The Coastal Health District of Georgia serves the counties of Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long & McIntosh

Camden News


Coastal Health District Team Members Named Georgia Medical Society Health Care Heroes

Debbie Hagins, M.D., Jonathan Gibson, and Ilya Snyder-Shvahbeyn. Not pictured, Cristina Gibson.

The Georgia Medical Society (GMS) recently named the 2018 Health Care Heroes and two Coastal Health District team members were among those recognized. Debbie Hagins, M.D., was presented the Health Care Innovation Award, and Cristina Gibson – along with her son Jonathan and his classmate, Ilya Snyder-Shvahbeyn – was presented the Community Outreach Award. A total of six awards are given annually in recognition of contributions made by individuals and organizations that “have helped enrich the length, the joy, and the comfort of the lives of the citizens.”

Health Care Innovation Award
The GMS Health Care Innovation Award was given to Debbie Hagins, M.D., medical director and principal investigator for the Coastal Health District CARE Centers which provide comprehensive outpatient primary care (including nutritional services and oral health) and case management to persons with HIV/AIDS. The Coastal Health District Ryan White HIV program serves an eight-county geographic region and has the highest HIV incidence outside of the metro Atlanta area.

Twelve years ago, Dr. Hagins helped spearhead the effort to bring HIV clinical trials to the Coastal Health District. The trials provide medication for individuals who otherwise may have never had access to research and that research will help determine what drugs will work best in treating HIV. Since 2006, she has served as Principal Investigator for 46 trials related to HIV care with a special focus on enrolling and maintaining two groups that have been historically overlooked or excluded: minority and female patients.

Dr. Hagins’ hard work in the area of clinical trials has garnered local, state, and national attention bringing to light the important efforts being put forward in public health regarding HIV medication research and treatment. Her exceptional performance in providing comprehensive primary care to HIV patients and as Principal Investigator for numerous clinical trials has resulted in her participation as a key note speaker at several national meetings and she recently shared her expertise for an article in MD Magazine. She has co-authored many publications, abstracts and posters (several on the international stage).

Dr. Hagins is highly respected in her field and is an excellent representative for public health and a strong advocate for providing comprehensive health care to underserved populations, especially those living with HIV. She achieved and has maintained certification as an HIV Specialist from the American Academy of HIV Medicine and was named a Fellow of the Academy of Physicians of Clinical Research (FAPCR). The FAPCR designation is reserved for Academy of Physicians of Clinical Research members who have shown significant commitment to, and achievement in, clinical research.

Community Outreach Award
The GMS Community Outreach Award was given to Coastal Health District Chronic Disease Prevention Director, Cristina Gibson, her son Jonathan and his classmate, Ilya Snyder-Shvahbeyn.  As a dedicated public health employee and head of the Chronic Disease Prevention program for our eight-county health district, Cristina is very attuned to the public health-related issues facing our citizens – particularly when it comes to health disparities – and has always looked for ways to help narrow the gap. A couple of years ago when Cristina’s son Jonathan and his classmate Ilya were trying to come up with a community outreach event as a class assignment, the three brainstormed and created Everybody Eats Fresh FREE Fridays (E2F3).

E2F3 is a produce- and bread-only distribution program that provides access to healthy foods to residents in need, primarily on Savannah’s southside. The distribution takes place in a local church parking lot which gives it somewhat of a farmers market feel. To make this happen, Cristina, Jonathan, and Ilya partnered with America’s Second Harvest Food Bank to relieve the Food Bank of healthy foods that might otherwise be thrown out. Through its partnership with America’s Second Harvest Food Bank, E2F3 has been able to distribute an average of 12 tons of produce each year – tons of produce that would have otherwise been thrown away because of spoilage. During each event E2F3 is serving an average of 70 families and about 283 individuals (a majority of these being children and seniors).

E2F3 serves those who are in the middle – they don’t quite qualify for government assistance but their income may not be enough to cover all necessities and often, food is an easier sacrifice than rent. E2F3 has been so successful that three additional sites are now running in the Savannah area. With the addition of the partner sites, E2F3 is able to provide even more Savannahians with healthy food that may give them a reprieve from worrying about where their next meals are coming from and allow them to redirect their dollars towards paying an electricity bill or paying down a medical bill.

 

HIV Medical Director Featured in MD Magazine

Medical Director and Principal Investigator for Coastal Health District’s HIV CARE clinics, Debbie P Hagins, MD, FAPCR, AAHIVS, recently lent her expertise to MD Magazine. Read the article here: First Efficacy Trials on Switch to RPV/FTC/TAF for HIV Yield Positive Results

Camden, Chatham, Long Counties Offer Free Mammogram Screenings

Health departments in Camden and Long counties will partner will Southeast Georgia Health System Breast Care Center to provide free mammogram screenings for women who meet eligibility guidelines. The screenings are provide through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (BCCP).

Camden County Health Department Mammogram Screening Information
9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Friday, October 12
Camden Woods Shopping Center, 1601 State Hwy. 40 E., St. Kingsland

Long County Health Department Mammogram Screening Information
9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Tuesday, October 16
IGA, U.S. Hwy. 84, Ludowici

Chatham County Health Department Mammogram Screening Information
9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monday, October 22
Chatham County Health Department, 1602 Drayton Street, Savannah

Women who meet certain annual income guidelines and are 40-64 years of age without insurance will be eligible to receive a screening mammogram at no cost. No appointment necessary.  For more information, call the Camden County Health Department, the Long County Health Department, or or the Chatham County Health Department.

Flu Shots Start Sept. 24; Drive-thru/Walk-in Clinics Announced

Health departments in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties will begin offering flu vaccine on Monday, September 24. Regular flu shots are $29 and high-dose flu shots – made especially to protect those 65 and older – are $55. Cash, checks, credit cards, most major insurances, Medicaid, and Medicare will be accepted.

To date, the following drive-through flu vaccination clinics have been scheduled:

Camden County
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Saturday, October 13
Lowe’s
1410 East Boone Ave., Kingsland

Glynn County
8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Thursday, October 18
Glynn County Health Department
2747 Fourth Street, Brunswick

McIntosh County
9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Tuesday, October 30
McIntosh County Health Department
1335 GA Hwy. 57, Townsend

To date, the following walk-in flu vaccination clinics have been scheduled:

Long County
8 a.m. – 4  p.m.
Tuesday, October 30
584 N. Macon Street, Ludowici

The flu can cause mild to severe illness and getting the flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your community from the virus. Every flu season is different and we never know how bad a flu season is going to be or how long it’s going to last which is why it is important for everyone six months of age and older get the flu vaccine every year.

Last year’s flu season was particularly severe with widespread flu activity around the state of Georgia and throughout the country. Generally speaking, flu season starts in October and peaks around January or February but it’s not too early to get the flu vaccine. The duration of flu seasons varies but last year’s season lasted well into the Spring.

It takes about two weeks after getting a flu shot for the vaccine to provide the body protection against the flu. While getting the flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu, there are other things we can all do every day to prevent getting or spreading the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you get sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. The fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • Try to cough or sneeze into the corner of your elbow and not your hand or cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

For more information or to download and fill out the consent form ahead of time, go to gachd.org/flu.

Nat’l Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day FREE HIV Testing

The conversation about HIV is changing. #TalkUndetectable this National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NGMHAAD), Thursday, September 27, and  come in for FREE HIV testing at health departments in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, & McIntosh counties. National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NGMHAAD) is observed each year on September 27 to direct attention to the continuing and disproportionate impact of HIV and AIDS on gay and bisexual men in the United States. Get more info. on at http://bit.ly/2xcigOa.

 

State & Local Public Health Officials Urge Mosquito Precautions

Local Public Health Officials Continue to Encourage Mosquito Precautions
News release from Coastal Health District, August 30, 2018

Public health officials continue to encourage precautions to prevent mosquito bites and breeding. Mosquitoes can carry diseases such as West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). WNV has been identified in mosquitoes in both Chatham and Glynn counties and EEE has been identified in mosquitoes in Liberty County. Both can diseases can cause mild to serious illness.

Most people who contract WNV and EEE will show no symptoms; however, severe illness is possible. Horse and large animal owners are encouraged to vaccinate their animals against EEE and to clean out watering sources, such as buckets and troughs, every three-to-four days to prevent mosquitoes from breeding there. Mosquitoes that carry the West Nile Virus are more likely to bite during the evening, night, and early morning. The primary mosquito that transmits EEE breeds in freshwater swamps.

Following the 5Ds of prevention can help protect against mosquitoes:

  • Dusk/Dawn – Avoid dusk and dawn activities during the summer when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Dress – Wear loose-fitting, long sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.
  • DEET – Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing the DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
  • Drain – Empty any containers holding standing water – buckets, barrels, flower pots, tarps – because they are breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.
  • Doors – Make sure doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly, and fix torn or damaged screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house.

Georgians Urged to Protect Themselves from Mosquito Bites
West Nile Virus Infections Increase in Georgia
News release from the Georgia Department of Public Health, August 29, 2018

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has confirmed seven human cases of West Nile virus so far this year, including one death. Additionally, there has been one confirmed case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) which resulted in death. EEE is rare illness in humans, and only a few cases are reported in the United States each year. Georgians are urged to protect themselves from mosquito bites, particularly when they are outside this Labor Day weekend. Mosquito season in Georgia typically lasts through October, sometimes longer depending on the weather. “Georgians can reduce the number of mosquitoes around their homes and yards by getting rid of standing water,” said Chris Rustin, Ph.D., DPH director of Environmental Health. “Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes that may be infected with West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.” Tip ‘n Toss all containers that can collect water – flowerpots, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires and birdbaths – anything that holds water and gives mosquitoes a place to thrive. Mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus look for stagnant water to breed in, so be sure gutters and eaves are clear of leaves and debris. The most effective way to protect against WNV infection and all mosquito-borne diseases is to prevent mosquito bites. Observe the “Five D’s of Prevention” during your outdoor activities this holiday weekend:

  • Dusk/Dawn – Mosquitoes carrying WNV usually bite at dusk and dawn, so avoid
    or limit outdoor activity at these times.
  • Dress – Wear loose-fitting, long sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount
    of exposed skin.
  • DEET – Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
  • Drain – Empty any containers holding standing water because they are excellent breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.
  • Doors – Make sure doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly, and fix torn or damaged screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house.

Symptoms of WNV include headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes and a rash – that usually develop three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The elderly, those with compromised immune systems, or those with other underlying medical conditions are at greater risk for complications from the disease. Anyone with questions about WNV or EEE should speak to their health care provider or call their local county health department, environmental health office.

More information about mosquito-borne illnesses and mosquito repellents can be found at https://dph.georgia.gov/EnvironmentalHealth. Information about West Nile Virus and EEE can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/ or https://www.cdc.gov/easternequineencephalitis/index.html

About the Georgia Department of Public Health
The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is the lead agency in preventing disease, injury and disability; promoting health and well-being; and preparing for and responding to disasters from a health perspective. DPH’s main functions include: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Maternal and Child Health, Infectious Disease and Immunization, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Emergency Medical Services, Pharmacy, Nursing, Volunteer Health Care, the Office of Health Equity, Vital Records, and the State Public Health Laboratory. For more information visit: www.dph.georgia.gov.

Mosquito Precautions Encouraged

Southeast Georgia counties have seen a lot of rain this summer and that means a higher risk for mosquitoes that can carry diseases such as West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). Coastal Health District officials want to remind residents to take steps to avoid mosquito bites and prevent mosquito breeding.

WNV can cause mild to serious illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 80 percent of people infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all; about 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash; and about 1 in 150 people who are infected develop a severe illness such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord). Mosquitoes that carry the West Nile Virus are more likely to bite during the evening, night, and early morning.

EEE is a mosquito-borne virus that causes swelling of the brain. In horses, it is fatal 70 to 90 percent of the time. Horse and large animal owners are encouraged to vaccinate their animals against the virus and to clean out watering sources, such as buckets and troughs, every three-to-four days to prevent mosquitoes from breeding there. EEE is rare in humans; however, humans are susceptible to the virus. According to the CDC, most people infected with EEE do not show illness. Symptoms in severe cases of EEE include a sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting. The primary mosquito that transmits EEE breeds in freshwater swamps.

One of the best ways to prevent mosquito breeding and the spread of mosquito-borne viruses is to get rid of standing water around the home and in the yard. Residents are urged to clean up around their homes, yards, and communities and get rid of unnecessary items that can hold water and turn into mosquito breeding grounds by using the “Tip ‘n Toss” method. After every rainfall, tip out water in flowerpots, planters, children’s toys, wading pools, buckets, and anything else that may be holding water. If it holds water and you don’t need it (old tires, bottles, cans), toss it out. It’s also a good idea to change water frequently in outdoor pet dishes, change bird bath water at least twice a week, and avoid using saucers under outdoor potted plants.

For containers without lids or that are too big for the Tip ‘n Toss method (garden pools, etc.), use larvicides such as Mosquito Dunks© or Mosquito Torpedoes© and follow the label instructions. These larvicides will not hurt birds or animals. In addition, clean out gutters, remove piles of leaves, and keep vegetation cut low to prevent landing sites for adult mosquitoes. Homeowners associations and neighborhoods, along with city and county governments, are encouraged to sponsor community cleanup days.

Residents are always encouraged to follow the 5Ds of mosquito bite prevention:

  • Dusk/Dawn – Avoid dusk and dawn activities during the summer when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Dress – Wear loose-fitting, long sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.
  • DEET – Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing the DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
  • Drain – Empty any containers holding standing water – buckets, barrels, flower pots, tarps – because they are breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.
  • Doors – Make sure doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly, and fix torn or damaged screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house.

Find a list of EPA-approved insect repellents HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Environmental Health Reaches Out to Microbladers Regarding New Law

Environmental Health managers in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties are reaching out to microblading artists to encourage them to apply for permits. In May, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed a bill permitting microblading – temporary cosmetic tattooing of eyebrows – as a legal form of tattooing. The bill was signed into law and took effect July 1. Previously, the practice of microblading was prohibited under Georgia law.

Environmental Health offices in all eight Coastal Health District counties have locally adopted tattoo rules to help eliminate public health risk factors, confirm sanitization practices, ensure after-care instructions are provided for clients, and minimize risk of disease. Microblading now falls within those rules. As with traditional tattoo artists, microbladers will have to abide by certain regulations to get permitted.

“Our number one goal is to make sure that anyone performing microblading is following procedures that will help protect the health of those receiving services,” said Coastal Health District Environmental Health Director, Brant Phelps. “Microbladers can now apply for permits through their local environmental health office and are encouraged to do so as soon as possible.”

For more information on the new law, go to legis.ga.gov/legislation. Contact information for local environmental health offices can be found HERE.

 

Mosquito-Borne Virus Activity Widespread in Chatham County

Chatham County Mosquito Control has confirmed that samples of mosquitoes collected across Chatham County have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). Mosquito Control confirmed last week that mosquito samples in Pooler tested positive for WNV. Once WNV activity is detected in mosquitoes it is an indication that the virus is actively circulating in local mosquito populations – regardless of the specific location of positive mosquito pools. The latest samples collected around the county confirm that fact. Recent weather patterns have not allowed Mosquito Control to conduct control operations; therefore, weekend missions will be scheduled. Residents should expect to see Mosquito Control’s low flying, yellow helicopters on a regular basis throughout the county this weekend between the hours of 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.

No human cases of WNV have been confirmed in any Coastal Health District counties, including Chatham. About 80% of the people who get WNV never even know it because they don’t develop symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash.

WNV is transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes and can cause mild to serious illness. Mosquitoes that carry the West Nile Virus are more likely to bite during the evening, night, and early morning. The Chatham County Health Department and Chatham County Mosquito Control urge residents to take appropriate precautions now and throughout the summer to minimize mosquitoes around their property.

One of the most effective ways of preventing mosquito breeding and thus the spread of mosquito-borne viruses is controlling the mosquito population by getting rid of standing water around the home and in the yard. Residents are urged to clean up around their homes, yards, and communities and get rid of unnecessary items that can hold water and turn into mosquito breeding grounds. One way to do this is “Tip ‘n Toss.” After every rainfall, tip out water in flowerpots, planters, children’s toys, wading pools, buckets, and anything else that may be holding water. If it holds water and you don’t need it (old tires, bottles, cans), toss it out. It’s also a good idea to change water frequently in outdoor pet dishes, change bird bath water at least twice a week and avoid using saucers under outdoor potted plants.

For containers without lids or that are too big to Tip ‘n Toss (garden pools, etc.), use larvicides such as Mosquito Dunks© or Mosquito Torpedoes© and follow the label instructions. These larvicides will not hurt birds or animals. In addition, clean out gutters, remove piles of leaves, and keep vegetation cut low to prevent landing sites for adult mosquitoes.

Homeowners associations and neighborhoods, along with city and county governments, are encouraged to sponsor community cleanup days.

Residents are always encouraged to follow the 5Ds of mosquito bite prevention:

  • Dusk/Dawn – Avoid dusk and dawn activities during the summer when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Dress – Wear loose-fitting, long sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.
  • DEET – Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing the DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
  • Drain – Empty any containers holding standing water – buckets, barrels, flower pots, tarps – because they are breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.
  • Doors – Make sure doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly, and fix torn or damaged screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house.

 

 

 

 

 

Mosquito-borne Virus Activity Detected in Chatham County; Officials Advise Taking Protective Measures

Chatham County Mosquito Control has confirmed that samplings of mosquitoes collected in western Chatham County (Pooler area) have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). This indicates that WNV is actively circulating in local mosquito populations this year. Mosquito control personnel are surveying all areas of Chatham County and scheduling control operations as required. No human cases of WNV have been confirmed in any Coastal Health District counties, including Chatham.

WNV is transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes and can cause mild to serious illness. Mosquitoes that carry the West Nile Virus are more likely to bite during the evening, night, and early morning. The Chatham County Health Department and Chatham County Mosquito Control urge residents to take appropriate precautions now and throughout the summer to minimize mosquitoes around their property.

One of the most effective ways of preventing mosquito breeding and thus the spread of mosquito-borne viruses is controlling the mosquito population by getting rid of standing water around the home and in the yard. Residents are urged to clean up around their homes, yards, and communities and get rid of unnecessary items that can hold water and turn into mosquito breeding grounds. One way to do this is “Tip ‘n Toss.” After every rainfall, tip out water in flowerpots, planters, children’s toys, wading pools, buckets, and anything else that may be holding water. If it holds water and you don’t need it (old tires, bottles, cans), toss it out. It’s also a good idea to change water frequently in outdoor pet dishes, change bird bath water at least twice a week, and avoid using saucers under outdoor potted plants.

For containers without lids or that are too big to Tip ‘n Toss (garden pools, etc.), use larvicides such as Mosquito Dunks© or Mosquito Torpedoes© and follow the label instructions. These larvicides will not hurt birds or animals. In addition, clean out gutters, remove piles of leaves, and keep vegetation cut low to prevent landing sites for adult mosquitoes.

Homeowners associations and neighborhoods, along with city and county governments, are encouraged to sponsor community cleanup days.

Residents are always encouraged to follow the 5Ds of mosquito bite prevention:

  • Dusk/Dawn – Avoid dusk and dawn activities during the summer when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Dress – Wear loose-fitting, long sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.
  • DEET – Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing the DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
  • Drain – Empty any containers holding standing water – buckets, barrels, flower pots, tarps – because they are breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.
  • Doors – Make sure doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly, and fix torn or damaged screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house.

 

Chatham County Mosquito Control is actively treating all areas of Chatham County for mosquitoes. Residents should expect to see Mosquito Control’s low flying, yellow helicopters on a regular basis throughout the county.