Showing: 1 - 3 of 3 RESULTS

Illinois reports first West Nile virus death of the year in Chicago resident

A Chicago resident died of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus. The death marks the first West Nile virus-related fatality in the state this year, Illinois health officials announced this week.

The resident, who was not identified, first fell ill in mid-September and subsequently tested positive for the disease, officials with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said in a news release. 

“Although we are already into fall, West Nile virus remains a risk until the first hard frost,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. “It’s important for everyone to continue taking precautions such as using insect repellent, wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants, and staying indoors between dusk and dawn.”

West Nile virus, which was first reported in the U.S. in 1999, is typically spread by infected mosquitoes. Though side effects can be severe, most people who are infected experience little to no symptoms and fully recover.

WEST NILE VIRUS OVERLOOKED DURING CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC? PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERT CITES SIMILAR SYMPTOMS

A percentage of people infected with West Nile virus — roughly one in five — develop a fever and may additionally experience headaches, body aches, vomiting, diarrhea or a rash, among other side effects. Even rarer, about one in 150 people who are infected with the mosquito-linked ailment can develop a serious illness, such as inflammation of the spinal cord or brain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Mayo Clinic warns people who are older, as well as those with preexisting medical conditions, are more susceptible to the virus.

MASSACHUSETTS REPORTS 4 NEW HUMAN WEST NILE VIRUS CASES

Wearing insect repellent and protective clothing, as well as draining standing water around gardens and homes where mosquitoes can lay eggs, can reduce the chances of being bitten by a mosquito, ultimately mitigating the risk of developing West Nile virus.

To date, there have been two dozen human cases of West Nile virus reported in Illinois this year, per officials. Some 28 cases were reported in 2019, including one death. 

Source Article

Contract Tracing, Key to Reining in the Virus, Falls Flat in the West

LONDON — As the coronavirus stampeded across Europe and the United States this spring, governments made their depleted citizens a tantalizing promise: Soon, legions of disease detectives would hunt down anyone exposed to the virus, confining them to their homes and letting everyone else get on with their lives.

Nearly eight months on, as a web of new infections spreads across Europe and the United States, that promise has nearly evaporated.

Despite repeated vows by Western nations to develop “world-beating” testing and tracing operations, those systems have been undone by a failure of governments to support citizens through onerous quarantines or to draw out intimate details of their whereabouts. That has shattered the hope of pinpoint measures replacing lockdowns and undermined flagging confidence in governments.

Beholden to privacy rules, Western officials largely trusted people to hand over names to contact tracers. But that trust was not repaid, in large part because governments neglected services that were crucial to winning people’s cooperation: a fast and accurate testing system, and guarantees that people would be housed, fed and paid while they isolated.

“Public health leaders fell in love with the idea of contact tracing as an important tactic — and it is — but that’d be like if you’re going into war and were just talking about the tanks,” said Brian Castrucci, president of the de Beaumont Foundation, a public health charity in Maryland.

Just as important, officials overlooked the impact of raging mistrust in government and a thicket of conspiracy theories about the virus’s spread. Fearful of plunging themselves or their friends into a painful period off work, infected patients have handed over a paltry number of contacts and often flouted self-isolation rules. Contact tracers are struggling to reach people who test positive, and being rebuffed once they do.

In theory, countries were to build mass testing programs that would provide quick diagnoses. Then a group of tracers would find others who had crossed paths with the infected person and tell them to stay home.

Elected officials presented the system as a critical bridge between lockdown and a vaccine, allowing them to contain small outbreaks without shutting down large parts of society. But construction of that bridge has been rocky, at best.

The West’s public health systems have not matched the success in parts of East Asia where the fear of epidemics became more ingrained after SARS and MERS.

Following those outbreaks, places like Taiwan and South Korea built robust tracing systems and legal frameworks for limiting civil liberties during an epidemic. Some contact tracers have used cellphone and credit card data to identify people who were potentially exposed.

But in Europe and the United States, which have largely relied on the public to provide information and follow quarantine rules voluntarily. The response has been spotty

The West also ran up against the blunt fact that contact tracing, while useful in containing limited cases, has become overwhelmed by a new explosion of infections. In the past week, Europe has averaged about

West Orange-Cove schools to require virtual learning students with failing grades, too many absences to return to campus

The West Orange-Cove Consolidated Independent School District amended its virtual learning policy, and the changes may force dozens of students to return to campus. 

Some parents angry as West Orange-Cove schools change virtual learning policy for students with failing grades, too many absences

UP NEXT

UP NEXT

It’s a move that isn’t sitting well with some parents as they weigh the dangers of face to face learning during a pandemic. 

Loading...

Load Error

The policy has sparked outrage among some students and parents of WOCCISD, and many feel like they’re having to choose between health and an education. 

Virtual learning has become a way of life during the pandemic. The prospect of it not being available concerns parent Ryan Melancon. 

“This decision doesn’t just affect money, it doesn’t just affect kids’ education, it affects the lives of parents and the grandparents these students will come and contact with,” Melancon said. 

RELATED: State health department takes down COVID-19 school tracker after reports of errors

He has two children in WOCCISD. The district recently announced that students who aren’t passing and who have more than 5 absences can no longer participate in virtual learning. 

A district spokesperson said a number of students simply aren’t showing up and aren’t completing coursework, which led to the change in policy. 

Rayne Keith, Melancon’s daughter, said her biggest concern is potentially bringing the virus home. 

“My dad could die and I just don’t want that to happen so I take it very seriously and there are a bunch of parents that their parents could die from COVID and the school just doesn’t seem to care,” Keith said. 

She feels that the school should handle things differently. 

“The school has made a situation that they could have managed a lot worse,” Keith said.

WOCCISD will allow a few exceptions. Some of those who are passing classes, have health conditions, or have been exposed to the virus will be exempt. Melancon said it’s not enough, and is willing to do whatever it takes to protect his kids. 

“If I have to pull them from the district I will. They will not be going back. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when they will catch COVID at these schools,” Melancon said. 

Students who meet the criteria that the district has set are expected to return to campus on Monday, October 5. For anyone with concerns about the policy, you’re encouraged to contact the district. 

Also on 12NewsNow.com…

Continue Reading

Source Article