Rappahannock Area Health District in the News

February 12, 2019

  • 1918 Flu Pandemic and This Year’s Flu Season:  Members: The 2018-2019 influenza season is currently underway. According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza has caused between 9.2 and 60.8 million illnesses and 140,000 to 710,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. to date. CDC estimates that influenza has caused 12,000 to 56,000 deaths in the U.S. each year since 2010.1 Last year (2018) marked the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Flu Pandemic, known as the “Spanish Flu,” which was the most severe pandemic known in recent history. It originated from the Influenza H1N1 virus, which is currently the most prevalent influenza strain in the United States. During 1918 and 1919, the pandemic spread around the world infecting 500 million individuals, or one-third of the world population, and leading to approximately 675,000 deaths in the U.S.2 The most recent influenza pandemic was in 2009 and also caused by an H1N1 influenza virus.
  •  What can you do to prevent the flu?
    • Get Vaccinated – Put simply, the influenza vaccine is THE single best defense against getting influenza. All people 6 months of age and older are recommended to receive a flu vaccine each year as long as they do not have a medical reason why they cannot be vaccinated. Very few people have such a medical reason. The flu vaccine can not only prevent you from getting sick, but it can also prevent transmission in your household, school, and work environments. The Rappahannock Area Health District offers weekly immunizations clinics at each of our local health departments: Stafford, Fredericksburg City, Spotsylvania, King George, and Caroline County. Contact your local health department for information on flu clinic hours.
    • If you’re experiencing symptoms of influenza-like illness, such as fever, fatigue, cough, or other respiratory symptoms, stay home from work, school, or social activities for at least 24 hours after your symptoms resolve. This helps prevent transmission to others.
    • Practice good hand and respiratory hygiene: Thoroughly wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap. Carry hand-sanitizer with you if you are not able to wash your hands when needed, but remember that hand-sanitizer does not kill germs as effectively as soap and water! Cough or sneeze into your elbow rather than into your hands. Finally, stay a safe distance away from people who are experiencing influenza-like illness. Again, these methods help prevent transmission of influenza virus.
    • Visit the Virginia Department of Health website for weekly reports of Influenza-Like-Illness (ILI), in addition to other resources about flu prevention, vaccination, diagnosis, and treatment.
      • Fredericksburg Health Department    | 540-899-4142 |
      • Stafford Health Department               | 540-659-3101 |
      • Spotsylvania Health Department        | 540-507-7400 |
      • King George Health Department        | 540-775-3111|
      • Caroline County Health Department  | 804-633-5465 |

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February 5, 2019

  • Rappahannock Area Health District is Awarded Two Grants for Programs Serving Vulnerable Community Members: Recently the Rappahannock Area Health District received two awards from the Joe and Mary Wilson Community Benefit Fund of the Mary Washington Hospital Foundation. The district received $100,000 from the Foundation for its Complicated Obstetrical and High-Risk Maternity Care Program that serves primarily uninsured or underinsured pregnant women in city of Fredericksburg and the counties of Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford. Thanks to the many Public Health Nurses, Office Services Specialists and other staff members too numerous to name, who have made this program a success. In addition, RAHD received $15,972 in grant funding from the Foundation for an Outreach Worker for its Every Woman’s Life Program which provides breast and cervical cancer screenings exclusively for uninsured or underinsured, low-income women. This program sees a notable amount of patients — more than 250 each year and has been serving the community for years. Thanks to EWL Outreach Worker Kamryn Hines, OSS Latachia Lewis, Nurse Practitioner Sheila Mathis and EWL Nurse Coordinator Michelle Clayton. Congratulations to the staff at RAHD for successfully winning grants to fund these important services for their residents.

January, 2019

  • Acute Flaccid Myelitis: Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is a rare but serious condition affecting the nervous system, specifically the area of the spinal cord called gray matter.  The most common symptoms include limb weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes. Other symptoms may include facial droop or weakness, drooping eyelids, difficulty moving the eyes, or difficulty swallowing/slurred speech. Respiratory failure is rare, but may occur if the muscles involved with breathing are affected. AFM is not a new condition, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has seen an increase in cases since 2014. The causes of AFM are currently unknown, although an infectious process or environmental toxins may be involved. For more information on AFM, please refer to the CDC AFM website at https://www.cdc.gov/acute-flaccid-myelitis/.

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