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Virginia's 'hybrid' surveillance strategy aided response to contaminated steroid outbreak
Date:5/30/2013

Philadelphia, Pa. (May 30, 2013) An innovative "hybrid" surveillance strategyhighlighted by close cooperation between public health officials and clinical partnershelped Virginia mount an efficient and effective response to the ongoing outbreak of fungal meningitis and other infections, according to a report in the July/August issue of Journal of Public Health Management and Practice . The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) "worked closely with clinical partners, combining assessment, referral to care and public health surveillance methodologies in a hybrid surveillance model," according to the article by Dr. Laurie Forlano and colleagues. They believe their strategyinvolving "intensive collaboration" between public health officials and hospitals and doctors serving the affected communitiesis a promising model for responding to future public health threats.

'Hybrid' Surveillance Response to Contaminated Steroid Crisis

The VDH implemented the hybrid strategy in response to the 2012 outbreak of meningitis and other fungal infections, which was traced to contaminated steroid products supplied by a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy. Virginia was one of the hardest-hit states, with 53 affected patientsincluding two deathsover a six-month period. Two Virginia healthcare facilitiesboth free standing pain/interventional radiology clinics in the southwest region of the statereceived the contaminated products.

Because of the subtle symptoms, potentially long incubation period, and the risk of serious illness and death, Virginia public health officials decided that intensive, active surveillance was needed to contact and track nearly 700 exposed residents. The VDH rapidly
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Contact: Connie Hughes
connie.hughes@wolterskluwer.com
646-674-6348
Wolters Kluwer Health
Source:Eurekalert

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