Health Briefs

August 30, 2009

Lead certificate requirement

The Anne Arundel County Department of Health reminds parents that all children newly enrolled in county pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade are required to have a lead testing certificate. The certificate ensures that children living in high-risk areas are being tested for lead poisoning, which can cause young children to have difficulty learning, behavioral problems and developmental disabilities. High-risk ZIP codes in Anne Arundel are 20711, 20714, 20764, 20779, 21060, 21061, 21225, 21226, and 21402, because they have a greater proportion of older homes that may contain lead paint.

If a child lives or has ever lived in a high-risk ZIP code or is receiving medical assistance, the child's pediatrician must fill in the dates of past testing. Most children should have received the blood test for lead at 1 and 2 years of age. If a child moves into a high-risk ZIP code after his or her second birthday, proof is required that a lead test was done before the child turned 6.

If a child has never resided in a high-risk ZIP code or is not on medical assistance, parents can complete the "exempt" portion of the certificate. For additional information, call the lead poisoning prevention program at 410-222-7003 or go to aahealth.org and search "lead and children."

Rabies vaccination: The annual Raccoon Oral Rabies Vaccination project begins Sept. 8 and should be completed by the end of September, weather permitting. Baits will be placed throughout the county.

The baits:

* Contain liquid rabies vaccine. A raccoon is immunized with its bites into the bait.

* Cannot cause rabies and are not harmful to raccoons, pets or other animals.

* Protect people and pets. Raccoons are the main source of rabies in the county.

* Will be placed in neighborhoods by teams of trained department of health staff. Teams will wear orange T-shirts or vests and travel in marked county vehicles.

* Will be dropped from a low-flying county police helicopter in less populated areas.

* Come in two styles - one looks like a light brown ketchup packet, and the other looks like a small brown brick, about 0.75 inches thick by 1.25 inches square.

* Are marked with a toll-free 800 phone number. Anyone who comes in contact with the bait or has a pet that finds the bait should call 410-222-7168.

* Used in many parts of the United States without serious human health effects. It is recommended that children younger than 18, or those who are pregnant or immune-compromised avoid handling the bait.

Homeowners who see raccoons on their property may request that the property be baited by calling the Department of Health at 410-222-7168 before Aug. 28. For more information, go to aahealth.org.

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