Careful Hand Washing, Food Prep Prevents ‘Stomach Flu’
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reports a high amount of norovirus illness is occurring. Noroviruses, commonly called “stomach flu”, are the most frequent cause of food-related illness in Minnesota, and peak during the winter months. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, body aches, a general run-down feeling, and a mild fever. Careful hand washing after using the toilet, and before preparing and consuming food are key to preventing norovirus.
The public can report suspected outbreaks of norovirus illness – or other food-related illnesses – to the MDH Foodborne Illness Hotline at 1.877.FOOD.ILL (366.3455).
For more information on Effective Handwashing | Norovirus Fact Sheet - English | Norovirus Ficha técnica - Español
Ebola Facts and Resources
While a large Ebola outbreak continues in West Africa, the risk of an outbreak in the United States is very small. If an infected person arrives in Saint Paul or Ramsey County, our health system is prepared to respond and control the spread of the disease. Although Ebola can be a deadly disease, it is not highly contagious.
Here are the facts you should know about Ebola:
- Ebola is not spread through the air, or by water, or by food.
- A person infected with Ebola virus is not contagious until symptoms appear.
- The virus is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or unprotected mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose or mouth) with the blood or body fluids (such as urine, feces, saliva, semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola, or with objects like needles that have been contaminated with the virus, or infected animals.
Get the latest updates from the CDC | CDC Ebola Fact Sheet (pdf) - English
Get the latest updates from MDH | Ebola Fact Sheet - English | Hmong | Spanish | Somali | French
Ebola Basics Poster (pdf) - English | Spanish | French
Minnesota Department of Health Ebola Information Line
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has established an information line to provide an easy, reliable source of information about Ebola. Calls will be taken at 651.201.3920 or 1.800.657.3903 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Respiratory Virus Circulating in U.S.
A virus is circulating that is causing respiratory illness in children throughout the U.S. Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) symptoms may include cold-like symptoms, fever, rash, vomiting and diarrhea. There is no vaccine for EV-D68, the best prevention is to cover your cough, wash your hands frequently, avoid hand contact with eyes, nose and mouth, and stay home when you are sick.
For more information on Enteroviruses and Enterovirus D68 (pdf)| CDC
MNsure Online Health Insurance Marketplace Opens
MNsure, a new one-stop health insurance marketplace where Minnesotans can find and compare health plans, and choose the coverage that fits their needs has opened. The site also provides information on eligibility for low-cost or free health plans (similar to Medical Assistance). Individuals and families who do not have health coverage, and small businesses with up to 50 employees, can use MNsure to find and enroll in health plans now for coverage starting in January 2014.
For more information on MNsure | 1.855.3.MNsure (1.855.366.7873) | MNsure Fact Sheet (pdf)
Mercury Poisoning Linked to Skin Products
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning about skin creams, beauty and antiseptic soaps, or lotions that might contain mercury. Skin products containing mercury have been found in Minnesota and at least six other states. They are manufactured in other countries and marketed as skin lighteners and anti-aging treatments that remove age spots, freckles, blemishes and wrinkles.
For more information on Skin Lightening Creams | FDA Alert | Minnesota Department of Health
Properly disposal of products at Household Hazardous Waste Collection Sites
Health Alert Flyers (pdf) - English | Somali | Hmong | Spanish | Karen
MDH Fact Sheets - English | Somali | Hmong | Spanish
Bed bugs feed on human blood, can hide in the smallest crack or crevice and can live over a year with no food. They are VERY hard to get rid of. They have not been shown to spread disease; but, their health effects include reaction to bites, loss of sleep, anxiety and depression.
For more information on Bed Bugs
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