he Ohio Department of Health, along with the Centers for Disease Control, has been closely monitoring an outbreak of a respiratory illness caused by a novel, which means new, coronavirus. This coronavirus is called “2019-nCoV”. The illness was first detected in Wuhan China and has started to spread. The illness is considered a low risk to the American public, according to the CDC. To date no cases have been reported in Ohio. However, one case has been reported in the state of Washington.
A number of countries, including the United States, have been actively screening incoming travelers from Wuhan. Ohio’s public health system includes a team of state experts, local health departments, and local partners that perform daily monitoring of diseases. The Ohio Department of Health is closely monitoring the 2019-nCoV virus and is ready to respond if a case is reported in Ohio.
What is 2019-nCoV?
2019-nCoV is from a large family of viruses that are common in animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. While it is rare, sometimes an animal virus can infect people and then begin to spread from person-to-person. Many of the patients who are ill in China had some link to a large seafood and live animal market. This suggests an animal-to-person spread. However, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had contact with animal markets. This implies that person-to-person spread may be occurring. This likely happened from droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how the seasonal flu is spread.
It is important to note that how easily a virus spreads person-to-person can vary from one illness to another. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. It’s not clear yet how easily this illness may spread from person-to-person. There is much more to learn about 2019-nCoV and investigations are ongoing
Symptoms reported from those infected with 2019-nCoV are fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you suspect you may have been exposed to this virus because you have traveled to China or have been around people who may have been exposed and/or are exhibiting symptoms, contact your healthcare provider and let them know you may have been exposed to 2019-nCoV before visiting the healthcare facility. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take precautionary steps to protect other people.
What can you do to limit risk?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus by avoiding travel to areas where it is present. As a reminder, it is always recommended to follow these everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of any virus:
· Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
· Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
· Stay home when you are sick.
· Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
· Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
For more information about 2019-nCoV visit The Ohio Department of Health website at www.odh.ohio.gov.
Fight the Flu
Flu Vaccine is the BEST way to protect against the Flu
Influenza, commonly called the flu, is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. The flu is a virus that causes respiratory symptoms such as fever, sore throat, headache, nasal congestion, fatigue or weakness and muscle aches (many people mistake stomach illness causing vomiting and diarrhea as the flu). Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently, but millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against flu. Here are some frequently asked questions about the flu vaccine and the flu.
How do flu vaccines work?
Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after receiving the vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against the flu. The vaccine protects against the flu viruses that research indicates will be most common this year.
Who should get vaccinated this season?
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine each year. This recommendation has been in place since February 24, 2010 to expand protection against the flu to more people. Vaccination is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from the flu such as adults age 65 years of age and older, pregnant women and young children.
When should I get vaccinated?
The CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine before the end of October. You should get a flu vaccine before flu begins spreading in the community. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later.
Why do I need a flu vaccine every year?
A flu vaccine is needed every season for two reasons. First, the body’s immune response from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccine is needed for continued protection. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, the formulation of the flu vaccine is reviewed each year and updated as needed to keep up with changing flu viruses.
Does flu vaccine work right away?
No. It takes about two weeks after receiving the shot for the antibodies to develop and protect you from getting the flu. If you come down with the flu within two weeks of getting the flu shot, then it is not the shot that gave you the flu. This is why it is important to get the vaccine before the end of October when the peak flu season starts.
Can I get seasonal flu even though I got a flu vaccine this year?
Yes. It’s possible to get sick with the flu even if you have been vaccinated, however you will not know for sure unless you get a flu test. This is possible for the following reasons:
- You may be exposed to a flu virus shortly before getting vaccinated or during the period that it takes the body to gain protection after getting vaccinated. This exposure may result in you becoming ill with flu before the vaccine begins to protect you.
- You may be exposed to a flu virus that is not included in the seasonal flu vaccine. There are many different flu viruses that circulate every year. A flu vaccine is made to protect against the three or four flu viruses that research suggests will be most common.
- Unfortunately, some people can become infected with a flu virus a flu vaccine is designed to protect against, despite getting vaccinated. Protection provided by flu vaccination can vary widely, based in part on health and age factors of the person getting vaccinated.
In general, a flu vaccine works best among healthy younger adults and older children. Some older people and people with certain chronic illnesses may develop less immunity after vaccination. Flu vaccination is not a perfect tool, but it is the best way to protect against flu
Hepatitis - A
There continues to be a growing outbreak of Hepatitis A in Ohio - Help protect our Community
Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by a virus. The virus is very contagious and spreading from person to person creating an outbreak.
Hepatitis A is most likely to occur among:
- People who use recreational drugs in any way
- People who have direct contact with someone who has Hepatitis A
- People who have sex with an infected person
- People who were recently in prison or jail
- People experiencing unstable housing or homelessness
- People with chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis, hepatitis B or hepatitis C
Hepatitis A can be prevented with a safe and effective vaccine, but it MUST be given to the at-risk populations above.
We are asking for your help to put an end to this outbreak. Our focus as a community must be on the vaccination of the at-risk populations. Vaccination of individuals not among or not in extremely close contact with these groups will not slow the outbreak.
We need to ensure this message is shared with the right people and that action is taken. The Ohio Department of Health has made vaccination available for these at-risk individuals, who are un-insured or under-insured, at no cost. It is now our duty to educate the public to ensure individuals take advantage of this opportunity. Until we do this, the outbreak can and will continue to grow.
Please contact or encourage someone you know at risk to contact the Health Department at 740-732-4958 for more information today.
After Hours Emergency Protocol
The Noble County Health Department has an after-hours emergency answering service system. This system gives the caller a prompt in the case of a public health emergency to leave a message in a specified mailbox. Any message left in this voice mailbox will cause the system to contact the Nurse on call, who within the required time-frame shall call in to retrieve the message and follow up as required based on the situation protocol. All calls received after normal working hours that are determined to be a public health emergency will be relayed to the Health Commissioner or Medical Director. The phone number of the answering service system is the same as the health department and is available 24 hours a day at 740-732-4958.