Health Advisories

View recent press releases from the Montgomery County Health Department.

BICYCLING SAFETY

May 2009: Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation, reminds drivers and bicyclists to pay attention and share the road to prevent fatalities and injuries. According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, 698 bicyclists were killed in America in 2007; an additional 44,000 bicyclists were injured. LaHood warned that more Americans, especially baby boomers, are taking up cycling and should take extra precautions when driving or riding. NHTSA research data also shows:

  • The average age of people killed on bicycles has increased for the 10th straight year.
  • One-seventh of the bicyclists killed in traffic crashes in 2007 were between 5 and 15 years old.
  • Alcohol involvement was reported in more than one-third of all bicyclist fatalities.

INFLUENZA

April 2009: CDC Investigates human cases of SWINE FLU.
Visit the CDC Swine Flu info page or visit the CDC Twitter web page.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are ill.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and hot water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Get enough sleep, engage in regular physical activity, manage stress, drink plenty of water and eating healthy foods.

INFLUENZA-AVIAN

USDA Release No. 0458.05 November 2005
Contact: USDA Press Office (202) 720-4623

Q. What is avian influenza?

A. Avian influenza (AI) is a disease found among poultry. Each year, there is a flu season for birds just as there is for humans.

There are two main classes. Most AI strains are classified as low pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) and cause few clinical signs in infected birds. High pathogenicity avian influenza (HPAI) causes a severe and extremely contagious illness and death among infected birds.

Q. How is the disease spread?

A. HPAI can be spread from birds to people as a result of extensive direct contact with infected birds. Broad concerns about public health relate to the potential for the virus to mutate, or change into a form that could spread from person to person. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is aggressively working to ensure public health is protected. More information about the joint efforts of the federal government is available at Flu.gov

Q. Does proper food handling prevent avian influenza?

A. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is working to educate the public about safe food handling practices in response to numerous questions from the public about the human risk associated with avian influenza. There is no evidence that LPAI can be transmitted to people by eating poultry. If HPAI were detected in the U.S., the chance of infected poultry entering the food chain would be extremely low.

Q. How do I get more information about avian influenza?

A. Visit USDA Bird Flu web page.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT PANDEMIC FLU AND HUMAN INFLUENZA:

LYME DISEASE

If you lead an active outdoor lifestyle, work outdoors, go hunting or fishing, please remember that Lyme Disease is still very much a concern. Deer ticks carry Lyme Disease and can spread it to humans and animals. Peak exposure to ticks that carry the disease occurs in the spring with a second peak occurring in the fall. The important thing is that you check yourself for ticks each day. They will become larger as they engorge with blood. In this area, 80% of all people who contract Lyme Disease will become ill between May and August.

Four steps to minimize the effects of Lyme Disease

  • Awareness that Lyme Disease is a problem in this area. Become familiar with the cause, symptoms, prevention and treatment for Lyme Disease. Education is the best defense.
  • Detection of the tick, of symptoms compatible with Lyme Disease or of chronic infection through blood tests that measure the antibody.
  • Prevention by taking measures to minimize contact with the tick (see list below).
  • Treatment in the early stages of illness before complications occur.

Prevention Tips

  • Wear light-colored clothing so that ticks can be spotted more easily.
  • Keep pant legs and shirts tucked in.
  • Wear a hat for extra protection.
  • Apply an insect repellent containing the ingredient DEET or permethrin on clothing. Do not apply to your face.
  • Walk in the center of trails to avoid overhanging grass and brush.
  • Inspect yourself thoroughly for ticks. Remove attached ticks with tweezers being careful not to crush the tick's body.
  • Don't forget to brush and check your pet as well.
  • See a doctor immediately if an expanding rash occurs at the site of the tick bite, or if you experience flu-like symptoms within one month of the bite.

For further information visit Center for Disease Control, American Lyme Disease Foundation, or International Lyme and Associated Diseases Foundation.

RABIES

Since February 13, 1887, Pennsylvanians who own or keep dogs and household cats over three months of age must have them vaccinated against rabies. People who violate the law can be fined up to $300.

Rabies Clinics provided by Montgomery County Health Department.

How can I protect my family from rabies?

Most people are exposed to rabies through pets that have a fight with a wild animal and become infected. Unvaccinated dogs and cats must be quarantined at an animal hospital for six months. Unvaccinated pets may be permitted to be quarantined at home under certain conditions. In those cases when home quarantine is not granted and when quarantine at a vet hospital is unaffordable, the pet has to be euthanized and the brain tissue tested. Vaccination of pets is therefore your first line of defense. The following steps must be taken:

  • All dogs and cats over the age of three (3) months must be vaccinated against rabies and wear an approved vaccination tag. Pet ferrets must also be vaccinated.
  • All dogs over the age of three (3) months must be licensed. The cost is minimal and payable to the County's Treasurer's Office. If you have any questions, call (610) 278-3070.
  • Dogs are prohibited from running at large at all times.
  • All animal bites must be reported to the Upper Dublin Township Police. Pets inflicting a wound are subject to quarantine and examination by a Veterinarian. Call the Police Department immediately if you are bitten or injured by a wild animal. High risk animals are raccoons, foxes, skunks and bats. Low risk animals are rabbits and rodents such as squirrels, mice and rats. Consult your physician immediately following any wound inflicted by an animal.
  • Bats pose a special risk in that most persons contacting bat rabies had no history of a bite or wound. Only a small percentage of bats (1%) harbor the rabies virus. A positive rabies exposure is now considered to occur if a bat is found in the house and had access to an area where people were sleeping or to a person who could not properly communicate exposure such as a young child or the disabled. Such person should receive rabies prophylaxis immediately.
  • Don't feed stray cats or handle animals with which you are unfamiliar. If you feed stray cats, you become the assumed owner and as the assumed owner you are required by law to have that animal vaccinated against rabies and the vaccination kept current.
  • Abandoned animals and unwanted pets should be turned over to the care of a local humane society.

A brochure "About Rabies" provides information to help citizens comply with the Rabies Law that was passed to prevent the spread of a disease that is fatal to animals and humans. This brochure is available at the Township Building.

SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)

For consumer health information visit Center for Disease Control.

SMALLPOX

Go to Center for Disease Control or the call the CDC Hotline with questions (888-246-2675).

WEST NILE ENCEPHALITIS VIRUS

First case reported in Montgomery County, July 22, 2008.

View recent press releases from the Montgomery County Health Department.

Residents may view mosquito surveillance efforts at the PA West Nile Virus Control Program web site.
Call the Montgomery County Health Department's local office in Willow Grove at (215) 784-5415 to report mosquito related complaints.

The return of the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus is expected during warm weather. Recommendations to help prevent mosquito breeding are:

  • Clean gutters and downspouts
  • Remove items from your yard that collect water
  • Check for poor drainage areas; re-landscape and plant water-loving plants to reduce breeding sites
  • Empty birdbaths and kiddie pools weekly
  • Dump standing water out of flowerpots
  • Dispose of old tires, cans, pots and other water-holding containers
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools and cover when not in use; drain the cover once a week
  • Aerate ornamental pools or stock with fish
  • Check for standing water after every rain
  • Repair leaky pipes and outside faucets
  • Keep grass cut and bushes trimmed

To reduce your exposure to mosquitoes:

  • Make sure screens are in good repair
  • Avoid outdoor activity in early morning, dusk and after rain; avoid damp grassy areas
  • Keep grass and shrubs trimmed
  • Cover arms, legs and feet. Wear long sleeves, long pants, (tucked into socks), closed shoes (no sandals).
  • Use a light repellent with DEET (no more than 30%). Carefully read all warnings. Do not use on small children or infants.

ZIKA VIRUS

Visit the Montgomery County Health Department (MCHD) website for information regarding Zika Virus.

Contact your healthcare provider or MCHD at (610) 278-5117 for questions regarding Zika Virus.

Complaints about standing water (unmaintained pools, tires collecting water, unmaintained bird baths, etc.) may be reported to the MCHD at (610) 278-5117.

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