Two dead, 5 hospitalized from “Southeast” Alabama Mystery Illness
Two people have died and five remain hospitalized from a mysterious illness currently geographically aligned with “Southeast” Alabama. There does not appear to be any international travel pattern, or domestic event that somehow links the victims.
State health department officials says two people have died and five are in the hospital in connection this unknown respiratory illness.
Alabama Department of Public Health spokeswoman Dr. Mary McIntyre says those admitted for treatment suffered from fever, cough and shortness of breath.
“We are running a multiple panel test that actually looks for viruses and bacteria so we can try to make sure we’re not dealing with anything unusual,” Dr. McIntyre said.
ADPH was general in its statement about the locations of those affect, calling the area affected “Southeast Alabama”. A news conference covered by the Dothan Eagle cited an official who said all seven patients came from the eight-county service area including Barbour, Coffee, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston and Pike counties.
The victims, all adults, had symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath, but the cause of the illnesses is unknown, said Dr. Mary McIntyre, the acting state epidemiologist for the Alabama Department of Public Health. The hospital is using respiratory precautions, which include requiring staff to wear special N95 masks that reduce the chance of infection.
There’s no evidence that any of the victims had a connection or traveled outside the country, which would have put them at risk for unusual pathogens, including a deadly new coronavirus recently christened MERS or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.
“At this point it’s too early to tell,” McIntyre told NBC News. “That’s why we called it a respiratory illness of unknown origin.”