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

Liberty News


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.

 

Health Departments Modify Hours

The hours of operation at health departments in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties will change slightly beginning July 1 to make it more convenient for clients to come in for services. The Fort Stewart WIC clinic will also have modified hours. Click on your county for an updated hours of operation.

In Chatham and Glynn counties, the vital records offices (death and birth certificates) will follow the same hours of operation as the health departments. The environmental health offices in  Camden and McIntosh counties will also adjust hours beginning July 1. The Chatham County environmental health office will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. The office will physically close at 2 p.m. on Fridays; however, clients can schedule appointments in advance to take place after 2 p.m.

Health department services include child and adult immunizations, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, family planning services, child health services, the Women, Infant, and Children’s (WIC) nutrition program, Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (BCCP) and more.

Fruit Recall

There is a recall by Caito Foods of fresh cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, & fresh-cut mixed fruit with the same melons because they may be contaminated with Salmonella. Georgia is one of the states where the products were distributed.

Get more information and a complete list of the recalled products here: https://bit.ly/2LGvreT

Back to School Clinics Scheduled

School will be back in session before we know it and parents are encouraged to get their children the necessary immunizations and screenings now to avoid the back to school rush and longer wait times. Several health departments in coastal Georgia have scheduled back to school clinics in July:

Camden County Health Department*
1501 Georgia Avenue, Woodbine
1 p.m. – 4 p.m., Tuesday, July 24
*(Free Eye, Ear, Dental & Nutrition Screens)

Camden County Health Department*
905 Dilworth Street, St. Marys
1 p.m. – 4 p.m., Thursday, July 26
*(Free Eye, Ear, Dental & Nutrition Screens)

Chatham County Health Department*
1395 Eisenhower Drive, Savannah
8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Thursday, July 19
8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Thursday, July 26
*(Free Eye, Ear, Dental & Nutrition Screens)

Liberty County Health Department
1113 E. Oglethorpe Hwy., Hinesville
8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m., Thursday, July 19
8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m., Thursday, July 26
8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday, July 30

Long County Health Department
8 a.m. – 7 p.m., Thursday, July 19
1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 6
584 N. Macon Street, Ludowici

McIntosh County Health Department
1335 GA Hwy. 57, Townsend
8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 17

Glynn County Health Department
8 a.m. – 7 p.m., Thursday, August 2
2747 Fourth Street, Brunswick

Students entering a Georgia school for the first time – no matter what the grade level –  must have a completed Certificate of Vision, Hearing, Dental, and Nutrition screening form. “First time” means never enrolled in a Georgia school before at any time in their lives.

In addition, children born on or after January 1, 2002 who are attending seventh grade and new entrants into Georgia schools in grades 8 through 12 must have received one dose of Tdap vaccine and one dose of meningococcal vaccine. (“New entrant” means any child entering any school in Georgia for the first time or entering after having been absent from a Georgia school for more than 12 months or one school year).

Also, it is recommended that all kids who are 11 or 12 years old get two shots of HPV vaccine six to twelve months apart. Adolescents who receive their two shots less than five months apart will require a third dose of HPV vaccine. HPV vaccine protects against cancers caused by human papillomavirus.

Students at scheduled back to school clinics will be seen on a first come, first served basis and no appointment is necessary.

All health departments in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties offer eye, ear, dental, and nutrition screens as well as immunizations all year round.

Free HIV Testing Events Scheduled for Chatham; Glynn

The Coastal Health District HIV Prevention Program will offer free HIV testing on June 27 in observance of National HIV Testing Day. Testing events will take place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the following locations:

CHATHAM COUNTY:
Walgreens, 2109 E. Victory Drive, Savannah
Walgreens, 11509 Abercorn St., Savannah
Walgreens, 4210 Augusta Rd., Garden City

GLYNN COUNTY
Walgreens, 4575 Altama Ave., Brunswick

All testing is completely confidential and results will be available in one minute. A follow-up visit will be scheduled for anyone who tests positive and counseling will be made available to those individuals.

The first 25 people who come for testing at each Walgreens location will receive a gift card.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates around 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and one in eight people don’t know they have it. Nearly 45,000 people find out they have HIV every year. In Georgia, the risk of HIV diagnosis is 1 in 51. National HIV Testing Week is an opportunity to raise awareness, encourage people to get the facts, tested, get involved, and get linked to care and treatment services. The Coastal Health District is pleased to offer free HIV testing as part of this global effort. As a reminder, HIV testing is free at all health departments in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties and available Monday through Friday during regular health department hours of operation.

Anyone with questions about testing can call Diane DeVore at (912) 644-5828 or e-mail Diane.Devore@dph.ga.gov.

Health Departments Now Offer New Shingles Vaccine

Health departments in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties are now offering Shingrix, a new vaccine to help protect against shingles, a painful rash that is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingrix also protects against postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), severe pain that can occur at the site of the shingles rash even after the rash clears up. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) voted to recommend the vaccine in adults ages 50 and older.

The previous vaccine for shingles – Zostavax – was recommended for those 60 and older. According to the CDC, Shingrix is recommended for healthy adults 50 and older even if they have previously had shingles, received Zostavax, or are unsure if they have had chickenpox.

“Being able to offer the Shingrix vaccine means that we can protect even more people against shingles,” said Coastal Health District Immunization Coordinator, Paige Lightsey, R.N. “When we can offer a vaccine that provides even more coverage against a disease, it’s a good day in public health.”

Shingrix is given in two doses separated by two to six months. According to the CDC, two doses of Shingrix is more than 90 percent effective at preventing shingles and PHN.

About one in every three people in the United States will get shingles. The risk of shingles increases as you get older. There is no maximum age for getting the Shingrix vaccine.

For more information on the Shingrix vaccine, click HERE.

Public Health Officials Urge Residents Who Meet Criteria to Apply to Hurricane Registry for Those with Functional, Access, or Medical Needs

Hurricane season is quickly approaching and the time to prepare is now. Health department officials in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties strongly encourage residents who have certain healthcare needs and no way to evacuate if a storm is coming to apply to the Hurricane Registry for those with functional, access, or medical needs.

The Hurricane Registry for those with functional, access, or medical needs is a list maintained by the health department of residents who may need transportation or medical assistance and have no resources such as family members, neighbors, or friends to help them evacuate if a hurricane is threatening. Residents must apply to be on the Registry and can do so by calling toll-free, 1-833-CHD-REGISTER (1-833-243-7344) and following the phone prompts which will connect them directly with their county health department. The application can also be downloaded at gachd.org/registry. Residents who meet criteria and get on the Registry will be evacuated when there is serious threat of a hurricane.

Those with functional or access needs – including children or adults with physical, sensory, or intellectual disabilities who need assistance with the activities of daily living including eating, taking medication, dressing, bathing, communicating, transferring from bed to chair and chair to bed, and toileting – will be evacuated to a gymnasium type setting far enough inland so that they are safe from the storm. The accommodations at the shelter will be basic (a cot with 20-40 square feet of space, bathroom facilities, meals, etc.) and the shelter may be several hours away.

Those with medical needs – including those who need the help of trained medical professionals for things like IV medication or who may be dependent on a respirator or other medical equipment – may be taken to a healthcare facility which will likely be located several hours inland.

Anyone who lives in a nursing home, assisted living, or personal care facility is not eligible for the registry and must follow their facility’s emergency plan. The Registry is truly a last resort but it is important that local emergency management agency and public health department officials have a list of residents who have certain needs and no other way to evacuate should that become necessary.

The time to apply for the Registry is when there are no storms threatening. It is important to note that Registry applications will stop being accepted 72 hours prior to the arrival of tropical storm force winds.

For more information on the Hurricane Registry for those with functional, access, or medical needs, click HERE.

Public Health Officials Urge Residents Who Meet Criteria to Apply to Hurricane Registry for Those with Functional, Access, or Medical Needs