Disease Updates - 1/6 to...

Peter Petrisko ptp at primenet.com
Sat Jan 10 14:34:00 EST 1998

1/10/98 Update: more "super flu"? / virus in Australia / H5N1 / US warning

Houston, TX (U.S.)- Both here, and in Corpus Christi, within the last 8
weeks there has been an unusual increase in emergency room visits due to
upper respiratory infections, local hospitals reported mid-week (on 1/6).
This follows the unconfirmed reports, posted on 1/1 or so, of a "super
flu" appearing across state, in El Paso TX.
   One source was quoted as saying, "Last week even Ben Taub Hospital, the
biggest trauma center in this part of the world went on 'drive by' (i.e.,
no space available)." 
   Again, as in southern CA and Philadelphia, PA and (unconfirmed reports
from) Tennessee, the illness appears flu-like with mostly respiratory
symptoms - wheezing & chest aches - with some headaches, and
gastrointestinal discomfort, but not the usual muscle aches associated
with the flu.

Los Angeles, CA (U.S.) - More "super flu" news... The Los Angeles Health
Department announced, on Friday, that 500 people have died so far from
this mystery "flu".
   Five hundred deaths is nothing to sneeze at! Is this an as of yet
unidentified "super flu"-like bacteria? (After all, there have been
reports of limited success with antibiotics, indicating this isn't a
virus), or just a series of different viruses AND bacterial illnesses
combining with hysteria caused by the "bird flu" outbreak in Hong Kong?

New South Wales, AUSTRALIA -  The mosquito-borne Ross River virus has
reached alarming proportions here, with the Health Dept. issuing a warning
to all people living in or visiting rural areas outside of Sydney.
   The virus has not reached Sydney, and experts doubt it will due to it
being transmitted by mosquitos - not exactly what you would call a sturdy
urban breed of insect.


HONG KONG - Officials have confirmed another case, this time a 6-year old
boy, who became ill and recovered in the days before the chicken slaughter. 
(It is only now being confirmed, but was counted among "suspected cases"
in earlier reports.)


    - U.S. Advisory Warning for travelers to MEXICO and the CARIBBEAN -

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel
advisory warning on Friday, trying to reach vacationers before they head
to places like Mexico and the Caribbean. They recommended getting
vaccinated for HEPATITIS A one month before travelling. Hepatitis A is not
a chronic illness, like hepatitis B or C, but this virus will cause loss
of appetite, diarrhea and vomiting, after an incubation period of 15 to 50
days - long after the vacation is over.
   Once a person gets sick, it can last for weeks.

(facts from CDC & health.net reports)

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