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Public Health News and Events from Jefferson County Public Health.

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Recreational Shellfish Harvest Closures - Marine Biotoxin

Jefferson County August 19, 2013 - Marine biotoxins that cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) have been detected at concentrations above the closure level in shellfish samples collected from Discovery Bay. As a result, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has closed Discovery Bay beaches to recreational shellfish harvest. Commercially harvested shellfish are tested for toxin prior to distribution and should be safe to eat.


One Less Bag Challenge

Jefferson County - Jefferson County Public Health is challenging Jefferson County residents to reduce their waste by one less bag a week. You can sign up on line at:

Click on Solid Waste and then click on "One Less Bag" located on the sidebar. Participants will receive two reuseable produce bags, a handy recycling magnet, and waste reduction tips. To date, over 100 Jefferson County residents have signed up for the challenge.


August Board of Health Meeting Room Change

Board of Health Meeting Location Change
 Port Townsend - The regular August 15th meeting of the Board of Health will be held at the Jefferson County Library in the Humphrey Room, 620 Cedar Avenue, Port Hadlock, WA  from 2:30 – 4:30 pm.


Young Mothers Learn Cooking Skills

Port Townsend - “Anytime we cook, it’s a big fat experiment” said Arran Stark, referring to his fun approach to cooking. A series of classes were offered in July to young families who participate in the WIC nutrition program.


Prepare for Back to School Immunizations

Port Townsend - August has arrived and now is a great time to think about back to school vaccinations or childcare admittance.  All immunizations required to enroll in school are available to children up to age 19 at no cost for the vaccine through the state’s Childhood Vaccine Program. The Jefferson County participating providers include: Jefferson Healthcare Primary Care, Jefferson Healthcare Family Medicine, Jefferson Medical & Pediatric Group, South County Medical Clinic, and Jefferson County Public Health. There may be a charge for the office visit and an administration fee to give the vaccine. People who can’t afford the administration fee can ask for it to be waived.



Jefferson County Bat Tests Positive for Rabies

For the second time in 2 years, a Jefferson County bat has tested positive for the rabies virus. The bat was submitted to the Washington State Public Health Lab on July 22, 2013 after a Jefferson County resident was bitten by the animal. An effective, but expensive, medical treatment is available to prevent rabies in those who are exposed to infected bats. Without preventive treatment rabies is almost always fatal with symptoms starting between weeks to years after exposure to the causative virus. Bats are the only mammal in Washington State in which rabies is regularly found. In 2011 the Washington Public Health Lab tested 204 bats for rabies. 11of them were positive for the infection.


World Breastfeeding Week Celebration Aug 7

Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) supports the annual global celebration of World Breastfeeding Week.  August 1-7.   All mothers and families who are breastfeeding or have breastfed, their babies, children and friends are invited to bring their a picnic lunch to a picnic on Wednesday August 7th at 1PM at Chetzamoka park in Port Townsend.                  


SMILEMOBILE - Bringing brighter smiles to Jefferson County

July 27, 2013 - The Smile Mobile, a fully equipped dental clinic on wheels, rolled out something new this year! In addition to serving children age 0-18, the Smile Mobile also served pregnant women and new moms for the first time!


Gibbs Lake Closed Due To Toxin

Port Townsend High levels of the toxin microcystin were detected in water samples taken from Gibbs Lake on Monday, July 15. As a result, Jefferson County Parks and Recreation has closed the lake for recreation including fishing, boating and swimming. Visitors are also urged to keep pets out of the water. The rest of Gibbs Lake County Park remains open for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Microcystin is produced by bluegreen algae, also known as cyanobacteria, and can result in illness in people and animals. The toxin level this week climbed to 6.9 micrograms per liter, which is over the Washington State recreational criteria of 6 micrograms. 


Hot Weather Increases the Risk for Bacteria in Oysters

Port Townsend, WA, July 2, 2013 

Summer is here with warmer water temperatures.  Warm water can increase levels of natural bacteria such as Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vibrio).  Vibrio can grow in oysters and cause Vibriosis which may make people sick if oysters are eaten raw or undercooked. 


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Jefferson County Jefferson County Public Health
615 Sheridan Street - Port Townsend, WA 98368
Community Health: 360.385.9400 | Environmental Health: 360.385.9444