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Environmental Health

Radon

Three Rivers Public Health Department (3RPHD) offers home radon test kits for $1 to residents of Dodge, Saunders, and Washington Counties which can be picked up at our main off located at 2400 N Lincoln Ave, Fremont, NE.

Additional distribution sites throughout the three counties have been established for your convenience. Locations include:

  • Washington County Extension (Blair)
  • Blair City Hall
  • Wahoo Public Library

What is Radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is odorless and tasteless. It is formed from the radioactive decay of uranium. Uranium is found in small amounts in most rocks and soil. It slowly breaks down to other products such as radium, which breaks down to radon.

How might I be exp‚Äčosed to radon?

  • Radon is found at very low levels in outdoor air.
  • It is found at higher levels in indoor air in homes, schools, and office buildings.
  • Cracks in the basement or foundation of a home may allow higher levels of radon inside the home.
  • Indoor radon levels are affected by the radium and uranium levels in soil, the porosity of the soil, the composition and condition of the foundation materials, and the ventilation rate of the room.
  • Miners, particularly those who mine uranium and hard rock, are exposed to higher levels of radon.
  • Radon is found in drinking water and may be higher in well water.

How can radon affect my health?

Exposure to high levels of radon may result in an increased incidence of lung diseases, such as emphysema and pulmonary fibrosis. These diseases have been seen at a higher rate than normal among underground miners who were also exposed to arsenic, silica dust, diesel fumes, and cigarette smoke. Lung disease has been reported to increase with increasing exposure to radon and cigarette smoking. Effects on the lung have also been seen in animals exposed to radon.

For additional questions not listed, please call 402-727-5396.

Additional Resources:
Nebraska's Average Radon Concentration by County: DHHS Radon Data
Nebraska DHHS Radon Resources: DHHS Radon Info
EPA Radon Info and Resources: EPA Radon Info

West Nile

West Nile Virus Activities at 3RPHD

Three Rivers Public Health Department (3RPHD) monitors for the presence of West Nile virus through mosquito trapping and collection of community reports of dead birds. During the months of June-September, 3RPHD traps mosquitoes at several sites in Dodge County and takes reports of dead birds. 3RPHD also provides prevention resources and education. This includes mosquito wipes and mosquito dunks.

What is West Nile Virus?

West Nile virus (WNV) is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States. It is most commonly spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes acquire West Nile virus from infected birds and then pass it onto other birds, animals and/or people.

Prevention:

The best way to protect yourself from infection with West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites:

  • Use insect repellents (bug-spray) with DEET when you go outdoors.
  • Wear long-sleeves and pants at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Remove mosquito breeding sites around your home. Drain standing water from flowerpots, birdbaths, wheelbarrows, pool covers, pet dishes, and old tires. Clean out roof gutters, especially if the leaves from nearby trees tend to clog the gutters.

For more information visit the CDC West Nile website
You can also use this tool to find a list of EPA certified bug sprays.


West Nile in Dead Birds

West Nile virus has been detected in variety of bird species. Some infected birds, especially crows and jays, are known to get sick and die from the infection. Due to this, 3RPHD prioritizes reporting and testing of specific species of birds. These include CORVID birds (e.g. Blue Jays, Crows, Magpies, etc.). At this time, 3RPHD will only be taking reports of dead birds. We will not be collecting dead birds for testing. Reports will be taken between the months of June-September.


 

To report a dead bird, contact our Disease Surveillance Coordinator:
Amy Roberts
402-704-2244
[email protected]

Air Quality

You can visit our Air Quality page to learn more about regulations surrounding the Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act. You can also check the current air quality levels of the Three Rivers area. 

Animal Nuisance

Three Rivers Public Health Department has no jurisdiction over animal nuisance complaints. If you are looking to report an animal nuisance, please contact your local law enforcement. You can also call your local city office to verify what your city ordinance is regarding animals and pets. Additional resources are linked below for some of our larger cities.

Additional Resources:

Bed Bugs

Three Rivers Public Health Department (3RPHD) often receives complaints about bed bug infestations, however bed bugs are not considered to be a health risk since studies have not shown them to carry any diseases. They are deemed to be more of a nuisance, therefore 3RPHD has no jurisdiction over remediation of bed bugs. 3RPHD is not a pest control agency and will not treat for bed bugs. General information regarding bed bugs can be found at the links towards the bottom of this page.

Quick Facts about bed bugs:

  • A single, sexually mature female bed bug can start an infestation.
  • Bed bugs hate light, so if you can’t change rooms, sleep with the light on.
  • Bed bugs can go months without food.
  • Bed bugs can survive in 110 degrees Fahrenheit temperature for days.
  • Bed bugs can survive freezing temperatures for several weeks.
  • Bed bug eggs are very sticky and difficult to remove, making them efficient hitchhikers.

How can you get rid of bed bugs?

3RPHD recommends that a property owner hire a professionally licensed pest control agency to evaluate the pest that is present in order to determine how best to exterminate if necessary. Proper identification of the insect is important as time and money can be wasted trying to mitigate the problem yourself if the treatments are not efficient for the type of insect present. Mitigation of bed bugs involves different procedures compared to other pests and can require multiple visits to treat the problem.

Additional Resources:

Food & Restaurant Complaints

Food establishment inspections and food permits are provided by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture for our service area (Dodge, Saunders, and Washington Counties).

3RPHD does NOT provide food permits or inspect food establishments. However, citizens with food complaints or concerns can call Three Rivers to make a complaint at 402-704-2244. Community members may also call the Nebraska Department of Agriculture to make a food complaint directly at 402-471-3422.

Lead Poisoning Prevention

Lead is a toxic metal that can be found in and around homes, in soil, and in some consumer products. There is no safe amount of lead exposure. Exposure to lead may cause health issues in both children and adults. Three Rivers does not provide lead inspections.

Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention

When children are exposed to lead, it may cause learning, behavior, and health problems. The best way to protect children is to prevent lead exposure before they are harmed:

  • Have your child tested for lead exposure: If your child is at risk or if you are concerned about lead in your home, ask your child's doctor about blood lead testing.
  • Consider testing your home for lead: Lead-based paint and lead dust is the most common source of lead in children. If your home is built before 1978, assume that the paint has lead unless tests show otherwise.
  • Renovate safely: Children and pregnant women should not be present in housing built before 1978 that is undergoing renovation.
  • Wash hands, toys, and clean your home often: Hands and toys can become contaminated from household dust or exterior soil. Both are known lead sources.
  • Serve healthy foods: Feed your child healthy foods with calcium, iron, and vitamin C. These foods may help keep lead out of the body.

Information above adapted from the Nebraska Department of Health Human Services. Check out Lead Prevention Information for Parents and Caregivers or Lead Safe Nebraska for more information.

For information on adults, please visit: Lead Exposures In Adults

Please visit Information for Homeowners and Renters for more information.

Rabies

Rabies remains a potentially serious public health problem in Nebraska, and is of concern to a variety of professional and occupational groups in our state, including physicians, veterinarians, farmers and ranchers.

Rabies Control

Medical and veterinary care providers should combine epidemiological data on animal rabies in the region where the exposure occurred with an assessment of the circumstances surrounding the actual patient exposure when formulating post-exposure prophylaxis recommendations. Dog and cat bites represent the most common potential exposure to rabies. Vaccination of pets remains the most sensible measure to reduce human exposure. Other important rabies-control measures include stray animal control, education of the general public regarding wild animal contact, and legislation controlling the acquisition of wild animals as pets (most notably raccoon's, black footed ferrets, skunks, and foxes). 

Criteria for Assessing Rabies Exposure 

The following definitions are provided to assist health care personnel in deciding on the need for post-exposure prophylaxis.

Human Exposure: Any situation in which a person experiences percutaneous or mucous membrane exposure to saliva or to central nervous system (CNS) tissue of a potentially rabid animal. Touching or handling a potentially rabid animal or another animal or inanimate object that has had contact with a rabid animal does not constitute an exposure unless wet saliva or CNS tissue entered a fresh, open wound or had contact with a mucous membrane. A physician should be consulted to assess any potential exposure. 

Provoked Attack: An attack is considered "provoked" if a domestic animal is placed in a situation such that an expected reaction would be to bite or attack. 

This would include, but not be limited to:
• the invasion of an animal's territory,
• an attempt to pet or handle an unfamiliar animal,
• startling an animal,
• running or bicycling past an animal,
• assisting an injured or sick animal,
• trying to capture an animal, or
• removing food, water or other objects in the animal's possession. 

Unprovoked Attack: An "unprovoked" attack or bite occurs when an animal strikes for no apparent reason. The behavior should be unusual for the particular animal. A confirmation of chronic aggressive behavior can often be made by interviewing the animal's owner. This will assist in determining whether the attack was indeed "unprovoked." 
 

Rabies Information - DHHS

Rabies Cases in Nebraska

Our Mission

 

Three Rivers Public Health Department's Mission is to empower and educate families while promoting healthy living for the improvement of our communities.

Our Vision

 

Three Rivers Public Health Department's Vision is that in cooperation with our communities, we will always be compassionate and respectful in all of our public health endeavors.

Three Rivers Public Health Department

Serving Dodge, Saunders & Washington Counties in Eastern Nebraska

2400 North Lincoln Avenue, Fremont, NE 68025   •   402-727-5396   •   1-866-727-5396   •   [email protected]

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