Friday, October 15, 2010

Public Health Updates

· Infectious Disease Conference. Since 1983, Maine CDC’s Division of Infectious Disease has organized an annual infectious disease conference targeting public health issues of emerging concern. This year’s conference will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. November 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. Health care practitioners, laboratorians, and public health partners are invited to receive current information on surveillance, clinical management and diagnosis, and disease control interventions. The conference will feature cases of interest, epidemiology presentations, and clinical updates. The conference brochure and agenda are now available online. Click here to register.

· Bed Bugs. Bed bugs are small insects that feed on human blood. Although bed bugs do not transmit disease, infestations are very difficult and expensive to control. Unlike head lice, bed bugs do not live on a person. However, they can hitchhike from one place to another in backpacks, clothing, luggage, books and other items. Maine CDC has established a web page with links to information and a list of resources related to bed bugs following a number of recent calls for consultations. The page is accessible at www.mainepublichealth.gov/bedbugs

· EEE and West Nile Virus. There was unprecedented EEE activity in Maine in 2009. Several surrounding states have already seen EEE and WNV activity this year, including increased risk of EEE in southeastern Massachusetts resulting in aerial spraying in that area (more information can be found at http://westnile.ashtonweb.com/). For the most recent surveillance reports on EEE and WNV, visit: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/boh/ddc/epi/vector-borne/arboviral_surveillance.shtml

· Animal rabies. Maine CDC provides quarterly updates on animal rabies to veterinarians and other animal health professionals. This update may be used as an educational tool to increase the understanding of pet owners and other members of the public regarding the risk of rabies in Maine and in their communities. The third quarter report can be found here: http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=DHHS-HAN&id=140633&v=alert

· Fingerstick devices and bloodborne pathogens. US CDC has become increasingly concerned about the risks for transmitting hepatitis B virus (HBV) and other bloodborne pathogens to people undergoing fingerstick procedures for blood sampling, such as people with diabetes. As reports of HBV infection outbreaks linked to diabetes have been increasing, CDC issued an important reminder that fingerstick devises should never be used for more than one person (http://www.cdc.gov/injectionsafety/Fingerstick-DevicesBGM.html). For more information, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/injectionsafety/blood-glucose-monitoring.html

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