CDC, with various state and local health departments, is alerting parents about an illness involving the brain and spinal cord identified in 10 children in Colorado. The children were hospitalized with muscle weakness or paralysis mostly in their arms or legs. Parents and children should always follow basic steps to stay healthy and avoid infections: wash hands frequently with soap and water, stay away from sick people, and disinfect objects that a sick person has touched.
Many parents are concerned to hear about these sick children in Colorado. This seems to be a rare sickness. Some of the children also have had cold-like symptoms. We don’t know yet what caused this illness or whether it spreads from one person to another. If a parent sees a child isn’t walking correctly or develops sudden weakness in an arm or leg, the parent should contact a doctor right away.
Who has been affected by this sickness?
Between August 9 and September 29, 2014, 10 children from 1 to 18 years of age in Colorado were hospitalized with this sickness. While we don’t yet know what caused this sickness, we do know the following things about the 10 children who’ve been hospitalized.
- Most had a problem with their spinal cord that could be seen on a magnetic resonance image (MRI) scan, a special scan that can identify nervous system problems.
- All had a fever, most with symptoms of respiratory illness, about one week before they felt muscle weakness.
- None of the children had any kind of virus found in their spinal fluid. It is possible that the correct test has not been done yet, or that the specimen was collected too late to find a virus. But that does not mean that a virus or other agent did not cause the damage to their spinal cord.
- About half of the children had EV-D68 in their nose secretions; the virus typically affects breathing. We do not yet know whether this respiratory infection is linked to their muscle weakness.
What can I do to protect my child?
Being up to date on all recommended vaccinations is the best way to protect you and your family from serious diseases including polio and acute respiratory illnesses including influenza, measles and whooping cough.
Although it is still unknown what’s causing this sickness and whether it can be spread from person to person, it is best for everyone in your house to follow basic steps to stay healthy and avoid infections: wash your hands frequently with soap and water, stay away from sick people, and disinfect objects that a sick person has touched.
Washing your hands the right way is one of the best things you and your children can do to protect against getting sick. Wash your hands
- before you touch food;
- after going to the bathroom, blowing your nose, changing a baby’s diaper, or touching an animal, an animal’s food, pee or poop;
- and before and after taking care of a sick person or a cut or wound.
If your child is having problems walking or standing or develops sudden weakness in an arm or leg, you should contact a doctor right away.
What are CDC, health departments, doctors and nurses doing to find out why children are getting sick?
CDC is working closely with partners in Colorado and elsewhere to find out why the children hospitalized are sick.
Doctors and nurses who see patients in their offices, clinics or hospitals with unexplained muscle weakness or paralysis in the arms or legs are testing them to see if they might have this sickness. They also are reporting information to their state or local health department.
Want more details? Read CDC’s guidance for health departments, doctors and nurses.
El Paso County Public Health has confirmed a wild rabbit in eastern El Paso County died of tularemia infection, and are asking residents to remain cautious around wild animals.
Residents near Yoder, south of Highway 94 and west of Yoder, are advised that tularemia-causing bacteria may be present in some of the mammals – especially rabbits, rodents and hares.
Public Health specialists who have been monitoring plague activity in the area tested a dead wild rabbit for plague Wednesday August 26, and discovered the rabbit was instead infected with tularemia, also known as “rabbit fever.” Plague infection was identified in the area August 21. No human cases of either infection have been reported.
Public Health specialists continue to monitor tularemia and plague activity, and are providing public health information to residents in the area.
“Because tularemia is endemic in El Paso County, precautions to prevent tularemia infection should always be taken,” said Program Manager Lee Griffen, R.E.H.S.
Tularemia is a bacterial infection most commonly transmitted to humans by the handling of sick or dead animals infected with tularemia. Infection can also arise from the bite of infected insects (most commonly ticks and deer flies). Hunters who skin animals without gloves and are exposed to infected blood through an open wound are also at risk.
Typical signs of infection in humans are similar to plague and include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, chest pain, and coughing. Tularemia can be effectively treated with antibiotics, therefore should you have any of these early signs, contact your medical provider. El Paso County’s last reported human case of tularemia occurred in 2010.
Dogs and cats also get tularemia by eating infected rabbits or other rodents and through tick and deer fly bites. If your pet shows symptoms of illness including fever, nasal and eye discharge, and skin sores, take it to the veterinarian promptly. Tularemia is easily treated if diagnosed early in dogs and cats.
Recommended precautions include:
- Avoid handling sick or dead animals.
- Leash your pets when outdoors and keep them away from dead animals.
- When outdoors near places where wild rabbits or rodents are present, wear an insect repellent containing DEET.
- If a dead animal must be moved, avoid direct contact with it. Put on a repellent to protect yourself from its fleas or ticks, and use a shovel to scoop it up. Place it in a plastic bag and dispose in an outdoor trash receptacle. Wash your hands well afterwards.
- Wear proper footwear outdoors where dead animals have been found.
- Routinely use a tick and flea preventative on pets.
- Avoid mowing over dead animals.
If you hunt, trap or skin animals, take additional steps:
- Use impervious gloves when skinning or handling animals, especially rabbits.
- Cook the meat of wild rabbits thoroughly to a temperature of 165 degrees F. or higher.
- Washing hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Avoiding touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoiding kissing, hugging, and sharing cups and eating utensils with people who are sick.
- Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
- Making sure vaccinations, including the influenza vaccine, are up to date.
- Do not directly handle any dead rodents, including prairie dogs, rabbits, squirrels, mice and rats.
- Keep pets away from wildlife, especially dead rodents.
- Don’t let dogs or cats hunt prairie dogs or other rodents.
- Don’t allow pets to roam freely.
- Treat pets for fleas according to a veterinarian’s advice.
- Do not feed prairie dogs or other rodents. This attracts them to your property, brings them in close contact with other rodents and increases the risk of disease transmission.
- Be aware of rodent populations in your area, and report sudden die-offs or multiple dead animals to your local health department.
- Do not directly handle any dead rodents.
- Keep pets away from wildlife, especially dead rodents.
- Don’t let dogs or cats hunt prairie dogs or other rodents.
- Don’t allow pets to roam freely.
- Treat all pets for fleas according to a veterinarian’s advice.
- Do not feed prairie dogs or other rodents – this attracts them to your property, brings them in close contact with other rodents and increases the risk of disease transmission.
- Be aware of rodent populations in your area and report sudden die-offs or multiple dead animals to your local health department.
Responding to a recent surge in cases of whooping cough (pertussis), the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment today urged Coloradans to ensure they’re up to date on vaccinations. One hundred new cases of pertussis were reported in the second half of October.
Despite the weather on Sunday limiting air evacuations, ground crews were able to rescue and evacuate 100 people in the Cedar Cove area. FEMA brought in two, 80-person search and rescue teams yesterday to assist with operations. The weather is more promising today and tomorrow for air evacuation operations.
- · There are 13 National Guard helicopters and 3 civilian helicopters to help with evacuations, surveillance and bringing in emergency personnel to areas needed. Helicopters are now in the air and resuming air rescue operations as of 1:00 p.m today.
- · 1,000 residents remain in remote locations needing to be evacuated.
- · There are now 398 unaccounted for persons, down from the original report of 643. 213 of the reported 643 unaccounted persons have been located and accounted for and there were a few entries without 1st or last names that had multiple entries and were consolidated.
- · There are two confirmed reports of missing/presumed dead residents in the Cedar Cove area; however, at this time we still have no confirmed fatalities.
- · There are approximately 1,120 square miles of area involved that has damage in Larimer County. Rist Canyon has minimal damage, Buckhorn Canyon has heavy damage, Poudre Canyon has minimal damage, Big Thompson Canyon has extensive damage, North Fork of Big Thompson has extensive damage, and South St. Vrain also has extensive damage
- · Initial estimates show approximately 1,500 residential homes in Larimer County have been destroyed with an expected number of 4,500 homes damaged. There are also estimated 200 businesses destroyed and 500 businesses with damage in Larimer County as well.
- · Three dams confirmed as failed in Larimer County; these are Sunset, Mirror Lake and Rainbow, which are all in the Big Elk Meadows area. These are earthen dams and very small so impact in the area was minimal from these breaks.
- · Some areas in Larimer County experienced a 100 year flood and other areas experienced a 1,000 year flood. It all depends on where the heaviest rain fell. Areas with more extensive damage experienced the 1,000 year flooding.
- · A Disaster Assistance Center (DAC) has been established by City of Loveland and Larimer County. This Center will open Wednesday, September 18th at 8:00 a.m. and will be open daily from then on from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The DAC is located at 815 14th Street SW, Building #B in Loveland. In addition the Disaster Distribution Center is now open for evacuees and is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the 815 14th Street SW, Building #D, in Loveland. The distribution center provides things like water, clothing, diapers, non-perishable and non-perishable food to evacuees.
www.facebook.com/larimersheriff and @LarimerSheriff
- · Stay out of flood water – it can be contaminated.
- · Residents in are asked to limit driving, especially in mountain communities as gasoline may become scarce due to washed out roads.
Updates from Sunday, Sept. 15
From the Boulder OEM:
- 277 evacuees currently using shelters
- approximately 60-70 of these people will need long-term sheltering
- Donations: Monetary donations are the most helpful and provide the most flexibility for use. We currently do not have the capability to accept tangible food or item donations, though you can sign up in a log at www.HELPCOLORADONOW.com and we will reach out to you when we do have the capability.
- Estimated 35 bridges need repair; 100 minor structures; estimated 100 miles of road damaged.
- Estimated $100-150 million in damage
- Focus is to gain access to all communities by road.
- Boulder County has been approved as major disaster area.
- Residents need to register with FEMA
- Online: www.FEMA.gov
- Phone: 1.800.621.3362
- Disaster teams will be in areas to assess structural integrity.
From the National Guard
- Approximately 1500 Boulder County residence have been evacuated by military assets. 950 by Helicopter and 550 by Military Vehicle.
From the Incident Management Team:
- Personnel: 883
- Area impacted (sq. miles): 760 square miles impacted
- Estimated total rainfall: 1.25” maximum in the county; 1.5” at the Boulder Airport
- Aviation assets:
- Dept. of Defense: 2 Chinooks, 4 Blackhawks, 1 Lakota
- Federal: 4 helicopters
Lee Hill Drive remains closed at 5th Street. No unauthorized vehicles will be allowed to travel west into the foothills.
The list and map of Boulder County road closures are not all-inclusive and the accuracy of the information cannot be guaranteed. Due to rapidly changing weather conditions and unpredictable floodwaters, all road closures are subject to change at any time.
You can also check the interactive map at: http://maps.bouldercounty.org/iemcop/
• Hwy 7 at Mile Marker 24
• Co Rd. 7 from Middle Fork to Plateau
• 7th St and Pleasant
• 36 Hwy at Neva – Neva to Lyons
• 36 Hwy from Lyons into Larimer County
• 39th from Ogallala to Plateau
• 39th from Neva to Nebo
• 41st and Oxford
• 47th Street between Independence and Woodbourne Hollow
• 47th Street between Independence and St. Johns Street
• 55th Street at Cypress Drive
• 57th at Indigo to Jay
• 63rd from Bluebird to Modina
• 63rd from Jay to Valmont
• 63rd/61st from Jay Rd. to Valmont
• Hwy 66 at N. 75th to Lyons
• 71st NB & SB from Lookout to Winchester Circle
• Hwy 72 from Skyline to Blue Mountain
• 75th North of Nelson at Coyote Trail
• N. 75th from St. Vrain/Arapahoe to Hygiene/Baseline
• 83rd at Yellowstone
• 83rd N. Countyline Rd to Yellowstone Rd
• N. 95 from Valmont to Lookout
• N. 109th from Lookout to Jasper
• 115th from Kenosha to Jasper
• 119 Westbound at Arapahoe
• S. 120th from Commerce to West S. Boulder
• S. 120th at Dillon
• SH-157 from Hwy 36 to Pearl
• Hwy 287 from Ken Pratt to Boston Ave.
• 444 James and Canyon
• Airport from St. Vrain to 9th Ave.
• Arapahoe from 19th to 20th
• Baseline Eastbound at 55th
• Baseline Westbound – from 500 block west
• Baseline – Emergency Vehicles Only Grant Road to the canyon
• Boulder Canyon Drive from Canyon Blvd. to Nederland
• Bow Mountain from Wagon Wheel to Pinebrook
• Coal Creek at Canyon Drive and Hwy 93
• College NB from 7th
• E. Countyline Road from Niwot to Hwy 52
• Crane Hollow from Hygiene to St. Vrain Rd
• Cypress Drive at 55th (bridge is out)
• Empire Drive at SH42
• Even G Fine Foot Bridge Westbound – Closed at bridge
• Foothills from Eldorado Springs Drive to Greenbriar
• Foothills and Crestview – Bridge Damaged/Out
• Foothills from Lefthand Canyon to Neva
• Fourmile Canyon from Boulder Canyon north to Poorman
• Geer Canyon Road from Lefthand Canyon to Heil Ranch
• Golf Club and Pebble Beach
• Glacier View N. 71st to end of road
• Horizon Ave. from Majestic to Panarama
• Hygiene from 75th to Crane Hollow
• Hygiene from 75th to Foothills Hwy
• Lee Hill – Westbound at Broadway to the end
• Lefthand Canyon at Geer Canyon Dr
• Lefthand Canyon from Foothills Hwy to Peak to Peak
• Lefthand Canyon Rd at Lee Hill
• Linden Westbound at Wonderland
• Logan Mill at Fourmile to the end
• Lookout Rd. from 109th to 115th
• S. Main and County Line Rd Erie
• Millionaire Drive at Sugarloaf
• Neva at Hwy 36
• Sawmill from Lefthand to Gold Hill
• Spring Valley – North of bike path
• Spring Valley at Linden
• Sunset St. from Boston to Donavan
• Table Mesa at East Bound Lehigh to Ithaca
• Ute Hwy from 75th to McCall
• Violet – Broadway to 19th
• Wagon Wheel Gap at Lee Hill to the end of the road
As of 3 p.m. today, Boulder Sheriff Joe Pelle stated that records show that 326 people are currently unaccounted for related to the flooding, but that this number is fluctuating frequently.
At 9 a.m. today, there were 431 entries in the unaccounted for persons list, which included families, couples and individuals. That number was reduced to 212 entries by about 3 p.m., representing 326 individual people, by comparing evacuation and rescue information with shelter evacuee lists and other information sources.
Finding the people who are unaccounted for is one of the highest priorities, and five teams of Boulder County Sheriff’s Office detectives are dedicated full-time to this task. These teams are going out in the field, going door-to-door as the situation allows, and comparing the data with information from shelters, emergency response evacuations and other sources.
If someone who lives in a flood zone has self-evacuated to a safe location, they are asked to call in to the Public Call Center, to report that they are safe. That number is 303-413-7730. If you have reported someone as unaccounted for previously and then learned that they are safe, please also report that to the Public Call Center as well.