MORGANTOWN, W.Va., Sept. 1, 2011--Center for Disease Control recommends that everyone 6 months and older who wants to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with influenza (flu) or spreading influenza to others should receive the seasonal flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available.
Influenza is a contagious, respiratory illness caused by the influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death.
Influenza is transmitted when an infected person coughs or sneezes near a susceptible person. Contact with contaminated surfaces is another possible source of transmission. Most adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five days after becoming sick. This means you may be able to pass influenza on to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.
The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccination each year. The vaccine composition typically changes annually and provides protection against three specific influenza strains. About two weeks after vaccination, antibodies develop that protect against those specific strains of influenza. Yearly flu vaccination should begin as soon as the vaccine is available and continue throughout the influenza season into December, January and beyond, because the timing and duration of the influenza seasons vary. While outbreaks of the flu can be unpredictable, most of the time influenza activity peaks in January. This has proven to be true in West Virginia as most of our state outbreaks are seen in late January through February.
While everyone 6 months of age or older should be vaccinated for the flu each year, it is especially important that certain people get vaccinated. These people are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications, or they live with or care for high-risk persons. They include:
· Children aged 6 months up to 5 years old
· Pregnant women
· People 50 years of age and older
· People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
· People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
· People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
o Health care workers
o Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
o Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)
However, some people should not be vaccinated without first consulting their physician. They include:
· People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs.
· People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination in the past.
· People who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) within six weeks of getting an influenza vaccine previously.
· Children less than 6 months of age (influenza vaccine is not approved for use in this age group).
· People who have a moderate or severe illness with a fever should wait to get vaccinated until their symptoms lessen.
The Monongalia County Health Department will be holding flu shot clinics for those who would like to obtain a flu shot. These clinics are by appointment only and for those 18 years of age and older. Children 6 months up to 18 years of age without a primary care provider may also receive a flu shot. The cost of the flu shot is $14.49 for children 6 months to 18 years and $20 for adults 19 to 64. The MCHD will bill Medicare for anyone 65 or older.
The clinics will be held:
Sept. 27: 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Sept. 28: 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Sept. 29: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Future clinics will be announced at a later date.
To schedule an appointment for the flu vaccination, please call 304-598-5123.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va., Aug. 23, 2011— The Monongalia County Health Department received notification Tuesday afternoon that a feral cat from the Falling Run Road area tested positive for rabies.
The cat was captured by a landlord, who was scratched and bitten by the animal Thursday. He is receiving treatment.
The MCHD urges students and residents located in the Falling Run Road area, to avoid contact with stray animals.
If exposed to, or bitten by, a stray cat or any other animal, contact the MCHD at 304-598-5131 and seek immediate medical attention.
The MCHD recommends the following:
1. Teach children to avoid unfamiliar animals.
2. Keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date on dogs, cats and ferrets.
3. Supervise pets so they do not come into contact with wild animals.
4. Do not feed or handle any stray or wild animals.
5. Call an animal control professional to remove strays, sick or injured wildlife.
6. Enjoy wild animals from a distance.
7. Never adopt wild animals.
8. Prevent bats from entering living quarters.
For more rabies information, visit monchd.org.
*A Health and Human Services Press Release
Historic new guidelines that will ensure women receive preventive health services at no additional cost were announced today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Developed by the independent Institute of Medicine, the new guidelines require new health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services such as well-woman visits, breastfeeding support, domestic violence screening, and contraception without charging a co-payment, co-insurance or a deductible.
“The Affordable Care Act helps stop health problems before they start,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “These historic guidelines are based on science and existing literature and will help ensure women get the preventive health benefits they need.”
Before health reform, too many Americans didn’t get the preventive health care they need to stay healthy, avoid or delay the onset of disease, lead productive lives, and reduce health care costs. Often because of cost, Americans used preventive services at about half the recommended rate.
Last summer, HHS released new insurance market rules under the Affordable Care Act requiring all new private health plans to cover several evidence-based preventive services like mammograms, colonoscopies, blood pressure checks, and childhood immunizations without charging a copayment, deductible or coinsurance. The Affordable Care Act also made recommended preventive services free for people on Medicare.
Today’s announcement builds on that progress by making sure women have access to a full range of recommended preventive services without cost sharing, including:
- well-woman visits;
- screening for gestational diabetes;
- human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing for women 30 years and older;
- sexually-transmitted infection counseling;
- human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening and counseling;
- FDA-approved contraception methods and contraceptive counseling;
- breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling; and
- domestic violence screening and counseling.
New health plans will need to include these services without cost sharing for insurance policies with plan years beginning on or after August 1, 2012. The rules governing coverage of preventive services which allow plans to use reasonable medical management to help define the nature of the covered service apply to women’s preventive services. Plans will retain the flexibility to control costs and promote efficient delivery of care by, for example, continuing to charge cost-sharing for branded drugs if a generic version is available and is just as effective and safe for the patient to use.
The administration also released an amendment to the prevention regulation that allows religious institutions that offer insurance to their employees the choice of whether or not to cover contraception services. This regulation is modeled on the most common accommodation for churches available in the majority of the 28 states that already require insurance companies to cover contraception. HHS welcomes comment on this policy.
Previously, preventive services for women had been recommended one-by-one or as part of guidelines targeted at men as well. As such, the HHS directed the independent Institute of Medicine to, for the first time ever, conduct a scientific review and provide recommendations on specific preventive measures that meet women’s unique health needs and help keep women healthy. HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) used the IOM report issued July 19, when developing the guidelines that are being issued today. The IOM’s report relied on independent physicians, nurses, scientists, and other experts to make these determinations based on scientific evidence.
Today’s announcement is another part of the Obama Administration’s broader effort to address the health and well-being of our communities through initiatives such as the President’s Childhood Obesity Task Force, the First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign, the National Quality Strategy, and the National Prevention Strategy.
For more information on the HHS guidelines for expanding women’s preventive services, please visit: http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/womensprevention08012011a.html
. The guidelines can be found at: www.hrsa.gov/womensguidelines/
To learn more about the Affordable Care Act, please visit www.healthcare.gov
West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources officials announced that a contract has been awarded to FIS Government Solutions and Custom Data Processing (CDP) for the development of an operating system for the electronic delivery of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children - better known as the WIC Program.
The WIC Program provides nutrition and breastfeeding counseling and education, and nutritious foods to supplement the diets of at risk women, infants and children up to the age of 5.
The new system will allow WIC participants to use an electronic debit card, replacing the current paper voucher system. The new debit card will be similar to the State’s Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card used for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits.
When in operation, the system will reduce checkout time at the grocery store and enhance the experience for both WIC shoppers and grocers.
The electronic delivery of WIC benefits also offers additional safeguards from loss or theft through personal identification number or PIN protection.
Pilot operation of the program is expected to begin in the fall of 2012 with complete statewide operation scheduled for early 2013.
To learn more about the WIC Program, visit us on the web at http://ons/wvdhhr.org
. WIC is an equal opportunity provider.
For more information about FIS, go to www.fisglobal.com
. Information about CDP is available at www.cdpehs.com
MORGANTOWN, W.Va., July 11, 2011--The Monongalia County Health Department (MCHD) will begin organizing Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), which will begin training Saturday, July 16.
CERT is a critical program in the effort to engage everyone in America in making the community safer, more prepared and more resilient when incidents occur. Individuals can prepare their homes and families to cope during a critical event. Community members can enhance their ability to reduce emergency needs and manage existing resources until professional systems become available. The chances of survival are increased if people are prepared.
CERT educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations.
“The first responders and healthcare workers of Monongalia County have been there for us in times of need. However, there's always the inevitability that a terrorist attack or natural disaster could be of such a large proportion that even well-trained responders and healthcare personnel could be overwhelmed,” said Ted Krafczyk, Monongalia County CERT Coordinator. “CERT is a proven way to provide basic emergency fire and medical services to family and community when professional services are not available because of an overwhelming event.”
He added that CERT’s basic skills can also be used to directly support first responders in the field.
“At a time when budget cuts are reducing the size and scope of our service organizations, an organization like CERT becomes an important community resource of trained volunteers that can be activated when the need arises,” Krafczyk said.
Anyone who is interested in volunteering their time to become a CERT Program volunteer may visit mchdcert.weebly.com or call 304-598-5155.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va., June 21, 2011— The Monongalia County Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) will be distributing Farmers’ Market Vouchers to WIC participants beginning Saturday, July 2, from 9 a.m. to noon during the Morgantown Farmers’ Market. The market is held on the corner of Spruce and Fayette Streets.
The Marion County WIC will be distributing Farmers’ Market Vouchers to WIC participants beginning Tuesday, July 5, at 3:30 p.m. during the Marion County Farmers’ Market. The market is held every Tuesday, from 4 to 6 p.m., in the city parking lot on Adams Street, next to the Fairmont Post Office.
The vouchers, which are limited, will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at the Morgantown Farmers’ Market until the vouchers are no longer available. WIC participants must have a valid WIC ID folder to receive vouchers.
The Farmers’ Market voucher program aims to supplement WIC participants’ diets with fresh, locally- grown produce. The vouchers do not affect participants’ current WIC benefits. The vouchers are to be used to purchase fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and fresh herbs at the market. WIC participants may contact the Monongalia County WIC office at 304-598-5181 for more information.
WIC is an Equal Opportunity Provider.
Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, met with public health officials from the WV Bureau for Public Health and the Monongalia County Health Department at the MCHD on June 14, 2011. Dr. Frieden spent several hours discussing many public health issues, accomplishments and challenges with everyone present. He displayed a great insight and keen awareness of the key issues facing Monongalia County, West Virginia and the entire nation.
Monongalia County Health Department staff are pictured with Dr. Frieden: (Seated) Cindy Graham, Program Manager – Public Health Nursing Services; Charleen Morgan, Public Health Nurse; and Jon Welch, Program Manager – Environmental Health Services. (Standing) Ted Krafczyk, Threat Preparedness Coordinator; Dale Derby, Program Manager – Home Care Services; Jim Strosnider, Executive Director; Dr. Frieden; Anne MacBride, Program Manager – Nutrition Services; Bob White, Regional Epidemiologist; and Art Adams, Program Manager – Public Health Planning and Development.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va., May 12, 2011
—The Monongalia County Health Department (MCHD) received confirmation that a raccoon collected May 11 from the Rockley Road/Horton Lane area of the Cheat Lake community tested positive for rabies infection.
This is the first confirmed case of raccoon Rabies in Monongalia County in over eight years.
The raccoon attacked two dogs owned by the same resident. The raccoon was killed and submitted for rabies testing. The positive result now confirms that the dogs were exposed to the raccoon’s rabies. At this time, no human exposure has been confirmed.
Any resident in this area who may have been exposed or has pets that may have been exposed to the rabid raccoon should immediately notify the health department by calling (304) 598-5131.
Rabies is a fatal disease. It can be prevented with vaccination, but once symptoms begin, it cannot be cured. Most exposures occur because people don’t consider the risk of rabies. Exposures occur through contact with wildlife or with domestic animals exposed to rabid wildlife. Avoid contact with raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats and stray or unfamiliar dogs and cats.
For more information concerning rabies, visit the CDC’s Rabies Control and Prevention web site http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/index.html
or call the Monongalia County Health Department at (304) 598-5131.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va., May 6, 2011— As pools are uncovered and grills are lit, the Monongalia County Health Department (MCHD) wants to remind residents to take preventative measures to help deter mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes may carry the West Nile Virus and La Crosse Encephalitis (LACV). Both diseases occur primarily from late spring through fall and are spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread West Nile Virus to humans and other animals when they bite.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) describes LACV as a rare disease that is one of a group of mosquito-transmitted viruses that can cause inflammation of the brain, or encephalitis. In the United States, about 80 to 100 LACV disease cases are reported each year.
The symptoms of both West Nile and La Crosse Encephalitis are relatively mild, commonly exhibiting fever, headache and body aches, often with skin rash and swollen lymph glands. Headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, occasional convulsions and paralysis mark more severe infections. In more severe cases, hospitalization and intensive supportive therapy may be needed.
A WIC nutritionist shows participants how to make the most out of their fresh produce vouchers.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va., March 31, 2011 – In celebration of National Nutrition Month, the Monongalia County Health Department Women Infants and Children Program (WIC) hosted supermarket tours for WIC participants.
WIC is a federally funded program which serves pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants and children up to 5 years of age. Through the WIC Program, participants receive nutrition education and counseling, breastfeeding counseling and vouchers for special supplemental food.
Participants were greeted by nutritionists who guided them through the fresh produce section of local supermarkets. Nutritionists showed participants how to choose fresh produce, such as cantaloupes and apples, based on the quality and cost of the produce.
A nursing or pregnant mother receives $10 in fresh fruit and vegetable vouchers per month; a child receives $6.
Nutritionists suggested that participants stick to low-cost and long-lasting yet fresh produce such as apples and celery. They also suggested ways for participants to make produce last longer. For instance, do not wash lettuce until it is ready to be used. Refrigerate fruit and vegetables to keep them fresh. Even bananas can be refrigerated. The outside will turn black, but the inside will be fine.
Nutritionists also taught participants how to determine the cost per unit when purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables. Armed with calculators, participants tested their new smart-shopper skills.
Participants received packets that included a reusable shopping bag, a clipboard, recipe pack, informational handout, calculator and water bottle.
For more information about the local WIC program, contact (304) 598-5181 or visit monchd.org.
WIC is an equal opportunity provider.