When I was an undergrad, I used to love reading the electronic police blotter that the university police produced every night. Of most interest to me was the early Monday morning postings detailing all the weekend’s post-bar excitement (like campus police called to remove "drunk and belligerent older women" from the all-male residence hall).
I didn’t expect to see the same police blotter treatment after an outbreak; I didn’t know that the Rock Island County Sheriff’s Department would get involved.
The report [notification of a hep A positive test] normally would have been given to Cheryl Dobereiner of the health department, but she was on vacation. Also, it was filled out on an incorrect form – for hepatitis B, C or D, diseases that are considered more serious than hepatitis A. The law states that hepatitis B, C and D cases may be reported within seven days, in contrast to the more immediate 24-hour requirement for hepatitis A.
Dobereiner returned to work at Rock Island County on July 13, having been on vacation since June 23. She noticed the incorrect form used by the Metropolitan Medical Lab and called the facility.
Metropolitan Lab did not have hepatitis A on its list of diseases that must be reported within 24 hours, according to the sheriff’s department report. A representative from the lab was not available for comment Monday.
Good to have Hep A on the State’s Health Department’s 24hr notifiable disease list (since the post-exposure shot, effective at limiting the chance of infection, is time-dependent).
It would be great to have the disease on everyone’s 24hr reportable list.
Even better to have someone filling out the form correctly.
And it’s hard to believe that at least 22 illnesses linked to this outbreak might have been avoided if a different person was on vacation.