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Comanche County Health Department
Current Topics of Interest

Extreme Heat and Your Health
Summer is here and the temperatures are rising.  Extreme heat can lead to heat-related illness and even death caused by hyperthermia (overheating).  In the United States, approximately 400 people die each year from hyperthermia and 200 additional deaths occur with heat as a contributing factor.  The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) reminds residents that heat-related illnesses can range from heat cramps and heat exhaustion to heatstroke.  Heatstroke occurs when the body is unable to cool itself quickly enough resulting in severe damage to major organs and often death.  For more information see the following links:
    
OSDH Warns About High Temperatures for Children’s Safety
    OSDH Promotes Summer Heat Safety Tips
    CDC - Extreme Heat and Your Health

Healthy and Safe Swimming
Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) can be caused by germs spread by swallowing, breathing in mists or aerosols, or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs/spas, water playgrounds, lakes, rivers, or oceans. RWIs can be a wide variety of infections, including gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic, and wound infections. CDC-Healthy Swimming

School Immunizations - 2015-2016  Kids in a line

School immunization laws are one of the most effective ways to prevent disease outbreaks. Outbreaks of diseases such as diphtheria, polio, and measles were common in schools before vaccines were available. Schools were major sites for transmission of these diseases. School immunization laws work and now these diseases have almost vanished from the United States.

This link provides information for parents, school administrators and staff, and health care professionals, on immunization requirements for school attendance in Oklahoma and information for lesson plans to educate students about vaccine-preventable diseases and vaccines.

 

Mosquito Information

CDD - MosquitoWest Nile virus (WNV) is a reportable disease in Oklahoma. The first cases for 2015 have been confirmed in Okfuskee and McIntosh county residents. There have been no deaths. Persons are at greatest risk of exposure to infected mosquitoes from July through October in our state. Persons of any age can become ill after being bitten by an infected mosquito, but those over the age of 50 are at greater risk of developing serious illness involving the nervous system. Over 80% of people infected with the virus never become ill. If people do become ill, most cases are mild with symptoms such as a fever, headache, tiredness and body aches that go away on their own. Some people may develop a rash on the trunk of the body. In more severe cases, persons can develop meningitis or other neurologic disease.

There are over 60 species of mosquitoes in Oklahoma, some of which may carry disease.  The species differ in how they look. They also differ in how they act, such as how aggressive they are when they bite, where they breed, and when they are the most active.  The mosquito population boom that has resulted from the excessive recent rainfall does not foretell a more severe WNV season.  The type of mosquitoes that hatch after severe flooding are primarily the species of mosquitoes classified as “nuisance mosquitoes”. They bite aggressively and cause lots of itchy bites, but they are not typically involved with transmission of diseases.  Floodwater mosquito populations tend to die out 3 weeks after the rains stop and the sun dries out affected low lying areas.  The following are links for more information regarding mosquitoes:

Severe Weather Alerts
Severe weather impacts every part of the country. One of the best ways to prepare is to know the hazards for our area.  The Ready - Prepare, Plan, Stay Informed website is a great place to start - www.Ready.gov/.

Comanche County Health Assessment and Survey 2015
The data collection for the 2015 Comanche County Health Assessment was completed the first part of June, 2015.  We will post the results as soon as they are analyzed.   Should you have any questions regarding this survey, please don’t hesitate to email Aimee Plumb at aimeek@health.ok.gov.  Without input from Comanche County residents, there is no guarantee the health issues most important to our community are being addressed.  Together we can make a difference in our world, Comanche County.

Measles – 2015
March 2015 - The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is investigating a confirmed case of measles in Stillwater located in Payne County. This is the first confirmed case in Oklahoma since 1997.  Measles was identified in an international traveler to Oklahoma. The individual is a spouse of an Oklahoma State University student who lives off campus. OSDH is working with the Payne County Health Department, Oklahoma State University and local medical facilities in the investigation.

Measles is a reportable disease in Oklahoma.  The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is urging all Oklahomans to ensure that household members and loved ones are vaccinated against measles.  The United States experienced a record number of measles cases during 2014, with 668 cases from 27 states reported to CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD).  This is the greatest number of cases since measles elimination was documented in the U.S. in 2000.  From January 1 to May 1, 2015, 169 people from 20 states and the District of Columbia were reported to have measles [AZ, CA, CO, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, MA, MI, MN, NE, NJ, NY, NV, OK, PA, SD, TX, UT, WA].  Most of these cases [117 cases (70%)] are part of a large multi-state outbreak linked to an amusement park in California (http://www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html).

“One out of 10 Oklahoma toddlers has not received the first dose of measles vaccine,” said Dr. Terry Cline, Commissioner of Health. “We strongly recommend that parents make sure their children receive the first dose of measles vaccine on time. These toddlers who haven’t received the vaccine are at risk for measles. The best way to protect yourself and your family is to be vaccinated against measles.”

Measles can be prevented by the combination MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.  Toddlers can receive MMR as soon as they reach their first birthday. Public health officials recommend all children receive two doses of MMR vaccine, with the first dose at 12 to 15 months of age, and a booster at 4 to 6 years of age. Oklahoma state law requires measles vaccine for all children attending childcare and school in Oklahoma. Adults born in 1957 or later who have not already been vaccinated should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease which starts with a mild to moderate fever, runny nose, red eyes, and cough.  A few days later, a rash appears starting at the top of the forehead spreading to the rest of the body accompanied by a fever that can reach up to 105 degrees. Measles can lead to pneumonia and other complications, especially in young children and adults over 20. The disease can also cause serious problems in pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems.  People with measles can spread the virus up to four days before the onset of the rash until four days after the rash starts. Anyone who suspects they may have measles should contact a healthcare provider immediately.  

Those who are planning on traveling internationally, or to an area where a measles outbreak is occurring, should receive an MMR vaccine prior to travel to protect them from getting the disease.

For more information, contact Comanche County Health Department at (580) 248-5890.  Information is also available on the following websites:

OSDH - Acute Disease Service

CDC - Measles

Syphilis Outbreak in Comanche County
The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and Comanche County Health Department announced today that they have identified an outbreak of syphilis in Lawton and the surrounding areas.  From 2013 to 2014, there has been a 300 percent increase in reported syphilis cases in Comanche County.  Health officials are alarmed because syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) which can have significant health outcomes if undiagnosed and untreated. Officials are also concerned that the outbreak may spread to counties beyond the outbreak area.

“The good news is syphilis can be identified by examination and testing, cured with antibiotics, and through disease investigation, the spread of syphilis can be stopped,” said Comanche County Health Department Regional Director Brandie O’Connor.  “We want to encourage people to seek testing and treatment if they have been having unprotected sex. Free confidential testing and treatment are available at local county health departments.  The people at high risk for syphilis due to this specific outbreak include men who have sex with men, people who have multiple sex partners, IV drug users and people who have sex with anonymous partners, including those met online.”

IgnoringSyphiliswebart.jpgA person can contract and spread syphilis through:

  • Oral sex
  • Anal sex
  • Vaginal sex
  • Other intimate contact including kissing (when a syphilis sore is present in the mouth)

Symptoms of syphilis include:

  • A painless lesion, called a chancre, during the early stages of the disease, can be on or in the penis, or inside the vagina, anus or mouth
  • Rashes appear rough, red or reddish brown spots on palms of hands and bottoms of feet or on the torso
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue

Left untreated, syphilis can cause damage to major organs, including the brain and blood vessels and cause serious birth defects or infant death.  Early detection and treatment prevent further damage that syphilis may cause to the body, and may also reduce the risk for HIV transmission.  For information about prevention, risk factors, testing and treatment please call the Comanche County Health Department at (580) 248-5890.  For more information about syphilis and other STDs, visit these Web sites: http://hivstd.health.ok.gov and click on “Handouts/Fact Sheets” on the left side of the page, or www.cdc.gov/std and click on the STD you want information at the top of the page.

Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever   EBV-Infographic-SMALLer.jpg
Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) is one of numerous Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers, which are reportable diseases in Oklahoma. EHF is a severe, often fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates (such as monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees). EHF is caused by infection with a virus of the family Filoviridae, genus Ebolavirus. The first Ebolavirus species was discovered in 1976 in Sudan and in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo near the Ebola River. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically.

The disease is native to equatorial Africa and is caused by infection with one of the ebolaviruses (Ebola, Sudan, Bundibugyo, or Taj Forest virus). Confirmed cases of EHF have been reported in: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Gabon, South Sudan, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Republic of the Congo (ROC), and an imported case in South Africa. With the exception of several laboratory contamination cases (one in England and two in Russia), all cases of human illness or death have occurred in Africa; no case has been reported in the United States.

The reservoir of ebolaviruses is unknown. However, on the basis of available evidence and the nature of similar viruses, non-human primates and/or bats may have a role in the chain of transmission to humans. When an infection does occur in humans, there are several ways in which the virus can be transmitted to others: direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person; or exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions. The viruses that cause EHF often spread to families and friends because they come in close contact with infectious secretions when caring for persons ill with ebola.

Symptoms of EHF include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Skin rash, red eyes, and internal and external bleeding may be seen in some patients.  ( OSDH - Acute Disease)

Surveillance and Preparedness for Ebola Virus Disease in Oklahoma

OSDH Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever Fact Sheet

CDC Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever Information

E-Cigarettes & Other Vapor Products

_Ecig.jpgE-cigarettes and vapor products have become increasingly popular and accessible in Oklahoma, which has raised many questions about these currently unregulated products. These links provide information about the public health perspective regarding e-cigarettes and resources to support state agencies in implementing the Governor’s Executive Order prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes and vapor products in state property.

Frequently Asked Questions About E-Cigarettes (PDF)
OSDH Tobacco Prevention Program
Smoking and Tobacco Use - CDC

 

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