Patients Come First – Dr. M. Norman Oliver

This episode of the Patients Come First podcast features an interview with Virginia State Health Commissioner Dr. M. Norman Oliver about his focus on population health, a mid-career decision to attend medical school in his 40s, his work treating Native people in a small Alaskan village, his role with the Commonwealth, and much more. Send questions, comments, or feedback to pcfpodcast@vhha.com or contact us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/virginiahha) using the hashtag #PatientsComeFirst.

Hajj in Saudi Arabia

The annual Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is among the largest mass gatherings in the world. In 2018, Hajj will take place from approximately August 19-24, 2018.

Because of the crowds, mass gatherings such as Hajj are associated with unique health risks. Before you go, you should visit a travel health specialist for advice, make sure you are up to date on all routine and recommended vaccines, and learn about other health and safety issues that could affect you during your trip.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is one disease of special concern because it can cause severe respiratory disease and it has been found in Saudi Arabia and nearby countries. If you develop flu-like symptoms like fever, cough, and shortness of breath within 14 days after traveling, contact your doctor and mention your recent travel. Because the virus that causes MERS can spread by close contact, please call your healthcare provider before going to a doctor’s office, an urgent care facility or the emergency room so that they can make special arrangements to prevent the spread of germs to others. More information on MERS is available.

 

Giant Hogweed Detected in Virginia

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has confirmed the presence of Giant hogweed, Heracleum mantegazzianum, in Clarke County. The Giant hogweed was planted at the site by a previous homeowner for ornamental purposes. VDACS employees are working with the homeowner in an effort to eradicate the weed from the Clarke County site. Read more

FDA Takes Action Against the Use of OTC Benzocaine Teething Products Due to Serious Safety Risk, Lack of Benefit

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that over-the-counter (OTC) oral drug products containing benzocaine should not be used to treat infants and children younger than 2 years. We are also warning that benzocaine oral drug products should only be used in adults and children 2 years and older if they contain certain warnings on the drug label. These products carry serious risks and provide little to no benefits for treating oral pain, including sore gums in infants due to teething. Benzocaine, a local anesthetic, can cause a condition in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood is greatly reduced. This condition, called methemoglobinemia, can be life-threatening and result in death. Read More

Request for Applications: Sexual Risk Avoidance Education

The Virginia Department of Health’s Abstinence Education Program “Sexual Risk Avoidance Education” is excited to announce the release of our Request for Applications (RFA)! In order to be eligible for “Sexual Risk Avoidance Education” funding, all agencies must apply through this competitive process. The RFA can be located at www.eva.virginia.gov, RFA No. 705AO150, or under “Sexual Risk Avoidance Education”. Applications must be submitted by May 18, 2018 at 2:00pm EST.

Rose Acre Farms Recalls Shell Eggs Due to Possible Health Risk

Rose Acre Farms of Seymour, Indiana is voluntarily recalling 206,749,248 eggs because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella Braenderup, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy individuals infected with SalmonellaBraenderup can experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella Braenderup can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

The eggs were distributed from the farm in Hyde County, North Carolina and reached consumers in the following states: Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia through retail stores and restaurants via direct delivery.

Read more about the recall.