Orange County Health Department - News THE FLU: GET YOUR FLU SHOT TODAY 

ORLANDO –The Florida Department of Health in Orange (DOH-Orange) and Seminole (DOH-Seminole) Counties is urging everyone to get a seasonal flu shot today. Flu cases have started to increase in Central Florida, which is typical this time of year, and the flu vaccine can prevent the illness.   

“Flu shots are important, and they can reduce absences at work, school, and social events; reduce healthcare costs; and most importantly, save lives”, said Lesli Ahonkhai, Assistant Director of the Department of Health in Orange County.


“Flu can cause severe illness even in otherwise healthy individuals. Even mild cases can lead to several days of missed school or work due to the extreme fatigue the disease causes, said Dr. Swannie Jett, Health Officer for the Department of Health in Seminole County.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend flu vaccine for all people 6 months of age and older. A flu shot is especially important for people at higher risk of developing serious flu-related complications and their close contacts. Because influenza viruses change every year, getting an annual flu shot is very important. This year the Florida Department of Health is urging everyone to get their vaccine before Halloween. While most people who get influenza will recover in a few days to less than 2 weeks, some people will develop complications (such as pneumonia) as a result of the flu, which can be fatal.

Each year scientists try to match the viruses in the vaccine to those most likely to cause the flu that particular year.  This year’s vaccine once again provides protection against the H1N1 (pandemic) influenza and up to three other flu virus strains.    

It can take up to two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza virus infection. In the meantime, you are still at risk for getting the flu. That is why it is important to get vaccinated early in the fall, before the flu season really gets under way.

Flu shots for children and adults are offered at the DOH-Orange’s Central Health Center located at 832 West Central Boulevard, Monday through Friday from 7:30am- 2:00pm on a first-come, first-serve walk in basis. No appointment is necessary.  The immunization program is closed the 2nd Friday of each month. 


In Seminole County, flu shots for children and adults are available at the DOH-Seminole Sanford location at 400 West Airport Boulevard by appointment Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., except for the 2nd Thursday of each month, when the office closes at 11:30. Flu shots are free in both counties for children 6 months through 18 years of age. Go to and for more information.  



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The Orange and Seminole County Health Departments are emphasizing the importance of personal protection against mosquito bites as human cases of West Nile virus are identified across the country and state. Right now no human cases have been reported in Orange or Seminole Counties this year. Throughout the year, the health departments work with Mosquito Control, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and state universities, to monitor for the presence of illnesses carried by mosquitoes


"It is important for people to be aware that standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and can lead to an increase in the insects. There are simple measures to reduce the chances of contracting a mosquito-borne illness," said Dr. Kevin M. Sherin, Director of the Orange County Health Department.


Central Florida residents and visitors should remain diligent in protecting themselves from mosquito bites by practicing: Drain and Cover. 

Drain standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.


  • DISCARD: Old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren't being used.
  • EMPTY and CLEAN: Birdbaths and pet's water bowls at least once or twice a week.
  • PROTECT: Boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don't accumulate water.
  • MAINTAIN: The water balance (pool chemistry) of swimming pools. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.


Cover your skin with clothing and use mosquito repellent.


  • CLOTHING: If you must be outside when mosquitoes are active, cover up. Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and long sleeves.
  • REPELLENT: Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing. Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535 are effective. Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months.


Cover doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out.


  • Keep mosquitoes out of your house. Repair broken screens on windows, doors, porches, and patios.


Symptoms of mosquito-borne illnesses may include headache, fever, fatigue, dizziness, weakness, and confusion.




People over 50 at higher risk to get severe illness. People over the age of 50 are more likely to

develop serious symptoms of WNV if they do get sick and should take special care to avoid

mosquito bites.


Physicians should contact their county health department if they suspect an individual may have a mosquito-borne illness. Department of Health (DOH) laboratories provide testing services for physicians treating patients with clinical signs of mosquito-borne illnesses.



For more information on mosquito-borne diseases, visit,  or the DOH Environmental

Health website at

Addtional Resources:

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Climate Change and its effects on Public Health 

Orange County Health Department’s “Climate Change and Your Health” video is one of several products created by the Environmental Health office for the National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as part of the Climate Change Demonstration Site grant the Health Department received in 2009. The video is collaboration of NACCHO, CDC and DOH with assistance from Orange TV. It covers public health topics such as air, water, society, nutrition and disease impacts as they relate to climate change and includes focused discussion with experts from both the CDC and the Florida Department of Health.

Air and Water

Climate Change: The Effects on Air and Water


Climate Change: Disease and the Effects on Health







Climate Change: The Effects on Society

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Residents Urged to Avoid Contact with Wild & Stray Animals  

Contact:  Dain Weister
July 13, 2010 
(407) 858-1429


ORLANDO – Orange County health officials urge residents to avoid contact with wild and stray animals to protect themselves from the risk of rabies exposure.

In Florida, raccoons, bats and foxes are the animals most frequently diagnosed with rabies. Other animals that are at high risk for rabies include skunks, otters, coyotes, bobcats, and stray or unvaccinated cats, dogs and ferrets. Each year, Orange County receives reports of rabid animals. In 2009, 10 rabid animals including eight raccoons, one cat, and one dog were reported in Orange County. Six rabid animals have been reported in Orange County in 2010 including most recently, one fox and one raccoon in July.    

“Rabies is a potentially fatal disease.  It is important not to handle wild animals, to be aware of unusual acting animals, and to keep pets vaccinated against rabies,” said Dr. Kevin M. Sherin, Director Orange County Health Department.

Rabies is transmitted through exposure to the saliva and nervous tissue from a rabid animal through a bite, scratch, or contact with mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose, or mouth.  Orange County Health Department (OCHD) works with Orange County Animal Services in responding to incidents of animal bites, tests animals for rabies through the Florida Bureau of Laboratories, and quarantines animals as necessary. OCHD also provides rabies vaccinations to victims of animal bites, the only known effective treatment for rabies prevention in humans. In 2009, rabies vaccinations were provided for 88 animal bite victims through the Orange County Health Department.
The following are steps you can take to protect yourself and your loves ones against rabies:

• Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets.
• Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Orange County Animal Services at (407) 836-3111.
• Call your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood.
• Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated.
• Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
• Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.
• Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. 
• Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas, where they might come in contact with people and pets.

Unusual acting animals should be reported to Orange County Animal Services at (407) 836-3111 for handling. Anyone who is bitten or scratched by wild animals or strays should report the incident to their doctor immediately, as well as Orange County Animal Services and their local health department. The contact number to report an animal bite to the Orange County Health Department is (407) 858-1420.
For information on rabies vaccinations for your dogs and cats visit the Orange County Animal Services website at Orange County Animal Services offers free rabies vaccinations for your dogs and cats through “Pet Amnesty Day” once a month. This outreach and education event provides an opportunity for the Animal Services mobile clinic to enter targeted communities to offer free rabies vaccines for dogs and cats over 4 months old. It also provides citizens the opportunity to surrender pets they are no longer able to care for.

]]>, 13 Jul 2010 00:00:00 GMT
Protect Yourself and Your Children from Whooping Cough 

ORLANDO - The Orange County Health Department (OCHD) is urging parents to make sure they and their children are up to date on pertussis or whooping cough vaccinations as a recent pertussis epidemic was declared in California. The best way to prevent pertussis is to get vaccinated. In the United States, the recommended pertussis vaccine for children is called DTaP.  This is a safe and effective combination vaccine that protects children against three diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. For maximum protection against pertussis, children need five DTaP shots.

“Pertussis can cause serious illness in infants, children and adults,” said Dr. Kevin M. Sherin, Director of the Orange County Health Department. “Anyone in close contact with infants should be vaccinated.”  The Orange County Health Department offers the pertussis vaccine to children and adults at its immunization clinic at 832 W. Central Boulevard, Orlando, 32805.  

The disease starts like the common cold, with runny nose or congestion, sneezing, and maybe mild cough or fever. But after 1–2 weeks, severe coughing begins. Infants and children with the disease cough violently and rapidly, over and over, until the air is gone from their lungs and they are forced to inhale with a loud "whooping" sound. Pertussis is most severe for babies; more than half of infants less than 1 year of age who get the disease must be hospitalized.

People with pertussis usually spread the disease by coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others, who then breathe in the pertussis bacteria. Many infants who get pertussis are infected by parents, older siblings, or other caregivers who might not even know they have the disease.

Seven pertussis cases have been reported to the OCHD so far this year. Three of the seven cases were infants.  All three of the infants became infected before they could receive the three primary shots necessary for immunity. This highlights the importance of vaccinating the parents of newborns and anyone who will be taking care of the child who could possibly expose them to the infection. 

Vaccine protection for pertussis, tetanus, and diphtheria can fade with time. Today there are boosters for adolescents and adults that contain tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (called Tdap). Pre-teens going to the doctor for their regular check-up at age 11 or 12 years should get a dose of Tdap. Adults who did not get Tdap as a pre-teen or teen should get one dose of Tdap instead of the Td booster. Getting vaccinated with Tdap is especially important for families with and caregivers of new infants. 
For more information about pertussis, go to

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