Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019
Following a release from the Oakland County Health Division (attached) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services urging residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites, Birmingham Public Schools will be treating five high-traffic locations in an effort to reduce the mosquito population.
With the health and safety of our students and community as a priority, the District will be taking precautions to treat five locations over the course of the weekend. Treatments will take place at Groves and Seaholm high schools, Derby and Berkshire middle schools and Birmingham Covington School as these locations frequently host student activities at dusk when mosquitos are most active.
The releases from OCHD and MDHHS were sent to the public after seven cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) were confirmed on the Southwest side of Michigan, including three fatal cases. While no cases have been reported in Oakland County as of today, we are aware that the situation can change swiftly and will continue to seek updates from OCHD. At this time, we will not be cancelling any outdoor evening events, but will remain proactive by treating the perimeter tree and bush areas as well as standing water around common outdoor gathering areas at the five locations. Treatments will include a fog insecticide as well as a larvicide that will treat areas of standing water and be conducted while working around scheduled events this weekend.
OCHD and MDHHS are recommending that the community take precautions to avoid mosquito bites as well. MDHHS recommends individuals:
- Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-registered product to exposed skin or clothing, and always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.
- Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
- Empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires, or similar sites where mosquitoes may lay eggs.
- Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.
More tips and suggestions can be found on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website. Questions around EEE or the status in Oakland County can be directed to the Oakland County Health Division at 800.848.5533 or NOC@oakgov.com.
BPS buildings will share additional information as it relates to students traveling to other locations in Michigan for camps or other out-of-school activities in neighboring counties. We will continue to monitor the situation with student safety and well-being as our priority.
Operations and Athletics Joint Statement of Pool Environment and Use
The Operations and Athletics Departments are issuing this joint statement on the natatorium environments and pool care at Birmingham Public Schools.
All users of the pools, including renters, teams, community groups, and school use will be provided a copy of this in the coming months and as needed.
Please take a moment to read through this statement to learn how are pools are cared for, the environments maintained, and what you must do to keep these areas open and healthy.
Shigella Bacteria & Shigellosis
Birmingham Public Schools Operations has noted the increased level of media attention and people becoming ill with the bacterial infection of the Shigella bacteria (shigellosis). The primary area of increased infection are in Genesee and Saginaw Counties, however, since this is a highly infectious pathogen it could spread rapidly to other areas.
This information page from the CDC is very informative. Please share this information page with anyone who may need more information or feels they may have been exposed. Centers For Disease Control – Shigella.
Shigella germs are present in the stools of infected persons while they have diarrhea and for up to two weeks after the diarrhea has gone away. Shigella is very contagious; exposure to even a tiny amount of contaminated fecal matter—too small to see-- can cause infection. Transmission of Shigella occurs when people put something in their mouths or swallow something that has come into contact with stool of a person infected with Shigella. This can happen when:
- Contaminated hands touch your food or mouth. Hands can become contaminated through a variety of activities, such as touching surfaces (e.g., toys, bathroom fixtures, changing tables, diaper pails) that have been contaminated by stool from an infected person. Hands can also become contaminated with Shigella while changing the diaper of an infected child or caring for an infected person.
- Eating food contaminated with Shigella. Food may become contaminated if food handlers have shigellosis. Produce can become contaminated if growing fields contain human sewage. Flies can breed in infected feces and then contaminate food when they land on it.
- Swallowing recreational (for example lake or river water while swimming) or drinking water that was contaminated by infected fecal matter.
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent shigellosis. However, you can reduce your risk of getting shigellosis by:
- Carefully washing your hands with soap regularly and during key times:
- After using the bathroom
- Before eating.
- After changing a diaper or helping to clean another person who has defecated.
- If you care for a child in diapers who has shigellosis, promptly discard the soiled diapers in a lidded, lined garbage can, and wash your hands and the child’s hands carefully with soap and water immediately after changing the diapers. Any leaks or spills of diaper contents should be cleaned up immediately.
- Avoid swallowing water from ponds, lakes, or untreated swimming pools.
- When traveling, follow food and water precautions strictly and wash hands with soap frequently.
Our current cleaning regimen and cleaning solutions will properly and effectively clean for the Shigella Bacterium. However, no cleaning regimen can account for direct contact or surface contact between cleanings.
If you have any questions regarding our response to this or our department please feel free to contact us at: Operations@Birmingham.k12.mi.us
Birmingham Public Schools Operations has noted the increased level of media attention and people becoming ill with Legionnaires disease. The primary area of increased infection is New York City, however, this is a worldwide known issue and widespread infection can occur anywhere it is warm and conditions can support the Legionella bacteria.
There have been two cases of Legionnaires disease recently in SE Michigan.
This information page from the CDC is very informative. Please share this information page with anyone who needs more information or feels they may have been exposed.
Centers For Disease Control – Legionnaires disease
Some key points to remember are:
Legionnaires disease is contracted by breathing mist or vapor containing the bacteria. The sources are cooling towers (HVAC systems), hot tubs, decorative fountains, roof puddles, and water sites like that.
- Legionnaires is not infectious person to person.
- Legionnaires disease is the pneumonia like infection affecting the lungs. There is also a flu like variety called Pontiac Fever.
- Legionella bacteria are found widespread in the entire environment.
- The symptoms of Legionnaires disease are much like pneumonia and symptoms progress rapidly.
The Birmingham Public Schools does not operate any cooling tower type units in any of our HVAC systems. BPS places a high priority on preventative maintenance and inspection that identifies and fixes areas where water may collect and a Legionella colony could establish. BPS does not operate any hot tubs or decorative fountains that would develop misting.
If you have any questions regarding our response to this or our department please feel free to contact us at:
We are very aware of the rapidly rising Influenza issue and we are watching this closely for all developments and we are proactively responding to the challenge.
This seasonal Influenza rise remains vulnerable to a good quality cleaning regimen that stresses surface cleaning, the use of high quality, EPA approved, cleaning solutions and the vigilant monitoring of the health of students, staff, and the community.
The regular cleaning regimen in our school buildings and offices is very thorough and includes attention to many of the routine touch point areas that are prone to illness transmission.
If a specific concern is identified in a building or classroom(s) the cleaning regimen can be immediately modified with key specific practices that are focused on the key illness transmission routes. For example, some areas may require intensive airborne cleaning treatment, others may require intensive surface or floor cleansing, still others could require the removal of furniture from the environment, etc.
The manufacturer of our current disinfecting cleaning solution has been contacted and has verified that the solution is appropriate to use specific to the Influenza. We are monitoring this efficacy and remaining in communication with them if better alternatives arise.
The majority of illness threats that we face nationally each year, including Influenza, are transmitted most often by airborne particles and by uncontrollable contact. All of our schools are working in cooperation with the cleaning program by stressing the basic hygiene standards of hand washing and sneeze / cough covering to everyone (students and staff). Although it faces much community debate the message of “Stay home when you are sick” is also being communicated. The local, state and national Departments of Health are sharing these identical messages as well.
Birmingham Public Schools also provides hand sanitizer in dispensers throughout all of our school buildings and office areas. Hand Sanitizer is openly available to staff, students and visitors.
Lastly, members of the BPS Operations and Administrative staff are monitoring our schools, our community, the press, health departments, and are in daily contact with many sources to keep us informed and alert to all of the community health challenges that we face.
Thank you for your concern, I hope that we have your confidence that we are doing our best to minimize the impact of Influenza as well as all the annual cold and flu illnesses in our schools and community. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us.
The Centers for Disease Control have an excellent group of resources regarding influenza. This can be accessed at http://www.cdc.gov/flu .