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Ad14 outbreak in Alaska kills one, impacts 34 to date

Posted on Monday, October 13, 2008 at 09:31AM by Registered CommenterScott McPherson in | Comments2 Comments

Prince of Wales Island in Alaska is the home to the most recent outbreak of respiratory illness Adenovirus 14, otherwise known as Ad14.  And true to form, it has sickened 34, caused severe illness enough to warrant mainland evacuation of seven, and killed one. 

It has also promoted rumors of quarantine, which are unfounded.  But that is what happens when a mystery illness for which there is no treatment happens to a community.

No one is sure how the disease made its way to the island, but the virus has appeared time and again in the Pacific Northwest, so perhaps it is not surprising that it would eventually find its way to an Alaskan island. 

Longtime readers of this blogsite know I have been sounding the alarm bells on Ad14 for over a year.  This virus is the "hidden epidemic" of respiratory illnesses, in my opinion.  It is everywhere.  It is pervasive.  And we are not testing for it.  So we don't know what we don't know, and doctors will continue to misdiagnose it as "a cold" until such time as we take it for what it is:  A new variant of an old virus that can kill if not taken seriously.

Where is the research into Ad14?  While avian flu gets all the glamour, Ad14 continues to spread and to inflict disease and, in several cases, death.  While we (necessarily) prepare for a pandemic of influenza, we must also concern ourselves with this new and developing threat.  For a quick primer on adenovirus, simply search my blogsite, key word adenovirus. 

Reader Comments (2)

this most likely does not relate to the outbreak you are speaking of that i recall just occurred; however, i am greatly concerned about a personal illness within my family - my 11 year old daughter has now once again taken quite ill with a "gastric enteritis" type sickness for the third time in less than 10 days. A week ago today, she was so ill i had to take her to the er as she was vomiting continuously, with a fever and headache. apparently, there is a nasty little viral bug going around town right now (i was told by hospital personnel), as this usually happens this time of year. i have 3 children, the oldest being 18, all raised here in cordova, and i have yet to see a child of mine be so sick. thank God for the phenergan suppositories that were prescribed a week ago, as i feel they are keeping this latest round at bay - just enough for her to stay hydrated. i have asked if this bug has been identified, and am up late tonight googling the internet to see if i can find any statistics.. no luck. i am worried; especially, the more i read. not that it is at all bird related, but we are in the dead middle of major migratory bird migrations, and i live on the ocean where my kids love to play out there in the mud flats. any advice on where else i can go to for information.. i thought i'd heard on the news about "flu tracking"....i went to your flu tracker link on the left here, but still haven't found what i am looking for. it is the weekend, so i can call again on monday to the hospital. all i've heard so far is that we just have a nasty little bug going around - i think being isolated like we are - not connected to the road system, must have some impact....?? anyway, she is the only one sick, my 7 year old as of this moment is fine....yet i heard today when i called in to work that alot of folks are out taking care of their sick children...thanks for your website, it feels better just to vent a bit.....and as a note this started 3 weeks ago with a sore throat, headache and then a week later with a bad cold - runny, stuffy nose, really wet cough and then the next week - this stomach enteritis thing, with fever and exhaustion... i will take another look at your links tomorrow. thanks.

November 15, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercindy appleton

Sorry to hear of your daughter's situation. Hopefully she is better.

I need to start by saying I am not a doctor, and you should always seek the advice of a physician. I doubt seriously if this is bird flu, or any form of influenza. Influenza will always be accompanied by a high fever in excess of 102 degrees. No fever, no flu. It may be a norovirus (think cruise ships), or even more likely a form of adenovirus such as Ad14, but that would be confirmed through testing, and many doctors will not bother to do that. Another possibility is C.diff, a potentially lethal bacteria. I would strongly recommend testing for these if she continues to remain sick.

Please let me know how she is doing.

November 21, 2008 | Registered CommenterScott McPherson

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