Public Health Emerging Issues – June 13, 2019

FOOD SAFETY AT FESTIVALS

  • Foodborne illness peaks in the summertime.
  • Bacteria multiply more quickly in warmer temperatures.  Bacteria can double in as little as 20 minutes when food is in the ‘danger zone’ (between 40 and 140 degrees).
  • Never leave food out of a refrigerator or cooler for more than 2 hours.  If the temperature is above 90 degrees, food should not be left out for more than one hour.
  • When visiting an on-site food vendor, like those at festivals, check to make sure:
    • The work station is clean.
    • The vendor has a way for employees to wash their hands.
    • Employees wear gloves or use tongs when handling food.
  • Washing your hands is the most important thing you can do to stay safe and healthy.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Always wash hands after using the restroom, going on a ride, touching animals or playing in the water.
    • You should also wash your hands after removing dirty clothes or shoes.
    • Be sure to wash your hands before eating or drinking.
    • Have hand sanitizer or wipes in case there’s not a nearby place to wash your hands.
  • If you do get sick, it’s important to report it, even if you’ve already recovered.  
  • You can call the Mesa County Public Health reporting line at (970) 254-4120  or fill out this form on our website.

Read more about how to stay safe while enjoying the sunshine and entertainment of a festival here.

 

AS SUMMERTIME TEMPERATURES RISE THE RISK FOR WEST NILE INCREASES

  • Bug bites can be more than an annoying itch.  
  • Weather conditions are the number one predictor of mosquito populations.
  • Between 2013-2018 there have been 20 human cases of West Nile in Mesa County.
  • The first U.S. case of West Nile was detected in 1999 and the first Colorado case was detected in 2002.
  • West Nile and other illnesses can be transmitted through mosquitos.
    • West Nile can cause a potentially fatal neurological disease in humans.
    • The virus can also cause severe disease and death in horses.
    • There is a vaccine for horses, but not yet for humans.  Your best protection comes from preventive measures.
  • Grand River Mosquito Control District has traps across Western Colorado to monitor mosquito populations.  So far this year, the number of Culex mosquitos (the type that can carry West Nile) isn’t significantly different than in years past, but the numbers are growing, usually peaking in early August.
  • Rain followed by sudden warm weather creates perfect conditions for mosquitos to lay eggs.
  • Standing pools of water are a perfect breeding ground for mosquitos.
    • Female mosquitos can lay up to 300 eggs at a time. Usually, the eggs are in a cluster that can hatch in as little as an inch of standing water.  
  • Simple preventive measures can protect you and your family against these diseases.
    • Wear long pants and shirts.
    • Use insect repellent with DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus.
    • Repair holes on screen windows or doors to keep mosquitos outside.
    • Drain standing water around your home.

For more information, visit health.mesacounty.us.

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