Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Plague Unplugged...

I have been reading in medical news about a "new" virus that has mutated from the adenovirus known as AD14...and then, I happened over to MDMHVONPA'S and read yet another blog article about this particular virus that he has posted complete with a WARNING to those of us with compromised immune systems...thanks, Mark...I think?!?

So, at the risk of humor at HIS expense, I give you the photo...AND, a little bit more medical information about this particular mutant virus direct from the Center For Disease Control, aka, CDC. This government agency is responsible for reporting, tracking, and making recommendations regarding communicable diseases (just in case for some strange reason you did not know this)...yes, they DO know if you have been treated for Syphilis, Gonorrhea (clap), or any of the other highly contagious sexually transmitted diseases...and yes, Big Brother IS in your bedroom (or motel room, or back seat of your car, or...well, "wherever"). Please be sure and wear something sexy for him. LOL


But, aside from tracking who's passed what venereal disease on to whom, they also track MORBIDITY of diseases...and if people start to "kick" in higher than average proportions from something, they like to issue "alerts" about this. It's supposed to aid in disease prevention because, as is typical for most Americans, we don't really care about something until we know if could kill us. They also track TRENDS of diseases as well...and I imagine it has been the "trend" of the AD14 mutant virus that has caught their attention. Well, that and the virus made several hundred MILITARY PERSONNEL sick at Lackland Airforce Base in Texas this past February...about 423 personnel were tested, 268 had a form of adenovirus, and 106 tested positive for AD14. And that, my friends, is a LOT of military personnel without guns in their hands in Iraq!


And this is not the first time an adenovirus has caused problems among military personnel. A vaccine was created (pill form...you never heard of it because it wasn't OFFERED to the common folk) back when AD4 and AD7 spread like wildfire among military recruits (most likely because of their confined spaces and proximity to one another)...this vaccine really eliminated the spread of these two adenoviruses, but the same vaccine will NOT protect against AD14. And particularly not a MUTANT of AD14.


People in nursing homes/the elderly, people with compromised immune systems, small children, etc., ROUTINELY contract adenoviruses...the CDC isn't really that interested in us common immuno-compromised folks (unless we're carrying something that might SPREAD to healthy people). But when seemingly HEALTHY, VIRILE, YOUNG MALES in the MILITARY come down with crap that sends them to the hospital (or even kills them, as one of the military personnel DID die from complications of the virus), our government takes notice.


As most of you know who stumble into this blog regularly, I am on Novantrone as a treatment for my Multiple Sclerosis. Novantrone is an immuno-suppressant...it infiltrates the DNA of my White Blood Cells, knocking them out of my system (until new ones are formed several weeks post infusion), in hopes of decreasing or even eliminating the chance of T-cells (a type of White Blood Cell) from crossing over from my blood into my cerebrospinal fluid and inflaming my brain (what's left of it, anyway LOL). At least that's the CURRENT school of thought, simplified and in a "nut shell". But White Blood Cells (WBC's...because I'm too lazy to type out those three words over and over!) are also the immune system's first line of defense against OTHER invaders/organisms that cause infection...like...AD14. And actually, to be quite technical (I DID attend nursing school, after all), WBC's DON'T work directly on virus cells, but they DO work directly on what are called "secondary infections" that often result from viral infections...like pneumonia, etc. It is these SECONDARY INFECTIONS caused by the AD14 virus that are killing folks...not the virus itself. People are dying from pneumonia and complications of respiratory infections...technically speaking. The AD14 just weakens the body with fever, cough, etc., which allows OTHER infectious bacteria to set up shop. TMI?!?


I have been on Novantrone now for almost 10 months. But for the grace of God go I, I have NOT contracted a serious bacterial or viral infection. SHINGLES DON'T COUNT! Herpes Zoster virus was ALREADY laying dormant in my body and waiting for my immune system to fall off...I didn't get this from someone else. I know, it's splitting hairs, but it's important in the big picture of things. In other words, WHATEVER I have been doing to protect myself from the general public sea of disease HAS been effective. If anyone "should" get sick (be more susceptible), it "should" be people who's immune systems are compromised. And, because of the nature of my job, i.e., entering the largest petri dishes known to mankind such as emergency rooms and hospitals, I AM exposed to the general public sea of disease daily.


So, what am I doing to ward off these bugs? Well, I'm glad you asked. LOL Here's my remedy and these things are all stuff your MOTHER told you when you were little:


1. Keep your hands out of your mouth

2. Wash your hands frequently

3. Stay out of "range" of sick people, especially cough-ers

4. Don't eat food off the floor (or from potentially contaminated surfaces)

5. Rest

6. Drink plenty of fluids, especially water


And here are some nursing tips my mother never told me (but I'm sure she WOULD have if she had thought of them):


7. Although use of an antibacterial hand wash is controversial (it is theorized THIS may be why we are seeing so many super bugs), I use PURELL religiously. I carry small bottles on my person and in my bag. I use it frequently throughout the day, as if I have an Obsessive Compulsive hand washing disorder.


8. I don't touch surfaces like public bathroom doors (most doors, actually), hospital beds, jail cell doors, etc. I either use a paper towel (after washing my hands in public bathrooms, just hang onto the towel and push the door open with it as well as turning off the faucet with the towel, too) as a barrier between myself and unseen germs or I use my sleeve, foot (to push open doors), etc.


9. I wipe down shared equipment with an antibacterial, such as phones at work, to avoid BREATHING other people's germs.


10. I tend to stay away from large, public gatherings if possible when I know my WBC count is at its lowest (10-14 days post infusion).


11. I take 1000mg of Vitamin C daily (I have NO scientific proof Vit-C wards off anything...but like religion and believing in something greater than myself, it CAN'T hurt!)


12. And finally, if you are sick/coughing/puking/thinking you are sick/with runny nose, you will likely hear me say out loud, "GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME!" And I really mean this. :)


So HOW is the AD14 virus spread? Well, no differently than any OTHER communicable disease. This is direct from the CDC and Dr. Gregory Gray of the CDC: "There are 51 different adenovirus strains. In the 1960s, Gray says, adenovirus was considered a "rather innocuous childhood problem." That opinion changed when adenoviruses turned out to be responsible for huge outbreaks that caused severe disease and deaths among military recruits...It is a very interesting virus.
Adenovirus can spread from person to person via aerosolized droplets in sneezes and coughs. But it's also present in feces, and fecal-oral spread is common among young children. The virus can survive for weeks on contaminated surfaces. In the summer, there may be swimming-pool-related outbreaks.
The adenovirus incubation period is two to nine days. Different adenovirus strains behave differently, but outbreaks can be explosive.


And what are the SYMPTOMS of an adenovirus or AD14 you ask? Typical cold/flu symptoms...most healthy people would not KNOW they had contracted an adenovirus specifically because the adenoviruses ARE responsible for the common cold! Generally speaking however, any cold/flu symptom that is prolonged and WITH fever (usually sustained fever over 100 degrees) SHOULD have a doctor's consult...or nurse practitioner...or shaman...or whoever you see for your health care. Prolonged cough (with discolored sputum, pain in the chest cavity, or anything else not your "normal" for a cough), prolonged fever, prolonged diarrhea or gastric upset/vomiting, prolonged headache/body aches, PROLONGED ANYTHING, SHOULD be cause for a consult with your physician. "Prolonged" to me generally means anything I just can't stand any longer...which could range from a few hours to several days, depending on the symptom. And any physician worth their weight will WANT to know if you have any of these symptoms if you are also IMMUNO-COMPROMISED.


If you are interested in reading the CDC's report about the AD14 virus, you can link to it here http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5645a1.htm . Yep, you guessed it...the article is from the CDC's "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report", or the MMWR. THIS is why the mutant AD14 virus is making the news...
**DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a doctor...I only play one on the INTERNET.**

19 comments:

mdmhvonpa said...

1. Keep your hands out of your mouth
3. Stay out of "range" of sick people, especially cough-ers
4. Don't eat food off the floor (or from potentially contaminated surfaces)
5. Rest
Aw man ... I'm SCREWED!

Diane J Standiford said...

I went to the CDC site and I think we have more to fear from death by flu than any super bug or AD14. And I may REALLY p u o,and I've already stated my feelings to my friends on Novon---why a Dr would put a person who can still work on such a strong drug is beyond me. It is no cure, it can REALLY put you at risk, and should be resrved for only bedridden/unable to speak/unable to use bodily functions,etc. or if you are over 65. I AM a PROFESSIONAL NON-MEDICAL,NEVERGONNABEADOCTOR, Blogged out advisor with a four star...wait, I see three more, seven star rating. I have not had a cold in...can't remember when (if I get one now, I'm comin' after you) I took buses, cabs, worked with hacking hoards in a 62 story office, play with kids,dang if I didn't lick a dime once!(I never said I was sane)My s e c r e t ???
WASH THEM HANDS, keep fingers out of brain ( eg.eyes, mouth)Do NOT stick forks in your tongue or fingers out our eyeballs. Move away from coughers. I am still mad about CFS/Gulf War Syndrome---at least they are not covering this up. But, hey, thanks for giving me something new to keep me awake at night. (I refer to accidentally poking a fork in my...whatever.) (I STILL have nightmares over that eyeball popper.)

BRAINCHEESE said...

DIANE (& for anyone else with questions):

Since you have only recently begun reading my blog, I will take a moment to explain to you (and anyone else new) WHY I am on Novantrone with seemingly little disability...then, I hope we can lay this issue to rest.

I was diagnosed with an AGGRESSIVE FORM of relapsing and remitting MS in 2003. This means I was tried on FIVE different disease modifying drugs in THREE years with continued progression of the disease. I do NOT have Secondary Progressive MS at this time because my MRI's do NOT show significant "black holes", only damage and inflamation. I was, during those initial three years, becoming more and more disabled (and disability doesn't always come in the form of immobility) and it was decided BETWEEN my doctor and I WITH informed consent that we would try a more aggressive approach to hopefully DELAY disability as long as possible and keep me employed. Novantrone does NOT reverse disability, but is sometimes successful at halting it. It HAS been very successful thus far in halting my disease process (as seen on MRI's) and I have seen a strengthening of my endurance/gait/cognition/lessening fatigue level/vertigo until this last relapse. It is NOT a drug for everyone, but it IS a more effective drug for me thus far. I will take my chances with shingles/flu/colds/leukemia, etc., to remain able to go to work and continue a job I LOVE for as long as possible. I do not fear being in a wheel chair, but I also do not see it as inevitable. Last December 2006, I was barely able to walk, could not stand upright because of vertigo, was hospitalized for 5 days, had missed huge chunks of work, and felt extremely hopeless about my future. Novantrone in 2007 has brought me far more days AT work and feeling more hopeful I may continue to remain employed much longer. I hope you will review some of the recent studies and literature about Novantrone, which may ease your concerns about this drug...it is no longer primarily used for SPMS or PPMS, but it used quite frequently now in RRMS that is not responding to CRABs. And I cannot currently take TYSABRI because of an allergic reaction...it is one of the CURRENT last drugs available to me.

And as far as being used on the "bedridden", it is actually contraindicated for many because, as you rightly said, does NOT reverse disability and would put an immobile person at a much higher risk (for infection) than "someone who can still work"/move about without assistance/clear their own lungs.

I am not "p u o" as you put it, just disturbed by the vehement nature of your comments as I do not understand where they are coming from. And, just as you do not know me or my situation, I cannot begin to know or understand your position/situation with any type of proclaimed authority. Have you been on Novantrone yourself? If you have and your thoughts come from your own experience, I would appreciate you sharing YOUR experience here so others could benefit as well.

LD

Diane J Standiford said...

I KNEW I would be my bad, I actually gave read all of your posts. I worry, I care about people gpoing on ALL these drugs so soon after DX. When I was DX, I was BLIND for months, could barely walk with drop foot, totaly numb on one side of body,among other special stuff/had I gone on mt Dr.s recommended drug then(this was b4 the Betaseron lottery,he was a lead researcher in Copaxone )I would have been shown in data as a success! I went to 20/20 vision, began playing basketball again, after--through a year or so. I never took any drugs until 1997 (Solumedrol). I have read extensively about all the drugs and all the ones in trials, but I do not trust a drug that "...untoward long term effects are unknown..." and inclde so many "may" "Possibly" "Could" and so on. I didn't mean literally bedridden, but, believe me I hope with all my heart that whatever drug(s) you and my good friends take will provide a positive outcome.
You know, ever since doctors started taking money from drug companies to promote their drugs...my faith in all the drugs/doctors has been dimnished.
I attempted to proclaim no authority more so than an other blogger. I get my MS info from same places as anyone. It is a puzzle I try to piece together.
I won't comment on your MS again. Sorry, I see that my attempts at humor should be kept a my elbow.

BRAINCHEESE said...

DIANE:

Quite the contrary actually as far as you being "my bad"! And your "attempts at humor" (which are quite funny at times) are always welcome. You are also always welcome to comment on MY MS...but I DO feel some responsibility in keeping this blog a relatively "safe" forum for others to share their experiences as well as read mine. This line from your comment is what disturbed me: "why a Dr would put a person who can still work on such a strong drug is beyond me. It is no cure, it can REALLY put you at risk, and should be resrved for only bedridden/unable to speak/unable to use bodily functions,etc. or if you are over 65". Perhaps I misread your intent and this, too, was an attempt at humor? Written words without voice tone/affect CAN certainly be misconstrued, and I apologize if I interpreted this statement incorrectly. I do not however, want anyone who reads this blog to leave with the notion Novantrone would not be an appropriate drug choice for them should they need it (because they don't meet the descriptions you laid out above)...based on recent research published in the past 2 years, the current school of thought is to treat MS aggressively in its initial diagnostic phases, as studies have shown these early years are when much of the white AND grey matter damage occurs. If this damage can be prevented or delayed, disability is also being seen as "delayed"...these studies have been done on MSers since 1997, when the first disease modifying drugs were introduced, and ten years out, the trends are very hopeful as compared to 20 and 30 years ago.

We share a common belief (you and I) about the drug companies and many physicians...I'm perhaps even MORE of a pessimist about these matters because I have witnessed these issues in areas of health care besides MS! I don't know if I am making the "right" choices for my own treatment, but I have to believe I am making the "best" choices, given the information and my own "gut" feelings I have available to me. As with anything, time will tell...I DON'T want time to catch up to me however, and have done nothing...made no choices (which, in itself, IS a choice...to do nothing) or have taken no action. No action seems more of a game of roulette to me in my personal experience.

I will work on what disgusting photo I can post next...it IS my intent to gross peeps out/nab visual attention with them!

LD

adina said...

"1. Keep your hands out of your mouth

2. Wash your hands frequently

3. Stay out of "range" of sick people, especially cough-ers

4. Don't eat food off the floor (or from potentially contaminated surfaces)

5. Rest

6. Drink plenty

of fluids, especially water"



Yes Nurse Diesel !!!LOl!!!

pb said...

I thank the Lord that I work with germophobes on my side of the workplace. We wipe down, spray, and otherwise disinfect when needed.

On the other side, however, are people who were not taught to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze. And others who never see a doctor and come to work ill.

I plan to get a flu shot in the next few weeks.

Peej said...

Soooo.... are these the viruses that are terrorizing the Cruise Ships? They just seemed to pop up out of nowhere a few years ago. Wonder why..........

Sue said...

I've had my 4th dose of Novantrone recently, am still walking, and feel it has stopped my current rate of progression. Good advice on how to help protect a compromised immune system. I also do Airborne as needed in the 2-3 weeks after the dose, like when I know I'm going to be around a group of people..

BRAINCHEESE said...

MDMHVONPA:

Yep, you sure ARE! LMAO

LD

BRAINCHEESE said...

ADINA:

Hey, you! Back from your latest travels?

At least calling me Nurse Diesel is an improvement from Nurse Ratchet!!! I think?!?

LD

BRAINCHEESE said...

PB:

Is there an "intelligence" factor to the side you work on? Look at it this way...if Darwin was right in his survival of the fittest theory, that "other" side isn't long for this world!

LD

BRAINCHEESE said...

PEEJ:

The cruise ship virus is called the "Norwalk Virus" or Norovirus...it's primary target is the gastrointestinal system. But hey, if you are interested, the CDC also has information for you on this virus as well: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/submenus/sub_norwalk.htm

Solution? Everybody stay home! LOL

LD

BRAINCHEESE said...

SUE:

Very nice to meet you! Sounds like you are doing well on the Novantrone, too. We must have started the drug around the same time as I have just had my 4th dose as well in October.

I have heard of "Airborne", but I've never tried it...will have to look into it more seriously. Initially my neuro made squeaks about wearing a mask (or maybe that was one of several people I consulted prior to consent?) for the first few weeks post infusion...I've not found immunosuppression to be a problem, except for developing shingles (and this was also after a round of steroids)...so I have to believe the "other" stuff I do to protect myself works. **Knocking on wood**

LD

Bubbie said...

What incredible timing you have. I'm in Virginia Beach,was greeted by my baby and grandbaby who are full of snot. I'm surrounded by military personel and by Friday night I wanted to die. Is it Monday morning? Been up all night with fever and MS extremity pain. Bubby's Hubby is down too. He just rolled over and said, "get a gun and shoot me now...I promise I'll do you next." *moan/groan
Calling the doc long distance in an hour. This should be fun.

Have myelin? said...

Too weird you posted about that virus. I printed it out two days ago because it was posted on the Fox News website and wanted to show it to my son. Reason being, ever since he and I have been to Texas (June?) we've had a constant cough. I've already been on Cipro for a ten-days due to an UTI but that wouldn't help a viral cause.

Guess I'll wait till my "cough, cold" of unknown origins clears up. He still has it too. No fever tho.

Interesting. We both spent most of our time at the hospital with my dying father.

BRAINCHEESE said...

BUBBIE:

Oh, My aching BUBBIE!!! What hell have you found yourself in now?

Beware of fever, drink lots of fluids, and get lots of rest. It still could kill you, but at least people will say you "tried"...LOL

(Be well my friend)

LD

BRAINCHEESE said...

HAVE MYELIN:

OOPS! Those hospitals are cesspools for germs! But I guess as long as you didn't lick a door knob, you might recover from your "bug"...

Be well!

LD

Miss Chris said...

I just LOVE it when my doctor tells me not to get sick. Like I PLAN on it? You can wash your hands till they are cracked and bleeding and still get sick. I'm always reminded that we people with MS "shouldn't get sick". Okay. I shall do my best...