Public Health Emerging Issues – July 26, 2018

MOSQUITOES THAT TRANSMIT WEST NILE VIRUS ON THE RISE IN MESA COUNTY

  • According to Grand River Mosquito Control District traps, mosquito populations are on the rise in Mesa County, which is no surprise as we continue to see temperatures in the triple digits.
    • Warm weather combined with standing water make great breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The insects lay their eggs on the surface of standing water.
  • West Nile Virus is a mosquito-transmitted infection that can cause fever, joint pain, vomiting, headache, rash, body aches, diarrhea or serious complications like encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord).
    • Although we haven’t had any mosquitoes or humans test positive for West Nile Virus, we’re seeing higher numbers in the Culex population, this year.
      • Culex mosquitoes transmit West Nile Virus.
    • Between 2013 and 2015, we had 18 human cases of West Nile Virus. Zero cases were reported in 2016 and 2017.
      • Weather conditions are the number one predictor of mosquito populations. Even though we haven’t had human cases of West Nile Virus in the last two years, we are still at risk, especially since the weather conditions we’re seeing this year are optimal for high mosquito populations.
    • You can help reduce the risk of West Nile Virus in our community by taking steps to eliminate breeding sites on your property.
      • Empty rain barrels, bird baths, tin cans, old tires, car bodies, cisterns, roof gutters, plastic pools and any other containers that hold water on your property.
      • Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors.
      • Clean vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds.
      • Clip tall grass or weeds standing near your home or where people use your yard.
    • Always take precautions to prevent mosquito bites, too.
      • Use insect repellent with DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or 2-undecanone when spending time outside where mosquitoes are prevalent.
        • Do not use repellents on babies younger than two months.
        • Do not spray repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, cuts or irritated skin.
          • Spray the repellent onto your hands and then put it on your child’s face.
        • Do not use products with oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than three years.
      • Wear long pants and long shirts whenever possible.
      • Don’t schedule outdoor activities during dusk or dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
      • Use screens on windows and doors and repair holes to keep mosquitoes outside.
      • Cover cribs, strollers and baby carries with mosquito netting if you’re spending time outside.
    • Visit health.mesacounty.us and go to the “Illness & Injury” page to learn more about West Nile Virus.
    • Visit grmcd.org or call (970) 257-0191 for more information on mosquito activity and prevention in Mesa County.

 

MAKE SURE YOU’RE UP-TO-DATE ON YOUR PERTUSSIS IMMUNIZATION TO PREVENT WHOOPING COUGH

  • An infant in California died due to pertussis, also known as whooping cough, earlier this month.
  • This highly contagious respiratory disease is spread when one person infected with pertussis coughs or sneezes and another person breathes in those droplets left in the air.
  • The disease causes coughing fits, vomiting after coughing, exhaustion and a high pitched “whoop” sound during coughing.
  • Residents should know that this illness can be debilitating, sometimes lasting for as long as two months, and can be fatal for young children and infants. Immunization is key to prevention.
  • Mesa County has seen more cases of whooping cough in 2017 and 2018 than in any other year for the past five years.
    • In 2013 we had 10 cases; in 2014 we had 19 cases; in 2015 we had 9 cases; in 2016 we had 11 cases; and in 2017 we had 23 cases.
    • As of July 20, 2018, we’ve had 23 confirmed cases, which brings us to the same number of cases we saw throughout the entire year of 2017.
  • Residents, especially pregnant mothers and those spending time around infants, should make sure they are up-to-date on their pertussis immunizations to prevent whooping cough in Mesa County.
    • Pregnant women should receive a Tdap dose during the third trimester of pregnancy.
    • Babies need DTaP doses at two, four and six months of age, and again between 15 and 18 months.
    • Children need another DTaP dose between the ages of four and six.
    • Children between seven and 10 years need a dose of Tdap if they’ve never been immunized.
    • Children between 11 and 12 years need Tdap, as well.
    • Adults need one dose of Tdap if they did not receive a dose during adolescence.
  • As with any other illness, practicing good hand washing and staying home if you’re sick will reduce the risk of spreading whooping cough throughout our community.
  • MCPH offers DTaP and Tdap immunizations and accepts all major health insurance plans including Medicaid, Medicare and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan. We also have programs for those without insurance.
    • We serve all patients, regardless of ability to pay.
  • Parents can mark DTaP and Tdap immunizations off of the back-to-school list at our Back-to-School Immunization Clinics on Aug. 4 from 8 a.m. to noon and Aug. 8 from 5 to 8 p.m. at MCPH, 510 29 ½ Road in Grand Junction. The clinics will be walk-in only.
  • Call us at 248-6900 for more information.

 

 

 

 

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