Cristianna Cooke-Gibbs: Health Officer – ext. 1240
Gail Johnson: Public Health Nurse – ext. 1242
Kurt Bockbrader: REHS – ext. 1243
Jim Montgomery: REHS – ext. 1244
Public Health Advisory
Distributed by the New Jersey Department of Health
Subject: Measles Holiday Travel Advisory
As you may know, there have been multiple outbreaks of measles in the United States. As of April 11, a total of 555 cases have been reported in 20 states, including 13 cases in New Jersey, in 2019. This is the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000. The majority of measles cases have been reported in New York City and New York state, and are primarily among unvaccinated people in Orthodox Jewish communities and associated with travelers who brought measles back from Israel.
The upcoming Passover holiday begins the evening of Friday, April 19 and ends the evening of Saturday, April 27. This year, Passover coincides with Easter which is on Sunday, April 21. In addition, many other social events may be scheduled over the next several months (e.g., graduations, weddings). All of these celebrations provide opportunities for measles to spread as people travel and congregate away from home.
Families may travel to resorts, hotels, or take cruises for the holiday. And there will likely be an influx of international travelers before Passover, including many from Israel where measles is circulating. Popular destinations include New York, New Jersey, Florida, Las Vegas, Arizona, and Washington, D.C.
Measles is highly contagious and spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Healthcare professionals should be vigilant about measles-
. Ensure all patients are up to date on MMR vaccine. . Consider measles in patients presenting with febrile rash illness and clinically compatible measles symptoms (cough, runny nose, and conjunctivitis). Patients exposed to measles while traveling for Passover could begin to develop symptoms between late April and mid-May. . Ask patients about recent travel internationally or to domestic venues frequented by international travelers, as well as a history of measles exposures in their communities. . Promptly isolate patients with suspected measles to avoid disease spread and immediately report the suspect measles case to the health department. . Obtain specimens for testing from patients with suspected measles, including viral specimens for genotyping, which can help determine the source of the virus. Contact the local health department with questions about submitting specimens for testing.
Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 9 of 10 people around them will also become infected if they are not protected. The virus can cause serious health complications, such as pneumonia or encephalitis, and even death.
CDC continues to encourage parents to get their children vaccinated on schedule with the MMR vaccine. People 6 months and older should be protected with the vaccine before leaving on international trips.
Dog licensing is handled by the Chester Township Clerk’s office. Anyone needing to license a dog, or having questions regarding dog licensing should contact Judy Irwin at 908-879-5100 x812.
In order for a dog license to be issued, the dog owner must show to their municipal licensing authority proof that a licensed veterinarian administered a rabies vaccine to the dog (rabies vaccination certificate). New Jersey regulations require that the duration of immunity from the most recent vaccination to extend through at least the first 10 months of the 12 month licensing period. Animals that have duration of immunity which expires prior to the 10 month cut-off must receive a booster rabies vaccination prior to licensure. (N.J.A.C. 8:23A-4.1)
There is a Lyme Disease Support Group at the Zion Lutheran Church at 11 Schooley’s Mountain Road, Long Valley on the second Tuesday of every month from 7pm-9pm. All are welcome and no need to pre-register. Information, resources and support are available. For more information contact: Bill Kubik 908-930-6252.
Zika Virus spreads to people mainly through the bite of 2 species of mosquitoes. Most people with Zika virus do not show symptoms of illness. Some people do not even know they are infected. The greatest risk for complications from Zika is to a pregnant woman’s fetus. It is important for pregnant women, or couples trying to get pregnant, to be very cautious. Pregnant women should avoid traveling to Zika infected areas. If they need to travel they should check with their healthcare provider for travel guidance. Below are websites with important information on Zika and other mosquito borne illnesses:
Worried about bites from mosquitoes? The Morris County Division of Mosquito Control is available to provide educational programs about mosquito control. If you know of a group that might benefit, please pass this information along. And remember to remove standing water around your property, found in buckets, tires, toys, wheelbarrows, etc.
Radon Test Kits Available
The Chester Township Health Department, in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Radon Program, would like to make all residents aware of the need to test their homes for Radon. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. However, because radon is invisible and odorless, it is easy to ignore this potential hazard in our own homes. In fact, the risk of lung cancer from radon is greater than the risk from fire or other home accidents.
Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally when uranium and radium break down in the soil and in rock formations. Radon gas moves up into the home through cracks in the foundation and openings around pumps, pipes and drains. Because radon levels vary from house to house, the only way to determine if your home exceeds the action level is to test it for radon.
Radon is measured in picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) of air. The average U.S. indoor level is about 1.3 pCi/L. At 4 pCi/L. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the NJDEP recommend that action be taken to reduce radon levels if the level in the home is greater than or equal to 4 pCi/L.
This year, Chester and Washington Townships were fortunate to have obtained a grant from the State of New Jersey for the purpose of promoting Radon awareness. For that reason, Radon Test Kits will be available at the Washington Township Health Department for a reduced rate of $6.00 per kit. The kit includes the testing canister, instructions, pre-paid mailer, testing and results mailed to the homeowner.
The Health Department encourages all residents to test their homes for Radon.
If you have questions, please call the Washington Township Health Department at (908) 876-3650.
Get the Lead Out
For some of us living in older homes, lead poisoning is still a real threat to drinking water. Lead found in tap water usually comes from the corrosion of older fixtures and pipes or from lead-based solder that connects pipes. It is important to test your water for lead. The EPA action level for lead in drinking water is 15 parts per billion. Anything above that level can cause damage to the brain, nervous system and red blood cells. Children and pregnant women are especially susceptible to the effects of lead exposure.
Lead levels increase when no one has used water and it sits in pipes and faucets for several hours. In the short term you can lower the lead in your water by running the tap until it’s cold and only use cold tap water for cooking. Be sure to use the dispelled water for household cleaning or to water plants. For a long term solution, ask your plumber to investigate your system.
Septic & Well
Summer hours between Memorial Day and Labor Day:
Monday – Thursday 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Hours for the rest of the year, Labor Day through Memorial Day:
Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Inspections are scheduled as needed. Please call 24 hours in advance for all inspections. The phone number is 908-876-3650. If a contractor needs an inspection the same afternoon, they must call by 9:00 a.m. to schedule the inspection.
Residents using water from private wells are urged to have their water supply tested annually. Sample bottles for may be obtained from the Washington Township Health Department. Call 908-876-3650 for complete information.
Disposal of Syringes
Contact your local disposal company and ask what their protocol is for syringe disposal. Some companies will take them as long as they are in a sealed container. If your disposal company will not take them then you can take them to:
St. Clare’s Hospital in Dover 400 Blackwell St. ( Rt.46 east) Dover, NJ
Enter through the lobby and stop at the Information desk. A volunteer will assist you Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. They will take your containers and replace them with new containers. For questions call (973) 625-6041.
Morris County’s Human Service’s Website Some resources for residents: Flu Information for Parents, Keeping Records of Family Medical History, Health Alerts, Healthfinder, NJ Communicable Disease Service, Rabies Information plus much more.