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Tag Archive | "MDHHS"

Michigan extends “Do not eat” fish advisory for Huron River to Lake Erie 


 

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recently issued an expanded “Do not eat” fish advisory for all fish in the Huron River in Livingston, Oakland, Washtenaw, Wayne, and Monroe Counties. The original advisory was issued on August 4, 2018. 

The “Do not eat” advisory for the Huron River starts where N. Wixom Road crosses in Oakland County and extends downstream to the mouth of the Huron River as it enters Lake Erie in Wayne County. This includes: 

  • Norton Creek (Oakland County) 
  • Hubbell Pond, also known as Mill Pond (Oakland County) 
  • Kent Lake (Oakland County) 
  • Ore Lake (Livingston County) 
  • Strawberry & Zukey Lake (Livingston County) 
  • Gallagher Lake (Livingston County) 
  • Loon Lake (Livingston County) 
  • Whitewood Lakes (Livingston County) 
  • Base Line & Portage Lakes (Livingston/Washtenaw County line) 
  • Barton Pond (Washtenaw County) 
  • Geddes Pond (Washtenaw County) 
  • Argo Pond (Washtenaw County) 
  • Ford Lake (Washtenaw County) 
  • Bellville Lake (Wayne County) 

This extension is a result of new perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) fish data from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Base Line Lake and Argo Pond fish fillet data, downsteam from Kent Lake, were found to have high PFOS levels. Additionally, high PFOS surface water levels were found upstream of Kent Lake. 

Touching the fish or water and swimming in these water bodies is not considered a health concern as PFAS do not move easily through the skin. An occasional swallow of river or lake water is also not considered a health concern. 

For current guidelines relating to PFAS fish contamination, visit Michigan.gov/pfasresponse. For more information about the Eat Safe Fish guidelines, visit Michigan.gov/eatsafefish. 

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Health advisory issued regarding PFAS in foam on Rogue River


Photo of foam at Rogue River on April 6, 2018. Photo taken by AECOM during the sampling event.

by Judy Reed

An unusual foam has appeared on water bodies in Michigan located near known sources of PFAS, including the Rogue River near the Rockford dam. And if you are someone who likes to swim in or use the Rogue River for recreational purposes, you’ll want to make sure you don’t swallow that foam floating on the water.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHH) and Kent County Health Department (KCHD) issued a health advisory on Tuesday, June 5, with that warning after testing came back from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on June 4.

According to a report from the MDHH, surface water samples from the Rogue River and its tributary Rum Creek were collected in October 2017, and a sample of foam observed on the Rogue River near the Rockford Dam was collected in April 2018. Concentrations of PFAS in the foam were high relative to concentrations in the surface water.

Because of the amounts of PFAS found in that foam, MDHHS and KCHD have concluded that swallowing the foam may pose a human health risk. Therefore, the two agencies are advising people to take precautions against swallowing the foam while using the river recreationally.

The MDHHS advised that neither contact with skin, nor incidental ingestion of, PFAS-containing water during recreational activities in the Rogue River are expected to pose a risk to human health. It was mainly ingestion of the foam that posed the health risk.

The report noted there are other potential exposure pathways of PFAS near the Rogue River, including the consumption of locally-caught non-migratory fish or the drinking of water from wells that have an elevated concentration of PFAS. So avoiding contact with river foam alone may not ensure you won’t be exposed to PFAS.

The MDHHS has issued Eat Safe Fish guidelines for the Rogue River due to a variety of chemicals, including PFOS and mercury. See Michigan.gov/eatsafefish for more info on that.

In the meantime, the MDEQ will continue to monitor the foam on the Rogue River.

 

 

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Rodent poison in fake weed kills 2, more hospitalized


A pesticide used to kill rodents has been identified as the poison in fake weed that is causing uncontrolled bleeding in users.

Illinois reports 70 cases

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is alerting health care providers and Michigan residents about numerous cases of people in Illinois suffering from persistent and severe bleeding due to the suspected use of synthetic marijuana containing brodifacoum.

Brodifacoum has been identified as the cause of 70 cases of uncontrolled bleeding reported between March 7 and April 2 being investigated by the Illinois Department of Public Health. This has included 60 hospitalizations and two deaths.

Brodifacoum is an off-white, odorless powder poison. It was first introduced in 1975 to eliminate rodents that had become resistant to existing poisons. It is one of the most widely used pesticides around the world.

To date, the illnesses have been associated with the use of synthetic marijuana products. Synthetic marijuana is a human-made, mind-altering chemical that is either sprayed on dried, shredded plant material to be smoked or sold as liquids to be vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes and other devices. Also known as fake weed, it is sold for recreational drug use under brand names such as K2, Spice, Black Mamba, Bombay Blue, Genie, Zohai and others.

“While public health officials in Michigan have not been made aware of any cases to date, the fact Illinois is a neighboring state gives us cause for concern,” said Dr. Eden Wells, MDHHS chief medical executive. “We are urging anyone who has a reaction to synthetic marijuana, such as severe bleeding, to call 911 or have someone take them to the emergency department immediately.”

When correctly identified, cases can be treated with doses of vitamin K.

Unexplained bleeding could involve blood in the urine, coughing up blood, a bloody nose, bleeding gums, and more.

 

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Women urged to prevent congenital heart defects in newborns 


 

More than 333,000 babies screened for heart disease since 2014 

To help prevent congenital heart defects, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Newborn Screening Program is urging women to take preventative steps before, during and after pregnancy, including newborn screening. 

Congenital heart defects are one of the most common birth defects and leading cause of birth defect-related deaths. Present at birth, the defects affect the structure and function of the heart. These defects can be detected with a pulse oximeter during newborn screening. Since April 2014, when this screening became a part of the Newborn Screening Panel, more than 333,000 babies born in Michigan have been screened for critical congenital heart disease. 

 “Michigan babies are greatly benefiting from a simple, painless screen done at 24 hours of life,” said Dr. Eden Wells, MDHHS’ chief medical officer. “With technology and treatment for these conditions improving, if diagnosed early, children with serious congenital heart defects have the potential to lead normal, healthy lives. “ 

It is important for parents to know that newborn screening cannot identify every child with a critical heart problem. Warning signs that all parents should watch for are: bluish color of the lips or skin, grunting, fast breathing, poor feeding and poor weight gain. 

Some congenital heart defects have only a minor and brief effect on a baby’s health and some have very serious and life-long effects and can cause early death. Public awareness, accurate diagnosis and expert medical care are all essential for adequate management of these all too common and deadly conditions. 

Studies have reported increased risks for congenital heart defects associated with maternal obesity, diabetes and smoking. 

 “The heart forms in the early weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman realizes she is pregnant,” Wells said. “Diet, genetic and environmental factors, life-style choices, health conditions and medications all can play a role in preventing or causing congenital heart defects.” 

As part of Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week, Feb. 7-14, MDHHS is advising women who are pregnant or may become pregnant to: 

  • Avoid all alcohol and illegal/recreational drugs. 
  • Avoid exposure to smoke, chemicals and toxins, both at work and at home. 
  • Take a folic acid supplement throughout the childbearing years and check with their healthcare provider to confirm that they are getting adequate amounts of all the essential nutrients. 
  • See a physician prior to pregnancy, especially if there are medical conditions which require medications, any known metabolic conditions including diabetes, obesity, phenyketonuria (PKU), or a family history of congenital heart defects. 
  • Receive regular medical check-ups and learn about their family history and potential genetic risks. 

For more information about Michigan’s Newborn Screening Program, visit Michigan.gov/newbornscreening

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MDHHS reminds parents spring chicks may carry Salmonella


N-chicks

LANSING, Mich. – Health experts at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services are warning parents about the potential for baby poultry to carry Salmonella. A common bacteria found in the droppings of poultry, Salmonella can cause illness in people. Salmonella germs contaminate feathers, feet and beaks of birds, as well as cages, coops and the environment where the birds live and roam. “Washing your hands thoroughly before and after handling chicks and other poultry protects both you and your family from the risk of Salmonella, and also helps keep the birds healthy,” said MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Eden Wells. “Even birds appearing cute, healthy, and clean can carry bacteria that can make people sick.”

In 2016, there were nine nationwide outbreaks of Salmonella illness linked to contact with live poultry, causing illness in 911 people in 48 states. Michigan reported 55 cases, of which almost half (45 percent) were in children.

During spring, live baby poultry are often displayed in stores in a way that children may be able to reach and touch the birds or areas where the birds are contained. This is one way people become exposed to harmful bacteria that leads to illness. People may also obtain birds through the mail by placing an order directly with a hatchery that supplies baby birds to raise for food or as pets.

Salmonella can cause diarrhea, vomiting, fever and/or abdominal cramps lasting four to seven days or more. Salmonella infections can be especially serious for the very young, the very old, and those with weak immune systems.

Baby poultry have special requirements for warmth and protection. Backyard flock owners may not be aware of the risk of Salmonella from baby poultry and consequently, may keep the birds inside their home. Potential poultry owners should plan ahead to provide a proper space that is safe for the birds and for the people in the household. To address this, backyard flock owners should give live poultry their own space to live, outside of the home. People should follow these recommendations to protect themselves and others:

  • Children younger than five years old, older adults or people with weak immune systems should not handle or touch chicks, ducklings or other poultry because they are more likely to become severely ill.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching the birds or anything in their environment. Adults should supervise hand washing for young children.
  • Use hand sanitizer until you can wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Always keep poultry away from areas where food or drink is prepared, served or stored, such as kitchens or outdoor patios.
  • Do not kiss the chicks.
  • Do not put anything to or touch your mouth, eat or drink after handling poultry.
  • Do not keep live poultry inside the house where people live, eat or sleep.
  • Do not give live baby poultry as gifts to young children.

Stay outdoors when cleaning any equipment associated with raising or caring for poultry, such as cages, feed, water containers and other materials.

For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/features/salmonellababybirds/.

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Two pediatric flu deaths confirmed in Michigan


 

First of the 2016-2017 season 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recently confirmed the first two influenza-associated pediatric deaths of the 2016-2017 flu season. Influenza claims the lives of children every year across the United States, which is why MDHHS is reminding residents that it’s not too late to get vaccinated for protection this season.

The reported deaths involve one child from Kalamazoo County, and one from northern Michigan in District Health Department 10, which includes 10 northern Michigan counties.

Although this flu season has been moderate in Michigan so far, flu viruses are circulating in the community and can cause serious illness, hospitalization, and death. MDHHS strongly recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a seasonal flu vaccine.

“The flu vaccine this year is a good match to those viruses circulating in our communities, meaning it offers more protection than it may have in recent years,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive for MDHHS. “It is not too late to get vaccinated. And remember, if you or your child is sick, stay home to help protect others.”

More than three quarters of the positive influenza specimens confirmed by MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories this flu season have been an H3N2 virus. This virus can cause severe flu infections in children, as well as in young- and middle-aged adults. Flu vaccine is the best way to prevent getting the flu and can also reduce the severity of flu illness.

Vaccine is especially important for persons at increased risk for complications from flu, including children, adults aged 65 years and older, persons of any age with underlying medical conditions, and pregnant women. Children less than 6 months of age are too young to be vaccinated and need to be protected by vaccination of their close contacts, including parents, siblings, grandparents, child care workers, and healthcare personnel.

In the 2015-2016 flu season, only 42.2 percent of Michigan residents were vaccinated against flu, putting Michigan in 42nd place in the country. MDHHS urges residents to make sure they protect themselves and their families against getting flu this season.

There is still plenty of flu vaccine available. To find flu vaccine near you, call your healthcare provider, local health department, or check the Health Map Vaccine Finder at http://flushot.healthmap.org. For more information about the flu, visit www.michigan.gov/flu.

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Make Zika virus precautions a part of your winter travel plans


 

MDHHS confirms 69 cases of Zika virus among Michigan travelers 

For many Michigan residents, the winter months often include travel to warmer climates. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is urging travelers to protect themselves from Zika virus while travelling to places with active Zika transmission. Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of infected Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, which have not been found in Michigan, but are common in tropical areas and some parts of the United States.

This year, the CDC is making it possible for you to get travel updates about the Zika virus on the go. By texting PLAN to 855-255-5606, you’ll receive helpful tips on how to:

  • Pack and plan for your trip.
  • Stay protected on your trip.
  • Stay healthy when you return home.

“Before you travel, find out if Zika virus is a risk at your planned destination,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive with the MDHHS. “Pregnant women and couples who are planning to conceive in the near future should avoid nonessential travel to areas with active Zika virus transmission because infection during pregnancy is linked to serious birth defects and miscarriage. Travelers can prevent Zika virus infection by taking precautions to avoid mosquito bites.”

People who travel to an area with Zika should:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay and sleep in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens.
  • If your plans include travel to more remote areas, take along a permethrin-treated bed net to use while sleeping.
  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or paramenthane-diol, or 2-undecanone.

To date, Michigan has confirmed 69 cases of Zika virus disease in travelers, including three pregnant women. In the U.S., over 1,200 pregnant women have been identified with possible Zika infection, resulting in 41 Zika-affected infants to date. MDHHS is participating in the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry, an effort to learn more about the effects of Zika virus infection during pregnancy.

All of the Zika cases in Michigan are travel related. While the virus is primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, it’s important that residents of reproductive age are aware of the risks associated with sexual transmission of Zika virus. Zika can be spread through sex without a condom. Most cases of sexual transmission have involved people who had symptoms of Zika virus infection. However, recent evidence suggests that asymptomatic males may be capable of transmitting Zika virus to their sex partners.

There is currently no vaccine or treatment for Zika.

Zika virus illness is typically mild. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes) lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Zika has also been linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), an uncommon condition of the nervous system following infections.

Zika virus is an emerging disease and recommendations are changing as new information becomes available. The CDC currently recommends the following for travelers:

  • Pregnant women should not travel to areas with active Zika transmission. If they must travel, they should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.
  • For non-pregnant women who travel to areas with active Zika transmission, it is recommended they prevent pregnancy for at least eight weeks from symptom onset (if ill) or last possible exposure (if illness does not develop).
  • For men who return from travel, it is recommended they use condoms and avoid conception for at least six months, regardless of whether they develop an illness consistent with Zika virus disease.
  • Men who have been in an area with active Zika virus transmission and have a pregnant partner should either use condoms the right way every time they have sex, or not have sex for the duration of the pregnancy.

MDHHS is working closely with the CDC to find additional Zika cases in returning travelers or their partners, and is coordinating with local health departments to enhance mosquito surveillance programs.

Additionally, the MDHHS laboratory has added capacity to test for Zika infection to help improve public health response time. For the most current information about Zika, visit www.cdc.gov/zika.

Statewide case counts and Michigan-specific information can be found on the MDHHS Zika webpage www.michigan.gov/zika. MDHHS will provide updates on the total number of cases statewide, including the number of pregnant women. Additional information about the cases will not be made available due to health privacy concerns.

National statistics about pregnancies and pregnancy outcomes are available on the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/pregnancy-outcomes.html.

For information about Zika in a specific Michigan county, contact the local health department.

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MDHHS reporting an  increase in pertussis, recommends vaccination


HEA-Pertussis

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is supporting the Oakland County Health Division following an increase in the number of identified pertussis cases, commonly referred to as whooping cough.

“Pertussis is a contagious disease that easily spreads between people and can be difficult to diagnose,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive for the MDHHS. “We support the proactive efforts of the Oakland County Health Division in ensuring residents are aware of this increase and the steps they can take to protect themselves and their children.”

Anyone exposed to pertussis and displaying symptoms should be evaluated by a doctor to determine if antibiotics are needed. Infants younger than 12 months are at greatest risk. Infants and children who have not been fully vaccinated against pertussis are at a higher risk of developing severe illness. To be fully immunized, doses are given at 2, 4, 6, and 15 months. The last dose is given at 4 years old.

Pertussis is a very contagious disease that usually starts with cold-like symptoms and maybe a mild cough or fever. After 1 to 2 weeks, severe coughing can begin. Pertussis can cause violent and rapid coughing, over and over, until the air is gone from the lungs and people are forced to inhale with a loud “whooping” sound. In infants, the cough can be minimal or not even there. Other symptoms include:

  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Mild fever
  • Dry cough
  • Vomiting after coughing fits

People infected with pertussis can spread the disease by coughing or sneezing in close contact with others who breathe in the bacteria. Pertussis is most contagious during the first two weeks of illness.

Infants are at highest risk of severe disease and death; older siblings and adults often are the source.

Infants and children should receive pertussis vaccine series (DTaP) as per the U.S. recommended childhood immunization schedule. All doses should be given as close to the recommended ages as possible. A pertussis vaccine booster dose (Tdap) is recommended for adolescents and adults, and is especially important for those in contact with infants. Current recommendations call for a single lifetime Tdap booster dose with the following exception: a dose of Tdap is recommended for pregnant females in each pregnancy between weeks 27 and 36.

For more information about pertussis, visit www.cdc.gov/pertussis.

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Provide safe sleep apace for baby during holiday travel 


Be sure to have a safe place for your baby to sleep when traveling. An adult bed, like this one, is not safe.

Be sure to have a safe place for your baby to sleep when traveling. An adult bed, like this one, is not safe.

The holidays are a busy time of year, often spent traveling away from home. For families with babies, travel can be especially hectic when trying to remember all of the necessities. One item to put at the top of your list is a safe space for baby to sleep when you’re away from home.

To protect babies this holiday season, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is reminding parents and caregivers to plan ahead and make sure there is always a safe space for baby to sleep—an approved crib, bassinet or pack and play.

“It’s important that everyone caring for the baby, including grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles, knows how to put a baby to sleep safely. If everyone knows the simple steps to safe sleep, we can all do our part in preventing an infant death,” said MDHHS Director Nick Lyon.

Tragically, a baby dies nearly every other day in Michigan while sleeping in an adult bed, armchair or couch; with pillows or blankets; or with adults or other children. These deaths are 100 percent preventable with a safe sleep environment.

Michigan families are encouraged to follow these tips for safe sleep during every nap and nighttime routine:

  • Place your baby on their back, in a crib, bassinet or pack and play, with nothing else in their sleep environment.
  • Plan ahead and take a portable crib with you when traveling.
  • Use a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet.
  • Keep baby’s sleep space clutter free—no pillows, blankets or toys.
  • Avoid covering baby’s head or overheating. Instead of a blanket, consider using a sleepsack, wearable blanket or footed sleeper to keep baby warm.
  • Remind everyone who cares for your baby, including babysitters and family members, how to keep baby safe while sleeping.

You can make sure every baby is sleeping safe this holiday season. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/safesleep.

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State confirms case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever 


Residents reminded to protect against all tick-borne illness 

LANSING, Mich. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has confirmed a case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) in a child in Cass County. This is the first confirmed case of RMSF contracted in Michigan since 2009.

RMSF is a tick-borne disease caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii, and can be fatal if not treated promptly and correctly, even in previously healthy people. Symptoms typically include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting and muscle pain. A characteristic rash may develop a few days later. The rash typically consists of small, flat, pink, non-itchy spots on the wrists, forearms, and ankles that spreads to include the trunk, and sometimes the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. However, some people never develop the rash, or the rash may have an atypical appearance.

“Like all tick-borne illnesses, the best way to protect yourself against Rocky Mountain spotted fever is to prevent tick bites,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive of the MDHHS. “Let your doctor know right away if you develop signs of illness such as fever, rash, or body aches in the days after a tick bite or potential exposure. Early detection and treatment are essential to preventing serious health complications.”

RMSF can be challenging to diagnose because it can mimic other common diseases. Early treatment is essential to preventing serious complications, including death. If RMSF if suspected, the antibiotic doxycycline is the first line treatment for both adults and children, and should be initiated immediately.

There are a number of ticks in the United States that can transmit RMSF including the American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis, which is the most common tick encountered in Michigan. Other ticks that transmit the disease outside of Michigan are the Rocky Mountain wood tick, Dermacentor andersoni, and the brown dog tick, Rhipecephalus sanguineus.

Residents can protect themselves by using the following tips to prevent tick bites:

• Avoiding tick-infested areas. This is especially important in the spring and summer in Michigan. If you are in tick infested areas, walk in the center of trails to avoid contact with overgrown grass, brush, and leaf litter at trail edges. Dogs and cats can come into contact with ticks outdoors and bring them into the home, so using tick prevention products on pets is recommended.

• Using insect repellent. Apply repellent containing DEET (20-30 percent) or Picaridin on exposed skin. You can also treat clothes (especially pants, socks, and shoes) with permethrin, which kills ticks on contact or buy clothes that are pre-treated. Permethrin can also be used on tents and some RMSF Michigan Case camping gear. Do not use permethrin directly on skin. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying any repellents.

• Bathing or showering. Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you. Ticks can get a ride indoors on your clothes. After being outdoors, dry clothing should be tumble-dried in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks. If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended. The clothes should be warm and completely dry when finished.

• Performing daily tick checks. Always check for ticks on yourself and your animals after being outdoors, even in your own yard. Inspect all body surfaces carefully, and remove attached ticks with tweezers. Grasp the tick firmly and as closely to the skin as possible. With a steady motion, pull the tick’s body away from the skin. Do not be alarmed if the tick’s mouthparts remain in the skin. Cleanse the area with an antiseptic.

For more information about RMSF, visit http://www.cdc.gov/rmsf/index.html. Additional tips on tick bite prevention can be found on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/avoid/index.html.

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