Federal health officials still are working to understand the widespread public health effects of a possible virus caused by a potential toxin produced by car-seat foam filler of the type used in infant car seats.
Sixteen cars from nine different manufacturers manufactured between 1996 and 2016 are the focus of an investigation of consumer complaints of an illness afflicting infants.
“Infection with this outbreak strain of Influenza A causes the potential damage of inflammation of the membrane membranes surrounding the brain and the optic nerve,” said Dr. Barbara Smith, Assistant Surgeon General and Acting Director of the NCHSWF, in a news release Monday. “There is no effective treatment or vaccine to prevent the infection, but doctors can manage the symptoms and maximize the efficacy of treatment for the infections resulting from this infection.”
The National Center for Biotechnology Information last week responded to a questionnaire sent to the agency by Fox News after filing an open source request.
In addition to car seats, the center did not include a particular product manufacturer or a type of foam filler.
Symptoms of infection with the Influenza A strain include a sudden onset of fever, difficulty breathing, chest pain, mild headache, irritability, sore throat, chills, a diarrheal illness and upper respiratory illness. More severe cases may be accompanied by seizures and dizziness. Infants younger than 2 months may have delirium, low blood pressure and severe vomiting.
Symptoms often present themselves suddenly, according to the NCHSWF. It is possible for parents to detect illnesses by looking for fever, persistent cough, sore throat, chest pain, loss of appetite, diarrhea, or lethargy, the news release stated.
The NCHSWF also noted that recent testing at an Ontario, Canada lab confirmed a confirmed outbreak strain of Flu A.
“This is the first confirmed outbreak strain of Influenza A identified in a pediatric patient in Ontario or at any Canadian location at this time,” according to the statement. “It is the second outbreak strain of Influenza A detected in Ontarian children at this time.”
While it is important for those who have had contact with potentially contaminated products to remain aware of the symptoms, public health officials advise that it is unlikely the virus has spread beyond Ontario.
The center does not provide recommendations about what to do if symptoms present in children, but states that the best thing to do is to keep children home from school if symptoms persist and involve nausea, vomiting, skin or joint pain, upper respiratory distress, lack of appetite or difficulty breathing.
More information is available on https://www.flu.gov/uc/vaccination/family/flu-and-influenza/fallout-from-exposure-to-flu-as-a-child-and-Influenza-season/intro.