Communicable Diseases -
Influenza occurrence has been lowered to "local activity" in Maryland . Click Here for Map
RSV and Group A Strep test positives took a big jump up at GCMH in February. At WMHS, the RSV remained high, Group A Strep and Rotavirus were climbing, and 42 positive Influenza tests were reported. Mono remained moderately frequent at both laboratories. Click to View: GCMH or WMHS.
Immunization Requirements for the 2006-2007 School Year -At School Entry the major change is that MMR immunizations that were given up to 4 days before a child's first birthday are now acceptable as a first dose. For Pre-school and Kindergarten children, the Board of Education, the Department of Social Services, and Headstart have all agreed to uniform requirements for Pneumcoccal Conjugate Vaccine PCV7 (Prevnar), which now vary only according to the age of the child, not the care setting in which they are participating. Similarly, a child at age 5 (60 months) is now required to have a second MMR in any child care or educational setting. (Click Here for Chart)
Children in Grades 6-9 will now (next school year) be required to have a Hepatitis B series of 3 and a varicella immunization or physician documented history of the disease. This is another year of incremental increases in requirements for older children that had been previously established.
Immunet - Orientation and training is coming! (Click here) This is a state-wide, web-based database which will bring together immunization information from all providers. This will provide immediate benefits for local practitioners, including access to records from the health department (we have transferred our old records already, and will add any immunizations which we give in the future), and from other physicians who may have entered information, as well as indicating which immunizations a child may need, and printing of the form the child is expected to take to school registration. Local physicians will be asked to sign up for access to this system, and to have staff trained to enter and retrieve data
Medicare Part D - Our best resource for assistance in signing up, and dealing with problems continues to be Lynda Weeks at Community Action-Area Office on Aging- 301-334-9431. She has given and continues to give group presentations and individual counseling by appointment. Although anecdotal accounts of difficulties abound, statistics on the effectiveness of the program are hard to come by.
Pandemic Influenza - Really no new information coming out on this; surveillance for antigenic shifts by avian strains continue, as does testing of susceptibility to anti-virals and of possible vaccines for protection from an H5N1 virus. A number of genetic changes would be necessary for the avian flu virus to become transmissible from human-to-human so they are looking for evidence of these incremental changes.
Avian Influenza- Chickens and Turkeys are having a really bad time of it, with spread of this pathogenic Asian strain of H5N1 through Europe and into Africa . This strain has not yet reached the Americas , but will likely continue to spread. The CDC has developed a real-time RT-PCR primer and probe set for this virus. This test is only available in selected laboratories and requests would be handled through the local and state health departments