December 18, 2015
HPAI H5 virus outbreaks in US birds will likely continue, and additional reassortment with North American viruses may also occur. Although the risk of virus transmission to humans appears to be low, each exposure incident should be reported immediately and investigated collaboratively by animal and human health partners. A rapid response to any potential human cases of HPAI H5 infection in the United States is critical to prevent further cases, evaluate clinical illness, and assess the ability of these viruses to spread among humans.”
The best way to prevent human infection with avian influenza A viruses is to avoid unprotected contact with sick or dead infected poultry. Persons who have been exposed to HPAI-infected birds should be monitored for 10 days after last exposure and be tested for influenza as soon as possible after illness onset if respiratory symptoms develop. Exposed persons may also be offered influenza antiviral chemoprophylaxis. Here is additional guidance on testing, monitoring, and chemoprophylaxis.
Chikungunya and Dengue Virus Testing
August 1, 2014: Testing for Suspected
The Director of the Laboratory Administration of DHMH issued a memo regarding the availability of testing for suspected travel-associated Chikungunya and Dengue Virus infections and instructions for submission of specimens. Click here to read about the additional option available in Maryland.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)
June 16, 2014 - MERS Directive from DHMH
On June 16, 2014, Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene, Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, issued a directive and order requiring all health care providers and health care facilities to report possible Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) cases. For more information, see this letter from Lucy Wilson, M.D., Sc.M, Chief of the Center for Surveillance, Infection Prevention and Outbreak Response. To see the full text of Secretary Sharfstein's order, click here.
May 2, 2014: MERS-CoV - First Case in US Imported
Today, the CDC announced the first case of MERS-CoV in the US. The CDC's MMWR on the first confirmed case can be found here. The CDC's posted Interim Guidance for Health Professionals provides the current US recommendations on who should be evaluated, laboratory testing, infection control, management of contacts, and the definition of a patient under investigation (PUI).
Click here for Maryland-specific guidance on MERS-CoV testing was published May 2, 2014 by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.