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April 30, 2019 - 1:25pm

From the GC Health Department:

National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and to celebrate the achievements of immunization programs in promoting healthy communities throughout the United States.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of this significant observance! Paul Pettit, Public Health director of Genesee and Orleans counties, proclaims the many benefits and accomplishments vaccines have on our communities.

“Vaccines are amongthe most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death," Pettit said. "When you get vaccinated, you not only protect yourself but you also help protect the people around you who might be too young or too sick to get vaccinated themselves.

"This is called 'community immunity' or 'herd immunity.' If enough people stop getting vaccinated, more outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, will occur.”

Most parents choose the safe, proven protection of vaccines. Giving babies the recommended vaccinations by age 2 is the best way to protect them from 14 serious childhood diseases, like whooping cough and measles.

These diseases can be especially serious for infants and young children. Parents are encouraged to talk to their child’s doctor to ensure that their baby is up-to-date on vaccinations.

It is important to follow the recommended immunization schedule to protect infants and children by providing immunity early in life, before they encounter potentially life-threatening diseases.

The recent outbreak of measles in our country has reached the highest number of cases since the disease was eliminated in 2000. Most recent data shows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed 695 cases of measles from 22 states.

The return of the disease occurs when an unvaccinated traveler visits a country where there is widespread measles transmission, gets infected with measles, and returns to the United States and exposes people in a community who are not vaccinated.

Once measles enters an under-vaccinated community, it becomes difficult to control the spread of the disease. When measles enters a highly vaccinated community, outbreaks either don’t happen or are usually small.

This is why taking proper precautions and receiving the vaccine is so important to the health of our community.

Below is a summary of the vaccines children should receive by 2 years of age:

  1. The Varicella vaccine protects against chickenpox. Symptoms of chickenpox include rash, tiredness, headache, and fever. Complications of the disease include infected blisters, bleeding disorders, encephalitis (brain swelling), and pneumonia (infection in the lungs). Children need two doses of chickenpox vaccine. CDC recommends children receive the first dose between 12–15 months and the second between 4–6 years.

  2. The DTaP vaccine combines protection against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. Symptoms of diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis includes sore throat, mild fever, weakness, and swollen glands in neck. Complications of these diseases included swelling of the heart muscle, heart failure, coma, paralysis, death. Children need five doses of DTaP vaccine. CDC recommends infants receive the first dose at 2 months, the second at 4 months, the third at 6 months, the fourth between 15–18 months, and the fifth between 4–6 years.

  3. The Hib vaccine protects against Haemophilus influenzae disease. Symptoms of Haemophilus influenza include fever and chills, headache, nausea, excessive tiredness, and altered mental status. Complications of these infections may include loss of limbs, brain damage, or hearing loss. Children need three to four doses of the Hib vaccine. CDC recommends infants receive thefirst dose at 2 months, the second at 4 months, the third at 6 months (if needed), and the last shot between 12–15 months.

  4. The Hepatitis A vaccine protects against the hepatitis A virus (HAV). Symptoms of HAV typically do not appear until four weeks after exposure or may not occur at all. Symptoms that may appear include fever, dark urine, abdominal pain, nausea, and jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin). Complications of the disease include liver failure, arthralgia (joint pain), kidney, pancreatic, and blood disorders. Children need two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine. CDC recommends babies receive the first dose when the child turns 1 and the second should be given 6-12 months later.

  5. The Hepatitis B vaccine protects against a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Symptoms of HBV are fever, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, and jaundice. Complications of HBV can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and death. Children need 3-4 doses of the HBV vaccine. CDC recommends infants receive the first dose at birth, the second dose is given at 1-2 months, the third at 4 months (if needed), and the last is given at 6-18 months.

  6. The Influenza (Flu) vaccine protects against flu virus. Symptoms of flu include fevers, chills, coughing, runny nose, fatigue, sore throat, and muscle or body aches. Complications of flu may include sinus and ear infections, pneumonia, inflammation of the heart, brain or muscles, organ failure, and even death. The influenza vaccine is started at 6 months and is needed every fall or winter for the rest of your life. CDC recommends children 6 months and older receive the vaccine once a year.

  7. The MMR vaccine combines protection against measles, mumps, and rubella. Symptoms of these diseases may include fever, headache, rashes, and eye irritation. Complications of measles, mumps, and rubella include deafness, brain damage, swelling of the spinal cord, infection of the lungs, and death. Children need two doses of the MMR vaccine. CDC recommends the first dose should be given between 12-15 months and the second dose between 4-6 years.

  8. The Polio vaccine protects against the infectious polio disease. Symptoms of the disease may include muscle and joint weakness and pain, sleep-related breathing disorders (such as sleep apnea), general fatigue (tiredness) and exhaustion with minimal activity, and muscle atrophy (muscle loss). Complications can include paresthesia (feelings of pins and needles in the legs), meningitis, paralysis, and death. Children need four doses of polio vaccine. CDC recommends the first dose should be given at 2 months, the second at 4 months, the third between 6-18 months, and the fourth between 4-6 years.

  9. The Prevnar vaccine protects against pneumococcal disease. Symptoms include coughing, fevers and chills, difficulty breathing, and chest pains. Complications of this disease include brain damage, hearing loss, blood infection, and even death. Children need four doses of Prevnar. CDC recommends the first dose should be given at 2 months, the second at 4 months, the third at 6 months, and the fourth between 12-15 months.

  10. The Rotavirus vaccine protects against the contagious rotavirus. Symptoms of rotavirus include diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Complications of the disease include severe diarrhea and dehydration which can lead to death. Children need two to three doses of rotavirus vaccine. CDC recommends the first dose is given at 2 months, the second is given at 4 months, and the third is given at 6 months (if needed).

Protecting your baby from vaccine-preventable diseases begins even before your baby is born. Brenden Bedard, director of Community Health Services of Genesee and Orleans counties, educates on what vaccines mothers should get when they are pregnant.

“All pregnant women are recommended to receive the Tdap and influenza (flu) vaccine during each pregnancy," Bedard said. "The recommended time to get the Tdap shot is during the 27th through 36th week of pregnancy and the influenza shot can be given at any time during flu season, typically October through May.

"Pregnant women who receive these vaccines are also helping to protect their babies from diseases for the first several months after their birth, when they are too young to get vaccinated.”

In addition to mothers, it is also important for immediate family, such as spouses, grandparents, and anyone who will be in close contact with a new baby to receive the Tdap vaccine and the influenza vaccine during flu season.

While babies may experience some discomfort immediately after receiving vaccinations, it’s important to remember the pain is temporary, while the protection is long term. You work hard to help keep your baby safe and healthy! For more information on infant immunizations, please visit here.

The Genesee and Orleans County Health departments participate in the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. This federally funded program will assist families who are uninsured or underinsured receive childhood vaccines at no cost. For more information, please contact your local health department.

For a copy of the 2019 Recommended Immunization for Children Birth though 6 Years Old, please visit here.

For information about this article or Health Department services contact:

  • Genesee County Health Department at: 344-2580, ext. 5555, or visit their website here.
April 18, 2019 - 3:04pm

Press release:

As the opioid epidemic continues to distress our community, local agencies are coming together to offer more services to those in need.

“Last fall, 24 counties in New York State, including Genesee, that are deemed ‘opioid burdened’ received funds from the CDC and New York State Department of Health to take local action to address the epidemic,” said Paul Pettit, Public Health director for Genesee and Orleans counties.

“After looking at our current services and speaking with local partners we wanted to launch an innovative program we learned about a few months earlier during a GOW Opioid Task Force meeting where Police Chief Volkman from Chatham spoke about the Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative, more easily known as PAARI (pronounced PARR-REE).

"Using the funding to bring the successful approach of this program from Chatham into Genesee, will allow those who want to get into substance use treatment a 24/7 opportunity by going to one of the partnering first-responder agencies for help.”

The PAARI program will launch locally on Tuesday, April 23rd.

It will allow anyone who wants help with their addiction to walk into any police station or the city fire station and get the help they need. The program is supported by City of Batavia Police, City of Batavia Fire Department, Le Roy Police, and Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.

“The funds will help pay for overtime that will likely be incurred by staff of Public Safety agencies, as well as help pay for peer recovery coaches from Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (GCASA) that will be contacted once a person seeking treatment walks through the door," Pettitt said.

"GCASA is an equally important partner in this, as they have hired the peer recovery coaches, who have been trained in providing services in the community early after receiving these funds.

"The peers will work with each individual and identify where they can go for the proper services,regardless of if it’s local or not, and make sure they get there. Ultimately, being a support in that moment and in the future, too. This program highlights the commitment and collaboration of our community partners to help address this crisis.”

GC Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr. agrees with Pettit regarding the collaboration of our first responders and the commitment to help address the opioid epidemic.

“This is a good collaboration between police, fire and the public," Sheron said. "I fully support the program and hope it will help people get the treatment services they need.”

For more information or for immediate help, please call GCASA’s peer services hotline at 585-815-1800.

January 4, 2019 - 4:09pm

Public Health Colmun from the Genesee County Health Department:

January is Radon Action Month! Did you know that radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas? It has no smell, taste, or color. Radon forms from the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water and circulates into the air you breathe.

When radon is formed under homes and buildings, it can penetrate through cracks in the foundation, leading to high levels of radon, especially in enclosed areas.

Sarah Balduf, Environmental Health director of Genesee and Orleans counties, explains how easily radon can seep into your home.

“Radon can enter your home through cracks in the foundation, walls, joints, dirt floors, opening of sump pump, in well-water supply, and from gaps around suspended floors and pipes. Any home can have high radonlevels, whether it is old or new, has a basement or is built on a slab.”

It is understandable how this colorless, odorless gas can go unnoticed. If high levels of radon in your home are undetected for an extended period of time, the risk for developing lung cancer can occur. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. If you smoke and live in a home with high radon levels, your risk for developing lung cancer significantly increases.

Testing your home with a short term radon test kit is the quickest way to determine if there are high levels of radon present in your home. The Genesee County Health Department has an allotment of short-term test kits that are free of charge for Genesee County residents. These test kits are easy to use and contain basic instructions on how to receive the most accurate results when testing your home for radon.

“Testing your home for radon and taking action sooner rather than later could save the health of your family,” Balduf said. "Testing your home for radon is a simple process that is free of charge to Genesee County residents when you request a kit from the Genesee County Health Department."

If you do live outside of the county, inexpensive radon test kits can be purchased at hardware stores. If test results come back and the radon levels in your home are greater than 4 picocuries per liter of air [pCi/L], which is the “take action” level determined by the EPA, a certified radon mitigator can install a radon reduction system in your home. Take action against radon this January!

For more details about the program or to receive any of these services call the department at 585-344-2580.

October 12, 2018 - 2:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in GC health department, dog bite victim, news, batavia.

Press release issued this afternoon from the Genesee County Health Department:

On Friday, Oct. 5, a bicyclist was bitten by a dog that was handled by its assumed owner. The location on of the incident was approximately one block from Denny’s Restaurant heading east on Main Street in the City of Batavia.

The assumed owner of the dog is described as a white female, between the ages of 50-60, with medium-length dark hair. The dog is described as having black short fur with white on its legs and chest, and brown markings throughout. The dog is of a medium build and stands approximately knee-high in height.

The woman with the dog was talking to another dog walker and did not notice the bicyclist who was bitten by the dog. The bicyclist did not obtain any information from the woman with the dog and has not seen the dog since the incident.

“The purpose in locating the owner of the dog is to make sure the dog is up to date on its anti-rabies vaccine” said Sarah Balduf, Environmental Health director of Genesee and Orleans counties. “If the owner cannot be located, the individual will have to go through unnecessary treatment.”

Anyone with information on the dog and/or dog owner is asked to contact the Genesee County Health Department at 585-344-2580, ext. 5555. 

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