Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Zika Virus Video Contest for Alabama Teens - Winners

The winners of the Zika Virus Video Contest for Alabama Teens have been announced and, as you can see, the kids did an awesome job.

The contest was open to Alabama teens between the ages of 15 to 18 and required only that the videos included basic health information about Zika and tips for reducing folks' exposure.

Alabama Environmental Health Association provided the judges.

First place (and $1000) went to Lakyn Shepard. Lakyn goes to Bob Jones High School in Madison. You can see Lakyn's winning video, Fight The Bite, above.

Second place went to Cassie Volkin, who won $750. Cassie also attends Bob Jones High School. Here's Cassie's video, Don't Let Zika Slap You In The Face"

Faron High, who goes to Elba High School in Elba, took home third place and $500 for her video, Zika Virus:

Honorable mentions went to:
  • Amaya Brisbon, Booker T. Washington Magnet High School, Montgomery
  • Hailey Gay, Homeschooled, Hillsboro 
  • Chenoa Gentle, Bob Jones High School, Madison 
  • Carley Sims, Huntsville High School, Huntsville 

Each of the honorable mentions videos won $100.

“These entertaining videos emphasize the need to eliminate standing water and other mosquito breeding sites, as well as ways to prevent mosquito bites,” said Sherry Bradley, director of the Bureau of Environmental Services. “Mosquitoes that spread the Zika virus are aggressive daytime biters but will also bite at night, and currently there is no vaccine available.”

Congratulations to all of them.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Flint September Food Bank Stops Announced

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Flint's Food Bank of Eastern Michigan have announced the September locations for the mobile food pantry. Each food chosen for distribution through the mobile food pantry was chosen, says the agency, specifically to combat the effects of lead exposure in children.

  • Thursday, Sept. 1, at 1 p.m. – Salem Lutheran Church, 2610 Martin Luther King Ave.
  • Thursday, Sept. 1, at 10:30 a.m. – Greater Holy Temple, 6702 N. Dort Hwy.
  • Friday, Sept. 2, at, at noon – Jackson Memorial Church of God in Christ, G-3155 W. Carpenter Road.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 11 a.m. – Bethel United Methodist Church of Christ, 1309 Ballenger Highway.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 7, at noon – Hispanic Tech Center, 2101 Lewis St.
  • Thursday, Sept. 8, at noon – Reaching the World, 68156 Verdun St.
  • Friday Sept. 9, at noon – St. Luke New Life Center, 3115 Lawndale St.
  • Saturday, Sept. 10, at 10 a.m. – Hardenbrook Park, 2700 Alexander St. (Hosted by Salem Lutheran Church)
  • Monday, Sept. 12, at noon – Calvary United Methodist Church, 2111 Flushing Road.
  • Monday, Sept. 12, at noon – Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, 1133 E. Bristol Road.
  • Monday, Sept. 12, at noon – Mid Michigan Community Outreach, 901 Chippewa St.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 13, at noon, Metropolitan Baptist Church, 930 E. Myrtle Ave.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 14, at noon – Church Without Walls, 6202 Dupont St.
  • Thursday, Sept. 15, at noon – Prince of Peace Missionary Baptist Church, 1417 N. Stevenson St.
  • Friday, Sept. 16, at noon – Dort Oak Park, 4601 Clio Road.
  • Saturday, Sept. 17, at 11 a.m. – Flint Islamic Center, 4400 S. Saginaw St.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 20, at noon – Carriage Town Ministries, 605 Garland Ave.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 21, at noon – No Greater Faith Missionary Baptist Church, 778 E. Holbrook Ave.
  • Thursday, Sept. 22, at noon – Foss Avenue Baptist Church, 1159 E. Foss Ave.
  • Friday Sept. 23, at noon – My Brother’s Keeper, 101 N. Grand Traverse Blvd.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 1 p.m. – New Birth Church, 3918 Blackington Ave.
  • Thursday, Sept. 29, at 11 a.m. – Greater Holy Temple, 6702 N. Dort Highway.
  • Friday, Sept. 30, at 2 p.m. – Vermont Christian Church, 1201 Lippincott Blvd.
  • Friday, Sept. 30, at 4 p.m. – West Court Street Church of God, 2920 W. Court St.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Texas Baby Died From Zika

Health officials in Texas confirmed last month that a baby who died in Harris County did, indeed, die of complications from microcephaly. The official press release about the death also disclosed that the microcephaly was caused by the Zika virus.

The baby, who died "shortly" after birth, was born to a mother who was infected with Zika while on a trip to Latin America. (The country in question was not revealed.) The baby acquired Zika while still in the womb.

While stressing that this new revelation in no way increases the risk of Zika to Texas residents, the state's Health Services Commissioner said, “Zika’s impact on unborn babies can be tragic, and our hearts are with this family.”

To date, there is still no evidence that any Texas Zika case has been the result of mosquito bites in the state. All of the 99 known cases so far have been seen in people who traveled beyond the state's borders.

This summer, 2 children have been diagnosed with microcephaly caused by the virus.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Raw Milk Linked To Outbreaks In 2 States

Raw milk is blamed for food poisonings in Michigan and Utah.
Salmonella in Utah, E. Coli in Michigan
Health officials in both Utah and Michigan are warning people about the potential health dangers associated with raw milk. In both outbreaks, the unpasteurized milk came from cows.

The larger of the 2 outbreaks occurred in Utah, where salmonellosis has been confirmed in 9 people, including children. The victims all consumed unpasteurized milk from Heber Valley Milk.

During an investigation at the dairy, which is located in Wasatch County, a milk sample was collected that later turned up positive for Salmonella Saintpaul. The dairy's milk has since been declared pathogen-free and has been allowed to reopen.

Two of the victims were hospitalized; both have since been released.

This was the 30th outbreak blamed on raw milk in Utah in the past 7 years.

In Michigan, where raw milk is not allowed for sale in retail stores, 2 cases of Escherichia coli O157:H7 have been confirmed. Both cases involved children who had consumed unpasteurized cow's milk.

The exact source of the tainted milk has not been made public--if it is even known--but health officials appear to be blaming cow share programs. Whether the cases are linked to the same cow or dairy is unknown at this time.

Escherichia coli O157:H7 is a rare type of E. coli. Unlike other types of E. coli, which live harmlessly in the digestive tract of people (and animals), the O157:H7 strain is capable of causing a potentially deadly condition known as hemorrhagic colitis.

The seriousness of the Michigan children's food poisonings was not made public.

Vermont Kids Among Best Vaccinated

Health officials in Vermont are celebrating the news that kids in the state are among the most fully vaccinated in the country.

Data from the  2015 National Immunization Survey for Teens has just been made public. It finds that 96% of Vermont kids between the age of 13 and 17 have been vaccinated against chicken pox. That is far better than the 83% average seen across the US.

The state's kids also came in above the national average for tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, meningococcal disease and HPV.

This new data is encouraging,” said spokesperson Erica Gibson. Gibson is with the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital and the Vermont Child Health Improvement Program.

But more work is left to be done, the state's Department of Health added. The HPV vaccination rate may be higher than the nation's average, but only 69% of girls and 66% of boys have received even one of the three recommended HPV shots. (HPV vaccine has been recommended for boys since 2011.) Currently, 54% of girls and only 40% of boys have gone through the entire 3-shot series.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Ivo Atanasov Loses Nursing Assistant License - Sexual Contact Alleged

Atanasov is accused of fondling a mentally handicapped minor.
Ivo Atanasov lost his nursing assistant
credentials to an allegation of
indecent liberties with a child.
Officials with Washington State Department of Health say that they have suspended the nursing assistant license of Ivo Atanasov following an allegation that he took "indecent liberties" with a child.

It is alleged that in May of this year, Atanasov came aboard a school bus serving special needs school children. He was reportedly there to tend to his patient, who is wheelchair bound.

While the school bus driver operated the wheelchair lift mechanism, Atanasov stayed aboard the vehicle, allegedly "touching and squeezing" the breasts of a female child.

The official Statement of Charges against Atanasov does not disclose the age of the child he allegedly fondled but found that she is deemed unable to consent to sexual contact, due to mental illness. Her name, of course, has not been made public.

Atanasov has been licensed as a nursing assistant since 2002 and was working for First Choice In-Home Care in Bellvue. The crime with which he is charged is a Class A felony.

The Statement did not say whether a camera caught the alleged act or exactly who first brought the allegation to authorities. Local media reported that a camera was present on the bus and that the alleged victim was 17 at the time.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Alabama Pool Reopens After Parasite Sickens

Spring Valley Beach's pool had been closed due to suspected cryptosporidiosis case.
Image courtesy CDC
Alexander J. da Silva, PhD
Melanie Moser
Alabama health officials announced last week that the Spring Valley Beach Waterpark in Blountsville has been cleared to reopen. The pool was closed on the 14th after reports of parasitic contamination.

At least 2 people have been diagnosed with cryptosporidiosis after visiting the pool in July. Health officials never actually disclosed if Cryptosporidium was confirmed to have been found in the park's water but said that the pool had been hyperchlorinated to kill off any potential contaminates.

“Based on the actions taken by the park management, we believe this does not present a public health concern at this time,” said agency spokesperson Lem Burell.

Cryptosporidiosis is a parasitic disease caused by any one of the more than 2 dozen protozoans in the Cryptosporidium genus. In humans, it presents mainly as a gastrointestinal illness with diarrhea as the main symptom and dehydration as a primary risk. In otherwise healthy people, it is generally short-lived but in someone who is immunocompromised, the illness can actually be fatal.

Cryptosporidiosis is believed to be the most common waterborne disease in the US and among the most common worldwide.

The agency did not give any details about the 2 confirmed patients or update their conditions.