Mississippi #MS | Increasing number of cases of #hospitalization due to ingestion of #Spice #Mojo

The number of emergency room visits and hospitalizations related to the use of synthetic cannabinoids, commonly referred to as “Spice” or “Mojo,” continues to climb.

Since April 2, 2015, 97 cases have been reported to the Mississippi Poison Control Center. More than 20 counties throughout the state are reporting emergency room admissions from this dangerous synthetic drug designed to mimic the effects of marijuana.

According to State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs, there is no safe amount of “Spice” consumption. The effects from using it are unpredictable and adverse outcomes are common, even leading to death in some cases.

“Spice is an unregulated drug. We are seeing people become extremely ill with even the tiniest amount of use. There is absolutely no safe level of inhalation. This is an incredibly dangerous drug and needs to be taken very seriously.”

The Mississippi State Department of Health is continuing to monitor the situation, coordinate information, and to work with providers and the Mississippi Poison Control Center.

For a full list of counties with emergency room admissions and more information about “Spice”, visit our website at: HealthyMS.com/spice.

Illinois #IL | Emergency management #EM officials launch #WeatherAlert radio contest

The recent devastating tornadoes in northern Illinois were a heartbreaking reminder of the tornado risk in Illinois. To increase awareness and use of an important severe weather alerting tool, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA) today launched an online quiz for a chance to win a weather alert radio.

The ‘Weather Alert Radios Save Lives’ contest is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov. The contest will run from April 22 – May 22. This is the third time IEMA and IESMA have sponsored the statewide contest.

“It’s important for people to have multiple ways to receive severe weather warnings, particularly at night when most of us are sleeping,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “Weather alert radios will sound a tone when a warning has been issued for your area and give you information about the approaching hazard. Similar to a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector, a weather alert radio can give you precious time to take safety precautions.”

A total of 100 weather alert radios will be awarded to participants who register after reading information about the radios and successfully completing a five-question quiz. Winners will be announced in late May. The radios were purchased by IESMA as part of an effort to increase the use of the devices in communities throughout Illinois.

“IESMA is excited to team up with IEMA for this valuable awareness contest,” said IESMA President Kevin Sargent. “Each region of the state is affected by some type of extreme weather each year. This year is no exception with the tornado outbreak in central and northern Illinois earlier this month. IESMA believes many lives are saved each year by people being able to receive severe weather warnings from NOAA weather alert radios. Please take time to participate in this contest for a chance to win one of 100 weather alert radios to be given away.”

The National Weather Service (NWS) and state and local emergency management officials encourage individuals and businesses to have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio All Hazards with battery backup, a tone-alert feature and Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology, which allows the radio to be programmed to receive alerts for specified counties.  When an alert is issued for that area, the device will sound a warning alarm tone followed by the broadcast message.

Besides weather information, the NWS also broadcasts warnings and post-event information for all types of hazards, including natural, environmental and public safety hazards, such as earthquakes, chemical spills and AMBER alerts.

More information about severe weather preparedness also is available at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

Pennsylvania #PA | DEP study reveals #LymeDisease risk in all 67 counties of the state

For the first time, blacklegged (deer) ticks have now been observed in all 67 counties of Pennsylvania, according to researchers at The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The range expansion took place in just decades, as similar studies conducted in the mid-1960s found no specimens.

DEP’s Vector Management Program, in collaboration with the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, published the findings on the risk of tick-borne disease in Pennsylvania in the Journal of Medical Entomology on April 14. The study was authored by the DEP Vector Management team of Mike Hutchinson, Maria Strohecker, Andy Kyle, and Matt Helwig and Indiana University of Pennsylvania Professor of Biology Dr. Tom Simmons.

The research found Ixodes scapularis, the blacklegged tick, and Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, present in all 67 counties of Pennsylvania. The research also found that in recent years the blacklegged tick has become imbedded in western Pennsylvania, though the prevalence rate of Lyme disease still remains relatively lower than the rest of the state. The blacklegged tick is the primary carrier of Lyme disease, an infectious disease caused by the bite of an infected tick that can cause fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, and joint pain.

“DEP’s Vector Management team’s confirmation of the high risk of Lyme disease in every county of the Commonwealth verifies that every Pennsylvanian, from Philadelphia to Erie, must take precautions to prevent the spread of Lyme disease,” said acting DEP Secretary John Quigley.

“The first line of defense against Lyme disease and any other tick-borne illnesses is avoiding tick infested areas. We know, however, that as the weather becomes nicer many residents spend more time outdoors. We suggest that people wear protective clothing, use insect repellent (i.e. DEET), and do a full body check after spending time outdoors,” said acting Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine.

The study also confirmed the presence of two other human pathogen diseases, Babesiosis and Anaplasmosis, in Pennsylvania blacklegged ticks. The prevalence rates of these two diseases were much lower than Lyme disease.

Pennsylvania has reported the most cases of Lyme disease in the nation for the past five years. All Pennsylvanians are encouraged to take precautions to prevent the spread of tick-borne illnesses.

“Parents should check their children for ticks. Showering within two hours of outdoor exposure may also help prevent transmission. If an individual has been bitten by a tick, we recommend that they remove the tick carefully with a set of fine tipped tweezers. If an individual develops signs and symptoms of Lyme disease after a tick bite, we urge them to seek medical attention. Early diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease may prevent late-stage complications,” Dr. Levine said.

To view a Pennsylvania Department of Health fact sheet on Lyme disease, click here.

To view the study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, click here.

Alabama #AL | Number of synthetic cannabinoids-related hospitalizations spikes to nearly 100 in last four weeks

Alabama hospitals have reported a total of 462 patients seen from March 15 through April 20 who have experienced symptoms after smoking or ingesting synthetic cannabinoids commonly known as spice. Of these, 96 patients were hospitalized and 2 deaths have occurred.

Active surveillance began on April 15, 2015. Prior to this, hospitals reported approximate date ranges and numbers of patients seen.

The Alabama Department of Public Health continues to warn about the hazards associated with the use and the risk to the public from synthetic cannabinoids. Users of the synthetic mixtures typically experience symptoms that include rapid heart rate, nausea and vomiting, agitation, confusion, lethargy, hallucinations, kidney and respiratory problems.

Over the past six months the people hospitalized have ranged in age from 13 through the 60s; most are males in their 20s and 30s. Their injuries are serious in nature, and the long-term health effects are unknown.

The designer drug substances consist of dried plant material sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids and any mixture of other unknown chemicals including pesticides and rat poison.

The chemical compounds reportedly stimulate the same brain areas affected by marijuana, and they have a high potential for abuse. Users may opt for these marijuana alternatives because they believe they believe they are safe.

Dr. Mary G. McIntyre, ADPH Assistant State Health Officer for Disease Control and Prevention says that “Responses to these chemicals can be unpredictable and deadly. People have experienced coma, kidney failure, and heart attacks just to mention some of the effects experienced by users. Please do not take the risk. Do not use these products.”

Hundreds of different variants are marketed under names that include “Spice,” “K2,” “Spice Gold,” “Sence,” “Genie,” “Zohai,” “Yucatan Fire,” “Smoke,” “Sexy Monkey,” “Black Mamba” and “Skunk.”

The possession or sale of chemical compounds typically found in these synthetic substances is unlawful.

California #CA | Very rare strain of #Salmonella linked to #outbreak in several counties

On April 9, 2015, the State of California Department of Public Health (CDPH) notified Ventura County Communicable Disease of a possible Salmonella paratyphi outbreak.

As of today, April 20, 2015, there have been 25 confirmed cases. Eighteen of these cases reside in California. (7 reside in LA County, 4 in Orange County, 2 in Riverside County, 1 in Santa Barbara County, and 4 in Ventura County) There are 7 out-of-state cases, most of whom had travel to Southern California. Twenty percent of affected patients have been hospitalized.

At this time, investigation is still ongoing regarding the cause of the outbreak. As of April 17, 10/10 people who completed detailed food questionnaires stated they had consumed sushi, and over 80%
reported having eaten raw tuna. The Ventura County Environmental Health Division will provide information to CDPH about the source of food products from any Ventura County facilities associated
with this outbreak.

This strain of Salmonella (Paratyphi B var. L(+) tartrate + (Java), pattern JKXX01.1495) had never been seen in animals or humans before March 2015. CDPH has noted that a closely-related strain was responsible for a salmonella outbreak in California and Hawaii in 2010. The 2010 outbreak was found to be linked to raw tuna imported from Indonesia.

This strain is genetically different from the 2010 strain, so it appears the 2 strains are unrelated at this time.

Members of the public who become ill after eating sushi or any other foods can report concerns to Ventura County Environmental Health at http://www.ventura.org/rma/envhealth/complaint-form.html.

The phone number for Environmental Health is 805-654-2813. If you have nausea, diarrhea (with or without blood), abdominal cramping and fever, especially if you have recently eaten raw fish, please seek medical attention and diagnostic testing.

 

Wisconsin #WI | #H5 avian influenza detected in #Chippewa County turkey flock

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, in cooperation with the US Department of Agriculture is responding to a detection of H5 avian influenza in an 87,000 bird turkey flock in Chippewa county.

There are now four cases in Wisconsin.

While lethal to domestic poultry, the strain of virus detected is not known to have caused disease in humans and is not expected to pose a risk to public health or the food supply.

The property was immediately quarantined and neighboring properties with poultry will be notified about the situation.  Remaining birds will be depopulated and will not enter the food supply.  Following USDA protocols, surveillance and testing procedures will take place at properties near the affected facility to ensure the virus has not spread.

The H5 avian influenza virus was first detected in Wisconsin at a commercial chicken flock in Jefferson County on Monday, April 13, which led to the depopulation of more than 180,000 egg-laying chickens.  Since then two additional flocks were detected in Barron and Juneau counties bringing the total of birds to more than 310,000 in Wisconsin.  Multiple outbreaks of avian influenza have occurred most recently in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Arkansas, the Dakotas and Kansas leading to the depopulation of more than 1 million turkeys and chickens since January.

Wisconsinites are reminded that the avian influenza virus strain currently detected in Wisconsin and the other states presents low risk to public health. Poultry meat and egg products in the marketplace remain safe to eat. As always, both wild and domestic poultry should be properly cooked.

Officials are investigating how the virus entered the flock and may not have answers for some time.  Until then, backyard poultry owners and other poultry producers are encouraged to practice good biosecurity and to take steps that prevent contact between their birds and wild birds. They also should monitor their flock closely and report sick or dead birds to DATCP at 1-800-572-8981.

For more information on avian influenza and biosecurity measures, go to http://datcp.wi.gov/Animals/Animal_Diseases/Avian_Influenza/index.aspx.

Wisconsin #WI | Second #H5 avian influenza detection found in #Jefferson County commercial egg-laying facility

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, in cooperation with the US Department of Agriculture is responding to a detection of H5 avian influenza in an 800,000 bird egg-laying chicken flock in Jefferson county.

There are now five cases in Wisconsin.

While lethal to domestic poultry, the strain of virus detected is not known to have caused disease in humans and is not expected to pose a risk to public health or the food supply.

The property was immediately quarantined and neighboring properties with poultry will be notified about the situation. Remaining birds will be depopulated and will not enter the food supply.

Following USDA protocols, surveillance and testing procedures will take place at properties near the affected facility to ensure the virus has not spread.

The H5 avian influenza virus was first detected in Wisconsin at a commercial chicken flock in Jefferson County on Monday, April 13, which led to the depopulation of more than 180,000 egg-laying chickens.

Since then three additional flocks were detected in Barron, Juneau and Chippewa counties bringing the total of birds destroyed to nearly 400,000 in Wisconsin.

Multiple outbreaks of avian influenza have occurred most recently in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Arkansas, the Dakotas and Kansas leading to the depopulation of more than 1 million turkeys and chickens since January.

Dr. Paul McGraw, Wisconsin state veterinarian, already issued a ban on poultry movement to shows, exhibitions and swap meets in Jefferson, Juneau and Barron counties. Chippewa county was added to the ban this morning.

Wisconsinites are reminded that the avian influenza virus strain currently detected in Wisconsin and the other states presents low risk to public health. Poultry meat and egg products in the marketplace remain safe to eat. As always, both wild and domestic poultry should be properly cooked.

Officials are investigating how the virus entered the flock and may not have answers for some time. Until then, backyard poultry owners and other poultry producers are encouraged to practice good biosecurity and to take steps that prevent contact between their birds and wild birds. They also should monitor their flock closely and report sick or dead birds to DATCP at 1-800-572-8981.

For more information on avian influenza and biosecurity measures, go to http://datcp.wi.gov/Animals/Animal_Diseases/Avian_Influenza/index.aspx.

New South Wales #NSW | #ExtremeWeather – SES have rolled on 4588 jobs and 47 flood rescues since 7 am Monday

An intense low pressure system has brought significant wind and rainfall to the New South Wales coast overnight. This wild weather currently sits near the boundary of the Hunter and Mid North Coast locations and is expected to move slowly south throughout the day.

NSW SES have undertaken 4588 jobs and 47 flood rescues since 7am Monday.

Hunter Region total jobs = 1548

Illawarra South Coast total jobs = 190

Sydney Metro total jobs = 2764

The following Flood Rescue jobs have been attended by NSW SES:
  • Port Stephens Unit – Persons – 2 persons vehicle – Seaham
  • Maitland City Unit – Persons – 4 persons isolated in home – Rutherford
  • Wyong Unit – Persons – 1 person in vehicle – Ourimbah
  • Maitland City Unit – Persons – 1 person and infant – isolated in home – Aberglasslyn
  • Maitland City Unit – Persons – 2 persons isolated in home – Abberglasslyn
  • Maitland City Unit – Persons – vehicle in flood water – Rutherford
  • Maitland City Unit – Persons – 40 children and staff at Early Learning centre – assist Police with evacuation – Rutherford
  • Maitland City Unit – Persons – vehicle in water – Rutherford
  • Maitland City Unit – Persons – 2 persons isolated in home – Woodville
  • Maitland City Unit – Persons – 1 visually impaired persons isolated in home – Lochinvar
  • Port Stephens Unit – Persons – house inundated with flood water – Wallalong
  • Maitland City Unit – Persons – 1 person isolated in home – Maitland
  • Maitland City Unit – Persons – 1 person isolated in home – Lorn
  • Maitland City Unit – Persons – 4 persons isolated in home – Bolwarra Heights
  • Port Stephens Units – Persons – 1 person isolated in home – Morpeth
  • Port Stephens Units – Persons – 1 person in tree – Brandy Hill

The Bureau have issued a Detailed Severe Thunderstorm Warning for people in the Greater Newcastle and parts of the Maitland/Cessnock areas as well as a Severe Weather Warning for damaging and locally destructive winds, damaging winds, heavy rainfall and damaging surf for people in the Metropolitan, Hunter and Illawarra locations.

Heavy Rainfall is likely in the Hunter locations, but also possible about the Metropolitan and Illawarra areas.

For all current NSW SES warnings click here http://goo.gl/sBVBqm

Another reminder we are experiencing a backlog of calls as we currently receiving more jobs than we have phone lines. Please be patient, jobs that are life critical are taking priority before storm damage jobs. We understand that you wish to get through but the only way to register your job correctly is though the 132 500 number.

NSW SES advises people in these areas to:
  • Never drive through floodwater.
  • Avoid low lying areas as well as rivers, creeks and storm water drains
  • Move to higher ground if bad weather sets in
  • Don’t go sightseeing – you’ll be getting in the way of our volunteers
  • Stay up to date with the latest traffic information at livetraffic.com
  • For emergency help in a storm call the SES on 132 500
  • Dial 000 in a life-threatening situation

For more tips you can do to prepare for storms and flooding visit www.stormsafe.com.au and www.floodsafe.com.au

New South Wales #NSW | #SES Alert – Flood Safety Advice for residents in #Newcastle and surrounding urban areas

Expect rapid rises and high velocity flash flood water in local creeks, watercourses and urban areas over the next few hours.

Due to forecast heavy rain, Residents in Newcastle and surrounding urban areas may experience flash flooding and a rapid rise and high flow velocities in local watercourses.

Do not enter floodwater.

If you become trapped you should seek the highest point within the building and to telephone 000 if you require rescue.

For more information listen to local radio or visit www.ses.nsw.gov.au

New South Wales #NSW | Busy night for Fire & Rescue NSW firefighters – #SevereWeather

Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) crews across Sydney and the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Newcastle areas have responded to nearly 1000 storm-related jobs since late yesterday afternoon in one of the busiest nights in the organisation’s history.

Fire & Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said FRNSW had taken more than 3000 Triple Zero (000) calls since 6pm yesterday.

“We have had about 800 firefighters and 200 fire trucks responding to ongoing emergencies including flood rescues, house fires, serious road accidents with people trapped, trees down and building collapses,” Commissioner Mullins said.

This morning Commissioner Mullins ordered the mobilisation of 24 reserve fire trucks and the recall of off-duty firefighters. These crews, together with a contingent of fire trucks and crews from Sydney, will be used to assist Central Coast and Newcastle fire crews.

During last night’s emergency response, a Raymond Terrace firefighter was injured when a large tree fell on a fire truck cabin at Heatherbrae, Port Stephens. The firefighter was transported to hospital with minor injuries and is in a stable condition. At Morriset a tree has brought down powerlines on top of a fire truck, trapping firefighters inside.

Incidents firefighters have responded to since 4pm yesterday until 8am today include:

  • Dungog firefighters rescuing numerous residents trapped by floodwaters in Stroud, near Newcastle
  • More than 990 storm-related emergencies, including powerlines down and arcing, trees down and assisting members of the public
  • More than 30 rescues, including two people in Rankin Park, Lake Macquarie, after a large tree fell on their house, restricting access.
  • About 75 fires, including a two-storey house in Carlton destroyed by fire, and a school fire at Holsworthy
  • 16 electrical fires and five gas leaks
  • More than 180 other callouts such as automatic fire alarms being set off by wind, power outages and heavy rain.
  • Commissioner Mullins said FRNSW would continue to provide support to the NSW SES throughout today as extreme weather conditions continue.

“I can only praise firefighters and our other emergency service colleagues for their mighty effort,” he said. “We’re also appealing to the public to only call Triple Zero (000) if it is a genuine emergency and do not drive through floodwaters. For flood and storm assistance, call the NSW SES on 132 500,” he said.

Be well. Practice big medicine.