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Still need a flu shot? Click here for local flu clinic information!




On July 11, 2017 the Board of Health adopted amended Tobacco Control Regulations which will go into effect on September 1, 2017.  The most significant change in the regulations is the increase in legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21.   For more information, please contact our office.


Dr. Robert Insley, Chair

Pamela Howell, R.N., Vice Chair

Frank Boyle

Cynthia Bayerl


For more information about tobacco21, please visit the website:




What is Zika virus?

Zika is a virus (germ) spread by certain kinds of mosquitoes. Most people (80%) who are exposed to Zika virus will not get sick. If they do get sick, symptoms usually start 2-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito and may include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). However, if infection occurs when a woman is pregnant, the infection can sometimes spread to the developing fetus.

How is Zika spread?

Zika virus is usually spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. The virus can also be spread between sex partners during unprotected sexual contact and from a pregnant woman to her baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth. There is also concern that Zika virus could be transmitted through blood transfusion from an infected donor. Virus has also been found in breast milk, urine and saliva but transmission potential from these sources is still being investigated.

Can I get Zika virus from mosquitoes in Massachusetts?

It is extremely unlikely that anyone could become infected with Zika virus from a mosquito bite in Massachusetts. The kinds of mosquitoes that are known to carry Zika virus are generally not found in Massachusetts.

However, travelers to areas with a Zika virus outbreak may be bitten by infected mosquitoes during their trip and some of these travelers are being diagnosed with Zika virus disease when they return to the United States.

When a pregnant woman gets Zika, it can cause birth defects like brain damage in her unborn baby.  These brochures help explain how you can protect yourself and your unborn children:

zika brochure

zika flyer for women

zika flyer for men

For the most up to date information on Zika Virus, please visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Website.


Greetings Harwich Merchants,


Please find pertinent information regarding the implementation of a plastic bag ban in Harwich linked HERE.


In May of 2015 a citizens petition was passed at Town Meeting to adopt such a measure for particular types of plastic bags .


The effective date is June 15, 2016.While this initiative will take some getting used to for some until new habits are adopted, we hope to keep in sight the goal of a cleaner environment and reduction of hazards in the marine setting.


Please read the documents and feel free to call the Town Administrators office or the Health Department should you need further information.


For all of the merchants, this is a great opportunity to promote your business and logo with the use of reusable textile bags.


Here's to a cleaner environment through the reduction of non-essential waste!



Paula J Champagne

Health Director


Plastic Bag Ban Summary

Plastic Bag Ban memo to Merchants


What are synthetic cannabinoids?

Synthetic cannabinoids refer to a growing number of man-made mind-altering chemicals that are either sprayed on dried, shredded plant material so they can be smoked (herbal incense) or sold as liquids to be vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes and other devices (liquid incense).

These chemicals are called cannabinoids because they are related to chemicals found in the marijuana plant. Because of this similarity, synthetic cannabinoids are sometimes misleadingly called "synthetic marijuana" (or "fake weed"), and they are often marketed as "safe," legal alternatives to that drug. In fact, they may affect the brain much more powerfully than marijuana; their actual effects can be unpredictable and, in some cases, severe or even life-threatening.

For more information on synthetic cannabinoids, please visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse and view the presentation from Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment.


The Harwich Health Department has declared a proclamation against the use, sale and distribution of synthetic cannabinoids.



What is potassium iodide, and why might you want to have some on hand?  Potassium iodide or “KI” is a non-prescription medicine that, when used properly, can prevent the uptake of radioactive iodine by the thyroid gland in humans.

Please read this flyer for more useful information: KI Information

Please stop by the Health Department office during normal business hours to obtain your supply of potassium iodide pills. 



What you need to know about AVIAN FLU

Avian flu is a naturally occurring viral infection in birds, primarily waterfowl (ducks and geese) caused by influenza A viruses. Humans who have certain types of exposure to infected birds can sometimes become infected with avian influenza A viruses. When this rare event happens, the person may become very ill; however, the disease does not generally spread to other people.

For more information, please read these Frequently Asked Questions provided by the Department of Public Health