UPDATE: Health investigators identify mystery illness in Pulaski - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

UPDATE: Health investigators identify mystery illness in Pulaski Co.

UPDATE: Health investigators identify mystery illness in Pulaski Co.

Posted: Updated:
Update- April 30, 2014:

New River Valley health officials say the two people who died in Pulaski County were co-infected with Influenza B and strep.

WSLS is told co-infection is extremely rare and the exact cause of death is still under investigation.

As we've reported, 14-year-old Ginger Simpkins and her mother, Julie, have died.

Four people were released from the hospital Sunday.

Update 7:05 p.m.

Emergency Management tells WSLS testing samples have been sent to the lab.

Crews expect it will take 48 to 72 hours to examine.

Josh Tolbert, the director of emergency management tells us that once this happens, health crews will likely be sent to test on-site at three different places: the family's house on Simpkinstown Road, another place on Greenhouse Road, and the Mason St. drop site in Fairlawn, which is near Radford.

The Sheriff's Office says there are three different sites where crews will be testing.

Update 5:10 p.m.

The Virginia Department of Health confirms an isolated illness has occurred amount a small group of people -- one family and a close friend in the New River Valley.

Two people have died and four people are in the hospital in fair condition at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

VDH says it is still unknown what caused the illness, but there is no indication of person-to-person transmission.

At this point, there is no indication of a public health risk.

VDH is working together with local physicians and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in this ongoing investigation.

Update 4:40 p.m. 

We've learned from sources that a Dublin Middle School student has died, and that health officials are looking into the possibility that the Hantavirus may be what caused the student to become sick.

After doing some research on the CDC website, we've found that the virus is spread through rodents and their waste, not person to person.

WSLS 10 has contacted our local health department, which is working to get more information to release to the public.

Crews are conducting some type of an investigation on Simpkinstown Road in Pulaski County.

We will continue to bring you updates on our website and on the air as we get more information into our newsroom.


Some Pulaski County School parents are concerned after receiving a phone recording Friday afternoon about an 'isolated illness' affecting one of the families.

Pulaski County Assistant Superintendent G
regory Brown says they are in contact with the New River Health District. School leaders were told to monitor any students running a fever.

The recommendation is for any child with a fever to be sent home and to see a doctor.

 Here is the full release:

"Dear Parents/Guardian,

We have been in contact with the New River Health District concerning an isolated illness effecting one of our families. The direction given by the New River Health District was to monitor any of our students running a fever, and send them home with the recommendation for the child to see their family physician.  Again, preliminary information indicates this illness is isolated to one family.  We have not received confirmation as to the cause of their illness, but we are taking steps to assure our schools are safe. "

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