Disease Tracking Reports
The first identified cases of avian influenza A (H7N9) virus infection in humans occurred in China during February and March 2013. Like H5N1 influenza viruses that first appeared roughly a decade ago, transmission of the virus to humans has been primarily from poultry.
El Paso County Public Health (EPCPH) Laboratory is pleased to announce the addition of the QuantiFERON®-TB Gold (QFT) test to its offerings.
Communicable disease epidemiologists at El Paso County Public Health investigated 55 outbreaks in 2012, which are summarized in the table below. Fifteen (27%) outbreaks had a common, point source. Forty (73%) outbreaks were spread person-to-person. Seven (13%) outbreaks were foodborne in nature. The most common etiology of outbreaks was norovirus with 41 (75%) outbreaks, followed by pertussis with 5 (9%) outbreaks. The majority of outbreaks were reported from long-term care facilities (60%), but other settings included retail food establishments (13%), schools (9%), medical offices, hospitals, pool, homeless shelter, and a military base.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. Related to a variety of pathogens (see chart), these illnesses are sometimes associated with local, state or national outbreaks.
Colorado is experiencing significant influenza activity, with a cumulative total of 373 influenza-related hospitalizations from 25 counties being reported between October 7 and December 29.
Norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the United States. Each year, it causes about 21 million illnesses and contributes to about 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths. Norovirus is also the most common cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the United States. Noroviruses are very contagious and can be found in contaminated food. They can live on surfaces, or be spread through contact with an infected person.
More than 32,000 cases of whooping cough have been reported this year in the USA, claiming 16 lives -- mostly babies. Like most areas, El Paso County has seen a sharp increase this year, including recent outbreaks in middle school and high school populations.
Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial sexually transmitted disease in the United States.
From preparation and planning to response and recovery, public health agencies are poised to act in an emergency. Public Health is a part of the response, whether it is related to mass casualties, nationwide illness outbreaks, or natural disasters. The day to day role of Public Health is to prevent illness and injury; therefore, when disasters strike, it is the responsibility of Public Health to provide education about the risks that are associated with that disaster. This could range from testing the public water supply for cleanliness, to providing tetanus shots. In the aftermath of a natural disaster it is important to educate about the possible risks of disease associated with debris removal and clean up, water quality, and spoiled food.
Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria normally live in the intestines of people and animals. Most E. coli are harmless and actually are an important part of a healthy human intestinal tract. However, some E. coli are pathogenic, meaning they can cause illness, either diarrhea or illness outside of the intestinal tract. The types of E. coli that can cause diarrhea can be transmitted through contaminated water or food, or through contact with animals or persons. Some kinds of E. coli cause disease by making a toxin called Shiga toxin. The bacteria that make these toxins are called “Shiga toxin-producing” E. coli, or STEC for short.
Heading to the Summer Olympics? Don't forget your passport and measles vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an outbreak notice identifying certain European countries that are experiencing a high number of reported cases of measles since the beginning of 2012.
Persons with latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) have a 10% chance of developing active tuberculosis (TB) disease in their lifetime. This risk is significantly increased for persons with HIV infection and persons on immune modulating therapy. Treatment can greatly decrease the risk of developing active tuberculosis and should be considered for all persons diagnosed with latent TB infection.