Outbreak of Lung Disease Associated with E-Cigarette/Vaping Use 

CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local health departments, and other clinical and public health partners are investigating a multistate outbreak of lung disease associated with e-cigarette product (devices, liquids, refill pods, and/or cartridges) use.

What you should know:

  • Electronic cigarettes – or e-cigarettes — are also called vapes, e-hookahs, vape pens, and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).
  • Using an e-cigarette product is commonly called vaping.
  • E-cigarettes work by heating a liquid to produce an aerosol that users inhale into their lungs.
  • The liquid can contain: nicotine, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinoid (CBD) oils, and other substances and additives.

What the CDC recommends:

  • Until we know more, if you are concerned about these specific health risks, CDC recommends that you consider refraining from using e-cigarette or vaping products.
  • If you are an adult who used e-cigarettes containing nicotine to quit cigarette smoking, do not return to smoking cigarettes.
  • If you have recently used an e-cigarette or vaping product and you have symptoms like those reported in this outbreak see a healthcare provider.

Symptoms of Severe Lung Disease Reported by Some Patients in This Outbreak
Patients in this investigation have reported symptoms such as:

  • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Fatigue, fever, or abdominal pain
  • Some patients have reported that their symptoms developed over a few days, while others have reported that their symptoms developed over several weeks. A lung infection does not appear to be causing the symptoms.

Regardless of the ongoing investigation: 

Anyone who uses an e-cigarette or vaping product should not buy these products (e.g., e-cigarette or vaping products with THC, other cannabinoids) off the street, and should not modify or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.

Additional Resources:

(Information courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Health Department Receives National Accreditation

The Howard County Health Department has achieved national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). The national accreditation programPublic Health Acreditation Board Logo works to promote and protect the health of the public by advancing continuous quality improvement and performance of all public health departments.

The attainment of accredited status comes after a rigorous, multi-faceted, peer-reviewed assessment process, which ensured the Health Department met or exceeded criteria established for a set of evidence-based quality standards and measures for public health.

During this three-year process, the Health Department submitted documentation examples that demonstrated conformity with 100 performance measures across 12 domains of public health practice. Included among these were the Community Health Assessment Process, Community Health Improvement Plan, the Department’s Strategic Planning Process and Performance Management System, as well as several Local Health Improvement Coalition activities, all of which were closely linked to partnerships with key stakeholders throughout the county and state. 

Howard County now joins the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and local health departments from seven Maryland counties (Allegany, Cecil, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Wicomico and Worcester) who have PHAB accreditation. 

September is National Childhood Obesity MonthTwo girls with a soccer ball infront of a soccer net

One in 5 children In the United States are obese.  Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.  The good news is that childhood obesity can be prevented. Learn ways to promote healthy growth in children and prevent obesity by clicking on our Population Health page.

National Preparedness Month Begins in September

Emergency KitNational Preparedness Month, is recognized each September to promote family and community disaster and emergency planning now and throughout the year. The 2019 theme is "Prepared, Not Scared."  Visit the Emergency Preparedness webpage for tips about how you and your family can prepare for emergency situations.  

Other resources:

Breaking the Cycle of Youth Suicide in Howard County

Youth Suicide Prevention Program Uses Multiple Tactics to Help Save Lives

Suicide was the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-24 in 2017.  In Howard County, suicide was the leading cause of death for youth ages 15-19 between 2014-2016.  According to the Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 1 in 6 high sMother and Daughter with It's OK to Ask suicide prevention campaign information teenhealthmatters.orgchool students and 1 in 5 middle school students have “seriously considered attempting suicide”. 

An evidence-based plan, accompanied by an “It’s OK to Ask” outreach campaign, encourages both youth and adults to talk openly about suicide and suicide prevention. 

Health Department staff will be working in the community to provide specialized presentations and training for those who would like to bring Youth Suicide Prevention Program components to their organizations and groups.  

It’s OK to Ask” campaign materials, additional information, resources and training are available at teenhealthmatters.org, or by contacting Kayla Blasher, Health Department Youth Suicide Prevention Coordinator at 410-313-6240.

Learn suicide warning signs and get tips about how to start a conversation by visiting teenhealthmatters.org 

If you, or someone you know is in crisis, contact: 
  • Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center 24/7 at 410-531-6677 or
  • text HOME to 741741 (Crisis Text Line)

***For Media*** Suicide Reporting Recommendations

The Doctor Is In - Episode Five - Teen Mental Health and Suicide - Moving Forward (Coming Soon) 

The Doctor Is In logo

Teen health and suicide continue to dominate the news.  In this next episode, we will look at new efforts being undertaken by the Health Department and partners, to combat the stigma surrounding mental health and how to take action to help those experiencing depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. 

You can hear all of the episodes of The Doctor Is In at: https://dragondigitalradio.podbean.com/category/the-doctor-is-in 

Featured Video

The Bonavitacola Family shares their experience with opioid overdose  and how it can happen in any family.

Opioid/Heroin Overdose Prevention Training

For more information about substance use/abuse and prevention see our Behavioral Health page.  Opioid Overdose Response (Narcan) Training is now provided on a "drop-in" basis twice a month.  For questions or more information call 410-313-6202 or contact orpresponse@howardcountymd.gov.  (You must reside, work or attend school in Howard County to participate.) 


September 26, 2019 3:00-6:00 Howard County Health Department
8930 Stanford Blvd.
Columbia, MD  21045
October 1, 2019 3:00-6:00 Howard County Health Department
8930 Stanford Blvd.
Columbia, MD  21045
October 31, 2019 3:00-6:00 Howard County Health Department
8930 Stanford Blvd.
Columbia, MD  21045

An Opioid Overdose Response Program Information video is available for viewing online. To view, click on the following ezcast.com link to Opioid/Heroin Overdose Training.

Suicide Prevention App for Smart Phones


Apple App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/there-is-hope/id1122136102?mt=8

Google Play Store:  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nextlogik.grassroots&hl=en


Rabies Vaccinations for Your Pets 

Ttwo female vet techs with dog on exam tablehe Howard County Health Department, in cooperation with the Animal Control and Adoption Center sponsor monthly local vaccination clinics to protect your pet from the rabies virus.  Bring your dog, cat, or ferret for a discounted vaccination the 3rd Thursday of each month.

Location:  8576 Davis Road
                  Columbia, MD 21045  
Time:  Every 3rd Thursday
    Between the hours of
12:00pm and 1:30pm

Cost: $5.00 cash or check
Payable to “Director of Finance”

•    All pets must be on a leash or in a carrier!
•    Pets must be at least 3 months of age to receive a vaccination.
•    Re-vaccinate animals by the 1 or 3 year vaccination expiration date.
•    Please bring proof of any previous vaccinations. For cats and dogs you will need a copy of the previous rabies vaccine from your veterinarian. This will allow us to document a 3 year vaccination on your new certificate.

For more information, contact:
Bureau of Environmental Health at 
(410) 313-1773
Animal Control and Adoption Center at 
(410) 313-2780

Food-borne Illnesses

Important: If you think you are sick due to eating bad food or food product, contact the Bureau of Environmental Health at 410-313-1772.  After business cartoon of a tomato inundated by bacteria hours, leave a message with your call back information and we will return your call first thing the morning of the following day.

Calendar of Events


9/3 - ORP Training
9/4 - Library Event – Health Dept & You-Your Health Matters
9/5 – Wilde Lake HS Back to School Night
9/11 - Library Event – Health Dept & You-Your Health Matters
9/11 – LBHA Meeting
9/12 – Emergency Preparedness Summit
9/18 – Library Event - Health Department and You 
9/21 – HCHD-ROSC Recovery Walk
9/23 – Launch Into Learning – Lobby Event
9/24 – BOH Meeting
9/25 - Library Event – Health Dept & You-Your Health Matters
9/25 – Howard County Govt. Diversity Day.
9/26 – ORP Training
9/28 - 2019 NAACP Elder Empowerment  Summit
9/28 – Out of the Darkness Walk
9/28 – Early Care & Education Conference
9/28 – CHW, Teen Time
9/29 - Washington Ghanaian SDA Church Community Health Fair and Free Clinic


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