Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

Protecting children from exposure to lead is important to lifelong good health. No safe blood lead level in children has been identified. Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect IQ, ability to pay attention, and academic achievement. The effects of lead exposure cannot be corrected. Prevent lead poisoning. Get your home tested. Get your child tested. Get the facts!

The goal is to prevent lead exposure to children before they are harmed. There are many ways parents can reduce a child’s exposure to lead. The most important is stopping children from coming into contact with lead. Lead hazards in a child’s environment must be identified and controlled or removed safely.

Lead-based paint and lead contaminated dust are the most hazardous sources of lead for U.S. children. Lead-based paints were banned for use in housing in 1978. All houses built before 1978 are likely to contain some lead-based paint. However, it is the deterioration of this paint that causes a problem.

Visit Lead Safe Virginia to learn more about protecting children from lead exposure and learn more about how VDH protects your drinking water from unsafe lead levels.

A Day Without Water

hands holding coffee cup, black and whiteNeed coffee? Then you need water. On October 12, try to Imagine a Day without Water. Then find out more about the Virginia Department of Health Office of Drinking Water, working year-round to help Virginia’s drinking water treatment plants provide clean running water. The mission of the Office of Drinking Water is to protect public health by ensuring that all people in Virginia have access to an adequate supply of clean, safe drinking water that meets federal and state drinking water standards.

FDA: General Mills Issues Voluntary Recall of Cascadian Farm Organic Cinnamon Raisin Granola Cereal

General Mills is voluntarily recalling two days of production of Cascadian Farm Organic Cinnamon Raisin Granola cereal because of an undeclared allergen. There have been no reports of illness.

Cascadian Farm Organic Cinnamon Raisin Granola cereal produced on July 15 and 16, 2017 is being recalled because the product may contain almonds, an undeclared nut allergen. More

Infant Sleep Positioners: FDA Warning – Risk of Suffocation

FDA is reminding parents and caregivers not to put babies in sleep positioners. These products—sometimes also called “nests” or “anti-roll” products—can cause suffocation (a struggle to breathe) that can lead to death.

In the last 13 years, the federal government has received 12 reports of babies known to have died from suffocation associated with their sleep positioners. Most of the babies suffocated after rolling from the side to the stomach. In addition to the deaths, the commission has received dozens of reports of babies who were placed on their back or side in the positioners only to be found later in hazardous positions within or next to the product.

To reduce the risk of sleep-related infant deaths, including accidental suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants sleep on their backs, positioned on a firm, empty surface. This surface should not contain soft objects, toys, pillows, or loose bedding. More

CDC: New study shows Tdap vaccination during pregnancy can prevent whooping cough in babies

A new CDC study published today in Clinical Infectious Diseases reported that vaccination with whooping cough vaccine, Tdap, during the third trimester of pregnancy prevented more than three out of four (78 percent) cases of whooping cough (also known as pertussis) in babies younger than two months. However, only 49 percent of pregnant women who delivered between fall 2015 and spring 2016 received the vaccine. CDC recommends women get Tdap during each pregnancy to provide critical short-term protection to babies when they are most at risk for this life-threatening illness. More

Pregnant Women Should Still Get The Flu Vaccine, Doctors Advise

lu symptoms can be more severe when you’re pregnant, landing women in the hospital, threatening their lives and even leading to preterm birth or miscarriage. The virus is a risk to the woman and the baby.

So, it’s particularly important that people who are pregnant get the flu vaccine. And it’s also important that the effects of those vaccines be studied in pregnant women. More

Rabies Awareness

Golden Retriever and British ShorthairSeptember 25-October 1 is Rabies Awareness Week in Virginia. Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system, and is most commonly found in wild animals, such as raccoons, foxes and skunks. Virginia’s Rabies Awareness Week centers around World Rabies Day, which falls this year on September 28.

There are many ways you can prevent and control the spread of rabies:

  • Have your veterinarian vaccinate your dogs, cats, ferrets, and selected livestock. Keep the vaccinations up-to-date.
  • If your pet is attacked or bitten by a wild animal, report it to the local health or animal control authorities. Be sure your vaccinated dog, cat, or ferret receives a booster vaccination.
  • Limit the possibility of exposure by keeping your animals on your property. Don’t let pets roam free.
  • Do not leave garbage or pet food outside. It may attract wild or stray animals.
  • Do not keep wild animals as pets. Enjoy all wild animals from a distance, even if they seem friendly. A rabid animal sometimes acts tame. If you see an animal acting strangely, report it to your local animal control department and do not approach it.
  • Contact your local health department if you think you or your pet may have been exposed.

CDC: Increase in Reported cases of Cyclospora cayetanensis Infection, United States, Summer 2017

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), State and Local Health Departments, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating an increase in reported cases of cyclosporiasis. The purpose of this HAN Advisory is to notify public health departments and healthcare facilities and to provide guidance to healthcare providers of the increase in reported cases. Please disseminate this information to healthcare providers in hospitals and emergency rooms, to primary care providers, and to microbiology laboratories.

Healthcare providers should consider a diagnosis of cyclosporiasis in patients with prolonged or remitting-relapsing diarrheal illness. Testing for Cyclospora is not routinely done in most U.S. laboratories, even when stool is tested for parasites. Healthcare providers must specifically order testing for Cyclospora, whether testing is requested by ova and parasite (O&P) examination, by molecular methods, or by a gastrointestinal pathogen panel test. Cyclosporiasis is a nationally notifiable disease; healthcare providers should report suspect and confirmed cases of infection to public health authorities.

Learn more

CDC: Patients Receiving Eculizumab (Soliris®) at High Risk for Invasive Meningococcal Disease Despite Vaccination

Eculizumab (Soliris®) recipients have a 1,000 to 2,000-fold greater risk of invasive meningococcal disease compared to the general U.S. population. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved prescribing information for eculizumab includes a black box warning for increased risk of meningococcal disease, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends meningococcal vaccination for all patients receiving eculizumab. Recent data show that some patients receiving eculizumab who were vaccinated with the recommended meningococcal vaccines still developed meningococcal disease, most often from nongroupable Neisseria meningitidis, which rarely causes invasive disease in healthy individuals. Learn more