Health Department

Fairfax County, Virginia

 

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Our administration office at 10777 Main Street in Fairfax is open during regular business hours 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday. Clinic services are not offered at this location.

703-246-2411 | TTY 711

10777 Main Street
Fairfax, VA 22030

Gloria Addo-Ayensu, M.D., M.P.H., Director of Health

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WHAT WE DO

As an agency of the Fairfax County Health and Human Services System, we work to protect, promote and improve health and quality of life for all who live, work and play in our community. We do this by preventing epidemics and the spread of disease, protecting the public against environmental hazards, promoting and encouraging healthy behaviors, assuring the quality and accessibility of health services, responding to natural and man-made disasters, and assisting communities in recovery. Our vision is for all Fairfax County residents to live in thriving communities where every person has the opportunity to be healthy, safe and realize his or her potential.

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Juana Vargas and Sara Bailey with our Tuberculosis (TB) Program join La Voz del Condado de Fairfax to share the facts about TB.

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Health Department News

TB campaign ad adressing the effectiveness of TB vaccine

February 18, 2019
Public health officials in Northern Virginia are launching a region-wide tuberculosis awareness campaign, hoping to dispel myths and address barriers to testing and early treatment for those most at risk for TB. The new campaign will use a combination of grassroots outreach, along with print, transit and digital advertising across Fairfax, Arlington, Loudoun, Prince William and Alexandria health districts. The advertisements are scheduled to run from now through April 14, 2019. “While significant progress has been made toward controlling and curing TB, it remains one of the most common infectious diseases worldwide and is still a public health problem in Northern Virginia,” Fairfax County Health Director Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu said. “We want our communities to know that it’s a disease that can be prevented and cured.” TB is a disease, caused by bacteria, that can spread from one person to another. Most often TB affects the lungs, but you can find it in any part of the body. TB spreads through the air when someone who is sick with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, speaks or laughs; people who are nearby can breathe TB germs into their lungs and become infected.   About one-third of the world’s population has latent TB infection, which means that they have been infected by the TB bacteria but do not feel sick or have any symptoms and cannot spread the bacteria to others. Without treatment, these individuals are at risk of becoming ill with active TB disease, which is contagious. In 2017, there were 2.4 cases of TB per 100,000 people in Virginia. However, the rate was more than double in Fairfax County. Nine out of every 10 cases of TB in Virginia occur in people who were born outside of the United States. Working with leaders from different ethnic communities and the marketing firm Campbell & Company Communications, the NOVA TB Task Force created public service announcements which include important messages, such as: TB can be treated and cured. Receiving BCG, or TB vaccine, in the past does not provide lifelong protection from TB infection or disease. Everyone should know the symptoms of TB:  coughing that lasts more than 2 weeks; weight loss; fatigue; and sweating at night. People with these symptoms should think TB and see a doctor or call the local health department. “Too often people fail to get treated for latent TB infection or ignore the symptoms of active TB disease,” said Dr. Barbara Andrino, Tuberculosis Physician. “People with active TB can infect up to 15 other people through close contact over the course of a year.” “That’s why it’s so important that people get tested and take all the medicine the doctor prescribes for TB infection.” For more information about TB in Fairfax, visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/tuberculosis or call 703-246-2433, TTY 711.

How You Get Norovirus from People or Surfaces

December 21, 2018
The Fairfax County Health Department is seeing an increase in cases of gastrointestinal illness in the community and is reminding people to stay home when sick and for 24 hours after getting better, and to practice good handwashing to prevent further spread. Gastrointestinal viruses, like norovirus, spread from person-to-person. The most common symptoms of norovirus include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea. Additional symptoms may include fever, headache, and body aches. Symptoms usually develop 12 to 48 hours after being exposed to the virus. There is no vaccine to prevent or medication to treat norovirus. Most people will get better within one to three days, but young children, older adults, and people with other medical conditions are more at risk for complications, such as dehydration. If vomiting and diarrhea continues for more than a few days, you should contact a physician. “Holiday time, with family and friends getting together, is also a time when gastrointestinal illness viruses can easily be spread,” said Dr. Benjamin Schwartz, Director of Epidemiology and Population Health. “Be aware and take steps to prevent illness.  Good handwashing, staying away from others when sick and for 24 more hours, and using a cleaner with bleach on any surfaces that may have been contaminated with the virus by someone who is ill can help keep the holidays healthy and happy.” In addition to investigating reports of illness, the Health Department works with facilities like schools, day cares centers and nursing homes where outbreaks occur to ensure staff have appropriate cleaning protocols and other measures in place to stop the spread of illnesses in their facilities. Regular and appropriate handwashing is one of the most effective prevention methods for reducing the spread of norovirus and other illnesses. People who are ill, or caring for someone who is ill, should wash their hands carefully with soap and water before, during, and after preparing food. If soap is unavailable, hand sanitizer also can be effective. Hands should always be washed after using the toilet, changing diapers, or washing soiled clothes or bedding. Sick people should not prepare food or care for others. Norovirus can be found in vomit or stool before someone feels sick and for two weeks or more after symptoms subside. Hard, non-porous surfaces that have been contaminated by an ill person should be cleaned, and then disinfected immediately with a chlorine bleach solution made by adding 5 to 25 tablespoons of household bleach to one gallon of water. “Norovirus can spread in many ways, like touching objects or countertops that have norovirus droplets on them and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes,” Schwartz said.  “It only takes a very small amount of norovirus particles to make you sick.” For additional information about norovirus visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/norovirus. Learn more about handwashing and other healthy tips at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health. ###

 Marlene Blum announces adoption of the 2019-2023 Community Health Improvement Plan

December 14, 2018
Notable successes from the first plan formed the foundation for CHIP 2.0 Departing Co-Chair Marlene Blum announces the formal adoption of the 2019-2023 Community Health Improvement Plan The Partnership for a Healthier Fairfax elected a new co-chair and adopted a new Community Health Improvement Plan this week — the culmination of a year-long collaborative effort by a diverse coalition of residents, community organizations, schools, healthcare providers, businesses, faith communities and government agencies. One decade ago, the Fairfax County Health Department convened stakeholders from across the Fairfax community to explore new approaches for addressing critical public health issues. Once the Partnership for a Healthier Fairfax was established, its primary objective was to create and spearhead the implementation of a wide range of community-owned, multi-sector health initiatives. A resulting five-year Community Health Improvement Plan, referred to as CHIP 1.0, included goals and objectives across seven priority areas, including healthy and safe physical environment, active living, healthy eating, tobacco-free living, health workforce, access to health services, and data. Some of the achievements under the first CHIP included: Creation of the Fairfax Food Council which advocates and promotes healthy eating and access to healthy foods, particularly in areas of highest need. The council’s work supports community gardens, nutrition education programming and emergency food assistance. Establishment of Tobacco Free Play Zones at all athletic fields, playgrounds and skate parks in the Fairfax County Park Authority system. Fairfax County Public Schools and the department of Neighborhood and Community Services have adopted similar policies. Training and awareness around trauma-informed care practices, ensuring that community-based organizations recognize the presence of trauma symptoms in clients and acknowledge how trauma can impact their lives. Fairfax’s Trauma Informed Community Network is now a model in the region and across the Commonwealth. A video highlighting these accomplishments is available on the county's YouTube channel. More than 90 percent of the key actions outlined in the original plan were either completed or in progress, said Partnership co-chair Dr. Robert M. Weiler, Chair and Professor of the George Mason University Department of Global and Community Health. While these results are impressive, achieving improved health outcomes takes a sustained commitment of time, resources, and effort from community stakeholders and county partners. The new plan reflects opportunities to build on existing initiatives as well as to launch new and innovative collaborations to address critical community health needs. We are excited about the journey ahead. For CHIP 2.0, the Partnership used information from a dozen data resources, assessments, and reports to identify the most pressing health concerns in the community. Three priority issues — healthy eating, healthy environment and active living, and behavioral health — were selected for inclusion in the 2019-2023 CHIP, indicative of the Partnership’s intention to target its resources and efforts on fewer initiatives. Each of these three priority issues includes goals, objectives and key actions that will be implemented over the next five years through the Live Healthy Fairfax initiative to promote optimal health and well-being for all who live, work and play in the Fairfax community, which includes Fairfax County, the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, and the incorporated towns of Clifton, Herndon and Vienna. During its annual meeting on December 13, the Partnership also elected Ondrea McIntyre-Hall to serve alongside Dr. Weiler as co-chair. McIntyre-Hall is the Director of Health Access & Nutrition Services at Northern Virginia Family Service, where she is involved in policy and promotion work around the issue of access to health care. She replaces Marlene Blum whose second three-year term as co-chair ended this month. By involving experienced and trusted community leaders like Ondrea McIntyre-Hall, the Partnership has the best chance for reaching those most in need and achieving positive, sustainable changes for our most vulnerable populations, Weiler said. CHIP 2019-2023 is available for viewing now on the Community Health Dashboard. To learn more about the Partnership for a Healthier Fairfax, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/livehealthy or email to livehealthy@fairfaxcounty.gov.

About the Health & Human Services System

This agency is a part of the Fairfax County Health & Human Services System (HHS). The HHS System is a network of county agencies and community partners that support the well-being of all who live, work and play in Fairfax County.