First Case of Chikungunya Confirmed in North Carolina, Associated with Caribbean Travel
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. - North Carolina's first case of chikungunya was confirmed in a resident who recently travelled to the Caribbean. Chikungunya virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, and the Asian Tiger mosquito that is commonly found in North Carolina could effectively transmit this virus. At this time, there have not been any cases of the disease known to have been acquired in North Carolina or the continental United States.
Symptoms of chikungunya usually begin three to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms typically include the sudden onset of fever and severe, often disabling, joint pains in the hands and feet. Many patients feel better within a week; however, the joint pain may persist for months in some people. Newborns exposed during delivery, adults over 65 years and people with chronic medical conditions have a greater risk for a severe form of the disease.
Prior to its introduction in the Caribbean, chikungunya was established in East Africa, India, the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific regions. It was introduced in the Caribbean in December 2013 through travelers returning from affected areas. As of June 6, chikungunya has caused illness in over 130,000 persons in the Caribbean.
DHHS' Division of Public Health advises persons traveling to countries where chikungunya transmission is occurring to:
- Take personal precautions to prevent mosquito bites; and
- Immediately consult a medical provider if they develop fever in the two weeks after their return home.
"With North Carolina residents traveling to and from the Caribbean and other affected areas, we have been monitoring for possible imported cases," said Dr. Megan Davies, DHHS' State Epidemiologist. "Anyone experiencing symptoms of chikungunya should contact a physician and minimize exposure to mosquitoes to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to others. Travelers who visit countries where chikungunya is widespread should take extra precaution against mosquito bites."
To protect yourself and your family against mosquito bites:
- Wear light-colored long pants and long-sleeved shirts.
- Reduce time spent outdoors, particularly during early morning and early evening hours when mosquitoes are most active.
- Apply EPA-approved mosquito repellents such as DEET, picardin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 to exposed skin areas. Always follow guidelines when using mosquito repellent.
- Since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, spray clothes with repellent containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent will give extra protection.
DHHS' Division of Public Health strongly recommends that all North Carolina residents take measures to decrease environmental conditions favorable to breeding for the species that could transmit this infection, the Asian Tiger mosquito. This mosquito is an aggressive daytime biter, breeds in small water containers and does not travel long distances. To reduce mosquito breeding areas around your home:
- Remove any containers that can hold water;
- Change the water in bird baths and pet bowls frequently and repair leaky outdoor faucets;
- Cover rain barrels with tight-fitting screens or lids;
- Keep gutters clean and in good repair; and
- Use screened windows and doors and make sure screens are not torn and fit tightly.
Click here for frequently asked questions on chikungunya
To learn more about chikungunya virus, please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/
To learn more about chikungunya and its introduction into the Americas, please visit: http://www.paho.org/hq/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9053&Itemid=39843
To learn more about how to prevent mosquito bites, please visit: http://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/cd/arbo/prevent.html
Hurricane Season: June 1 - November 30
Local residents urged to prepare
The 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially begins June 1, and spans all of summer and most of fall, ending November 30. Most of the hurricane activity occurrs between August and October. Greene County Health Department urges residents to be prepared. Being prepared helps reduce the effects of a possible hurricane for you, your family, and your property.
Below are some hurricane tips from www.ready.gov and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to assist you before, during, and after a hurricane strikes your community:
- Create an emergency kit for your home and car
- Develop a family communication plan
- Know your community’s evacuation routes and warning sirens
- Know how to locate community emergency shelters for your family and pets
- Secure your home and all loose property
- Have a battery operated radio, flashlights, and extra batteries
- Secure important documents such as licenses, insurance policy, wills, and photo identification
- Have a supply of non-perishable foods and gallons of water for 3-5 days
- Fill car with gas and withdraw cash from ATM
- Listen for weather updates
- Turn off propane tanks and utilities
- Put refrigerator and freezer thermostat on coldest setting
- Avoid objects that uses electricity
- Stay indoors and away from windows and doors
- Avoid phone usage except in case of emergency
- Stage on the lowest floor of your building in the hallway, closet, or small room
- Use bottle water to drink and prepare foods in case of contamination
- Keep listening for updates about the weather
- Use telephone for emergency calls only
- Do not drive unless necessary; if necessary , be aware of flooded and damaged roads
- Stay inside unless instructed it is all clear
- When walking outside, take pictures of damage property, watch out for wild animals, and be cautious
For more information, please contact the Greene County Health Department at (252) 747-8183. Additional information can be obtained online at http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes and http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/psa/prepareforhurricaneseason.asp.
Summer camp season is picking up this time of year and so is the potential for exposure to wildlife and their diseases. Attached, please find important information regarding rabies prevention and tick and mosquito bite prevention at summer camps. These documents provide a number of additional resources for camp administrators and staff to help ensure that participants enjoy their camp experience without illness.
Rabies Prevention at Summer Camps
Tick-mosquito Prevention at Summer Camps
Tick and Mosquito-borne Disease
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 7, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. - With summer fast approaching and people spending more time outdoors, it is important for everyone to take precautions against tick and mosquito bites. Tick and mosquito borne infections cause illnesses and deaths in North Carolina each year, with more than 800 cases reported in 2013.
To encourage awareness of this issue, Governor McCrory recently proclaimed April 2014 as "Tick and Mosquito Awareness Month" in North Carolina. (http://www.governor.state.nc.us/newsroom/proclamation/20140401/tick-and-mosquito-awareness-month.)
"Ticks and mosquitoes are very common in our state, and they can carry germs that cause serious infections," said Carl Williams, DHHS' State Public Health Veterinarian. "The good news is that many of these infections can be prevented by following some basic control measures."
Tick borne diseases in North Carolina include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, and ehrlichiosis. These diseases are diagnosed from all regions of the state and can be acquired at any time of year. However, the vast majority of infections occur in the months of June through September.
Mosquito borne diseases are less common than tick borne illness, but severe infections due to LaCrosse virus and West Nile virus are reported every year, including cases of encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain.
The North Carolina Division of Public Health encourages the following activities to help protect against illness caused by ticks and mosquitoes:
- Avoid tick habitat, which includes wooded, grassy or brushy areas and wear repellents
- If you find a tick attached to your body, carefully remove it by grasping the tick with fine tipped tweezers as close as possible to your skin and apply a steady gentle pressure until it releases.
- Use a mosquito repellent when you are outside and exposed to mosquitoes.
- Mosquito proof your home by installing or repairing screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes outside and use air conditioning if you have it.
- Reduce mosquito breeding by emptying standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, and birdbaths on a regular basis.
While it is not possible to prevent all cases of tick and mosquito borne illness, you can greatly reduce your risk by following these basic control measures.
"It is a great time to enjoy North Carolina outdoors," said Williams. "Just be mindful to take the appropriate steps to protect yourself and your family."
For more information about tick and mosquito borne infections, visit http://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/cd/diseases/vector.html.
2013 State of the County Health Report
Greene County Health Department is pleased to share the 2013 State of the County Health (SOTCH) Report. This report provides an annual review of the health of our community, tracks progress regarding health priorties and concerns, and identifies new initiatives and emerging issues that affect the health status of Greene County residents. The information is designed to educate and update community members, community leaders, elected officials and local agencies. Click here to view the 2013 SOTCH Report.
For more information about how public health is working for you, feel free to contact Joy S. Brock by phone (252) 747-8183 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
County residents are also encouraged to attend regular meetings of the Greene County Board of Health to learn more about public health in the county. The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Health is Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 7 p.m. at the Health Department.
2012 Community Health Assessment
Community Health Assessment (CHA) is an effort to involve residents and health service providers in reviewing health statistics along with community concerns to prioritize health needs for our county and to create a plan to address these priorities over the next four years.
For this Community Health Assessment process, Greene County had the unique opportunity to utilize a model called Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP), a community-based framework for improving public health based in part on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) initiative. MAPP helps communities, like ours, review health status indicators, prioritize public health issues, identify resources and develop strategies for addressing priority issues. The MAPP process results in the development of a community-wide action plan for public health improvement. This program is designed to implement policy, systems and environmental changes aimed at improving community health and removing disparities in our community.
MAPP was originally developed by the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO), in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We worked closely with the North Carolina Division of Public Health – Chronic Disease and Injury Section and the Department of Public Health at East Carolina University to implement MAPP in Greene County. Hertford and Nash counties also participated in the MAPP process in 2011 – 2012.
To view the 2012 Community Health Assessment for Greene County, please click here.
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To file a complaint, of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992. Individuals who are hearing impaired or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339 (English) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer."
For more information regarding public health issues or health department services, contact Joy S. Brock at (252) 747-8183 or email@example.com.