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Pharmacists and Infectious Disease

APhA works closely with the CDC and other federal agencies to monitor, respond and inform our members of infectious disease outbreaks. This site will be updated with new information and resources as they become available.

Zika Virus

Zika virus is a mosquito-transmitted virus that generally causes no symptoms or mild illness, but is associated with microcephaly in infants whose mothers contract it during pregnancy.   The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.

In January 2016, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health advisory, travel alert and MMWR urging women who are pregnant to avoid countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Women trying to become pregnant should consult with their healthcare providers before traveling to these areas and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip. While cases of Zika have been reported in the United States, as of January 2016 these are limited to patients who recently traveled to countries with Zika transmission. In response, CDC has issued travel notices for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.  Transmission is not occurring in the US. Information on this webpage, including recommendations for management, will be updated periodically to reflect changing evidence and emerging consensus.


Other Infectious Diseases

What Signs or Symptoms Should Health Care Professionals Be Monitoring?

Ebola

CDC recommends that health care providers should take a travel history from any person who has symptoms of viral infection and should consider Ebola in patients with a fever greater than 100.4° F, severe headache, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding through 21 days after traveling from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, or Sierra Leone. Health care providers should immediately take infection control precautions and contact their state or local health department if they have questions.

Enterovirus D-68

CDC recommends that healthcare professionals consider EV-D68 as a possible cause of acute, unexplained severe respiratory illness, even if the patient does not have fever. For these patients, they should consider laboratory testing of respiratory specimens for enteroviruses and consider EV-D68 testing of specimens that test positive for enterovirus or rhinovirus. State health departments can be approached for diagnostic and molecular typing for enteroviruses. However, contact state or local health department before sending specimens. Report suspected clusters of severe respiratory illness to local and state health departments. EV-D68 is not nationally notifiable, but state and local health departments may have additional guidance on reporting. Ensure that the patient has an asthma action plan. Reinforce use of this plan, including adherence to prescribed long-term control medication. Encourage people with asthma who are experiencing an exacerbation to seek care early.

 

Influenza

Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

Most people who get influenza will recover in a few days to less than two weeks, but some people will develop complications (such as pneumonia) as a result of the flu, some of which can be life-threatening and result in death.

Pharmacist Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

World Health Organization (WHO)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

APhA Immunization Center

Rx Response developed these printable Ebola response resources for pharmacists, pharmacy owners and hospital administrators.

* Materials provided are current as of the dates noted. Please check with CDC for most up-to-date information on disease outbreaks.

 

Could it be Ebola?

 
 
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