Press Releases

 

Entries in NH DHHS (638)

Saturday
Oct252014

NH DHHS - Deputy State Epidemiologist Contributes to the Global Ebola Control Effort 

CONCORD, N.H. – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

announced today that Dr. Elizabeth Talbot, Deputy State Epidemiologist,

will be going to Liberia at the end of next week.





Dr. Talbot, who is also a physician with the Geisel School of Medicine at

Dartmouth, will be in Liberia for four weeks and will play a leading role

in training clinical teams of physicians, nurses and other staff to conduct

Ebola control activities. She will work with International Medical Corps, a

non-governmental organization. Just as in New Hampshire, her primary goal

is to protect those on the frontline of the Ebola epidemic. Upon her return

to New Hampshire, her colleagues at the Division of Public Health Services

will conduct her post-arrival monitoring.





“We are very proud of Dr. Talbot,” said Dr. José T. Montero, Director of

the Division of Public Health Services. “She exemplifies the dedication of

the many public health and medical professionals and organizations working

to end this serious medical crisis in West Africa. She will take with her

our best wishes and we will await her return.”





“I am very proud of the preparedness work we are doing in New Hampshire,”

said Dr. Talbot. “The timing is right and I am grateful for this

opportunity to contribute to the effort.”

Thursday
Oct232014

NH DHHS - Healthy Smiles–Healthy Growth Report

Comparison Findings of the New Hampshire 2013–2014 Healthy Smiles–Healthy

Growth Third Grade Survey Show Dramatic Decrease in

Obesity and Tooth Decay



Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) has compared the results

of the 2013–2014 Healthy Smiles–Healthy Growth Third Grade Survey with the

2008–2009 survey and finds improvements have been made. The statewide

survey was funded by the HNH Foundation and Northeast Delta Dental. The

data show a marked improvement over the last five years and demonstrate

progress in reducing health disparities in both obesity and oral health

status. Data were collected at public elementary schools in each county

throughout New Hampshire. The Nashua Division of Public Health and

Community Services coordinated data collection for the City.



When compared with the 2008–09 survey DPHS found:



Obesity

- 30% decrease statewide in obesity prevalence

- 34.8% decrease in obesity among students in schools that have more than

50% of students eligible for Free or Reduced Lunch

- 46% reduction in schools that have 25% or less students who qualify for

Free or Reduced Lunch

- 37% decrease in boys



Oral Health

- 54.4% decrease in untreated decay in Coos County

- 31.7% decrease in untreated tooth decay statewide

- 32.5% decrease in children with immediate dental needs

- 20.4% increase in dental sealants in schools with more than 50% of

students who qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch



“The findings support the collaborative efforts that took place across the

State beginning in 2008,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health

at DHHS. “We are very excited to see large improvements in obesity and

dental sealants in schools that have high eligibility for Free or Reduced

Lunch and a decrease in untreated tooth decay in Coos County. In order to

sustain these improvements and further reduce health disparities,

businesses, private foundations, community organizations, and government

are working together to target resources and strategies. This will have a

collective impact and improve the health of the people in New Hampshire.

This is exciting progress and is the result of efforts by many partners

from parents to schools to dental health professionals, nutrition and

physical activity advocates, all designed to target efforts in areas where

worse health outcomes exist.”



Beginning in 2008, DPHS was awarded a five-year $2.2 million CDC grant to

establish an Obesity Prevention Program (OPP). OPP supported Healthy Eating

Active Living (HEAL) NH by providing assistance and resources to schools,

worksites, and communities. Additionally OPP focused efforts in child care

settings training over 300 child care providers to improve nutrition and

physical activity in their programs. Other key partners included HEAL NH,

the Foundation for Healthy Communities, the NH Department of Transportation

Safe Routes to School Program, NH Regional Planning Commissions, and the NH

Child Development Bureau.



The Oral Health Program in the Division of Public Health Services has

worked with many external partners to target interventions in areas with

oral health disparities found in the 2008–2009 survey. The 54.4% decrease

in untreated decay in Coos County and the 20.4% increase in dental sealants

in schools with more than 50% of students who qualify for Free or Reduced

Lunch demonstrate that targeted efforts can result in significant

improvements.



The HNH Foundation and Northeast Delta Dental Foundation provided funding

for data collection, while the Association of State and Territorial Dental

Directors contributed technical assistance for the sampling and data

analysis of the Third Grade Survey. The purpose of the survey was to gather

representative data on oral health and height/weight status for third grade

students statewide.



The complete New Hampshire 2013–2014 Healthy Smiles–Healthy Growth Third

Grade Survey is available on the DHHS website.

Thursday
Oct232014

NH DHHS - Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center Agrees to Be Ebola Referral Hospital

Concord, NH – Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, New

Hampshire, has expressed willingness to accept patients with Ebola

infection from other New Hampshire hospitals who require ongoing care and

treatment. In some cases ongoing care may be managed at DHMC, while in

others, referral to a designated national center may be the plan. The New

Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of

Public Health Services (DPHS), in coordination with the Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention (CDC), will help to identify the optimal location of

care.



While all hospitals in the State are capable of initially identifying and

appropriately isolating any patient presenting with signs and symptoms of

Ebola infection who also have a consistent travel history (to Liberia,

Sierra Leone, or Guinea), we do not expect all hospitals to have the same

capabilities in managing a patient with Ebola and the possible

complications. DPHS has been in conversation with hospital leadership

around the State and will continue working with all hospitals. Any suspect

or identified Ebola patient will be closely managed in coordination with

DPHS. DHHS continues to work closely with the medical community to ensure

the State is prepared for the possibility of a patient with Ebola

presenting to a New Hampshire healthcare facility.



There are currently no suspect Ebola patients in New Hampshire and there

have been no patients in the United States identified outside of Dallas,

Texas, after a man travelling from Liberia developed Ebola and transmitted

the infection to two healthcare workers caring for him.



“We are grateful that Dartmouth Hitchcock has stepped forward and agreed to

be the referral hospital for New Hampshire,” said Dr. José Montero,

Director of Public Health at DHHS. “As we learn more about this outbreak

and this virus it makes sense to adapt our plans and procedures to better

serve Granite Staters and focusing advanced preparations on one hospital is

one way to do this.”



American Medical Response Ambulance (AMR) and Dartmouth Hitchcock Advanced

Response Team (DHART) have also agreed to provide ground transport for any

Ebola patients identified in New Hampshire from the hospital or healthcare

facility they arrive at to DHMC. DPHS continues to work closely with our

public health partners and the healthcare providers in the State to ensure

preparedness. We are providing training webinars for healthcare providers

and hospitals, assisting healthcare providers with their preparedness

efforts, assessing the resources in the State, and creating and posting

materials to the DHHS website at

http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/ebola/index.htm.



For further information on Ebola, visit the Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention at www.cdc.gov  or the World Health Organization at www.who.int .

Saturday
Oct182014

NH DHHS - DHHS Identifies a Second Horse with Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS) is announcing that a horse from Sanbornton has been identified with

the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus infection. This is the second

finding of EEE in a horse this year, though a mule was identified with EEE

in September. Eighteen mosquito batches have also tested positive for EEE.



The arboviral risk level for the town of Sanbornton will increase from low

to high. The surrounding towns of Laconia, Belmont, and Tilton will

increase from low to moderate, and the towns of New Hampton, Franklin,

Hill, and Meredith will increase from no data/baseline to moderate risk.



EEE is transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitos. It is important that

people continue to take precautions against mosquito bites, including

wearing an effective repellent, long pants and sleeves, ensuring screens

are in good repair and removing standing water from your property to

prevent mosquitoes from breeding, until there has been a killing frost

statewide.



“This is a sad reminder that we are not out of the woods yet as far as

mosquito diseases while the weather continues to stay moderate,” said Dr.

José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “Leaf season is a great

time to get outside but we urge residents and visitors to use an effective

repellent when doing so.”



Any horse that resides in or travels to New Hampshire during mosquito

season is at risk of becoming infected with EEE or West Nile Virus (WNV).

Because of this risk, it is recommended that horse owners consult with

their veterinarians to discuss appropriate vaccination schedules based on

their risk factors.



EEE is a more serious disease in people than WNV and carries a high

mortality rate for those who contract the serious encephalitis form of the

illness. Symptoms of EEE may include high fever, severe headache, stiff

neck, and sore throat. There is no treatment for the disease, which can in

some cases lead to seizures and coma. Symptoms usually occur 4 to 10 days

after being bitten. If you or someone you know is experiencing flu-like

symptoms, including fever and headache, contact your local medical

provider.



For more information about EEE and West Nile Virus visit the DHHS website

at http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/arboviral/index.htm and the Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov. For questions

contact the DHHS Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at 603-271-4496.



# # #



Prevention Guidelines for West Nile Virus and

Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus

NH Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health



Services





1. Eliminate standing water and other mosquito breeding locations.

In warm weather, mosquitoes can breed in any puddle that lasts more than 4

days!

· Remove old tires from your property.

· Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or other

containers. Don’t overlook containers that have become overgrown

by aquatic vegetation.

· Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left

outside.

· Make sure roof gutters are clean and draining properly.

· Clean and chlorinate swimming pools and hot tubs. If not in use,

keep empty and covered and keep covers free of standing water.

· Aerate garden ponds or stock them with fish.

· Turn over wheelbarrows and change water in birdbaths at least

twice weekly.

· Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.

· Remind or help neighbors to eliminate breeding sites on their

properties.



2. Be aware of where mosquitoes live and breed and keep them from entering

your home.

· Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Weeds, tall grass, and

bushes provide an outdoor home for adult mosquitoes, including

several species commonly associated with West Nile Virus and Eastern

Equine Encephalitis Virus.

· Mosquitoes can enter homes through unscreened windows or doors, or

broken screens. Make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting

screens. Repair or replace all screens in your home that have tears

or holes.

· Resting mosquitoes can often be flushed from indoor resting sites by

using sweeping motions under beds, behind bedside tables etc. and

once in flight, exterminated prior to sleeping at night.



3. Protect yourself from mosquito bites.

· If outside during evening, nighttime, and dawn hours when mosquitoes

are most active and likely to bite, children and adults should wear

protective clothing such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and

socks.

· Consider the use of an effective insect repellent, such as one

containing DEET. A repellent containing 30% or less DEET

(N,N-diethyl-methyl-meta-toluamide) for children and adults. Use DEET

according to the manufacturer's directions. Children should not apply

DEET to themselves. Repellents that contain Picaridin or oil of lemon

eucalyptus have also been determined to be effective.

· Vitamin B, ultrasonic devices, incense, and bug zappers have not been

shown to be effective in preventing mosquito bites.





For more information on West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Virus, call the NH Department of Health and Human Services toll-free West

Nile Virus Information Line at

866–273–NILE (6543), or visit the West Nile Virus Website at

www.dhhs.nh.gov

Thursday
Oct162014

NH DHHS Announces Third Human Case of EEE This Season

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS) is announcing the third human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis

(EEE) this season in an adult from Manchester who is thought to have been

exposed at the end of August. Unfortunately, this individual passed away as

a result of this illness in mid-September and is the third case and second

death this season in New Hampshire from EEE. Testing for this individual

was complicated and EEE was not confirmed until the patient had passed

away. Other EEE positive tests this year include 2 animals, and 18

mosquito batches. The only positive for West Nile Virus this season was one

mosquito batch.



“Our sympathies are with the family of this individual as they grieve the

unfortunate death of their loved one,” said DHHS Public Health Director Dr.

José Montero. “It is important that everyone in New Hampshire remember to

continue to take steps in order to prevent mosquito bites to themselves and

their loved ones until the season ends with a hard frost.”



Symptoms of EEE disease often appear 4 to 10 days after someone is bitten

by an infected mosquito. If you or someone you know is experiencing

flu-like symptoms, including fever and headache, contact your local medical

provider. EEE is a more serious disease than WNV and carries a high

mortality rate for those who contract the encephalitis form of the illness.

Symptoms may include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, and sore

throat. There is no specific treatment for the disease, which can lead to

seizures and coma.



You can protect yourself and your family from WNV and EEE with a few simple

steps, such as using effective mosquito repellant, wearing long sleeves and

pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active, removing standing

water from around your house so mosquitoes do not have a place to breed,

and by checking doors and windows to ensure screens are in place and in

good condition to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.



For more information about EEE and West Nile Virus visit the DHHS website

at http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/arboviral/index.htm and the Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov. For questions

contact the DHHS Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at 603-271-4496.