Thursday, 25 August 2011

UPDATE - Health Officials Announce Measles Exposure in Lancaster and Philadelphia Counties

Aug. 24, 2011
UPDATE - Health Officials Announce Measles Exposure in Lancaster and
Philadelphia Counties
Harrisburg–The Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Philadelphia
Department of Public Health are advising the public of exposure to a case of
measles in Lancaster and Philadelphia counties.
An international traveler visiting Pennsylvania has been diagnosed as having
measles. He may have exposed other people to the disease while contagious at the
following dates, times and locations:
Philadelphia County
· Aug. 14, 4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., Greyhound Bus Lines station, 1001 Filbert
· Aug. 14, 5 p.m. to Aug. 17, 5:30 p.m., Philadelphia-Historic District Holiday
Inn, 400 Arch St.
· Aug. 15, 11 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Ride the Ducks Duck Boat Tour (Zone 1),
beginning at 6th and Chestnut Sts.
· Aug. 16, 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., 30th St. Station, 2955 Market St.
o The individual departed on the Amtrak Keystone Line Train #643 to
Lancaster, Pa.
· Aug. 17, 1:30– 5 p.m., 30th St. Station, 2955 Market St.
o The individual departed on the Amtrak Northeast Regional Train #171
to Manassas, Va.
Lancaster County
· Aug. 16, 12:06 – 3:30 p.m. and 5:40-9:10 p.m., Lancaster Amtrak stop, 53
McGovern Ave., Lancaster, Pa.
o The individual arrived via the Amtrak Keystone Line Train #643 from
Philadelphia, Pa., which then went on to Harrisburg, Pa.; he left on a
6:10 p.m. train, Keystone Service # 656, to Philadelphia, Pa. which
then went on to New York City. Persons riding between Lancaster and
Harrisburg or between Philadelphia and New York City might also have
been exposed to the measles virus that could remain in the air inside
the train.
· Aug. 16, 2:30 – 7 p.m. at the following locations:
o Amish Experience at Plain and Fancy Farm, 3121 Old Philadelphia Pike,
Bird-in-Hand, Pa.
o Glick’s Roadside Stand, 248A Monterey Road, Bird-in-Hand, Pa.
o Riehl’s Farm/Quilt Shop, 247 E. Eby Road, Leola, Pa.
Based on the dates of exposure in Pennsylvania, it is possible that symptoms could
develop as late as Sept. 7 if individuals were infected during the timeframes
mentioned above.
Measles is caused by a highly contagious virus. Symptoms begin one to two weeks
after exposure and include a runny nose, watery eyes, cough and a high fever.
After four days, a raised, red rash starts to spread on the face, down the body and
out to the arms and legs. The rash usually lasts four to seven days.
An individual with measles can spread the virus to others for four days before and
four days after the rash begins. It is spread during sneezing or coughing, by
touching contaminated objects and by direct contact with infected nasal or throat
secretions. Infected droplets and secretions can remain contagious on surfaces for
up to two hours.
Complications from measles can include ear infection, diarrhea and pneumonia,
encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain) and even death. Measles can also cause
miscarriages or premature delivery in pregnant women.
Most people in the United States are immune to measles, either because they
received the Measles Mumps Rubella (known as the MMR) vaccine in childhood, or
because they were exposed to measles in the pre-vaccine era.
The MMR vaccine is given to toddlers when they are 12 to 15 months of age, and a
second dose is required for all Pennsylvania school children. However, individuals
who have received only one dose of the vaccine, instead of the recommended two
doses, may still be at risk of infection with this virus.
The following groups of individuals are at risk of becoming infected with measles:
· Infants less than one year of age, because they are too young to receive the
MMR vaccine;
· Persons who were vaccinated with an inactivated vaccine, which was used
from 1963 through 1967, and have never been revaccinated;
· Persons born after 1957 who have only received one dose of MMR vaccine;
· Those who refused vaccination; and
· Those from parts of the world where there is low vaccination coverage or low
circulating measles.
If you or your children are at risk for measles and become ill with symptoms one to
two weeks after possible exposure, you should contact your health care provider
immediately and tell them that you’ve been exposed to measles so that precautions
can be taken to avoid exposing anyone else and the cause of illness can be
Health care providers who treat patients with a suspected case of measles should
immediately call their local health department and/or the Pennsylvania Department
of Health at 1-877-PA-HEALTH (877-724-3258) for consultation and to arrange
For more information about measles, visit Anyone who is not
immune to measles and is interested in receiving MMR should ask their health care
provider or contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 1-877-PA-HEALTH.
Media contacts:
Christine Cronkright or Brandi Hunter-Davenport, Pa. Department of Health; 717-
Jeff Moran, Philadelphia Department of Public Health; 215-686-5244
Editor’s Note: This version amends previously reported information about the
traveler’s return trip to Philadelphia from Lancaster. It now includes an additional
trip via Amtrak.

Monday, 22 August 2011

State Department of Education Meets Requirements of IDEA

News for Immediate Release
Aug. 19, 2011
State Department of Education Meets Requirements of IDEA
Harrisburg – Pennsylvania has earned the highest level possible under the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the U.S. Department of Education
has determined.
This year marks the fourth time in the past five years the state has received this
determination. Among the seven-largest states ranked by the number of students
with disabilities, this year, Pennsylvania is the only large state to achieve the
“meets requirements” status, as well as being one of 14 states to receive this
determination. The U.S. Department of Education began evaluating states in 2007.
Amended in 2004, IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early
intervention, special education and related services to children with disabilities from
birth to age 18 or 21. Specifically, Pennsylvania’s Department of Education meets
the requirements of IDEA’s Part B.
Under law, the U.S. Secretary of Education must make an annual determination
whether each state is adhering to the requirements of IDEA. The four required
categories include: does the state meet the requirements and purposes of IDEA;
does the state need assistance in implementing those requirements; does the state
need intervention in implementing those requirements; and does the state need
substantial intervention in implementing the requirements.
Each category provides various actions that the U.S. Department of Education must
impose on states, ranging from positive recognition for meeting the requirements to
enforcement measures that could result in the loss of federal funds.
In making the determination, the U.S. Department of Education considers each
state’s annual performance report, performance plan, information obtained through
federal monitoring visits, as well as other public information.
Media Contact: Tim Eller, 717-783-9802
Editor’s note: PDE’s Federal Fiscal Year 2009 Annual Performance Report can be
found at the Bureau of Special Education’s website. The direct link is:

More . . . .

Monday, 8 August 2011

Obama sags in Pennsylvania poll

HARRISBURG -- President Obama is feeling the fallout from the protracted debate over the national debt.
More than half of Pennsylvania voters now disapprove of the way the president is handling his job, while in February, the majority supported him, according to a poll released Tuesday by Quinnipiac University.

But the president is still more popular than either Republicans or Democrats in Congress, with 44 percent of voters saying he acted more responsibly during the debate than lawmakers did.

Still, by a margin of 52 to 42 percent, voters say Obama does not deserve to be reelected.

“Any good poll is a snapshot of public opinion, and this survey shows President Barack Obama at a low point just before a major announcement on the national debt limit, after a long and bitter debate,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Malloy said polls taken after the debt debate would likely be a stronger indication of the overall trend of support for the president.
“The way we’re looking at this is, is this real or fleeting?” Malloy said. “The poll was taken at a peak of the most raucous bloodfest in Washington in a long time. Everyone took a hit.”

Consider Congress.

Voters polled overwhelming (68 to 28 percent) disapproved of the job Republicans are doing in Congress. Democrats fared roughly the same (67 to 28 percent disapproval).

But the poll suggests the debt battle could set the stage for a competitive presidential race in 2012.

For the first time, a potential GOP rival pulled into a statistical tie with Obama in the next election.

In a potential matchup, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney led Obama 44 percent to 42 percent, well within the poll’s margin of error of 2.7 percent, compared with June when Obama was ahead of Romney 47 percent to 40 percent.

Also within the margin of error in a head-to-head matchup with Obama is former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, who had 43 percent as opposed to the president’s 45 percent.

Pennsylvania voters may not be pleased with members of Congress as a whole, but they support Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.), who is up for reelection in 2012.

The poll found voters approve (48 to 29 percent) of the job Casey is doing and say (47 to 33 percent) he deserves to be reelected. Casey leads an unnamed Republican 47 to 35 percent.

Malloy said Casey’s high poll numbers might be attributed to the fact that he has no GOP opponent in 2012 yet and the fact that he appeared to “stay above the fray” in the debt debate.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) also had high approval ratings among Pennsylvania voters, who said (44 to 31 percent) they liked the way he was doing his job.

Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,358 registered voters between July 25 and 31 with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points. Voters were called using landlines and cellphones.

Contact staff writer Amy Worden at 717-783-2584 or

Friday, 5 August 2011

News for Immediate Release

Aug. 5, 2011

DEP Declares Drought Watches, Warnings Around Commonwealth

Below-Normal Rainfall Leads to Water Deficits

Harrisburg — The Department of Environmental Protection today issued a drought warning for four Pennsylvania counties and a drought watch for 40 counties.

“With the hot, dry summer, our statewide monitoring network indicates a need to take this first step, which is aimed at alerting the public and water suppliers that it makes sense to take some voluntary common sense steps to conserve,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. "We recommended this to Pennsylvania’s Drought Task Force, and the members agreed.”
A drought watch declaration is the first and least severe level of the state’s three drought classifications. It calls for a voluntary five-percent reduction in non-essential water use and puts large water consumers on notice to begin planning for the possibility of reduced water supplies. A drought warning asks residents to voluntarily reduce water use by 10 to 15 percent.
Precipitation deficits over the past 90 days are as great as 4.1 inches below normal in Elk County and 4.4 inches below normal in Chester County. DEP is sending letters to all water suppliers in the affected areas, notifying them of the need to monitor their supplies and update their drought contingency plans as necessary.

The agency monitors a network of groundwater wells and stream gauges across the state that provides comprehensive data to the Commonwealth Drought Coordinator. In addition to precipitation, groundwater and stream flow levels, DEP monitors soil moisture and water supply storage and shares this data with other state and federal agencies.

Individuals can take a number of measures around the home to conserve water, including:
 Install low-flow plumbing fixtures and aerators on faucets.

 Check for household leaks. A leaking toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water each day.
 Take short showers instead of baths.

 Replace older appliances with high-efficiency, front-loading models that use about 30 percent less water and 40 to 50 percent less energy.

 Run dishwashers and washing machines only with full loads.

 Keep water in the refrigerator to avoid running water from a faucet until it is cold.

On its website, DEP also offers water conservation recommendations and water audit procedures for commercial and industrial users, such as food processors, hotels and educational institutions. Water conservation tips and drought information can be found online at, keyword: drought.

Media contact: Jamie Legenos, 717-315-9946 (cell)

Editor’s note: The four counties under a Drought Warning are Cameron, Elk, McKean and Potter. The 40 counties under a Drought Watch are Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Bradford, Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Centre, Chester, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Forest, Fulton, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lycoming, Mercer, Mifflin, Montgomery, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Tioga, Venango, Warren and Wyoming.

More . . . .