Friday, August 1,
"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
This Week in the News
► Joint Conference Calls Gaining Momentum
Last week's forum on issues concerning county health departments was the biggest ever. Don't miss the next one!
► EpiCom U
If you work in a hopsital or county health department and don't use this essential communications tool, you won't want to delay any longer.
► FDA Clears West Nile Virus Test
PanBio has been cleared by the FDA to manufacture the first test for the West Nile virus antibody in the U.S.
► Grand Rounds 2003
Start clearing your calendar - Here are some Grand Rounds you won't want to miss.
► Be Prepared
The old Boy Scout motto has never more relevant. We'll acquaint you with the latest materials to help organize and train for exercises to keep you prepared.
► Arboviral Disease Report
Statistics through the week ending July 28, 2003 for confirmed cases only.
► Weekly Disease Table
Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology Weekly Morbidity Report for the current week only includes selected diseases and conditions for confirmed cases.
Submissions to Epi Update should be emailed to Jaime Forth at firstname.lastname@example.org. Articles must be submitted as a Word document attachment in plain 10-point Arial font with no boxes, centering or other elements added to the text. Please clearly identify the author. Only final documents (not drafts) are accepted. If you have questions, call 245.4444, ext. 2440. We look forward to hearing from you!
A R T I C L E S
Jaime Forth, Copy Editor/ Writer, Bureau of Epidemiology
Pete Garner, Surveillance Systems Section Administrator, Bureau of Epidemiology
number keeps going up! Last week’s conference call drew a record 161
participants, and we’re pleased that the level of interest in this bi-weekly
information exchange continues to grow. For county health department personnel
who missed the July 25th call, here’s a brief synopsis.
Don Ward announced that quarterly training, which had been postponed due to SARS, our
annual conference and other events, will resume within the next couple of months.
Look for communications from Melanie Black via the Epi Update and other
channels shortly. Classes will be scheduled on EpiCom useage and case
plus, shipments of resource materials to each county health department will start
Bioterrorism Grant Update. August 30th marks the end of the 2002/03 bioterrorism grant year. Unspent funds will not be allowed to roll over. If you have questions or concerns regarding this issue, email Debbie Ford at email@example.com. For the new grant year, continued support will be provided for established positions.
Definitions and Reportable Diseases. Kathryn Teates noted that new definitions have been
posted on the web. For accuracy, please ensure your administrators use the most recent
version. The latest lab findings will be posted on the web site next week. Future
changes to case definitions will be published in batches. Questions should be
referred to Travis McLane at travis_mcLane@doh.state.fl.us.
Surveillance Update. Karen Wheeler discussed the present state of the bioterrorism emergency
room census surveillance
system and outlined goals for the future of the program. EpiCom will likely be
the vehicle for a simple notification and analysis system, placed on the web for
easy access. She will market the ER surveillance system to recruit participation among hospitals in areas
with heavier tourist populations, and work with county health departments to
designate a point of contact so communication will be easier to facilitate. Any
health department or hospital that is not currently using EpiCom should
contact Pete Garner.
Dr. Youjie Huang reported that the working group is preparing questions for the 2004
survey, and the meeting was well attended. Oversampling of racial or non-English
speaking groups is under consideration this year. If county health departments
have questions they’d like included in the survey, he’d be happy to work with
them. Please contact Dr. Huang via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next conference call is scheduled for Friday, August 8 from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. EST. If you have an item for the agenda or ideas for discussion, please email Don Ward at email@example.com or Melanie Black at firstname.lastname@example.org. The conference call agenda will be emailed on Thursday, August 7, 2003.
Registering is simple and the data is dependable. To enter an initial report or provide follow-up data, simply log in and fill in the details. For further information concerning this program, send an email to EpiCom_Administrator@doh.state.fl.us. To view EpiCom, log on to https://www.epicomfl.net/.
Australian firm has won FDA approval for the first diagnostic blood test for West
Nile virus. IgM Capture ELISA was developed by PanBio for patients presenting
clinical symptoms of viral encephalitis or meningitis.
PanBio test reduces inter-laboratory variation through use of a standard cut-off
serum. Unlike HAI, acetone extracted sera is not required, and sera need not be
obtained following discharge from hospital. Differentiation between primary and
secondary infection can be made through a single dilution of serum rather than a
series of dilutions required in HAI assays, offering an improvement over the HAI
assay for serological diagnosis of dengue infections.
IgM antibodies can be detected in dengue patients as early as three to five
days after onset of the fever. Tested at four different clinical sites, the assay
correctly identified the West Nile Virus antibody in 90 to 99% of cases, although
follow-up testing should be pursued due to similarities in viruses within the same
2002, there were 4,156 confirmed cases of West Nile infection in the United
States, and 284 patients died. According to the CDC, only about one infected
100 develops symptoms. The pathogen was first detected in New York in 1999 and
has spread steadily to the west coast, although California experienced only one
case last year.
In a comment following the announcement by the FDA, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson said “Emerging infectious diseases such as West Nile virus present a challenge to the public health community. When industry and government collaborate closely to meet a public health need, the resulting new technology will strengthen our joint efforts to confront diseases earlier and should lower rates of infection.”
guest speakers present the latest information on their specializations, it is our
hope that you will gain more knowledge and then share it with colleagues who were
unable to listen with you.
regarding Grand Rounds and other training opportunities are posted in the
training section of the bureau website at http://www9.myflorida.com/disease_ctrl/epi/index.html
the remainder of the year 2003, the following speakers are scheduled, with topics
to be announced as the dates draw nearer:
State of Rhode Island Office of Emergency Preparedness - http://www.healthri.org/biot/web_sites.doc.
Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, Los Angeles: University of Southern
California – www.usc.edu/schools/sppd/ijmed/.
Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado – www.colorado.edu/hazards.
for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry – www.atsdr.cdc.gov.
Response: Principles of Preparation and Coordination, Auf der Heide E. – www.coe-dmha.org/dr/flash.htm.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Emergency Preparedness and National Disaster Medical System Web Site – www.ndms.dhhs.gov/
EEE virus activity in
animals: Six horses were confirmed with EEE
virus infections, bringing the YTD total for horses infected with EEE virus to
174 in 47 counties (first EEE activity for Dade and Sarasota). This year so far,
there are nearly seven times the number of horses than were reported with EEE in
all of last year. Forty seroconversions to EEE virus were confirmed in sentinel
chickens, the highest numbers being in Nassau and Orange counties. One
dead bird was reported positive with EEE virus (Duval). Two juvenile live wild birds and a
recent recapture were found EEE-positive in Walton County, suggesting recent
infection. Of Florida’s 67
counties, 50 have reported EEE activity, compared to 20 last year by this time.
EEE activity appears to be spreading out from the central region.
WN virus activity:
Seventeen seroconversions to WN virus were confirmed in sentinel chickens, for a
YTD total of 84 WN seroconversions in 21 counties (first WN activity for Palm
Beach). Six dead
birds were reported positive for WN virus. A juvenile (suggestive of recent
infection) cardinal collected in Okaloosa, previously reported positive for
both SLE and EEE, has been found positive for WN virus. Thirty-seven
counties have reported WN virus activity this year, with sporadic distribution
around the state, compared to 24 last year by this time.
The complete report can be viewed at: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/hsee/arbo/weekly_summary2003.htm