Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Protect against Rabies

September 28, 2014 is World Rabies Day. Rabies is a serious disease that affects the nervous system and can be fatal if left untreated. By keeping your pets vaccinated against rabies, you are not only protecting them, but you are protecting yourself and your family too. Show your pets how much you love them by honoring September 28th and getting them vaccinated. The Foothills Animal Shelter offers rabies vaccinations for your dog or cat for only $15. Please visit their website or call 303-278-7575 for more information.

The JCPH animal borne disease program works to monitor and respond to disease threats in the county. Recently, several bats in the County have tested positive for rabies . This is a good reminder for everyone to take precautions against rabies exposure. While only a small percentage of bats are infected with rabies, it is important to avoid close contact with them. The public should contact their local animal control if they find a dead bat or if they find a bat behaving strangely. Animal control will determine whether the bat needs to be collected and tested. Animal Control will collect specimens for rabies testing if there is a possibility that the bat had contact with people or their pets--particularly within the home or other enclosed buildings.

Jefferson County Health officials advise that even what may seem as insignificant contact with a bat may still be sufficient to transmit the rabies virus. Rabies is spread most often through contact with bat saliva, as a result of bites or from exposure to cuts on the skin. In some instances, people may be unaware that they were bitten and may not see puncture wounds.

Steps to Control and Prevent rabies:
  • Avoid contact with all stray and wild animals, including bats.
  • Vaccinate all cats, dogs, ferrets, and valuable livestock.
  • Do not allow pets to roam free.
  • Teach children to leave wildlife alone
  • If bitten or scratched by a pet or wild animal, immediately wash any wounds with soap and water and contact your healthcare provider.
  • If you are concerned that you or one of your animals might have been exposed to rabies, seek medical or veterinary attention immediately.
  • For more information or to report a suspicious animal, please contact your local Animal Control agency or Jefferson County Animal Control: 303-271-5070
  • For more information on rabies and prevention tips please visit our web site at: http://jeffco.us/public-health/animal-borne-disease/rabies/ or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/ or call the JCPH Animal-borne Disease Program at at 303-271-5700.

2014 West Africa Outbreak

The Guinean Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Liberia, and the Nigerian Ministry of Health are working with national and international partners to investigate and respond to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. As of August 22, 2014, the suspected and confirmed case count was 2,615.

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). Ebola viruses are found in several African countries. The first Ebola virus was discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since then, outbreaks of Ebola among humans have appeared sporadically in Africa. Public health professionals are using contact tracing to attempt to stop the disease from spreading. View this CDC infographic to learn more about contact tracing.

Visit the CDC web page for more information on Ebola and the current outbreak, please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/guinea/index.html

September is Food Safety Month . . .

Meet the new JCPH Food Safety Program Manager, Mindi Ramig

Mindi Ramig has enjoyed a varied career with Jefferson County Public Health for nearly 30 years. She finds it especially rewarding to work collaboratively with the retail food industry and the public to improve food safety practices. Mindy is also excited to be working with an excellent group of professionals at JCPH who are committed to ensuring safe food practices across the county. Mindi wishes everyone (the industry and the public) would make maintaining proper food temperatures at all times and using good personal hygienic practices, such as frequent and proper hand washing, a priority to help minimize food borne illness in the county.

Excellence in Food Safety Class

Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) offers its next Excellence in Food Safety Class (EFS) on November 18, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. Over 9,000 food handlers from hundreds of Jefferson County restaurants, schools, and grocery stores have taken the class since its inception in 1993. Everyone has a role in food safety. Sign up for a class and learn how to improve food handling and preparation techniques.

To sign up for a class, contact Jefferson County Public Health at 303-271-5700 or view our web page or download the Excellence in Food Safety brochure. A convenient online class is also available in 5 languages at www.jeffco.statefoodsafety.com.

Help Your Child Stay at a Healthy Weight

One in 3 children in the United States is overweight or obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and Jefferson County Public Health encourages families to make healthy changes together. Childhood obesity can be prevented.

  • Get active outside: Walk around the neighborhood, go on a bike ride, or play at the park. Jeffco Open Space and Parks offers diverse trails and outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy.
  • Limit screen time: Keep screen time (time spent on the computer, watching TV, or playing video games) to 2 hours or less a day. Check out these tips for helping your family limit screen time.
  • Make healthy meals: Buy and serve more vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain foods. Livewell Colorado also offers tips for buying and eating healthy and includes healthy recipes.
  • Become a part of WE CAN, a national initiative to reduce childhood obesity.
Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is working with parents, schools, policymakers, communities, businesses and others to improve active living and healthy eating for everyone in Jefferson County. JCPH has provided technical assistance to several municipalities in Jefferson County as they adopt policies that improve their communities’ access to physical activity and healthy food. Learn more about the Livewell Colorado HEAL (Healthy Eating and Active Living) Cities and Towns Campaign Please view our community health improvement plan at www.healthypeoplehealthyplacesjeffco.com.

The 2014-2015 Flu Season is almost here. Make sure to get flu shots for you and your family.

Jefferson County Public Health recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year, preferably in the fall before the U.S. flu season begins. Flu season can begin as early as October and can last as late as April or May. Flu vaccination is the best way to prevent flu illness this season. Make an appointment by calling JCPH’s clinic appointment line at 303-239-7078. Get more information by visiting our influenza web page. Remember that influenza is a respiratory illness that can cause life-threatening complications. Do your part to stop the flu!
  • Get an annual flu vaccination 
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water (use anti-bacterial gel if soap and water are not available). 
  • Cover your sneezes and coughs with a tissue or your elbow.