CCHD Encourages CT Residents To Take Precautions Against Vector-Borne Diseases

As summer approaches, Central Connecticut Health District (CCHD) encourages all Connecticut residents to take precautions to protect themselves against vector-borne disease transmission. Vector-borne diseases are infections transmitted (spread) through the bite of infected blood-feeding arthropods (vectors) such as mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas. Vectors can carry infectious pathogens (germs) such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites that upon transmission become the causative agents of common diseases such as Lyme, Anaplasmosis/Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis, West Nile Fever, Zika, Dengue, and Malaria.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the number of vector-borne disease cases from mosquito, tick, and flea bites have more than tripled in the US from 2004 to 2016, with more than 640,000 cases reported in the May 2018 issue of Vital Signs. In addition, nine new pathogens (germs) spread by mosquitoes and ticks have either been discovered or introduced since 2004 as evidenced by the recent outbreaks of Zika and chikungunya.

Within the US, Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne disease, especially in the state of Connecticut, where the condition was first diagnosed and named in Old Lyme. Lyme disease is the tick-borne infection caused by the spirochete bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, transmitted by the bite of infected black-legged deer tick, Ixodes scapularis. In addition to Lyme disease, deer ticks can also co-infect hosts with human anaplasmosis (caused by the bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum), babesiosis (caused by the parasite Babesia microti), and Powassan virus disease (caused by the Powassan virus). Personal protection measures and regular tick checks are the most effective ways to reduce the risk of contracting tick-borne diseases.

Residents are encouraged to use EPA-registered insect repellents containing ingredients such as DEET, wear long-sleeved shirts & long pants, and buy or treat items such as boots, pants, socks & tents with permethrin when spending time outdoors. Upon returning home, regular tick inspection, identification, and proper removal is strongly recommended for family members & pets. Take great care to check your body closely, especially in hard-to-see areas such as under the arms, in/around the ears, inside the belly button, back of the knees, in/around all head & body hair, between the legs, and around the waist. Additionally, residents are also advised to control ticks and fleas on family pets through veterinary approved medications. Finally, residents are encouraged to take necessary steps in an effort to control mosquito, tick, & flea populations both inside and outside your home by installing protective nets/screens, keeping lawns mowed short, using approved pesticides, and emptying/covering items that may hold stagnant water such as pools, gutters, tires, fountains, and debris.

For more information, CCHD invites all residents to attend our vector-borne disease presentation to be held next Tuesday, May 21st, 2019 from 1:30-2:30 PM at the Berlin-Peck Memorial Library located at 234 Kensington Rd. in Berlin, CT (Register Here!). Additionally, CCHD would like to encourage all residents to bring in any suspicious tick (detached & bagged) into the Health District for laboratory testing. Visit us at www.ccthd.org, Facebook and Twitter!

THIRD CASE OF MEASLES CONFIRMED IN CONNECTICUT

ctdph.png

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH CONFIRMS THIRD CASE OF MEASLES IN CONNECTICUT FOR 2019

THIRD CASE LINKED TO OUTBREAK IN NEW YORK CITY AND NOT CONNECTED TO PREVIOUS CT MEASLES CASES

Hartford, CT – The Connecticut Department of Public Health today is confirming a third case of measles in Connecticut for 2019 in an adult from New Haven County. Information received by the Connecticut Department of Public Health indicates that the case contracted measles after being exposed during the last week of March while on a visit to Brooklyn, NY and is linked to an ongoing outbreak of measles in New York City. The latest case of measles is not related to two previously confirmed cases in Connecticut reported in January.

“We are monitoring and investigating this case very closely, including working with our local health departments to follow up with any individuals that may have been exposed to measles,” said Connecticut DPH Commissioner Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell. “Science tells us that the single best thing anyone can do to protect themselves from this highly contagious virus is to get vaccinated. Connecticut has very high vaccination rates, so we are at low risk for a widespread measles outbreak. If you have a fever and a rash and you think you might have measles, you should avoid public settings and call your healthcare provider BEFORE going directly to a healthcare facility so steps can be taken to avoid possibly exposing others.”

The latest case of measles in Connecticut had rash onset on April 11, 2019. The infectious period for this individual is between April 7-12, 2019 and the case was isolated as of today. The average incubation period of measles (from contact with a case until onset of rash) is 14 days, with a range of 7–21 days. Cases are considered infectious from four days before rash onset through four days after.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) is working with local health departments and healthcare providers to identify and inform identified contacts of the case. It is possible that secondary cases of measles among some of these contacts may occur, especially among those who have never been vaccinated for measles.

Fortunately, the majority of people exposed to measles in Connecticut are not at-risk of developing the disease since most people have either been vaccinated or have had measles in the past, before vaccination became routine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all children get two doses of Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12- through 15-months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. One dose of measles vaccine is about 93% effective at preventing measles if exposed to the virus. Two doses are about 97% effective. Measles vaccine does not cause measles illness.

Adults should have at least one dose of MMR vaccine. Certain groups need two doses of MMR, including: college students, health care workers, international travelers, and persons at high risk for measles complications. Adults born in the U.S. before 1957 are considered immune to measles from past exposures, but in situations where exposure to measles is likely, these adults may benefit from an additional dose of MMR vaccine. Individuals who are unsure of their vaccination status are encouraged to check with their physician.

A typical case of measles begins with mild to moderate fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes (conjunctivitis), and sore throat. Three to five days after the start of these symptoms, a red or reddish-brown rash appears, usually starting on a person’s face at the hairline and spreading downward to the entire body. At the time the rash appears, a person’s fever may spike to more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The rash typically lasts at least a few days and then disappears in the same order. People with measles may be contagious up to 4 days before the rash appears and for four days after the day the rash appears.

From January 1 to April 4, 2019, 465 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 19 states. This is the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000. The states that have so far reported cases to CDC in 2019 are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. In 2018, three cases of measles were reported in Connecticut.

For more information about measles, please visit www.cdc.gov/measles.

More information on annual statistics for vaccine preventable diseases in Connecticut is available here:

https://portal.ct.gov/DPH/Immunizations/Case-Occurrence-of-Selected-Diseases-Connecticut

For Immediate Release For More Information:

Av Harris av.harris@ct.gov

(860) 509-7270

Expecting a Baby? CCHD Recommends Text4Baby, a FREE Informational Text Message Service for Expecting Moms

Are You Planning a Pregnancy, Currently Pregnant, or Know Someone Who Is? Central Connecticut Health District Recommends Text4Baby a FREE App for Expecting & New Moms

Central Connecticut Health District is highlighting a free service for new and expecting moms. Women who text BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411 receive free informational text messages three times per week, timed to their due date or their baby's birth date, through pregnancy and up until the baby's first birthday. Text4baby sends messages with trusted information developed by experts from around the country directly to participants. There is also an app that provides additional information about baby's development, pregnancy, childcare tips, and more.

Text4baby topics include:

·         Nutrition for you and your baby

·         Safe sleep tips

·         Baby's milestones

·         Signs and symptoms of labor

·         Doctor visit and appointment reminders for you and your baby

·         Breastfeeding advice

·         Car seat safety

·         Information on health insurance

·         Urgent health alerts

·         Resource hotlines and websites

For more information, check out www.text4baby.org

Text4baby is a free service provided by Wellpass. The text messages are sent for free thanks to the CTIA Wireless Foundation and participating mobile phone companies: Alltell, Assurance Wireless, AT&T, Bluegrass Cellular, Boost Mobile,Cellcom, Cincinnati Bell, Cricket, MetroPCS, n-Telos, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless, and Virgin Mobile USA. 

####

Central Connecticut Health District (CCHD) is the local health department serving the towns of Berlin, Newington, Rocky Hill, and Wethersfield. The district was formed in June 1996 with the towns of Rocky Hill and Wethersfield. Berlin joined the District in 1998, followed by Newington in 2006. CCHD is overseen by a twelve-member Board of Health and functions as an independent entity of government. CCHD underwent centralization in 2019 and is currently located in Rocky Hill.

 

 

GOVERNOR LAMONT ANNOUNCES NEW STATEWIDE EFFORTS TO CONFRONT OPIOID ADDICTION AND SAVE LIVES

ned lamont.jpg

GOVERNOR LAMONT ANNOUNCES NEW STATEWIDE EFFORTS TO CONFRONT OPIOID ADDICTION AND SAVE LIVES

State Launches Smartphone App to Assist with Overdose and a Public Awareness Campaign to Educate Residents on Opioid Misuse and Encourage Treatment

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont, the Department of Public Health (DPH), and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) today announced new coordinated efforts to confront and prevent the increase in opioid addiction across the State of Connecticut. During a news conference at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, state agency commissioners, doctors, first responders, the General Assembly’s insurance and public health chairs, and persons in recovery joined the governor to launch the “LiveLOUD – Live Life with Opioid Use Disorder” statewide awareness campaign, as well as the new Naloxone and Overdose Response (NORA) smartphone app.

“We can’t allow opioid addiction to continue consuming our families and residents. There are resources available to help no matter what stage individuals find themselves in,” Governor Lamont said. “My hope is today’s information is shared far and wide so that we can save lives or prevent someone from down the path of addiction altogether.”

Naloxone & Overdose Response App (NORA)

Naloxone & Overdose Response App (NORA)

“While the number of opioid-related deaths in Connecticut has leveled, even one overdose death is still too many,” Lt. Governor Bysiewicz said. “Educating the public is a critical component of addressing the opioid crisis and we believe the LiveLOUD campaign and NORA smartphone app will make it easier for people across the state to learn about what services are available to them.”

Administered by the Department of Public Health, the NORA app is designed to help save lives when confronted with an opioid overdose by educating residents on how to administer naloxone and using a user’s GPS data to find nearby locations to obtain the medication. The app, which is free for all users, functions through the web browser of most smartphones by visiting norasaves.com.

“Carrying naloxone, with assistance from the NORA app, empowers every resident of Connecticut to potentially save someone’s life,” DPH Commissioner Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell said. “If those most likely to witness an opioid overdose – such as friends and family – have access to this critical treatment and know how to use it, Connecticut can see a much higher chance of survival for those who overdose. I want to encourage everyone to go on our website and use this app so we can educate as many people in our state as possible what to do when they see someone overdosing.”

In an effort to prevent, discourage and destigmatize opioid addiction, starting today DMHAS launched LiveLOUD, a series of social media, radio, transit, and billboard spots directed to those who are actively using heroin or misusing prescription opioids, their families and communities. Connecticut residents will start seeing ads offering support, encouraging treatment and educating on treatment options.

“Our objective is to send a message of hope – that treatment options are available, and Connecticut cares about those suffering, their families, and the communities who are battling this epidemic,” DMHAS Commissioner Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon said. “We are working hard every day to ensure individuals have the support and care needed to overcome this deadly disease and to let them know that recovery is possible.”

Last year, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) reported that there were 1,017 deaths in Connecticut due to accidental overdose, 93 percent of which were opioid-related. While the state is not seeing the drastic increase in overdose deaths seen in previous years, the number of accidental overdoses is still nearly triple of the number of accidental overdoses reported by the OCME in 2012. Nationally, 116 people die every day from opioid-related drug overdoses.

In 2012, the state adopted a law, Public Act 12-159, that allows prescribers such as physicians, surgeons, and nurses to prescribe, dispense, or administer naloxone to any person to prevent or treat a drug overdose and the prescriber is protected from civil liability and criminal prosecution for administering the drug to reverse the effects of an overdose. Two years later, these protections were expanded by Public Act 14-61 to include laypersons, as family and friends are those most likely to witness an overdose.

“For too long, opioid use disorder has been stigmatized and treated like something that shouldn’t be discussed. That has only contributed to the opioid crisis growing to its current size,” State Senator Mary Daugherty Abrams, who chairs the legislature’s public health committee, said. “I applaud and welcome the introduction of LiveLOUD, as it offers those with opioid use disorder support and encouragement. Individuals who struggle with opioids need reassurance that treatment can help them, and that’s what this initiative provides them with.”

“We are proud to stand with the state as they launch this next great step towards changing the tide in the opioid epidemic,” Dr. John Rodis, president of Saint Francis Hospital, said.  “Addiction is an illness that requires medical treatment and support just as heart disease, diabetes, or any other disease does. At Saint Francis, we have made it part of our mission to provide the necessary supportive services to our patients with substance abuse or opioid use disorders in order to safely and efficiently connect them to long term recovery treatment.”

For more information:

  • On opioid prevention, visit the opioid prevention program on the DPH website

  • On the LiveLOUD campaign, visit www.liveloud.org

  • On the NORA app, visit www.norasaves.com

###

 

For Immediate Release: April 1, 2019
Contact: David Bednarz

Office of Governor Ned Lamont
David.Bednarz@ct.gov
860-770-9792 (cell)

 

Contact: Diana Shaw

Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services

Diana.Shaw@ct.gov

860-418-6967 (desk)

860-558-0024 (cell)

 

Contact: Av Harris
Department of Public Health

Av.Harris@ct.gov

860-509-7106 (desk)

860-250-8391 (cell)

www.ct.gov/governor
  

 

 

CCHD Celebrates National Public Health Week!

Central Connecticut Health District (CCHD) cordially invites you to join us in celebrating National Public Health Week 2019 (NPHW): a week long, nationwide, public health initiative structured around daily themes April 1st – 7th. The American Public Health Association (APHA) has organized NPHW during the first full week of April annually for the past 24 years, educating the public, policymakers, and practitioners about public health strategies, practices and prevention. This year’s national campaign, ‘Creating the Healthiest Nation: For science. For action. For health’, focuses on topics such as Healthy Communities, Violence Prevention, Rural Health, Technology & Public Health, Climate Change and Global Health. In commemoration of NPHW, CCHD will be hosting the following events:

CCHD will kick off the festivities on Monday, April 1st during NPHW’s Healthy Communities day. Charles Brown, CCHD’s Director of Health, will be a guest on Newington Community Television’s (NCTV) ‘Talk to the Mayor’, a live talk show broadcasted on the first Monday of each month featuring Newington Mayor Roy Zartarian (R). Charles Brown will discuss topics pertaining to National Public Health Week, CCHD’s events, and answer questions from residents within our district.

Secondly, in collaboration with Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network, CCHD will promote The Hospital of Central Connecticut’s (HOCC) ‘Victims of Crime Act (VOCA)’ program on Tuesday, April 2nd during NPHW’s Violence Prevention Day. VOCA is an outpatient program seeking to assist victims of domestic violence, childhood abuse or neglect, adult physical or sexual assault, elder abuse, and/or stalking or harassment. Offered services include individual & group therapy, medication management assistance, emergency transitional housing, emergency gift cards for food/clothing, bus passes, and legal assistance. For more information or to seek assistance, please call (860) 224-5267.

Thirdly, in partnership with Codeword Escape, CCHD will be hosting Public Health Game Night II: The Black Death! on Wednesday April 3rd in honor of NPHW’s Global Health theme. Our second annual Public Health Game Night will feature a multi-room escape room set within England during the devastating 1350’s Black Plague pandemic.

King Edward III’s daughter, Joan of England, has been infected on her journey to Castile. The King, taking precautionary measures, has quarantined YOU, his royal guard within his throne room. Hidden deep within the castle lies a cure, inadvertently accessible only by those whom have been locked in. You have one hour to solve the Mad King’s security puzzles to find the coveted hidden cure. Find the cure, save the King’s daughter, and survive the plague as heroes of the realm; fail to do so, and become tragedy as you succumb to the deadly disease!

A variant of Codeword Escape’s ‘Curse of the Golden Touch’ escape room, Public Health Game Night’s ‘Black Death’ will present a mediaeval perspective into the origins of Public Health! Come get locked in, conduct an outbreak investigation, track a deadly vector-borne disease, put your public health detective skills to the test, and get a taste of what Public Health has to offer! Space is strictly limited and reservations will be granted on a first come, first served basis. To secure your spot on the team, please email lpantoja@ccthd.org.

Fourthly, in partnership with ‘Text4baby’, on Thursday, April 4th, CCHD will promote Text4baby’s messaging service and companion app in honor of NPHW’s Technology & Public Health theme. Text4baby is a free national health text messaging service that provides personalized information (timed to mom’s due date) to pregnant and new mothers in an effort to improve the health of their babies. Topics include: nutrition (Mom & baby), safe sleep tips, baby milestones, signs & symptoms of labor, doctor visit reminders, breastfeeding advice, car seat safety, information on health insurance, urgent health alerts, and online resources. Furthermore, Text4baby’s companion app provides additional information about baby’s development, pregnancy, childcare tips and much more. Text BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411 for enrollment!

Lastly, in collaboration with Rocky Hill’s Cora J. Belden Library, CCHD will be screening the film ‘The Human Element’, a documentary featuring a coast-to-coast series of stories featuring the impacts of climate change hosted by award-winning environmental photographer James Balog. Stories are depicted through lens of the four classical elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. The film’s screening will be preceded by a brief introduction and followed by an interactive discussion session led by members of CCHD’s staff.

For more information on CCHD please contact us by visiting www.ccthd.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @CCTHD4!

###

Central Connecticut Health District (CCHD) is the local health department serving the towns of Berlin, Newington, Rocky Hill, and Wethersfield. The district was formed in June 1996 with the towns of Rocky Hill and Wethersfield. Berlin joined the District in 1998, followed by Newington in 2006. CCHD is governed by a fourteen member Board of Health and functions as an independent entity of government. CCHD underwent centralization in 2019 and is currently located in Rocky Hill.

Media Contact:

signature.PNG
2019_blue_banner.jpg

CCHD Offers FREE Chronic Disease Self-Management Workshops

LiveWell.png

CCHD Offers FREE Chronic Disease Self-Management Workshops

Central Connecticut Health District (CCHD) will be hosting FREE ‘Live Well with Chronic Disease’ self-management workshops to district residents residing in the towns of Berlin, Newington, Rocky Hill, and Wethersfield. The six-week workshop series will be held once a week on Wednesday mornings, beginning on April 10th through May 15th from 9:30 AM – 12 PM at the Newington Senior & Disabled Center located at 120 Cedar Street in Newington.

‘Live Well with Chronic Disease’ is a nationwide, evidence-based self-management program developed at Stanford University. The workshops are designed for adults suffering from ongoing health conditions such as arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic pain, anxiety and/or depression, in addition to their families and their caregivers. Participants will learn how to effectively manage their conditions through nutrition, exercise, symptom management (fatigue, pain), emotional management (stress, depression, anger, fear, frustration), medication, & effective communication with health care providers within an interactive and supportive environment.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), six in ten adults in the United States suffer from a chronic disease and four in ten adults suffer from two or more. Chronic diseases are broadly defined as conditions that last one or more years, requiring ongoing medical attention and/or limiting activities of daily living. Chronic diseases include Arthritis, Cancer (Breast, Cervical, Colorectal, Gynecological, Skin, etc.), Chronic Kidney Disease, Chronic Lung Disease, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure, Lupus, Obesity, Stroke, and Tooth Decay among others. Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the US, contributing to the nation’s $3.3 trillion in annual health care costs. Risk factors for developing chronic diseases include poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, tobacco use/secondhand smoke, and excessive alcohol use.

Pre-registration is required & space is limited. For more information or to reserve your spot, please call (860) 665-8778. The textbook ‘Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions’ will be available on loan at no cost; participants can also purchase a personal copy.

‘Live Well with Chronic Disease’ Flyer

‘Live Well with Chronic Disease’ is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and sponsored by the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS), the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CTDPH), the North Central Area Agency on Aging (NCAAA), and the Central Connecticut Health District (CCHD).

For more information on CCHD please contact us by visiting www.ccthd.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @CCTHD4!

###

 

Central Connecticut Health District (CCHD) is the local health department serving the towns of Berlin, Newington, Rocky Hill, and Wethersfield. The district was formed in June 1996 with the towns of Rocky Hill and Wethersfield. Berlin joined the District in 1998, followed by Newington in 2006. CCHD is overseen by a twelve member Board of Health and functions as an independent entity of government. CCHD underwent centralization in 2019 and is currently located in Rocky Hill.

Media Contact:

Luis Pantoja

Health Educator

Central Connecticut Health District

2080 Silas Deane Highway

Suite 100

Rocky Hill, CT  06067

P (860) 785-8380 Ex. 209

F (860) 785-8533

W http://ccthd.org/

E Lpantoja@ccthd.org

REMINDER: HIV is Still Infecting Connecticut Residents and it is Preventable

News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Connecticut DPH Releases New HIV Data

Hartford– The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) has released Connecticut Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Surveillance data for 2017.

According to the 2017 data, there were 281 people newly diagnosed with HIV in CT. This is an increase of 4% from the 269 cases reported in 2016. Of the 281 cases, 137 (49%) were among men having sex with men (MSM), 92 (33%) were among heterosexuals and 23 (8 %) were among people who inject drugs. There are currently 10,560 people living with HIV in CT.

Among those diagnosed with HIV in 2017, 40% were Black/African American, 30% were White and 29% were Hispanic/Latinx. Young people between the ages of 20-29 ranked highest of those newly diagnosed (29%), followed by people aged 30-39 (21%) and 40-49 (21%).Black heterosexual females accounted for 17% of the new 2017 HIV infections, exceeding Black MSM (11%).

The 5-year data trend (2013 – 2017) shows significant decreases in HIV transmission overall and among MSM. Total HIV diagnoses (incidence) during the same period decreased by 15% and among MSM, a 19% decrease was reported. Despite prevention efforts, disparities still remain. The 5-year data trend indicates an increase of 57% in HIV diagnoses among Black heterosexual females.

In June 2018, Commissioner Pino led and engaged with statewide partners to launch the Getting to Zero Campaign. This initiative promotes routine HIV testing and access to care, both associated with positive health outcomes for people living with HIV.

"We have come a long way in bringing HIV under control in CT, but we have more work to do. Prevention is the best tool against HIV. If you think you are at risk, condom use and prophylactic treatment (PrEP) are your best choices. Our surveillance data indicates that we still have persistent health inequities that DPH needs to continue to address and we are dedicated in doing so. Get tested and know your status. If you are HIV positive, initiate HIV treatment as soon as possible and remain in treatment. DPH is committed to get to Zero." stated Commissioner Pino.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone aged 13-64 should be tested for HIV annually at your regular visit, and people at risk should be tested at least once a year, if not more often. Ask your doctor, or visit gettested.cdc.gov to find a testing site.

For more information about the latest Connecticut HIV statistics visit: CT HIV statistics

For more information about how to prevent HIV visit: positivepreventionct.org HIV

________________________________________

HIV in Connecticut Infographic:

https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DPH/HIV-Surveillance/CT-HIV-Fact-Sheet.pdf?la=en

Connecticut Department of Public Health

Contact: Elizabeth Conklin

(860) 509-7270

CCHD Encourages Residents to Take Precautions Against Influenza

As flu season intensifies, the Central Connecticut Health District (CCHD) strongly encourages residents to take precautions to protect themselves against flu virus transmission ahead of peak influenza activity. Over the course of ten flu clinics held this past fall, CCHD has proudly administered 2,378 flu vaccinations to CT residents across the state. CCHD urges residents whom have not already received their flu shot to contact their medical provider today.

Annual flu vaccination is the primary method to provide immunity against the influenza virus, mitigating illness and death caused by influenza-related complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends annual flu vaccinations for everyone 6 months of age and older, especially among at-risk populations with compromised (weakened) immune systems. Vulnerable populations susceptible to prolonged infection and influenza-related complications include adults over 65 years of age, children under five, pregnant women, and persons with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, lung disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease & emphysema), heart disease (congestive heart failure & coronary artery disease), and diabetes.

Influenza (flu) is a highly contagious viral respiratory infection affecting the nose, throat, and lungs that can cause mild to severe illnesses resulting in hospitalization, and can lead to death. In the United States, the CDC estimates that “influenza has resulted in between 9.2 million and 35.6 million illnesses, between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths annually since 2010”. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, muscle/body aches, runny/stuffy nose, headache, and fatigue. Complications include viral and bacterial pneumonia, ear and/or sinus infections, and exacerbation of existing chronic medical conditions.

As of December 29th, 2018 (2018-2019 Influenza Week 52), the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) has reported a total of 787 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases, 268 influenza-related hospitalizations, and a total of 4 influenza-associated deaths. Influenza A viruses have been identified as the predominant circulating strain this season, accounting for 94% of laboratory-confirmed influenza cases: 662 influenza A (unspecified subtype), 64 influenza A (H1N1), 11 influenza A (H3N2), & 50 influenza B.

CCHD advises residents to take personal protection measures to reduce the risk of contracting the flu by following 10 easy steps:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 30 seconds

  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers

  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

  • Disinfect surfaces and objects that may have become contaminated (phones, doorknobs, keyboards)

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people

  • While sick, limit contact with others

  • If you or your child are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after fever subsides

  • If prescribed antiviral drugs, make sure to follow your medical provider’s instructions

  • Stay informed by following updates, guidelines and recommendations from public health agencies such as the CDC, DPH, and your Local Health Department/District (LHD)

For more information on CCHD please contact us by visiting www.ccthd.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @CCTHD4!

CTDPH's National Radon Action Month

DPH: CELEBRATE A HEALTHY NEW YEAR WITH A RADON TEST
DURING NATIONAL RADON ACTION MONTH

Hartford — To kick off National Radon Action Month, the Connecticut State Department of Public Health (DPH) is urging Connecticut residents to test their homes for radon gas, the leading national environmental cause of cancer mortality. Health officials estimate that radon is responsible for more than 21,100 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States.

A naturally occurring, radioactive gas formed from the natural decay of uranium, radon is found in rock, soil and water. While radon in outdoor air poses a relatively low risk to human health, it can enter homes from the surrounding soil and become a health hazard inside buildings.

“Because you can’t see, taste, or smell radon, people are often unaware that this silent killer could be in their homes,” said Allison Sullivan with DPH’s Lead, Radon and Healthy Homes Program. “That is why testing for radon and reducing elevated levels is so important, and could save your life or the lives of your loved ones.”

The DPH Radon Program recommends that all Connecticut homes be tested for radon. Testing is recommended in the winter months. Testing homes for radon is simple and inexpensive. Thirty-three local health department/district partners were provided a total of 2,200 free test kits for distribution in their local communities to support radon awareness. Visit the DPH Radon Program website at ct.gov/radon to view a map of the local health partners and contact them directly to determine eligibility. Test kits can also be purchased from the American Lung Association by calling 1-800-LUNG-USA or at your local hardware store.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that homes with radon levels at or above 4.0 pCi/L be fixed. Homeowners should consider reducing their potential lung cancer risk by fixing homes with radon levels between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L. Smokers exposed to radon have a much higher risk for developing lung cancer.

Radon problems can be corrected by qualified radon contractors, with costs typically ranging between $1,200 and $1,500. A homeowner should hire a qualified radon mitigation (reduction) contractor to decrease airborne radon levels.

To learn more about radon and to obtain a list of qualified radon mitigation contractors, please visit the DPH Radon Program website at ct.gov/radon.

***END***

Connecticut Department of Public Health

Contact:

Maura Downes

(860) 509-7270