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Current health issues facing Colorado

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Posted at 4:40 PM, May 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-22 18:40:31-04

DENVER – Diseases spread fast, and every year Colorado sees an outbreak of one or more infectious illness affecting people and animals. Those outbreaks can often turn into persistent health issues.

To stay ahead of the outbreak and warn the public about possible sources of disease, state and local health departments issue alerts on a regular basis.

Here are the current disease advisories or ongoing health concerns affecting Colorado, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment:

Hepatitis A
Health officials say the infection rate of this viral disease is increasing in Colorado. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the virus is found in the feces of infected people. You get it by swallowing tiny amounts of the virus.

You can get vaccinated: Ask your doctor, or visit vaccinefinder.org to find stores that give Hep A vaccines. 

Mumps
The number of mumps cases in Colorado continues to grow and has surpassed the state record amid an outbreak that has spread through several states.

Mumps is an infection spread by direct human-to-human contact through respiratory droplets or saliva. Average incubation periods range from 16 to 18 days on average, but up to 12 to 25 days.

Officials advise ensuring family members are up to date on the MMR vaccine, noting two doses of the vaccine are recommended for children.

Even those who are vaccinated are susceptible to mumps, as the vaccine is only roughly 88 percent effective, and effectiveness can wane after the vaccine has been administered.

Bed bugs
Although not considered a health concern by state health officials, the blood-sucking bugs can cause mild and irritating health issues to their human host. Bed bugs are not known to transmit or spread disease.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the recent increase in bed bugs in the country may be due to more travel, lack of knowledge about preventing infestations, increased resistance of bed bugs to pesticides, and ineffective pest control practices.

Denver7 recently reported on a local infestation inside a woman’s apartment. The infestation is so bad, the bugs were crawling on the woman during the interview.

The EPA offers the following top 10 tips to prevent or control bed bugs.

Lead
Many children in Colorado are not being tested for lead poisoning and as a result, many kids with elevated levels of lead in their blood are going undiagnosed, according to new research published this week.

According to the CDC, no level of lead in the blood is considered safe. Kids with high levels of lead in their blood often have no symptoms, but lead poisoning can lead to a number of learning and behavior issues.

Lead exposure usually occurs from lead-based paint, but tap water can also be a source of lead, if a home has lead pipes.

For more information on the study, including the methodology used, log on to cehtp.org/hiddenlead.