Baltimore County News
Lucia Donatelli, MD,
Chief, Bureau of Prevention, Protection, and Preparedness
Baltimore County Department of Health
With the Olympic Games upon us this summer, people all over the world prepare to celebrate athletic excellence. This year, Rio de Janeiro will carry the torch, but unfortunately the spread of Zika virus in many parts of Central America, South America and the Caribbean may dim the light.
Aedes mosquitos can be infected with the Zika virus if they bite a person with it. These infected mosquitos can then spread the virus to other people through bites. Many people who become infected with Zika never know it, while others may experience fever, rash, joint pain, and/or conjunctivitis (red eyes). These symptoms usually last for several days to a week. Even though they are mild and will go away with rest and fluids, pregnant women are at risk of passing it on to their unborn babies. Zika has been linked to a number of birth defects, including microcephaly (small head due to small brain).
When travelling this season, it’s important to be aware of the areas with active transmission of Zika virus. Even in the continental US, where there is currently no active local Zika transmission by mosquitoes, mosquito control and protection are still extremely important to preventing mosquito bites and breeding opportunities. Mosquitoes can easily reproduce in small amounts of water, especially in containers found in your yard.
In order to prevent the spread of Zika virus, always remember to WRAP UP!
W: Wear long sleeved shirts, pants and hats.
R: Repair damaged doors and windows.
A: Always empty containers that hold water to avoid creating mosquito breeding sites.
P: Protect yourself with an EPA-registered insect repellent.
U: Use condoms or abstain from sexual activity if you are pregnant, or if your partner has been in a Zika infested area.
P: Pregnant women should avoid traveling to areas affected by Zika.
By following these simple steps, we can all do our part to Zap Zika!
To learn more about Zika, attend an upcoming Community Chat at 6 p.m. on June 28 at the Baltimore County Department of Health or get the most up-to-date news on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Gregory Wm. Branch, M.D., MBA, CPE, FACP
Director, Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services
Let’s be honest. Men are notorious for avoiding the doctor. In fact, women are 100% more likely to seek preventative care than men. Whether its stubbornness, avoidance, or even social reasons, you can’t avoid the fact that men put themselves at high risk by not being proactive about their health. Serious conditions such as high cholesterol and blood pressure don’t have obvious symptoms that can put you at risk for a heart attack or stroke. Also, many cancers don’t present with telltale signs until it’s too late.
Whether you’re a man, or have a man in your life that you care about, odds are a checkup is overdue. The good news is that the Baltimore County Department of Health is offering free help. On June 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at two locations: the Woodlawn Health Center and the Eastern Family Resource Center, men ages 18 and older can receive free screenings. No appointment or insurance is necessary.
The following screenings will be offered:
- Height and weight
- Blood pressure
- HIV/STI testing
- Oral cancer
- Substance abuse
June is Men’s Health Month - a great time to man up, check up, and tune up. Get serious about your health and take advantage of these free screenings. For more information, call 410-887-2705.
Outdoor Clinics Offer Vaccinations for $8
Keep your pet and your family safe this fall by taking advantage of Baltimore County Department of Health’s low-cost rabies vaccination clinics. The outdoor clinics are scheduled from May 7 through June 12 at nine sites. Vaccinations protect domestic animals and humans from rabies, which is a potentially fatal disease.
Vaccinations are $8 and available to cats, dogs and ferrets owned by County residents. The clinics will be held rain or shine. Animals receiving rabies shots must be at least 12 weeks old. All animals must be on leashes or in carriers. Due to time constraints, safety and escape risk, uncontrollable animals will not be vaccinated during the clinics. Aggressive dogs must be muzzled. All cats must be contained in a properly sized, escape-proof carrier. Exact change is appreciated, as cash and checks will be the only forms of payment accepted.
Baltimore County law requires pets to be licensed and for rabies vaccinations to be kept up-to-date. Other precautions against rabies include obeying leash laws and avoiding contact with wild animals or unknown domestic animals. If your pet has had contact with a wild animal, notify your veterinarian. Additionally, if you have been bitten or scratched by an animal, seek medical attention.
Bite and scratch exposures from any animal to a human or pet exposure to wildlife are also reportable to the local Health Department, Police Department or Animal Control authority. For additional information on how to protect your pet against rabies, contact Baltimore County Animal Services at 410-887-PAWS (7297).
Revised April 6, 2016