'Mystery illness' sickens seven and kills two in Alabama

May 22, 2013 at 11:10 PM
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MONTGOMERY, Ala., May 22 (UPI) -- In Alabama, two people died and five more were admitted to the hospital for a "mystery disease" public health officials say they have not yet identified.

Dr. Mary McIntyre of the Alabama Department of Public Health said the seven people were admitted to a hospital, which has not been disclosed, with fever, cough and shortness of breath.

The Alabama Department of Public Health, the Houston County Health Department in Alabama, in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta are investigating the cluster of respiratory illnesses of unknown origin in southeast Alabama, McIntyre said.

Laboratory samples were obtained from all patients and laboratory testing continues at both Alabama Department of Public Health's Bureau of Clinical Laboratories and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Respiratory Laboratory, McIntyre said.

State and federal health officials advised hospital personnel to use respiratory precautions, which include staff using N95 masks when caring for patients presenting with respiratory symptoms.

"If you or your family members have respiratory symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath, please contact your healthcare provider to be evaluated," McIntyre said.

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