The Westfield Board of Health met on September 12, 2011.

A major issue discussed was the recent death of a person in Union County due to rabies.  Although the person was infected outside New Jersey, the case highlighted the importance of preventing contact between residents and rabies-infected animals.

Some wild animals in Union County have rabies, and it is essential that residents take precautions.  All dogs and cats must be vaccinated against rabies.  To assist Westfield residents, free rabies vaccination clinics for dogs and cats are held throughout the year. The next free clinic will be on September 27 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Roselle Park First Aid Squad, 535 Laurel Avenue, Roselle Park.  Additional clinics will be scheduled and posted on the department website http://www.westfieldnj.gov/health.

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In addition, cats should be kept indoors and dogs should be supervised when outdoors to prevent them from being infected by the bite of a rabid wild animal.   Also, residents must annually license their dogs and cats through the Town Clerk.  Finally, you can call the town’s free animal control service program at the Associated Humane Society, 973-824-7080, to pick up stray domestic animals, injured and ill wildlife and dead animals on public property and streets.

The upcoming seasonal influenza vaccination program has already begun, with 11 flu vaccine clinics scheduled.  Residents can find a vaccination site posted on the town website http://www.westfieldnj.gov/ . There is a $10 cash fee for each participant who does not have Medicare.

The Westfield Regional Health Department’s multifocal responses to Hurricane Irene were analyzed.  Due to the diligence of the department staff and the cooperation of the local food vendors and others, food, water, mosquito, mold and waste concerns were addressed and no food-related or water-borne illnesses were reported.

Finally, the health department is sponsoring free screening for Peripheral Vascular Disease with Overlook Hospital on Thursday, October 13, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Municipal Building.  The Department is also sponsoring free Diabetes Mellitus screening with Overlook Hospital on Thursday, November 10 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Municipal Building.   For more information about these programs, please call Ms. Laura Scanlon, the Public Health Nursing Supervisor, at 908-789-4070, extension 4074.

Information about all of the Department’s activities is available on its website  http://www.westfieldnj.gov/health .  The complete minutes of the September 12 meeting will be posted after review and approval at our October 3 meeting, which starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building.

Lawrence D. Budnick, MD

President, Westfield Board of Health