SWDH announces first flu-related death reported in the region this year; It is not too late to get your flu vaccination

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CALDWELL, IDAHO – Southwest District Health officials announced the first reported flu-related death of the 2022-2023 flu season in the 6-county region it serves. The flu-related death was a male, over 65, from Canyon County.

“Influenza activity is on the rise in Southwest Idaho, but there is still time to protect yourself by getting the flu vaccine,” said Ricky Bowman, Program Manager for Southwest District Health. “Many people with influenza recover after a few days of discomfort, but some people may develop serious complications. Idaho has averaged 45 reported flu deaths each year over the past 5 seasons, with the majority being over the age of 65. This unfortunate incident serves as a gentle reminder to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” he said.

The flu is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus and is easily passed from person to person. It is primarily transmitted by the sneeze or cough of an infected person or by contact with contaminated surfaces. Typical flu symptoms include fever, head and body aches, fatigue, cough, and sometimes a sore throat and runny nose. If you are only mildly ill, you should not go to the emergency room. If you have flu symptoms and are considered high risk for complications and have questions about your illness, call your health care provider. If you experience emergency warning signs of flu, some of which are listed below, you should go to the emergency room.

In children

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Chest pain
  • Severe muscle pain (child refuses to walk)
  • Dehydration (no urine for 8 hours, dry mouth, no tears when crying)
  • Fever above 104°F
  • In children less than 12 weeks, any fever
  • Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen

In adults

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Persistent dizziness, confusion, inability to rouse
  • Not urinating Severe muscle pain or weakness
  • Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen

This list is not all inclusive. Review CDC’s list at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/treatment/takingcare.htm and consult your medical provider for any other symptom that is severe or concerning. There are treatments for influenza, please call your provider to determine if treatment would be right for you.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a flu vaccination for everyone six months of age and older. An annual flu vaccination is the first and most important step in protecting against flu and its potentially serious complications—especially for those who are at greater risk for serious illness. People at high risk of severe outcomes include people with chronic underlying medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or neurological conditions; pregnant women; those younger than five years or older than 65 years of age; or anyone with a weakened immune system. A full list of high-risk factors is available at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/. Healthy people should also be vaccinated to protect these vulnerable populations.

Bowman says it takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body’s immune system to fully respond. For more information on the flu vaccine and to determine if it is right for you or your child, follow up with your provider or pediatrician.

In addition to getting vaccinated, Bowman suggests taking everyday preventive actions to protect you and your family during flu season.

These include:

  • Stay home from work or school when you are sick. Keep your distance from others to protect them from also getting sick. In turn, avoid people who appear sick.
  • Wash your hands often. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth until you have washed your hands.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing. Do not share eating utensils, drinking glasses, towels, or other personal items.
  • Refrain from visiting a nursing home if you have flu-like symptoms.
  • Get plenty of rest, exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.

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Media Contacts

Ashley Anderson    Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams     Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

 

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Southwest District Health notes increase in RSV cases; encourages RSV and flu illness prevention and common sense

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Southwest District Health notes increase in RSV cases;  
encourages RSV and flu illness prevention and common sense 

Southwest District Health (SWDH) officials have noted an increase in the number of RSV cases in our area and encourage individuals to be aware of the signs and symptoms of RSV and other respiratory illnesses and to take preventive measures to keep themselves and their families healthy during the upcoming holiday season. Some hospitals and healthcare organizations around the nation report maxed out hospital capacity and overrun emergency departments due to RSV. Now is the time to take precautions and know how you can prevent becoming ill and how to protect others in your family if you do become ill.

“Case trends for RSV activity in our area will change quickly as cases usually peak between December and February,” said Josh Campbell, SWDH Family and Clinic Services Division Administrator. “We want everyone to use common sense to know when to go and when to stay home this season, especially as we enter the holidays.”

Some of the ways you can help prevent becoming ill with RSV and flu include:

  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Wash hands frequently and correctly (with soap and water for 20 seconds)
  • Avoid sharing cups and eating utensils with others
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with sick people
  • Stay home when sick
  • Consider wearing a mask if you need to be in public
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces such as doorknobs and countertops frequently
  • Get the flu vaccine – Everyone 6 months and older are eligible for the flu vaccine
  • Practice healthy habits such as eating whole nutritious foods, exercising, and socializing

RSV is a common virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms in adults. Most children can be treated at home and will recover in a week or two but some individuals may be at higher risk for severe illness that could require hospitalization. Infants less than six months old, those born prematurely, children six months to 2 years of age with chronic lung or heart disease, or immunocompromising conditions, and older individuals especially over the age of 65, may be at risk of severe illness from RSV. Those with higher risk of severe illness should avoid contact with sick people or settings, such as childcare centers, where RSV may easily spread. Individuals having difficulty breathing, trouble eating or drinking due to rapid breathing, or those with worsening symptoms, should contact their healthcare provider.

RSV can be spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes sending virus containing droplets into the air, where they can infect a person who inhales the droplets. Direct contact with the virus can occur, for example, by kissing the face of a child with RSV. Indirect contact can occur if the virus lands on a surface, such as a doorknob or table, that is then touched by other people who touch their eyes, mouth, or nose before washing their hands. Most commonly, people with RSV are contagious for three to eight days and may be contagious 1 or 2 days before they show signs of illness. Being infected with RSV once does not make you immune and reinfection does occur.

Though there is no vaccine for RSV, flu vaccinations are available at SWDH. Call (208) 455-5300 to schedule your appointment. Join SWDH in becoming Healthier Together. Check out the programs SWDH offers to help your family be their healthiest including Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) at https://swdh.id.gov/healthy-living/about-contact-info/. Also, you can stay up to date with healthy living updates from SWDH when you subscribe to our every other month “Healthier Together” newsletter. Click HERE to Subscribe!

For more information, visit the below links:

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Media Contacts

Southwest District Health:

Ashley Anderson    Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams     Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

 

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CYANOBACTERIA PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORIES LIFTED FOR HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR, BROWNLEE RESERVOIR AND LAKE LOWELL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CYANOBACTERIA PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORIES LIFTED FOR HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR, BROWNLEE RESERVOIR AND LAKE LOWELL

 Southwest District Health, in conjunction with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), has lifted the Cyanobacteria Health Advisory issued on August 8, 2022 for Hells Canyon Reservoir, the Cyanobacteria Health Advisory issued on August 5, 2022 for Brownlee Reservoir, and the Cyanobacteria Health Advisory issued on September 2, 2022 for Lake Lowell. While there may still be some ongoing cyanobacteria presence, the recreation season has ended and risk of human exposure has been greatly reduced. DEQ officials monitor cyanobacteria and associated toxins where cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms (HABs) are present. A recent sample from Hells Canyon Reservoir on October 14th was below the human recreation threshold for microcystin. A second confirmation sample was not collected. Samples were not collected from Brownlee Reservoir or Lake Lowell.

Other blooms may exist on these waterbodies that have not been reported to DEQ or the public health district. Water users should always exercise caution around water bodies with visible slime or surface scum or a foul odor. High concentrations of toxin-producing cyanobacteria may cause illness to both humans and animals. Report any concerns to DEQ at 208.373.0550.

It is best to avoid direct contact with water affected by a bloom. If you choose to fish in a potentially affected waterbody, wear protective clothing such as gloves or waders, and wash your hands thoroughly with clean water. There have been no reports of people becoming sick from eating fish caught during a bloom. Information about the risk of eating fish from affected waters is limited. However, fish fillets are less likely to accumulate toxins compared to other parts of the fish. If you decide to eat fish from affected waters remove the fat, skin, and organs before cooking or freezing, and only eat the muscle tissue. Avoid cutting into organs. Rinse the fillets with clean water before cooking or freezing.

Dogs are more likely to be exposed to cyanotoxins from drinking contaminated water, swallowing water while swimming and retrieving a ball or stick, and from licking cyanobacteria from their fur. Some animals will be exposed by eating mats of cyanobacteria or dead animals, such as fish, found near the bloom or by retrieving waterfowl that might have cyanobacteria on their feathers after swimming through a bloom. Carry clean, potable water for your dogs to drink when recreating around a body of water with a cyanobacterial bloom and keep them on-leash if they can’t resist eating tempting items. If your dog comes into contact with suspicious water immediately wash the dog off with clean water. Call your veterinarian, or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661 (note there is a fee for these calls).

The public is advised to use caution as harmful blooms may still persist. Humans and their pets should stay out if in doubt to the presence of harmful blooms.

For more information about harmful algal blooms, visit DEQ’s website at https://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/surface-water/cyanobacteria-harmful-algal-blooms/ or DHW’s website at https://www.gethealthy.dhw.idaho.gov/recreational-water-health-advisories.

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Media Contacts:

DEQ media contacts:     

Anna Marron
208.373.0427
Anna.Marron@deq.idaho.gov

Dani Terhaar
208.373.0274
Dani.Terhaar@deq.idaho.gov

SWDH media contacts:   

Ashley Anderson
208.455.5413
Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams
208.455.5317
Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

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CYANOBACTERIA PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY LIFTED FOR CJ STRIKE RESERVOIR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 CYANOBACTERIA PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY LIFTED  FOR CJ STRIKE RESERVOIR

Southwest District Health, in conjunction with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), has lifted the Cyanobacteria Health Advisory issued on July 19, 2022 for CJ Strike Reservoir.

DEQ officials monitor cyanobacteria and associated toxins where harmful algal blooms (HABs) are present and have confirmed that cyanobacteria levels at CJ Strike Reservoir have returned to normal and toxin levels are below the safety threshold.

Other blooms may exist on these waterbodies that have not been reported to DEQ or the public health district. Water users should always exercise caution around water bodies with visible slime or surface scum or a foul odor. High concentrations of toxin-producing cyanobacteria may cause illness to both humans and animals. Report any concerns to DEQ at 208.373.0550.

For more information related to current recreational water quality health advisories, visit https://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/surface-water/cyanobacteria-harmful-algal-blooms.

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Media Contacts:

DEQ media contacts:     

Anna Marron
208.373.0427
Anna.Marron@deq.idaho.gov

Dani Terhaar
208.373.0274
Dani.Terhaar@deq.idaho.gov

SWDH media contacts:   

Ashley Anderson
208.455.5413
Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams
208.455.5317
Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

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Human West Nile Virus Case Identified in Canyon County Health Officials Encourage Taking Precautions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Human West Nile Virus Case Identified in Canyon County
Health Officials Encourage Taking Precautions

CALDWELL, IDAHO – West Nile virus has been confirmed in a Canyon County resident. This is the first 2022 human case of West Nile virus (WNV) infection in the counties served by Southwest District Health.

West Nile virus (WNV) is a potentially serious illness that is usually spread to animals and humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It does not spread from person-to-person. Most people infected with the virus do not show symptoms, although more severe symptoms may occur, especially in individuals older than 60. People with symptoms may experience fever, headaches, body aches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash typically occurring 2 to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.

“About one in 150 people infected with WNV develop severe illness such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), or meningitis (inflammation of the linings of the brain and spinal cord),” said Ricky Bowman, Program Manager for Southwest District Health. “These more severe infections are marked by a rapid onset of a high fever, headache, neck stiffness, body aches, disorientation, and tremors, and may require hospitalization” he said.

Measures to lessen the chance of bites from infected mosquitos are underway in Canyon County. “Surveillance and control measures throughout the county have already been increased in response to several previous West Nile virus positive mosquito samples,“ said Jim Lunders, Director of Canyon County Mosquito Abatement District.

The more time you spend outdoors, the higher your chances are that you could be bitten by an infected mosquito. To reduce your risk of contracting WNV you should:

  • Avoid outdoor activities between dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active and feeding
  • Wear long sleeves, pants, and loose-fitting clothing if you must be outside between dawn and dusk
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, IR3535 or Picaridin (follow manufacturers’ instructions) when outside. In addition, certain products containing permethrin are recommended for use on clothing, shoes, bed nets, and camping gear.
  • Remove mosquito breeding sites by draining standing water from flowerpots, buckets, barrels, pool covers, and wading pools. Water held for seven days can produce mosquitoes.
  • Avoid over irrigating your lawns, gardens, and pastures
  • Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths and watering troughs at least twice weekly.
  • Drill holes in tire swings or old tires so water drains out.
  • Vaccinate your horses against West Nile virus.
  • Notify the District at 208-461-8633 if you have a site that is too large to be eliminated so it can be properly treated.

West Nile virus does not usually affect domestic animals, such as dogs and cats, but it can cause severe illness in horses and certain bird species. There is no human vaccine available but there are vaccines available for horses. People are advised to vaccinate their horses to protect them against WNV.

For more information on WNV please visit:

For more information on insect repellents, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents

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Media Contacts

Southwest District Health:

Ashley Anderson    Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams     Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

Canyon County Mosquito Abatement District:

Jim Lunders           jlunders@2cmad.org

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Health advisory issued for LAKE LOWELL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Health advisory issued for LAKE LOWELL

Based on Idaho’s Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) testing and Idaho’s public health advisory guidelines, Southwest District Health (SWDH) is issuing a health advisory for Lake Lowell. Southwest District Health urges residents to use caution when recreating in or near the water. Recent samples taken from Lake Lowell indicate high concentrations of toxin-producing cyanobacteria, which can be harmful to people, pets, and livestock. Those with liver or kidney damage are at an increased risk of illness.

When recreating near or in Lake Lowell, take the following precautions while the advisory is in effect:

  • Avoid swimming, wading, or other activities in the water. Take extra precautions to ensure children, pets, and livestock are not exposed to the water. Do not drink or cook with water containing a bloom. Boiling and filtering the water does not remove the toxins and can increase the risk of adverse health effects.
  • Wash hands thoroughly in clean water after handling fish caught in water experiencing a bloom. Cyanotoxins can accumulate in fish and the risk to people is being researched. Clean and wash fish thoroughly in uncontaminated water and dispose of internal organs before consumption. If you choose to eat fish from this area, filet the fish and remove all fat, skin, and organs before cooking.
  • Clean skin or pet fur with clean water as soon as possible after any water contact.

No updates will be provided until DEQ testing reveals toxins are below the health standard. The public will be advised when it is likely the concern no longer exists.

Symptoms of cyanotoxin exposure include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, and/or wheezing. More severe symptoms affecting the liver and nervous system may result from ingesting water. If symptoms persist, consult your healthcare provider.

Pets, livestock, and wildlife can get sick, or even die, within minutes to days after cyanotoxin exposure. Dogs are often the first affected because they are more likely to swim in or drink contaminated water or lick contaminated water or bloom material off their fur. If your pets or livestock have been in the water, immediately wash them with clean water to keep them from licking cyanobacteria off their bodies. Seek veterinary care immediately if your pets or livestock seem sick after going in or drinking the water.

Cyanobacteria are a natural part of Idaho’s water bodies. When temperatures rise, their populations can bloom and toxic chemical compounds, or cyanotoxins, can be released into the water. Blooms can vary in appearance, and may look like mats, foam, spilled paint, or surface scum, and have a foul odor. Southwest District Health works closely with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) and the DEQ in identifying, responding to, and monitoring cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms (HABS).

For more information about harmful algal blooms, visit DEQ’s website at https://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/surface-water/cyanobacteria-harmful-algal-blooms/ or DHW’s website at https://www.gethealthy.dhw.idaho.gov/recreational-water-health-advisories.

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Media Contacts:

DEQ media contact:
Anna Marron
208.373.0427
Anna.Marron@deq.idaho.gov

DHW media contact:
Greg Stahl
208.334.0668
Greg.Stahl@dhw.idaho.gov

SWDH media contacts:
Ashley Anderson
208.455.5413
Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams
208.455.5317
Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

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Adams County Bat Tests Positive for Rabies; Health Officials Urge Caution Around All Bats

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Adams County Bat Tests Positive for Rabies; Health Officials Urge Caution Around All Bats

 CALDWELL, IDAHO – A bat found in Adams County has tested positive for rabies, making it the first rabid bat discovered in the Southwest District Health (SWDH) jurisdiction this season. The bat was found inside of an Adams County home where it had contact with a cat. The cat has been vaccinated against rabies in the past and boostered following the encounter. Those who were staying at the home are being assessed for potential exposure.

Without timely medical intervention, rabies infection is virtually 100 percent fatal in people and animals. Medical therapy given to people soon after a possible rabies exposure is extremely effective in preventing rabies. People should call their healthcare providers promptly if they believe they may have been bitten or scratched by a bat. In Idaho, rabid bats are typically reported between March and November. Last year, 14 bats tested positive for rabies statewide.

Bites are considered the primary way rabies is transmitted, but waking up in a room with a bat, without having a clear idea of the bat’s behavior during the night can also put people and pets at risk for rabies infection. Whenever possible, a bat found in an area (inside or outside) where people or pets may have been exposed should be captured and submitted for rabies testing. Bats are the only natural hosts for the virus in Idaho and should always be avoided. No area of the state is considered rabies-free.

The most common ways people may encounter a bat is when a pet finds a bat in the yard, brings one into the home or a bat enters a home through a small opening or open windows or doors. People may also wake up to find a bat in the room and cannot be sure they were bitten or not while they slept. Whenever possible, a bat found in an area (inside or outside) where people or pets may have been exposed should be captured and submitted for rabies testing. Specific steps for collecting a bat for testing can be found outlined in a video produced by The Idaho Department of Fish and Game: https://idfg.idaho.gov/blog/2017/06/i-found-bat-my-home-what-do-i-do

To protect yourself and your pets, SWDH offers the following tips:

  • Never touch a bat with your bare hands;
  • If you have had an encounter with a bat, seek medical attention;
  • Call your local public health district about testing a bat for rabies. If it is determined that you or your pet may be at risk of rabies, the bat can be tested for free through the state public health laboratory;
  • If you come in contact with a bat, save the bat in a container without touching it and contact your district health department to arrange testing for rabies. Whenever possible, the bat should be tested to rule out an exposure to rabies;
  • Always vaccinate your pets for rabies, including horses. Pets may encounter bats outdoors or in the home;
  • and Bat-proof your home or cabin by plugging all holes in the siding and maintaining tight-fitting screens on windows.

For more information on bats and rabies, visit www.cdc.gov/rabies. To track the number of rabid bats in Idaho, visit: http://www.healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/Health/DiseasesConditions/RabiesInformation/tabid/176/Default.aspx

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Media Contacts:

Ashley Anderson    Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams     Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

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Health advisory issued for HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Health advisory issued for HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR

Based on Idaho’s Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) testing and Idaho’s public health advisory guidelines, Southwest District Health (SWDH) is issuing a health advisory for Hells Canyon Reservoir. SWDH urges residents to use caution when recreating in or near the water. Recent samples taken from “Big Bar” at the Hells Canyon water body indicate high concentrations of toxin-producing cyanobacteria, which can be harmful to people, pets, and livestock. Those with liver or kidney damage are at an increased risk of illness.

When recreating near or in Hells Canyon Reservoir, take the following precautions while the advisory is in effect:

  • Avoid swimming, wading, or other activities in the water. Take extra precautions to ensure children, pets, and livestock are not exposed to the water. Do not drink or cook with water containing a bloom. Boiling and filtering the water does not remove the toxins and can increase the risk of adverse health effects.
  • Wash hands thoroughly in clean water after handling fish caught in water experiencing a bloom. Cyanotoxins can accumulate in fish and the risk to people is being researched. Clean and wash fish thoroughly in uncontaminated water and dispose of internal organs before consumption. If you choose to eat fish from this area, filet the fish and remove all fat, skin, and organs before cooking.
  • Clean skin or pet fur with clean water as soon as possible after any water contact.

No updates will be provided until DEQ testing reveals toxins are below the health standard. The public will be advised when it is likely the concern no longer exists.

Symptoms of cyanotoxin exposure include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, and/or wheezing. More severe symptoms affecting the liver and nervous system may result from ingesting water. If symptoms persist, consult your healthcare provider.

Pets, livestock, and wildlife can get sick, or even die, within minutes to days after cyanotoxin exposure. Dogs are often the first affected because they are more likely to swim in or drink contaminated water or lick contaminated water or bloom material off their fur. If your pets or livestock have been in the water, immediately wash them with clean water to keep them from licking cyanobacteria off their bodies. Seek veterinary care immediately if your pets or livestock seem sick after going in or drinking the water.

Cyanobacteria are a natural part of Idaho’s water bodies. When temperatures rise, their populations can bloom and toxic chemical compounds, or cyanotoxins, can be released into the water. Blooms can vary in appearance, and may look like mats, foam, spilled paint, or surface scum, and have a foul odor. SWDH works closely with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) and the DEQ in identifying, responding to, and monitoring cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms (HABS).

For more information about harmful algal blooms, visit DEQ’s website at https://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/surface-water/cyanobacteria-harmful-algal-blooms/ or DHW’s website at https://www.gethealthy.dhw.idaho.gov/recreational-water-health-advisories.

# # #

Media Contacts:

DEQ media contact:
Anna Marron
208.373.0427
Anna.Marron@deq.idaho.gov

DHW media contact:
Greg Stahl
208.334.0668
Greg.Stahl@dhw.idaho.gov

SWDH media contacts:
Ashley Anderson
208.455.5413
Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams
208.455.5317
Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

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Health advisory issued for BROWNLEE RESERVOIR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Health advisory issued for BROWNLEE RESERVOIR

Based on Idaho’s Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) testing and Idaho’s public health advisory guidelines, Southwest District Health (SWDH) is issuing a health advisory for Brownlee Reservoir. SWDH urges residents to use caution when recreating in or near the water. Recent samples taken from the water body indicate high concentrations of toxin-producing cyanobacteria, which can be harmful to people, pets, and livestock. Those with liver or kidney damage are at an increased risk of illness.

When recreating near or in Brownlee Reservoir, take the following precautions while the advisory is in effect:

  • Avoid swimming, wading, or other activities in the water. Take extra precautions to ensure children, pets, and livestock are not exposed to the water. Do not drink or cook with water containing a bloom. Boiling and filtering the water does not remove the toxins and can increase the risk of adverse health effects.
  • Wash hands thoroughly in clean water after handling fish caught in water experiencing a bloom. Cyanotoxins can accumulate in fish and the risk to people is being researched. Clean and wash fish thoroughly in uncontaminated water and dispose of internal organs before consumption. If you choose to eat fish from this area, filet the fish and remove all fat, skin, and organs before cooking.
  • Clean skin or pet fur with clean water as soon as possible after any water contact.

The public will be advised when it is likely the concern no longer exists.

Symptoms of cyanotoxin exposure include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, and/or wheezing. More severe symptoms affecting the liver and nervous system may result from ingesting water. If symptoms persist, consult your healthcare provider.

Pets, livestock, and wildlife can get sick, or even die, within minutes to days after cyanotoxin exposure. Dogs are often the first affected because they are more likely to swim in or drink contaminated water or lick contaminated water or bloom material off their fur. If your pets or livestock have been in the water, immediately wash them with clean water to keep them from licking cyanobacteria off their bodies. Seek veterinary care immediately if your pets or livestock seem sick after going in or drinking the water.

Cyanobacteria are a natural part of Idaho’s water bodies. When temperatures rise, their populations can bloom and toxic chemical compounds, or cyanotoxins, can be released into the water. Blooms can vary in appearance, and may look like mats, foam, spilled paint, or surface scum, and have a foul odor. SWDH works closely with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) and the DEQ in identifying, responding to, and monitoring cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms (HABS).

For more information about harmful algal blooms, visit DEQ’s website at https://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/surface-water/cyanobacteria-harmful-algal-blooms/ or DHW’s website at https://www.gethealthy.dhw.idaho.gov/recreational-water-health-advisories.

# # #

Media Contacts:

DEQ media contact:
Anna Marron
208.373.0427
Anna.Marron@deq.idaho.gov

DHW media contact:
Greg Stahl
208.334.0668
Greg.Stahl@dhw.idaho.gov

SWDH media contacts:
Ashley Anderson
208.455.5413
Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams
208.455.5317
Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

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Canyon County Monkeypox Disease Investigation Concluded

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Canyon County Monkeypox Disease Investigation Concluded 

CALDWELL, IDAHO – The epidemiologic disease investigation has been concluded for the probable case of monkeypox originally announced by Southwest District Health (SWDH) on July 29, 2022. Due to a laboratory error at the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories (IBL), results for the Non Variola Orthopox (“monkeypox”) virus assay have been amended. Lab results have confirmed that, to date, there are zero (0) confirmed cases of monkeypox in the Southwest District Health region. The region Southwest District Health serves includes Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington Counties, respectively. 

Southwest District Health urges the community to stay current on monkeypox trends in our area and to take steps to prevent monkeypox from taking hold in our community. Through informed decision making, individuals and families can reduce the risk of contracting and spreading monkeypox.  

SWDH encourages anyone who is experiencing an unexplained skin rash with or without a fever to contact their healthcare provider and avoid contact with others. If possible, call ahead before going to a healthcare facility. If you are not able to call ahead, tell a staff member as soon as you arrive that you are concerned about monkeypox. Tell your doctor if in the month before developing symptoms: 

Anyone who is ill with these symptoms is encouraged to follow SWDH and their healthcare provider’s advice to help prevent the spread to others. 

For more information on monkeypox please visit https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html.

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Southwest District Health Media Contacts:

Ashley Anderson    Ashley.Anderson@phd3.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams     Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

 

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