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October 23, 2014: Broomfield Public Health Announces Ebola Readiness
Media reports over the last month have raised concerns about the spread of the Ebola virus in the U.S. The Broomfield Public Health and Environment Division (PHE), within the Health and Human Services Department, would like to reassure all residents in Broomfield that there are no confirmed cases of Ebola here in Broomfield County or in the state. Although the risk of Ebola virus spreading in the U.S and in Broomfield remains low, the division can swiftly respond should a case of Ebola occur here.
 
"We do not anticipate a case of Ebola to occur here, however if a suspected case of Ebola should occur, our division is prepared to swiftly respond," said Jason Vahling, MPH, City and County of Broomfield Public Health Director. "Public Health has expertise in planning for, training on, and responding to emergencies, especially communicable disease outbreaks. Every day, in partnership with Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and health care partners, our disease control program monitors diseases in Broomfield and uses well-established techniques to prevent, find, and stop disease outbreaks."
 
As part of PHE's readiness, the division has taken the proactive steps of providing information about Ebola, its diagnosis, and the management of suspected cases to health partners throughout the county. CDPHE has also been actively preparing for a possible case of Ebola by advising healthcare professionals to "Ask, Isolate, Call" which identifies, isolates, and cares for anyone who may have been exposed to Ebola. This situation is constantly evolving and therefore national, state, and local agencies are in on-going conversations. PHE will continue to work closely with authorities to assure that the many health partners throughout our region are current and coordinated in their efforts to protect the public from all types of infectious diseases.
 
There are many questions about Ebola and numerous resources are available to answers Ebola questions. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has various resources that are updated daily at www.cdc.gov/ebola. PHE's webpage, www.broomfieldhealth.org, has national and state factsheets and CDPHE's Ebola webpage, www.colorado.gov/ebola, has additional information. CDPHE also has the CO HELP hotline at 303.389.1687 or 1.877.462.2911.


October 10, 2014: Enterovirus D68
The Denver metropolitan area and other cities across the country are experiencing an increase in patients with severe respiratory illness and increased asthma symptoms. Some patients have required hospitalization, with a few requiring admission to the pediatric intensive care unit. Initial testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laboratories have indicated that the cause of these infections is Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68).
 
EV-D68 is an uncommon respiratory virus that is most severe in children and adults with underlying health conditions such as asthma. Investigation into this outbreak is ongoing and there are currently no vaccines available to prevent EV-D68. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is working with Colorado hospitals, local public health agencies, including Broomfield Public Health and Environment, and the CDC to better understand this virus and its impact on the community's health.
 
As of last week, the CDC has confirmed that 19 of 25 specimens in Colorado tested positive for EV-D68. While there have been no confirmed cases in Broomfield, residents can still watch for symptoms of the virus and take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of respiratory infections. 
 
Signs and Symptoms of EV-D68:
EV-D68 is an illness characterized by difficulty breathing, difficulty getting oxygen, and wheezing in some patients. A minority of patients have a fever. Parents of children with asthma are asked to be vigilant in ensuring their children take prescribed asthma control medication and contact their healthcare provider if symptoms do not improve or worsen. Prompt medical care can greatly reduce the seriousness of this infection. 
 
Everyone can help protect themselves from EV-D68 and other respiratory infections by following these guidelines:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups and eating utensils with people who are ill.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces in the environment, such as toys, phones and doorknobs.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or shirt sleeve, not with your hands.
  • Ensure all vaccinations, including the influenza vaccination, are up to date.

For more information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov or contact Broomfield Public Health and Environment at 720.887.2220.


October 2, 2014: Colorado students invited to enter 2015 National Radon Poster Contests
DENVER - Colorado students have until Oct. 31 to put their creativity to work promoting awareness of indoor radon risks by participating in the 2015 National Radon Poster Contest.
 
The contest, designed to raise awareness for radon testing and inform people of the danger of radon in their homes, is coordinated by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Radon Program in partnership with Kansas State University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
 
Children ages 9-14 enrolled in a public, private, territorial, tribal, Department of Defense or home school are eligible to submit entries. Members of a sponsoring club, such as a scouting organization or an art, computer, science or 4-H club, also are eligible. There is no entry fee. Only one entry per student is allowed. The entry deadline is Oct. 31, 2014. Poster contest submission forms, topics, rules and prizes are at www.coloradoradon.info.
 
The department's Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division will judge entries from Colorado students on content accuracy, visual communication of the topic, reproducibility and originality. Winners will be awarded $300 for first place, $200 for second and $100 for third. Teachers of those students will each receive $100. The top three Colorado posters will be entered in the national contest, where national winners may receive up to $1,000. The winning posters will be reproduced and distributed nationally to promote radon awareness.
 
More information about radon, discount test kits and radon contractors is available at www.coloradoradon.info or by calling Colorado's Radon Hotline at 1-800-846-3986. For additional contest information, please visit the website or contact Chrystine Kelley at .
_____________________________________________________
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 
Freddy Arck, Public Information Specialist | Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division
303-692-3304 |  


July 28, 2014: Back to School Immunization Event 
Get ready for school!  FREE immunizations August 8 and 19. Children coloring Broomfield Public Health and Environment is hosting their annual Back to School Immunization event to help keep kids healthy. Free vaccines will be given on Friday, Aug. 8, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Tuesday, Aug. 19, from 2 to 6 p.m. Everyone 18 and younger is welcome to attend the clinic at Health and Human Services, 6 Garden Center. Pre-registration is required.

Call 720.887.2220 to pre-register.

A parent/guardian must be present to give consent for vaccinations. Please bring each child's immunization records which will be reviewed by a Registered Nurse. If you are unable to attend this event, immunizations are provided in our clinic by appointment. For more information, visit www.broomfieldhealth.org or call 720.887.2220.


July 16, 2014: Broomfield Resident Tests Positive for Tularemia 

Boulder and Broomfield Counties, CO – A resident of the Pony Estates neighborhood, bordering the cities of Boulder and Broomfield, has tested positive for tularemia. Tularemia is a disease of animals and humans caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. The resident likely came into contact with the bacteria while in the yard of their home where multiple dead rabbits had previously been found. Although tularemia is a potentially serious disease, it is treatable if detected early. The Broomfield resident has been treated with antibiotics after being evaluated by a healthcare provider.

Broomfield and Boulder County Public Health Officials are working together to notify the community. Officials will be posting warning signs in the Pony Estates neighborhood to alert residents of the risks of tularemia.

“People should never touch sick, dead, or wild animals because they may carry diseases,” said Jason Vahling, Broomfield County Public Health Director. “Although tularemia is rare, it is still a risk, especially considering the number of wild rabbits in our communities,” said Vahling.

Symptoms include skin ulcers, swollen and painful lymph glands, inflamed eyes, sore throat, mouth sores, diarrhea, or pneumonia. Symptoms can also include abrupt onset of fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, joint pain, dry cough, difficulty breathing, bloody sputum, and respiratory failure.

Tularemia is not known to be spread from person to person. People become infected with tularemia through the bite of infected insects, most commonly ticks and deer flies, or through skin contact with infected animal tissue. The bacteria can also be inhaled when infected animal tissue is broken up into small particles and spread in the air, such as when an infected carcass is mowed over.

Public health officials recommend the following precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to tularemia:
  • Avoid ticks. The best protection for pets, especially cats, is to keep them indoors. If outdoors with pets, keep them out of heavily wooded areas, which are ideal habitats for ticks.
  • Stay out of areas inhabited by wild rodents. If you must enter areas frequented by wild rodents, always wear insect repellent containing DEET.
  • Prevent your pets from hunting or eating wild rodents, especially rabbits.
  • Avoid all contact with wild rodents, including squirrels and rabbits; do not feed or handle them.
  • Never touch sick or dead animals with your bare hands. If the animal must be moved, place it in a garbage bag using a long-handled shovel, and place the bag in an outdoor garbage can.
  • Avoid drinking unpurified water from streams or lakes; keep your pets from doing the same.
  • Don’t mow over animals carcasses, and consider using a dust mask when doing landscape work.
  • See a health care provider if you become ill with a high fever and/or swollen lymph nodes.
  • Contact a veterinarian if you see any change in the behavior of your pets (especially rodents, rabbits, and hares) or livestock.

In the United States, human cases of tularemia have been reported from every state except Hawaii, with the majority occurring in south-central and western states.

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, this is the second reported human case of tularemia in Colorado this year; no human cases were reported in 2013. Only one animal in the state has tested positive for the disease this year; four animals tested positive in 2013.

For more information about tularemia, visit www.cdc.gov/tularemia. To report an animal die-off (e.g. three or more animals found in one area) in Broomfield County, call 720.887.2237 or in Boulder County, call 303.441.1564.


June 25, 2014: Protect yourself from West Nile virus with the Four D's

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus in Adams, Boulder, Delta, Mesa and Weld counties. As of today, there are no reports of West Nile virus in Broomfield, according to Broomfield Public Health and Environment Division and the Environmental Services Division. Last year, Broomfield reported six human cases of West Nile virus. Broomfield's Environmental Services Division contracts the mosquito control program to Colorado Mosquito Control, Inc. (CMC). CMC regularly monitors vector mosquito populations and West Nile virus activity to determine if, when, and where interventions are needed. The treatment provided by CMC lowers the mosquito population numbers, which reduces the risk of human disease. CMC provides a mosquito hotline at 303-428-5908 for residents to report nuisance mosquitoes.

Broomfield Public Health and Environment advises residents to take precautions by wearing insect repellent and using other methods to avoid mosquito bites when outdoors. To help prevent West Nile virus infection, follow the Four D's and Fight the Bite:
  1. Drain standing water around the house weekly since that's where mosquitoes lay eggs. Be sure to empty old tires, cans, flowerpots, clogged rain gutters, rain barrels and toys where puddles can occur.
  2. Dusk and dawn are when mosquitoes that carry the virus are most active, so limit outdoor activities or take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.
  3. DEET is an effective ingredient to look for in insect repellents. Always follow label instructions carefully.
  4. Dress in long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk or in areas where mosquitoes are active.

September 19, 2013: Blue-green algae bloom warning at Brunner Reservoir
The Brunner Reservoir has been experiencing a blue-green algae bloom over the past several weeks. Blue-green algae under the right conditions can produce a chemical toxin called Microcystin. It is recommended that all contact with the water in the reservoir be avoided until warning signs have been removed.

April 2, 2013: Colorado teen birth rate and repeat birth rates decline
The Colorado Initiative to Reduce Unintended Pregnancy, a consortium of public and private health partners, has addressed this issue by providing free or low-cost IUDs and implants to low-income women throughout Colorado. 


March 18, 2013: Broomfield Ranks 8th in Overall Health Outcomes
The fourth annual County Health Rankings were released March 20 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute, and Broomfield County ranks eighth in Colorado for overall health outcomes. The County Health Rankings ranks the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states, using a standard method to measure how healthy people are and how long they live. The County Health Rankings are based on two sets of measures: health outcomes (length and quality of life); and health factors (health behaviors, access to and quality of clinical care, social and economic factors, and the physical environment). According to the County Health Rankings, areas to explore for Broomfield County includes 61 percent of our restaurants are fast food restaurants, 22 percent of Broomfield adults are obese, and 14 percent of Broomfield adults smoke. This information helps our community leaders identify where we are doing well and where improvement is needed to ensure that Broomfield is a healthy place to live, learn, work and play.



September 19: Blue-green algae bloom warning at Brunner Reservoir
The Brunner Reservoir has been experiencing a blue-green algae bloom over the past several weeks. Blue-green algae under the right conditions can produce a chemical toxin called Microcystin. It is recommended that all contact with the water in the reservoir be avoided until warning signs have been removed. 

July 16, 2014: Broomfield Resident Tests Positive for Tularemia