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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Danbury in the news

Recently, Danbury has been the center of attention in the mainstream media. With the spotlight on Hat City, a brief list of two Danbury-related stories that's gaining state-wide attention.

WEST NILE VIRUS

Last night, FOX 61 continued their story on the West Nile virus case. For those who don't know, last week, health officials confirmed that two female individuals, one from the New London area and the other from Danbury, contracted the virus. According to news reports, both were admitted to the hospital for treatment and are currently recovering at home.
The Danbury woman is between 20 and 29 and was admitted in hospital for encephalitis with a fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, weakness and memory loss two w3eeks ago. The New London resident, who is in her 30’s, was hospitalized around the same time with symptoms of meningitis with headache, a stiff neck, joint and muscle pain and weakness.

The News-Times did a write up on the story and did a small background on the virus.
West Nile virus, which turned up in the U.S. in the fall of 1999, is the most common mosquito-born illness in the country.

While many people infected with the disease suffer no symptoms — or little more than a three-day headache — others can suffer a prolonged, flu-like illness with fever, head and joint aches, and fatigue.

The virus has been especially hard on the elderly, causing encephalitis (swelling of the brain), chronic fatigue, a polio-like paralysis and, in some cases, death.

Since 1999, the virus has killed 902 Americans, including three in Connecticut.

Last night, FOX-61 filed this brief report on the case.

In short, the West Nile virus is a disease that people should take seriously. The CDC has detailed outline on ways one can reduce your risk of becoming infected with virus.


TUBERCULOSIS SCARE

The other news story of the day is the recent detection of students with tuberculosis at Danbury High School. News-Times education beat reporter Eileen FitzGerald and staff reporter Robert Miller have been all over this story and have a detailed write-up in today's paper.
A student at Danbury High School has active tuberculosis, prompting the city to notify at least 150 people at the school and at Danbury Library – where she works as a volunteer – to be tested for the disease.

"We want to be as conservative as possible," city health director Scott Leroy said. By conservative, he means opening the circle of people to be tested to include the girl’s casual contacts, to make sure no one has been infected with the disease.

Dr. John Gundy, the school’s medical adviser, said the girl ran a fever last winter while school was in session, then recovered. This summer, she developed active TB and is now being treated for the disease.

Gundy said because the disease in its early stage can manifest itself with a fever, health officials in the city can’t be sure she did not have the first signs of active TB last winter.

The city learned last week from state laboratories that the girl had active TB. On Monday, the school system sent out letters to students and staff informing them of the situation. The high school will have an informational session and TB skin tests for them Aug. 27 at 1 p.m. at the high school.

Mark Hasskarl, Danbury Library director, said his staff has been notified. They will be tested Monday, he said.

Dr. Thomas Draper, the city’s associate health director, said there is no need to test people who simply entered the library or the school when the girl was there.

WTNH were on the scene at Danbury High and filed this report during their noon news broadcast.
You can find more information on tuberculosis on the CDC's website.