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Overview of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Multi-state Measles Outbreak:

As of February 20, 2015, there have been 154 people from 17 states and Washington D.C. reported to have measles since Jan 1, 2015. Most of these illnesses have been found to be a part of a large outbreak linked to an amusement park in California.  Although there have been no cases of confirmed measles reported in Virginia this year,  Prince William Health District encourages residents who have not been vaccinated or whose children have not been vaccinated to do so as soon as possible. Measles is very contagious but can also be prevented by a very effective vaccine. General measles information can be found through the Virginia Department of Health website at or the Centers for Disease Control Website at    

Winter Warming Centers

Prince William County
14730 Potomac Mills Road, Woodbridge, VA.
Open November 1 through March 31, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
Shelter may be open additional hours, please visit the Prince William County page for more information.

House of Mercy
8170 Flannery Court, Manassas VA 20109
Open 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday

Manassas Park
Manassas Park Community Center
99 Adams Street, Manassas Park, VA 20111-2395    
Open Monday through Friday 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Saturday 7:00 a.m. -7:00 p.m. and Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Ebola FAQ

Ebola Frequently Asked Questions

Tips for Eating Healthy When Eating out

  • As a beverage choice, ask for water or order fat-free or low-fat milk, unsweetened tea, or other drinks without added sugars.
  • Ask for whole-wheat bread for sandwiches.
  • In a restaurant, start your meal with a salad packed with veggies, to help control hunger and feel satisfied sooner.
  • Ask for salad dressing to be served on the side. Then use only as much as you want.
  • Choose main dishes that include vegetables, such as stir fries, kebobs, or pasta with a tomato sauce.
  • Order steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes instead of those that are fried or sautéed.
  • Choose a small" or "medium" portion. This includes main dishes, side dishes, and beverages.
  • Order an item from the menu instead heading for the "all-you-can-eat" buffet.
  • If main portions at a restaurant are larger than you want, try one of these strategies to keep from overeating:
          • Order an appetizer-sized portion or a side dish instead of an entrée.
          • Share a main dish with a friend.
          • If you can chill the extra food right away, take leftovers home in a "doggy bag."
          • When your food is delivered, set aside or pack half of it to go immediately.
          • Resign from the "clean your plate club" - when you've eaten enough, leave the rest.
  • To keep your meal moderate in calories, fat, and sugars:
          • Ask for salad dressing to be served "on the side" so you can add only as much as you want.
          • Order foods that do not have creamy sauces or gravies
          • Add little or no butter to your food.
          • Choose fruits for dessert most often.
  • On long commutes or shopping trips, pack some fresh fruit, cut-up vegetables, low-fat string cheese sticks, or a handful of unsalted nuts to help you avoid stopping for sweet or fatty snacks.

Source: USDA Choose My Plate -

Protect You and Your Family from Food borne Illness

Federal health officials estimate that nearly 48 million people are sickened by food contaminated with harmful germs each year. Many people don’t realize that produce can also be the culprit in outbreaks of food borne illness.

FDA says to choose produce that isn’t bruised or damaged, and make sure that pre-cut items—such as bags of lettuce or watermelon slices—are either refrigerated or on ice both in the store and at home.

In addition, follow these recommendations:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce.
  • Cut away any damaged or bruised areas before preparing or eating.
  • Gently rub produce while holding under plain running water. There’s no need to use soap or a produce wash.
  • Wash produce BEFORE you peel it, so dirt and bacteria aren’t transferred from the knife onto the fruit or vegetable.
  • Use a clean vegetable brush to scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers.
  • Dry produce with a clean cloth or paper towel to further reduce bacteria that may be present.
  • Throw away the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage.
  • Store perishable produce in the refrigerator at 40 degrees or below.

From the US HHS website

The Prince William Health District is no stranger to weather-related emergencies. Floods, hurricanes, an earthquake, tornados, extreme heat and winter weather have all impacted our area in recent years. Due to the current weather, we would like to remind you of the following information:


National Weather ServiceDid you know that floods are the nation’s most common natural disaster? Flooding can develop slowly during an extended period of rain. Flooding can also occur quickly, such as flash floods, even without any visible signs of rain.  Be prepared for flooding no matter where you live, but particularly if you are in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam. Even a very small stream or dry creek bed can overflow and create flooding.

Key Facts about Flooding:

  • Property insurance does not typically cover flood damage. Analyze your policy and determine if you need additional coverage.
  • Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a flood hazard.
    • Flood Watch or Flash Flood Watch: there is an increased possibility of flooding or a flash flood in your area.
    • Flood Warning: flooding is occurring or will likely occur very soon. If you are advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
    • Flash Flood Warning: flash flooding is occurring. Seek higher ground immediately; do not wait for further instructions.
  • Be prepared to evacuate. Do not return to your home until authorities say it is safe to do so.
  • Drinking water may be contaminated. Listen for information from local authorities before using tap water for drinking or personal hygiene. See the Health and Safety Following an Emergency section below for additional information.
  • Never eat food that has come in contact with flood water. Remember – “When it doubt, throw it out.”
  • Never play in floodwater. In addition to the possibility of drowning, flood waters may contain raw sewage, chemicals and other toxins that are dangerous to your health.
  • Do not walk through moving water, if possible. What may seem like a small amount of moving water can easily knock you down.
  • Never drive through flooded areas. If your vehicle becomes surrounded by rising water, get out quickly and move to higher ground. Remember – “Turn around, don’t drown.”
  • Flood water might cut off access to roads. Make sure your Disaster Supply Kit is fully stocked.

For additional information, please visit:
Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Tap Water

Tap Water is Best

More than 144 million United States residents in more than 10,000 communities drink fluoridated tap water, providing an automatic defense against the harmful ingredients that cause such a preventable oral health disease.

"Instead of drilling holes to fix cavities, dentists would rather educate the public on how to avoid developing tooth decay in the first place," said Cynthia Sherwood, DDS, FAGD, spokesperson for the AGD. "Drinking tap water to receive fluoride is safe, and it's easier on your wallet than going to the dentist for a filling."

The second-most effective source of fluoride is varnish. Varnish, applied quickly and easily by a dentist, is one of the most concentrated products available commercially. Varnishes that contain sodium fluoride adhere to tooth surfaces when saliva is present, providing an excellent fluoride treatment.

Keeping fluoride in the mouth enhances its ability to arrest demineralization and promote remineralization, and varnishes are better for this purpose than fluoridated drinking water or toothpaste. Fluoride varnishes are typically used for patients who don't receive enough fluoride from other sources.

Before and After the  Snow Storm – Private Wells and Onsite Sewage Systems Safety is similar to after a Hurricane. For information please visit:

In the case of an electrical outage, it is important to take careful precautions to ensure food safety. The risk of food poisoning is heightened when refrigerators and ovens are inoperable. Discard any food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture. Just remember, “When in doubt, throw it out!”

People can practice safe food handling and prevent food-borne illness by following simple steps:

  • Always keep a thermometer in your refrigerator. The temperature should read 41 F or below.
  • A full cooler or freezer will maintain its cold temperatures longer than one that is partially filled, so it is important to pack plenty of extra ice or freezer packs to insure a constant cold temperature. If available, 25 pounds of dry ice will keep a 10-cubic-foot freezer below freezing for three to four days. Use care when handling dry ice and wear dry, heavy gloves to avoid injury.
  • Thawed food can usually be eaten if it is still “refrigerator cold.”
  • Eggs and other foods need to be stored in 41 F or slightly below. Do not eat foods that may have spoiled.

·   Always wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled and cooled or disinfected. Wash your hands:

  •  After using the bathroom or changing a diaper
  • After handling handle uncooked food
  • After playing with a pet
  • After handling garbage
  • After tending to someone who is sick or injured
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • After participating in flood cleanup activities
  • After handling articles contaminated with flood water or sewage 
  • Before preparing or eating food
  • Before treating a cut or wound
  • Before inserting or removing contact lenses

For additional food safety information, call the toll-free USDA/FSIS Meat and Poultry Hotline at (888) 674-6854. Food safety specialists (both English and Spanish speaking) are available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT on weekdays year-round.

For more information about how to protect yourself and your family before, during and after natural disasters, visit or the Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s Web site at

Indoor Radon

Indoor Radon
Exposure to indoor radon, a colorless, odorless radioactive gas, is thought to be the second leading cause of lung cancer - and the leading cause of lung cancer among people who have never smoked. Exposure to radon may cause as many as 700 cases of lung cancer each year in Virginia. According to the EPA, Virginia has 46 counties and 15 cities that are classified as Zone 1 (high risk), and 24 counties and 8 cities classified as Zone 2 (moderate risk). A map of the Virginia’s Radon Zones can be found here.  But remember, this map should only be used only as guidance; it should never be used to predict radon levels or be a substitute for an actual radon test. Testing is the only way to know for sure if an indoor radon problem exists. Indoor radon usually reaches its maximum concentration during the coldest winter months. The lowest livable level of the structure should always be tested because that is where the highest radon levels in the structure are typically found. Test kits may be obtained from many commercial vendors or VDH’s Office of Radiological Health (ORH) can provide a coupon to obtain radon test kits at roughly half the normal retail price. More information on radon, radon mitigation and the Radon Test Kit coupon can be found on ORH’s Radon webpage at

Send For Your Radon Detection Kit Today


After determining that a cat found in Woodbridge was infected with rabies, the Prince William Health District would like to remind everyone to avoid contact with bats, feral cats, stray dogs, and other wild animals. Pet owners should also ensure that their dogs, cats, and/or ferrets are appropriately vaccinated against rabies.  For additional information about rabies, visit the VDH website at or visit the CDC Rabies page at:

If you encounter an animal that is behaving strangely, contact your local Animal Control Division.

A complete media release can be found at:

Cat bites account for only approximately 15% of all animal bites, but they carry health risks beyond rabies. Cat's teeth generally cause  deeper puncture wounds than dog's teeth, and can put harmful bacteria into the wound that can cause serious infections, potentially requiring hospitalization for antibiotic therapy.   

Fitness for less: Low-cost ways to shape up

Want to work out but think you can't afford it? Think again. Consider these low-cost alternatives to a pricey gym membership.
By Mayo Clinic staff

If the only thing keeping you from starting a fitness program is the cost of a gym membership, here's good news. You don't need to join a gym to take physical activity seriously. Plenty of low-cost alternatives can help you get fit without breaking your budget. These tips can help you get started.
Take advantage of everyday opportunities

You don't need a gym or special equipment for an aerobic workout. With a little foresight, activities you may take for granted can become part of your fitness routine.

Step it up. Take a brisk walk every day, whether it's in your neighborhood or a local mall. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or make a full workout of climbing the stairs. Sneak in extra steps whenever you can by parking farther away from your destination.

Make housework a workout. Mow the lawn, weed the garden, rake the leaves or shovel the snow. Even indoor activities such as vacuuming and scrubbing count as a workout if you increase your heart rate.

Play with your kids. If you have children, don't just watch them play. Join them for a game of tag or kickball. Walk them to the park. Dance. Take a family bike ride. Go to a community pool. Even if you don't swim, you can enjoy time in the water or walk in the shallow end. Do your kids play video games? If so, plug in with them and swing a virtual tennis racket or do a little boxing.

Improvise with household items

If you'd rather not spend a penny on exercise equipment, use ordinary household items for various upper and lower body exercises:
Canned goods. Many canned goods can serve double duty as hand weights.

Chair or step stool. Use a chair for support when doing exercises such as leg curls. A low, sturdy step stool can become exercise equipment if you use it for step training — an aerobic exercise resembling stair climbing.

Consider a modest investment
If you're able to spend a little, you can find inexpensive products to add variety to your fitness routine:

Dumbbells. Use these small, hand-held weights to strengthen your upper body. They're available in many sizes.

Exercise DVDs and apps. Create the feel of a health club aerobics class in your own living room — or choose a program that'll help you improve your strength and flexibility.

Fitness ball. A fitness ball looks like a large beach ball. You can do many core exercises, including abdominal crunches, with a fitness ball. You can also use a fitness ball to improve your flexibility and balance.

Jump-ropes. Skipping rope can be a great cardiovascular workout.

Resistance tubing. These stretchy tubes offer weight-like resistance when you pull on them. Use the tubes to build strength in your arms and other muscles. Choose from varying degrees of resistance, depending on your fitness level.

Be a savvy shopper
If you're interested in a specific exercise class or piece of equipment, shop around to find the best deal.

Check out your local recreation department. Many recreation departments offer discounted fitness classes to local residents. If you live near a high school or college with a fitness center, ask if the facility is available to community members.

Buy used equipment. Some sporting goods stores specialize in used equipment — or you can check out listings for exercise equipment in the local newspaper. You may also find great deals on used exercise equipment online. Just make sure the cost of shipping won't put the item out of your budget.

Share costs with a friend. Trade exercise videos or DVDs with a friend so that neither of you gets bored doing the same workout over and over again. Find a personal trainer who'll let you share the cost of a session with a friend or two.

Remember, getting in shape doesn't need to be expensive. Don't get caught up in memberships or purchases you can't afford. Instead, concentrate on your fitness goals — and how to achieve them without breaking your budget.

"Above all do not lose your desire to walk. Everyday I walk myself into a state of well being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, and the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill ... if one keeps on walking everything will be alright."
- Soren Kierkegaard
Get up, get out and go for a walk!

Infectious diseases remain one of the greatest threats to public health in the United States and across the world. Despite key advances in medicine and science, infectious diseases still rank among the greatest causes for illness, disability, and death. The burden of infectious diseases is both a national and global challenge to population health.

A quote from the committee that developed the Healthy People 2020 measures. This demonstrates how important Prince William Health District’s communicable disease and immunization program is to protect the health of the community.

Bottled Water and Tooth Decay

Drinking water with fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay. If you only drink bottled water, you may not be getting an adequate amount of fluoride to prevent tooth decay.

  • Fluorinating public water began in the 1940s, and is one of the most effective public health oral health preventive measures that helped to improve oral health. 
  • An increase in drinking of bottled water without fluoride among children and adolescents may contribute to the decline in adolescent oral health.
  • Some bottled waters have fluoride, which can help to reduce tooth decay along with adequate brushing, improved diets, and less sugary drinks.
  • Some water filters remove the fluoride from water. You can ask the water filter manufacturer for information regarding your particular filter.

Did You Know?

  • Flu shot may protect you against heart disease and stroke by preventing an inflamatory response as your body tries to fight the virus.
  • People who took statins to lower their cholesterol may have a lower risk of death when diagnosed cancer than those diagnosed with cancer and are not taking statins.
  • Women with diabetes on metformin for at least 3 years may have a lower risk of breast cancer perhaps due to their better glucose control.    

Behaviors to Improve Cardiovascular Health

  • No tobacco exposure
  • Healthy dietary practices: Increase fruits and vegetable intake, whole grain intake
  • Decrease saturated fat and trans fat intake
  • Decrease sugar intake: decrease sugar beverages
  • Physically active lifestyle
  • Adhere to health care recommendations
  • Increase risk factor screening: BP, total cholesterol, fasting blood glucose

Information from the American Heart Association

Last Updated: 03-19-2015

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