web analytics

Tag Archive | "Centers for Disease Control"

Local agencies train for worldwide Ebola outbreak


 

News came out this week that a second healthcare worker in a Dallas, Texas hospital has tested positive for the Ebola virus, after caring for a man who died there from it last week. So far, it is the only place in the U.S. affected by the virus. However, officials in Kent County aren’t twiddling their thumbs. Instead, they are proactively preparing to combat the threat.

Officials from the City of Grand Rapids, Kent County, area hospitals and first response agencies met Monday to discuss emergency preparedness regarding the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus worldwide. Discussions centered on the virus, transmission, prevention, patient isolation and monitoring, in case there was a patient with Ebola–like symptoms who had travelled to (or had close contact with someone from) the region impacted by Ebola.

“This meeting brought key first responders and healthcare providers to the same table to discuss our preparedness plans with county and city officials,” said Jack Stewart, Emergency Management Coordinator. “We need to be able to respond quickly, while making sure we are protecting our front-line personnel and others.”

The meeting resulted in a decision to reestablish the Metropolitan Medical Response System, which will ensure a coordinated effort.

The meeting included representatives of Emergency Management, the Grand Rapids City Manager’s Office, Grand Rapids Police Department, Grand Rapids Fire Department, Kent County Health Department, Kent County Administrator’s Office, Kent County EMS, Spectrum Health, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, and Metro Health Hospital.

“We are working to bring all of the right people to the table to discuss this emerging health threat,” said  Greg Sundstrom, Grand Rapids City Manager. “Knowing who to call before an emergency helps us provide the most successful response we can.”

The Kent County Health Department has provided guidance to area health care providers, based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) direction. “The region’s top emergency and medical professionals are making sure all providers have the right information and tools,” said Dan Koorndyk, Chair of the Kent County Board of Commissioners. “This type of cooperation ensures that our team is always prepared and informed.”

Area hospitals are continuously training for the unexpected. “We welcome the opportunity to work with our Kent County partners on this issue,” Michael Kramer, MD, Spectrum Health Senior Vice President & Chief Quality

Officer. “Spectrum Health is committed to providing all available assistance to our partners to educate and protect our community and health care workers.”

“As a community well-known for its collaboration, West Michigan’s health care providers and key stakeholders are preparing as best as we can, focusing on education, awareness and monitoring to prevent Ebola from occurring within our region,” said Mary Neuman, RN, BSN, MM, CIC, Director of Infection Control at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. “All these pieces to keep our community safe will require constant and open communication among our health care systems.”

“By working together with the Kent County Health Department and area hospitals and using CDC guidelines, we are able to share best practices that truly benefit our community,” said Svetlana Dembitskaya, Metro Health chief operating officer. “Our community can rest assured that we are working together to provide the high quality care West Michigan residents expect and deserve.”

Ebola is a severe, often fatal disease in humans. The CDC continues to issue regular updates to state and local authorities. The outbreak continues to affect several countries in West Africa: Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.

Currently, those at highest risk include healthcare workers and the family and friends of a person infected with Ebola. A person infected with Ebola is not contagious until symptoms appear, which can take up to 21 days.

Signs and symptoms of Ebola are flu-like in nature. They typically include:

Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)

Severe headache

Muscle pain

Vomiting

Diarrhea

Stomach pain

Unexplained bleeding or bruising

No one in Kent County has met the criteria for testing at this time, and no cases of Ebola have been confirmed in Michigan.

 

 

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Man in Texas dies from Ebola virus


 

Health Department & Emergency Management monitors Ebola situation 

 

GRAND RAPIDS – The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) and Kent County Emergency Management (KCEM) continues to monitor the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the case in Texas, where a man from Liberia who came to the U.S. died from Ebola Wednesday. Ebola is a severe, often fatal disease in humans. KCHD and KCEM are regularly receiving updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on this emerging outbreak.

The outbreak involves several countries in West Africa: Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, and Nigeria. Currently, those at highest risk include healthcare workers and the family and friends of a person infected with Ebola. Area health care providers have received information from the KCHD based on CDC guidance.

“The death in Texas today is a tragic reminder that Ebola is a serious illness,” said Adam London, Health Officer of the Kent County Health Department. “But it also has been an excellent reminder of how well our public health system works in the United States. There have been no additional reports of illness as a result of this one case at this time, because of the emergency response and precautions taken by health care providers and epidemiologists.”

“The level of cooperation and information-sharing between emergency agencies helps keep local municipalities like Kent County informed and well-prepared,” said Jack Stewart, Emergency Management Coordinator for Kent County. “Keeping community leaders, first responders and our local emergency departments updated has been our top priority.”

A person infected with Ebola is not contagious until symptoms appear, which can take up to 21 days. Signs and symptoms of Ebola are quite flu-like in nature. They typically include:

Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)

Severe headache

Muscle pain

Vomiting

Diarrhea

Stomach pain

Unexplained bleeding or bruising

No one in Kent County has met the criteria for testing at this time, and no cases of Ebola have been confirmed in Michigan.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Flu fighters: Busting six sickening flu myths


HEA-Flu-myths(BPT) – Ready for this year’s flu season? You may think you know a lot about flu prevention and treatment – but being wrong about the flu can make you downright ill. Here are six myths about the flu, and the truth behind them.

Myth 1: Cold weather will give you the flu.

Fact: Although flu cases commonly peak in January or February, and the “season” usually lasts from early October to late May, it is possible to get the flu at any time of year. During cold weather, people are inside in confined spaces for greater amounts of time. This, combined with bringing germs home from work or school, creates more opportunities for the flu to spread.

Myth 2: If you’ve had a flu shot, you can’t get sick.

Fact: It takes about two weeks for the flu vaccination to fully protect you, and you could catch the virus during that time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since the flu vaccine protects against specific strains expected to be prevalent in any given year, it’s also possible for you to be exposed to a strain not covered by the current vaccine. Finally, the vaccine may be less effective in older people or those who are chronically ill, the CDC says.

Myth 3: Once you’ve treated a surface with a disinfectant, it is instantly flu free.

Fact: Disinfectants don’t work instantly to kill germs on surfaces. In fact, some antibacterial cleaners can take as long as 10 minutes to work. And they have to be used correctly. First, clean the surface and then spray it again, leaving it wet for the time specified on package directions. Anything less and you may not kill the flu virus, exposing yourself and others to illness.

If you’re including antibacterial cleaning in your flu-fighting efforts, look for a product that works much faster, like Zep Commercial Quick-Clean Disinfectant. Available at most hardware and home improvement stores like Home Depot, Quick Clean Disinfectant kills 99.9 percent of certain bacteria in just five seconds, and most viruses in 30 seconds to two minutes. To learn more, visit www.zepcommercial.com.

The flu virus can live up to 24 hours on surfaces such as counters, remote controls, video game controllers, door knobs and faucets. Use a household cleaner that disinfects to clean these high-touch surfaces to help prevent your family from spreading the cold and flu.

Myth 4: You got vaccinated last year, so you don’t need a shot this year.

Fact: Like all viruses, flu viruses are highly adaptable and can change from year to year. Also, the strains vary each year, so the vaccination you got last year may not be effective against the flu that’s active this year. In fact, it most likely won’t be effective. The CDC recommends that people who are eligible for the vaccine get a flu shot by early October.

Myth 5: You got the flu shot, wash your hands frequently and disinfect religiously – you’ve eliminated your risk of flu exposure.

Fact: We don’t live or work in sterile environments. Germs are brought home every day on items like messenger bags, cell phones, notebooks, shoes – even on your clothes. If someone in your home gets sick, or is exposed to someone with the flu, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and discard the tissue in the trash right away. Wash hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Remember that germs spread through touch, so avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Myth 6: Getting the flu isn’t that big of a deal.

Fact: It could be. Last year was the worst flu season since 2009, the CDC said, and during the week of Jan. 6 to 12, 2013, more than 8 percent of all deaths nationwide were attributable to flu and flu-related pneumonia. In addition to making you miserable, flu can make existing medical conditions worse, lead to sinusitis and bronchitis and even pneumonia.

Bottom line: if you are not feeling well, avoid making yourself and others around you sick by staying home.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Featured, HealthComments (0)

State confirms 25 Enterovirus D68 cases


 

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) has been notified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that 25 patients out of 34 persons tested so far are positive for enterovirus D68 (EV-D68). Most were hospitalized and one patient, a child less than 1 year of age from Washtenaw County, developed lower extremity paralysis.

The United States is currently experiencing a nationwide outbreak of EV-D68 associated with severe respiratory disease. Michigan has seen an increase in severe respiratory illness in children across the state, and the department is working with the CDC, Michigan local health departments and hospitals to monitor the increase.

Enteroviruses are very common viruses; there are more than 100 types. It is estimated that 10 to 15 million enterovirus infections occur in the United States each year. Symptoms of EV-D68 infection can include wheezing, difficulty breathing, fever and racing heart rate. Most people infected with enteroviruses have no symptoms or only mild symptoms, but some infections can be serious requiring hospitalization.

Enteroviruses are known to be a rare cause of acute neurologic disease in children, such as aseptic meningitis, less commonly encephalitis, and rarely acute myelitis and paralysis. Enteroviruses are transmitted through close contact with an infected person, or by touching objects or surfaces that are contaminated with the virus and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes. There is no specific treatment for EV-D68 infections but supportive care can be provided.

Young residents with asthma may be at an increased risk of severe complications and are encouraged to be vigilant in taking their asthma controlling medications. Further, Michiganders can protect themselves from enterovirus by taking general hygiene precautions:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers.
  • Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.

For additional information about EV-D68 or the national investigation, visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/about/EV-D68.html.

 

Posted in NewsComments (0)

The nation’s most deadly disease


18888618_web(BPT) – Few people understand just how much a threat cardiovascular disease (CVD), or heart disease, can be. Consider this: heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world. Cardiovascular disease claims more lives each year than cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease and accidents combined. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 71 million American adults (33.5 percent)-have high LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol and only one out of every three adults with high LDL cholesterol has the condition under control.

While heart disease is truly dangerous, in many instances the disease is preventable. You may have heard concerns over high cholesterol levels. Elevated cholesterol is among the leading risk factors for CVD. Living a healthy lifestyle that incorporates good nutrition, weight management and getting plenty of physical activity can play an important role in lowering your risk of CVD, according to the American Heart Association.

If you’re interested in reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease, these tips can help.

* Move your body. Exercise not only reduces your bad cholesterol levels, it can also increase your HDL, or good cholesterol, levels. The exercise need not be strenuous to enjoy the benefit either. Get a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps a day. A 45-minute walk can help you reach your goal.

* Cut the saturated fats. Saturated fats have long been linked to high cholesterol levels. As you prepare your next meal, use canola oil or olive oil instead of vegetable oil, butter, shortening or lard.

* Opt for fish. You don’t have to become a vegetarian to achieve a healthy cholesterol level; you just have to make smarter meat selections. Fish and fish oil are loaded with cholesterol-lowering omega-3 acids. The American Heart Association recommends fish as your source for omega-3s and eating fish two or three times a week is a great way to lower your cholesterol.

* Avoid smoking. Smoking has been linked to many health concerns and research shows that smoking has a negative impact on good cholesterol levels and is also a risk factor for heart disease.

Heart disease accounts for one in three deaths in the United States and many cases of the disease are preventable through healthy choices.

There is a clinical research study being conducted to try to help with this disease. The Fourier Study, sponsored by Amgen, is a clinical research study to find out if an investigational medication may reduce the risk of future heart attacks, strokes, related cardiovascular events and death in individuals with a prior history of heart disease. The study is investigating a different approach to reducing LDL cholesterol or “bad” cholesterol.

To learn more about how you can take part in The Fourier Study, call 855-61-STUDY or visit HeartClinicalStudy.com.

 

Posted in HealthComments Off

How to prevent dog bites


Melissa Berryman, a national dog bite consultant who founded the Dog Owner Education and Community Safety Council (www.doecsc.org).

Melissa Berryman, a national dog bite consultant who founded the Dog Owner Education and Community Safety Council (www.doecsc.org).

Bite Specialist Offers Tips for Preventing a Financial Nightmare & Pet Tragedy

Last year, dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowner’s insurance liability claims, according to the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm.

“Those claims can be financially hard on the homeowners and tragic for the dogs, which is especially troublesome when you know that bites aren’t a ‘bad dog’ problem – they’re a human ignorance problem,” says Melissa Berryman, a dog bite specialist who designed and teaches a safety and liability class for dog owners. She’s the author of “People Training for Good Dogs: What Breeders Don’t Tell You and Trainers Don’t Teach” www.ptfgd.com.

“In all of my years as an animal control officer, I’ve never come across an incident with a dog that was not preventable,” she says.

In 2011, there were 360,000 nonfatal dog bite injuries treated in emergency rooms in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease control, with claims totaling into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

“Regardless of provocation, dog owners are largely held liable and see their insurance canceled or their premiums increased. To be reinstated premiums can go up and insurance companies often require them to get rid of the dog.  And, often, that means the dog is euthanized.”

Pet owners can prevent this common and unnecessary tragedy by understanding a dog’s perspective and acting accordingly. She offers five tips to reduce dog bite incidents:

• Remember, dogs aren’t trying to protect a home when they react negatively to strangers or visitors: Dogs place no value on your home, car, or the valuables they might contain. When they’re in a home or car, they are trapped in an enclosed area and will respond to perceived threats with an automatic fight-or-flight response. It is the owner’s responsibility to train dogs to calmly signal someone’s approach and then to assert authority over the situation.

• Consider your dog’s “rank”: Dogs have superior/subordinate relationships similar to the military.  Rank of family and guests dictates a dog’s behavior towards them.  A high-ranking dog, a “general,” won’t tolerate insubordinate behavior from a perceived low ranking “private’’ child or guest. Bites often occur when human “privates” try to take food or toys away, hug or pull a “general” type dog by the collar off of furniture.

• Yelling can exacerbate a dog’s agitation: Your dog doesn’t know you’ve ordered pizza, so when the delivery person arrives, your dog is agitated by the threat at the door and starts barking. When you yell at your dog to stop barking, he interprets this as agitation on your part; he understands tone, not language. That only increases a dog’s anxiety and vulnerability. When the door opens, the dog bites because it thinks you and he are both feeling threatened and you’re both going to attack the threat. It’s best to happily reassure your dog when someone arrives and leave the greeting of guests to you, and not the dog.

• How you treat strangers influences how your dog treats them: Dogs respond to their owners’ behavior, which gives them signals about whether or not a situation is safe. When the dog’s owner meets a stranger and interacts formally with that stranger, as many of us do, dogs can view this as the behavior of foes, or as apprehension, such as that of prey. Owners holding leashes tightly unwittingly place their dog in the dangerous fight stance of the fight or flight response. It’s best to relax and act like a friend when meeting strangers, which will elicit a friendly response from a dog.

“Dogs react based on their pack positions, the handling ability of their owners and the situation and context,” she says. “People have the power to recognize this and redirect the interaction to that of friends.”

By understanding and respecting how dogs’ instincts and natural behaviors differ from ours, dog owners can prevent bites and insurance headaches, Berryman says.

About Melissa Berryman

A Massachusetts animal control officer from 1993 to 1999, Melissa Berryman is a national dog bite consultant who founded the Dog Owner Education and Community Safety Council (www.doecsc.org) and works with communities, rescue groups, dog owners and bite victims. She also designed and teaches a safety and liability class for dog owners, from which “People Training for Good Dogs” is derived. She has worked with more than 10,000 dogs.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments Off