PULASKI CO., Va. -

Update: 4/27/14:

The active investigation continues into cases of isolated illness among a small group of people in the New River Valley, resulting in two fatalities.
 
On Sunday, four individuals associated with this illness who had been hospitalized at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital were discharged.

There continues to be no new cases of illness - and no new hospital admissions - associated with this group of individuals.
 
“There is still no indication of person-to-person transmission and no indication of any public health risk,” said Molly O’Dell, M.D., director of the New River Health District. “This continues to appear to be an isolated incident with a single-source exposure.”
 
The locations where exposure might have occurred are on private property and have been secured, pending further environmental investigation.
 
Lab testing is underway for various samples collected from the patients. Initial test results are expected to be available beginning the end of this coming week and for some time thereafter.   
 
This collaborative investigation involves the Virginia Department of Health, local physicians and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Four people remain hospitalized by an isolated illness that has already killed a Pulaski County girl and her mother.

The four people are hospitalized at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. There are no new cases of the illness.

The illness is limited to a family of five and a close family friend. County officials who have been briefed on the situation say the illness is suspected to be hantavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says infection with hantavirus can progress to Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, which can be fatal.

Here is the news release from the Virginia Department of Health:

The active investigation continues into cases of isolated illness among a small group of people in the New River Valley, resulting in two fatalities.

Today four individuals remain hospitalized at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. There are no new cases of illness and no new hospital admissions reported to be associated with this group of individuals.

“There is still no indication of person-to-person transmission and no indication of any public health risk,” said Molly O’Dell, M.D., director of the New River Health District. “This continues to appear to be an isolated incident with a single-source exposure.”
The locations where exposure might have occurred are on private property and have been secured, pending further environmental investigation.

The collaborative investigation involves the Virginia Department of Health, local physicians and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Because we are seeing some influenza activity in the community, people in the area may experience flu symptoms. This is not necessarily related to the isolated illness that is under investigation,” said Dr. O’Dell. “As always, if you are concerned you may be developing influenza, you should follow up with your family physician as you normally would.”

VDH will release additional information as warranted, as the investigation continues.
For more information, contact Robert Parker, public information officer, Western Region, 540-580-2960

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Two members of a Pulaski County family have died from an isolated illness, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

Four other people are hospitalized at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. They are listed in fair condition.

The illness is limited to a family of five and a close family friend. County officials who have been briefed on the situation say the illness is suspected to be hantavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says infection with hantavirus can progress to Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, which can be fatal.

It will be two to three days before there is confirmation from lab results from the deceased on what the illness is. According to the Virginia Department of Health, there is no indication of person-to-person transmission.

WDBJ7 has learned that Ginger Simpkins, an eighth-grade student at Dublin Middle School, and her mother have died. Two other children in the family attend Snowville Elementary School. The family lives on Simpkins Town Road in Pulaski County. A Pulaski County Sheriff’s deputy blocked the road to the home with a cruiser.

The eighth-grader had been complaining for several days about flu-like symptoms. Her condition deteriorated over the past 36 hours, and the entire family was taken to a hospital in Roanoke.

Officials are helping secure any possible sites that are contaminated. They told WDBJ7’s Chris Hurst that the family was cleaning out a vacant mobile home and also took some trash to a drop-off site in Fairlawn. Both locations have been secured. The compactor from Fairlawn where they dumped the trash has been moved.

WDBJ7's Orlando Salinas spoke with Dr. David Trump, a state epidemiologist, about what it all means.

"That means that there are some illnesses of particular individuals that are being investigated, and gathering the information that's needed, the clinical information, and the history of those individuals so that we can provide the best public health advice," he said.

Officials stress that they believe there is no risk to other families in the area. But if you develop flu-like symptoms call your doctor.