STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE SECOND HUMAN CASE OF
WEST NILE VIRUS IN MASSACHUSETTS
Residents urged to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites
BOSTON – Wednesday, September 10, 2014- The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced the second human case of West Nile virus (WNV) in the state this year. The woman is a resident of Middlesex County in her 40’s who was hospitalized, but has been released and is recovering.
This finding raises the risk level to “Moderate” in the following communities: Melrose, Reading, Saugus, Stoneham, Wakefield, Winchester and Woburn.
“While cooler weather reduces mosquito activity, risk for mosquito-borne illness remains a concern until the first hard overnight frost,” said State Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Catherine Brown. “Residents need to continue to take steps to protect themselves against mosquito bites: use insect repellant, cover up, and avoid outdoor activities at dusk and after nightfall when mosquitoes are at their most active.”
This is the second human case of WNV in the state this year. In 2013, there were eight human cases of WNV infection identified in Massachusetts. While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease. WNV is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.~ Most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms. When present, WNV symptoms tend to include fever and flu-like illness. In rare cases, more severe illness can occur.
People have an important role to play in protecting themselves and their loved ones from illnesses caused by mosquitoes.
Avoid Mosquito Bites
Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors.~Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535 according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.
Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours.~The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning.
Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites.~Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home
Drain Standing Water.~Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.
Install or Repair Screens.~Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
Protect Your Animals
Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools – especially after heavy rains. Water troughs provide excellent mosquito breeding habitats and should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas. Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes. Owners should also speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents
approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent WNV and EEE. If an animal is diagnosed with WNV or EEE, owners are required to report to DAR, Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795 and to the Department of Public Health (DPH) by calling 617-983-6800.
More information, including all WNV and EEE positive results from 2014, can be found on the Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page at www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito
or by calling the DPH Epidemiology Program at 617-983-6800.
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The Board of Health is the local authority responsible for disease prevention and control, public health and environmental protection, and promoting a healthy community. It derives its power from the General Laws of Massachusetts.
The Board enforces local and state regulations governing wells and water supplies, septic systems and sewerage, trash and recycling, animal control and husbandry, mosquito control, public bathing beaches, tobacco control, food services, disease prevention, medical care, and social services. It can develop and implement health policies through local regulations that can be more stringent than state regulations.
In case of emergency (unforeseen public health condition requiring prompt action) during business hours, call the office at 978-897-4592
In case of emergency during non-working or non-office hours, please call the Stow Police Department and they will contact a Board Member /Health Agent.
Scroll down for More Info on Public Health Related Topics
Town Nurse Office Hours
Linda Cullen RN is available Wednesday Mornings from 8:30 AM-12:30 PM on the 3rd Floor of the Town Building.
Monthly Blood Pressure Clinics are held on the First Wednesday of each month. For Information or to reach the Nurse call the Board of Health office at 978-897-4592.
Flu Shots are still available.
Paper Recycling Information for Town Residents
Paper Recycling by Abitibi is available in 3 Locations in Town- Containers are located at the Police Station, The Town Building and Pompositticut School Parking Lot.
**Please do not leave material on the ground or outside of the container if full. **
Items that can be recycled are Newspapers, Magazines, Office/ School Paper, Shopping Catalogs and Mail ( no Cardboard)
Fluorescent Lightbulbs, Batteries and Products containing Mercury - contact the Board of Health Office
The Board of Health is currently looking for a volunteer to manage the recycling shed at the Police Station- Time involved would be 1-2 Saturday mornings a month for collection and checking the shed weekly to manage drop offs. Please contact the office for more information 978-897-4592.
Hazardous Waste Collection will be held on May 3rd, 2014.
More information to follow
The Stow Board of Health and Stow Medical Reserve Corps
will hold their annual Flu Clinic
Saturday, October 25,2014
Hale Middle School
More information to Follow
Click on the link below to view latest updates on EEE and WNV CASES
Protective Measures Against Mosquito
Wear mosquito repellent when outdoors during peak mosquito hours (from dusk to dawn)
Weather permitting, wear long sleeves and long pants when outdoors during peak mosquito hours (from dusk to dawn)
Use mosquito netting on baby carriages and playpens outdoors
Repair window and door screens in your home
Dump standing water twice weekly
Arrange neighborhood cleanups to get rid of mosquito breeding sites
Information for Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project Click Here
Hazardous Waste Disposal Information
The Town of Stow will not be holding a Hazardous Waste Collection Day until Spring of 2014.
If you need to dispose of your Hazardous Products Contact NEDT.
NEDT Household Hazardous Products Collection Center is open to Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut homeowners year round on Tuesdays and Thursdays (except for holidays) from 9 am to 4 pm. The Center accepts a wide range of hazard ous products including latex and oil based paint and coatings, auto maintenance products, antifreeze, pesticides, fertilizers, cleaners, flammable products, etc. (A more complete list acceptable products/wastes is available on our website - www.NEDT.org.)
Arrangements can be made to open the center by appointment to meet the special needs of homeowners. Call their toll free number (866-769-1621) to arrange a convenient time. The Collection Center is conveniently located south of Worcester off Route 146 at Exit 5. The address is 83 Gilmore Drive, Sutton, MA 01590.
Learn the Facts: Radon is a naturally occuring radioactive gas released in rock, soil and water from the natural decay of uranium.
While levels in ourdoor air pose a relatively low threat to human health, radon can accumulate to dangerous levels inside your home. Exposure to radon is the seond leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and the number one cause among non-smokers.
What should you do?
Test your Home. High levels of radon in homes usually come from the surrounding soil. Radon gas enters through cracks and openings on the lower levels of your home. Hot spots include basements, first-floor rooms and garages, but radon can be found anywhere in your house. The U.S. Surgeon General recommends that all homes in the U.S. be tested for radon. Testing for radon is easy to do. You can purchase a test kit from your local home improvement or hardware store. Contact the Massachusetts Radon Hotline for more information about obtaining test kits. 800-723-6695.
Radon Problems Can Be Fixed
The cost of making repairs to reduce the radon level depends on several factors, including how your home was built. If you find an elevated radon level in your home, EPA's action level is at or above 4 pCi/L contact your state radon office to locate radon mitigators in your area. Well water should also be tested for radon levels at a state certified laboratory. The following links provide more radon information.
or visit the Mass Department of Public Health website or Mass DEP regulations for more information
You can also visit the Board of Health Office for more information on Radon Testing in Air and Water.
Sharps Containers and Disposal Service are available at the Board of Health Office
2 Quart- $ 5.00 covers container and disposal fee when returned.
4 Quart- $ 10.00 covers container and disposal fee when returned.
You may also bring your own puncture-proof sharps container into the office for disposal. The container must be puncture proof such as a Tide bottle with Lid a 5.00 Fee will be charged.
For more information call or email the Board of Health office 978-897-4592 or firstname.lastname@example.org
New Regulation from Department of Public Health for Sharps Disposal
IMPORTANT PUBLIC INFORMATION
New Regulation from Department of Public Health
The Board of Health has received an updated regulation from the Department of Public Health (DPH) regarding the disposal of medical or biological waste. The regulatory authority is 105 CMR 480.000: Mass. General Laws c. 111 ss 3, 5, and 127A.
Beginning July 1, 2012: All hypodermic needles and lancets including used, unused as well as those in original packaging must not be disposed of in solid municipal waste, including household waste, and shall be collected and disposed of in accordance with 105 CMR 480.12S(B).”
The sharps shall be placed in red, fluorescent orange or orange-red leakproof, rigid, puncture-resistant, shatterproof containers that resist breaking under normal conditions of use and handling. The containers must be marked prominently with the universal biohazard warning symbol.
The Board of Health will post the complete regulation on its town of Stow website. Log on to the Board of Health website and click on DPH to read the complete regulation.
To assist any resident who will need to obtain a biohazard container, the Board of Health will be purchasing approved containers and will be offering them for a $10.00 fee. This prepay fee will cover the purchase and disposal of the container when it is full. When the container is full, it can be brought to the Board of Health office and we will properly dispose of it. Our local pharmacy also has a program for disposal and information can be obtained from the pharmacist at Osco.
Whether you are using the sharps for personal use or for your pet, the regulation applies to the disposal of all sharps. It is important to recognize that the Board of Health may act to abate any nuisance that is cause by a failure to comply with the provisions of 105 CMR 480.000 thereby endangering or materially impairing the health, safety and well-being of the public and to charge the responsible person or persons with any and all expenses incurred.
The Board is in the process of obtaining the approved containers and will have them available at the end of June. If you have any further questions please contact the office at 978-897-4592 Monday through Friday.
For Safe Disposal of Prescription or Over-the-Counter Medication
MIDDLESEX DRUG TAKE-BACK PROGRAM
You can safely dispose of expired or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications. You are now able to drop off these items at the Stow Police Department where they will be disposed of according to safety and environmental standards. Visit the Stow Police Department Website to see a list of accepted items.
In an effort to provide better sevice to Stow residents of animal owners we ask that you complete this census. It will facilitate the Animal Inspector and Animal Control Officerin the return of straying, injured or lost animals to their rightful owner.
complete & return to the Board of Health
Food Safety During Storms
Wild Animal Babies
Important Message from Stow Board of Health and Stow Animal Control
The arrival of Spring and Summer brings about the birth or hatching of many species of wildlife. The Board of Health and Animal Control Officer have been receiving many calls from residents asking what to do when they find turtles laying eggs in their yard or to report the sighting of a coyote, woodchuck, rabbit or any of their young. If the animal is not sick or injured the best advice is LEAVE IT ALONE! It may be difficult to do but it is a true act of kindness.
June brings about the birth of thousands of white-tailed deer. In their first few weeks the fawn’s ( baby deer) instincts are to lay silently until danger passes, the mother visits the fawn sparingly to nurse, but will be nearby. If you see a fawn lying in the grass do not touch it or pick it up.
Coyote pups are also born in June and the parents are working hard to feed them. You may see an increased presence during the day. Keep your yard and neighboring yards free of bird food, pet dishes or anything that will attract these animals to your property.
Cottontail rabbits are born in a nest low to the ground, usually in high grass. Baby rabbits are born with their eyes closed and unable to leave the nest, but within a few days can eat on their own. This is the time when problems arise as many people think these animals have been abandoned and need help but are doing just fine on their own.
Keep your pets safe by keeping them indoors or restrained when outside. Free roaming pets are at risk from attack of wild animals. Skunks, woodchucks, and raccoons can transmit Rabies. Veterinarians agree that restrained and indoor pets lead healthier longer lives.
All wildlife including birds are protected by law. They may not be taken from the wild or kept as pets. Every year the lives of many creatures are upset by people trying to help them. In the case of an injured animal, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator can be contacted to assist in care. Tufts Wildlife Clinic can provide assistance with injured wildlife. These websites contain valuable information on living with wildlife and have contact information if you need help with an injured animal.