Keep Foodborne Illness at Bay on Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday implies food, fun and football, but it can also bring a fourth ‘F’: foodborne illness. The good news is that this does not have to be the case. Follow these winning food safety plays and you will be ready to score a ‘win’ for food safety on game day:

  1. Have a good game-day warm-up by keeping things CLEAN. Before you eat or handle food, wash your hands, food prep tools and surfaces. Wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water to avoid spreading bacteria to other surfaces. Also wash cutting boards, utensils and other surfaces before and after each use.
  2. SEPARATE raw meat and poultry from ready-to-eat foods to keep up a good defense. Be sure to use clean and different utensils for each dish.
  3. Avoid a false start- COOK to the correct temperature. Use a food thermometer to check that foods cook to the right temperature. This includes cooking to 165°F for chicken and 160°F for ground beef.
  4. Watch the clock to stay CHILL. Throw away perishable foods that sit at room temperature for more than two hours, or one hour if it’s 90°F or warmer. Also, take a timeout before halftime to check that food is out of the “danger zone” between 40°F to 140°F.

Follow these tips and you’ll be ready to score a touchdown for food safety!

For more information on general and Super Bowl food safety, visit the VDH Food Safety page and:

 

FDA approves first once-monthly buprenorphine injection, a medication-assisted treatment option for opioid use disorder

FDA approves first once-monthly buprenorphine injection, a medication-assisted treatment option for moderate-to-severe opioid use disorder.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Sublocade, the first once-monthly injectable buprenorphine product for the treatment of moderate-to-severe opioid use disorder (OUD) in adult patients who have initiated treatment with a transmucosal (absorbed through mucus membrane) buprenorphine-containing product. It is indicated for patients that have been on a stable dose of buprenorphine treatment for a minimum of seven days. Read the full news release.

Open Enrollment

If you get medications or health insurance through Virginia ADAP, call Benalytics at 1-855-483-4647 for help enrolling in a health care plan today! Benalytics is available Monday-Friday 8A-7P Eastern Time and on Saturdays 9A-1P Eastern Time. ACA open enrollment ends on December 15, 2017.

World AIDS Day: A Changing Landscape

World AIDS Day, observed each year on December 1, is an opportunity for people around the world to unite in the fight against HIV, show support for people living with HIV, and to remember those who died from HIV- or AIDS-related complications.

Knowing your HIV status is the first step in preventing HIV.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that everyone get tested at least once in their lifetime.  If a person participates in high-risk behaviors, CDC recommends more frequent testing.  Take a moment to read about HIV Risk and Prevention and consider taking an HIV test as part of your personal commitment to preventing HIV.

People who are HIV negative and people who are HIV positive can both take medications to prevent new HIV infections. Biomedical interventions (using medication to prevent HIV transmission) give us a real opportunity to end the HIV epidemic.

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)—Prophylaxis means to prevent the spread of infection or disease.  PrEP is a once-a-day pill that can prevent the transmission of HIV.  Studies have shown that PrEP is over 90% effective in preventing HIV when taken every day.  The CDC also recommends that people on PrEP continue to use condoms for extra protection and to prevent other sexually transmitted infections.  For more information about PrEP, or to find a PrEP provider in your area, visit the Virginia Greater Than AIDS page.

Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)—PEP is used after a person has a potential exposure to HIV.   PEP can be used after unprotected sex; a condom broke or after a sexual assault.  Health care workers can also use PEP if they have an exposure at work.  PEP is taken for 28 days and must be started within 72 hours of exposure.  The sooner that PEP is started, the better the results are.  For more information on PEP, check out the CDC PEP Fact Sheet, or call the Virginia Disease Prevention Hotline at 800-533-4148.

HIV Treatment—While there is no cure for HIV, taking HIV medications can improve health outcomes and help people living with HIV live a normal lifespan.  CDC recently confirmed that when HIV medications result in viral suppression, HIV is not transmitted to other people through sex.  Viral suppression is when an HIV-positive individual has less than 200 copies of the virus per milliliter of blood, or is undetectable.  Undetectable is a term that means a person’s viral load is at such low levels that the virus may not be detected in their blood.  Being undetectable is not a constant state and if a person stops taking their medications, their viral load will go back up again.

Across three different studies, including thousands of couples and many thousand acts of sex without a condom or PrEP, no HIV transmissions to an HIV-negative partner were observed when the HIV-positive person was virally suppressed.  This means that people who take HIV medications daily as prescribed, and achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load, have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner.   The results of these studies are being promoted through U=U (Undetectable = Untransmittable) campaigns across the US to encourage both HIV testing and linkage to and retention in HIV medical care. Feel free to read more about HIV treatment as prevention.

Many have died from HIV- and AIDS-related complications, but with new scientific advances occurring every year, we can change the story of HIV in the United States and Virginia.  Protect yourself and your loved ones by learning about HIV and how to prevent infection.  Talk to your friends or loved ones about the importance of HIV testing and treatment.  Together we can combat the stigma around and educate on HIV, helping to make Virginia the healthiest state in the nation.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

The United Nations General Assembly designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Women and girls around the world are subject to violence. Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious, preventable public health problem that affects millions of Americans. IPV can be physical, sexual or psychological harm by a current or former partner. In Virginia, 71% of victims of intimate partner homicide were women. If you or someone you know is experiencing partner violence, get help:

  • Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-838-8238
  • The LGBTQ Partner Abuse and Sexual Assault Helpline: 1-800-356-6998

Learn more:

Asmar’s Mediterranean Food, Inc. Recalls Asmar’s Original Hommus Due to Possible Health Risk

Asmar’s Mediterranean Food, Inc. of Alexandria, Va. is recalling one lot of Asmar’s Original Hommus because the product has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections to individuals with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. Read more.

What you need to know about Vibrio

Vibrio

Roughly a dozen Vibrio species are known to cause a bacterial disease called vibriosis in humans, with the most common in the United States being V. parahaemolyticus, V. vulnificus, and V. alginolyticus. The Vibrio species that cause vibriosis naturally live in the salt or brackish (i.e., somewhat salty) waters of Virginia’s coastal zone. People with vibriosis become infected by eating raw or undercooked seafood or exposing a wound to seawater. Most infections occur from May through October when water temperatures are warmer.  Vibrio vulnificus, in particular, can cause severe or fatal infections. Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions such as liver disease, diabetes, HIV, cancer, and certain stomach disorders are at greater risk of becoming sick with vibriosis and experiencing severe complications.

Remember these helpful tips for preventing Vibrio infection:

  • Eat cooked seafood, which tastes just as delicious!
  • Avoid contact with seawater or preparing raw seafood such as oysters and shrimp if you have an open wound, even if it’s a minor cut or scrape. Or cover your wound with a waterproof bandage.
  • Wash wounds and cuts with soap and clean water if they have been exposed to seawater, raw seafood, or juices from seafood.

Learn more about Vibrio.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic Violence, also known as intimate partner violence, happens to 37% of US women and almost 31% of US men. Intimate partner violence includes:

  • physical violence,
  • sexual violence,
  • threats of physical or sexual violence,
  • stalking and
  • emotional or psychological abuse

by a current or former intimate partner. This type of violence can happen to anyone, even if you aren’t sexually intimate. It can range from a single episode of violence to severe episodes over many years.

In Virginia there were 124 family and intimate partner homicides, which is 32% of all homicides. Almost 3 out of 4 victims of intimate partner homicide are women.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline, 1-800-838-8238 or the LGBTQ Partner Abuse and Sexual Assault Helpline, 1-800-356-6998. If you are not able to call you can text, 804-793-9999. If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.

CDC updates guidance for infants born to mothers with possible Zika virus infection during pregnancy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today issued updated interim clinical guidance for health care providers caring for infants born to mothers with possible Zika virus infection during pregnancy. This update includes information that has become available since the August 2016 release of the previous guidance.

Zika virus continues to be a public health threat to pregnant women and their infants. Despite the lower number of Zika cases in 2017 than at this time during 2016, Zika cases continue to be reported by many countries around the world.  Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious damage to the brain of the developing fetus. It can lead to congenital Zika syndrome in babies, a pattern of birth defects that includes brain abnormalities, vision problems, hearing loss, and problems moving limbs. Babies with congenital infection may also appear healthy at birth but have underlying brain defects or other Zika-related health problems.

“There’s a lot we still don’t know about Zika, so it’s very important for us to keep a close eye on these babies as they develop,” said CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D. “Learning how best to support them will require a team approach between healthcare providers and families.”

The updated recommendations emphasize that it is important for pediatric health care providers to assess risk of congenital Zika virus infection, to communicate closely with obstetrical providers, and to remain alert for any problems that may develop in infants without birth defects born to mothers with possible Zika virus exposure during pregnancy.

Read More Here

Test Your Food Safety IQ This September

September Food Safety Education Month www.cdc.gov/foodsafety cdcThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists “Safer and Healthier Foods” as one of the Ten Great Public Health Achievements in the 20th Century.  September is National Food Safety Education Month and National Family Meals Month, and we use this month to celebrate our accomplishments and to educate on the importance of good food safety habits.

 

 

 

Think you know your food safety facts? Take our quiz to find out how much you know!

Question 1: How many Americans get sick each year from foodborne illness?

Answer: It’s estimated that 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick each year! 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.

 Question 2: Which group(s) of people are more likely to get food poisoning or to get seriously ill from it?

Answer: E. All of the above. Learn about why these groups are more at risk on CDC’s website:

CDC- Prevent Food Poisoning (en español: CDC- Prevenga la intoxicación alimentaria)

  1. Children under age 5
  2. Adults age 65 and older
  3. People with weak immune systems
  4. Pregnant women
  5. All of the above

 

Question 3: Pregnant women are __________ times more likely to get a Listeria infection.

Answer: C. Pregnant women are 20 times more likely to get a Listeria infection. Listeriosis is a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes

  1. 2
  2. 5
  3. 10
  4. 20

 

 Question 4: One out of __________ children diagnosed with E. coli O157 infection develops kidney failure.

Answer: B. One out of seven children diagnosed with E. coli O157 infection develops kidney failure. These are life threatening infections that can be prevented. Learn how to protect yourself and your family from E. coli infections here.
  1. 5
  2. 7
  3. 10
  4. 15

Question 5: What are the top 4 contributing factors to outbreaks in restaurants?

Answer: Contributing factors are behaviors, practices, and environmental conditions that lead to outbreaks. Knowing the contributing factors can help us stop outbreaks and prevent future ones.

The top four contributing factors to outbreaks in restaurants are:

  1. Sick food worker contaminates ready-to-eat food through bare-hand contact.
  2. Sick food worker contaminates food through a method other than hand contact, such as with a utensil they contaminated.
  3. Sick food worker contaminates ready-to-eat food through glove-hand contact.
  4. Food handling practices lead to growth of pathogens, such as food not kept cold enough.

Want to learn more food safety tips? Check out My Meal Detective for short videos that will help you learn how to prevent and report foodborne illness. For more information on general food safety, visit the VDH Food Safety page and: