MERS, Measles Symptoms Posted to Prevent Spread

measles rash

This photo shows a measles rash on a young child.

Signs now posted at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) facilities are asking patients and visitors to cover their nose and mouth with a respiratory mask and report immediately to the receptionist if they have symptoms of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) or measles.

MERS is not easily passed from person to person, but it is very important to identify ill persons early for everyone’s protection. Measles is easily spread via the air, and reports of nearby cases have health care workers on alert.

“We want to make people aware of what the symptoms are and how to protect themselves and others,” says Terry Burger, RN, LVHN’s director of infection control and prevention. “Early identification, for a place like a hospital or a doctor’s office, is absolutely critical because we can decrease exposure to health care workers and other patients. We really want to contain it as much as possible.”

The signs list the symptoms of MERS as a fever, cough and shortness of breath in people who have traveled to the Middle East or had contact with someone with a respiratory illness who has traveled to the Middle East during the past 14 days. Read More »

Category: Health Alert!

Measles Cases Prompt Experts to Encourage MMR Vaccine for Children

A recent resurgence of measles infections is prompting health officials to encourage parents to ensure their children get the MMR vaccine.

Among the experts chiming in is Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) pediatrician Jarret Patton, MD, who told NBC 10 Philadelphia he is concerned about the potential for an outbreak in New York City to spread to the Lehigh Valley. Patton is with Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital.

Bad research linking the MMR vaccine to children developing autism has caused some people to think vaccines do more harm than good, Patton told the television station for this report. But that position has been debunked, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health still recommends vaccination as the best way to prevent catching measles, which is highly contagious. Complications of measles can include swelling of the brain, pneumonia and death. Read More »

Learn Meningitis Symptoms, Prevention Tips in Wake of College Campus Outbreaks

Terry Burger

Terry Burger, RN
LVHN Infection and Prevention

In response to recent news about meningitis outbreaks on college campuses, concerned parents are calling Lehigh Valley Health Network’s (LVHN) infection control and prevention experts for information about how to protect their children from the potentially fatal disease. They’re sharing information to increase awareness about symptoms and ways to prevent the spread of meningitis.

A student died earlier this month at Drexel University in Philadelphia from serogroup B meningococcal disease, the same rare strain of meningitis that sickened students at Princeton University in New Jersey and at University of California-Santa Barbara.

The meningitis vaccine college students are required to have before starting school does not protect against this strain, says Terry Burger, RN, LVHN’s director of infection control and prevention.

“It’s not historically the strain we’ve observed as most common in the U.S.,” she says.

Because the bacteria are transmitted in saliva – such as by kissing, sharing drinks or close coughing – and college students live in close proximity in dormitories, “it’s the perfect storm for these kids,” Burger says. Read More »

Category: Health Alert!

Potential Case of Measles in Children’s Clinic Patient

There has been a potential case of measles – that has not yet been confirmed – in a single patient who visited the Children’s Clinic at Lehigh Valley Hospital-17th Street on Wednesday, March 12. At this time, there have been no further cases of anyone with symptoms matching those of the measles.

To be sure we are using all potential safeguards and precautions, Lehigh Valley Health Network is working with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Allentown Health Bureau to notify and protect anyone who might have come in contact with the patient. LVHN is implementing the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Anyone with questions is advised to contact LVHN’s Infection Control and Prevention’s Office at 610-402-9446. Read More »

Category: Health Alert!

Stopping a Silent Epidemic – Baby Boomers Should Get Tested for Hepatitis C

Joseph Yozviak, DO

Joseph Yozviak, DO
Internal medicine

If you were born between 1945 and 1965, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is “talkin’ ‘bout your generation.” The issue: hepatitis C, a serious and potentially fatal liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV).

“It’s a silent epidemic among baby boomers,” says Lehigh Valley Health Network internal medicine physician Joseph Yozviak, DO, with the Hepatitis Care Center. “Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne infection in the United States by far, but despite that, 75 percent of people who are infected don’t know it.”

Boomers have a five-times-higher prevalence of infection-indicating antibodies to the virus and account for more than three quarters of all chronic adult cases in the United States. That’s why the CDC now recommends that anyone with a 1945-to-1965 birthday get screened for hepatitis C with a blood test. If you are in that age range, ask your primary care doctor to do a blood test for antibodies to hepatitis C. Read More »