Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Published Date: 2013-05-21 19:37:13
Archive Number: 20130521.1729125

Date: 21 May 2013
Source: Alabama Department of Public Health [edited]

Undiagnosed Respiratory Illness, Alabama, USA
NEWS RELEASE / ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH, RSA Tower 201 Monroe Street, Suite 914 Montgomery, AL 36104, Phone 334-206-5300 Fax 334-206-5520,

Increase in respiratory illness reported in southeast Alabama


CONTACT: Mary McIntyre, M.D., M.P.H., (206-5325

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and the Houston County Health Department, in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are investigating a cluster of respiratory illnesses of unknown origin in southeast Alabama.

7 people have been admitted to a hospital with fever, cough and shortness of breath; 2 of the 7 have died.

Laboratory samples have been obtained from all patients. Laboratory testing continues at both ADPH Bureau of Clinical Laboratories and CDC's Respiratory Laboratory. ADPH and CDC have recommended the hospital use respiratory precautions, which include staff using N95 masks when caring for patients presenting with respiratory symptoms.

If you or your family members have respiratory symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath, please contact your health care provider to be evaluated.

Communicated by:
Giuseppe Michieli

Date: 21 May 2013
Source: Dothan Eagle [edited]

7 people have been admitted to area hospitals, and 2 of them have died, in what health officials described Tuesday as a "cluster" of respiratory illnesses with flulike symptoms.

Of the 7 people, 2 have died and the other 5 remain hospitalized, one in an intensive care unit. No specific hospitals were named.

The illnesses date back as far as [19 Apr 2013] and to as recent as Monday [20 May 2013].

The Houston County Health Department held a press conference on Tuesday [21 May 2013] morning to release some details.

The symptoms are flu-like, with those affected suffering from fever, shortness of breath, and cough. There are no other similar clusters of this illness in Alabama. All the cases are from within a 10-county area in Southeast Alabama.

The Alabama Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control have recommended hospitals use precautions, including having staff use protective masks.
Health officials aren't sure who is at risk, but advise anyone displaying symptoms to seek advice from their physician.

Anybody with general questions can contact the Houston County Health Department at 334-678-2800.

[Byline: Matt Elofson]

Communicated by:

[Reports of clusters of undiagnosed severe acute respiratory illness [SARI] associated with fatalities are disconcerting at any time, but given the outbreaks of SARI due to influenza A (H7N9) in China this year, and the ongoing occurrence of SARI due to the MERS-CoV related to contact in the Middle East, this report of a cluster of as yet undiagnosed SARI in Southern Alabama in the USA raises concerns. While one presumes the routine influenza virus testing has been done, results of such laboratory testing are not mentioned in the above reports.

More information on this cluster would be greatly appreciated including laboratory testing thus far, epidemiologic features of the cases -- age, sex, history of travel, history of contact with other cases or animals.

For a map of Alabama showing counties, see
For the interactive HealthMap/ProMED map of the USA showing the location of Alabama, see below. - Mod.MPP

A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at:]

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