ADPH: Mystery Illness Solved, No Outbreak in SE Alabama


By Heather VacLav

Fears can be eased about an unusual illness that claimed two lives in Southeast Alabama.
State Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson says test results solved the 10 mysterious cases, and there is zero risk for an outbreak. 
"There is no evidence of any new or unexpected virus circulating, or new or unexpected bacteria circulating," Williamson said.  
Williamson said test results for 7 out of 10 patients were infected with influenza A (seasonal flu), rhinovirus (common cold) and bacterial pneumonia. 
"None of the patients were related to each other in the outbreak," Williamson said denouncing any connection or transmission between cases. 
The first case was discovered in the Southeast Medical Center in Dothan, and the investigation was assisted by the Houston County Health Department. All cases were in Southeast Alabama, with one case reported in Pike County. 
Patients with the respiratory infections ranged from ages 24 to 87 years old. The two patients that died from their illness were 34 and 55 years old.  Williamson said two of the remaining patients returned home, the others are still recovering in the hospital. 

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. Everyone should also take steps to prevent transmission of disease and are reminded to follow these precautions: 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a sleeve or tissue.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose with your hands. Try to avoid close contact with sick people. 
  • If you get sick, stay home and limit contact with others to avoid infecting them.


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