Rabies in Idaho: Handle bats with care (and very thick gloves)!

rabiesmapWe haven’t had a report yet, but since this seems to be around the time of year we start to receive reports about rabid bats, so it’s a good time to talk about rabies. Many people still associate getting infected with rabies with domestic dog bites, but since 1960 the majority of all rabid animal cases in the U.S. have been in wild animals and bats. Continue reading

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Idaho WIC makes annual adjustment to income guidelines

Idaho’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) will implement new income guidelines effective July 1, 2018, that raise household income eligibility limits to help offset cost of living increases. This is an annual adjustment.

To be eligible for the WIC program, an individual must be a pregnant or breastfeeding woman, a woman who has recently been pregnant, or an infant or child younger than 5 years old. In addition, the individual must live in Idaho, have a need that can be helped by WIC foods and nutrition counseling, and have a low-to-moderate income.

To be eligible on the basis of income, an applicant’s gross income (e.g., before taxes are withheld) must fall at or below 185 percent of the U.S. Poverty Income Guidelines. For example, under the new guidelines a family of three can earn up to $38,443 annually; under the old guidelines a family of three could have earned up to $37,777 annually. Continue reading

Camp cooks: As summer heats up, protect yourself & your family from foodborne illness

ucm567102Summer in Idaho means sunshine, warm weather and long days, with lots of opportunities to cook and eat outdoors, whether you are backcountry camping, whitewater rafting or enjoying a family picnic in the local park. But as food heats up in the warm weather months, bacteria multiply faster, creating a risk of foodborne illness. So, we thought it was a good time to talk about safe food handling when cooking or eating outdoors. Continue reading

1st West Nile virus infected mosquitoes in Idaho this season detected in Canyon County

Fightthebite2WNVLogo2007Mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus (WNV) were detected in Canyon County on June 12, 2018, prompting public health officials to remind people to take precautions to “Fight the Bite.” The positive mosquitoes, which are the first detected in the state this year, were collected by the Canyon County Mosquito Abatement District.

Last year, 13 counties across the state reported finding WNV-positive mosquito pools. Additionally, WNV infection was reported in 25 people, seven horses, three birds, and one llama. This first detection in 2018 occurred in western Idaho, an area where positive mosquitoes have been found almost every year since WNV was introduced in 2004.   Continue reading

S. Idaho plague case a reminder to safely enjoy outdoor recreation

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A child in southern Idaho’s Elmore County is recovering from the bacterial disease of plague, the first confirmed human case of plague identified in the state since 1992. Epidemiologists with the Central District Health Department said today (June 12, 2018) it is not known whether the child was exposed to plague in Idaho or during a recent trip to Oregon. Plague has historically been found in wildlife in both states. Continue reading

Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease added to required Idaho newborn screenings starting July 1

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Effective July 1, Idaho medical providers will screen all newborns for critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) as part of the panel of required screenings in the state.

Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect and can range from mild to very serious. The very serious heart defects are referred to as critical congenital heart disease, which includes a collection of defects that are present at birth and involve structural problems in the heart or problems with blood flow through the heart. Congenital heart defects account for up to 30 percent of infant deaths caused by birth defects. In Idaho, an estimated 55 babies are born each year with critical congenital heart disease.

Babies born with critical congenital heart disease may appear to be healthy at first, which means they may be sent home with their families before their heart defect is detected. These babies are at risk for having serious complications within those first few days or weeks and often require emergency care.

“Newborn screening helps give babies the best start in life,” said Jacquie Watson, Maternal and Child Health Section Manager in the Division of Public Health. “Early identification and treatment of these serious heart defects means that more babies will live to celebrate their first birthdays and will continue to thrive as they reach other important milestones.”  Continue reading

Idaho Suicide Prevention Program’s Kim Kane: “Trust your gut if you are concerned about someone or see signs.”

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KaneKimFrom Kim Kane, IDHW Idaho Suicide Prevention Program Manager:

Even for someone who has worked in the field of suicide prevention for many years, it has been distressing to absorb and process the news this week. Any life lost to suicide, whether in Idaho or nationally, is a tragedy.

But with two high-profile suicide deaths this week — fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain — and a new  report  from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing rising suicide rates across the U.S. since 1999,  I encourage you to channel your grief – even if it’s for people you only knew from a television show or a brand name – into understanding more about what you can do to prevent suicide .   Continue reading