Archive for August 2016

Lawrence General Hospital Conducts Emergency Exercise

On August 23, 2016 a multi-disciplinary emergency exercise was conducted by Lawrence General Hospital. Lawrence General one of thirteen discipline specific partners of the Region 3 Health and Medical Collaboration Coalition representing the Hospitals. It was great to see so many different sectors and agencies participating. Great job to all involved in preparing for “All Hazards” events.

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Massachusetts Department of Health Bureau of Infectious Disease Thanks Local Health Departments

LBOHEnd8 19 16: Click to read the press release.

On August 19, 2016 the Bureau of Infectious Disease publicly thanked the over 170 local Boards of Health that participated in the “OutbreakNet Enhanced summer pilot project. Interns in their Masters Degrees program saved the local boards of health and DPH in excess of 80 man-hours of work in conducting interviews of Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. Coli, Listeria, Cyclospora, and Vibrio parahaemolyticus cases.

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State Health Officials Announce First Human Case of West Nile Virus in Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 16, 2016

FURTHER INFORMATION:
Omar Cabrera –  (617) 624-5089

State Health Officials Announce First Human Case of West Nile Virus in Massachusetts

Residents urged to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites

BOSTON – August 16, 2016 – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced the first human case of West Nile virus (WNV) in the state this year. The patient is a resident of Middlesex County in her 70’s who was diagnosed with WNV through testing completed today by the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory. The patient remains hospitalized.

DPH is conducting an epidemiological investigation to determine where the individual was most likely exposed to infected mosquitoes. Assessment of WNV risk areas will depend on the findings of this investigation.

“This is peak season in Massachusetts for possible West Nile virus infection in humans,” said DPH State Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Catherine Brown. “The high temperatures and drought conditions that we’ve seen are resulting in elevated populations of the type of mosquitoes that are most likely to spread WNV. That’s why it is more important than ever to take steps to avoid mosquito bites by using repellents, covering up to reduce exposed skin, dumping standing water around the house and moving indoors at dusk when mosquito activity reaches its peak.”

In 2015, there were ten human cases of WNV infection identified in Massachusetts. WNV is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease. Most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms. When present, WNV symptoms tend to include fever and flu-like illness. In rare cases, more severe illness can occur.

People have an important role to play in protecting themselves and their loved ones from illnesses caused by mosquitoes.

Avoid Mosquito Bites
Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)], or IR3535 according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.

Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitos. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning.

Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. Wear long-sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors to help keep mosquitos away from your skin.

Mosquito-Proof Your Home
Drain Standing Water. Mosquitos lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitos to breed by either draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.

Install or Repair Screens. Keep mosquitos outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

Protect Your Animals
Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools – especially after heavy rains. Water troughs provide excellent mosquito breeding habitats and should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitos near paddock areas. Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitos. Owners should also speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent WNV and EEE. If an animal is diagnosed with WNV or EEE, owners are required to report to DAR, Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795 and to the Department of Public Health (DPH) by calling 617-983-6800.

More information, including all WNV and EEE positive results, can be found on the Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page at www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito or by calling the DPH Epidemiology Program at 617-983-6800.

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This is a press release from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

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City of Lawrence Opens Cooling Centers Centers open Thursday-Friday

August 11, 2016, Lawrence, MA- Mayor Daniel Rivera announced that the City will be opening two “Cooling Centers” on Thursday, August 11th and Friday, August 12th in response to the anticipated record high temperatures. “It’s really hot out there. Be safe. Stay hydrated and if you’re looking for a cool place to go and relax, please consider coming down to one of the cooling centers,” said Mayor Rivera.
Lawrence Senior Center – Located at 155 Haverhill Street, Senior Center Director Martha Velez and her staff are ready to accommodate additional city residents who are looking to find relief from the heat today and tomorrow. The Lawrence Senior Center will be open from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Oasis Senior Day Care – Located at 120 Broadway in Lawrence. Oasis will be joining the city in this effort and will be opening to the public, offering water and a cool place to go. Oasis will be open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and is free to the public. Residents who go to Oasis Senior Day Care will be asked to sign in.
Lawrence Spray Park at the Point – Located at 168 Newbury Street, the Lawrence Spray Park will be open from 10AM-9PM.
State Pools – Geisler Memorial Swimming Pool at 50 High St. and the Lt. Colonel Edward J. Higgins Swimming Pool at 180 Crawford St., are scheduled to be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Extreme Heat Safety Tips (via Mass.gov)
What is Extreme Heat?
Extreme heat is generally defined as a prolonged period of excessively hot weather, which may be accompanied by high humidity. In Massachusetts, a “heat wave” is usually defined as a period of three or more consecutive days above 90 °F.
During Extreme Heat:
  • Never leave children or pets alone in a closed vehicle. Even with the windows cracked open, interior temperatures can rise almost 20°F within 10 minutes.
  • Slow down and avoid strenuous activity.
  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Light colors reflect heat and sunlight, and help maintain normal body temperature.
  • Drink plenty of water — even if you are not thirsty. Avoid alcoholic beverages and liquids high in sugar or caffeine. If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink, ask how much you should drink during hot weather.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun. Do not leave pets outside for extended periods of time.
  • If you must be outdoors, limit your outdoor activity to the morning and evening hours. Try to rest often in shady areas so your body temperature will have a chance to recover. Use sunscreen with a high SPF and wear a wide-brimmed hat.
  • If you do not have air conditioning, stay on your lowest floor, out of the sun. Use fans to stay cool and avoid using your stove and oven. Consider spending time in air-conditioned public spaces, such as schools, libraries, theaters, and other community facilities.
  • If there are power outages during warm weather, you may need to take additional precautions or go to a cooling center or emergency shelter to stay cool.
  • Know the symptoms of and watch out for heat-related illnesses. Call 9-1-1 to report emergencies.
  • Be a good neighbor. Check on family, friends, and neighbors, especially the elderly, those who live alone, those with medical conditions, those who may need additional assistance, and those who may not have air conditioning.
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