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Food Safety Tips November 21, 2016NEWS RELEASE CONTACT: CHRIS LOXTERMAN (440) 350-2543November 21, 2016 LAKE COUNTY GENERAL HEALTH DISTRICT LAKE COUNTY GENERAL HEALTH DISTRICT RECOMMENDS FOOD SAFETY TIPSWith the holiday fast approaching, Lake County General Health District recommends the following food safety tips when planning your holiday meals.Plan ahead for enough oven, refrigerator and freezer space.Refrigerate food promptly after shopping. When making several stops, purchase perishable food last.Always wash hands before cooking.Thaw a turkey submerged in cold running water for several hours or in the refrigerator for several days using a drip pan to catch leaks.Roast the turkey and stuffing to a minimum internal temperature of 1650F measured in the innermost part of the thigh and the thickest part of the breast with an accurate thermometer. Do not rely on a pop up indicator.Wash everything that comes in contact with raw eggs, raw meat, or raw poultry and its juices, including the sink, utensils, cutting board and your hands.Never place cooked food back on the same plate that held raw food.Discard any perishable food that is left out at room temperature longer than 2 hours. When in doubt, throw it out.Promptly refrigerate leftovers. Divide food into smaller portions to chill quickly.If transporting food, use insulated coolers to keep food hot or cold. Wrapping casseroles in newspapers will also help food keep the appropriate temperature.Custard pies, including pumpkin must be stored in a refrigerator.Homemade eggnog must be made with pasteurized eggs. Please contact the Health District at (440) 350-2543 with any questions. The Lake County General Health District wishes everyone a safe and healthy Holiday season. ###
Legionnaires Disease Confirmed in Lake County November 17, 2016NEWS RELEASE CONTACT: Ron H. Graham, (440) 350-2358November 17, 2016 LAKE COUNTY GENERAL HEALTH DISTRICTFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASELEGIONNAIRES’ DISEASE CONFIRMED IN LAKE COUNTY, OHIOThe Lake County General Health District (LCGHD) is working with the Ohio Department of Health and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on a public health investigation involving Legionnaires’ disease in Lake County. Between July 1, 2016 and October 31, 2016, there have been 12 confirmed Legionella cases, including one death.The timeline for the investigation is as follows:August 25, 2016 LCGHD completed a Legionella Environmental Assessment at a business on Lakeland Blvd. in Eastlake, based on the August 2016 reports of an employee being ill with possible Legionella bacteria. No areas of concern were identified during the investigation.September 26, 2016 LCGHD was notified by Ohio Department of Health of a second and third case of Legionella disease amongst employees of businesses located on Lakeland Blvd. in Eastlake.September 30, 2016 LCGHD completed a Legionella Environmental Assessment at a second business on Lakeland Blvd. in Eastlake, based on August 2016 reports of an employee being ill with confirmed Legionella disease. No areas of concern were identified during the investigation.October 4, 2016 LCGHD completed a Legionella Environmental Assessment at Consolidated Precision Products (CPP), 34000 Lakeland Blvd., Eastlake, Ohio 44095, based on the September 26th disease confirmation. During the investigation, several areas of concern were noted. At this visit, LCGHD provided CPP with information on Legionnaires’ disease and the importance of cleaning cooling towers.October 11, 2016 LCGHD notified Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of three cases of Legionnaires’ disease amongst employees of businesses located on Lakeland Blvd. in Eastlake.October 25, 2016 Representatives of LCGHD and OSHA toured the facilities at CPP and took water samples from the cooling towers.November 9, 2016 In accordance with protocols approved by Ohio Department of Health, CPP completed the process of cleaning and sanitizing their cooling towers.November 16, 2016 LCGHD received results from CPP’s third-party laboratory samples results confirming the presence of Legionella bacteria in one cooling tower prior to cleaning and sanitizing the cooling towers. Results were also received from samples taken after cleaning and sanitizing, no Legionella bacteria was detected. CPP has been cooperative in this investigation and has fully complied with all requests. The confirmed Legionella death was not a CPP employee. Test results indicate that any potential risk from this site has been eliminated at this time.Ron H. Graham, Health Commissioner stated, “It’s important to know that we will never really know the true source of the bacteria, we do know that one cooling towers was positive.” Other possible sources of infection include hot tubs, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems and decorative fountains.Legionnaires’ disease is caused by a bacterium called Legionella. In general, Legionnaires’ disease is not spread from one person to another; however, person-to-person spread may be possible in very rare cases. Most people exposed to the bacteria do not become ill. Legionella bacteria can make people sick when they breathe it in through contaminated mist or vapor (small droplets of water in the air). This can happen when you drink, shower or bathe in contaminated water. About 5,000 new Legionnaires’ disease are reported each year. Lake County’s current infection rate is 3.05 cases per 100,000 residents.Legionella bacteria grow best in warm water like the kind found in hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems and decorative fountains. They do not seem to grow in car or window air conditioners. Legionella is found naturally in fresh water environments, like lakes and streams, but can become a health concern in human-made water systems. Keeping Legionella out of water systems in buildings is key to preventing infection.Legionnaires’ disease can have symptoms like many other types of pneumonia and can be difficult to diagnose at first. Signs of Legionnaires’ disease include:CoughShortness of breathHigh feverMuscle achesHeadache Most healthy people do not get sick from being exposed to Legionella bacteria. Groups at higher risk for infection include.People 50 years or olderCurrent or former smokersPeople with a chronic lung disease (like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or emphysema)People with a weak immune system from diseases like cancer, diabetes, or kidney failurePeople who take drugs that suppress (weaken) the immune system (like after a transplant operation or chemotherapy) These symptoms usually begin two to 14 days after being exposed to the Legionella bacteria. If someone believes that they were exposed to Legionella and have these symptoms, they should consult with their doctor. Legionnaires’ disease requires treatment with antibiotics and may require hospitalization.For additional information about Legionnaires’ disease, visithttp://www.cdc.gov/legionella/index.html . ###
August 25, 2016NEWS RELEASE CONTACT: Ron H. Graham, (440) 350-2538 August 23, 2016 LAKE COUNTY GENERAL HEALTH DISTRICT LAKE COUNTY GENEREAL HEALTH DISTRICT AWARDED NATIONAL ACCREDITATION THROUGH THE PUBLIC HEALTH ACCREDITATION BOARDOn August 22nd, the Lake County General Health District joined the ranks of accredited health departments across the nation when it received notice that it achieved national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). The national accreditation program works to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing and ultimately transforming the quality and performance of the nation’s State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial public health departments.The Lake County General Health District is one of fewer than 200 health departments nationally that has achieved accreditation through PHAB since the organization was launched in 2011. Presently, there are only 13 other accredited health departments in Ohio out of the 121 total health districts. Hundreds of health departments across the country are hoping to seek accreditation through PHAB, the non-profit organization that administers the national public health accreditation program. To receive accreditation, a health department must undergo a rigorous, multi-faceted, peer-reviewed assessment to ensure it meets or exceeds a specific set of quality standards and measures.“We are pleased and excited to be recognized for achieving national standards that foster effectiveness and promote continuous quality improvement,” said Ron H. Graham, Health Commissioner, of the Lake County General Health District. “The accreditation process helps to ensure that the programs and services we provide are as responsive as possible to the needs of our community. With accreditation, we will be demonstrating increased accountability and credibility to the public, funders, elected officials and partner organizations with whom we work.”Why is there a need for accreditation? Graham responded, “Public health departments provide primary and expert leadership in protecting and promoting the health of people in communities across the country. Despite that critical role, there had not been nationally recognized standards for public health departments until 2011. People expect their hospitals and schools to be accredited. Their public health department should also be accredited.” The national accreditation program sets standards toward which the nation’s nearly 3,000 governmental public health departments can continuously work to improve the quality of their services and performance.Public health department accreditation standards address a range of core public health programs and activities, including environmental public health, health education, health promotion, community health, chronic disease prevention and control, communicable disease, injury prevention, maternal and child health, public health emergency preparedness, access to clinical services, public health laboratory services, management/administration, and governance.“The Lake County General Health District joins the growing ranks of accredited health departments in a strong commitment to their public health mission,” said PHAB President and CEO Kaye Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN. “The peer-review process provides valuable feedback to inform health departments of their strengths and areas for improvement, so that they can better protect and promote the health of the people they serve in their communities. Residents of a community served by a nationally accredited health department can be assured that their health department has demonstrated the capacity to protect and promote the health of that community.”To learn more about Lake County General Health District, visit www.lcghd.org. To learn more about health issues and services offered by Lake County General Health District and other Lake County, Ohio agencies, sign up for our new newsletter by visiting https://app.robly.com/subscribe?a=d6fc22ecf148e60522d5f8a08a20769b . ###
August 25, 2016NEWS RELEASE CONTACT: Bert Mechenbier, (440) 350-2543August 24, 2016 LAKE COUNTY GENERAL HEALTH DISTRICT RACCOON RABIES VACCINATION TO BEGIN AUGUST 24, 2016The Lake County General Health District is cooperating with the United States Department of Agriculture National Rabies Management Program in the annual Oral Rabies Vaccination (ORV) project to immunize raccoons, skunks and other wild animals against rabies. Due to intensive bait application for the past several years and the absence of rabies locally, the bait zone has been significantly reduced. This year, bait will be distributed only in the eastern part of Lake County from Painesville to communities to the south and the east. Bait distribution by airplane in rural areas will begin on August 24th and weather permitting, be completed within a few days. Ground baiting from vehicles and on foot will occur in more populated areas on August 30th and 31st. The vaccine is contained in a 1 by 1 ½ inch “army green” blister pack with a sweet waxy coating. When the animal bites the blister pack, the vaccine coats the mouth and throat and protects the animal from getting rabies.Humans and pets cannot get rabies from touching the bait, but dogs may be attracted to the odor of the bait. Be aware of the bait. Be sure to watch your dogs while they are outdoors and keep them on a short leash during the days when baiting is taking place. Although the bait is not harmful to them, they should be prevented from eating it so it is available for wild animals to consume. If your dog gets the bait, do not risk being bitten by trying to remove it from the dog’s mouth. If you find bait, do not touch it with bare hands. Use a glove or plastic bag to toss bait that is not leaking into a tree line, and then wash your hands. The Health District requests that you call us at (440) 350-2543 whenever you or your pet comes into contact with bait.Rabies is a viral disease that affects animals and people. The virus is found in the saliva of affected animals (most often raccoons, skunks, and bats) and is spread by a bite or scratch. Regular rabies vaccination of pets, as well as avoiding contact with wildlife is the best protection against this deadly virus. For more information about rabies or the ORV project, please visit www.lcghd.org or www.odh.ohio.gov. ###
Zika Update August 2, 2016NEWS RELEASE CONTACT: Bert Mechenbier, (440) 350-2453August 1, 2016 LAKE COUNTY GENERAL HEALTH DISTRICT ZIKA UPDATE – FLORIDA ZIKA VIRUS CASES LIKELY CAME FROM FLORIDA MOSQUITOES The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been informed by the State of Florida that Zika virus infections in four people were likely caused by bites of local Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The cases are likely the first known cases of local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission in the continental United States. CDC is closely working with Florida officials who are leading the ongoing investigations. At Florida’s request, the CDC sent a medical epidemiologist to Florida to help with the investigation. Because of the association between Zika virus infections in pregnant women and certain birth defects, CDC recommends that pregnant women consider not traveling to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.The Lake County General Health District (LCGHD) wants to remind residents that there are currently no known cases of Zika virus in Lake County. The primary mosquito that transmits Zika virus is the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti. This mosquito is found in the tropics and in the southern United States. According to Ohio Department of Health, it is not known to be established in Ohio. The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is a related mosquito that is found in Ohio and may possibly transmit Zika virus, although it has not yet been involved in the transmission of human cases in the United States. This species was introduced into the U.S. in the 1980s and has been collected in 37 counties and it likely occurs in other counties as well.LCGHD recently won a $60,720 mosquito control grant from Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) for increased surveillance, larvacide and adulticide products, and bite prevention educational materials.West Nile Virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, is native to Lake County. “With recent rains in the area, the best advice is to get rid of standing water around your house if you can and use personal protection against mosquitoes,” noted Bert Mechenbier, Supervisor of Mosquito Control at LCGHD.Mechenbier provided the following tips for homeowners to keep mosquitoes from breeding in your backyard:Dispose of tin cans, old tires, buckets, unused plastic swimming pools, plastic covers or other containers that collect and hold water.Keep roof gutters unclogged. Clean gutters in the spring and fall.Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs. Keep them covered when empty.Empty and change the water in bird baths, fountains, wading pools, rain barrels, and potted trays at least once a week, if not more often.Fill or drain puddles, ditches, and swampy areas and either remove, drain, or fill tree holes and stumps with mortar.Eliminate seepage from cisterns, cesspools, and septic tanks.Eliminate standing water around animal watering troughs.Irrigate lawns and gardens carefully to prevent water from standing for several days.LCGHD would also like to advise the following to protect you from biting mosquitoes:Avoid being outside at dawn/dusk. If you cannot avoid those times, use a repellent.Use an insect repellent containing 10% or less DEET (N, N-diethyl-methyl-meta-tolumide) for children – no more than 30% DEET for adults. Use repellents containing DEET according to label instructions.Do not use DEET insect repellent on infants or pregnant women.Do not allow young children to apply DEET insect repellent themselves. Store out of their reach.Apply DEET insect repellent to your hands and then to a child. Do not apply DEET insect repellent directly to a child.DEET insect repellent is effective for about four hours. Use small amounts over exposed skin and clothing. Do not use DEET insect repellent for a long period of time.Wash treated skin and clothing after returning indoors.Wear light-colored clothing.If you have a concern about standing water, please call the LCGHD at (440) 350-2543. If the standing water is on private property, permission will be needed to enter the property. For general information on mosquitoes and mosquito control, please visit the LCGHD’s website at https://www.lcghd.org/mosquito . ###