Maryland Sees First Confirmed Human Case of West Nile Virus in 2015

Residents are reminded to take precautions to reduce risk during summer, fall
 
Baltimore, MD (August 18, 2015) – The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) today is announcing the first confirmed and locally acquired case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in Maryland this year. The infected individual is an adult who lives in the Baltimore Metropolitan region. In addition, WNV also has been detected in mosquito pools collected in Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties. A mosquito pool is a group of mosquitoes collected at one of several trap sites across the state.
 
“A case of WNV is expected around this time of year," said DHMH Deputy Secretary of Public Health Services Dr. Howard Haft. "Marylanders are reminded that they can take simple steps to reduce the risk of getting infected." Those protective measures include:
 
  • Avoiding areas of high mosquito activity.
  • Avoiding unnecessary outdoor activities at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts and hats, when concerned about mosquitoes.
  • Using an EPA-registered insect repellent according to package directions.
 
Most individuals infected with WNV will not have any symptoms. People that do develop illness usually will have any combination of fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands. These symptoms generally appear two to 14 days following the bite of an infected mosquito. Fewer than one percent of people exposed to the virus will develop more severe infections, with symptoms such as headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis.
 
In rare instances, WNV can be fatal. Persons older than 60 have the greatest risk of developing severe disease. People with compromised immune systems also may be at high risk of WNV 
infection.
 
Residents are urged to monitor their own yards and gardens for standing water that can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Small amounts of water in a discarded can or container will support dozens of mosquitoes. To eliminate mosquito-breeding areas:
 
  • Clean rain gutters to allow water to flow freely.
  • Empty or screen corrugated drain pipes.  
  • Remove old tires or drill drainage holes in tires used as playground equipment.
  • Turn over wading pools, wheelbarrows, wagons and carts when not in use. Flush water from the bottom of plant holders twice a week.
  • Replace water in birdbaths at least twice a week.
  • Turn garbage can lids upside down and make sure trash receptacles are empty of water.
  • Fix dripping faucets.
  • Aerate ornamental pools and water gardens or stock with fish and use a circulating filter system.
 
The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) will spray all communities within a one-mile radius of where the person resides and will continue routine spray operations in all other participating communities throughout the state. 
 
Although birds are not routinely tested for WNV in Maryland, sick or injured birds can be reported to an appropriate local wildlife rehabilitator. Residents can call 1-877-463-6497 for a list of licensed rehabilitators or visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources web site at http://goo.gl/CvgW0W. Detailed instructions on what to do when you find a sick or dead bird can be found at http://goo.gl/Wgg6gg.   
 
The number of human WNV cases in Maryland has varied in time. The peak years of human activity occurred in 2003 and 2012, with 73 and 47 WNV cases reported statewide, respectively. In 2014, by comparison, there were six human cases of WNV infection in Maryland.
 
DHMH provides weekly updates of WNV detected in humans, mosquitoes and horses in Maryland on its website. For each case, DHMH indicates whether the infected individual is a child or an adult and the region of the state where the individual resides. The case announced today will be reflected in the report posted on Wednesday, August 19. The reports will be available each Wednesday at http://goo.gl/adHARJ.
 
For additional information on West Nile virus, visit DHMH at http://goo.gl/adHARJ, MDA at http://goo.gl/WYrDWJ and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/westnile.    
 
 

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WCHD News

 

(Snow Hill, MD)- The 22nd Annual “Tortoise & Hare Dare” 5K walk/run will be held at 9 am, on Saturday, April 6, with a rain date of April 13, at Pocomoke River State Park-Shad Landing, Snow Hill, Maryland. Registration begins at 8:30 am. This is a FREE event and is Pet-Friendly and will be led by Smokey the Bear. The first 100 runners/walkers to check-in on the day of the event will receive a free commemorative T-shirt. There is no cost to take part in the Tortoise and the Hare Dare. The Worcester County Health Department, Worcester County Department of Recreation & Parks, and Pocomoke River State Park all co-sponsor the 5k.

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(Snow Hill, MD)- The Worcester County Health Department is pleased to announce new funding awarded through the Maryland Department of Health, Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, to put into action community-based projects that support physical activity in Worcester County. This new grant funding will help WCHD create projects that line up with the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Healthy People 2020 campaign.

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Worcester County Lead Poisoning Prevention Program provides consultation to parents, home owners, renters, landlords, medical offices, and other concerned community members on the lead poisoning, prevention, testing, and regulations. Education and case management is provide to parents with children with elevated blood lead levels. Call 410-632-1100 for more information. 


What is lead poisoning?

Lead poisoning is one of the most common environmental child health problems in the United States and effects 3 to 4 million children. Lead is especially harmful to children younger than 6, but anyone who eats, drinks, or breathes something which has too much lead can get lead poisoning. Although chipping paint and paint dust are the most common sources of lead, lead can also be found in ceramic cups and dishes, fishing sinkers, craft supplies, leaded crystal, spray paint, and even in soil and water.

Click the image below for more information.

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Flu season is fully underway but it's not too late to reduce your risk. Flu vaccines are still available in Worcester County and simple, everyday precautions such as washing your hands, staying home when you're sick, and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze can help stop the spread of the flu. To learn more call 410-632-1100 or click the image below to visit the CDC page on flu prevention. 

 

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Snow Hill Rotary partners with Worcester Health on prescription lockboxes; Health Department to launch new substance abuse awareness campaigns in Spring 2019


(Snow Hill, MD)- The Worcester County Health Department and Snow Hill Rotary Club partnered in 2019 to provide free prescription lockboxes to the community. In 2018, the Rotary conducted a needs assessment to determine priorities for where to donate their resources. After having presentations from various organizations, including the Worcester County Health Department, it was determined that the opioid crisis would be a priority area and partnering with the health department to provide lock boxes was the intervention they selected. The Snow Hill Rotary Club also participated in a Naloxone training provided by the health department.

Funded by the Rotary Club, the new lockboxes encourage residents to keep their prescription medications, such as opioids, safe and secure. In addition to promoting responsible opioid storage, Worcester Health will launch several new awareness campaigns this spring focusing on Addiction in the Workplace, Naloxone training, reducing the stigma around recovery as well as promoting the State of Maryland’s Good Samaritan Law.

“I would like to thank the Snow Hill Rotary Club for partnering with the Worcester County Health Department on the lockbox initiative,” said Rebecca Jones, Health Officer for Worcester County. “This is another avenue in which to fight the ongoing opioid crisis.”

 Pictured (left to right): Mimi Dean, Director of Prevention, Worcester County Health Department, Rebecca Jones, Health Officer, Worcester County Health Department, Marty Pusey, Snow Hill Rotary Club, Chris Welch, President, Snow Hill Rotary Club.

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