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July 16, 2014: Broomfield Resident Tests Positive for Tularemia 

Boulder and Broomfield Counties, CO – A resident of the Pony Estates neighborhood, bordering the cities of Boulder and Broomfield, has tested positive for tularemia. Tularemia is a disease of animals and humans caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. The resident likely came into contact with the bacteria while in the yard of their home where multiple dead rabbits had previously been found. Although tularemia is a potentially serious disease, it is treatable if detected early. The Broomfield resident has been treated with antibiotics after being evaluated by a healthcare provider.

Broomfield and Boulder County Public Health Officials are working together to notify the community. Officials will be posting warning signs in the Pony Estates neighborhood to alert residents of the risks of tularemia.

“People should never touch sick, dead, or wild animals because they may carry diseases,” said Jason Vahling, Broomfield County Public Health Director. “Although tularemia is rare, it is still a risk, especially considering the number of wild rabbits in our communities,” said Vahling.

Symptoms include skin ulcers, swollen and painful lymph glands, inflamed eyes, sore throat, mouth sores, diarrhea, or pneumonia. Symptoms can also include abrupt onset of fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, joint pain, dry cough, difficulty breathing, bloody sputum, and respiratory failure.

Tularemia is not known to be spread from person to person. People become infected with tularemia through the bite of infected insects, most commonly ticks and deer flies, or through skin contact with infected animal tissue. The bacteria can also be inhaled when infected animal tissue is broken up into small particles and spread in the air, such as when an infected carcass is mowed over.

Public health officials recommend the following precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to tularemia:
  • Avoid ticks. The best protection for pets, especially cats, is to keep them indoors. If outdoors with pets, keep them out of heavily wooded areas, which are ideal habitats for ticks.
  • Stay out of areas inhabited by wild rodents. If you must enter areas frequented by wild rodents, always wear insect repellent containing DEET.
  • Prevent your pets from hunting or eating wild rodents, especially rabbits.
  • Avoid all contact with wild rodents, including squirrels and rabbits; do not feed or handle them.
  • Never touch sick or dead animals with your bare hands. If the animal must be moved, place it in a garbage bag using a long-handled shovel, and place the bag in an outdoor garbage can.
  • Avoid drinking unpurified water from streams or lakes; keep your pets from doing the same.
  • Don’t mow over animals carcasses, and consider using a dust mask when doing landscape work.
  • See a health care provider if you become ill with a high fever and/or swollen lymph nodes.
  • Contact a veterinarian if you see any change in the behavior of your pets (especially rodents, rabbits, and hares) or livestock.

In the United States, human cases of tularemia have been reported from every state except Hawaii, with the majority occurring in south-central and western states.

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, this is the second reported human case of tularemia in Colorado this year; no human cases were reported in 2013. Only one animal in the state has tested positive for the disease this year; four animals tested positive in 2013.

For more information about tularemia, visit www.cdc.gov/tularemia. To report an animal die-off (e.g. three or more animals found in one area) in Broomfield County, call 720.887.2237 or in Boulder County, call 303.441.1564.

June 25, 2014: Protect yourself from West Nile virus with the Four D's

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus in Adams, Boulder, Delta, Mesa and Weld counties. As of today, there are no reports of West Nile virus in Broomfield, according to Broomfield Public Health and Environment Division and the Environmental Services Division. Last year, Broomfield reported six human cases of West Nile virus. Broomfield's Environmental Services Division contracts the mosquito control program to Colorado Mosquito Control, Inc. (CMC). CMC regularly monitors vector mosquito populations and West Nile virus activity to determine if, when, and where interventions are needed. The treatment provided by CMC lowers the mosquito population numbers, which reduces the risk of human disease. CMC provides a mosquito hotline at 303-428-5908 for residents to report nuisance mosquitoes.

Broomfield Public Health and Environment advises residents to take precautions by wearing insect repellent and using other methods to avoid mosquito bites when outdoors. To help prevent West Nile virus infection, follow the Four D's and Fight the Bite:
  1. Drain standing water around the house weekly since that's where mosquitoes lay eggs. Be sure to empty old tires, cans, flowerpots, clogged rain gutters, rain barrels and toys where puddles can occur.
  2. Dusk and dawn are when mosquitoes that carry the virus are most active, so limit outdoor activities or take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.
  3. DEET is an effective ingredient to look for in insect repellents. Always follow label instructions carefully.
  4. Dress in long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk or in areas where mosquitoes are active.

September 19, 2013: Blue-green algae bloom warning at Brunner Reservoir
The Brunner Reservoir has been experiencing a blue-green algae bloom over the past several weeks. Blue-green algae under the right conditions can produce a chemical toxin called Microcystin. It is recommended that all contact with the water in the reservoir be avoided until warning signs have been removed.

April 2, 2013: Colorado teen birth rate and repeat birth rates decline
The Colorado Initiative to Reduce Unintended Pregnancy, a consortium of public and private health partners, has addressed this issue by providing free or low-cost IUDs and implants to low-income women throughout Colorado. 

March 18, 2013: Broomfield Ranks 8th in Overall Health Outcomes
The fourth annual County Health Rankings were released March 20 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute, and Broomfield County ranks eighth in Colorado for overall health outcomes. The County Health Rankings ranks the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states, using a standard method to measure how healthy people are and how long they live. The County Health Rankings are based on two sets of measures: health outcomes (length and quality of life); and health factors (health behaviors, access to and quality of clinical care, social and economic factors, and the physical environment). According to the County Health Rankings, areas to explore for Broomfield County includes 61 percent of our restaurants are fast food restaurants, 22 percent of Broomfield adults are obese, and 14 percent of Broomfield adults smoke. This information helps our community leaders identify where we are doing well and where improvement is needed to ensure that Broomfield is a healthy place to live, learn, work and play.

September 19: Blue-green algae bloom warning at Brunner Reservoir
The Brunner Reservoir has been experiencing a blue-green algae bloom over the past several weeks. Blue-green algae under the right conditions can produce a chemical toxin called Microcystin. It is recommended that all contact with the water in the reservoir be avoided until warning signs have been removed.