Infectious Disease | St. Louis Public Radio

Infectious Disease

A person prepares a measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, which protects against 93-97 percent of measles cases. Health officials say a case has been reported in Jefferson County.
Matthew Lotz / U.S. Air Force

Health officials in Jefferson County are trying to find people who may have come in contact with a person there who has caught measles.

The person caught the virus after traveling, according to officials at the Jefferson County Health Department. The department is “working directly with the case to identify potential contacts and make arrangements for follow up immunizations and care if necessary,” officials said in a release.

Measles infects the respiratory system and can cause deafness, blindness and can even be fatal in some rare cases. People who contract the measles develop a distinctive red, splotchy rash over their bodies. There is no specific antiviral treatment or medicine for measles, but giving a person a vaccine soon after they’ve been infected may lessen symptoms.

Dominic Alves | Flickr

Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis has cut testing for urinary tract infections nearly in half after making changes to its electronic health records system.

The hospital did so by making a simple switch: it changed the order in which it conducted tests for the infections. Physicians are now directed to order a dipstick urine test before a bacterial culture to test for an infection. The change cut the number of unnecessary tests by 45 percent. Barnes officials say that saved the hospital nearly $100,000 in lab costs and cut down on unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions.

The results show that changing how tests are ordered electronically can influence patient care, said David Warren, the hospital’s medical director for infection prevention.

Pixabay

The rare Bourbon virus could be in the St. Louis region, state health officials say.

A patient with symptoms matching the virus was bitten by a tick recently in the southwest part of St. Louis County, but has recovered.

The announcement from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services indicates the sometimes-deadly virus could be spreading through the state, experts said.

A female Aedes aegypti mosquito feasts on the blood of CDC photographer James Gathany. Aedes aegypti is the type of mosquito most likely to carry Zika and other tropical diseases.
James Gathany | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The breed of mosquito most likely to carry the Zika virus probably won’t make its way to St. Louis this summer, but local public health agencies are still taking precautions.

New genetic test can detect almost any human virus

Oct 5, 2015
This colorized scanning electron micrograph image shows filamentous Ebola virus particles (shown in blue) infecting a cell (shown in yellow-green).
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH

Scientists at Washington University have developed a genetic test that can be used to detect practically any virus known to infect humans.

It could be especially useful for quickly identifying the cause of deadly disease outbreaks or helping a patient whose disease has eluded diagnosis.

Potential Ebola Case Tests Negative, Returns Home

Nov 23, 2014
The Ebola virus, shown through transmission electron micrograph.
CDC

A female nurse who was admitted to Mercy Hospital Jefferson with a fever after returning from Liberia has returned home, officials confirmed Saturday night. 

Patient Tests Negative For Ebola In Jefferson County

Nov 20, 2014
The Ebola virus, shown through transmission electron micrograph.
CDC

Updated at 6:40 p.m.

A Jefferson County woman who was showing symptoms of Ebola has initially tested negative for the virus at Mercy Hospital in Crystal City. As a precautionary measure, officials said she will remain in an isolation room for treatment and will be monitored according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Wash U Center Aims To Increase Collaboration On Global Health

Apr 12, 2013
Gary Weil/Washington University School of Medicine

Researchers from all over the world are gathering today at Washington University for a conference on global health.

The event is the first to be organized by the university’s recently-created Center for Global Health and Infectious Disease. St. Louis Public Radio’s Véronique LaCapra spoke with the Center’s director Bill Powderly about its mission.