Posts Tagged ‘medical director’
SMITHERS — Two confirmed cases of viral meningitis have been reported at Valley High School, say school officials. Parents were informed of the situation by way of letters and a meeting last Thursday, which was attended by about 100 parents and students. While school attendance dropped last week because of parental concerns over spreading the illness, Valley Principal C. Lee Loy says attendance is back to normal this week. Last Friday, 100 students were out of school, says Loy. He also reports that the number decreased to 68 Monday, which is an average absentee rate for the school of 545 students. Fayette Schools Superintendent Dwight Dials says that his office first began receiving calls about the situation early last week. “We try to stay on top of these things,” he says. “The minute we get a call, we call the health department and our nurses. We want to be as responsible as any parent would be and make the appropriate decisions and follow all the proper protocols.” "We rely on the medical professionals in Fayette County to guide us,” says Associate Superintendent Serena Starcher. She says the county’s medical director, Donald Newell, felt strongly that school should not be closed, especially since the cases were viral and not bacterial. Dials says the situation at Valley seems stabilized, and that extra precautions have been taken to sanitize and disinfect the school. “It’s pretty much run its course, or it is in the process of doing that,” says Dials. Viral meningitis is often confused with the more serious bacterial meningitis. While the latter is a reportable disease under Centers for Disease Control regulations, says Starcher, viral meningitis is no longer reportable, meaning it poses less of a threat to public health. The Centers for Disease Control reports that viral meningitis is “serious but rarely fatal in people with normal immune systems.” Symptoms usually persist for seven to 10 days. Because the symptoms of both bacterial and viral meningitis are the same, it is common to take precautionary measures and also give antibiotics to patients with viral meningitis. Viral meningitis is most commonly contracted in the late summer and early fall months, especially in younger individuals. it is often caused by an enterovirus, a common agent of infection that presents as a “summer cold” type of illness. less common causes include mosquito bites, measles and herpes simplex viruses. The virus causes inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord. it can only be diagnosed by testing a patient’s spinal fluid. Both of the students who contracted the virus are on the middle school football team, officials said. Loy says both students with viral meningitis are also being treated for bacterial meningitis with an antibiotic regimen. While there is no known treatment for viral meningitis, the symptoms are treated with aspirin and anti-nausea medicine. Symptoms of viral meningitis are similar to those of the common cold. these include headache, stiff neck, sudden high temperature, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, sore throat and muscle ache. more severe cases will cause confusion, sensitivity to bright lights and seizures. according to the CDC, being around someone with viral meningitis poses a risk of contracting the virus that initially made the person sick, such as the enterovirus, but there is not a strong chance of developing meningitis as a result of the infection. Starcher reports that when Newell spoke with staff at Charleston Area Medical Center, they reported an increase number of viral meningitis cases this fall across the state. The letter sent home to parents on Thursday included four pieces of advice for families in preventing contracting viral meningitis or any viral illness. these include making sure the child’s immunizations are current; making sure everyone in the family washes their hands regularly, especially after using the restroom or when preparing food; practicing “cough etiquette;” and consulting the family doctor if anyone in the family is ill. — E-mail:
By Clyde Holmes on March 16, 2011
A simple blood test during pregnancy may give hope in detecting down syndrome early on, according to a new study. An experiment conducted using blood samples has identified all normal and all down syndrome pregnancy with 100 percent accuracy.
Cyprus scientists took blood samples from pregnant women and mothers of down syndrome and healthy babies. the study authors said that in each case, the test quickly identified the chromosomal variation pointing out 14 down syndrome cases and 26 normal fetuses. the new test eliminates the risk of miscarriage and can identify down syndrome in the 11th week of pregnancy.
At present, down syndrome is diagnosed using either amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling. These tests are 80% accurate and pose a 1 or 2 percent miscarriage such that only about one in ten pregnant women go for the procedure.
Researcher Philippos Patsalis, chief executive medical director of the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics in Nicosia led the research. He and his colleagues said that the test could become standard practice if larger clinical trials confirm the results. Being less expensive than invasive trials, the said test could be introduced in clinical practice in a couple of years.
Dr. Brian Skotko, spokesman for the National down Syndrome Society, said the study has widespread implications for the incidence of down syndrome. with this new clinical procedure, women will know if their baby has down syndrome even before they look pregnant Skotko added that by this, they will be able to make a very personal decision without anyone realizing it.
With the economy recovering, The News-Herald’s online readers were invited to share ways in which their families have cut costs to keep at least some change in their pockets.Numerous readers said they had cut out, or at least scaled back, on trips to the doctor, dentist and other health care professionals.One reader even said she has questioned her ability to be an effective parent just because of the cost of health care and the fiscal crunch of the economy."my family only goes to a doctor when they are critically ill," the reader wrote. "my husband and I have taken to self-diagnosing and avoid medical care. we do not have health benefits and cannot afford to go to the doctor. I have three children that all need checkups and I feel as if I neglect their needs."Our economy has made many people choose between feeding their children or other obligations."Dr. Robert Juhasz, medical director at the Cleveland Clinic Willoughby Hills Family Health Center, said although cutting back on things like routine checkups can seem like a cost-saving measure, it often turns out to be more expensive in the long run."One of the important things is prevention of illness," Juhasz said. "if things don’t get noticed early they can become exponentially bigger problems."I believe in the old adage: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."while Juhasz said total visits at the health center have stayed steady, he has noticed one aspect which his customers have seemingly cut down."One thing that we have seen is more and more people spreading out their follow-up visits, waiting longer to come back," he said.not surprisingly, as unemployment has increased and employers have worked to cut corners, numerous area residents have been left without enough health insurance. Multiple readers pointed to this as the main deterrent for making more trips to the doctor’s office."Starting from my husband’s employer having to offer less coverage than in the past due to the economy, our co-pay has gone up, so our visits to the doctors have decreased," one reader said.Juhasz is not surprised by this and said he has seen customers struggle with lack of coverage. however, he said it could take another year or so before the actual financial impact on the health care field is visible."From the standpoint (of lack of coverage), the data suggests that as people lose their jobs and insurance coverage, with the flow of medical care, it takes a couple years before that impact shows up," he said. "we just now may be starting to see that impact."while some have cut back on trips to the doctor, others have skimped on other areas of health care to help save money. One News-Herald reader had this to say:"(My husband and I) are in our 50s and we are always scared if we do get ill," she wrote. "As a result, we have to be very careful where or how often we go to the doctors. Dental visits are now on an emergency basis only!"we have had to make choices to be able to stay afloat and unfortunately we cannot afford the annual checkups that we should be taking care of."Dr. Frederick J. Burger, who operates a dental practice in Mentor, said that while checkups have stayed steady, he has definitely seen a drop in elective and cosmetic procedures."for example, people that have been bleaching their teeth for years aren’t doing so as frequently," Burger said. "or, a lot of people may have a really large cavity and need a root canal or cap, but will opt for (a less costly) extraction instead. It’s what I call ‘survival dentistry.’ "although many readers said they plan to continue avoiding unnecessary medical expenses, at least one area resident is attempting to avoid the costs altogether."not only are people cutting back on checkups, they may be cutting out medical visits altogether," the reader wrote. "I haven’t been to the doctor in over five years. I have health insurance with a high deductible and high co-payments which I cannot afford to pay, therefore I don’t go."I have a chronic medical condition for which I haven’t had my blood levels checked in years."Despite the seemingly grim prognosis, Burger said after about 18 months of decreased visits, numbers seem to be stabilizing. he hopes the pattern is a sign of things to come."I would say since the start of the year, things have picked up a little," he said. "Hopefully it’s a sign of progress and we can continue on the upward trend."In the meantime, Juhasz encourages families on a budget to do what they can to stay healthy whether they plan on avoiding checkups or not."Some very basic things are making sure families are eating nutritious meals and getting enough exercise," he said. "That’s something, especially the exercise, that we can all afford."
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