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DIVISION OF PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICES

HUNTERDON COUNTY
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY

Hunterdon County Health News Archives

HUNTERDON IS NEW JERSEY’S HEALTHIEST COUNTY

Hunterdon County is again ranked as New Jersey’s healthiest county. This is one of the new findings of the "County Health Rankings: Mobilizing Action Toward Community Health," a rigorous health study of the nation's 3,016 counties by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute.  The new countrywide rankings provide a comprehensive way for public health and community leaders to measure the local health of every county in every state and see how well they are doing and where improvements are needed. The goal is to mobilize communities to overcome health barriers and make their county a healthier place to live. Read More....

To go directly to the nationwide county rankings, visit www.countyhealthrankings.org/.

Health Numbers of Your Heart on WDVRINVESTING IN PUBLIC HEALTH YIELDS RETURNS
Annual Report
2008-2010

Hunterdon County Department of Health 2008 - 2010 Annual Report

VISIT OUR FLU WEBSITE:

Flu season peaks in winter as cases steadily increase during January and February. Getting a flu shot is your best protection. The Hunterdon County Department of Health recommends a yearly flu vaccine for those six months and older, and anyone with a chronic health condition that may put them at risk for complications from respiratory infections such as the flu.
Learn the facts right here

WDVR-VaccinationHOW DO YOU SPELL "PROTECTION FROM MAJOR DISEASE?" Easy: VACCINATION

Sandra Poirer, RN and clinicial nurse with the Public Health Preparedness divison, along with Rose Puelle, PhD, director of the PHP division, were featured guests on WDVR 89.7FM recently counseling area listeners about the importance of vaccines, vaccinations and the proections that they offer. For more.....

HEALTH SURVEY RESULTS GOOD AND BAD FOR HUNTERDON COUNTY


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PERTUSSIS IN HUNTERDON COUNTY

January 11, 2012: The Hunterdon County Division of Public Health reported today that it is investigating a number of pertussis cases in the county. As of today, seven confirmed and two probable cases have been reported, with an additional three now being studied. The cases, affecting individuals aged from four to 15 years old, are situated widely around the county.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a serious bacterial infection of the respiratory tract. Pertussis is a contagious disease usually spread through the air by close, indoor, repeated contact with an infected person, typically by talking, coughing, or sneezing nearby. Read more.....

PERTUSSIS

Pertussis or “whooping cough,” is a respiratory bacterial infection causing symptoms resembling a cold and intense coughing fits, particularly at night. The illness affects all ages but can cause severe distress & complications in young children and infants. The best protection is through timely vaccination for those under seven years old. Adolescents and adults can receive their booster Tdap vaccine. Consult your healthcare provider if symptoms are present or complications arise. Read more…

FOOD FOR THOUGHT SO READ THIS WHILE YOU’RE EATING

The Hunterdon County Division of Health is encouraging county residents to take note that March is National Nutrition Month. This education campaign by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spotlights the importance of what we eat, how much of it we eat, and how it all affects us.

Want to feel good? Want to look good?  “For most people, there’s a straightforward way to achieve both of these goals,” said Carl Rachel, spokesperson for the division. “Pay attention first to quantity, how much food you eat every day; and second, be honest with yourself as to how nutritious your choices are. Is that easy? Not always, at least for me. But it is possible. Nutrition experts put it simply: To achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle, put less food on your plate.”

Wise eating also means planning.  When preparing meals and snacks, keep calorie needs in mind. Divide your plate in four sections with one each for whole grains, lean proteins, vegetables and fruits, and a side of dairy, such as a cup of low-fat milk or yogurt or an ounce of cheese.

Avoid oversized portions by using smaller plates, bowls and glasses. Think about this: a standard 10-inch plate may be too large for you. Better to switch to 8-inch or appetizer-sized plates.  You’ll end up eating less and not feeling deprived. 

“Something else that helps to get a handle on the quality of what we eat is to do more of the prep work ourselves,” added Rachel. This means cooking more often at home, so you can balance what’s on your plate, choosing healthier fats, less sodium and increasing the fiber in your diet. Then, when you do eat out, you'll be better at recognizing healthy portions.

Nutritionists also advise to be careful about liquid calories. Calories in fruit juices and drinks with added sugar, sports drinks, sugar-laden coffee beverages and soft drinks can add up fast.

Alcoholic beverages have calories too. The frequent reminder is to drink alcohol sensibly by capping it with one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men. The “standard” drink is 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.

For more information, see www.eatright.org/nnm. The site features tips, games, promotional tools and nutrition education resources.

John BeckleyHUNTERDON HEALTH OFFICER JOHN BECKLEY RETIRES

The Hunterdon County Department of Health today announced the retirement of its director, John Beckley, after more than 26 years serving county residents. With more than 36 years career experience in directing public health programming, Beckley's departure is considered a significant loss in the public health sector.

"To serve the people of Hunterdon County for so long is truly an honor," said Beckley. "This county is such a special place. That we could face so many public health challenges through the years and see success in meeting them, I applaud a very specific team: First, the unquestionably dedicated workforce of the county health department. This team is world class and proven capable of facing continued pressures that would cripple a lesser organization. But we also have significant help in the many reliable community partners who offer counsel and support. This invaluable team includes many health care professionals associated with Hunterdon Medical Center, the public school system, our wonderful media partners, local businesses, numerous community based organizations, and a highly regarded team of volunteers. Even after 26 years, I remain in awe of the collective efforts of this combined team and hope that as a county resident I can look forward to its continued successes."

Beckley said he is excited about taking his three decades of experience and applying the many lessons learned to help influence changes in the public health field as he begins a new career in the private sector.

"The cornerstone of public health has always been that any investments in prevention are for the public good. I believe in this principle; I've seen it in practice. It works. I look forward to helping bring this concept to greater light."

 


KEEP YOUR HOLIDAYS HAPPY AND SAFE

Follow these food safety tips to protect your family from food related illnesses, click here for more information.

 

COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT URGES RESIDENTS TO BE UP TO DATE ON MEASLES VACCINATION

The Hunterdon County Department of Health is following a number of cases of measles now being reported in New Jersey. The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services today identified a Camden County man with probable measles who may have exposed an unknown number of people at public locations in South Jersey between April 21 and 24. The man had been exposed to an infected woman who recently traveled here from Italy. This case is not related to possible measles exposures DHSS announced last week involving two French women who have since recovered.READ MORE....

 

HOW SAFE IS REFRIGERATED FOOD AFTER SO MANY DAYS OF POWER OUTAGE

As power gets restored across Hunterdon County, another serious issue arises from the aftermath of the outage: Is the food in the refrigerator still safe to eat?

Food in the refrigerator should be safe as long as power is out no more than 4 hours, according to FoodSafety.gov, a web site provided by government agencies including the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The website advises to discard any perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers that have been above 40 °F for over 2 hours.

Taking into account these food safety standards and the effects of this week's power outage lasting more than a few days, it is clear that a large portion of the contents of refrigerators across the county are now considered unsafe. Some items such as hard cheeses, however, may still be safe to eat. For an in-depth listing of food types and categories, visit http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/refridg_food.html.

The site also offers tips including these: Never taste food to determine its safety. You can't rely on appearance or odor to determine whether food is safe. Always discard any items in the refrigerator that have come into contact with raw meat juices.

 

Register ReadyREGISTER READY RADIO

The Hunterdon County department of human services, office of emergency management, and health department are working together to ensure that (Pictured left to right) Recently featured on WDVR-89.7FM are Brayden Fahey, EMS coordinator and member of the county office of emergency management, and Rose Puelle, PhD, director of the Public Health Preparedness division of the health department, as they announce the launch of Register Ready here in Hunterdon County; this statewide online registry enables county residents with special needs to let emergency response agencies know who they are, where they reside, and what their needs are before a major disaster occurs. For more......

Health Numbers of Your Heart on WDVR"HEALTH NUMBERS” of your Heart:

Marianne McEvoy (left), RN, director of the Public Health Nursing & Education division is joined by Lisamarie Buckley (right), MS, RN-BC, during a WDVR 89.7FM broadcast focused on the “numbers of your heart.” Because February is American Heart Month, these Hunterdon professionals are reaching out to help raise awareness about the importance of knowing your own personal cardiovascular readings. It can save your life because these numbers will tell you in advance that you have specific health issues to address. The heart message is also going out via billboards at high-traffic sites around the county (see below). This board and two others like it make the message clear and simple: Know Your Numbers. Know Your Risk. Blood Pressure. Cholesterol Ratio. Heart Disease Risk. For more about cardiovascular disease in Hunterdon County, see page 20, section 3 on Cardiovascular disease at www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/pdf/health/final_chip2007.pdf.

Know Your Numbers, Know Your Risk

REGISTER READY: Statewide database for emergency response—like during a SNOW STORM

With pending snowstorms during the winter that are nearly certain to affect NJ, this news announcement is timely. The Register Ready system is an online registry enabling people with special needs to self identify so that first responders know who they are, what their specific needs are, and where they live. It is a critical piece of emergency management planning and it’s now available to Hunterdon residents.. see more about Register Ready

 

STORM COMING—BE PREPARED

Like the Bob Dylan song says, “A hard rain’s a-gonna fall.”  So it is with this coming storm and the promise of more floods. The Hunterdon County Departments of Health and Public Safety are joining forces to remind area residents to take precautions to safeguard not only their personal health but also the well being of vulnerable neighbors.

“With the chance our area will experience flooding, even minor health emergencies can become major concerns,” said John Beckley, health officer and director of the Hunterdon County Department of Health.  “We ask residents to be sure they have readily available the important phone numbers to emergency services – police and fire departments, first aid squads, hospitals and the Red Cross for emergency and shelter information.”  These numbers should be available both at home and programmed into personal cell phones. READ MORE....

 

I WON’T LEAVE MY PET BEHIND

If you have a pet, you already know how attached you can get to that companion. Having to leave that pet behind during an emergency evacuation is more than most people want to think about. But it is something that pet owners should consider while exploring what options they might have. READ MORE...

 

MENINGOCOCCAL INVASIVE DISEASE

The sad news of the death of a young Hunterdon County resident included that the likely cause is believed to be a form of bacterial meningitis known as meningococcal invasive disease. This disease is rare. And secondary cases are not common. In fact, it is not expected that additional cases will be seen. However, this is an appropriate time to share some frequently asked questions about this disease that can erupt quickly and become a serious threat to personal health.

 

HEALTH SURVEY RESULTS GOOD & BAD FOR HUNTERDON COUNTY
Results are in for the recent public health telephone survey of county residents. Some of the news is good. Some of it, not so good. But the far-reaching survey produced real, tangible findings that should give residents pause, and focus. Check out the report.

 

COUNTY INVESTIGATES 'STREP' CASES IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
The Hunterdon County Department of Health is investigating an unusual number of streptococcal diseases in children and faculty associated with Lester D. Wilson School in Alexandria Township. Fifty nine cases of strep throat were reported by the school nurse along with 7 cases of scarlet fever. The first cases began occurring in mid-October and have continued through this past week. 

The school has approximately 240 children. Parents were notified on December 10. The health department provided detailed recommendations to help control and eliminate further infection. Physicians and school officials in the county were sent an advisory regarding the cases and requesting a heightened alert for additional cases along with prompt reporting to the health department of any other disease clusters.

Common symptoms of strep throat may include cough, fever, tender or swollen glands in the neck, and white or yellowish patches in the throat, and in some cases, vomiting.  If left untreated, it can sometimes lead to serious complications. Scarlet fever is a form of streptococcal disease characterized by a skin rash in addition to the typical strep throat symptoms. Prompt treatment of both is important to prevent more severe infections.  

Strep throat is spread through direct contact or exposure to respiratory droplets. Simple measures such as hand washing, and using your sleeve or elbow and not your hand to cover coughs and sneezes, will help reduce the spread of germs that cause these illnesses. For more information, click here....

 

TAKING A LEAD ON LEAD

Featured on a recent WDVR-89.7FM radio hour, Carla Hobbs (left), director of the Environmental Health division, and Marianne McEvoy, RN (right) director of the Public Health Nursing & Education division, lead a discussion on, lead poisoning. Because lead can be an ever-present hazard – even found in some food sources –the health department is vigilant both in the field and in the clinical setting to ensure residents get the facts, recognize the dangers, and get the help when it is needed. For more, visit Hunterdon County Environmental Health and Public Health Nursing & Education.

 

Maternal Child Health Is All About Caring Ivonne Kyle, RN, and member of the Public Health Nursing & Education division, recently shared her personal experiences and vast knowledge of maternal child health needs here in Hunterdon County during a radio show at WDVR-89.7FM. Despite the fact that Hunterdon County is repeatedly cited by numerous national surveys to be one of the wealthiest counties in the U.S., there exists a tangible need in the community for services that assure access to pre-natal care, which helps result in a healthy outcome for mother and baby. For more information, see Maternal Child Health.

 

THANK YOU, HUNTERDON RESIDENTS
Since September, trained interviewers have randomly been contacting and leading 1,100 Hunterdon County households through a health-focused telephone survey. While the professional firm managing the initiative, Holleran Consulting, does not always experience a welcomed response from residents in other parts of the country, the firm happily reported that the residents of Hunterdon County are both educated and courteous.

"It is genuinely encouraging to hear such a wonderful endorsement of the people of our county,” said John Beckley, health officer and director of the county health department.  “That Holleran Consulting, an agency that encounters such a wide spectrum of public responses, sees the people of Hunterdon County as engaged and cooperative in their willingness to help their community, is a genuine bright spot for all of us who call Hunterdon home.”

Once the full course of data is compiled, the survey data will be reported to the public, offering a view not only of current county health behaviors and choices but also an excellent comparative of similar behaviors for the past 15 years. This information is vital in identifying where the local health community is achieving success in its programs and where future resources should be directed. In addition to the county health department, the other essential partners in this survey effort are the Hunterdon Medical Center and Hunterdon Healthcare Partners.

 

WEST NILE VIRUS HERE IN HUNTERDON
9/29/2010

During the week of Sepetmber 20th, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services reported the first death of a state resident who with multiple underlying medical conditions also testing positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). At the time of that announcement, the state also reported that 11 New Jersey residents tested positive for WNV in seven counties, including the person who died: Atlantic (1); Camden (2); Essex (1); Hudson (2); Monmouth (1) Ocean (2); and Passaic (2).

While Hunterdon County has no human cases of WNV to date, some of the bird specimens sent from the county for state lab testing were positive with the virus. This is also the case in Atlantic, Burlington, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Gloucester, Mercer, Monmouth, Morris and Ocean counties.READ MORE....

 

Health Survey - YOU MIGHT BE CALLED

Yasmin Rivera, health educator with the Hunterdon County Department of Health, prepares a batch of TAKE OUR CALL flyers advertising the upcoming health telephone survey to begin on August 23.  The flyers and posters are being placed in high-traffic areas throughout the county to draw resident awareness of the health and lifestyles survey and encourage participation should a resident be one of the randomly selected parties to get a call. In all, the survey aims to compile resident responses from 1,100 households in the county. The data will be used to help design health programs and health care services for Hunterdon County residents. read more >>>

PUBLIC POOLS OPEN WITH COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT INSPECTIONS: April19, 2010
Before the first spouting cannonball of the summer, a lot of work will have occurred leading up to that opening splash.Read more...

BACTERIAL MENINGITIS: March 19, 2010
A case of bacterial meningitis was confirmed in a Delaware Township elementary school student. Learn more about what is called meningococcal invasive disease....

MUMPS REPORTED IN HUNTERDON: March 05, 2010
The Hunterdon County Department of Health reported today that a student at Readington Middle School was diagnosed with mumps. The child has fully recovered and is back in school. The Readington school district is notifying all parents of students in the community, helping to ensure that information that might be shared is accurate and to provide a brief explanation about the mumps, a viral illness. MORE.....

NOROVIRUS-LIKE ILLNESS HITS HUNTERDON: February 09, 2010
The Hunterdon County Department of Health announced today that it is addressing an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness — possibly norovirus — in three elementary schools and a daycare center. The virus currently affects 122 people ranging in age from Pre-K to adult. Although lab tests have not yet confirmed norovirus, the illness and how it spread is consistent with a norovirus outbreak. Plus, norovirus outbreaks are more common in winter. MORE....

 

ON THE AIR : PUBLIC HEALTH NURSING EXPERTS
Shu Chiang (left), RN, BSN, head of the Childhood Immunization, Lead &TB Programs, and Cathy Zuercher (right), BSN, RN, BC, communicable disease nurse, shared their expertise with area residents as recent guests on the “World of Work” program of WDVR-89.7FM. Chiang and Zuercher, team members of the Public Health Nursing & Education Division of the Hunterdon County Department of Health, explained the vast challenges of containing contagious and communicable diseases while also mentoring county residents on how to improve physical and environmental conditions leading to better health.
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