Call - News From the Front
The Bureau of Epidemiology and personnel from Florida's county health departments met in a bi-weekly conference call on Friday, July 2, 2004. This is an abbreviated recall of the discussion.
Don Ward introduced Carmela Mancini as the newly appointed
administrator of the Surveillance and Reporting Section.
A plan for the 2004-05 influenza season is being developed by Angela Fix, the Bureau of Epidemiology’s respiratory disease epidemiologist. Mortality, general surveillance, availability of vaccines and other issues will be addressed in the plan and in an upcoming brochure. She is also working with CHDs to develop a consensus definition of "community outbreak", which will provide an adjunct surveillance system for determining the local, regional and statewide impact of influenza
Peggy Booth, Seminole CHD, stated that a 42 year old male was seen at a
hospital in Seminole County and admitted with an initial diagnosis of
bacterial meningitis. He had been traveling overseas. Three family
members were exposed but received follow-up prophylaxis from CHD staff.
The CDC notified the airline to alert officials to the possibility that
passengers on his flight could have been exposed.
Carrie Selovar received calls in April from relatives of inmates at the
Okeechobee state prison who complained of running sores. Carrie
contacted Roger Sanderson, RN, MS, who provided technical assistance.
She phoned the prison and made recommendations concerning isolation,
hand washing, and general infection control measures. She was denied
entry to the prison for inspection. Although she has been assured that
appropriate measures have been taken to contain the incidents, she will
contact the prison again and negotiate a walk-through inspection with
Hepatitis A. Jylmarie Kintz reported there are currently 11 patient cases in Hillsborough County and three in Pasco County. The symptoms were initially mild, so they were missed. Because a large family gathering had occurred at a funeral and some had traveled from northern states, the possibility exists that the carriers may have been at the gathering. Prophylaxis has been administered to 57 persons.
Nosocomial Infections. Donna McCullough reported that after noting a sharp increase in nosocomial infections, the review committee at the hospital in Putnam County could not reach agreement on the cause/s. A representative phoned Donna to request assistance. She worked with Drs. Schulte and Crockett, Roger Sanderson and Robin Kay, and the task force traveled to the hospital to meet with the panel the following day. The task force developed a chart assessment tool and will be visiting the hospital regularly for the next few weeks to assess the problem.
conference call is scheduled for Friday, July 16th at 10:00 a.m. If you
have questions or would like to appear on the agenda, contact
Professional Training Coordinator Melanie Black at 850.245.4444, ext.
2448, or email her at
|Kelly Granger, MPH, CHES, Florida Epidemiological Intelligence Surveillance Fellow, Hillsborough County||
UV Exposure From
Mercury Vapor Lamps
|Christie Luce, BA, EpiCom Marketing Specialist, Bureau of Epidemiology||
How-to U - Learning
What is EpiCom? EpiCom is an electronic system developed and maintained by the Florida Department of Health for health care practitioners and other partners to share and receive information related to disease outbreaks. There are two components in EpiCom: The Exchange, for communicating messages related to potential or confirmed disease outbreaks, and the Alert, which is used when a threat has been identified. The Alert issues an emergency notification to select EpiCom users.
How Does it Work? Registered users post messages, which are approved by a subject matter expert. Each message is placed in a category (i.e., topic). When users log on to EpiCom, they can browse for information according to a topic of interest, or they can sign up to be notified about events via passive notification to their primary email address.
When should I post? Only a suspicion is necessary to post a message to EpiCom. Lab results and a case definition are not required. Users are encouraged to post messages at the first sign of an outbreak.
Scenario. A health care practitioner in a rural Florida county notices an increase in gastrointestinal illnesses among school children in his area. By referring to EpiCom, he finds that a similar increase has been noticed in a nearby county. The nearby county suspects the illnesses may be related to a distributor that delivers food to schools in both counties. The practitioner posts a message and then contacts his local CHD, which now has a jump-start on its investigation. Subsequently, possible exposures in two counties are located and treated in a fraction of the time it would have taken if EpiCom had not been used. Afterwards, both county health departments post an after-action message on EpiCom outlining the actions each took to contain the outbreak.
What does it cost? Nothing! EpiCom is free. There is no software to install and the site can be accessed at any time from any computer with Internet capabilities. It couldn't be more convenient!
What can EpiCom do for me? It gives you access to the combined knowledge of hundreds of public health practitioners. Did you ever wonder if a disease is reportable? If a certain disease constitutes a public health emergency? Who the experts are? Whether anyone else is seeing similar symptoms? If so, EpiCom can help you quickly and promptly answer these and other questions by providing direct access to knowledgeable colleagues across the state.
What if there's an emergency? EpiCom is equipped with state-of-the-art alert capabilities. If an immediate threat to public safety is identified, EpiCom administrators can issue alerts to some or all EpiCom users. These users can be contacted by land line, email, fax, pager, cell phone - basically any communications device imaginable. There is no better way to stay connected in an emergency.
Who should register? Anyone with an interest in disease outbreaks that could impact the public's health and safety such as doctors, nurses, infection control practitioners, veterinarians, medical examiners, public health workers, school district employees and school nurses.
How do I register? Go to https://www.epicomfl.net. Select "Click here if you are not a registered user."
If you have questions or comments about
EpiCom or any of its components, contact an EpiCom administrator at
EpiCom_administrator@doh.state.fl.us, or phone 850.234.4401.
|Jaime Forth, Copy Editor / Writer, Bureau of Epidemiology||
Bureau Hires Planning
Mary Hilton, MNO, is the newest addition to the Bureau of Epidemiology staff. She most recently served as program manager for the Florida Tobacco Prevention and Control Program at DOH in Tallahassee, providing oversight of the state’s youth tobacco prevention program. Her experience in the areas of program planning, program evaluation, staff training, community planning, and program marketing bring a wide range programmatic expertise to the Bureau.
career began as a clinic director managing a Tallahassee family planning
clinic, and shifted to HIV/AIDS prevention and intervention, where she
provided technical assistance to county health departments and oversight
the HIV/AIDS educational materials review process. She also organized
statewide conferences and reviewed procurement documents for compliance
with programmatic regulations. More recently, Mary worked as a community
partnership consultant providing training to county health departments
statewide on the use of web-based reporting systems, partnership
development, and community program planning.
To contact Mary, email her at
or phone her at 850.245.4444, ext. 2732.
|Pete Garner, Surveillance Systems Manager, Bureau of Epidemiology||
Week on EpiCom
The Bureau of Epidemiology encourages Epi Update readers to not only register on the EpiCom system at https://www.epicomfl.net but to browse EpiCom frequently and contribute public health observations related to any suspicious or unusual occurrences or circumstances, as appropriate. EpiCom is the primary method of communication between the Bureau of Epidemiology and other state medical agencies during emergency situations.
|Arbovirus Surveillance Team: Samantha Rivers, MS, Caroline Collins, Kristen Payne, Calvin DeSouza, and Carina Blackmore, MS Vet. Med., PhD., State Public Health Veterinarian||
No Florida counties are under medical alert. Mosquito populations are increasing in many areas of the state. People are urged to take precautions against mosquito bites.
West Nile (WN) Virus activity: There were two seroconversions to WN virus in sentinel chickens from Hillsborough County (6/02 x2). One horse (onset pre-6/23) in Miami-Dade County tested positive for WN virus. So far this year, 21 counties have reported WN activity.
St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE) Virus activity: There were two seroconversions to SLE virus in sentinel chickens from Pinellas County (5/17 x2).
Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE) Virus activity: There was one seroconversion to EEE virus in a sentinel chicken from Jefferson County (6/20). Two blue jays out of five wild birds captured on 6/18 in Okaloosa County were confirmed EEE virus positive. So far this year, 19 counties have reported EEE activity.
Highlands J (HJ) Virus activity: None this week.