Recent Outbreaks and Incidents


July 2021: Dangerous Trend of Using Magic Eraser for Teeth Whitening 

What: Use of Magic Eraser as a DIY at-home teeth whitening product. Magic Erasers are cleaning sponges that contain chemicals that are harmful if used on skin or ingested. Magic Erasers contain melamine, sulfurous acid, formaldehyde, and sodium. Sulfurous acid is corrosive and is used as reducing agents and disinfectants  Formaldehyde, a gas, is best known for its use during the embalming process on the recently deceased. The melamine foam acts like sandpaper, which will scrub off the enamel. 

If a person does use a Magic Eraser to clean their teeth, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.

June 2021 - Present

West Nile virus

What: West Nile virus (WNV) is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States.  It is most commonly spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. Cases of WNV occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall. There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV in people. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV do not feel sick. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness. You can reduce your risk of WNV by using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants to prevent mosquito bites.

Where: One mosquito pool collected in Vigo County has tested positive for West Nile virus

Arboviral diseases are immediately reportable to the local health department of the county where the patient resides

Varicella (chickenpox)

What:  Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). It can cause an itchy, blister-like rash. The rash first appears on the chest, back, and face, and then spreads over the entire body, causing between 250 and 500 itchy blisters. Chickenpox can be serious, especially in babies, adolescents, adults, pregnant women, and people with bodies that have a lowered ability to fight germs and sickness (weakened immune system). The best way to prevent chickenpox is to get the chickenpox vaccine.

Where: IDOH has increased reports of varicella including suspected clusters of varicella in local schools and childcare facilities.

Cases of varicella must be reported to the IDOH or LHD within 72 hours of diagnosis.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

What: Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) causes respiratory illness mainly in children under 4 years of age but can infect people of all ages. Children are often exposed to and infected with RSV outside the home, such as in school or child-care centers. They can then transmit the virus to other members of the family. RSV can survive for many hours on hard surfaces such as tables and crib rails. It typically lives on soft surfaces such as tissues and hands for shorter amounts of time.  People infected with RSV are usually contagious for 3 to 8 days. However, some infants, and people with weakened immune systems, can continue to spread the virus even after they stop showing symptoms, for as long as 4 weeks. 

Where: Mainly in southern states but has been identified in Indiana.

May 28, 2021- June 2021: Shingelosis 

What: Cases of Shigellosis have been identified. Shigella is a bacteria spread from person to person through exposure to contaminated feces; even a small number of bacteria can spread illness. Someone can become infected with Shigella through swallowing contaminated recreational water, touching items that are contaminated and touching your mouth, or caring for someone who has Shigella, including cleaning up after the person uses the bathroom or changing diapers.

When: On or after May 28, 2021.

Where: Tanganyika Wildlife Park and its Splash Park in Kansas.

If you are experiencing fever, diarrhea, or vomiting after visiting Tanganyika Wildlife Park on or after May 28, 2021, please visit a healthcare facility and ask the medical provider to test your stool (feces) for Shigella bacteria.