Tuesday, September 24, 2013

World Rabies Day

World Rabies Day is on Saturday, September 28. Why should Mainers know about this worldwide event? Because the rabies virus kills over 55,000 people worldwide each year and is found in Maine’s wildlife. We have seen 38 animals with rabies so far this year. Maine’s Health and Environmental Testing Lab (HETL) confirmed rabies in the following animals: 18 raccoons, 11 skunks, five bats (big brown), and four foxes (1 gray, 3 red). One of the rabid skunks was from Washington County, which is concerning because it was the first report of a rabid animal in that county in six years. Last year, Maine confirmed its first rabid dog since 2003. For these reasons, it’s more important than ever to learn how to stay rabies-free.

Before going on a brisk fall hike or hunting trip, read these simple tips for rabies prevention:
  •  Avoid contact with wildlife and any animal you don’t know
  •  Keep your pets up-to-date on rabies vaccination
  •  Report exposures to Maine CDC at 1-800-821-5821
  •  Bat-proof your home
For more tips, visit our website at www.mainepublichealth.gov/rabies.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Prescription monitoring program

Maine's Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) is a tool created to prevent and detect prescription drug misuse and diversion, as well as enable a better coordination of care. The program maintains a database of all transactions for schedule II, III and IV controlled substances dispensed in the s. The database is available online to prescribers and dispensers for free. Anyone with a DEA number is encouraged to register to request patient reports. These patient reports, and the automatically sent threshold reports, enhance the ability of health care providers to coordinate care. Clinicians can use the program to check the history of a new patient and to monitor ongoing treatment. For more information, go to http://go.usa.gov/DnVe

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Preterm birth rate

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officers (ASTHO) and the March of Dimes formed a partnership last year aimed at preventing preterm birth and infant mortality. During this campaign, states with a preterm birth rate of 9.6% or less by 2020 or sooner will be awarded the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Prematurity Campaign Leadership award.

Maine was one of four states to be recognized this year, along with New Hampshire, Vermont, and Oregon. Based on 2011 data, Maine has a preterm birth rate of 9.6%. This is the result of work by Maine’s obstetrical care providers, the Perinatal Education Outreach and Consultation Program at Maine Medical Center (supported by a Maine CDC maternal child health contract), hospitals, and the March of Dimes educating pregnant women and families about premature birth, its risk factors, and signs and symptoms of premature labor and the need to seek treatment right away.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mosquito-borne disease update

Maine CDC has confirmed the presence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in more than 20 mosquito pools and has reported the death of a pheasant and two horses from EEE. In addition, one mosquito pool has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV), the first WNV positive this year. More information is available in the press release at http://go.usa.gov/Dn9R

Maine CDC will update information on mosquito-borne disease surveillance in the state every Monday through September at http://go.usa.gov/jt6R

EEE and WNV are viruses transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Maine CDC recommends the following preventative measures to protect against mosquito-borne illnesses:
  • Use an Environmental Protection Agency-approved repellent when outdoors, especially around dawn and dusk. Always follow the instructions on the product’s label;
  • Wear protective clothing when outdoors, including long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks;
  • Keep window and door screens down to keep mosquitoes out of the home;
  • Limit time outdoors at dawn and dusk when many species of mosquitoes are most active;
  • Remove containers holding water in and around the home, as water can attract mosquitoes.

Information on pesticides and repellents is available at the Maine Board of Pesticides Control website at: http://go.usa.gov/jt6F

Friday, September 6, 2013

Infectious disease update


Giardiasis is a diarrheal disease caused by parasites, and it is the most common infectious diarrheal illness reported in Maine. So far in 2013, there have been 131 cases of Giardia reported in Maine, compared to 122 in all of 2012.

Giardiasis tends to occur more frequently in the summer and fall months. Individuals at greatest risk of infection with Giardia include people swallowing contaminated drinking water (such as backpackers or campers), travelers to endemic countries, and people with close contact with infected individuals (including childcare settings) and infected animals.

For more information, go to http://go.usa.gov/DTrF

Pertussis (whooping cough)

Pertussis (whooping cough) is a cyclical disease that continues to affect a significant number of Maine residents. Maine CDC issued an update on statewide pertussis on July 30, which can be found at http://go.usa.gov/jdfe

There have been 244 reported cases of pertussis so far this year in Maine. This is less than the 476 reported cases for the same period last year, but is more than the five-year median. Oxford county has the highest rate of pertussis in the state, and the majority of cases have occurred in people ages 7-19.

Maine CDC encourages providers continue to test and treat patients. DTaP vaccine is recommended for all infants and children. Tdap vaccine is recommended for all preteens, teens, and adults.

For more guidance and information, visit http://go.usa.gov/dCO


Weekly updates on flu activity will resume in October. Maine CDC reminds everyone to take everyday preventive measures against the flu:
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow or shoulder
  • Stay home when you feel sick
  • Get vaccinated

US CDC has published a summary of the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for the 2013-2014 flu season at http://go.usa.gov/jdfB

The Vaccine Information Statements (VIS) for this coming season’s vaccines are available at http://go.usa.gov/jdAC

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Public health accreditation update

The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) awarded national accreditation status to five more public health departments on August 20.  This means there are now 19 public health agencies (two states and 17 local) that have achieved accreditation.

Hundreds of health departments, including Maine CDC, are currently preparing to seek national accreditation. To receive accreditation, a health department must undergo a rigorous, multi-faceted, peer-reviewed assessment process to ensure it meets or exceeds a set of public health quality standards and measures.

“The country should be proud of health departments that continue to demonstrate their capacity to meet the national public health accreditation standards,” said PHAB President and CEO Kaye Bender.

“Overall, the willingness to have others assess your health department’s ability to meet national public health standards…is an inspiration to all of us working in public health,” said PHAB Board of Directors Vice Chair Leslie M. Beitsch.

The Maine CDC continues to prepare for this process and plans to submit its application to be accredited in January 2014. “I’m gratified by all of the work that has been done by Maine CDC programs to prepare for accreditation,” said Maine CDC Director Dr. Sheila Pinette. “We are proud of our staff and to be a part of this important national movement in public health.”

To learn more about the Public Health Accreditation program, visit http://www.phaboard.org, or contact Maine CDC’s Accreditation Coordinator, Kate Marone, at kate.marone@maine.gov