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Mysterious Illness Kills 2, Hospitalizes 5 In Alabama

New strain of Norovirus causing outbreak in the U.S.

A mysterious illness has killed two people and caused five more to be hospitalized in Alabama, and the respiratory infection has baffled public health officials in the state.

The mysterious illness that has killed two in Alabama began to emerge late last week, and some of the seven total sickened also presented with the flu when treated.

A fever, cough, and shortness of breath affected those infected by the mysterious illness, and samples from all seven patients are currently being tested by the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control Respiratory Laboratory, with results expected later this week.

Alabama Department of Public Health Spokeswoman Mary McIntyre said public health officials are hoping that publicizing the outbreak would make Alabama residents aware of the mysterious illness that has killed two:

“We’re only aware of the Southeast, but we don’t know — we haven’t received reports from anywhere else … That’s why we’re trying to get the information out.”

WFSA reports that public health officials have discovered little to connect the infected individuals with one another, and add that none had recently traveled:

“So far none of those affected by the mystery illness appear to be connected to each other and there’s no indication that any had recently traveled outside the country … The ADPH and CDC are recommending that hospitals take respiratory precautions, such as breathing masks, when treating patients with respiratory symptoms.”

The station reports that all those infected with the mysterious illness lived in the”eight-county service area including Barbour, Coffee, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston and Pike counties.” Hospitals have been advised to implement cautionary measures including masks and increased infection control as the outbreak is investigated.

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