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August 27, 2012

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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
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The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

Public Health Officials Still Waiting for Hundreds of DOMAINfest Global Attendees to Complete Survey on Illness Outbreak

Early this morning, the organizers of the DOMAINfest Global conference sent attendees of this month's conference in Los Angeles a letter updating them on what is known so far about the outbreak of illnesses reported by many guests soon after the show ended. Public health officials investigating the outbreak still have not identified the cause and I was surprised to see in the new letter that they have not gotten all of the co-operation they need from attendees in order to find the answers we are all waiting for. 

The letter said that only about half of the more than 700 people whom emails were sent to have completed the important online survey the Los Angeles County Public Health Department is using to collect crucial data needed to guide their efforts. If you were at the conference it is very important that you fill out this brief private survey even if you did not get sick! 

Image: Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here is the complete letter we received at 4:02am (U.S. Eastern time) Wednesday, Feb. 16:

Dear DOMAINfest Global Attendee:

We are encouraged to hear further reports that more people who have been sick with the mysterious illness are feeling better. For those of you still feeling ill, we sincerely wish you a speedy recovery.†
This communication will update you on the situation, and will ask you to assist health authorities if you havenít already done so.†

Identification of the Illness  

Since the first reports of the illness, our attention has been focused on helping the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health identify the illness itself as well as its source.  While there has been a great deal of speculation, authorities have not yet determined the cause.  In fact, they released a statement earlier today saying that "not everyone with reported symptoms is likely to have the same illness because a number of respiratory infections with similar symptoms are circulating".  They are making few assumptions and need further assistance from some of you in order to complete their work.  

Health Department Survey  

If you have not yet taken the Public Health Departmentís confidential survey (distributed by them on February 11 and again on February 12), please do so immediately.  Only about half of the 715 DOMAINfest attendees have completed the survey.  While this is helpful, more responses are needed to collect enough data.  The models and Mansion staff attending the Mansion fundraiser are also filling in their own separate survey.  

Please complete the following attendee survey EVEN IF YOU DID NOT BECOME ILL:  


Free lab test for attendees in the Los Angeles area  

If you became ill and live in the Los Angeles area, the Public Health Department is offering free laboratory services to help diagnose the condition.  For details, please contact Dr. Rachel Civen at [email protected].  Alternatively, your personal physician can collect samples and arrange with Dr. Civen for courier delivery to the appropriate lab.  Details on the free lab test are included in this letter from the Public Health Department.  

For individuals living outside the Los Angeles area, or overseas, you can contact the following person at the CDC in Atlanta for details on how to obtain the proper lab tests.  

Laurel Garrison
[email protected]

If your doctor has already performed lab tests, please have them forwarded to the following Department of Public Health official.  All submissions are kept strictly confidential.  

Dr. Rachel Civen 
[email protected]
Via fax 1-213-482-4856

Please help with accurate information  

We extend our thanks to industry colleagues who have been keeping people informed and for encouraging sick attendees to seek medical attention.  
As the LA County Public Health Department investigation continues, we ask for everyoneís patience and to avoid the temptation to speculate or spread rumors, since unfounded information can needlessly slow down the inflow of accurate information necessary to correctly identify the cause of this illness.  

We hope that everyone will do their part in promptly providing detailed information and lab reports so that health authorities can help us uncover all the facts.    

Thanks again for your help.  


The DOMAINfest Team

[email protected]

The observation in the letter that " "not everyone with reported symptoms is likely to have the same illness because a number of respiratory infections with similar symptoms are circulating" is consistent with what we have seen in reports from people who fell ill. A few said that family members caught the illness from them. Bacterial infections, which we know many had or may still have, are not contagious, but flu viruses are and they are widespread at this time of year.

In a letter the Los Angeles County Health Department sent to attendees Monday (Feb. 14) they asked that all who fell ill have lab tests done to help identify what caused them to be sick (even if they have since recovered). As noted in the letter those tests are being offered at no charge to those in Los Angeles County, however the majority of the attendees do not live there (or anywhere close to Los Angeles). 

The tests could be a considerable expense for those who have to pay for them themselves so I sent a letter to a doctor on the investigation team that I have stayed in touch with to see if anything can be done for those outside Los Angeles County to offset the cost that may be preventing them from getting the tests done. The doctor said it is an issue they are aware of and are discussing with the CDC. I will update you on any developments there - in the meantime, if you have not filled out the survey, please do so now while you are thinking of it. 

Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

(Posted Feb. 16, 2011)  

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