Tuesday, July 21, 2015

West Nile Virus Activity Detected in Utah

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Public health officials across Utah are reminding all residents who will be outside over the holiday to protect themselves from mosquito bites.  So far, no human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) have been reported in Utah, but four positive mosquito pools have been identified in four counties.

West Nile virus activity has been detected in a mosquito pool in Weber County. Even though no human cases of West Nile virus have been reported, public health official urge Utahns to avoid complacency. UDOH epidemiologist JoDee Baker warns, “There is no vaccine for humans. So, taking simple precautions to avoid mosquito bites is the key to reducing your risk for infection.”  

While West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, not all mosquitoes carry the virus. The mosquitoes that carry the virus are typically out from dusk to dawn.

 “The best way to reduce your risk is to use an insect repellent with DEET when you’re outside,” says Baker.  Adults and children older than 2 months of age can safely use repellents that contain up to 30% DEET,” Baker added. Repellents are not recommended for children younger than 2 months of age.

Other precautionary measures include:
·      Wear long sleeved shirts and pants while outdoors.
·      Remove any puddles or standing water around your home where mosquitoes can breed, including birdbaths, swimming/wading pools, old tires, buckets and plant containers.
·      Report bodies of stagnant water to the local Mosquito Abatement District (MAD). Visit http://www.umaa.org/ for a list of MADs.
·      Contact a veterinarian for information on vaccinating horses.

While most people infected by this virus won't notice any symptoms, some people may experience flu-like symptoms or worse. The elderly and people with poor immune systems are at higher risk for symptomatic disease. The most serious cases can lead to hospitalization, disability, or death. Symptoms of the severe form of West Nile virus include: high fever, severe headache and stiff neck, disorientation and confusion. If you are experiencing symptoms of West Nile virus, please contact your health care provider immediately.

West Nile virus surveillance in Utah is underway and will continue into the fall. For more information, call your local health department or visit www.health.utah.gov/wnv. Throughout the West Nile virus season, the UDOH web site will be updated each Wednesday with available detection information.

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Media Contact:
Rebecca Ward
(o): 801-538-6682
(c): 801-647-5421


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Recognizing Utah's First Responders for Outstanding Service

(Salt Lake City, Utah) – The Utah Department of Health (UDOH), Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Preparedness honored some of the valuable health care professionals whose mission is saving lives, often in dangerous surroundings. Special recognition was given in several different categories to responders who went above and beyond expectations to save a life in critical situations. 

The award for Outstanding Performance in a Rural Emergency Medical Incident goes to those who responded to a car accident that made national news. When officers from the Spanish Fork Police Department, Spanish Fork Fire & Rescue and Spanish Fork Ambulance arrived on a call involving an upside down car in the Spanish Fork River, they were surprised to discover a live infant, hanging upside down still buckled in her car seat. It’s estimated that 18 month old Lily Groesbeck was in the vehicle for an incredible 14 hours. Five days after she was found, the little girl was released from Primary Children’s Medical Center with no adverse effects from the accident.

Roy City Fire and Rescue, Ambulance 32 and Rescue 31, Weber Fire District Engine 31, and Weber County Sheriff’s Officers are honored for their response to a May auto accident in Hooper. A car failed to stop at a stop sign, hit an SUV, causing the SUV to roll over.  Eleven year old Brynnli Cherry was ejected from the vehicle receiving obvious massive facial trauma. When crews arrived she was being held by bystanders who were trying to comfort her. EMS personnel made a quick decision to perform a delicate procedure to open her airway to assist in helping her breathe. Brynnli’s injuries have required multiple surgeries, and the physicians and providers who have treated her credit the surgical airway and the actions of the EMS crew as the reasons why she’s alive today.

“Every day, certified EMS providers in Utah demonstrate true dedication and bravery when they come to the aid of others when they are in most need,” said Dr. Marc Babitz, Director of the Division of Family Health and Preparedness, Utah Department of Health. Babitz continued, “It’s one of the highlights of the year to have the opportunity to thank them publicly and acknowledge their remarkable service.”

Additional awards were given for paramedic of the year, EMT of the year, EMS emergency dispatcher of the year, and special awards for EMS distinguished service and distinguished EMS for Children Coordinator.

In Utah, in 2015, there are 10,923 certified paramedics and EMTs and 686 certified EMS dispatchers dealing with prehospital emergency medical services. For a complete list of winners, visit the UDOH Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Preparedness website at www.health.utah.gov/ems.

Media Contact:
Tamara Goodin
Emergency Medical Services Systems
Cell: (801) 230-2963