- Tularemia Confirmed in Larimer County (July 2018)
The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment has confirmed the first human case of tularemia in a county resident in 2018. This patient developed swollen lymph nodes, and may have been exposed while gardening at home. Soil can be contaminated by tularemia-causing bacteria from the droppings or urine of sick animals, most often rabbits. When a person mows, blows leaves, or turns up the soil, these bacteria can aerosolize and be inhaled, causing pneumonic tularemia.
All warm-blooded animals are susceptible to tularemia, including livestock and pets such as dogs, cats, and birds; however, these bacteria normally occur in nature in rabbits and hares, as well as in small rodents, voles, muskrats, and beavers. A recent die-off of rabbits or rodents in a neighborhood suggests a possible tularemia outbreak among the animals in that area. The bacteria these animals shed can persist in the soil or water for weeks, and it doesn't take many bacteria to cause an infection.
Tularemia can be transmitted to people, such as hunters, who have handled infected animals. Infection can also arise from the bite of infected insects (most commonly ticks and deer flies); by exposure to contaminated food, water, or soil; by eating, drinking, putting hands to eyes, nose, or mouth before washing after outdoor activities; by direct contact with breaks in the skin; or by inhaling particles carrying the bacteria (through mowing or blowing vegetation and excavating soil). In recent years, most human tularemia cases along the Front Range have been attributed to activities involving soil and vegetation.
Typical signs of infection in humans may include fever, chills, headache, swollen and painful lymph glands, and fatigue. If tularemia is caused by the bite of an infected insect or from bacteria entering a cut or scratch, it usually causes a skin ulcer or pustule and swollen glands. Eating or drinking food or water containing the bacteria may produce a throat infection, mouth ulcers, stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. Inhaling the bacteria may cause an infection of the lungs with chest pain and coughing.
Tularemia can be effectively treated with antibiotics. Should you have any of these early signs, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Untreated tularemia can lead to hospitalization and may be fatal if not diagnosed and treated appropriately.
Gardeners, landscapers, mowers, outdoor workers, and others participating in leisure activities outside are advised to:
- Wear gloves when gardening or planting trees, and always wash hands before eating or putting hands to mouth, nose, or eyes
- Wear a dust mask when mowing or blowing vegetation, or excavating or tilling soil
- Wear an insect repellent effective against ticks, biting flies, and mosquitoes (DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 are good choices)
- Wear shoes, rather than going barefoot, on grassy lawns, especially if dead rabbits or rodents have been seen in the neighborhood
- Never touch dead animals with bare hands
For more information about tularemia and how to protect people and pets, visit this webpage.
- Bike Month in June (2018)
Every June, Colorado celebrates Bike Month, and here in Fort Collins we love anything that highlights and promotes people who ride bicycles.
Each year on the fourth Wednesday of June, FC Bikes hosts its signature Bike Month event: Bike to Work Day (BTWD). Fort Collins' Bike to Work Day, on June 27 this year, is an event to encourage people to bicycle for transportation; experience the benefits of riding a bike; highlight Fort Collins' extensive bike routes; and demonstrate that bicycling is an easy, fun, and healthy way to travel around the city.
On Bike to Work Day, breakfast stations will be set up across the city from 6:30am to 9:30am, and cyclists are encouraged to stop by on the way to work for coffee, orange juice, bagels, breakfast burritos, and a variety of other breakfast options, depending on which station(s) you visit.
For more info about Bike Month and for a list of breakfast station locations so that you can plan your route on Bike to Work Day, go to the
FC Bikes' webpage.
- Community Discussion: Rethinking Addiction on May 16 (2018)
Join us on May 16 for a community discussion on Rethinking Addiction: Using Science to Build an Ecosystem of Treatment and Recovery. The Health District of Northern Larimer County and the Mental Health and Substance Use Alliance of Larimer County are hosting national and local experts to discuss new ways of thinking about addiction as we work to transform perceptions and treatment of substance use disorders in Larimer County. This is an opportunity to hear Dr. Corey Waller, a well-respected national expert on addictions and substance use, along with other impactful speakers. We will explore topics such as these: Does substance use treatment really work? Is addiction a brain disease?
This event is free and open to the public. Light snacks will be provided. Please join us from 7:00-8:30 p.m. at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins. For more information and to register, go to the
Eventbrite website. If you have any problems registering, please contact Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 970-530-2738.
- Community Invited to Local 9Health Fairs on May 5 (2018)
9Health Fair will host events across Colorado this spring. Anyone 18 and older can take advantage of free and low-cost health screenings and education that are available for people to keep tabs on their health.
The 9Health Fair in Fort Collins will be held 7:00am-noon, Sat., May 5, at Timberline Church, 2908 S. Timberline Road. Red Feather Lakes will also have a 9Health Fair on May 5, 8:00am-noon.
Free and low-cost health screenings address some critical health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, prostate cancer, mental health, and more. 9Health Fairs also offer eye health/vision screenings, bone density, height/weight screening, and other screenings depending on location.
Thousands of 9Health Fair volunteers serve people from communities around the state. 9Health Fair uses phlebotomists, registered nurses, physician assistants, medical doctors, emergency medical technicians and other medical professionals to help administer a variety of health screenings and draw blood.
To ensure proper hydration for an easier blood draw, participants are encouraged to bring their own water to drink at the 9Health Fair.
All 9Health Fair locations include a $35 Blood Chemistry Screening, which gives you information on your blood sugar (glucose), cholesterol, triglycerides, and may show warning signs of diabetes, heart disease, and other concerns. Other low-cost screenings include a $25 Blood Count Screening and a $30 Colon Cancer Screening Take-Home Kit.
For more 9Health Fair information, please visit www.9healthfair.org or call 1-800-332-3078 (toll-free).
- Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is April 28 (2018)
National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible way of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the public about the potential for abuse of medications. On April 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., local law enforcement and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will provide an opportunity to properly dispose of unneeded and/or expired prescription medications.
The Prescription Drug Take-Back program addresses an important public safety and public health issue. Many people are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are increasing, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
Drop-off sites during the event will be at the following locations:
- Fort Collins: Fort Collins Police Services, 2221 S. Timberline Road, north parking lot
- Fort Collins: Colorado State University Police Dept., 750 Meridian Ave.
- Loveland: Loveland Police Department, 810 E. 10th St.
- Wellington: Larimer County Sheriff's Dept., at Family Dollar parking lot, 8099 S. 6th St.
- Windsor: Windsor Police Department, 200 N. 11th St.
The service is free and anonymous. Law enforcement officers will be present with the drug disposal box at all times. At the conclusion of the event, the boxes will be sealed and turned over to the DEA for proper disposal.
Many kinds of prescription and over-the-counter medications may be brought to this event for disposal, including pet medications. However the following items will NOT be accepted: liquids, intravenous solutions, injectables/needles, syringes, mercury (thermometers), oxygen containers, chemotherapy/radioactive substances, pressurized canisters, and illicit drugs.
DEA website for additional information and other local drop-off sites.
Information on environmentally sound disposal methods that minimize opportunities for misuse and protect the environment will be available at the Fort Collins collection site. Flushing medications down the toilet or throwing them in the trash could cause pollution of lakes, streams, and water supplies and pose potential safety and health hazards.
Fort Collins Police Services also has a year-round drug take-back program with a secure bin for the collection of prescription/over-the-counter drugs. Residents may drop off unneeded or expired over-the-counter and prescription medications in the Fort Collins Police Services lobby, 2221 S. Timberline Road, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The same restrictions on eligible/ineligible items apply (see above). For additional information contact Fort Collins Police Services at 970-221-6540.
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