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Previous Alerts

Nitrate Advisory (June 2015)

The nitrate advisory ended on June 22nd, 2015.

On June 8, 2015, the Columbus Division of Water issued a nitrate advisory to certain populations receiving water from the Dublin Road Water Plant. Residents in the area were advised to not give tap water to infants below the age of six months or use it to make infant formula, juice or baby cereal.

The affected area includes portions of west, central, and southwest Columbus, as well as Grandview Heights, Grove City, Hilliard, Lincoln Village, Marble Cliff, Upper Arlington, Urbancrest, and Valleyview (see attached map).

The Ohio Department of Health through Columbus Public Health and Franklin County Public Health made bottled water available to pregnant women and infants below 6 months of age who reside in the impacted areas (including WIC clients) and who cannot afford to obtain water on their own.

News Release from June 11, 2015
FAQ

Additional information about nitrates:

Ohio EPA
CDC

Ebola Virus (January 2015)

The Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. Even though the risk of an outbreak in the United States remains low, federal, state, and local partners continue to monitor the situation very closely.

There are no suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola anywhere in Ohio.

Franklin County Public Health continues to work diligently with our hospitals, our fire and EMS units and Law Enforcement partners to prepare for the event that we should see a case in our community.

What is Ebola Virus Disease?

Ebola, also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe viral illness that is rare and can be deadly. It is caused by an infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. General information about Ebola can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) website.

Visit CDC

Overview of the Ebola Epidemic in West Africa

For the latest CDC information about the Ebola epidemic including symptoms, risk of exposure and treatment, visit the CDC's website.

Franklin County Traveler Monitoring

Every traveler arriving in the United States who has been in Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone in the last 21 days is being screened for illness by the Customs and Border Protection and CDC. If they are ill, they will be kept at the point of entry for Ebola testing. If they are not sick at the time of arrival, they are given a CARE (Check And Report Ebola) kit. They will be a subject of daily monitoring by the local health department where they live or will be for 21 days from the date of their departure from West Africa for 21 days.

How does that work?

If any of those travelers live in or will be visiting Ohio, the CDC notifies the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). ODH then notifies the local health department of where the person will be.

What does this mean?

Everyone who arrives in the United States from one of those 3 countries is identified, screened and educated about Ebola.

If they live or will be in Franklin County Public Health jurisdiction, we monitor them for 21 days to assure they do not become ill.

If they did not have contact with anyone with Ebola, Franklin County Public Health will talk to them twice per day for temperature and symptom checks. One check will be in person, the other by phone. They are not able to travel commercially and cannot leave the jurisdiction without mutual agreement of FCPH and the local health department where they plan to go to assure continued daily monitoring.

If they are a health care worker who had been treating patients within 21 days they will be asked to remain home. Franklin County Public Health will talk to them twice per day for temperature and symptom checks. One check will be in person, the other by phone. They are not able to travel commercially and cannot leave the jurisdiction without mutual agreement of the local health department where they plan to go to assure continued daily monitoring.

If the person had direct skin to skin or mucus membrane contact or contact with blood and body fluids without personal protective equipment they will be put under full quarantine and be required to stay home or in temporary housing provided for 21 days. Franklin County Public Health will talk to them twice per day for temperature and symptom checks. One check will be in person, the other by phone.

Healthcare Providers

Guidance for healthcare providers can be found on the Infectious Disease Reporting System's (IDRS) website.

Ebola Fact Sheets for Print

The Ebola fact sheets are available in two formats and multiple languages. Click on the language and format below.

8.5x11
English
Amharic
Arabic
French
Nepali
Somali
Spanish

8.5x5.5
English
Amharic
Arabic
French
Nepali
Somali
Spanish

Franklin County Public Health Resources for Partner Agencies and Organizations

OSHA Ebola Cleaning in Non-Healthcare Settings - November 3, 2014
Guidance for Workers and Employers in Non-Healthcare/Non-Laboratory Settings

Protocols for Dispatch and First Responders to Limit Exposure to Ebola - October 27, 2014
This document details protocols that dispatch and first responders can employ to limit exposure to Ebola. The document addresses 911 triage questions, PPE recommendations for all first responders, and EMS procedures. This document is consistent with state and federal guidance.

Protocol for Assessing Possible Ebola Exposure in Healthcare Setting - October 24, 2014
This protocol is intended to be used by those in HEALTHCARE settings to assess and limit potential exposure to Ebola.

Protocol for Assessing Possible Ebola Exposure in Work Settings - October 24, 2014
This protocol is intended to be used by those in NON-healthcare settings to assess and limit potential exposure to Ebola.

Travel History and Exposure Screening Questionnaire - October 27, 2014
This questionnaire can be distributed to patients in both healthcare and regular office settings to assess a person’s potential exposure to Ebola. This document is referenced in the assessment protocols, listed above. There are three questionnaires per page.

Healthcare Setting Front Door Signage – October 28, 2014
This sign can be utilized by health care offices to assure no person with Ebola enters the office without calling first.

School Toolkit - November 4, 2014
Any school in need of additional information or resources regarding Ebola please contact us at (614) 525-4261. We can assist with evaluating your Health and Safety Plans, speak at meetings or give presentations.

Ebola Infographic for Travelers and Schools
Message to Parents about Ebola, No Cases in Ohio
What You Need to Know About Ebola
Ebola Fact Sheet Order Form - Franklin County Public Health is happy to provide hard copies as needed. Electronic versions of the fact sheets are available in the previous section above.

More Information and Resources for Schools can be found at the CDC's website, information is also available on the Ohio Department of Education website.

Mumps Outbreak (October 2014)

** The community mumps outbreak has been resolved with less than one case per week sustained over seven consecutive weeks (Aug. 3-Sept. 20, 2014). During this time, only three cases of mumps with onset of illness were reported.  The most recent central Ohio mumps case was reported on September 2. **

Columbus Public Health, Franklin County Public Health, Delaware General Health District, and the Madison County – London City Health Department continue to work with the Ohio Department of Health to investigate mumps cases in our community, stemming from the recent outbreak at The Ohio State University. We are encouraging individuals at highest risk of mumps - those who have not received any doses of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) - to get vaccinated.

To protect yourself and your loved ones from mumps, make sure you have received two doses of the MMR vaccine. Residents can contact their primary care provider, local community health center, public health department or student health center if at a university setting for vaccine availability.

Mumps: FAQ
Mumps Information – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Mumps Community Outbreak Daily Update (click to open/close)

As of Wednesday, September 17:

484 mumps cases had been reported in Franklin, Madison and Delaware counties.
To date, 255 cases had been linked to The Ohio State University oubreak.

Final Summary of Cases:

September 17, 2014

Mumps Public Health Advisories:
April 4, 2014
March 27, 2014

Posters for Print Please print and post these at your organization, classroom, place of employment, etc. on mumps information and prevention.

2014 Ohio Measles Outbreak (September 2014)

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and a number of local health departments in Ohio spent part of the summer months investigating a measles outbreak.  There was a total of 377 cases and 9 hospitalizations in the outbreak. There were no cases in Franklin County or any of our neighboring counties.  To prevent future outbreaks, ODH and local health departments encourage residents to get vaccinated with the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine. 

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease.  Contracting measles is especially serious for infants younger than one year of age. Parents with infants too young to be vaccinated should consider not traveling with them to areas where measles outbreaks are occurring.

Measles causes fever, runny nose, cough and a rash all over the body. About one out of 10 children with measles also gets an ear infection, and up to one out of 20 gets pneumonia. For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die. Adults can also get measles especially if they are not vaccinated. Children under 5 years of age and adults over 20 are at higher risk for measles complications including pneumonia, and a higher risk of hospitalization and death from measles than school aged children and adolescents. 

For additional information about the measles, visit the CDC's web site.

Tubersol - National Shortage (September 2013)

Tubersol is a prescription solution that is injected just under the skin to test for tuberculosis infection.

TUBERSOL®, a product of Sanofi Pasteur Limited, is in shortage nationwide. This is a prescription solution that is injected just under the skin by a healthcare provider to test for tuberculosis infection. This is impacting healthcare providers using the solution for their testing.

Healthcare - Recommends Approaches

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends approaches for healthcare providers to address the shortage.
Read more.

Status Update

Learn more about the current shortage.
Read more.

Flu Virus From Swine Exposure - H3N2v (July 2013)

As Ohio’s 2013 agricultural fair season kicks off, the Ohio Departments of Health (ODH) and Agriculture (ODA) are reminding Ohioans to practice good hygiene when visiting livestock exhibits as the H3N2 variant virus (H3N2v) makes another comeback this year.  This virus is also known as the flu virus from swine exposure.

Last year, 309 cases in 12 states (including Ohio) were part of an outbreak caused by H3N2v. Most of these infections were associated with prolonged exposure to pigs at agricultural fairs.

Influenza viruses such as H3N2 and its variants are not unusual in swine and can be directly transmitted from swine to people and from people to swine in the same way that all viruses can be transmitted between people. When humans are in close proximity to live infected swine, such as in barns and livestock exhibits at fairs, movement of these viruses can occur back and forth between humans and animals. Influenza viruses cannot be transmitted by eating pork or pork products.

Individuals should always wash hands with soap and water before and after petting or touching any animal. Never eat, drink, or put anything in your mouth in animal areas. Older adults, pregnant women, young children, and people with weakened immune systems should be extra careful around animals.

Those who have direct, routine contact with swine, such as working in swine barns or showing swine at fairs, and have experienced cough or influenza-like illness should contact their health care provider or local health department. Symptoms include cough, sore throat, fever, body aches, and possibly other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.  

Resources:

Updates from the Ohio Department of Health
Wash Hands When Leaving Animal Exhibits
Wash Hands When Leaving Animal Exhibits (Spanish)
Animal Exhibit Safety

Multistate Fungal Meningitis Outbreak Investigation
(May-December 2012)

Updated December 7, 2012

CDC is coordinating a multi-state investigation of fungal meningitis among patients who received epidural steroid injections (medication injected into the spine). Several of these patients have had strokes related to the meningitis. Cases have all linked to back injections with steroids distributed by the New England Compounding Center (NECC). The investigation also includes fungal infections associated with injections in a peripheral joint space, such as a knee, shoulder or ankle. Fungal meningitis is not contagious. For additional information on the investigation visit the CDC web site.

Visit the Ohio Department of Health web site for details on the number of cases in Ohio.

Patients who received a steroid injection, and are experiencing symptoms such as a new or worsening headache, fever, neck stiffness, or pain at the injection site, should contact their healthcare provider to determine if they have received one of the recalled products and receive further evaluation.

All health care providers have been asked to follow-up with patients who received any injectable products from NECC since May 2012. The products on the expanded list have not been linked to any illnesses, FDA is providing the information out of an abundance of caution. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided states with a list from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of all facilities that purchased NECC products during that time frame. ODH is making the list of the 64 Ohio facilities available online to aid in the outreach to patients. The list includes any provider who bought a NECC product since May 21, 2012, even topical products, which FDA has indicated are low- or no-risk products.

Clinicians seeking additional information should visit the Infectious Disease Reporting System web site.

Flu Virus From Swine Exposure - H3N2v (October 2012)

Updated October 5, 2012

The Ohio Departments of Health (ODH) and Agriculture (ODA), along with the local health departments, began actively investigating human flu illnesses associated swine exposure at the Butler County Fair in early August. There were 107 influenza cases in Ohio counties that have tested positive for the H3N2v strain. A chart with the breakdown of cases per county can be found on the Ohio Department of Health web site.

Those confirmed cases of H3N2v are between the ages of 6 months and 61 years old. Several of the confirmed cases in Ohio were hospitalized, but were treated and released. There was been one death, a 61-year old Madison County woman. Individuals most likely became ill with the flu virus after exposure to swine. Some limited human-to-human passage of the virus was been confirmed.

According to the CDC, a total of 309 cases in 2012 were part of the outbreak and have been confirmed in 10 states (including Ohio).

Influenza viruses such as H3N2 and its variants are not unusual in swine and can be directly transmitted from swine to people and from people to swine in the same way that all viruses can be transmitted between people. When humans are in close proximity to live infected swine, such as in barns and livestock exhibits at fairs, movement of these viruses can occur back and forth between humans and animals. Influenza viruses cannot be transmitted by eating pork or pork products.

Individuals should always wash hands with soap and water before and after petting or touching any animal. Never eat, drink, or put anything in your mouth in animal areas. Older adults, pregnant women, young children, and people with weakened immune systems should be extra careful around animals.

Those who have direct, routine contact with swine, such as working in swine barns or showing swine at fairs, and have experienced cough or influenza-like illness should contact their health care provider or local health department. Symptoms include cough, sore throat, fever, body aches, and possibly other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

Resources:

CDC Information of Safe Fair Going
Wash Hands When Leaving Animal Exhibits
Wash Hands When Leaving Animal Exhibits (Spanish)
Animal Exhibit Safety

Norovirus Information (March 2012)

Updated March 30, 2012

A number of clusters of norovirus were investigated through the Central Ohio area in early 2012.

Norovirus spreads from person to person, through contaminated food or water, and by touching contaminated surfaces. Norovirus is recognized as the leading cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the United States. Outbreaks can happen to people of all ages and in a variety of settings. Awareness and thorough handwashing are key to prevention.

Infection, Symptoms and Spread

Infection with these viruses affects the stomach and intestines and causes an illness called gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines).

Symptoms include:

- Diarrhea
- Nausea
- Vomiting
- Stomach cramps
- Chills
- Low-grade fever

Most people recover in 1-2 days, although it can be dangerous for some people who become dehydrated.

Norovirus is highly contagious, and outbreaks or clusters are common because of how easily and rapidly it can be spread to others. People with norovirus are contagious from the moment they begin feeling ill to at least 3 days and perhaps for as long as 2 weeks after recovery, making control of this disease even more difficult.

Norovirus is extremely common during the fall and winter months.  If you become infected, it is recommended that you stay home and practice good hygiene, such as washing your hands often and thoroughly.

Stop the Spread of Norovirus

Practice proper hand hygiene
Wash your hands carefully with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers and always before eating or preparing food. If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Take care in the kitchen
Carefully wash fruits and vegetables, and cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly before eating them.

Do not prepare food while infected
People with norovirus illness should not prepare food for others while they have symptoms and for 3 days after they recover from their illness.

Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces
After throwing up or having diarrhea, immediately clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces by using a bleach-based household cleaner as directed on the product label.

Wash laundry thoroughly
Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or stool. The items should be washed with detergent at the maximum available cycle length and then machine dried. Wash your hands with soap and warm water after handling soiled items.

Helpful Links
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Norovirus
Norovirus Fact Sheet
Handwashing Tips - CDC

Salmonella Outbreak & Ground Turkey Recall (July-August, 2011)

Updated November 16, 2011 (Final Update)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collaborated with public health officials in many states and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) to investigate a multi state outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg infections likely caused by eating ground turkey.

As of November 10, a total of 136 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 34 states. To date, there have been 12 cases in Ohio; one of those in Franklin County.

Read the CDC's final report on the outbreak.

Be sure to check any ground turkey you have to see if the label matches the recall. If you do, return it to the retailer where you purchased it for a refund or discard it.

Eating food contaminated with Salmonella can cause Salmonellosis. Most people infected with Salmonellosis develop diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. Additional symptoms may include chills, headache, nausea and vomiting that can last up to seven days. The outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg is resistant to many commonly prescribed antibiotics; this antibiotic resistance can increase the risk of hospitalization or possible treatment failure in infected individuals.

Advice to Consumers, Retailers, and Others from the CDC:

Wash hands, kitchen work surfaces, and utensils with soap and water immediately after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry including frozen, fresh ground turkey. Then, disinfect the food contact surfaces using a freshly prepared solution of 1 tablespoon unscented liquid chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water.
Cook poultry thoroughly. Ground turkey and ground turkey dishes should always be cooked to 165 °F internal temperature as measured with a food thermometer; leftovers also should be reheated to 165°F. The color of cooked poultry is not always a sure sign of its safety. Only by using a food thermometer can one accurately determine that poultry has reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F throughout the product. Turkey can remain pink even after cooking to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F. The meat of smoked turkey is always pink. Be particularly careful with foods prepared for infants, older adults, and persons with impaired immune systems. For more information, please visit www.foodsafety.gov.
If served undercooked poultry in a restaurant, send it back to the kitchen for further cooking.
Cross-contamination of foods should be avoided. Uncooked meats should be kept separate from produce, cooked foods, and ready-to-eat foods. Hands, cutting boards, counters, knives, and other utensils should be washed thoroughly after touching uncooked foods. Hands should be washed before handling food, and between handling different food items.
Refrigerate raw and cooked meat and poultry within 2 hours after purchase (one hour if temperatures exceed 90° F). Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking. Refrigerators should be set to maintain a temperature of 40 °F or below.
Persons who think they might have become ill from eating possibly contaminated ground turkey should consult their health care providers. Infants, older adults, and persons with impaired immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness.

Additional Resources:

USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline: 1-888-MPHOTLINE: available in English and Spanish from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time)
Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Web site: www.fsis.usda.gov.