Vaccination Alert

Vaccination Alert

Dan Onion, MD, MPH

Mt. Vernon/Vienna Health Officer

293-2076; dkonion@gmail.com

May 17, 2015

Last fall I wrote about the decreasing immunization rates among Maine school children and the threat that poses to all of us, especially them and their peers (September 2014 Mt. Vernon Newsletter). Tom Ward of Mt. Vernon alerted me today to the state-wide reports from the Maine Center for Disease Control of Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) immunization rates in kindergarten and first grade for each Maine school. The report is very worrisome (http://www.pressherald.com/2015/05/17/state-data-show-dangerous-levels-of-unvaccinated-students/). Some grade schools in Maine have under 80% of children vaccinated in kindergarten and first grade.

A New State Epidemiologist for Maine

A New State Epidemiologist for Maine!

By Dan Onion, MD, MPH

Mt. Vernon/Vienna Health Officer

293-2076; dkonion@gmail.com

August, 2015

After several years of devastating cuts to the Maine public health systems and over 25% reductions in the Maine public health work force, I found the announcement below in the Maine Medical Association June 15 newsletter particularly encouraging. That a public health physician with these credentials would move across the country to help us is wonderful at anytime, but even more so in these trying times. As I’ve pointed out in these columns before, strong clinical care access and public health strategies can and do save lives and money, as we have demonstrated in Franklin County over the years (J Am Med Assoc, 2015; 313(2):147-155). So here is some good news!

Statistics: Chance and Blinded Controlled Trials

Statistics: Chance and Blinded Controlled Trials

“Why should I have a flu shot when I had one last year and still caught the flu later,” said my friend in frustration. “Even worse, I understand you can get the flu from the shot!” I’ve been in the public health/doctoring business for nearly 50 years, and that lament hasn’t changed much, even though the influenza vaccine’s efficacy has improved a lot. Much in life is subject to chance; most medical and public health interventions, like flu shots, have been shown to improve those chances without negative side effects.

The Plusses of Our Drought

The Plusses of Our Drought

Dan Onion, MD, MPH

Mt. Vernon/Vienna Health Officer

293-2076; dkonion@gmail.com

September, 2016

This year I’ve had to water my garden and berry bushes all summer. Second hay crops are substantially reduced. Many wells will probably dry up this fall unless we begin to get significant rain. Wild fires are a greater risk. Both Flying and Parker Ponds are nearly a foot below normal summer low water levels. Even Hermine is missing us!

Can one think positively about such deprivation? Yes, certainly in several ways.

Beaver Fever

Beaver Fever

Dan Onion, MD, MPH

Mt. Vernon/Vienna Health Officer

293-2076; dkonion@gmail.com

October, 2016

Tom Ward, our local weatherman among many other things, called me with a story I could leave for spring to describe. But it is so interesting, I have to tell you about it now. He called because he'd learned that a local summer resident on Flying Pond, had one of her two Labrador retrievers diagnosed by her veterinarian with "beaver fever". Tom wondered if that could affect humans as well and if there were ways to eliminate such risk.

Environmental Risks in and around our Homes: Water Testing

Environmental Risks in and around our Homes: Water Testing

This will be the first in a series of brief articles, with recommendations, about environmental risks at our homes in Vienna. I shall discuss the most common risks first, and how one assesses or measures them. In this article, I talk about when, how and for what you should consider testing your home water supply.

There is, of course, no public water supply going to Vienna homes. The closest we get to that is the Kimball Pond Road public spring, which is tested several times a year by its stewards. Thus, all of us are responsible for assuring the safety of our own home water; our water sources are from springs, or drilled or dug wells, unless we live without running water.

So what should you worry about, what should you test for, and how often?  

Town Meeting Questions: Drinking Water vs Beach Water Testing, and Hepatitis Immunization Questions

Town Meeting Questions: Drinking Water vs Beach Water Testing, and Hepatitis Immunization Questions

Dan Onion, MD, MPH

Mt. Vernon/Vienna Health Officer

293-2076; dkonion@gmail.com

March, 2017

Mark Rains and Roger Reveille asked me a set of questions at our March 11 town meeting this year that others may also be wondering, so I'll expand my answers to them here.

Gun Violence in Maine, and Beyond

Gun Violence in Maine, and Beyond

Dan Onion, MD, MPH

Mt. Vernon/Vienna Health Officer

293-2076; dkonion@gmail.com

November, 2017

I am writing this on March 25, the day after huge marches to demand action to reduce gun violence were held locally and all over the country, along with some counter marches. Those marches and a recent dialog I had with Mt. Vernon's most prominent sportsman, George Smith, (see his Bangor Daily News blog) lead me to want to expand the discussion of gun violence to other related and alarmingly bad public health transformations we seem to be suffering.

Arsenic in Our Water

Arsenic in Our Water

The Vienna Kimball Pond Road Spring

Dan Onion, MD, MPH

Mt. Vernon/Vienna Health Officer

293-2076; dkonion@gmail.com

June, 2017

Contaminants in our home water supplies are a perennial concern to health officials, especially here in Maine where fewer than half of our citizens use town water sources. The use of multiple, and often single-family wells and springs make it difficult to ensure everybody’s water is safe. Of course, no one in Mt. Vernon or Vienna is on a public (town) water supply. And many use the old spring on Vienna’s Kimball Pond Road as a drinking water source because it carries on a nearly 200-year-old local tradition -- and it tastes good.

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer