August 23,

Boil Water Advisory Issued for Millbrook Residents

August 22, 2014 – The Peterborough County-City Health Unit is issuing a boil water advisory for the residents of Millbrook who use the municipal water system.

Residents should bring water to a rolling boil for at least a minute before using it for things such as drinking, cooking or brushing teeth.

This precaution should be taken until further notice.

This advisory is being made following the loss of pressure in the water system due to a broken water main. Under such conditions, there is a risk of water being siphoned or back-flowed into the distribution system through inappropriate household connections such as hoses in laundry tubs.

Once the Health Unit is satisfied with the water sample results, the public will be notified.

For more information on safe water, visit the section called “My Home & Environment”  and “click on “Water”.

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Blue-Green Algae: Know the Risks and How to Protect Yourself

August 20, 2014 - The Peterborough County-City Health Unit is advising local residents to protect themselves from blue-green algae which may bloom on area lakes.

The Health Unit with the assistance of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is monitoring lakes in Peterborough County and City area. To date, no reports have been received of the presence or confirmation of blue-green algae this season.

“Residents should visit the Health Unit’s website or call us for information about what to look for before swimming or consuming water if they suspect a bloom in their area,” said Atul Jain, Manager of Inspection Services Programs at the Health Unit. “Just as we’ve all learned how to avoid poison ivy and sunburns, it’s important to know how to protect ourselves from blue-green algae so everyone can still safely enjoy the outdoors.”

Blue-green algae are a type of bacteria, called cyanobacteria that are known for rapidly reproducing and collecting to form large, highly visible blooms throughout the water column, on the surface of water as a scum, or on the lake bottom as a mat.  These blooms are not only unsightly and smelly: some species of cyanobacteria can also release poisons, called cyanobacterial toxins, when the cells that make up the bloom rupture or die.

To report a blue-green algae bloom, residents are advised to contact the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change at 1-800-268-6060

The risk to humans is primarily from drinking water that has been contaminated with toxins from a dense algae bloom.  Fortunately, there have been no human deaths attributed to drinking water containing cyanobacterial toxins, but the toxins may cause headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or diarrhea. Long-term consumption of water containing high levels of cyanobacterial toxins may cause neurological or liver problems.  If allowed, farm animals and pets may consume large quantities of heavily contaminated water, resulting in sickness or death.

Some individuals are sensitive to blue-green algae, and may develop a mild skin rash or eye irritation even if there is no toxin produced by the bloom.  Some individuals will have no reaction.

For more information on blue-green algae, and precautions to be taken before swimming in or consuming water where there has been an algae bloom, go to www.pcchu.ca, click on “My Home & Environment” and visit the webpage dedicated to blue-green algae.

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For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence
Communications Supervisor
705-743-1000, ext. 391

 

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Twice as Many Ontario Residents Support Community Water Fluoridation Than Oppose It

August 13, 2014 - Research shows that twice as many Ontario residents support community water fluoridation than oppose it.

A Provincial Health Indicator report shows that 56% of Ontario residents are in favour of fluoridating community water supplies, while only 23% opposed it.  More than 1,800 adults 18 years and older from Ontario households were surveyed in 2011, the last time this data was gathered by the Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System (RRFSS).  RRFSS is an ongoing telephone survey used to gather surveillance data, monitor public opinion on key public health issues, and collect information on emerging issues of importance to public health in Ontario.

“The data is clear that the majority of people understand that fluoride prevents tooth decay and wish to see this practice continued for the benefit of the whole community,” said Dr. Rosana Pellizzari, Medical Officer of Health at the Peterborough County-City Health Unit.

Dr. Pellizzari noted the report also showed that 21% of respondents were unsure whether they supported or opposed fluoride.  She encouraged those who are still making up their minds to use credible, unbiased scientific sources for their information.  “There is a lot of misinformation on the internet about fluoridation put out there by conspiracy theorists and groups with corporate interests,” said Dr. Pellizzari.  “One of the best things you can do is consult websites of third-party, scientific health agencies like Health Canada or Public Health Ontario that provide unbiased reviews of the scientific literature and who aren’t driven by political agendas.”

To access a copy of the report, visit: http://www.durham.ca/departments/health/health_statistics/rrfss/WaterFluoridation.pdf .

Local fluoride information is also available on www.pcchu.ca.

 

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For further information, please contact:
Brittany Cadence
Communications Supervisor
(705) 743-1000, ext. 391

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Students Require Proof of Three More Vaccinations

July 30, 2014 - Parents Advised to Call the Health Unit to Ensure Their Child’s Immunization Records are Up To Date

The Peterborough County-City Health Unit is advising parents that starting in September, children need to have proof of immunization against meningococcal disease, whooping cough and chickenpox to attend school. 

In most cases, children will have already been vaccinated against these three diseases as they are currently included in the publicly funded immunization schedule for Ontario.  As of July 1, 2014, the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) changed to require these vaccines to attend school. 

“These changes will improve the health and safety of our school children by ensuring they are protected against vaccine-preventable diseases and reducing the risk of outbreaks in schools,” said Dr. Rosana Pellizzari, Medical Officer of Health.  “Doctors do not report vaccination information to the Health Unit, so we want parents to understand it is up to them to ensure their child’s vaccination record with us remains current.”

The Health Unit is reporting that there are still a number of local students with incomplete vaccination records.  Under the ISPA, students can be suspended from school if they do not have the required vaccinations for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps and rubella, and now meningococcal disease, pertussis (whooping cough) and varicella (chickenpox).  There is no cost to receive these publicly-funded vaccines.

Parents and caregivers are being asked to provide the dates of these vaccinations to the Health Unit.  The healthcare provider who gave the vaccine should be able to confirm the date(s) it was given. 

If a student requires a catch-up immunization to meet the updated requirements for school attendance, most are available from their regular healthcare provider.  Those who do not have a healthcare provider can make an appointment at the Health Unit’s Routine Immunization Clinic 705-743-1000.  Catch-up immunizations clinics for the meningococcal vaccine will be offered in the fall for secondary school students who still need this vaccine.

To check if your child has up to date vaccinations, or to report the dates that your child received vaccinations, please call the Peterborough County-City Health Unit at 705-743-1000.

For a full list of vaccines children need to attend school, visit www.pcchu.ca, and click under Parent & Caregivers – Immunization.

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For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence
Communications Supervisor
(705) 743-1000, ext. 391

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Tick Talk: Health Unit Wants You to be Lyme Disease Aware

July 25, 2014 - The Peterborough County-City Health Unit has launched a summer promotional campaign to raise awareness about Lyme disease and how to prevent it.

Lyme disease is a potentially serious illness and growing health threat across Ontario.  It is the most common disease spread by ticks in Canada, caused by the bite of infected blacklegg

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ed ticks. While not all blacklegged ticks carry Lyme disease, po

pulations of infected blacklegged ticks are spreading due to climate change. This means the risk of contracting Lyme disease is on the rise across Canada.

“Locally we are closely monitoring for evidence of infected ticks in our area, so we encourage residents to check for ticks on their bodies and bring them to the Health Unit for identification,” explained Dylan Mahoney, Vector Borne Disease Prevention Program.  “Ticks can be as small as a sesame seed and their bites are usually painless, so it’s important to be on the lookout for ticks and the symptoms of Lyme disease.”

Mr. Mahoney explained that if you do locate a tick on your body, use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible and pull the tick straight out.  Save the tick in an empty screw-top bottle or zipper-closed bag and take it to the Peterborough County-City Health Unit located at 10 Hospital Drive.  The tick will then be sent away to the Ontario Public Health Laboratory for identification.

Lyme is gaining the attention of health officials because of an increase in Lyme disease cases acquired within Ontario.  Public Health Ontario reported 317 human cases of Lyme disease last year in Ontario with the majority of cases occurring during the summer months.

To help build public awareness about Lyme disease, the Health Unit has developed bus advertisements, radio ads, social media messages and online communications tools.  These materials describe how Lyme disease is spread and what precautions one can take to avoid becoming infected.  For details on precautions, and what the symptoms of Lyme disease are, please visit www.pcchu.ca, click on “My Home & Environment” and go to “Lyme Disease”.

What to do if you find a tick:

When bringing a tick to the Health Unit, please be aware that only ticks found on humans will be submitted for identification and testing.  Any ticks found on pets or other animals should be taken to a veterinarian. Once a tick has been removed from a person’s body, we ask that you place the tick in sealed container or Ziploc bag and bring into the health unit as soon as you can.

When submitting a tick you will need to provide the following information:

  • full name (including middle initial) and date of birth of the person to whom the tick was attached;
  • location on the body where the tick was found;
  • approximate length of time the tick was attached;
  • where the tick was acquired, along with recent travel history;
  • record of any symptoms; and
  • Health care provider’s name and city of practice.

A tick can be submitted to the health unit Monday to Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more information on tick submission or general inquires about ticks please contact the Vector Borne Disease Program at the

 Health Unit at 705-743-1000.

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For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence
Communications Supervisor
705-743-1000, ext. 391

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