Midland County News

NWS to conduct Severe Storm Safety Class March 3rd

  • February 15 2016
NWS to conduct Severe Storm Safety Class March 3rd

(Midland, MI—February 12, 2016) Mid-Michigan residents have been lucky this winter, not having to cope with record amounts of snow like their counterparts on the east coast. We’ve had our share of cold temperatures and icy, treacherous roads, but spring is just around the corner.

Unfortunately, the warm breezes and rising temperatures bring their own dangers, and Mid-Michigan isn’t immune to severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. To help those in and around the Midland County area learn to cope with the wild weather and learn the conditions that can lead to it, the National Weather Service will be conducting Storm Spotter Training March 3rd, at 7:00pm at the Midland Law Enforcement Center, 2727 Rodd St.  There will be no charge for the class which will run approximately two hours, and is jointly sponsored by the Midland County Office of Emergency Management and the Midland Amateur Radio Club. Though these classes are meant to train Skywarn® volunteers for Midland County and the surrounding area, the class is open to anyone and those who do attend are not committed to become Skywarn® volunteers. Those not wishing to volunteer may still wish to take the class to learn how to protect themselves and their families.  Pre-registration is not required.

Some may wonder why Skywarn® volunteers are needed in this day and age. After all, don’t weather radar and orbiting satellites provide all the information the National Weather Service needs?

Weather satellites mostly show the big picture; weather trends moving from coast to coast. Radar can show conditions as they occur, but many locales, such as the Tri-City area, are below the horizon when it comes to radar—the curvature of the earth prevents the radar from getting a picture of what’s happening on the ground.  That’s where Skywarn® comes in.  Volunteer storm spotters relay observations of conditions in their neighborhood to the local Forecast Office in Pontiac, filling in the holes, giving the meteorologists the key bit of information which may allow for the timely issuing of watches or warnings, information that can safeguard lives and property here at home.

For more information, contact John Wolters at 832-9122.

Judge Donna Morris Remembered

  • February 7 2016
Judge Donna Morris Remembered

Zika Virus Update

  • February 5 2016
Zika Virus Update

Dr. Tammy Movsas, Medical Director
Midland County Health Department

I am alerting you to the recent CDC warning that pregnant women should avoid non-essential travel to any country with current Zika transmission (such South America, Central America, Caribbean, Puerto Rico and Mexico)  due to the  strongly suspected association of Zika-virus with microcephaly (fetal brain maldevelopment). Because of the seriousness of this rapidly emerging Zika epidemic, I will expand upon Zika in this newsletter. Please share this important information with patients, friends, family, colleagues and anyone else who who may benefit from it.

Though most of us had never heard of Zika virus before this year, Zika is not new and previous outbreaks of Zika have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Island. It is transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected mosquito. In May 2015, The Pan American Health Organization issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil.  Since that time the virus has been spreading like wildfire and has coincided with a tremendous increase in the number of babies born with microcephaly.  Currently, there are no known infected mosquitoes in the U.S. but the Aedes species of mosquito that can carry that Zika virus does lives in several U.S. states. Although >30 travelers have returned to the USA with Zika virus infections since 2015, the disease is not yet spreading locally in the continental USA.  Some infectious disease experts feel that the USA is less vulnerable to large mosquito-borne outbreaks than cities in Latin America, which are often more densely populated, with more trash on roads and in villages, less air conditioning and fewer window screens. Of note, the mosquito that carries the Zika virus is active all day long (unlike some of the other species of mosquitoes that are mostly active at dawn and dusk).    

Only  about 20% of those infected with Zika will develop any symptoms at all and those who do develop symptoms usually have only mild disease.  Typical symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis and symptoms usually begin 2-7 days after mosquito inoculation.  If a person has travelled to one of the Zika-infected countries and develops symptoms,  Tylenol can be given but NOT aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.  Aspirin and NSAIDs should be avoided until dengue (which can present with similar symptoms) is ruled out to reduce the risk of hemorrhaging.

Unlike West Nile Virus which is not usually transmitted to the fetus, Zika can be transmitted from mom to baby during any trimester. Thus, pregnant women should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.  If travel is essential, pregnant or nursing moms should choose an EPA registered insect repellent and use it according to the product label.  Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for only a few days to a week. The virus will not cause infections in an infant that is conceived after the virus is cleared from the blood. There is currently no evidence that Zika virus infection poses a risk of birth defects in future pregnancies.  At this time, Zika virus testing in asymptomatic pregnant women who have traveled to a country with Zika transmission is not recommended for the following reasons.  First, there can be false-positive results due to antibodies that are made against other related viruses. Second, we do not know if there is a risk to mothers who were infected with Zika but do not develop symptoms.

At the current time, there is no vaccine or antiv

Mosquito Control's Joyce McLaughlin receives award

  • February 5 2016
Mosquito Control's Joyce McLaughlin receives award

Joyce McLaughlin, Office Manager at Mosquito Control received the Distinguished Service Award from the Michigan Mosquito Control Association.  Current MMCA President Doug Allen (also from Midland County Mosquito Control) presented the award at their annual conference on February 4, 2016 in Ann Arbor.

The award was given in recognition of Joyce's 25 years of service to Midland County and the Mosquito Control Association.  The primary objective of Midland County Mosquito Control is to reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases in Midland County. Plans call for their mobilization beginning in April.

5 Quick Ways to Bust Out of a Winter Funk

  • February 1 2016
5 Quick Ways to Bust Out of a Winter Funk
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