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Ebola Crisis in West Africa Prompts Strictest Warning - July 31, 2014

CDC on Thursday, July 31, issued a warning to avoid all nonessential travel to the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The Level 3 travel warning, which is the highest level possible, is a reflection of the worsening Ebola outbreak in that region.

“This is the biggest and most complex Ebola outbreak in history,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a news release, adding: “It will take many months, and it won’t be easy, but Ebola can be stopped. We know what needs to be done. CDC is surging our response, sending 50 additional disease control experts to the region in the next 30 days.”

In addition to warning travelers to avoid going to the region, CDC is also assisting with active screening and education efforts on the ground in West Africa to prevent sick travelers from getting on planes. On the remote possibility that they do, CDC has protocols in place to protect against further spread of disease. These include notification to CDC of ill passengers on a plane before arrival, investigation of ill travelers, and, if necessary, quarantine. Earlier in the week CDC issued a Health Alert Notice.

Ebola hemorrhagic fever (Ebola HF) is one of numerous Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers. It is a severe, often fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates (such as monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees).

When an infection does occur in humans, there are several ways in which the virus can be transmitted to others. These include:
        •direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person
        •exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions

Ebola does not spread through the air or respiratory droplets like flu or other contagious illnesses. For more information, visit, www.cdc.gov/ebola

CDC Report Shows 20-year US Immunization Program Prevent Vaccine Preventable Disease May 5, 2014

The CDC estimates that vaccinations will prevent more than 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths among children born in the last 20 years. Despite the U.S. immunization program’s success, according to CDC officials, 129 people in the U.S. have been reported to have measles this year in 13 outbreaks, as of April 18.   
In 1994, the Vaccines for Children program (VFC) was launched in direct response to a measles resurgence in the United States that caused tens of thousands of cases and over a hundred deaths, despite the availability of a measles vaccine since 1963. The VFC program provides vaccines to children whose parents or caregivers might otherwise be unable to afford them.
This year’s 20th anniversary of the VFC program’s implementation is occurring during an increase in measles cases in the U.S. In 2013, 189 Americans had measles.  In 2011, 220 people in the U.S. were reported as having measles--the highest number of annual cases since 1996. 
"Thanks to the VFC program,  children in our country are no longer at significant risk from diseases that once killed thousands each year,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.  “Current outbreaks of measles in the U.S. serve as a reminder that these diseases are only a plane ride away. Borders can’t stop measles, but vaccination can.”
The CDC reports 34 people, among the 129 cases this year, brought measles into the U.S. after being infected in other countries. Though not direct imports, most of the remaining cases are known to be linked to importations.  Most people who reported having measles in 2014 were not vaccinated or did not know their vaccination status.
Because measles is a highly contagious disease, it can spread quickly among unvaccinated people.  The CDC recommends people of all ages keep up to date with their vaccinations.  CDC recommends two doses of MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine for everyone starting at age 12 months.  Infants 6 through 11 months old should receive 1 dose of MMR vaccine before international travel. 
For children born during the VFC era, the U.S. immunization program continues to pay enormous benefits.  According to analysis by the CDC, hospitalizations avoided and lives saved through vaccination will save nearly $295 billion in direct costs and $1.38 trillion in total societal costs.  Parents can learn more about the VFC program at http://www.cdc.gov/features/vfcprogram/.
April 26th is the start of National Infant Immunization Week, which will bring together communities across the country in raising awareness about the importance immunization.  For more information, go to www.cdc.gov/vaccines.

However, not all diseases that threaten U.S. borders can be prevented today by vaccines and require different strategies to protect Americans. “The health security of the United States is only as strong as the health security of all nations around the world. We are all connected by the food we eat, the water we drink, and air we breathe,” said Dr. Frieden. “Stopping outbreaks where they start is the most effective and least costly way to prevent disease and save lives at home and abroad – and it’s the right thing to do.”
Source: www.cdc.gov/vaccines April 24, 2014

Were You Affected by Super Storm Sandy?

If you were affected by Super Storm Sandy, or if you still are affected by this storm, the Morris County Office of Health Management invites you to take our survey. We are hosting a short health and wellness survey on our website to understand how the residents of Morris County were affected and might still be.

The survey is anonymous and will help us better plan and respond to other storms that may come our way.

Here is the link:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SuperstormSandyAssessmentSurvey  

If you have questions you can contact our office at 973-631-5484.

Extreme Cold Reminder from Governor Christie 01 06 2014



With dangerously low temperatures and wind-chills expected tomorrow, Health Commissioner Mary O'Dowd is urging residents to be sure to prepare for the extreme weather.

"Dress in layers, have an emergency kit in your home and car, don't over-exert yourself when shoveling snow and make sure to check on elderly neighbors and relatives," said O'Dowd.  "Exposure to extreme cold, for even short periods, can have major health consequences."

During extreme inclement weather, it also is important to check on seniors and people with disabilities. "Frigid temperatures and snowstorms may prevent or delay caregivers from getting to their client or family member, right away," said Department of Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez. "It's important to have one or two backup plans in place to ensure that any health or prescription needs are met during a weather event."

The following is a list of tips to stay safe, healthy and warm:

  • Dress in layers while outdoors and remember to wear a hat to help retain body heat. If you get wet, change into dry clothes as soon as possible
  • Be sure you eat and stay hydrated if you are going to be outdoors in the extreme cold. Avoid drinking alcohol as it can accelerate the loss of body heat
  • Use rock salt or other chemical de-icing compound to keep walkways, steps, driveways and porches as ice-free as possible. Many cold-weather injuries result from falls on ice-covered sidewalks and other surfaces around the home
  • If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor's advice about shoveling snow or performing other hard work in the cold
  • When using a snow blower, read the owners' manual and follow all safety guidelines
  • If you will be outdoors in the sun for an extended period, remember to use sunscreen and sunglasses, particularly if you are at higher altitudes
  • Stock your car with emergency gear, such as cell phone, jumper cables, flashlight, sand or kitty litter for extra traction, ice scraper and small shovel, and flares and other warning devices. For long car trips, carry food, water, extra blankets and required medications
  • Have at least a half tank of gas in your car to keep the fuel line from freezing
  • In advance of the storm, charge all electronic devices
It's best to stay inside, but those who need to be outside should dress warmly to avoid Hypothermia and Frostbite.  Hypothermia is a drop of normal body temperature from 98.6 degrees to 95 or lower that requires emergency medical care. It can be especially dangerous for the very young and older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions.  Symptoms include shivering, slurred speech, irrational behavior, weakened pulse, shortness of breath and unconsciousness.
Frostbite is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in affected areas. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes. Frostbite can permanently damage the body, and severe cases can lead to amputation. Symptoms include: white or grayish-yellow skin areas, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy, and numbness.
For more information on Frost Bite and Hypothermia please visit: http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/staysafe/frostbite.asp

In case of a power outage, make arrangements to move to a heated location.  Senior centers and libraries are typically used by municipalities as heating centers. Residents should contact their municipality or county for information on heating centers in their area.   You should also call your utility to determine repair schedules.

Turn off or unplug lights and appliances to prevent a circuit overload when power is restored, turn on the faucets slightly to prevent pipes from freezing, and use only safe sources of alternate heat, such as a fireplace or small well-vented wood or coal stove or portable space heater.  Remember to always follow manufacturer's guidelines.  For more information, please visit:  http://ready.nj.gov/plan/winter-home.html
New Jersey 2-1-1 has more information on cold weather preparedness, including county resources at: http://www.nj211.org/coldweather09.cfm.

 The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (NJOEM) works closely with the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center regarding storm predictions and forecasts. The NJOEM website contains links to the County OEM social media pages and alerting systems.   Online resources for weather information include:

Flu Season 2014 - Its Not Too Late to Get a Flu Shot January 2 2014

Flu activity is picking up in much of the country, with activity already very high in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. Further increases across the country are expected in the coming weeks, which includes New Jersey.

Seasonal flu is responsible for severe illness and death every year, but who is most affected each season can vary depending on the predominant circulating virus. So far this season, the 2009 H1N1 viruses have been most common. CDC has already received several reports of severe flu illness among young and middle-aged adults, many of whom were infected with the 2009 H1N1 virus.

Vaccination is your best protection against seasonal flu. It is not too late to get a flu vaccine and there is available supply. Remember also to cover coughs and sneezes, wash hands frequently and thoroughly, and, if you are sick, please stay home.

For more information of seasonal flu, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/flu 

It's Not Too Late To Vaccinate - Get Your Flu Vaccine Today 12 09 2013

The New Jersey Department of Health reminds everyone that it is not too late to get your flu vaccine. Influenza activity usually peaks in January, but illnesses can occur as late as May. Flu surveillance indicates that levels of flu in Northwest NJ are now at a moderate level and rising.

National Influenza Vaccination Week, December 8-14, 2013, is an opportunity to highlight the importance of continuing flu vaccination through December and into the spring. Flu vaccination coverage estimates from past years have shown that influenza vaccination activity drops quickly after the end of November. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older to protect against influenza.

"During this time of year, family and friends are gathering for the holidays, so now is a great time to get your flu vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones," said Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd. "Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors' visits, work absences, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths."

Although anyone can get the flu, some individuals are at greater risk for serious flu-related complications such as hospitalization or worsening of existing chronic conditions. Those at high-risk include children younger than 5 years, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people with certain long-term medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions, blood disorders, morbid obesity, kidney and liver disorders, HIV/AIDS, and cancer.

"Flu vaccination should also be a priority for individuals who live with or care for persons at higher risk for influenza-related complications, said Deputy Health Commissioner Dr. Arturo Brito. "This includes healthcare personnel and household contacts of children less than 6 months of age, since children younger than 6 months are too young to receive the flu vaccine."

Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor's offices, community health centers, local health departments and pharmacies. New Jersey residents can visit the Flu Vaccine Finder at http://nj.gov/health/flu/findflushot.shtml to find flu clinics near to them.

For information on flu vaccines available this flu season, visit CDC's seasonal flu website at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/index.htm. CDC does not recommend one flu vaccine over another-the important thing is to get your flu vaccine every year. Some children may needs two doses of flu vaccine this season to be fully protected. Talk to your health care provider about the best options for you and your loved ones.

For more information about NIVW, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/NIVW/index.htm.

It's Turkey Time: Review How to Safely Prepare Your Holiday Meal 11-24-2013

When preparing a turkey, be aware of the four main safety issues: thawing, preparing, stuffing and cooking to the adequate temperature.

Safe Thawing: 

Thawing turkeys must be kept at a safe temperature. The "danger zone" is between 40 and 140°F — the temperature range where foodborne bacteria multiply rapidly. While frozen, a turkey is safe indefinitely, but as soon as it begins to thaw, bacteria that may have been present before freezing can begin to grow again, if it is in the "danger zone."
There are three safe ways to thaw food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in a microwave oven. For instructions, see "Safe Methods for ThawingExternal Web Site Icon;" instructions are also available in SpanishExternal Web Site Icon

Safe Preparation:

Bacteria present on raw poultry can contaminate your hands, utensils, and work surfaces as you prepare the turkey. If these areas are not cleaned thoroughly before working with other foods, bacteria from the raw poultry can then be transferred to other foods. After working with raw poultry, always wash your hands, utensils, and work surfaces before they touch other foods.

Safe Stuffing: 

For optimal safety and uniform doneness, cook the stuffing outside the turkey in a casserole dish. However, if you place stuffing inside the turkey, do so just before cooking, and use a food thermometer. Make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Bacteria can survive in stuffing that has not reached 165°F, possibly resulting in foodborne illness. Follow the FSIS' steps to safely prepare, cook, remove, and refrigerate stuffingExternal Web Site Icon; Spanish language instructionsExternal Web Site Icon are available.


Safe Cooking:

Set the oven temperature no lower than 325°F and be sure the turkey is completely thawed. Place turkey breast-side up on a flat wire rack in a shallow roasting pan 2 to 2-1/2 inches deep. Check the internal temperature at the center of the stuffing and meaty portion of the breast, thigh, and wing joint using a food thermometer. Cooking times will vary. The food thermometer must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Let the turkey stand 20 minutes before removing all stuffing from the cavity and carving the meat. For more information on safe internal temperatures, visit FoodSafety.gov's Safe Minimum Cooking TemperaturesExternal Web Site Icon.
Following these cooking guidelines can help you prepare
a safe holiday dinner that everyone will enjoy.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/features/TurkeyTime 




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