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It’s time to talk about stroke

HEA-Stroke-rgbHaving the conversation now could make a difference later

 

(NAPS)—A stroke can happen to anyone at any time, regardless of race, sex or age. It is a leading cause of death and serious long-term disability that affects nearly 800,000 people in the U.S. each year. Immediate medical attention may limit the effects of stroke, but most people are unaware of the signs and symptoms and what to do if they think someone is having one.

That’s why the National Stroke Association is working with Genentech to launch “Time To Talk,” a national stroke awareness campaign to encourage people to take action by talking with family and friends about the signs and symptoms of stroke and what to do if a stroke occurs.

Bob Steele of Marietta, Georgia learned the importance of being able to recognize a stroke after suffering one himself five years ago. Fortunately, Bob was able to alert his daughter when he realized he was experiencing symptoms of stroke.

“I was outside mowing my lawn when all of a sudden I felt dizzy and fell to the ground,” Bob recalls. “I was lying there, watching my life flash before my eyes, when my daughter thankfully came outside. I knew to tell her I was experiencing a stroke and to call 9-1-1.”

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries blood and oxygen to the brain is blocked by plaque or a blood clot (acute ischemic stroke) or breaks (hemorrhagic stroke). The visible signs and symptoms of stroke include speech impairment, arm numbness and weakness, severe headache, sudden confusion, trouble seeing out of one or both eyes, as well as uncontrollable drooping of the face.

“According to one estimate, approximately 1.9 million brain cells may die after being deprived of oxygen, which is why it is imperative to seek immediate medical attention,” said Sarah Parker, M.D., stroke neurologist at Illinois Neurological Institute in Peoria, Illinois. “There are treatments available if a patient’s symptoms are recognized quickly and they are transported to an emergency room early enough.”

Bob was rushed to the hospital, and thanks to the immediate medical attention he received, Bob is here today to help spread the word about stroke awareness.

“My stroke taught me that life is precious,” said Bob. “I encourage everyone to have the conversation about stroke with family and friends and learn about the signs and symptoms of stroke and what to do if a stroke occurs.”

“Time To Talk” asks individuals to pay it forward by sharing vital information about stroke and the importance of acting quickly. You never know when you might need to help someone around you or yourself. Have the conversation today!

In the event that you or someone you know begins to show signs and symptoms of a stroke, the F.A.S.T. test can be used as a quick screening tool.

For more information, go to www.stroke.org/TimeToTalk.

 

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Breast Cancer in 2013: What you need to know

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

(Family Features) Thirty years ago, a diagnosis of breast cancer was thought of as a virtual death sentence for many women, but since that time significant progress has been made in the fight against breast cancer. Reduced mortality, less invasive treatments, an increased number of survivors and other advancements have their roots in breast cancer research—more than $790 million of it funded by Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest breast cancer organization.

However, the reality is that breast cancer is still a serious disease. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, held each October, brings awareness to the disease and empowers women to take charge of their own breast health.

This year, about 200,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among women in the U.S. and nearly 40,000 women will die from it. Globally, 1.6 million people will be diagnosed, and 400,000 will die. Despite the increased awareness of breast cancer, major myths still abound. Women must remain vigilant against this disease by learning the facts and understanding how they may be able to reduce their risk.

The Myths and Facts on Breast Cancer

Myth: I’m only 35. Breast cancer happens only in older women.

Fact: While the risk increases with age, all women are at risk for getting breast cancer.

Myth: Only women with a family history of breast cancer get the disease.

Fact: Most women who get breast cancer have no family history of the disease. However, a woman whose mother, sister or daughter had breast cancer has an increased risk.

Myth: If I don’t have a mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, I won’t get breast cancer.

Fact: You can still get breast cancer, even without a gene mutation. About 90 to 95 percent of women who get breast cancer do not have this mutation.

Myth: Women with more than one known risk factor get breast cancer.

Fact: Most women with breast cancer have no known risk factors except being a woman and getting older. All women are at risk.

Myth: You can prevent breast cancer.

Fact: Because the causes of breast cancer are not yet fully known, there is no way to prevent it.

Actions to Reduce Your Risk

Breast cancer can’t be prevented; however, research has shown that there are actions women can take to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.

*Maintain a Healthy Weight – Postmenopausal women who are overweight have a 30 to 60 percent higher breast cancer risk than those who are lean.

*Add Exercise into Your Routine – Women who get regular physical activity may have a lower risk of breast cancer by about 10 to 20 percent, particularly in postmenopausal women.

*Limit Alcohol Intake – Research has found that women who had two to three alcoholic drinks per day had a 20 percent higher risk of breast cancer.

*Breastfeed, if you can – Research has shown that mothers who breastfed for a lifetime total of one year (combined duration of breastfeeding for all children) were slightly less likely to get breast cancer than those who never breastfed.

For more information on the facts about breast cancer and what you need to reduce your risk, or to find resources in your community, visit Komen.org or call 1-877-GO-KOMEN.

 

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Flu vaccinations at Health Department

Injections and mist protect against seasonal flu

_HEA-Flu-Vaccination_US_Navy

From the Kent County Health Department

 

Flu season is fast approaching. While Kent County has not had any cases reported at this time, now is the time to schedule an appointment to get immunized. The Kent County Health Department seasonal influenza program provides vaccinations for all individuals six months of age and older. The cost of the vaccine is $25 for injectable three strain vaccine, $29 for preservative free three strain vaccine, $30 for preservative free four strain vaccine or $33 for FluMist nasal spray (a live, preservative-free, four strain vaccine).

“Last season, there was a steep increase in the number of confirmed flu cases in Kent County, in comparison with the 2011-2012 season,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “Last season’s flu packed quite a punch for those who caught it. KCHD received dozens of calls from people looking to get vaccinated in December and January.” Since it can take about two weeks to become effective, now is the time to think about vaccinations. The flu can have serious complications for children under the age of five, the elderly, and people with already-weakened immune systems. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age to protect against flu viruses.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu viruses can spread when people with flu cough, sneeze, or even talk. Someone might also get flu by touching a surface or object (like a phone) that has flu virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose. It impacts schools and workplaces, but it can be prevented.

The flu can cause mild to severe illness, and in some cases, it can be deadly. Signs and symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (very tired), vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults). Not everyone with flu will experience all of the symptoms.

Children from six months through eighteen years who have no insurance, or who have insurance that doesn’t cover vaccines, will pay a sliding scale administration fee of up to $15. The Health Department can only bill Medicaid and Medicare. Cash, check, MasterCard, Visa, or Discover are accepted.

To make an appointment at any of our five clinic locations, call (616) 632-7200. You can also schedule online at www.stickittotheflu.com. Flu information is also available on our information only line at 742-4FLU (358).

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Health Department reminds adults to “Rethink Drinks”

Effort focuses on community awareness

 

The Kent County Health Department is continuing to work in partnership with Network180 to reduce adult heavy drinking. The partnership is entering its second year of the campaign to inform adults about the harmful effects and risky behaviors associated with excessive alcohol consumption. The campaign is hitting the road… in more ways than one.

Year two of the campaign has included bus boards on The Rapid, billboards, Johnny Ads and drink coasters distributed to bars and restaurants throughout Kent County, advertising at Fifth Third Ballpark, an end-of-season agreement with the West Michigan Whitecaps, and outreach at local schools and colleges.

“Alcohol abuse and heavy drinking can be a problem for all populations in West Michigan, especially this time of year,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “There are many short and long-term problems associated with heavy drinking, from risky behaviors to obesity and organ damage. Encouraging healthy behavior in places where alcohol is consumed helps us reach those most at-risk.”

Adult heavy drinking is a major public health concern. According to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Assessment in 2008, 18 percent of those who were surveyed between the ages of 18-64 admitted to binge drinking in the past month. Binge drinking is higher among men (20.8 percent) and in residents between the ages of 25-34. The assessment also found 22.7 percent of adults in a higher income tax bracket ($75,000/year) admitted to binge drinking in the past 30 days. Many people do not realize the long-term harm they are doing to their bodies when they engage in heavy drinking.

The website www.rethinkdrinks.com includes:

· How to determine if your alcohol consumption is a risk to your health;

· How much alcohol is in a drink;

· How many calories are in a drink;

· Online calculator to assist in determining your blood alcohol content.

This partnership between the Kent County Health Department and Network180 is supported by a grant from the Behavioral Health and Departmental Disabilities Administration/Bureau of Substances Abuse & Addiction Services.

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Nine-year-old to walk to stop diabetes

Fundraising garage sale this weekend to benefit walk 

 

Preston Ostrom

Preston Ostrom

Most nine-year-olds are active and energetic. So earlier this year, when Preston Ostrom, son of Kurt and Abby Ostrom, of Kent City, started drinking a lot of water, and wanting to sleep all the time, his mom started asking him questions about his strange behavior. He just wasn’t himself.

When she checked with the school, the school said he wasn’t participating anymore, wasn’t his normal self, and his face was red most of the time. Then they called and told his mom that Preston fell asleep in class. So Preston’s mom googled his symptoms, and found that he could have diabetes.

She called and made an appointment with the doctor. The doctor thought it was just something viral, but his mom insisted they test for diabetes. After five minutes of being tested, Preston was taken to the emergency room for high blood sugar.

“After 5 months of learning how to manage diabetes, the shots and sugar checks are ok, but learning a new way to eat is a real struggle for me,” said Preston. “But I’ve learned diabetes doesn’t define me. I’m still the same kid and I can be anything I want to be. Maybe even playing football for the U of M!”

According to Preston’s aunt, Lori Ostrom, Preston is walking in the American Diabetes Association’s Step Out Walk to stop diabetes event at Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids on October 5. “It’s his 10th birthday, so it’s extra special to him. We are joining him and trying to raise funds.”

She will be having a fundraising garage sale this weekend, September 13 and 14, at her home at 13383 Shaner Avenue, between 16 and 17 Mile, to help raise $1,000 for the walk. All proceeds from the garage sale will be donated to Preston’s Team for the Step Out event.

 

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West Nile Virus confirmed in horses

Residents should be diligent about mosquito control

 

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) State Veterinarian Dr. James Averill confirmed West Nile Virus (WNV) in two horses last week—one in Kent County and one in Ingham County—and reminds owners to get their horses vaccinated against the disease. WNV is a mosquito-borne disease affecting both humans and animals causing influenza-like symptoms and hospitalization in infants and older people who may be weak from other illnesses.

“Horses can be sentinel animals for what is going on around us. If a horse is sick, you can be sure there is reason to be cautious,” Averill said. “Signs of WNV in horses may include stumbling, tremors, skin twitching, struggling to get up, and facial paralysis, difficulty passing urine, a high temperature, impaired vision, and seizures. This is a very serious illness, and horses may ultimately have to be euthanized.”

Since West Nile Virus is spread to horses through the bite of an infected mosquito, protection measures reducing exposure to mosquito bites should be adopted. Horse owners should follow these tips to prevent mosquito-borne illness:

1. Vaccinate. WNV vaccines are inexpensive and readily available. It is not too late.

2. Use approved insect repellants to protect horses and follow label instructions.

3. If possible, put horses in stables, stalls, or barns, preferably under fans.

4. Eliminate standing water and drain troughs, and large containers at least once a week.

As of September 9, 12 human cases of WNV had been reported in Michigan in various counties. Blood donor screening provides an important early warning of WNV activity. Most people who are infected with WNV do not develop an illness, but the virus might be temporarily present in their blood. Because people may not know they have been infected, all donated blood is screened and samples are reported as “probable” cases, pending follow-up and testing of the donors. Last year, 202 WNV human illnesses and 17 human fatalities were reported in Michigan.

In addition, birds from 46 out of Michigan’s 83 counties have been found dead and reported to have WNV. Five counties also identified WNV positive mosquito pools (Bay, Kent, Midland, Saginaw, and Tuscola) from 3,128 mosquito pools and 43,393 mosquitoes tested.

Michigan is screening for five arboviruses: West Nile Virus, St. Louis Encephalitis,  Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), LaCrosse Encephalitis , or Powassan. The only mosquito-borne viruses that appear to be active right now are EEE (reported in a Van Buren County horse last week) and WNV. See up to date info at  www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases.

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Five germ-fighting tips to keep kids healthy this school year

While you can’t avoid germs, you can take steps to strengthen your family’s immunity and overall health. Soccer champion, Christie Rampone with daughters Reece and Rylie.

While you can’t avoid germs, you can take steps to strengthen your family’s immunity and overall health. Soccer champion, Christie Rampone with daughters Reece and Rylie.

(StatePoint) School is a great place to learn, play and make friends. Unfortunately it’s also a great place for germs to get very well acquainted….with your family! With 20 to 30 kids in a classroom and even more on the playground, it’s hard to avoid the germs that cause such illnesses as colds, flus and more.

Three-time Gold Medalist, wife and busy mom of two, Christie Rampone knows the importance of good health. As captain of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, she travels over two hundred days a year, often with her young children in tow. So stress, fatigue and staying healthy are daily battles. Since days off are not an option for Rampone, she is offering five “stay healthy” tips that parents can follow all school year long:

• Eat healthy: It’s no secret, a balanced diet is key for a healthy immune system. By focusing on a variety of fruits and vegetables and avoiding processed foods and sugary snacks, your family will get the nutrition it needs to fight off germs during the school year.

“Some of my favorite healthy snacks are carrots, celery and apples. They are easy to pack and extremely nutritious,” says Rampone. “The trick is to create variety, because kids tend to grow tired of the same things quickly.”

• Get plenty of exercise: Frequent, moderate exercise is important for good health and strong immunity.  On a daily basis, encourage kids to play sports, run, bike ride or dance, all to keep their bodies fit, hearts pumping strong and minds happy. Better yet, join in on the fun yourself!

• Sleep at least seven hours a night: Sleep is crucial to good health, both mentally and physically. A recent study showed that when you get less than seven hours sleep at night, you’re three times more likely to come down with a cold or flu.

• Take supplements as needed: Government recommendations call for five to eight servings of fruits and vegetables a day. But how many of us really get them?  To help fill the gaps, look for nutritional supplements supported by published clinical research. Rampone, who has battled Lyme disease, which wreaks havoc on the immune system, has been using such supplements for herself and her entire family.

• Don’t forget about you: As a parent, your first priority is usually the kids. But you need to make sure that you also take care of yourself too, especially during the chaotic school and work week. Make sure that you drink enough water and get a few minutes each day to relax and recharge your immune battery.

More tips to keep kids healthy this school year can be found at www.epicorimmune.com.

 

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West Nile Virus in Kent County

From the Kent County Health Department

 

More than 40 human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) infection were confirmed in Kent County residents last year. The caseload prompted staff at the Kent County Health Department to trap and test mosquito populations this summer. Positive results from this testing are meant to serve as an early warning system for the presence of the virus in Kent County. Last week, testing of mosquitoes collected at a random site in West Michigan

during the week yielded a result that was preliminarily positive for WNV.

“This test result confirms that the mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus are likely in our county,” said Adam London, Administrative Health Officer of the Kent County Health Department. “This information should encourage residents take steps to protect their families from mosquitoes.”

Only one case of illness has been confirmed in Michigan, in St. Joseph County, so far this year.

The Kent County Health Department recommends the following:

*At home, be sure you are not making it easy for mosquitoes to breed. Make sure to eliminate any standing water. Empty water from birdbaths, flower pots, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels, and cans twice a week. Make sure rain gutters are clear of debris. Throw out tarps, old tires and other items that could collect water.

*Use insect repellent when outdoors. Apply repellent to clothing and exposed skin, and always follow directions on the product label.

*Don’t apply repellent under clothing, or on cuts, wounds or irritated skin. You should not apply repellent around the eyes or mouth, and if using spray, apply spray to your hands first, and then apply to face.

*Repellent should not be used on infants under 2 months old at all. KCHD recommends putting netting over the infant’s stroller. Products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not to be used on children under three years of age.

*When using repellent on children, put it on your hands first, then on the child. Children tend to put their hands in or near their mouths, so don’t apply repellent to a child’s hands.

*After you and your children get back indoors, wash off the repellent with soap and water, and wash treated clothing before wearing again.

*Avoid areas where mosquitoes are likely to be, such as wooded areas or swampy land.

West Nile Virus can produce a range of symptoms in humans. According to the CDC, most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms, though up to 20 percent may develop mild illness with symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, rash, and swollen lymph glands. Some people will develop severe illness, with severe headaches, high fever, stiff neck, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis, and rarely, death. Persons 55 and over have the highest risk of severe disease.

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Breastfeeding moms: Tips for long-term success

August is National Breastfeeding month

HEA-Breastfeeding-month1(BPT) – No one argues the benefits of breastfeeding – 77 percent of babies start out being breastfed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The problem is that six months later, only 16 percent of babies are exclusively breastfed. What’s causing the significant drop off?

Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Surgeon General recommend exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age. And while breastfeeding and breast-pumping rates continue to grow, according to research from Medela, only 30 percent of moms are satisfied with their ability to meet their goals as well as national goals for breastfeeding.

Though breastfeeding is natural, the technique is a learned skill. Many new moms struggle with the task within the first months of their baby’s life, and frustrations paired with difficulties cause them to give up too quickly.

HEA-Breastfeeding-month2Moms-to-be can increase the likelihood of breastfeeding success with the right education and appropriate tools. Here are five expert tips for expectant parents to prepare themselves for a successful breastfeeding journey:

1. Get tools and supplies covered by the Affordable Care Act.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is redefining health care in America, and breastfeeding moms in particular are benefitting. While changes vary among insurance plans, the ACA now requires insurance companies to cover breastfeeding support and supplies. This may include lactation consultation, breast pumps and other health supplies needed for moms and babies to successfully breastfeed. For information on the ACA, how to talk to your insurance provider and more, visit www.breastfeedinginsurance.com. It’s important to have your questions answered and to be as knowledgeable as possible before baby arrives.

2. Educate yourself before baby’s arrival.

Reading books and watching videos can be extremely helpful for moms-to-be who want to breastfeed. Because there is a lot to learn, an online class can be particularly beneficial. The Medela Breastfeeding University is a 90-minute online course developed by health care professionals that walks moms through what to expect during pregnancy as their bodies change, what to expect at the hospital, how to transition at home and work, and even what fathers and grandparents can do to support breastfeeding efforts. Available in both English and Spanish, the $25 course fee will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House, plus moms who complete the course will receive a $25 coupon for a breastfeeding Accessory Starter Set. Visit-medelabreastfeedingu.com to learn more.

Use the code RELjN5GmY for a free registration for Medela Breastfeeding University in English, and use code RELSPqT6XAK to register in Spanish. Moms who use the free registration codes and complete the course are still eligible to receive the $25 coupon.

3. Build a support system

Breastfeeding takes time and dedication. Having a support system can help women overcome obstacles and successfully breastfeed for six months or longer. Spouses, family members and friends can all provide important support. Expert support can help as well, particularly when it comes to overcoming any hurdles such as latching problems or low-supply concerns. Consider meeting with a certified lactation consultant or join a support organization like La Leche League International or the Nursing Mothers’ Council. Your local Women, Infants and Children (WIC) office can also provide excellent breastfeeding support.

4. Prepare for comfortable breastfeeding at home

A few items can make breastfeeding at home easier and more comfortable for moms and babies. Some top supplies to consider stocking at home include a breastfeeding pillow to help support and position baby correctly, a rocking chair or glider, and multiple burping clothes to quickly clean up messes. Nursing bras, washable or disposable bra pads, and lanolin ointment are helpful also. Some women like to stock their breastfeeding area with bottled water, small snacks or reading material that they can enjoy while bonding with baby.

5. Prepare for heading back to work

With the right tools and a little preparation, mothers can continue breastfeeding while working. Federal law states employers must provide reasonable break times for employees to express breast milk for one year after a child’s birth. Employers must also provide a comfortable, private area that is free of intrusion, other than the bathroom. Talk with your employer or human resources contact about your intent to express milk during work hours. A double-electric pump and storage containers are good supplies to keep at work. Expressed milk can be safely stored at room temperature for four to six hours, in the refrigerator for three to eight days at 39 degrees or lower, and in the freezer for six to 12 months at 4 degrees or lower, according to www.BreastmilkGuidelines.com.

Stay connected to your baby, even when you’re not there. To learn more, visit www.medela.com.

 

 

 

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Heeren Brothers recalls cantaloupe

Heeren Brothers Produce is recalling approximately 5,400 cantaloupes because of a possible health risk to consumers.

The produce, which was distributed to small, independent grocers in Michigan July 23-26, has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes and should be discarded and not consumed. The cantaloupes are Athena Cantaloupes, but have no stickers or other markings that identify them as such.

The Kent County Health Department is recommending those who may have eaten the cantaloupe to contact a health care provider if they notice symptoms of illness in the coming weeks, especially those who may already be at high risk for illness. The FDA tested the cantaloupe and says it found the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause the infection Listeriosis in some people. Listeriosis can be fatal in high-risk populations.

The Kent County Health Department has not received any complaints of illness due to the cantaloupe recall as of August 6. “Listeriosis infection has an incubation period that ranges from three days to ten weeks,” said Adam London, Administrative Health Officer of Kent County. “We are concerned about people who are vulnerable to illness: newborns, older adults, those with compromised immune systems, and women who are pregnant.”

Listeriosis is a foodborne illness that causes about 1600 infections annually in the United States. Symptoms of Listeriosis include fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea, stomach cramping or vomiting. If you start to notice these symptoms and believe you may have eaten a potentially contaminated cantaloupe, contact your health care provider immediately. In pregnant women, Listeriosis can cause a variety of health complications for the fetus, including miscarriage and stillbirth. Other symptoms include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions. Even though Listeriosis is treatable with antibiotics, it has a high death rate among the food-borne infections.

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, the elderly or others with weak immune systems. Healthy individuals may suffer short-term symptoms, such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain or diarrhea. Listeria can cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women.

After receiving notice from the FDA, Heeren Brothers Produce immediately alerted retailers and requested that they remove the produce from their shelves. Heeren Brothers Produce has also contacted the supplier of the cantaloupes. The source of the potential issue is still under investigation. Heeren Brothers Produce is cooperating fully with the FDA.

Consumers who have questions may contact Heeren Brothers Produce at 616.452.2101 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Here are tips from the FDA regarding melon safety:

Consumers and food preparers should wash their hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling any whole melon, such as cantaloupe, watermelon, or honeydew.

Scrub the surface of melons, such as cantaloupes, with a clean produce brush under running water and dry them with a clean cloth or paper towel before cutting. Sanitize your scrub brush after each use, to avoid transferring bacteria between melons.

Promptly consume cut melon or refrigerate promptly. Keep your cut melon refrigerated at, or less than 40 degrees F (32-34 degrees F is best), for no more than 7 days. Discard cut melons left at room temperature for more than 4 hours.

More information on Listeriosis can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/.

 

 

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