Update: Police Not Looking at Teen’s Death as Hate Crime — The Fairfax County Police Department says the killing of a 17-year-old Muslim girl from Reston is not being investigated as bias-motivated. We are continuing to follow this story and will provide more information as it becomes available. [Fairfax County Police Department/Twitter]
Connolly Hosting Town Hall Tonight — Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) will host a town-hall meeting at Sunset Hills Montessori School (11180 Ridge Heights Road) from 7-8:30 p.m. tonight. The congressman will provide a congressional update and then take audience questions. [Eventbrite]
County Seeks Volunteers for Attack Prep — The Fairfax County Health Department has robust plans in place to respond to a wide-scale bioterrorism attack. Volunteers are needed to help with a training exercise Saturday, July 29. [Fairfax County Health Department]
County Office for Children Gets Grant — The grant will allow the office to work with high-quality family child care programs in areas of Fairfax County with concentrated poverty to provide preschool services for eligible children. [Gov. Terry McAuliffe]
Herndon Woman Sees Central Asia — Cathy Alifrangis says her special birthday journey to Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan was filled with culture, history and pleasant surprises. [Washington Post]
Fairfax County Health Department officials are reassuring residents not to worry about the Zika virus if they are bitten by a mosquito here.
County officials held an online chat Monday, where they confirmed that even though 57 cases of the virus have been reported in Virginia, all cases were acquired elsewhere.
“It is understandable to be worried about Zika, but it’s important to note that currently, local transmission of Zika by mosquitoes is limited to a relatively small geographic area in south Florida,” said Andrew Lima of Fairfax County’s Disease Carrying Insects Program.
Lima said the Fairfax County Health Department has a mosquito surveillance program that collects samples of adult mosquitoes for testing at trap sites throughout the county.
“The Asian Tiger mosquito, which has the potential to transmit Zika here in Fairfax County, is not the species that is currently driving most of the transmission around the world,” he added.
There have been more than 1,800 reported cases of Zika in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The virus, spread through mosquitoes and sex, is mostly harmless, but can cause microcephaly in fetuses. Pregnant women are urged not to travel to certain countries where transmission is a risk.
Still, county health official Barbara Downes says anyone traveling to a Zika-affected area (including a section of Miami), can spread the virus through local mosquitoes when they return to Virginia.
“During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in a person’s blood and can pass from an infected person to a mosquito through mosquito bites,” said Downes.
“An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people. Additionally, all travelers returning to the United States from a Zika affected area should take steps to prevent mosquito bites for three weeks upon return (even if you do not feel sick).”
See the entire chat transcript on Fairfax County’s website.
Photo: Tiger Mosquito/PROLa Veu del País Valencià via Flickr
Gloria Addo-Ayensu, Director of Health for the Fairfax County Health Department says that the county, particularly in the wake of a scare at Inova Fairfax Hospital earlier this month, is keeping apprised daily with recommendations on controlling the deadly disease.
A woman who vomited on a tour bus near the Pentagon Oct. 17 was sent to Inova Fairfax after Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington refused to treat her. It was later determined the woman did not have Ebola.
Below is the statement from Add0-Ayensu, issued Monday:
Dear Fairfax Area Community,
The constant media coverage of the Ebola cases that were diagnosed in Texas and New York continue to fuel concerns among people in the general population and have highlighted risks in health care settings.
Adding to these concerns is the Ebola scare that occurred in the Fairfax area on Friday, October 17, which involved a suspect Ebola patient who was transported from the Pentagon to Inova Fairfax Hospital. Although it was a false alarm, I’d like use the incident to help increase public understanding about how the public health system works and also provide an update about our Ebola readiness.
One of the critical early decisions that must be made when evaluating a suspect case of any disease is whether the individual meets the case definition and therefore warrants confirmatory testing. For Ebola virus disease (EVD), the decision to test is based on the patient’s travel history, determination of exposure risk, and whether the symptoms are consistent with EVD.
The process for testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if necessary, is facilitated by local health departments. While it took some time to validate travel history of the individual involved in the October 17 incident, fortunately, doctors at Inova gathered enough information to determine that the patient did not have any exposures to Ebola and therefore testing was not required.