Friday, December 21, 2007

Health officials keeping tabs on new virus strain

U.S. health officials are keeping their eyes on an emerging virus strain that has been linked to illnesses in four states.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in November that a type of adenovirus, called adenovirus serotype 14 -- or Ad14 for short -- has been linked to severe and sometimes deadly cases of illness.

Adenoviruses have been around for awhile (there are more than 50 types) and they cause many common illnesses like colds, pinkeye and stomach flu. The new Ad14 strain, which news reports have linked to more than 1,000 cases this year, can develop into a serious respiratory infection or even death.

CDC says there is no cause for alarm, as Ad14 infections are not common and most cases aren’t serious, and says that the public “should not be concerned.” Just in case, scientists and health departments will be keeping a watch out for Ad14 to make sure there are no outbreaks.

If you want to ensure you don’t get sick from adenovirus or any other type of infection, practice healthy habits, including regular handwashing. And of course, if you develop a bad cold and your symptoms get worse, be sure and see your doctor.

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