UPDATE:Unexplained Calvert Deaths

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UPDATE: Commissioners React to Health Department Report, Unexplained Deaths

Prince Frederick, MD - 3/6/2012

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By Marty Madden

The Calvert County Commissioners reacted to a statement issued by the Calvert County Health Department regarding a serious respiratory illness that has affected members of a Lusby area family. As many as three people may have died and the situation is being investigated by the Calvert Investigative Team (CIT).

Commissioners’ President Gerald W. “Jerry” Clark [R] read a prepared statement into the record, noting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been notified.

“According to the Health Department, at this time there is no indication that special preventive measures, like antibiotics, are needed for family or other close contacts of the patients,” Clark stated. “As with all community-borne reportable illnesses, the Health Department is closely monitoring the situation and coordinating with all appropriate agencies. Our public safety team will stay in contact with hospital staff to provide whatever assistance we can and remain abreast of any changing news. The Calvert Investigative Team from the sheriff’s office will be investigating and the HazMat Team will conduct a follow-up at the residence and perform testing as needed.”

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

Statement from the Calvert County Health Department:

The Calvert County Health Department (CCHD) is investigating a cluster of respiratory illnesses that have resulted in the deaths of three individuals from the Lusby area.

The cases appear to be confined to a single family and there are currently no other affected individuals at this time. CCHD is not recommending any protective actions for the general public.

The first case of illness occurred in an 81-year-old woman who presented symptoms at her home beginning on or about February 23, 2012. She was cared for at home by three of her children, a son and two daughters. The caregivers developed similar upper respiratory symptoms on or about February 28, 2012.All were hospitalized and became critically ill. The elderly woman, a 58-year-old son and a 56-year-old daughter subsequently died.A third family member and caregiver is currently hospitalized at the Washington Hospital Center.

The state Office of Chief Medical Examiner is working to determine the cause of the illness.

Residents are recommended to take standard precautions to prevent the spread of illness including hand washing and limiting contact with sick individuals. Those with flu-like symptoms should check with their healthcare provider to be evaluated.

UPDATE: STATEMENT FROM DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND MENTAL HYGIENE:

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is working in conjunction with the Calvert County Health Department to investigate a cluster of respiratory illnesses in Calvert County. As the Calvert County Health Department has reported, DHMH is aware of four cases in adults from a single family with severe respiratory illness; three have died. At this time, no other similar clusters have been reported from Calvert County or elsewhere in the state.

The cause for these illnesses is under investigation and testing is being conducted by the DHMH Laboratories Administration. Preliminary testing at the DHMH Laboratories Administration indicates that two of the fatal cases had influenza, and these cases may have been complicated by bacterial co-infections. Bacterial co-infection is a known complication of influenza infection. Additional testing is being conducted for all cases.

DHMH recommends all individuals continue to take the following precautions during influenza season: hand washing, staying home if sick, and staying up to date with influenza vaccinations. DHMH also reminds Maryland residents with influenza-like illness (fever and sore throat or cough) to consult their healthcare providers for evaluation. DHMH is not recommending any additional measures at this time.



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