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Virginia Department of Health

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7 Ways to Help Prevent Mosquito Bites

Mosquitoes can make you sick through their bites. Mosquitoes spread malaria, dengue fever and chikungunya through their bite. Prevent mosquito bites by controlling the number of mosquitoes around you and protecting yourself from their bites. Remember to:

  1. Wear long, loose and light-colored clothing.
  2. If possible, stay inside when mosquitoes are biting.
  3. Use bug spray with the smallest percentage of DEET needed for the amount of time you are exposed to mosquitoes. Use according to the manufacturer’s directions and DEET should not be applied to infants under 2 months old.
  4. Turn over or get rid of containers in your yard where water gathers, such as old tires, potted plant trays, buckets and toys.
  5. Remove standing water on tarps or flat roofs.
  6. Clean out birdbaths and wading pools once a week.
  7. Clean roof gutters and downspout screens.
Childhood Cancer Awareness

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer is the leading disease-related cause of death among children and second only to injury among all causes of death. Each year in Virginia an average of 326 children under the age of 19 are diagnosed with cancer and nearly 47 children die. While the survival rate for children with cancer has dramatically improved over the last 50 years, there is a need for continued research to identify prevention and treatment strategies that are more effective.

In Virginia, leukemia is the most commonly diagnosed childhood cancer, affecting 4 out of every 100,000 children (an average of 82 per year). It results in the deaths of an average of 13 children per year (0.6 for every 100,000).

To learn more about childhood cancer visit:

Virginia Health Information
'Virginia Health Information' is a resource for patients and consumers looking to learn about and compare options on everything from obstetrical services, to heart care, to pricing information on commonly performed medical procedures. Virginians can use VHI information to make informed health care purchasing decisions and as the basis for an informed conversation with their health care providers. Learn more>>

CDC Health Advisory: Acute Neurological Illness with Limb Weakness of Unknown Cause in Children

  • CDC is working closely with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to investigate reports of nine children hospitalized for neurologic illness with limb weakness of unknown cause. As part of the investigation they are working to determine whether this cluster of illness in Colorado may be linked to the large nationwide outbreak of EV-D68.
  • The Virginia Department of Health has received one report from the Northern Region of a child with acute neurological illness of unknown etiology. We are currently investigating the report and working with the health care provider to gather more information.
  • Neurologic illness with limb weakness can result from a variety of infectious and non-infectious causes.  Viral causes of neurologic illness can include enteroviruses (polio and non-polio), adenovirus, and West Nile virus but neurologic illness caused by these agents is very uncommon in the United States.
  • VDH and CDC have interest in characterizing the epidemiology and etiology of such cases. Clinicians should report immediately to your local health department any patient meeting the following case definition:

    Patients ≤ 21 years of age with
    1) Acute onset of focal limb weakness occurring on or after August 1,. 2014;
    2) An MRI showing a spinal cord lesion largely restricted to gray matter.

  • CDC Health Advisory
boy sneezing

VDH Closely Monitoring Increased Nationwide Activity of Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68)

A recent report in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of two clusters of severe respiratory illness among hospitalized children in Missouri and Illinois where the illness was confirmed to be due to. enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) has raised concerns about the potential spread of this virus.

As of September 17, 2014, EV-D68 has been laboratory confirmed in the Central Region of Virginia.

Enteroviruses are very common viruses, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 10 to 15 million enterovirus infections occur in the United States every year, with most infections occurring during the summer and fall. Enteroviruses likely spread from person to person when an infected person sneezes, coughs or touches contaminated surfaces.

EV-D68 was first identified in California in 1962, and is a less common strain of enterovirus.

The Virginia Department of Health is working with hospitals statewide and the CDC in investigating any suspected clusters of respiratory illness. There is no specific treatment or vaccine for EV-D68 infections. Many infections will be mild and self-limited, but some people with severe respiratory illness caused by EV-D68 may need to be hospitalized and receive intensive supportive care.

Citizens can help protect themselves from respiratory illnesses by frequently washing their hands with soap and water, avoiding close contact with sick people and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

For more information, visit:

Be Disaster Aware

September is National Preparedness Month

The key to bouncing back and recovering after a disaster is being prepared before it happens. Help your family and community prepare for emergencies by being informed, making a plan, building a kit and getting involved in readiness activities. More information on Preparedness Month.

How is VDH Prepared? Focus on Drinking Water Safety
The VDH Office of Drinking Water (ODW) plays an essential role in protecting Virginians during emergencies and natural disasters. Often “behind the scenes,” ODW protects our drinking supply, helps make sure people who work with drinking water are at the top of their fields, and prepares for the worst case scenarios--so when something unexpected happens, our water supplies will remain safe. Read More…

Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

Ebola: What You Need to Know

Ebola is one of numerous Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers. It is a severe, often fatal disease. Sporadic cases and outbreaks of Ebola have been reported throughout Africa. No cases of human illness have ever been diagnosed or spread within the U.S.

Ebola is NOT readily transmitted through the air from person to person like the flu or common cold. Rather, it is transmitted by contact with the blood and other body fluids (such as vomit, urine and stool) of an ill person. So it'. unlikely that someone would catch Ebola from simpl. being on the same plane or in the same public space with someone who was affected.

The countries in Africa struggling with Ebola have limited resources and a lack of modern medical care or facilities. This is one of the main reasons health care workers are having difficulty getting the outbreak under control.

If someone with Ebola came to the U.S., it is unlikely it would turn into an outbreak like in West Africa. That is because the U.S. has a strong health-care infrastructure.

Modern hospitals use procedures to prevent the disease from spreading, and public health officials would work to identify those at risk of infection to prevent them from spreading it to other people.

The Virginia Department of Health has a plan in place to work with its partners in the event a suspected case of Ebola is reported in the state.

Still, Ebola is serious and health officials are working with health care providers to make sure that travelers returning to the U.S. who could possibly have the virus are quickly identified, and that disease control measures are quickly put into place.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises people not to travel to Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone, if at all possible.

More information:

Last Updated: 09-29-2014

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