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Current Alerts

Cryptosporidiosis

August 18, 2016 - Crypto Outbreak Continues to Grow with 202 Cases in Central Ohio
Public Health Working with Pools, Schools and Child Care Facilities to Prevent New Infections

The community outbreak of cryptosporidiosis -- commonly known as Cryptosporidium or crypto – continues to grow with 202 cases in Columbus, Franklin and Delaware counties.

The number of reported cases so far this year is more than the last 4 years combined. The outbreak is not tied to any one location as a large number of cases include people with multiple exposures at various local recreational water facilities.

In response to the outbreak, public health is reaching out and working with pool operators, schools and day care facilities to share the latest guidance for Crypto prevention from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

To reduce the spread of illness when heading to a spray fountain, pool or water park:

  • Do not swim when you have diarrhea and for two weeks after you recovered.

  • Do not pee or poop in the water.

  • Take a shower/bathe before going in the water.

  • Wash hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing diapers and before eating.

  • Change diapers in a bathroom and not by the pool.

  • Take kids on frequent bathroom breaks and check diapers often.

  • Avoid swallowing any water and keep it out of your mouth.

Additionally, the CDC recommends these safety measures for schools and child care facilities:

  • Keep kids with diarrhea out of a child care setting and school until diarrhea has stopped.

  • Keep kids with diarrhea or those diagnosed with Crypto out of water-play and swimming activities for at least 2 weeks after diarrhea has stopped.

  • Practice good hygiene, especially handwashing with soap and water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds. Crypto is not killed by alcohol gels or hand sanitizers.

  • Have kids wash their hands when they first arrive, after they use the toilet, after having their diapers changed, and before eating snacks or meals.

  • Keep facilities clean by disinfecting bathrooms, tabletops, desks, diaper-changing areas, toys, food surfaces and high chairs every day.

Crypto is a germ that causes diarrhea. Found in the fecal matter of a person who has been infected by crypto, it is spread by swallowing water that has been contaminated with fecal matter containing crypto or from human-to-human contact.

Symptoms include watery diarrhea with abdominal pain and cramping which can be accompanied by dehydration, weight loss, fever, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms can last for two weeks with improvement often followed by recurrence. Infected persons can continue to spread the disease for several weeks after diarrhea subsides, so they should avoid activities in recreational waters for at least two weeks after diarrhea subsides and practice diligent handwashing.

For more information, visit cdc.gov/parasites/crypto or cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming.

Pool operators click here for additional information.

Click on image for PDF version

Click image for PDF version

August 11, 2016 -
Increase in Cryptosporidium Cases Prompt Public Health Agencies to Declare Community Outbreak
Simple Safety Steps Can Help Prevent Infections

While public health regularly see cases of cryptosporidiosis -- commonly known as cryptosporidium or crypto -- there has been a recent rise over the normal threshold of cases across several jurisdictions in central Ohio, including Columbus, Franklin County and Delaware County.

The three jurisdictions have reported more than 93 cases so far this year, which is more than the last three years combined. This outbreak is not tied to any one location.  A large portion of the cases include people with multiple exposures at various recreational water facilities throughout the three jurisdictions.

With a recent recreational water facility reporting illnesses from Crypto and an overall increase of cases in our communities, public health officials are calling for safety measures residents can take to reduce the spread of the illness.

When heading to a spray fountain, pool or water park:

  • Do not swim when you have diarrhea (or for two weeks after you recovered).

  • Do not pee or poop in the water.

  • Take a shower/bathe before going in the water.

  • Wash hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing diapers and before eating.

  • Change diapers in a bathroom and not by the pool.

  • Take kids on frequent bathroom breaks and check diapers often.

  • Avoid swallowing any water and keep it out of your mouth.

Crypto is a germ that causes diarrhea.  It is found in the fecal matter of a person who has been infected by Crypto.  It is spread by swallowing water that has been contaminated with fecal matter containing Crypto.   It can also be spread from human to human contact.

Symptoms include watery diarrhea with abdominal pain and cramping, which can be accompanied by dehydration, weight loss, fever, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms can last for two weeks, with improvement often followed by recurrence. Infected persons can continue to spread the disease for several weeks after diarrhea subsides, so they should avoid activities involving recreational waters for at least two weeks after diarrhea subsides and practice diligent hand washing.

Zika Virus

August 2, 2016 - Advice for People Living In or Traveling to Wynwood, a Neighborhood in Miami, FL

The Florida Department of Health has identified an area in one neighborhood of Miami where Zika is being spread by mosquitoes. This guidance is for people who live in or traveled to this area any time after June 15 (based on the earliest time symptoms can start and the maximum 2-week incubation period for Zika virus).

Pregnant Women and Their Partners:
▪ Pregnant women should not travel to this area.
▪ Pregnant women and their partners living in or traveling to this area should follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.
▪ Women and men who live in or traveled to this area and who have a pregnant sex partner should use condoms or other barriers to prevent infection every time they have sex or not have sex during pregnancy.
▪ All pregnant women in the United States should be assessed for possible Zika virus exposure during each prenatal care visit.
▪ Pregnant women who live in or frequently travel to this area should be tested in the first and second trimester of pregnancy.
▪ Pregnant women with possible Zika exposure and signs or symptoms of Zika should be tested for Zika.
▪ Pregnant women who traveled to or have unprotected sex with a partner that traveled to or lives in this area should talk to their healthcare provider and should be tested for Zika.

Couples Thinking About Getting Pregnant:
▪ Women with Zika should wait at least 8 weeks and men with Zika should wait at least 6 months after symptoms began to try to get pregnant.
▪ Women and men who live in or frequently travel to this area should talk to their healthcare provider.
▪ Women and men who traveled to this area should wait at least 8 weeks before trying to get pregnant.

For Questions on Mosquito Control in Florida
Florida health officials can answer specific questions on their mosquito control program. Aerial treatment of areas with products that rapidly reduce both young and adult mosquitoes can help to limit the number of mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus. Repeated aerial applications of insecticide has reduced mosquito populations as a part of an integrated vector management program.More information can be found by visiting the Florida Department of Health's website.

August 1, 2016 - CDC Issues Travel Guidance to Miami Neighborhood with Active Zika Spread

New assessments of mosquito populations and test results this past weekend by Florida public health officials, as part of a community survey in the Miami neighborhood where several Zika infections were recently confirmed, have found persistent mosquito populations and additional Zika infections in the same area. This information suggests that there is a risk of continued active transmission of Zika virus in that area. As a result, CDC and Florida are issuing travel, testing and other recommendations for people who traveled to or lived in the Florida-designated areas on or after June 15, 2016, the earliest known date that one of the people could have been infected with Zika. At Florida’s request, CDC is also sending a CDC Emergency Response Team (CERT) with experts in Zika virus, pregnancy and birth defects, vector control, laboratory science, and risk communications to assist in the response. Two CDC team members are already on the ground in Florida, three more will arrive today, and three more on Tuesday, August 2.

To read the entire news release, click here.

June 6, 2016 - Columbus Public Health Reports First Local Zika Virus Case in Returning Traveler
Case is First Local One to be Acquired from Travel to a Zika Affected Area

Columbus Public Health is reporting the county’s first case of Zika virus in a returning traveler from the Dominican Republic, a 38 year old female. The person is a resident of Columbus.

Columbus Public Health is working to investigate the case and help prevent transmission of the disease. Our staff will be assessing the immediate area where the resident lives for adult-daytime mosquitoes and our findings will guide any necessary next steps.

Zika virus is primarily spread through a mosquito bite, but can be spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus.

The most common symptoms of Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Eighty percent of those infected do not have any symptoms. There is no vaccine for the Zika virus.

The CDC recommends pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant consider postponing travel to areas with Zika virus transmission and that men with a pregnant sex partner consistently and correctly use condoms during sex or abstain from sexual activity for the duration of the pregnancy to prevent potential transmission.

For more information on the Zika virus, visit www.columbus.gov/zika.

April 13, 2016: CDC Concludes Zika Causes Microephaly and Other Birth Defects

Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have concluded, after careful review of existing evidence, that Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects. In the report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the CDC authors describe a rigorous weighing of evidence using established scientific criteria.
“This study marks a turning point in the Zika outbreak.  It is now clear that the virus causes microcephaly. We are also launching further studies to determine whether children who have microcephaly born to mothers infected by the Zika virus is the tip of the iceberg of what we could see in damaging effects on the brain and other developmental problems,” said Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC. “We’ve now confirmed what mounting evidence has suggested, affirming our early guidance to pregnant women and their partners to take steps to avoid Zika infection and to health care professionals who are talking to patients every day. We are working to do everything possible to protect the American public.”  

To read the entire news release, click here.

March 26, 2016: CDC Updates Interim Guidance for Prevention of Sexual Transmission of Zika Virus

CDC issued interim guidance for the prevention of sexual transmission of Zika virus on February 5, 2016 (1). The following recommendations apply to men who have traveled to or reside in areas with active Zika virus transmission* and their female or male sex partners. These recommendations replace the previously issued recommendations and are updated to include time intervals after travel to areas with active Zika virus transmission or after Zika virus infection for taking precautions to reduce the risk for sexual transmission. This guidance defines potential sexual exposure to Zika virus as any person who has had sex (i.e., vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, or fellatio) without a condom with a man who has traveled to or resides in an area with active Zika virus transmission. This guidance will be updated as more information becomes available. For entire guidance, click here.

For more information on Zika click here.

Nitrate Advisory (June 2016)

The nitrate advisory ended on July 5, 2016.

On June 30, 2016, the Columbus Division of Water issued a nitrate water advisory to parts of Franklin County that are served by the Dublin Road Water Plant.   This advisory will remain in effect until  further notice.  Infants under 6 months of age and women over 30 weeks pregnant are at highest risk for  health problems due to high levels of nitrate.  Tap water should not be given to infants below the age of 6 months or used to make infant formula, juice or baby cereal.  Bottled water should be used.  Women more than 30 weeks pregnant should drink bottled water.

Only residents served by the Dublin Road Water Plant are affected by the advisory. The area includes portions of west, central, and southwest Columbus, as well as Grandview Heights, Grove City, Hilliard, Lincoln Village, Marble Cliff, Upper Arlington,  Urbancrest, and Valleyview. 

Columbus Division of Water News Release & FAQ

Nitrate Advisory Info Card

Nitrate Advisory for Food Service Operators

Additional information about nitrates:

Ohio EPA
CDC

Shigellosis - Extremely Drug Resistant (January 2016)

The first outbreak in Ohio of extremely drug resistant (XDR) shigellosis among men who have sex with men (MSM) is currently under investigation by Columbus Public Health (CPH) and Franklin County Public Health (FCPH). 9 MSM have been diagnosed with shigellosis resistant to ampicillin, ciprofloxacin and trimethoprim sulfamethoxazole. Further susceptibility testing at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that the Shigella sonnei isolates also have decreased susceptibility to azithromycin (DSA). Onset of illness is September 24, 2015 – December 9, 2015.

More details in the Health Advisory linked below.

Shigellosis - Health Advisory

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