PORT ST. LUCIE - Reading like an alphabet of infectious diseases, chikungunya, dengue, Ebola and emerovirus D68 (EV D68) are unwelcome guests who have either arrived or are making their way towards our community.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other numerous medical sources warn that these viruses may be under-recognized in the United States. Why it is difficult to make a correct diagnoses upon an initial doctor visit. Because at the beginning of an infection, sumptoms are often nonspecific. And, without a proper diagnosis, appropriate precautions aren't taken, sometimes with dire consequences.
Chikungunya, dengue, Ebola and EV-D8 are not new diseases. Ebola has existed in sub-Saharan Africa for nearly four decades. Chikungunya, which was described in Tanzania in 1952, had outbreaks containted to Africa and Asia. Prevalent in the Caribbean and Americas since arriving in lae 2013, more than 650,000 cases have been reported. Although in existence for centuries, dengue did not spread until the middle of the 20th century. Even then it was limited to the Philippines and Thailand. Today it is endemic in Asia, the Americas, Africa and the Caribbean, infecting as many as 100 million people annually according to the World Health Organization. EV-D68 is a respiratory illness that dates back to 1962. This once rare enterovirus has spread rapidly across the United States and has infected hundreds if not thousands, of childre. While most people who contract EV-D8 will only have mild symptoms of low-grade fever and runny nose, others have been hospitalized with acute respiratory problems and even paralysis in there extremities. Those who are greatest risk are children and teenagers, especially if they have asthma.
What has changed in our environment that these diseases have appreared on our doorstep? In one word, travel.
Patients exhibiting cold and flu-like symptoms need to be questioned regarding their travel history.While chikungunya and dengue are mosquito borne illnesses, those who trafelled to countries where these diseases are prevalent can bring home mor than souvenirs. Then, too Florida now plast host to these particular mosquitos and viruses as well. Those at rist of contracting Ebola is usually limited to family, close friends and healthcare workers who have been in direct contact with an infected person's blood or other bodily fluids, including tears. With EV-D8, it has been likely the most children infected with this virus weren't tested for it and proper precaustions not taken.
Physicians Immediate Care operates five clinics located in St. Lucie and Martin counties that offer convenient hours seven days a week. no appointment is needed.
SYMPTOMS OF CHIKUNGUNA, DENGUE AND EBOLA
- Retro-orbital pain
- Muscle and/or joint paint
- Nausea and vomiting
- Diarrhea (rare for those with dengue)