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

Chatham News


Two Raccoons Test Positive for Rabies in Chatham Co.

Two raccoons in Chatham County have tested positive for rabies: One in Thunderbolt and one off East Victory Drive between Bee Road and the Truman Parkway. In both cases, family dogs came into contact with the raccoons. In the first case, three dogs that were up-to-date on vaccinations are under 45-day home observation. In the second case, one dog and three puppies that were not up-to-date on vaccinations and are in quarantine at Chatham County Animal Services.

Several species of wild animals that are native to coastal Georgia – including raccoons, foxes, and bats – can carry rabies. Rabies is a potentially deadly virus that is primarily spread by infected animals. The Chatham County Health Department Environmental Health office offers these tips to protect you and your family from rabies:

  • Avoid contact with animals you don’t know.
  • Make sure your pets receive the proper immunizations. Dogs and cats should get rabies vaccines after 12 weeks of age, followed by a booster shot within one year and vaccination every 1-3 years depending on veterinary recommendation and vaccine used.
  • Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or by leaving pet food out at night.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or a properly licensed animal rescue agency for assistance.
  • Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. “Love your own, leave other animals alone” is a good principle for children to learn.

Symptoms of rabies in animals include a change in behavior, biting, aggression, showing no fear of natural enemies (such as humans), foaming at the mouth, and paralysis.

If an animal ever bites you, seek medical care immediately and contact Chatham County Animal Services at 912-652-6575 and the Chatham County Environmental Health office at 912-356-2160.

Flu Shots Start Sept. 24; Drive-thru 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

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.

Raccoon on Wilmington Island Tests Positive for Rabies

A raccoon that stumbled into the backyard of a Wilmington Island home has tested positive for rabies. The family dog was in the backyard at the time and picked the raccoon up in its mouth. The dog was not up-to-date on rabies vaccinations and will remain under observation at Chatham County Animal Services for 45 days.

Several species of wild animals that are native to coastal Georgia – including raccoons, foxes, and bats – can carry rabies. Rabies is a potentially deadly virus that is primarily spread by infected animals. The Chatham County Health Department Environmental Health office offers these tips to protect you and your family from rabies:

  • Avoid contact with animals you don’t know.
  • Make sure your pets receive the proper immunizations. Dogs and cats should get rabies vaccines after 12 weeks of age, followed by a booster shot within one year and vaccination every 1-3 years depending on veterinary recommendation and vaccine used.
  • Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or by leaving pet food out at night.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or a properly licensed animal rescue agency for assistance.
  • Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. “Love your own, leave other animals alone” is a good principle for children to learn.

Symptoms of rabies in animals include a change in behavior, biting, aggression, showing no fear of natural enemies (such as humans), foaming at the mouth, and paralysis.

If an animal ever bites you, seek medical care immediately and contact Chatham County Animal Services at 912-652-6575 and the Chatham County Environmental Health office at 912-356-2160.

 

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.

Free Blood Glucose Screenings Scheduled; Diabetes Prevention Program to Launch

The Coastal Health District Chronic Disease Prevention Program will offer free blood glucose screens in Chatham and Effingham counties in August and  launch National Diabetes Prevention Program in September.

There are more than 79 million Americans who have prediabetes and many do not know it. People with prediabetes have blood glucose (sugar) levels higher than normal. The levels are not yet high enough for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis; however, people with prediabetes are more likely to get type 2 diabetes than others. Diabetes can lead to serious health complications, including heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, or loss of toes, feet, or legs. Even though prediabetes puts you at high risk, there are ways you can lower your chance of getting type 2 diabetes.

Free blood glucose (sugar) screens will be held from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. at the Chatham County Health Department located at 1602 Drayton St. on Thursday, August 23, and at the Effingham County Health Department located at 802 Hwy. 119 South in Springfield. on Thursday, August 30. Those who score a 9 or higher on the CDC Prediabetes Test or have a blood glucose reading in the prediabetic realm will be invited to take part in our upcoming Diabetes Prevention Program. The program is free and designed to help prediabetics avoid type 2 diabetes by making modest lifestyle changes.

The National Diabetes Prevention Program will kick off in September. This is a year-long program designed to help prediabetics avoid type 2 diabetes by making modest lifestyle changes. The participants will be provided a Lifestyle Coach and a group for support, a group facing the same challenges and trying to make the same changes.  An informational meeting about the Diabetes Prevention Program will be held from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 6, at the Coastal Health District administrative office located at 400 Mall Blvd. (South State Bank Building), Suite G in Savannah.

Anyone seeking additional information about the Diabetes Prevention Program can contact Coastal Health District Chronic Disease Prevention Director, Cristina Gibson at 912-644-5818 or email cristina.gibson@dph.ga.gov.

Raccoon in Daffin Heights Tests Positive for Rabies

A raccoon that was killed by family dogs in the Daffin Heights neighborhood in Savannah has tested positive for rabies. The dogs are up-to-date on rabies vaccinations and will remain under observation at home for 45 days.

Several species of wild animals that are native to coastal Georgia – including raccoons, foxes, and bats – can carry rabies. Rabies is a potentially deadly virus that is primarily spread by infected animals. The Chatham County Health Department Environmental Health office offers these tips to protect you and your family from rabies:

  • Avoid contact with animals you don’t know.
  • Make sure your pets receive the proper immunizations. Dogs and cats should get rabies vaccines after 12 weeks of age, followed by a booster shot within one year and vaccination every 1-3 years depending on veterinary recommendation and vaccine used.
  • Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or by leaving pet food out at night.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or a properly licensed animal rescue agency for assistance.
  • Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. “Love your own, leave other animals alone” is a good principle for children to learn.

Symptoms of rabies in animals include a change in behavior, biting, aggression, showing no fear of natural enemies (such as humans), foaming at the mouth, and paralysis.

If an animal ever bites you, seek medical care immediately and contact Chatham County Animal Services at 912-652-6575 and the Chatham County Environmental Health office at 912-356-2160.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free Mammograms for Women in Chatham Co. Who Meet Eligibility Criteria

The Chatham County Health Department’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (BCCP) is partnering with the St. Joseph’s/Candler Mobile Mammography Program to offer free mammograms from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, August 27, at the Chatham County Health Department located at 1395 Eisenhower Drive in 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.

Appointments are preferred but walk-ins will be accepted. To make an appointment, please call 356-2946.

Click HERE for more information on BCCP.

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.