March 25, 2005
Epi Update Managing Staff:
"The reason for collecting, analyzing and disseminating information on a disease is to control that disease. Collection and analysis should not be allowed to consume resources if action does not follow."
Foege WH., International
Journal of Epidemiology 1976; 5:29-37
Presenter: Matt Laidler, MA, MPH, Sarasota County Health Department, Florida Epidemic Intelligence Service Program
Date: Tuesday, March 29, 2005 11:00 a.m. EDT
Matt Laidler is a fellow of the Epidemic Intelligence Service currently assigned to the Sarasota Health Department. To contact him, phone 941.861.2916.
Ready for all hurricanes and other hazards? The Division of Environmental Health is conducting one-day trainings to help public health professionals develop increased awareness and operational knowledge of the CDC’s environmental health emergency competencies in preparation for the upcoming hurricane season.
Through this training, we hope to increase the number of public health workers capable of participating in an environmental health response during hurricanes, as well as other all-hazards events. To do this, the training will cover concrete lessons learned from our hurricane response and give practical tools in how local environmental health staff should respond to multiple types of hazards.
While not mandatory, it is important that as many EH staff as possible attend this training. With saturation across the state, our graduates will be successful in improving the capacity of county health departments to respond during an EH event or exercise. We also invite county preparedness staff and partner agency/organization staff to attend. Since Division of Environmental Health staff work closely with multiple partners, their involvement and collaboration during this training will set a foundation for response successes.
Our goal is to train 600 staff throughout Florida in these practical competencies for environmental health. To better serve county health departments, we will be giving the one-day trainings twice in each region this spring. We hope that this means counties will be able to stagger registrations of essential staff for each one-day session so as not to curtail normal day-to-day environmental health operations as we all prepare for the upcoming season. If additional training sessions are requested, we will accommodate these after June 1 to the best of our ability and staff availability.
As the CDC’s environmental health preparedness core competencies reflect, environmental health can be a critical nexus for an efficient, effective and successful all-hazards and epidemiologic response. Your EH staff will be involved in vital ways throughout any disaster health response—whether it’s a hurricane, a chemical spill or a food-borne outbreak. In any of those events, it is essential that environmental health staff be fully trained to the CDC competencies and by extension, for our partners to understand our roles and responsibilities in an all-hazards response.
Registration is easy and free. You don’t even have to take the class in your own region. You can sign up for the one-day session of your choice at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/preparedness/registration.htm
Agendas are also available at that site. EH directors can sign up multiple staff and can also (along with regional staff) vote for the two environmental health subject areas they’d like to focus on as part of the afternoon session. This will help us tailor the training to each region’s needs.
While you’re at our preparedness site, don’t forget to check out our online, multimedia training. Here are two examples:
Food-borne Epi Exercise: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/preparedness/food/tabletop.htm
Intro to EH Preparedness: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/preparedness/envt/intro_briefing.htm
Mitch Stripling is the preparedness education and media coordinator at the Division of Environmental Health in Tallahassee. For more information, contact him at 850.245.4444, ext. 2486 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bureau of Epidemiology and
the Division of Environmental Health are conducting an investigation into
hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, associated with two different Florida
Jaime Forth is managing editor of Epi Update and can be reached at 850.245.4444, ext. 2440.
Chris Van Beneden, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has announced that the Respiratory Diseases Branch, Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, is no longer requesting reports of cases of invasive pneumococcal disease occurring in children who have received the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. For the last several years, CDC has requested these reports and has been analyzing the strains to evaluate possible vaccine failures. Because the number of reported cases in vaccinated children is now adequate to permit analysis and surveillance data indicate that disease rates have dropped dramatically, these reports are no longer needed.
Pesticide-related illness and injury (reporting code 09894) is a reportable disease in the state of Florida. It is one of the diseases reported through the Merlin reporting system utilized by the county health departments. Cases can be reported based on clinical diagnosis, laboratory confirmation or as suspected cases based on observation of signs and symptoms related to acute pesticide exposures.
The Pesticide Surveillance Program (PESP) is designed to monitor and implement outreach programs for the detection and prevention of pesticide poisoning. The PESP is managed by the Bureau of Community Environmental Health within the Division of Environmental Health (EH), which is housed at the Department of Health (DOH) in Tallahassee. The program has been in existence since 1998.
The PESP has received reports of 1,787 pesticide-related exposures between 1998 and 2004.The program monitors agricultural and other occupational and non-occupational exposures. It also receives reports of pesticide-related exposures within the home and other environs. The program works in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) in the investigation of reported agricultural exposures, misuse of pesticides despite following label requirements, exposures associated with pest control in the home, and with mosquito control activities. DACS investigations are performed for regulatory purposes. Health related investigations are conducted within DOH through the related environmental health bureaus and county health departments.
Cases are classified according to exposure, health effects, and pesticide toxicological criteria as outlined in the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NOISH) classification protocol. The PESP reports cases to NIOSH through the Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risks program. The program’s annual datasets are posted on the DOH PESP website at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/community/pesticide/Index.html
The program is also involved in the following activities:
The program’s goal for 2005 is to work closer with county health departments to increase surveillance and reporting activities. To achieve this goal the following functions will be carried out:
Reports of suspected illness and
injury related to pesticide exposures can be made to the PESP
hotline number at 1-800-606-5810, or contact the
local county health department. After hours calls may be made to beeper
The Bureau of Epidemiology is actively seeking posters for its annual seminar in Lake Mary, Florida, scheduled for May 17-18, 2005.
Poster presentations give conference attendees a wonderful opportunity to share research with colleagues and friends. Examples of poster topics include results of an outbreak investigation, new prevention programs at the local level or new laboratory methods in disease control. The session also presents an opportunity to demonstrate new computer and Web-based systems related to public health.
Poster format shall follow the basic scientific paper outline:
– the problem under investigation or hypothesis
The poster session and reception will occur the evening of May 17th; however, participants will be asked to set up their displays on May 16th so judges will have plenty of time to view all the entries. Posters can be displayed in a three-fold form board format or a flat poster board. Electricity and/or Internet connections will not be provided. Be sure to have a primary and secondary point of contact for presenting your poster. Technical assistance will be available through Bureau of Epidemiology staff.
When submitting your abstract you will be asked to select a category which best describes your poster from the following list: Chronic Disease, Florida EIS, Spatial Analysis/Visualization, County Health Department, Environmental Health or Communicable Disease. Please indicate your selected category in the subject line or text of your email at the time you submit the abstract.
If you would like to participate, submit the abstract for your poster to Melissa Murray via e-mail at email@example.com no later than April 15. Don’t forget to indicate your selected category either in the subject line or text of the email.
Melissa Murray is coordinator of
research services in the Chronic Disease Surveillance Section at the
Bureau of Epidemiology. Contact her at 850.245.4444, ext. 2445.
The Florida Medical Quality Assurance, Inc, Health Care Quality Improvement program will be hosting a live webinar (web-based teleconference) on “Maximizing Adult Vaccination-Dispelling the Myths” on Wednesday, March 30, 2005 from 1:00 -2:00 p.m., EST and Tuesday, April 5, 2005 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., EDT. Dale W. Bratzler, DO, MPH, principle clinical coordinator with the Infectious Diseases Quality Improvement Organization Support Center will be discussing increasing adult immunization rates (flu and PPV) and the myths surrounding this topic such as efficacy and safety of vaccines in ill/hospitalized patients and vaccination of immunocompromised patients. He will also address issues related to underutilization of vaccinations, methods to improve vaccination rates, vaccination of healthcare workers, liability issues for failure to vaccinate and the expansion of vaccination beyond the traditional locations such as primary care providers and nursing homes such as hospitals and the use of standing order protocols.
To enroll in this program go to https://ifmcevents.webex.com. Instructions will be emailed to you after enrolling. You can access the teleconference visual presentation through Internet Explorer. Slide presentations will be available for downloading 24 hours prior to the program by going to www.fmqai.com. Click on “Webinar Central” at the bottom of the index on the left side of the home page and then scroll down to the hospital webinars and click on the appropriate files to download. Participants will need a separate phone line for the teleconference portion of the program.
For further information
about this program, contact Rebecca Ure, RN, BSN, Med, pneumonia project
coordinator, Florida Medical Quality Assurance, Inc. at 813.865.3549 or by
The Bureau of Epidemiology encourages
Epi Update readers to not only register on the EpiCom system at
https://www.epicomfl.net but to sign up for features such as automatic
notification of certain events
contribute appropriate public health observations related
any suspicious or unusual occurrences or circumstances. EpiCom is the primary method of communication
between the Bureau of Epidemiology and other state medical agencies during emergency situations.
Pete Garner is
administrator of the Bureau of Epidemiology Surveillance Systems
The Food and Waterborne Disease Program within the Bureau of
Community Environmental Health is looking for qualified applicants
for the regional environmental epidemiologist position covering the
Broward County area.
Call Food and Waterborne Disease Coordinator Robert Hammond, PhD, at 850.245.4116 if you have questions.
Weekly Update: During the period March 13-19, 2005 the following arboviral activities (St. Louis encephalitis (SLE) virus, eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE) virus, Highlands J (HJ) virus, West Nile (WN) virus and dengue virus) were recorded for Florida.
West Nile (WN) virus activity: None this week.
Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE) virus activity: One seroconversion to EEE was confirmed in a sentinel chicken from S. Walton County this week. One out of eight wild birds captured in N. Walton County tested positive for EEE virus. The infection rate is calculated using as the denominator the number of birds captured for testing on that day at that particular site. It is not known precisely when these birds became exposed to EEE..
St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE) virus activity: None yet this year.
Highlands J (HJ) Virus activity: None this week.
There are no counties currently under medical alert for mosquito-borne disease.
Cooler weather in many parts of the state is helping to reduce mosquito populations. Yet others are experiencing unseasonably warm weather favorable to mosquitoes. Where mosquitoes are present, people are urged to take precautions against getting bitten.
Dead birds should be reported to www.wildflorida.org/bird/. See the web page for more information: www.MyFloridaEH.com The Disease Outbreak Information Hotline offers recorded updates on medical alerts status and surveillance at 888.880.5782.
Click here to review the most recent disease figures provided by the Florida Department of Health Bureau of Epidemiology.
D'Juan Harris is a GIS
specialist in the Surveillance Systems Section of the Bureau of