Does your county have a ‘copycat’ outbreak?

Written by Staff Writer

With over half of US counties now considered to be to have a copycat pandemic outbreak (i.e. where laboratory-confirmed cases of West Nile virus and possibly other exotic diseases have been detected) the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has updated its Behavioral Risk Profile (BRP) data to detail the changes.

The BRP has been updated to reflect the latest data from this year, highlighting some increasingly important US locations.

The number of confirmed West Nile Virus (WNV) cases in September 2018 increased over last year in many locations compared to September 2017. Among the states, Louisiana had the highest number of WNV cases in September 2018, followed by Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Illinois. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has since declared that WNV activity has reached a level of epidemic proportions in Texas.

Based on the BRP, CDC-certified experts have rated 45 counties in the US with the highest level of human flu virus activity, with Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Nebraska, South Dakota, New Mexico, and Colorado being the top four counties with the highest proportion of labs-confirmed influenza activity. The BRP is conducted each year as part of the International Emergency Medical Assistance Network. This provides information on the spread of potential diseases of international concern.

The UK-based Informational Intelligence Network (IIN) has joined HSP, CDC, and the WHO to assist with an improved BRP to detect viruses related to existing influenza viruses. This will result in more information about the spread of viruses that have the potential to cause a major epidemic and fatalities. More detailed data will be provided to health authorities to give them an understanding of potential epidemics across the globe.

The CDC has called an action group meeting to continue updating BRP results next week and will be making certain updates public on its website after the meeting.

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