Friday, September 17, 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 be allowed to consume resources if action does not follow."
Syncytial Virus Surveillance Season Starts
Conference Call Explores Efforts to Respond to Effects of Hurricanes
Hurricane season doesn't end until November and this year a record number have been predicted. But the state's emergency operations plan has been implemented, and round-the-clock efforts are underway to assist Floridians affected by storm damage.
on National Bioterrorism Surveillance Systems
Preparedness Month Announced|
September will be busy for the coordinators of The Ready Campaign. An all-out effort to acquaint Americans with various aspects of preparedness - from making family emergency plans to learning how to respond to a national threat - is headed to locations all across the country.
|Epi Update Managing Staff:||
Hepatitis A Statement Released|
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new Information Statement meant to replace previous statements. We'll give you the complete Web address.
MD, MBA, MPH,
Secretary, Department of Health
►Newest Member of Epi Team Hits the Ground Running
After serving two months in Hawaii in a hospital ICU, Dan Chertow joins the Bureau of Epidemiology staff as a CDC EIS Officer.
Division of Disease
Grand Rounds on Clostridium difficile Associated Disease
in Hospitalized Patients|
Presented by Roger Sanderson, RN, MA, this live presentation offering CEUs will air on Tuesday, September 28 at 11:00 a.m. EDT.
Acting Bureau Chief,
Week on EpiCom|
Log on regularly to access information that could be vital to your organization if you're in the middle of an investigation. Another entity may be experiencing an outbreak that could be linked to yours.
A report outlining activities for the week September 5 - 11, 2004 for confirmed cases.
A R T I C L E S
|Angela Fix, MPH, Respiratory Disease Epidemiologist, Bureau of Epidemiology||
Respiratory Syncytial Virus Surveillance Season Starts
The respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Surveillance System has been ongoing in Florida since October 1999. It is a voluntary program consisting of sentinel hospitals which report weekly to the Bureau of Epidemiology the total number of RSV tests performed and the total number of positive results. RSV data are collected weekly from 13 participating sentinel hospitals throughout Florida. Reports and graphs based on the percent positive for RSV are then generated. Regional and statewide reports are made available on the Bureau of Epidemiology Website each month. Site-specific data is kept confidential and is only available to the provide at that site, and all hospital identifiers remain confidential.
These data are important to neonatologists, pediatricians, and other healthcare professionals working for the protection of infants and children against common childhood diseases. RSV surveillance data can help alert public health officials and physicians to the timing of seasonal and regional RSV activity within the state of Florida. Practitioners value the data because it provides them an indicator of when to initiate RSV prophylaxis to high-risk infants and children. Prophylaxis of high-risk infants and children has been shown to lessen the severity of disease and the likelihood of future sequellae, such as asthma and other severe pulmonary complications. Studies show that strategic planning of RSV prophylaxis is important to the efficacy of the vaccine. Surveillance of RSV also helps practitioners, hospitals, and health management organizations justify and measure the cost effectiveness of prophylaxis programs.
If you have questions about the RSV
Surveillance Program or would like to recruit hospitals in your area,
please feel free to contact Angela Fix, MPH, at 850.245.4444, ext. 2528
or by email at
Jaime Forth, Editor, Epi Update, Bureau of Epidemiology
Call Explores Efforts to Respond to Effects of Hurricanes
The latest conference call among Bureau of Epidemiology staff and
health department personnel across the state occurred on August 27, 2004. A
brief summary of the discussions is recounted here for parties
who were not able to participate.
Review of EpiCom Satellite Broadcast.
Pete Garner announced a tape of the broadcast which aired live on August
25th will be mailed to each CHD and also be made available to
Hurricane Charley. Dr. Schulte reported that hospitals and clinics in the affected areas set up an ad hoc surveillance system for admissions due to the large number of elderly patients in situ. They will transition the reporting into the Merlin system later. Health care practitioners have noted a need for better hand washing habits, as diarrhea has been a major problem for these patients.
The staging area at the Tampa fairgrounds is staffed by FEMA professionals. Sarasota is the jumping off point for volunteers who deploy to the affected areas. The duration of the response effort is unknown; however, anyone from DOH who wants to assist must sign up individually on the DOH Website provided in an earlier email from the Secretary.
The mortality rate is expected to rise as figures from the hardest-hit counties continue to arrive. In-depth studies on the mortality rate will be performed later.
Influenza News. Angela Fix and her staff have mailed sentinel information packets to the 83 providers who have enrolled in the program. If anyone would like assistance recruiting providers in their area, she will be happy to visit or send someone to provide the marketing expertise needed to bring more providers into the program.
The national pandemic plan is under review by DOH staff in Tallahassee. Anyone wishing to participate in the review should contact Angela at 850.245.4444, ext. 2528. Comments are due to CDC within 60 days.
Discussion and Wrap-up. Sam
Williamson, Santa Rosa CHD reported nine cases of pertussis in the
county, with four confirmed. He has promulgated a memo to local
physicians to be on the lookout for cases of pertussis, and will
resubmit lab samples to the state laboratory for a culture confirmation.
Karen Wheeler, MPH,
Bioterrorism Surveillance Epidemiologist, Bureau of Epidemiology
National Bioterrorism Surveillance Systems
With so many
bioterrorism surveillance programs and systems available, it becomes
difficult to distinguish one system from another. This two-part article
will provide descriptions and clarifications on popular national
surveillance systems, as well as systems designed and/or used by the
Florida Department of Health. This week's focus is on national systems.
Jaime Forth, Editor, Epi
Update, Bureau of Epidemiology
Preparedness Month Announced
More than 50 national organizations have joined to launch an effort this month to spur citizen preparedness for all types of emergencies. The event, scheduled to occur September 9th, has been christened The Ready Campaign, and includes participation by at least 55 agencies as diverse as the National League of Cities, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the American Red Cross and the USA Freedom Corps.
Their plan is to provide communities and individuals a variety of ways in which become volunteers, receive first aid training, establish family emergency plans, procure emergency supply kits, and become more cognizant of threats which could impact their local area. Hosted events will be held throughout the month to promote preparedness around the country as Americans are encouraged to become more actively involved in learning and preparing for home and national emergencies.
The Department of Homeland Security can
be contacted for more information. If you want to become involved in
hosting an event or would like to receive more information, call Kristin
Gossel or Lara Shane at 202.282.8010. To receive a Get Ready Now
brochure, go to
www.Ready.gov. To view the press release, go to
|Charles H. Alexander, Chief, Bureau of Immunization, Department of Health||
A Statement Released
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a new Hepatitis A Vaccine Information Statement (VIS). The statement is now effective and replaces all previous statements, which should be discarded. Please note that the Hepatitis A VIS is not reproduced by the Department of Health and is therefore not stocked in the warehouse at this time.
Reproducible copies of the Hepatitis A VIS can be accessed online at http://www.cdc.gov/nip/publications/VIS/vis-hep-a.pdf.
Translation of the VIS is underway, and the foreign language versions will be posted on the Immunization Action Coalition's Website at www.immunize.org when ready.
For more information regarding the new
Hepatitis A VIS, contact Tom Bendle of the Bureau of Immunization at
850.245.4342 or at SunCom 205.4342.
Jaime Forth, Editor, Epi
Update, Bureau of Epidemiology
of Epi Team Hits the Ground Running
Daniel Chertow is a CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service officer assigned to the Department of Health Bureau of Epidemiology for a two-year period. His first major project was deployment to Sarasota in response to Hurricane Charley, conducting surveillance in staging areas and recruiting local hospitals as participants in the process.
Dr. Chertow is a board certified internist who graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a masters degree in public health. He earned his medical degree from Northwestern University in Chicago. After interning and performing his residency at the University of California at San Diego, he worked for a private physicians group, providing at-home health care to a geriatric population. He worked as a hospitalist in intensive care and general medicine at Kaiser Permanente in Honolulu before his assignment to Tallahassee by the CDC.
His work on post-hurricane Charley has lead to an October 5 Grand Rounds discussion at the CDC pertaining to hurricane-associated morbidity. He'll present on implementation of the surveillance system used to gather data followed by a presentation of the team's findings. His long-term interests are clinical medicine and public health research and practice.
During the next
two years Dr. Chertow's work will consist of consulting with CHDs
throughout Florida, building consensus to address public health
perceptions on issues such as community-acquired MRSA, and investigating
outbreaks. And, taking advantage of the fact that Florida is one of the
nation's top vacation spots, his peripheral time will be spent
traveling, sailing and swimming. To reach him, call him at 850.245.4406
or email him at
Roger Sanderson, RN,
MPH, Bureau of Epidemiology Investigation Section
Grand Rounds on Clostridium difficile Associated Disease in
Title: Clostridium difficile Associated Disease (CDAD) What is it and is it increasing in Florida?
Presenter: Roger Sanderson, RN, MA, Regional Epidemiologist, Bureau of Epidemiology, Florida Department of Health
Date: Tuesday, September 28, 2004 11:00 a.m.– 12:00 p.m. EDT
Recent studies indicate that Clostridium difficile associated disease may be increasing both in disease incidence and disease associated mortality. In Florida there has been an increase in the number of patients discharged from acute care facilities with a diagnoses of Clostridium difficile enteritis over the last two years. As a result of the increase in C. difficile the Bureau of Epidemiology conducted a surveyed acute care hospitals in January 2004. This survey was divided into three major areas, laboratory testing, surveillance and infection control procedures. Preliminary results from this survey indicate there is a need for education concerning the disease and control methods.
|Pete Garner, Surveillance Systems Manager, Bureau of Epidemiology||
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||
West Nile (WN) virus activity: One resident of Miami-Dade County was confirmed with WN illness this week, bringing the state-wide total to 27. There were 29 seroconversions to WN virus in sentinel chickens from Alachua, Brevard, Indian River, Manatee, Nassau, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Volusia and Walton counties. So far this year, 33 counties have reported WN activity. Brevard, Broward, Duval, Gadsden, Hillsborough and Miami-Dade counties are under medical alerts for mosquito-borne disease.
Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE) virus activity: There were three confirmed EEE horses this week, one each from Jackson, Leon and Liberty counties. There were two seroconversions to EEE virus in sentinel chickens from Alachua and Nassau counties. So far this year, 32 counties have reported EEE activity.
St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE) virus activity: There were two seroconversions to SLE virus in sentinel chickens from Brevard and St. Lucie counties. So far this year, four counties have reported SLE activity.
Highlands J (HJ) Virus activity: None this week. Eleven counties have reported HJ this year.
populations are present in many areas of the state,
especially in areas
hard-hit by Hurricane Charley. All are urged to
take precautions against mosquito bites. Dead birds should be reported
See the Web for more information at www.MyFloridaEH.com.