Unidentified skin outbreak startles Southwestern Medical Center

Vaccinia-site of a typical smallpox vaccination reaction
Vaccinia-site of a typical smallpox vaccination reaction

Lawton_Southwestern Medical center was on lock-down for a short time Tuesday night.  No one could go in and no one could leave.  They say a patient came into the medical center at 6:20pm with a strange skin rash. The hospital immediately issued a "code yellow"  which means there is a biological hazard or a infectious disease.

Dr. Hoover says the patient was immediately quarantined and remained in isolation after being observed.  "I think, in my recolection of ten years at this facility, this is the first time we ve ever had any real code yellow," she said.  Doctors were so baffled by this skin rash they were using their cell phones to photograph the puzzling rash.

Couriers took samples of this disease to the Public Health Lab at the Oklahoma Department of Health and results should be available sometime Wednesday afternoon. The lab thought that it was a possible reaction, in the patient, to a smallpox vaccination the patient's neighbor had recently recieved.  It's common for the military to administor these shots to personnel before deploying and in a small number of people, there are complications.  Most of those resolve on their own.

The health department does say there is no public health risk since they have determined the rash to be either smallpox or an unusual form of smallpox or virus.

The official statement from Southwestern Medical Center from Tuesday evening:

Statement from Penny Hoover, M.D., Chief of Staff-Southwestern Medical Center

"At 18:20 a patient entered the Southwestern Medical Center Emergency Department with a concerning skin rash. This was found to be significant and a possible viral contagion. A Code Yellow was initiated and the hospital was locked down in order to protect patients, visitors, staff and the community."

"CCMH (Comanche County Memorial Hospital) was also notified as the patient had been seen in their facility as well.  Appropriate State Officials at the Health Department and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) were notified.  We received rapid support from local officials, police and the fire department, as well as Curt Wagstaff at the Medical Reserve Corp (MRC)."

"Medical information was exchanged to the State Health Department and CDC to include electronic pictures and it was determined that there was no risk to anyone involved."

C.C. Memorial Hospital has not released a statement at this time.