Pneumonia is just next door: Alabama

chest x-raySometimes, it seems we are located so close to Alabama that we could throw a baseball and hit the state line. With as fast as news travels, you have probably already heard about cases in which the upper respiratory infections are turning into pneumonia in our neighboring state. Luckily, ProHealth Medical Care is currently offering the Pneumonia vaccine for $85.

Alabama health officials are investigating a cluster of severe respiratory infections from an unknown origin around southeast Alabama.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) said seven people have been hospitalized with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. Two of the patients have died.

The first three of the upper respiratory infection cases were flagged on May 16 by pulmonologists, who reported three patients with similar symptoms were on ventilators and had no known cause for their illness. Tests on samples sent that day to the ADPH clinical lab revealed on May 17 that the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus was found in one of the patients, who died the next day. Another patient, who was transferred and placed on a ventilator in the same facility, died on May 19.

Polymerase chain reaction flu panel testing on three other patients who were admitted yielded one H3 influenza positive. The ADPH said though two patients have tested positive for influenza, it is unclear what role the viruses played in the illness.

At this time, there is no epidemiological link between patients, the ADPH said.

According to the WSFA report, patients range from the early 20s to the late 80s. It is not clear if the illness is contagious. Also, there is no evidence that any of patients had traveled outside the country, according to Alabama health officials.

ProHealth Medical Care is taking extra caution as our physicians examine our patients with flu-like symptoms. If you are experiencing any type of upper respiratory problem such as cough, fever or shortness of breath, we encourage you to see a provider at one of our three locations in Milton, Gulf Breeze or Pensacola. No appointment is necessary and walk-ins are always welcome.

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Photo, “Children Chest X-ray Stock Photo” by Praisaeng courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net