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Entries in Public Health (95)

Friday
May082015

NH DHHS Releases New Tick Disease Prevention Plan

Reminds Residents to Take Precautions against Tickborne Diseases

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

(DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) has released a Tickborne

Disease Prevention Plan that provides detailed information about the

tickborne diseases encountered in New Hampshire and methods to prevent

them. The intent of this plan is to describe preventative measures and

actions that are recommended by DHHS for individuals in NH to prevent

tickborne disease.



“Lyme disease is a major public health issue in New Hampshire. The

Tickborne Disease Prevention Plan provides a collaborative and

comprehensive approach to staying safe from the type of tick that carries

Lyme disease,” said Dr. Benjamin Chan, State Epidemiologist. “Blacklegged

ticks carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. These ticks even cause

other infections besides Lyme disease. This new plan highlights the many

ways that we can prevent tick bites."



In 2014, there were an estimated 1,415 cases of Lyme disease in New

Hampshire. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

(CDC), there were over 36,000 cases in the United States in 2013 (the most

recent year for which data are available), and New Hampshire had the second

highest incidence rate of Lyme disease in the country.



Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdoferi and is

transmitted to people by the bite of an infected blacklegged tick (also

known as the deer tick). The greatest risk for Lyme disease is between the

months of May and August when the blacklegged tick is in the nymphal stage.

The nymph is about the size of a poppy seed and very difficult to see, so

individuals may be unaware they have been bitten. Ticks that transmit Lyme

disease can also transmit other diseases, such as anaplasmosis, babesiosis,

and Powassan virus. Although not as common as Lyme disease, these have been

documented in New Hampshire.



Symptoms of Lyme disease in the early stages can include fever, headache,

fatigue, and most often a red skin rash that is round and may look like a

bull’s-eye. Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics, but if left

untreated can lead to complications of meningitis (inflammation of the

lining around the spinal cord), pain and swelling in large joints, and

heart complications.



DHHS recommends taking the following precautions to prevent tick bites:

Avoid tick-infested areas such as overgrown grass, brush, and leaflitter
Use insect repellent labeled as effective against ticks

Wear protective clothing (long pants and long sleeves to keep ticks off skin)

Do daily tick checks on yourself, family members, and pets, especially after being outdoors

Consult with your veterinarian about tick prevention for pets
Shower soon after returning indoors to wash or rinse off any unattached ticks
Reduce ticks around your home by keeping grass short, removing leaf
litter, and minimizing habitat or food sources for deer and rodents, which can carry ticks
Speak with your healthcare provider if you are bitten by a tick or if you notice a large round rash anywhere on you
The plan is available on the DHHS website at:
http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/lyme/documents/tbdpreventionplan.pdf. For more information about Lyme disease and other tickborne diseases, visit the
DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/lyme/index.htm or the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at
www.cdc.gov/ticks/index.html.
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Saturday
May022015

NH DHHS - NHCarePath Campaign Highlights DHHS’ “No Wrong Door” Approach

NHCarePath Campaign Highlights DHHS’ “No Wrong Door” Approach

to Receiving Health Care and Services


New Program Designed to Increase Access to and Efficient Delivery

of Community-Based Services


CONCORD, NH–While there are many paths available to living better in New

Hampshire communities, it can be hard for residents to know which path is

right for them. NHCarePath, which will make it easier for residents to

access community long-term supports and services, is designed to do just

that. On May 1, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS) is launching a statewide outreach and education campaign to promote

the Department’s No Wrong Door System (NHCarePath) as the go-to system for

long-term care in our communities.



The outreach and education campaign seeks to inform residents about the “No

Wrong Door” approach to make it easier for citizens seeking long-term

supports and services to find the right path in their communities. The

statewide campaign will include information for customers, providers and

other community partners interested in NHCarePath; a series of print, radio

and television PSAs; and digital and social media outreach. DHHS is also

engaging community partners to share with them information about

NHCarePath, the “No Wrong Door” policy and the goals of the campaign.



The NHCarePath statewide outreach and education campaign will run from May

1, 2015, through June 30, 2016. NHCarePath is at the forefront of efforts

made by state and federal officials to streamline eligibility and access to

community long-term supports and services, including programs such as the

Balancing Incentive Program and the “No Wrong Door” single entry process.



About NHCarePath

There are many paths available in New Hampshire to help people of all ages

live better in their communities. NHCarePath was created to help people

find and follow the right path for them. Its name, and easily identifiable

logo, will appear on information describing LTSS, and as part of a

statewide outreach and education campaign to help ensure that those in need

of support are aware of all their options for home and community LTSS. For

more information on NHCarePath, visit www.nhcarepath.org.



About the Balancing Incentive Program (BIP)

The Balancing Incentive Program (BIP) is a part of a larger system change

effort within DHHS. The BIP award provides grant funds to rebalance

Medicaid spending between institutional and community long term supports

and services (LTSS). The goal of BIP is to provide persons with greater

access to home and community-based services and to reduce reliance on

institutional services. For an overview of BIP, visit

http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcbcs/bip/bip.htm.



About No Wrong Door (NWD)

The vision for the No Wrong Door (NWD) single entry process is to improve

access to community LTSS by creating a standardized and streamlined

application and eligibility determination process. The NWD vision means

that regardless of where a person enters the system, they will receive the

same information and streamlined access to eligibility and enrollment

services.





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Friday
May012015

NH DHHS - Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Action Plan 

Division of Public Health Services Releases State Heart Disease and Stroke

Prevention Action Plan



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

(DHHS), Division of Public Health Services has released the New Hampshire

Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention 2015-2020 Action Plan. Heart disease

and stroke are identified as priorities in the State Health Improvement

Plan 2013–2020 (NH SHIP). In 2013, over 30% of New Hampshire residents

reported that they had been told that they had high blood pressure and more

than 2,300 New Hampshire residents died of coronary heart disease, heart

attack, or stroke.



The State Health Improvement Plan identifies 10 priority areas for

improvement, including heart attack and stroke preventions, and aims to

assist state and community leaders in focusing their work to improve the

public’s health and to promote coordination and collaboration among public

health partners. The Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Plan was developed

through the leadership of the Division of Public Health Services to build

upon the SHIP. Public and private partners from agencies and organizations

throughout the State whose work impacts the rates of heart disease, stroke

and/or their risk factors came together to create common goals, objectives,

and action steps in order to achieve the greatest impact. The Plan provides

a framework for action over the next several years for partners to work

together to reduce the burden of heart disease and stroke by improving

systems of care and the overall cardiovascular health of residents in

communities across New Hampshire.



“We know that in order to make a significant difference in the lives of so

many Granite Staters and effectively implement this action plan, a

collective impact approach needs to be adopted,” said Dr. José Montero,

Director of Public Health at the DHHS. “Heart disease and stroke are among

the most widespread and costly health problems facing New Hampshire;

however they are also among the most preventable. By working collectively,

we can have our greatest impact on prevention.”



The Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Plan includes common goals,

strategies and objectives, and promotes improvement through a collective

impact approach, a group of people working together from a common agenda to

find a solution to a social problem. The New Hampshire Heart Disease and

Stroke Prevention Action Plan is meant to be a living document to guide

health improvement work throughout New Hampshire. It is intended to be used

by healthcare providers, hospitals, community health centers, community

health educators and other public and community partners who work to reduce

the impact of heart disease and stroke in New Hampshire.



To read the report, visit the NH Department of Health and Human Services

website at

http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdpc/hdsp/documents/hdsp-action-plan.pdf.

Thursday
Apr302015

NH DHHS - Monitoring after Person with Measles Visits the State

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

(DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is investigating after an

international traveler, who was visiting Massachusetts and recently

traveled to New Hampshire, was subsequently found to be infected with the

measles virus. The only known public exposure site in New Hampshire was the

Flatbread Company restaurant in Portsmouth on April 20th between the hours

of approximately 3:00 PM and 6:00 PM. There are no cases identified related

to this situation, and New Hampshire is well protected from widespread

measles transmission due to a high vaccination rate in our school-aged

children, including a more than 96% measles vaccination rate in preschool

children. However, DHHS is encouraging people who were at the exposure site

during those hours to monitor themselves for symptoms. Symptoms of measles

infection usually begin with high fever, cough, runny nose, and

conjunctivitis several days prior to development of a body rash. Anybody

who feels sick should call their healthcare provider before going directly

to a healthcare facility.



“We are still in the early stages of investigating, but we do not

anticipate a large outbreak because of the high vaccination rate of people

in the State,” said Dr. Benjamin Chan, State Epidemiologist. “But it is

possible there could be cases in New Hampshire related to travel by this

individual. It is a good time for people to check their own vaccination

status if they were born in or after 1957.”



NH DHHS recommends that all people review their vaccination status with

their healthcare providers to ensure adequate immunity to measles. DHHS is

asking anybody who was at the restaurant during the above time frame, who

was born in 1957 or after, and who has not been adequately vaccinated for

measles or found to have evidence of measles immunity to contact the DHHS

Division of Public Health Services at 603-271-4496 to discuss risks of

infection and transmission of the virus.



Measles is caused by a virus that is passed from person to person through

the air when someone with the disease sneezes, coughs, or talks. It is very

easy for individuals who have not received the measles vaccine to contract

it from someone else. The measles virus can remain in the air for up to two

hours after an infected person visits and leaves and area. The above time

frame for exposure at the Portsmouth restaurant includes this two-hour

window after the infectious person left the restaurant. The incubation

period for measles from the time of exposure is typically 10 to 14 days,

but can be as long as 21 days.



For more information about measles prevention, download the DHHS Measles

Fact Sheet at http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/documents/measles.pdf,

visit the DHHS Immunization Program webpage at

www.dhhs.nh.gov/immunization/index.htm, and visit the Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/measles/index.html.

Friday
Apr102015

NH DHHS - NH DPHS Recognition of National Public Health Week

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

(DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is highlighting some of

the great work happening in New Hampshire around public health in

recognition of National Public Health Week, an initiative of the National

Public Health Association. This year’s theme is Healthiest Nation 2030,

with the goal of being the “healthiest nation in one generation.” The goals

are to raise awareness of what public health is, why it is essential, and

how it impacts everyone’s life.



Monday’s theme is Raising the Grade, highlighting how the U.S. lags behind

other developed countries on certain public health markers. DPHS is

focusing on improving maternal smoking rates as an area where we can do

better. Tuesday’s theme is Starting from Zip calling attention to how where

we live impacts our health. DPHS is highlighting sexually transmitted

disease (STD)/HIV testing and how to find a site to be tested in your

neighborhood. Wednesday is about



Building Momentum and working with leaders, companies, and communities to

improve public health. The Immunization Program at DPHS is highlighting

their Start the Conversation campaign to improve adult vaccination rates in

New Hampshire. For Thursday, Building Broader Connections is the topic and

how expanding partnerships is essential for success. An Asthma Program data

brief on asthma in the workplace highlights the collaborative process

between companies and public health on an important health topic. Friday is

all about Building on 20 Years of Success of National Public Health Week

and here in New Hampshire we are highlighting the success of improved

breastfeeding rates.



“It is difficult to explain how public health works and how it impacts

people’s lives, because like the heating system of a building, we tend not

to notice it until it breaks down,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of

Public Health at DHHS. “National Public Health Week is a great opportunity

to focus on some of the great work going on in New Hampshire.”



For more information about the National Public Health Week in New

Hampshire, visit http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/nphweek.htm. To find out more

about NPHW nationally, visit http://www.nphw.org.