July 29, 2017
Children and adults generally do not experience significant illness from Zika, but the virus causes serious birth defects in unborn children.
High summer heat poses dangers Substitute yellow fever vaccine in use DeKalb County Emergency Management recommends that you drink at least four cups of water every hour if outside. Don’t wait until experiencing thirst.
As summer temperatures reach into the high 90s and 100-plus degrees, it is important to take extra precautions to stay hydrated and cool. Babies, children, older adults and those with chronic illnesses are most at-risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 658 people died from heat-related illnesses between 1999 and 2009.
What to do? DeKalb County Emergency Management Agency offers these tips to stay safe during summer heat: n Stay in an air-conditioned area during the hottest hours of the day. Residents without air conditioning should go to a public place such as a shopping mall or library. n Wear light, loose-fitting clothing. n Drink water often; at least four cups every
hour if outside. Don’t wait until experiencing thirst. n If you must work outdoors, take frequent breaks; at least five minutes for every 15 minutes of work, in the shade or indoors. n Avoid unnecessary sun exposure. When in the sun, wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim. n Don’t forget about pets. Bring them inside during the day, or if outside, give them extra water and a shady cool place. n Do not leave children or pets in the car. Even with the windows down or cracked, the temperature can increase to more than 110 degrees within 10 minutes. n Check neighbors, especially those who live alone or are elderly. DeKalb County will open cool centers if temperatures remain elevated. For more information, visit www.dekalbcountyga.gov.
Second West Nile case in DeKalb A 78-year-old DeKalb man has been hospitalized with West Nile since July 24. The man, who lives in unincorporated DeKalb between Chamblee and Tucker, is the second victim of the disease in the county this year. The first case was a 72year-old man from Brookhaven. The DeKalb Board of Health says it continues to conduct door-to-door campaigns to keep residents informed and educated of online resources. So far, 30 positive West Nile virus mosquito pools have been identified from 14 collections across the county. Last year 2,038 cases of West Nile were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The pubic is encouraged to: n Reduce outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes that transmit West Nile are most active. n Use an insect repellent containing DEET, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. n Spray clothing with products containing permethrin. n Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors. n Reduce stagnant water around the house and overgrown grass, weeds and vines. n Make sure window and door screens fit tightly to keep mosquitoes out. For more information, visit www. dekalbhealth.net/envhealth or call 404508-7900.
Travelers who need the yellow fever vaccine YF-Vax will get Stamaril, an investigational trial formula, due to an interruption of supply. The DeKalb Board of Health says it will administer the vaccine made by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration beginning Aug. 1 at the T.O. Vinson Health Center travel clinic in Decatur. It is one of six authorized sites in Georgia. Yellow fever occurs in sub-Saharan Africa and tropical South America, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends travelers get the YF-Vax, which is licensed for use in the U.S. and 70 other countries.
In a travel alert on its website, the CDC says that because of a total depletion of YF-Vax until mid-2018, Sanofi Pasteur, the Swiftwater, Penn.-based manufacturer, has worked with it to make an alternative yellow fever vaccine, Stamaril, available at select locations until YFVax supply returns in mid-2018. Dr. S. Elizabeth Ford, DeKalb County district health director, said the decision to administer the investigational trial was not taken lightly. The T.O. Vinson Health Center is at 440 Winn Way in Decatur. For more information about the yellow fever vaccine or other travel services offered by the DeKalb County Board of Health, visit www. dekalbhealth.net or call (404) 294-3700.
Progress in Zika vaccine research
Scientists are making progress in creating vaccines to prevent mother-to-unbornchild Zika virus infections. New findings published in the July 13 issue of Cell show that two experimental vaccines can restrict Zika virus transmission from pregnant mice to their fetuses, and can prevent Zika virus-induced placental damage and fetal demise. The study was conducted by scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH); Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis; the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB); and other partners. The vaccines created by biotechnology company Moderna and UTMB are the first tested on animals to restrict transmission of the virus. In the study, all female mice were mated and infected with Zika virus. One week after infection, the scientists observed that most fetuses in the vaccinated mice showed no evidence of having Zika virus transmitted to them from their pregnant mothers. Those mice that were infected showed markedly diminished levels of Zika virus RNA in maternal, placental and fetal tissues compared to placebo-injected mice, resulting in protection against placental damage and fetal demise. Together the data show that both experimental vaccines can restrict in-utero transmission of Zika virus
Zika birth defects include microcephaly, which causes a baby’s head to be much smaller.
in mice. Further evaluation of the experimental vaccines is warranted, the authors say, as a vaccine that prevents congenital Zika syndrome in people is a critical public health need. Children and adults generally do not experience significant illness from Zika, but the virus causes serious birth defects in unborn children including microcephaly which causes a baby’s head to be significantly smaller than others, decreased brain tissue, collapsed skull, joints with limited range, eye damage and limited movement from too much muscle tone. In the April 17, 2017, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released by the CDC, 51 babies were born with birth defects as a result of Zika. The report also showed most women caught the virus in Latin American and Caribbean countries and territories, as well as the South Pacific and coast of West Africa. This year the CDC has reported 175 cases of Zika. One of those cases was acquired through sexual transmission. As of July 19, 36 cases were reported in New York, 16 in Texas and Florida and 17 in California. The research, funded by NIAID and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, will continue to seek vaccines to prevent transmission of the virus in people.
Free screenings, school supplies at NAACP fair
Congratulations! The following Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates physicians have been named to Atlanta magazine’s list of Top Doctors for 2017: Dr. Girish Anand, Dr. Christopher Brown, Dr. Hitesh Chokshi, Dr. Norman Elliott, Dr. Charles Fox, Dr. Lori Lucas, Dr. Ralph Lyons, Dr. Enrique Martínez, Dr. Kamil Obideen, Dr. Neal Osborn, Dr. Nirav Patel, Dr. David Quinn, and Dr. John Suh
www.atlantagastro.com | 1.866.GO.TO.AGA [468.6242]
Free health screenings will be available at the DeKalb NAACP’s annual Health Fair on Aug. 5 at the Gallery at South DeKalb in Decatur. The 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. event is co-sponsored by District 3 Commissioner Larry Johnson. Teresa Hardy, the NAACP branch president, said the first 10 children who get a dental screening will also get a $10 gift certificate for school supplies. “We will also have school supplies as a giveaway on first-come, first-serve basis,” she said. Twenty-five groups and organizations will offer information and screenings for blood glucose, hypertension, nutrition and HIV/AIDS. The mall is at 2801 Candler Road. For more information, contact Cherry Willis, NAACP Health Committee chair, at 404-241-8006.