Public Health Alert from BCHHS: Vectorborne Disease Updates

July 10, 2017

Please review the attached memos from the NC Division of Public Health on common vectorborne infections in NC. Per NC law, health care providers are required to report all suspected or confirmed cases of the following infections to public health within 7 days by contacting their local health department (Buncombe County Communicable Disease staff are available 24/7 by calling 828-250-5109 or faxing a completed Communicable Disease report form to 828-250-6169) or by calling the Communicable Disease Branch epidemiologist on call at 919-733-3419:

*Chikungunya, dengue, yellow fever, malaria and Zika virus infections—all of which remain associated with travel outside of NC at this time—are also reportable in the same manner.

Testing:

  •          See the memos for details on what testing you should perform for each of these infections.
  •          Serologic testing for arboviral infections is offered at no charge through the NC State Lab of Public Health.
    •    See the memos for details on the process that needs to be followed to get the testing through the State Lab.
    •    BCHHS does not perform testing for these infections, but is available to pick up specimens and completed lab forms from your office to facilitate transport to the State Lab. Contact our Communicable Disease staff at 828-250-5109 for assistance.

Patient education:

  •          Please educate your patients, staff and family members about personal protective measures that can reduce their risk of contracting these infections.
    •    Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin. Permethrin can be used on clothing to protect through several washes. Always follow the directions on the package.
    •    Wear long sleeves, pants and socks when weather permits.
    •    Have secure intact screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
    •    Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from wading pools, flower pots, buckets, barrels, tires and other containers once a week (“tip and toss”). Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep gutters clean.
    •    Check for ticks on people, pets, clothing and gear after spending time in wooded or brushy areas.

Following are some key points about the most common vectorborne diseases in our area that I strongly encourage you to review so that you are diagnosing, testing and treating your patients appropriately. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me or the BCHHS Communicable Disease staff at 828-250-5109.

Thanks,
Jennifer Mullendore, MD, MSPH
Medical Director
Buncombe County Health and Human Services
Office:  (828) 250-6308
 

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