Mysterious Respiratory Illness Kills 2 in Alabama

    May 22, 2013
    Sean Patterson
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After the SARS outbreak in 2002, medical professionals around the world are on the lookout for respiratory diseases that could potentially spread. Earlier this year, health officials in the U.K. identified a new type of coronavirus that could cause coughing, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. The first patient diagnosed with the virus died from a severe respiratory infection.

Now, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are warning the public about unknown respiratory illnesses that have popped up in southeast Alabama.

Two people have already died after being admitted to hospitals with a cough, shortness of breath, and a fever. Five others exhibited the same symptoms but survived.

The ADPH has stated that laboratory samples have been taken from all of the patients, which the ADPH’s Bureau of Clinical Laboratories and the CDC’s Respiratory Laboratory are now testing.

The ADPH is now recommending that hospitals use respiratory precautions such as masks when dealing with respiratory patients. It is also recommended that people experiencing respiratory symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, and fever seek out medical care for evaluation.

  • Deborah Anthony

    I have had congestion, shortness of breath, and low grade fevers from November 12 to March 2013 when I went to ER because I knew it eventually had developed into an infection in sinuses and bronchial areas. I was given breathing treatment (1) and antibiotics and it cleared up for the most part, but am now getting the congestion and shortness of breath again. What should I do at this point. I am a 55 year old woman residing in North Carolina. Sincerely.

    • Cliff Henderson

      You should have yourself tested for adult onset asthma. I had a respiratory infection a couple of years ago. I was on various antibiotics and it would still come and go. It turned into asthma although there is no history of asthma or llergies in my family. this is more common than people realize.

  • Francis Phillip

    The horror of these “super bugs” is that the common place of contamination is hospitals. This is true for contamination such as MRSA. I cannot say for certain that I acquired MRSA in the hospital, but I am certain that it is rapidly mutating such that it is becoming resistant to the drugs used to treat it–such as Vancomycin. With my first infection I was confined to the hospital for 5 weeks. Less than 6 months later I was hospitalized for nearly 3 weeks. In both instances I was treated with Vancomycin and then Zyvox when I went home. Since that infection, I have been hospitalized 3 more times. It is true however that MRSA is in the community which means the bacteria can be picked up from other people or even by touching a place where the bacteria resides. I would venture to say that this respiratory virus may likewise be passed. MRSA can exhibit similar symptoms and can also get into the blood. MRSA is known to have mutated because the few drugs that have been used for treatment is dwindling rapidly. There are other infections, such as this respiratory infection, that are becoming untreatable. This is the horror of the situation. More research is needed to come up with other antibiotics and antivirals to treat these illnesses. Pharmaceuticals, however, concentrate more on selling their big money drugs. Funds for research are also scarce.

  • Vincent Hatten

    I just spent 2 days in the hospital last week with the same symptoms. This is a yearly event for me. Bronchitis. This year the doctor said it was astmatatic bronchitis respiration infection caused by a virus. Here in Mississippi, o have noticed alot of people have it lately

  • margaret mc dermott

    I am in my third week of a respiratory virus, called broncjitis by urgent care, cough has subsided, still very nweak and shakey 2 courses of antibiotics, please help