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Entries in Public Health (85)

Friday
Dec192014

NH DHHS - Division of Public Health Services Supports Residents Quitting Tobacco

New Year Brings Free Nicotine Replacement Patches

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

(DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is offering free nicotine

replacement therapy, in the form of the patch, to New Hampshire residents

who want to quit smoking or chewing tobacco in the New Year.



For those whose New Year’s resolution is to quit smoking, they are in good

company. It is a popular goal and many, many people succeed. Although 16.2%

of New Hampshire adults currently smoke, there are more former smokers

(31%) in New Hampshire. Planning ahead to quit tobacco use can help make

this healthy resolution a reality. Two good resources to help people quit

are www.TryToStopNH.org and 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), where any

resident can get free advice, counseling, support, and while supplies last,

free patches.



“Making a quit plan for the New Year can be a step toward a successful

quit,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “And

quitting with both counseling and nicotine replacement therapy will

increase the odds of a successful quit. The Department currently offers

free tobacco treatment counseling and nicotine replacement patches to

residents who call 1-800-QUIT-NOW and are eligible.”



To be eligible for the free patches, residents must be at least 18 years

old, be ready to quit within 30 days, be willing to participate in free

telephone counseling, and be screened for safe use of the patch. There are

more former smokers in the United States—nearly 50 million—than current

smokers. Planning ahead can help make your healthy resolution a reality.

For inspiration, look to successful quitters. Beatrice, a busy mother of

two boys, shared her quit story in CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers campaign

http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/resources/videos/beatrice-videos.html


For more information about the DHHS Division of Public Health Services or

the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program visit www.dhhs.nh.gov

Wednesday
Dec102014

NH DHHS - New Hampshire Residents Reminded It’s Not Too Late to Vaccinate!

DHHS Recognizes National Influenza Immunization Week



Concord, NH – The annual influenza (flu) season is underway and the New

Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public

Health Services (DPHS) is encouraging any residents who have not yet

received their flu vaccination this year to do so. The flu vaccine is still

the single best protection against the flu. It is also helpful in reducing

the length and severity of illness if someone does get the flu. National

Influenza Immunization Week was established by the Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention (CDC) to highlight the importance of continuing flu

vaccination through the holiday season and beyond.



On December 4th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

announced that the strain of flu that is making most people in the United

States sick so far this season is in this year’s vaccine, but it is not a

perfect match. The influenza A (H3N2) strain has changed since the vaccine

was manufactured, which is not uncommon with flu strains. The vaccine does

still offer some protection against the flu and its complications.



“We want to make sure that New Hampshire residents are as well protected as

possible against the flu and the best preventive step is still to get

vaccinated,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DPHS. “It

is also important that if you do think you have the flu, speak with your

healthcare provider as soon as possible and stay home from school and work

to avoid spreading it to others who are at risk.”



It is especially important that those at higher risk for influenza

complications be vaccinated. These groups include:

· Children aged 6 months through 4 years of age

· Pregnant women

· Adults 65 years of age or older

· People who are immunosuppressed

· People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, including

asthma, heart disease, diabetes, or chronic lung disease.



People who live with or care for those at high risk of flu complications

should also be vaccinated including:

· Health care workers

· Household contacts of persons at high risk of complications from the

flu

· Household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children younger

than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated).



Additionally, it is also important for patients who have flu symptoms, even

if they have been vaccinated, to seek medical attention. There are

antiviral medications that can be administered to shorten symptoms and help

prevent more serious illness and complications. These medications are more

effective the sooner they are administered after developing symptoms.



Influenza can be a serious disease of the lungs, nose, and throat. The

illness is spread from person to person through contact with respiratory

secretions including through coughing and sneezing. Typical flu symptoms

include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny

or stuffy nose, and muscle aches. An average of 23,000 people die each year

in the United States due to influenza. The vaccine itself does not give you

the flu and is very safe.



There is plenty of flu vaccine available, and vaccines are offered in many

locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, retail stores, pharmacies,

health care centers, as well as some employers and schools. To look for a

flu vaccine near you visit

http://www.flu.gov/prevention-vaccination/vaccination/.



For more information on influenza and the vaccine, contact the NH

Immunization Program at 1-800-852-3345 x 4482 or 603-271-4482 or the Bureau

of Infectious Disease Control at 1-800-852-3345 x 0279 or 603-271-0279.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at

www.cdc.gov for more information or the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov.



#

Sunday
Nov232014

NH DHHS - Four New Hampshire SalmonellaCases Identified

Part of Multistate Outbreak Linked to Bean Sprouts

Concord, NH – Four people in New Hampshire, so far, have been identified by

the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Division of

Public Health Services (DPHS) as being linked to a multistate outbreak

involving bean sprouts consumption in restaurants. As of November 21, 2014,

a total of 63 people have been infected with Salmonella Enteriditis in 10

states. Traceback from all of the establishments indicated that all

received bean sprouts from Wonton Foods, Inc. of Brooklyn, New York.



The firm is cooperating with public health and agriculture officials and

has reported that their last shipment of bean sprouts was on November 18,

2014. As of November 21, 2014, the firm has verbally agreed to voluntarily

stop the production and sale of their bean sprouts while they take steps to

prevent Salmonella contamination. The other states reporting cases include

Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania,

Rhode Island, and Vermont. Illness onset dates range from September 30th to

November 8th. So far 11 people have been hospitalized, none in New

Hampshire, and no deaths have been reported.



The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local

public health partners are continuing laboratory surveillance to identify

additional ill persons and to interview them about foods they ate before

they became ill. This ongoing investigation is rapidly evolving, and CDC

and DPHS will update the public when additional information is available.



“The Division of Public Health Services will continue to investigate to

identify any other potential cases and has notified the New Hampshire

Grocers Association and the New Hampshire Restaurant and Lodging

Association so that the product is removed from consumption” said Dr. José

Montero, Director of Public Health at DPHS. “Sprouts are a known source of

foodborne illness, so if you are not sure of the origin of any sprouts, it

is best to throw them out rather than risk consuming a contaminated

product.”





The CDC is recommending that restaurants and other retailers do not sell or

serve sprouts produced by Wonton Foods, Inc. at this time. Consumers are

encouraged to cook any sprouts and children, older adults, pregnant women,

and persons with weakened immune systems should always avoid eating raw

sprouts of any kind due to their increased risk of illness from Salmonella.





Salmonella causes diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps usually 12 to 72

hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most

people recover without treatment. However, in some cases, the diarrhea may

be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In these patients,

the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood

stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the patient

is treated promptly with antibiotics.





The DHHS Division of Public Health Services continues to follow this

outbreak closely, including investigation of any reported cases in close

coordination with the CDC and the FDA, and will provide updates as they

become available. For further information visit the CDC website at

http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/enteritidis-11-14/index.html, or to report a

suspected case contact the DPHS Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at

603-271-4496.

Saturday
Nov152014

NH DHHS - Health Department Holds Public Meeting on Travelers Returning from Ebola-Stricken Countries

Concord, NH – The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has led to Americans

traveling to the affected countries to lend their assistance and expertise

to the victims of this devastating disease. New Hampshire is no exception,

with healthcare workers from the Kearsarge region traveling to Africa to

help out. In order to give the community a chance to ask questions about

the disease and the potential impacts of returning travelers, the New

Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will be speaking

at a public meeting hosted by the Kearsarge Regional School System at

Kearsarge Regional High School.



Speakers for this event include:

DHHS Public Health Director Dr. José Montero

State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan

Kearsarge Regional Superintendent Jerry Frew





DATE: Monday, November 17, 2014

6:00 pm



EVENT: Ebola Informational Session





LOCATION: Kearsarge Regional High School

457 North Road

North Sutton, NH 03260

Wednesday
Nov052014

NH DHHS - Recall of Frozen Chicken Product

Concord, NH – The US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection

Service (FSIS) has announced that the Aspen Foods Division of Koch Meats

(Chicago, IL) is recalling 28,980 pounds of chicken products as they may be

contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis. These products were distributed

to Shaw’s stores in New Hampshire. The recalled product includes partially

prepared Chicken a la Kiev products sold by retailers under the Antioch

Farms brand name, with “sell by” dates of October 1, 2015 and October 7,

2015. A total of 6 persons were identified in Minnesota with the same

strain of Salmonella, and all reported Chicken Kiev consumption prior to

illness onset. This product has been removed from all Shaw’s stores in New

Hampshire and no cases of Salmonella linked to this outbreak have been

identified in New Hampshire.



The implicated products were produced on July 2, 2014 and July 8, 2014, and

bear the establishment number “P-1358 inside the USDA mark of inspection.”

The product is identified as:

· Single 5-ounce plastic packets of Raw Stuffed Chicken Breast Breaded,

Boneless Breast of Chicken with Rib Meat “A La Kiev.”



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

of Public Health Services is conducting surveillance to identify possible

cases associated with this product and following the national investigation

closely should the list of involved products expand.



“Even though the product has been removed from stores, it is important that

all consumers check their freezers for this product,” said Dr. José

Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “Most people recover from

salmonellosis, but it has serious implications for young children, seniors,

and the immune compromised.”



Salmonella is a bacterium that can cause serious and sometimes fatal

infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and those with

weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often

experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and

abdominal pain. Some cases may be more severe and people may even need to

be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread

from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other parts of the

body and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with

antibiotics.



If consumers have any of these products at home they are advised to discard

them immediately and not eat them. DHHS reminds consumers of the importance

of properly handling raw poultry to prevent contamination from spreading to

other foods and food contact surfaces. Additionally, following package

cooking instructions for frozen or fresh chicken products is critical.

Consumers should be aware that actual time may vary depending on the

cooking method (broiling, frying, or grilling) and the temperature of the

product (chilled versus frozen), so it is important that the final

temperature of 165 °F must be reached for safety.



This may be an evolving situation so consumers are advised to check the

USDA website at

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/recalls-and-public-health-alerts/recall-case-archive/archive/2014/recall-073-2014-release

for updates. For questions about salmonellosis, call the DHHS Division of

Public Health Services, Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at (603)

271-4496.