Outbreaks/Emerging Diseases/Pandemics

CDC Interim Pre-pandemic Planning Guidance: Community Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Mitigation in the United States

Purpose This document provides interim planning guidance for State, territorial, tribal, and local communities that focuses on several measures other than vaccination and drug treatment that might be useful during an influenza pandemic to reduce its harm. Communities, individuals and families, employers, schools, and other organizations will be asked to plan for the use of these interventions to help limit the spread of a pandemic, prevent disease and death, lessen the impact on the economy, and keep society functioning. This interim...


Download the below information in PDF form MERS is considered an emerging disease, caused by a novel virus (one that has not been identified before), that was first identified in September of 2012.  It is caused by a coronavirus, the same type of virus that caused SARS and about 20% of all colds.  Although much has been learned about it since it was first diagnosed in a patient, there are still significant gaps in that knowledge These gaps include how it...

Zika Update as of Aug 23, 2016

1. A new area with local transmission by mosquitos has been identified in Miami, Florida for a portion of South Beach. 2. A non-travel case of Zika has been identified in Pinellas County, Florida and was announced Tuesday. 3. A scientific research study was released using mice models that indicates that the Zika virus is able to cause brain damage in mice adult neural stem cells. For a more complete Zika update, Click Here.

Should EMS Data be Monitored for Zika Infection?

FirstWatch likes to provide surveillance and early warning for many different threats to our clients – that was, in fact, the initial reason for starting the company. So, it makes sense that the question would be asked by us, and perhaps by you, if Zika should be monitored through the data we capture for you. We have seriously contemplated it and will outline our rationale to not recommend doing so at this time. However, we would very much like to...

Zika in all but 4 U.S. States

There are currently three scenarios in which the Zika virus is spreading: areas where local mosquito transmission is occurring, areas that have the potential for having local mosquito transmission (have Aedes mosquitos & have or have had Zika infected people), and those areas where Zika transmission is very unlikely although travel-related infections may occur. The only states that do not have travel-related cases are Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming, and South Dakota. First responders should continue to avoid mosquito breeding around the worksite,...

UPDATED: What EMS Should Know About Zika

Download the below information in PDF form Current Assessment The largest outbreak of the Zika virus continues with active circulation (local transmission) in many countries in South and Central America and the Caribbean, in some of the Islands in Oceania/Pacific Islands and in Cape Verde, Africa. Over a hundred imported cases, by way of returning travelers, have been identified in the United States, Canada, and countries throughout the world. One case in Texas was contracted in the US (not imported) via sexual...

Confirmed Zika Transmission through Intercourse

Download the below information in PDF form Update Since my last writing on Zika, there have been new developments. Multiple cases of Zika have been diagnosed in the United States, all of which were imported into the country with the exception of one. This single case was transmitted to an individual by sexual contact in Dallas, TX. During the investigation, it was found that the Zika virus can live in semen and transmitted to sexual partners through intercourse. This is the second case...

What EMS Should Know About Zika

Download the below information in PDF form Current Assessment The largest outbreak of the Zika virus is occurring in Central and South America with fear that the virus will become more widespread to other countries. There has been a rapid surge in Zika virus infections, particularly in Brazil. While the Zika virus usually causes no immediate harm to the patient, it is linked to microencephaly (small head and brain) in the developing fetus of pregnant women. The first US case of Zika induced microencephaly was detected...

MERS-CoV Outbreak in Korea

Download the below information in PDF form The World Health Organization is reporting an outbreak of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome caused by the Corona Virus, otherwise known as MERS-CoV. On May 20th, a case of MERS was confirmed in South Korea. The index patient had recently traveled to the Middle East including Qatar, UAE and Bahrain. The patient had sought treatment in Korea for influenza type symptoms at multiple healthcare locations and eventually diagnosed with the virus. There have been an additional...

CDC Grant Opportunity – Ebola Preparedness and Response Activities

The CDC is awarding a total of $145 million in supplemental funding to the current 62 Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) cooperative agreement awardees to support accelerated Ebola public health preparedness planning and response. The Ebola supplemental funding budget period and project period are 18 months: April 1, 2015,through September 30, 2016. This funding is intended to support the nation’s public health system and to assure readiness and response capability to respond effectively to Ebola virus disease (EVD) within the community. Funds are intended...

Enterovirus D68 Continues to Spread

Download PDF  Since first reported in August, Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) has spread from the Midwest to the majority of the United States. The CDC now reports that over 32 states have reported cases of the respiratory illness, however, it is more than likely that the virus has spread to all parts of the US. Prevention is key to keeping the virus from spreading. To learn more about prevention tips and recommendations for EMS, download the PDF.

Enterovirus D68 Infections Reported in Midwest

Download PDF  The CDC has released an early report on a cluster of children with severe respiratory complaints in the Midwest. The Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO and the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital in Illinois also contacted the CDC to report an increase in patients presenting to the hospital with respiratory distress. To learn more about what this means for EMS, download the PDF.

Second confirmed case of MERS-CoV in the United States

Download PDF Today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a second case of MERS-CoV. The second case was identified in Orange County Florida in a healthcare worker who was visiting the U. S. from Saudi Arabia. Dr. Alex Garza, former FirstWatch Medical Director and Health Intelligence page contributor, was featured this morning on the St. Louis TV news station KTVI to discuss the current threat of Mers-CoV.

First MERS-CoV case in United States 

Download PDF  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting the first case of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome caused by the Corona Virus, otherwise known as MERS-CoV. The CDC states that a man has tested positive in Indiana after a recent trip to Saudia Arabia. The man arrived in the United States approximately one week ago after a layover in London. He eventually landed in Chicago and then took a bus to Indiana. He was apparently NOT ILL while on...

Louisville Metro EMS gets first MERS-CoV triggers

Download PDF FirstWatch has recently developed our first MERS-CoV near-real-time triggers. Earlier this week, Dr. Neal Richmond, Chief Executive Officer and Medical Director for Louisville Metro EMS in Kentucky asked us to help develop MERS triggers as part of their preparation for the Kentucky Derby (May 2 – 4, 2014). The Kentucky Derby is an international event with attendees from all over the world, including from countries with MERS cases.

Updates on MERS and Cylospora

Mers and Cylospora Update: As of July 26, 2013, CDC has been notified of 353 cases of Cyclospora infection from the following 15 health departments: Iowa , Texas , Nebraska , Florida, Wisconsin , Illinois, New York City, Georgia, Missouri, Arkansas, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Ohio


Download PDF The Beijing Center for disease control announced yesterday they had found an additional case of H7N9 in a six-year-old boy. Saudi Arabia announced that they had identified five more cases of MERS-CoV yesterday while Agence France Presse (AFP) reported the death of a 65-year-old man infected with the MERS-CoV. Recommendations for EMS do not change.

Read the Latest, Novel Viruses H7N9 and MERS-CoV

Download PDF The GlobalTimes reported today that China has downgraded the response to H7N9. There continues to be no evidence of human-to-human transmission. Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome – Coronavirus has now unofficially entered an eighth country with news coming from the Kuwait News Agency of potential victims in Tunisia. To date there have been no reports of either of these viruses in the US, and the risk of human to human exposure is very low. However, EMS agencies should be aware...