Board of health hears about salmonella and pertussis cases
By MEGAN COOPER
Mt. Pleasant News
“In the last two-and-a-half months we have had 12 investigations in health events already, last year, we had a total of 13. So we’ve been busy,” Travis Johnson, community health director, said during Thursday’s Board of Health meeting.
“We have had five salmonella cases already, four of them we know are somewhat linked together, but we don’t have all official lab results to put it together. It happened during Old Threshers, but we don’t have the data to put it all together,” Johnson informed the board.
“It was 100 degrees, hot outside, and with the animals it was a tough year. It wasn’t the greatest weather for an event outside,” Johnson continued.
Regarding the information presented by Johnson, Robert Welander, chair of the board, said, “With these events that happened, we need to look ahead proactively. How can we modify how people handle their food? It wasn’t necessarily the main kitchen areas that had the problem; it was the snack type foods. We need to think about setting different parameters for weather conditions.”
Johnson replied, “We do have a vendor meeting every year and the vendor’s respect what is said. We have the opportunity to get the information out there. We knew it was going to be hot this year.”
There have also been two cases of pertussis already this year that have been documented. “The schools have been informed and they have sent letters home,” Johnson noted.
Another issue for public health was dogs on the grounds. “We have lots of children at the log village. We have a nice, open village green. Every dog in the campground uses the green for a bathroom. People haven’t been cleaning up after them like they should. I clean up as much as I can, but then people put a blanket a down on the ground and are sitting where the dog did its business four hours before. It’s just something we need to think about. It’s a struggle, constantly,” Welander told the board.
There were two human/bat incidences this year at Old Threshers as well. “Bats love the log village, the creek is there. There could be 700-800 bats living out there,” Welander informed the board. “We had two, casual incidents where a bat flew into a person. One of the incidents the bat landed on a woman’s blouse and her healthcare provider suggested she get the vaccinations,” said Welander.
He then continued, “There was no known broken skin or bite. These are scary things when you think about the liability issue. The bats will stay there, but I will do whatever I can to help fix the problem. I will see if I can get them to go to another location.”
Welander then joked, “We don’t have a mosquito down there though.”
In July, a new program started that helps with the transition to care. “Local public health agencies along with HCHC and the University of Iowa hospital, are working on a program that helps patients once they leave the hospital,” Johnson said to the board.
“This program serves as a follow-up. Once they leave the hospital, someone is in contact with them for a month afterwards. They check to see if prescriptions are filled and if there is anything that needs to be done. Patients receive a call about once a week. The program is growing pretty well and right now, there are 20 patients enrolled, five on the waiting list and seven who have graduated from it. We are hopeful that with these improvements, we can replicate this program here in our own facility,” said Johnson.
Four separate grants were brought to the board. One grant was for the FY14 EMS Systems Development Grant, which will help to purchase CPR equipment, time for education and training supplies.
The Community Transformation Grant has been going on for three years and it is for $88,000 and this is used to help implement various programs, like smoke-free programs.
The Emergency Preparedness Grant involves the local EMS, public health and other counties in order to make sure each facility is following the prescribed 15 to 16 capabilities that have been designated.
Finally, the Environmental Health Grant (QI Project) was proposed as well. All these grants have been ongoing and Johnson wanted to keep them in place. The board approved all four grant applications.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and a event is tentatively set for Oct. 24. This program will provide a panel of information for the community; allow setting up of appointments for mammograms and much more. More information will be released on this event at a later date.
The Board of Health will meet again on Oct. 17.