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Department of Health Newsroom 1998

Note:  All hyperlinks have been removed due to link decay.



December 15, 1998: St. Louis County Department of Health Confirms First Case of Influenza
October 12, 1998: Breast Cancer Screening Essential for Early Detection
October 6, 1998: October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month
September 28, 1998: Adult Immunizations Recommended
August 10, 1998: Rabid Bat Found in Richmond Heights
July 20, 1998: State Health Department Announces Statewide HOT WEATHER HEALTH WARNING
June 24, 1998: Are We Ready for the Heat?
May 28, 1998: Microchip Your Pets
April 24, 1998: New Location for Family Mental Health Office
April 15, 1998: Reminder: Report Dog Bites Promptly
April 9, 1998: St. Louis County Department of Health Adds Psychiatry to West County Mental Health Services
April 1, 1998: County Health Department Provides Daily Pollen Counts
March 25, 1998: Python at County Animal Shelter Spurs Reminder: Registration Required for Exotic Pets
March 20, 1998: Recycle Grant Recipients Announced
March 16, 1998: April Public Health Week: Healthy People in Healthy Communities!
March, 1998: March is National Nutrition Month


St. Louis County Department of Health Confirms First Case of Influenza


(December 15, 1998) – The first case of influenza in St. Louis County was confirmed today by health officials. The virus, identified as Type A, was isolated from an adult resident of Eureka. Symptoms of flu include fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, sore throat and cough.


Each year, thousands of St. Louis area residents prepare for influenza season by being immunized in October and November. Those who are at greatest risk of life threatening complications from the flu are individuals over 65 or anyone with a compromised immune system or chronic illness such as diabetes, heart or lung dissease.


According to Paula S. Livingston, DDS, MPH, Director of St. Louis County Department of Health, "As many as seventy thousand adults in the United States die needlessly each year from vaccine-preventable diseases or their complications." Dr. Livingston commends those groups and organizations who sponsor influenza immunization campaigns each fall, thereby helping to maintain a healthy community through disease prevention.


Contact: Steve Fine, Director of Public Health and Public Health Services, 854-6445

Mike Williams, PhD, Program Director, Communicable Disease Control, 854-6631


Find out more about County Communicable Disease Control services.



Breast Cancer Screening Essential for Early Detection


(October 12, 1998) – Breast cancer is the second major cause of death among women and the most common cause of death in women between the ages of 40 and 55. All women are at risk for developing breast cancer and the risk increases with age. Because the best defense is early detection and treatment, cancer screening is essential for everyone. When found in its early stages, breast cancer is easier to treat and involves less suffering


St. Louis County residents who do not have their own physician or primary health care provider may call the St. Louis County Department of Health (DOH) for information about screening services available at DOH health centers. Locations and phone numbers are:


John C. Murphy Health Center

6065 Helen Avenue

Berkeley, MO 63134

522-6410


Pine Lawn Health Center

6150 Natural Bridge Road

Pine Lawn, MO 63120

389-4700


South County Health Center

4580 South Lindbergh Blvd.

St. Louis County, MO 63127

842-1300


DOH mammography services are provided through the Missouri Baptist Mobile Unit.


"Our emphasis is to provide services for women who are underinsured or uninsured," said Paul s. Livingston, DDS,MPH, Director. According to Dr. Livingston, if every woman over 50 followed the guidelines for routine screenings nd mammography, the mortality rate from brest cancer would decrease by an estimated thirty percent.


An estimated 2.6 million Amserican women are now living with breast cancer. Over 70% of preast cancer occurs in women with no known risk factor. Athough it's considered a woman's disease, men can also devleop breast cancer. Breast cancer costs exceed $6 billion annually inmedical expenses and lost productivity.


Information source: American Cancer Institute


Contact: Joan Bialczak, Director, Division of Health Services, 854-6415

Find out more about County Health Centers



October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month


(October 6, 1998) – During the month of October, St. Louis County Department of Health animal shelters will observe national Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. If you're thinking of getting a pet, ask yourself these important questions:


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Is the pet right for my household? A strong, active pet may be too much for a young child or elderly person to handle. Small pets may be too delicate for rough play with children. Always make sure that everyone in the household agrees to adopt an animal.

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Who will take care of it? One adult in the home should be designated as the plrimary caretaker so that the pet's needs do not become lost in she shuffle of busy schedules.

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Can I afford a pet? The cost of a pet is more than just the purchase price or adoption fee; remember to include the cost of food, pet supplies, veterinarian bills and training.

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Am I ready to make a life-long committment? Adopting a pet means being responsible for its health and happiness for the rest of its life, which could easily be 10 or 15 years for dogs and over 20 years for cats.

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Will I commit to basic training for my pet? A well trained dog is a pleasure and is welcome in public parks, on walks and as a visitor. Research shows that people who take the time to train their dogs are more likely to keep them longer than poeple who don't.


For more information about pet adoptions or pet care, call the St. Louis County Department of Health animal shelter at (314) 726-6655.


Contact: Dan Knox, DVM, Manager, Animal Control, phone 727-7017 / pager 430-6208

Find out more about our County Shelter and Animal Control services.



Adult Immunizations Recommended


(September 28, 1998) – St. Louis County Executive Buzz Westfall is today proclaiming October as Adult Immunization Awareness Month, and urges residents to get their flu and pneumonia shots in the coming weeks.


According to Dr. Paula S. Livingston, Director, St. Louis County Department of Health (DOH), "Many cases of illness and death could be prevented if everyone at risk were properly immunized." At high risk are all those age 65 and over, and anyone suffering from chronic health problems, no matter what their age.


Flu strains expected to be prevalent this year include A/Beijing, A/Sydney, and B/Beijing. Although influenza shots are required annually, pneumonia shots are usually required only once for persons over 65.


St. Louis County joins other State and local health officials and health providers in encouraging residents to see their own physician or to take advantage of the many low cost immunization clinics available. To find a location near you, call 644-4FLU for recorded information on community sites co-sponsored by the St. Louis County Department of Health, Alliance Blue Cross Blue Shield and BJC Health Systems.


For elderly persons who are homebound and unable to travel to a flu shot site, the St. Louis County DOH Home Health Care program will provide flu shots for a minimal fee of $10 per residence. County residents may call 854-6787 for more information on home health service, or call the Visiting Nurse Association at 993-6800.


Contact: Dr. Mike Williams, Program Manager, Communicable Disease Control, (314) 854-6331

Visit our CDC home page.



Rabid Bat Found in Richmond Heights


(August 10, 1998) – St. Louis County Department of Health (DOH) reports that a bat which was found in a house on Claytonia Terrace in Richmond Heights has tested positive for rabies. A colony of twenty bats had been removed by a private exterminator prior to the discovery of additional dead bats. The owner of the house had a dog, which was properly vaccinated for rabies. A rabies booster was given to the pet, and it will be watched closely for 45 days. The home owner is undergoing rabies prophylaxis as a precaution, although there were no known direct exposures.


"Our Animal Control officers are going door to door passing out flyers and informing residents of the situation," said Paula S. Livingston, DDS, MPH, DOH Director. "This is the second rabid bat of the season in St. Louis County. This is the number we would expect to see - about two or three a season," said Dr. Livingston, "and this is near the location of the first rabid bat."


Dan Knox, D.V.M., manager of animal control, stresses that "people should check with their veterinarians on the immunization status of their pets. And it's important to caution children not to touch any bat, epecially if it's on the ground or unable to fly." Dr. Knox explains that the disease of rabies can interfere with the bats' sonar, causing the bat to crash into things and fall to the ground.


Evidently the bats gained access through a crack in the basement, and from there went all over the house. To prevent bats from entering a home, openings around pipes, windows, vents and screens should be sealed. Whoever does the work should be careful around eaves and soffits, where bats might be hanging. Lights near doorways can attract insects, which in turn lure bats for food.


Most bats don't carry rabies, and in fact perform a beneficial service by eating large quantities of insects. But if one bat in a colony contracts rabies, chances are it will spread to other members of the colony. This is why we must be careful to have our pets vaccinated, and warn kids not to touch any unknown animals.


Photo note: Closeup video of the same type of bat is available through Dr. Knox.


Contact: Dan Knox, DVM, Manager, Animal Control, phone 727-7017 / pager 430-6208

Find out more about our County Shelter and Animal Control services.



State Health Department Announces Statewide HOT WEATHER HEALTH WARNING


(July 20, 1998) – High temperatures and humidity throughout the state have prompted Dr. Maureen Dempsey, Director of the Missouri Department of Health, to issue a statewide Hot Weather Health Warning . A statewide warning is usually issued by the department when heat indexes have remained at 105° for two days and weather predictions are for continued high stress conditions for at least 48 hours in a large proportion of the state. The warning reminds Missourians that weather conditions are serious and precautions to prevent heat-related illness and death are warranted.


Heat indexes across the state were very high yesterday, and weather forecasters are predicting even higher heat indexes for today into Tueday. The heat index was 112 in St. Louis, 110 in Kansas City, 106 in Columbia, 108 in Cape Girardeau and 101 in Springfield.


"Every effort should be made to assure all Missourians receive heat relief in an air conditioned building for at least a few hours each day," Dempsey said. "We should all make the extra effort to check up on the elderly, the disabled and the home-bound. These times of deadly heat demand all of our concern and commitment to prevent heat-related tragedies."


During the past ten summers, 183 Missourians have died due to heat-related causes. To date in 1998, one confirmed heat-related death and 221 heat-related illnesses have been reported.


Contacts: Diane C. Rackers, MO DOH Health Program Representative: 573-751-6062

Steve Fine, St. Louis County, (314) 854-6445 or pager: 430-2671

or Ellen Ellick, City of St. Louis, (314) 658-1140 or page at: 902-2916


View Hot Weather Survival Tips



Are We Ready for the Heat?


(June 24, 1998) – Health officials in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County are issuing a Hot Weather Health Advisory to remind the community that hot weather is a danger to health. An Advisory is issued when heat indexes in the City reach 105 degrees fahrenheit or when foreacasts predict that they soon will. The National Weather Service is predicting continued high temperatures in this area.


The Hot Weather Health Advisory will remain in effect until temperatures moderate.


"Everyone, especially the elderly and others at high risk for heat illness, should take things very easy during this hot period," advises Dr. Larry Fields, MD MBA, Director/Health Comissioner of the St. Louis City Health Department and Chief Health Officer of St. Louis. "It is important for everyone, particularly the elderly and ill, to take extra care the first time it gets hot because they are not acclimated to the heat. It takes several days of hot weather for a body to adjust to the change in temperature. Also, we remind all citizens that any time the Heat Index is predicted to be approaching 105 degrees, the heat may be dangerous to health."


Paula Livingston, DDS, MPH, Director of the St. Louis County Department of Health, points out that the Health Departments, Operation Weather Survival, and the National Weather Service are now using the same terminology to refer to heat stress. "In the past, the separate agencies used different terms to describe various levels of concern about the heat. Consistent terminology should avoid confusion," Dr. Livingston said.


Everyone in the metropolitan St. Louis area, especially the elderly and others at high risk for heat illness, should take precautions to protect their health. All citizens and visitors to St. Louis are advised to follow these Hot Weather Tips for as long as above normal temperatures persist.


Check at least daily on elderly neighbors and relatives. High risk individuals should spend at least the hottest part of the day in air conditioned quarters. Individuals working in the heat are advised to drink plenty of non-alcoholic beverages and take frequent breaks in the shade.


Pets are also affected by extreme heat. Please make sure that outdoor pets have access to shade and fresh water at all times, and do not leave pets in closed vehicles.


For help with a serious heat illness, call 911. For information to help individuals survive the heat, call the Operation Weather Survival Hotline at the Human Development Corporation at 535-7607 during normal business hours.


Contact: Steve Fine, St. Louis County, (314) 854-6445 or pager: 430-2671

or Ellen Ellick, City of St. Louis, (314) 658-1140 or page at: 902-2916



Microchip Your Pets


(May 28, 1998) – Pet owners are invited to join the Greater St. Louis Veterinary Medical Association, the Animal Protective Association (APA), the Humane Society of Missouri, the City of St. Louis Animal Regulation Center and the St. Louis County Department of Health in a unique event. People may bring their dogs, cats, ferrets or other pets to these facilities or participating area veterinarians during the 1st week of June (June 1 - June 6) for a microchip and lifetime registration. Check with your veterinarian for availability, appointments and pricing.


Additionally, pets may also be microchipped at the Ralston Purina's Pet*Pourri, the annual open house event at Purina Farms in Gray Summit. This event will be held on June 6 and 7 from 10 am to 3 pm. The total cost of the microchip and lifetime national registration at this event is $20.


Microchips and lifetime registrations are being provided by the AVID Microchip Company at this special pricing and provide a permanent means of identification. The tiny implant is a little bigger than a grain of rice, fits in a needle syringe and is inserted between the shoulder blades where it works like an antenna to a scanner device. Animals brought into all area shelters are scanned for the microchip and many lost pets are returned to owners each year.


According to Paula S. Livingston, DDS, MPH, Director, St. Louis County Department of Health, "Microchip identification helps reunite pets with their owners in case the pet is ever lost, stolen or involved in a disaster."


Dr. Livingston adds, "Microchip identification does not take the place of rabies tags. Dogs and cats in the St. Louis area are required by law to be vaccinated against rabies and to wear their rabies vaccination/registration tags at all times."


St. Louis County Department of Health operates two animal shelters which routinely scan animals for microchip identification. For more information, or to report animal bites, adopt a pet, schedule tours or presentations, please call the shelter nearest you: South Shelter, 77 Hunter Avenue, 726-6655; and North Shelter, 4100 Seven Hills Drive, 831-6500.



Photo opportunity: Meet a family reunited with their pet dog thanks to microchip identification.


Contact: Dan Knox, DVM, Manager, Animal Control, phone 727-7017 / pager 430-6208

Find out more about our County Shelter and Animal Control services.



New Location for Family Mental Health Office


(April 24, 1998) – St. Louis County Department of Health announces the relocation of the Family Mental Health Services in North County. The offices (previously located at 1847 Dunn Road in Florissant) moved to their new location at 21 Village Square in Hazelwood, 63042, effective April 23.


Licensed psychiatrists, licensed psychologists and licensed clinical social workers make up the professional staff offering evaluation and treatment services for children, adolescents and adults. Psychiatric services include medication therapy and management. Staff members also provide educational programs for parents, schools and other professionals.


For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 615-7471.


Contact: Ms. Doris King, Area Manager, Family Mental Health, 615-7471

Find out more about our Family Mental Health Services.



Reminder: Report Dog Bites Promptly


(April 15, 1998) – St. Louis County Department of Health is seeing an increase in the number of dog bite victims. "Historically we see this increase in the spring, when people are spending more time outdoors," said Paula S. Livingston, DDS, MPH, Director.


"Right now we have about six active cases where the biting animal has not yet been found," said Dan Knox, D.V.M., Manager of the County's Veterinary and Zoonotic Disease Services. "People need to know that it's very important to report incidents promptly. When there is a delay in reporting a bite, for whatever reason, it is much harder to find the animal." Any time the skin is broken, Dr. Knox explained, it is considered a bite, even if the encounter with the animal was friendly, as in playing with a frisbee.


In one of the cases the County is currently investigating, a woman was bitten in Deer Creek Park by a large dog, possibly a greyhound. She did not report the bite until later. Animal Control officers have returned to the park daily to look for the dog and its owner. If they cannot find the dog, the woman will have to decide whether to undergo rabies prophylaxis.


Children should be taught to never approach a strange dog. Parents need to be vigilant and assure children they won't get in trouble for telling about a dog bite. If bitten, wash the wound with soap and water, seek medical attention and call Animal Control (314) 726-6655.


Contact: Dan Knox, D.V.M., Manager, Veterinary & Zoonotic Disease Services, phone 727-7017.

Find out more about our County Shelter and Animal Control services.



St. Louis County Department of Health Adds Psychiatry to West County Mental Health Services


(April 9, 1998) – St. Louis County Department of Health announces the addition of psychiatry to the Family Mental Health services at its West County site, located at 78 Clarkson-Wilson Centre in Chesterfield.


"We are pleased to be able to offer a full range of psychological and psychiatric assessment and treatment services in the West County area," said Paula S. Livingston, DDS, MPH, Director.


Licensed psychiatrists, licenses psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers make up the professional staff offering evaluation and treatment services for children, adolescents and adults. After the behavioral, emotional and social skills of clients are assessed, individual or family oriented therapy may be recommended as appropriate.


Psychiatric services include medication therapy and management. Staff members also provide educational programs for parents, schools and other professionals.


For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 530-2950.


Contact: Dr. Gregg Robinson, Area Manager, Family Mental Health, 854-6760.

Find out more about our Family Mental Health Services.



County Health Department Provides Daily Pollen Counts


(April 1, 1998) – Each day throughout the year, the Environmental Health laboratories of St. Louis County Department of Health measure and record airborne pollen levels. "And every spring we expect to see these number rise," said Paula S. Livingston, DDS, MPH, Director.


St. Louis County Department of Health reports the daily pollen and mold counts, which are for the entire St. Louis metropolitan area, to the local media and to health organizations such as the American Lung Association.


The daily pollen and mold count is also available by phone: call the Pollen Information Line at 854-6825 for a recorded announcement which is updated at 11:00 a.m. daily.


"People who are sensitive to aero-allergens may find it useful to monitor daily pollen levels so they can reduce their exposure when levels are high," said Dr. Livingston. "Avoiding outdoor activities such as jogging, especially in the early morning hours, can help," she added.


For more information on pollen and mold, or to request a free brochure, please call St. Louis County Department of Health at 854-6833.


Contact: Dr. Robert Nicolotti, Director, Environmental Health Laboratories, 854-6830.

Visit the Environmental Services home page of the Department of Health.

Find out more about pollen counts.



Python at County Animal Shelter Spurs Reminder:
Registration Required for Exotic Pets


(March 25, 1998) – When police officers on a drug raid found four pit bulls and a very large python in an north County house, they called St. Louis County Animal Control to come pick up the animals. The dogs were later returned to their owner, but the eleven and a half foot (11' 6") python, which was not properly registered, is being held at the County's North County Animal Shelter.


According to Dr. Paula Livingston, DDS, MPH, Director, St. Louis County Department of Health, "Our Animal Control ordinance requires that non-domestic animals be registered with the health department. We are concerned than any exotic pet be housed in a way that is safe and appropriate for the animal, and for County residents." Dan Knox, DVM, Manager of Animal Control, says they are trying to find an appropriate home for the snake.


For more information on registering non-domestic or domestic pets, to report animal bites, look for a lost pet, or adopt a pet, please call or visit the shelter nearest you: South Shelter, 77 Hunter Road, Ladue, 726-6655; and North Shelter, 4100 Seven Hills Drive, Florissant, 831-6500.


St. Louis County Animal Control oversees rabies vaccinations and pet registration. They investigate animal bites, pick up strays, monitor diseases spread by animals and help solve nuisance situations.


Contact: Dan Knox, D.V.M., 727-7017.

Find out more about our County Shelter and Animal Control services.



Recycle Grant Recipients Announced


(March 20, 1998) – St. Louis County Department of Health announces three grants totaling $155,874 to be awarded for recycling and source reduction projects. According to Dr. Paula Livingston, Director, "The grants will generate and support projects designed to increase recycling and reduce the volume of solid waste produced in St. Louis County."


Recipients were chosen based on whether their proposals would enhance the convenience, cost-effectiveness and public awareness of residential recycling programs. Source of the funding is a five percent surcharge on waste deposited in St. Louis County landfills.


Proposed grant recipients, pending St. Louis County Council approval, are:


Bi-State Development/Arts in Transit: A grant for$59,000 will help fund a pilot recycling project at two MetroLink stations. Funds will be used for design and construction of recycling shelters, recycling bins, collection costs, education/promotion, and evaluation of the project's effect onMetroLink riders' awareness of recycling.


Environmental Concepts: A grant for up to $59,000 will help fund an educational video, targeting grades 6-12, describing what happens to items we discard. The recycling industry as well as landfill operations will be featured. The video will be distributed to County schools and local cable television. Goal of the project is to instill a sense of personal responsibility for recycling.


Fenton: A grant for up to $36,974 will help fund an education/information campaign and curbside bins supporting unit-based pricing for solid waste services. Fenton will implement a pay plan where the cost for one container of trash and unlimited curbside recycling service is provided by the city. Households will pay for each additional bag of trash discarded. Goal is to dramatically increase participation in curbside recycling.


Contact: Joan Bradford, Office of Solid Waste Coordinator, 854-6957.

Visit the web page of the Office of the Solid Waste Coordinator

View or download the most recent County Recycling Directory



April Public Health Week: Healthy People in Healthy Communities!


(March 16, 1998) – During National Public Health Week (April 6 - April 12), state and local health department representatives will be telling their story at St. Louis Union Station, where educational displays and health information will be available from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Tuesday April 7 through Friday April 10.


Public health programs benefit everyone in the community, but their preventive nature can make these efforts invisible. Immunizations, clean air, pure water, and wholesome food become routine expectations. We don't hear about disease outbreaks that were prevented!


Meanwhile, we continue to enjoy healthier and longer lives due, in part, to public health. Life expectancy for all Americans is now longer than at any time in our history.


This is the first time the St. Louis County, St. Louis City and Missouri state health departments have joined together to promote Pubic Health Week.


Contact:

Ellen Waters, St. Louis County DOH, 854-6747

Blanca Domingorena, Missouri DOH, 877-2837

Nancy Buechler, St. Louis Dept. of Health & Hospitals, 658-1055



March is National Nutrition Month


(March, 1998) – "Good nutrition is a cornerstone of good health," according to Paula Livingston, DDS, MPH, Director of St. Louis County Department of Health. The reminder comes as the nation observes Nutrition Month in March.


The Women, Infants, Children (WIC) Supplemental Food Program is a federally sponsored program which serves all residents of St. Louis County, enabling high-risk pregnant women, postpartum women, infants and children through age four to receive free supplemental food.


"Good nutrition helps provide the best possible start in life and is a necessary ingredient for healthy mothers and children," said Dr. Livingston. DOH promotes this through nutrition programs and WIC sites where mothers and families can obtain nutrition education, guidance, breast feeding education, and food vouchers to supplement their diets with nutritious products such as milk, cheese, infant formula, iron-fortified cereal, and eggs.


Over 107,000 St. Louis County residents were served at DOH WIC sites in 1997 and over $5.7 million in food vouchers were issued.


WIC sites are located throughout the County. For more information about WIC or to schedule an appointment, please call 854-6085.


Contact: Steve Fine, Division Director, Public Health & Public Health Services, 854-6445.