Infection Report – The Breakdown of Outbreaks

These last couple months it seems like there’s a new case of something unexpected popping up. These are some of the issues healthcare workers across the globe have been treating patients for, but, even if you’re not dealing with these headline infections, remember to wash your hands. 

Ebola: The CDC Director Thomas Frieden visited Sierra Leone in an effort to try to help get the number of Ebola cases to zero, and two new cases emerged while he was there. The virus killed one man last week, even though the district he was in didn’t have any Ebola cases for five months. He contracted it while traveling. Even with these two recent cases, the World Health Organization reported the number of cases has reached a new low in more than a year. Researchers are still working on vaccine trials.

  • Who: One man in Sierra Leone died last week. So far, more than 11,200 people have died worldwide in this outbreak.
  • What: Two new Ebola cases are among dwindling numbers
  • When: Last week
  • Where: Sierra Leone

Legionnaires’ Disease: An outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease in New York has killed 11 people, including one person from Ohio. There has been no report on where she contracted the disease. So far, 100 people have been diagnosed with the disease during this outbreak. On Thursday, the city’s Health Department ordered all buildings with cooling towers in the South Bronx be tested for the bacteria after officials traced the transmission back to the structures. Legionnaires’ Disease has been a problems for years, and the CDC reports between 8,000 and 18,000 people are diagnosed and hospitalized with it every year.

  • Who: Ten people died due to a Legionnaires outbreak.
  • What: Legionnaires’ Disease is a type of pneumonia and is caused by inhaling water that’s been contaminated with certain bacteria. It can be treated with antibiotics, but is a serious risk for those with other medical conditions.
  • When: The latest death was on Thursday, but the outbreak started July 10.
  • Where: South Bronx of New York

Meningitis: This is the first large outbreak of the c strain of meningitis in decades and has killed 800 people. About 12,000 people have been infected in Nigeria and Niger. There are five types of meningitis, and the one patients are being diagnosed with is the bacterial strain. It is an infection of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. When these membranes become inflamed, it can cause damage to the nerves and brain. Blood poisoning is also a risk. This can be treated with antibiotics and prevented with a vaccine, but international health officials are scrambling to find enough of the vaccine to prevent it from spreading. Normally infants are most susceptible, but there have been no reports on the demographic of the deceased.

Plague: A person from Southern Colorado is the second person to die of the plague this year in that state. It is thought that the adult contracted the disease from fleas on a dead animal. Cases of the plague are rare, and death is even rare. The last outbreak was in 2014 in Colorado and was transmitted to humans by a dog.

  • Who: Adult died of the plague this week in Colorado. In June, a 16-year-old died of the plague, which wasn’t diagnosed as such until after his death.
  • What: Two deaths due to the plague.
  • When: June and August
  • Where: Colorado