Breastfeeding Awareness Month

As declared by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, August 1-7, 2019 is World Breastfeeding Week, and the United States Breastfeeding Committee declared August as National Breastfeeding Month to promote breastfeeding as a proven primary prevention strategy.

Breastfeeding is the nutritional standard for infant and young child feeding. Human breast milk is not only the ideal food for infants, but it is the only food that infants need for the first six months of life.

Breastfeeding is endorsed not only by the Virginia Department of Health, but also by the World Health Organization, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and many other scientific organizations.

Mothers Have A Legal Right To Breastfeed In Public – As enacted in 2015, Va. Code § 32.1-370 states in relevant part, “A mother may breastfeed in any place where the mother is lawfully present…”

National Immunization Awareness Month

Each year in August, National Immunization Awareness Month highlights the value of getting recommended vaccines throughout your life.

Immunizations play an important role in protecting our health, and the health of our families and communities. You have the power to protect yourself and your family with vaccines that prevent serious diseases like measles, the flu, whooping cough, pneumonia, and cancers caused by HPV.

Remember, vaccines aren’t just for young children. The Virginia Department of Health encourages everyone to talk to your doctor, nurse or other healthcare professional to ensure that you and your loved ones of all ages are up to date on all recommended vaccines.

Cyclosporiasis

Cyclosporiasis is an infection of the intestine caused by a parasite called Cyclospora (SIGH-clo-SPORE-uh). The first known human cases of cyclosporiasis were reported in 1979. Cyclosporiasis is not spread directly from person-to-person. Infected people pass Cyclospora in their feces (stool), but this form of the parasite cannot make people sick. The parasite needs time (days to weeks) in the environment to change into a form that can make people sick. This form of the parasite then can infect someone by entering the body through the mouth, typically by eating or drinking something that is contaminated with Cyclospora.

Outbreaks of cyclosporiasis in the United States have been linked to imported fresh produce, such as raspberries, basil, lettuce, and snow peas. The produce involved in each outbreak was probably contaminated in the country where it was grown. Nationally, there has been an increase in Cyclosporiasis in 2019, with state health departments throughout the country investigating numerous outbreaks. The Virginia Department of Health is currently investigating an increase in intestinal illness associated with Cyclopora. A common source for the increased illnesses is currently being investigated.  Local health districts are evaluating potential exposures by interviewing ill persons and collecting samples for testing at its public health laboratory. Anyone experiencing symptoms of Cyclosporiasis should visit their healthcare provider. They can test for Cyclospora and prescribe the correct treatment.  Physicians should report cases to the health department as indicated in Virginia’s Reportable Disease List.

For more information about cyclosporiasis, and reporting and surveillance of Cyclosporiasis Cases in Virginia, please visit: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/surveillance-and-investigation/cyclosporiasis/.

Pita Pal Foods, LP Recalls Various Hummus and Dips Due to Possible Health Risk

July 16, 2019 – Pita Pal Foods, LP of Houston, TX has issued a voluntary recall of certain hummus products made between May 30, 2019 and June 25, 2019, due to concerns over Listeria monocytogenes, which was identified at the manufacturing facility (not in finished product) during an FDA inspection.

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. No illnesses have been reported to date for these products. The company is issuing this recall out of an abundance of caution.

The products have been distributed nationwide and to United Arab Emirates. Consumers who have purchased products listed below with these use by dates are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 832-803-9295 or email products@pitapal.com.

For a full list of impacted products, click here.

 

Beyond ACEs SUMMIT – The impact of Race, Culture and Poverty

The Beyond ACEs SUMMIT 2019 will give providers and laypersons alike the opportunity to understand the basic language of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Persons familiar with the basic language and root causes of ACEs can further explore toxic stress and learn Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) practices. This year is historically significant because it marks the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans to Virginia. It was also a time that marked significant trauma. The information presented will explore the impact of race, culture and poverty both past and present through the lens of ACEs and Trauma. Speakers will present compelling and thought-provoking stories of trauma and resilience. Trauma-Informed Community Development and resilience-building resources will be available.

  • Learn the basic indicators of adverse childhood experiences
  • Understand how race, culture and poverty impacts human development
  • Become familiar with techniques to self-regulate when stress and trauma happen
  • Build resolution skills that help reduce trauma and build resiliency within individuals and community

This educational event will offer CEUs through Virginia Tech for everyone registered. (Some restrictions apply.)

Beyond ACEs Summit: Thursday, August 8 and Friday, August 9
Registration Cost: $155 through July 10 and $175 afterwards
Register at: http://www.cpe.vt.edu/beyondaces/
LOCATION: Petersburg High School, 3101 Johnson Road, Petersburg, Virginia 23805

Hope Fest: August 9, 5-8 p.m. HOPE FEST is FREE!

The Beyond ACEs Summit and Trauma Responsive Initiative is a program of the Crater Health Department of the Virginia Department of Health, www.craterhd.net https://www.facebook.com/SouthsideTICN/

National HIV Testing Day is June 27

June 27 is National HIV Testing Day (NHTD).  Around 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV.  One in seven is not aware of their HIV status.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone age 13 to 64 get tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime.  Others may benefit from more frequent testing.  Take the time this NHTD to get tested.  Find out your HIV status so you can get the prevention and treatment services you need!

It has never been easier to receive a HIV test in Virginia.  Testing is available at local health departments, health clinics, and select Walgreens.  Additionally, some individuals may be eligible for a free in-home HIV test kit.  For more information on NHTD, visit https://www.cdc.gov/features/hivtesting/.  To find a testing option convenient for you, visit www.virginiagetstested.org.

By committing to HIV testing, treatment, and prevention options like PrEP, we can prevent HIV and help people with HIV stay healthy.  For more information on HIV, HIV prevention, or HIV treatment, call the Virginia Disease Prevention Hotline at (800) 533-4148.

Posted by Disease Prevention Hotline on Wednesday, July 25, 2018

CDC: Outbreaks of Salmonella Infections Linked to Backyard Poultry

June 13, 2019 – CDC and public health officials in several states are investigating multiple multistate outbreaks of Salmonella infections linked to contact with backyard poultry. Click here to read full investigation notice.

Latest Outbreak Information
  • Since the last update on May 16, 2019, illnesses in an additional 227 people and 20 states have been added to this investigation. Four Salmonella serotypes have also been added.
  • A total of 279 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella have been reported from 41 states.
    • 40 (26%) people have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported.
    • 70 (30%) people are children younger than 5 years.
  • Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicate that contact with backyard poultry, such as chicks and ducklings, from multiple hatcheries is the likely source of these outbreaks.
    • In interviews, 118 (77%) of 153 ill people reported contact with chicks or ducklings.
    • People reported obtaining chicks and ducklings from several sources, including agricultural stores, websites, and hatcheries.
  • One of the outbreak strains making people sick has been identified in samples collected from backyard poultry in Ohio.

 

Hepatitis A virus (HAV) contamination of frozen blackberries under the Kroger grocery store “Private Selection” brand

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is alerting consumers to a hepatitis A virus (HAV) contamination of frozen blackberries under the Kroger grocery store “Private Selection” brand. This contamination was discovered by the FDA as a part of an ongoing frozen berry sampling assignment. The FDA is advising consumers not to eat and to throw away frozen fruit purchased from Kroger and other retail locations packaged under Kroger’s “Private Selection” brand. Here are the recalled products:

  • PRIVATE SELECTION FROZEN TRIPLE BERRY MEDLEY, 48 OZ (BEST BY: 07-07-20; UPC: 0001111079120);
  • PRIVATE SELECTION FROZEN TRIPLE BERRY MEDLEY, 16 OZ (BEST BY: 06-19-20; UPC: 0001111087808);
  • PRIVATE SELECTION FROZEN BLACKBERRIES, 16 OZ (BEST BY: 06-19-20, 07-02-20; UPC: 0001111087809)

These products are available at Kroger retail locations and have a two-year shelf life. The FDA is working with the manufacturer on this matter. This posting will be updated with new information as it becomes available. The FDA is continuing to investigate to determine whether there are other implicated products.

At this time, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are not aware of any cases of hepatitis A linked to the consumption of Kroger Private Selection brand frozen blackberries. Hepatitis A virus (HAV) can result in a liver infection that may be inapparent. However, when symptoms occur, they can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. The HAV is found in the stool and blood of people who are infected. The HAV is spread when someone ingests the virus, usually through person-to-person contact or from eating contaminated food or drink. Contamination of food with the hepatitis A virus can happen at any point: growing, harvesting, processing, handling, and even after cooking.

Hepatitis A can have a long incubation period and can have serious health consequences for some people, especially those who are immune-compromised. People infected with HAV may not have symptoms until 15 to 50 days after exposure, which often makes it difficult to determine the exact exposure that led to illness. Symptoms may include fever, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, yellowing of the skin or eyes (known as jaundice), dark urine, and pale stool. Young children may not show symptoms of HAV infection.

The FDA recommends that consumers who consumed the frozen blackberries with the BEST BY 07-02-20T6DC PRODUCT OF USA 136216 and have not been vaccinated for HAV consult with their healthcare professional to determine whether post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is indicated. PEP may be recommended for unvaccinated people who have been exposed to HAV in the last two weeks; those with evidence of previous hepatitis A vaccination or previous hepatitis A infection do not require PEP.

Contact your healthcare provider if you think you may have become ill from eating frozen blackberries, or if you believe that you have eaten any of the frozen blackberry products noted above within the last two weeks.

The FDA encourages consumers with questions about food safety to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern time, or to consult http://www.fda.gov.

The Fierce Urgency of Now: Virginia’s LGBTQ+ Health Equity Symposium

In commemoration of PRIDE month, please join the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Health Equity and a myriad of community partners, for “The Fierce Urgency of NOW!: Virginia’s first LGBTQ+ Health Equity Symposium!” Plan to attend, Thursday, June 27, 9 AM – 3 PM at the James Branch Cabell Library in Richmond, Va.

During this inaugural gathering, we will celebrate PRIDE month and the resiliency of the LGBTQ+ community, while also taking an honest look at who’s been left behind in the strides forward. Focusing on health equity and improving health outcomes beyond HIV/AIDs, this gathering will prove to be valuable for healthcare providers, public health professionals, community members, legislators and allies.

This event is free and open to the public. All are welcome. Free parking, on-site! Learn more and register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-fierce-urgency-of-now-virginias-lgbtq-health-equity-symposium-tickets-62447655619?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

Pardon our Dust: Environmental Health Database Update

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) will be migrating to a new data system, Environmental Health Database (EHD), starting June 20, 2019.  For about 7 to 10 days, some Environmental Health services that rely on the use of our database will be interrupted.  These services include, but are not limited to:

  • the printing of approval letters and permits,
  • accepting and processing of onsite sewage system operation and  maintenance (O&M) reports,
  • responding to requests for data abstraction or publishing of reports, and/or
  • other general inquiries.

While VDH will work to minimize any interruption in services during and after this data transition period. We thank you in advance for your understanding and patience.