Health Notes

What Every Parent Should Know About Enterovirus D68

by Dr. Rudolf Kotula on September 8, 2014

Methodist hospitals and Methodist Physicians Clinic locations are on alert for a virus making hundreds of kids across the Midwest sick. Doctors are bracing for a possible outbreak from a bug known as Enterovirus D68, or EV-D68.

In Kansas City, the virus has sent more than 30 children a day to one local hospital, with at least 15 percent being treated in intensive care units. In Denver, Children’s Hospital Colorado has reported more than 900 cases in less than a month. Only a few cases have even been reported in Omaha.

In total, the virus is quickly spreading in at least 10 states, including nearby in Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating a possible regional outbreak, receiving virus samples from each state for identification.

So what do parents need to watch for?

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Understanding Ebola Risk and Stopping the Deadly Disease

by Dr. Jessica Jones on August 14, 2014

Every day it seems the numbers climb. Today, the official number of Ebola cases is nearing 1,900, with more than 1,000 deaths just since February. As the disease spreads, so does the fear and the rush to contain it.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have made the deadly Ebola virus their number one priority, working together to better understand and manage the public health risks posed by the disease. Because of the circumstances of the rampant outbreak with no known cure or vaccine, the WHO issued a statement saying it is ethical to offer experimental treatments to patients, even when the efficacy of those treatments are unknown.

There are glimmers of hope in the fight against Ebola. Canada announced yesterday it would donate 800 to 1,000 doses of its experimental Ebola vaccine developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada to the WHO. The vaccine is actually licensed to NewLink Genetics, a company in Ames, Iowa. The company says it could manufacture tens of thousands of doses over the next couple of months. Another vaccine is being developed by the National Institutes of Health and GlaxoSmithKline.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Deadly Ebola Virus Outbreak Sparks Travel Warning

Thumbnail image for Deadly Ebola Virus Outbreak Sparks Travel Warning July 31, 2014

Anyone watching the news out of West Africa can’t help but be blown away by tragedy unfolding there: More than 1,300 people in three countries and a death toll now topping 720 people, all from a single, highly contagious and deadly Ebola virus. The current West Africa outbreak started in Guinea in March, and within […]

Read the full article →

Health News Headlines: Chikungunya Hits Near Home, Whooping Cough Outbreak

July 24, 2014

Chikungunya Arrives in Douglas County The first case of the mosquito-borne virus called chikungunya has been confirmed in Douglas County. Lab tests confirmed the infection, Nebraska’s fourth known case. The 50-year-old patient became ill after being bit by an infected mosquito during a recent trip to Puerto Rico. Chikungunya has been found in the Caribbean, […]

Read the full article →

World Hepatitis Day Shines Global Light on Disease

Thumbnail image for World Hepatitis Day Shines Global Light on Disease July 10, 2014

On July 28th, the world will turn its attention to a viral epidemic that kills 1.4 million people across the globe, yet remains largely ignored. World Hepatitis Day urges the public to “think again” about this silent killer. Viral hepatitis – inflammation of the liver causing acute and chronic liver disease – is a group […]

Read the full article →

The Only Contagious Thing You Should Catch

Thumbnail image for The Only Contagious Thing You <i>Should</i> Catch June 26, 2014

And no, this time we’re not talking about a bug or a virus. It’s something that when one person catches it, it’s almost impossible to not at least smile. They say laughter is the best medicine. And they just might be right. Especially when it comes to your heart. A study done in 2005 at […]

Read the full article →

What Bites Back When Summer Stings

Thumbnail image for What Bites Back When Summer Stings June 12, 2014

It’s that time of year again, when the creepy crawlies of spring and summer start to emerge. They’re out in full force, and they’re hungry. The most common bug bites come from ticks and mosquitos. And while most of the time they are fairly harmless, some pack a nasty punch. Here’s a guide to the […]

Read the full article →

Talking to Teens Vital in Stopping Spread of STDs

Thumbnail image for Talking to Teens Vital in Stopping Spread of STDs May 8, 2014

Omaha and Douglas County rank well above the national average… but it’s not a title to be proud of. Since 2004, the Omaha area has had epidemic levels of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In 2012, more than 4,400 cases of STDs were reported in Douglas County alone. In the 2007 “Big Cities Health Inventory,” Omaha […]

Read the full article →

Health News Headlines: MERS Outbreak, Killer Disease and World Malaria Day

Thumbnail image for Health News Headlines: MERS Outbreak, Killer Disease and World Malaria Day April 24, 2014

Deadly Virus Spreading Quickly in Middle East A violent surge in a deadly virus spreading across the Middle East is sounding alarms for disease experts. The number of confirmed cases of MERS in Saudia Arabia has skyrocketed. MERS is a viral respiratory illness, much like SARS, which causes symptoms such as coughing, fever, shortness of […]

Read the full article →

Got Your Vaccine? Measles Make a Comeback

Thumbnail image for Got Your Vaccine? Measles Make a Comeback April 10, 2014

The headlines are shocking… 115 reported cases nationwide, with thousands more exposed. In two separate cases, unvaccinated students traveled overseas and brought the measles back with them. The highly contagious disease is off to a skyrocketing start for 2014. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there were only 189 cases in all of […]

Read the full article →