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Department of Health Newsroom 2008


December 20, 2002: DOH reminds residents to recycle this holiday season.
December 12, 2002: Department of Health confirms first case of influenza.
December 3, 2002: "Diabetes Today" education program offered.
November 18, 2002: Metropolitan West Nile Virus update.
October 21, 2002: Time to think about flu shots.
October 16, 2002: County Health Department reports rabid bat in Wildwood.
October 11, 2002: Flu Clinic at Corpus Christi Church in Jennings.
October 7, 2002: South County Health Center hosts session on music therapy for stress relief.
October 2, 2002: DOH offers mental health services.
September 27, 2002: Health Department reports another rabid bat in South County.
September 27, 2002: Breast cancer screening essential for early detection.
September 26, 2002: Rabid bat in South County prompts DOH to recommend rabies shots for family member.
September 19, 2002: Lead poison prevention highlighted at Saturday event.
September 13, 2002: County Health Department reports a rabid bat in University City.
August 29, 2002: County Health Department reports a rabid bat in Webster Groves.
August 29, 2002: September is National Food Safety Education Month in St. Louis County.
August 26, 2002: West Nile Virus Update: Insect repellents containing DEET can cut the risk.
August 14, 2002: Public health officials report four cases Of West Nile Virus in St. Louis area.
August 13, 2002: Public health officials confirm first human case of West Nile Virus associated with Missouri.
August 12, 2002: County Health Department reports two rabid bats.
August 8, 2002: Metropolitan West Nile Virus update.
July 30, 2002: DOH awards recycling grants to 10 municipalities.
July 29, 2002: West Nile Virus confirmed in birds in Saint Louis County and City.
July 29, 2002: DOH provides schools 671 post-consumer plastic tables and benches.
July 29, 2002: West Nile Virus confirmed in mosquitoes in Saint Louis County.
July 18, 2002: West Nile Virus identified in second Missouri bird; no human cases reported. (MO DHSS news release)
July 11, 2002: Public health officials launch human surveillance project to help monitor presence of West Nile Virus.
June 20, 2002: County Health Department reports first rabid bat of season.
June 13, 2002: Public health officials ask citizens to report dead birds to help monitor presence of West Nile Virus.
June 4, 2002: "Safety Street" event at Pine Lawn County Health Center offers children free safety helmets.
May 28, 2002: "Safety Street" event at South County Health Center offers children free safety helmets.
May 21, 2002: "Safety Street" event at Murphy Health Center offers children free safety helmets.
May 20, 2002: "Safety Street" events at County Health Centers offer free bicycle helmets for children.
May 14, 2002: June is a good time to adopt a cat or kitten from a County Shelter.
May 13, 2002: Health Department offers tips on avoiding dog bites.
May 9, 2002: What's the OZONE level today? Air quality affects asthma.
May 3, 2002: DOH promotes asthma awareness as number of sufferers increases.
April 26, 2002: County DOH offers mental health services.
April 24, 2002: Citizens urged to fight mosquitoes, reduce the risk of West Nile Virus.
April 17, 2002: Avoid heat-related illness. Record temperatures prompt health officials to urge caution.
April 11, 2002: County Health Department calls for volunteers during Public Health Month.
April 11, 2002: It's official: County Health Department certifies births and deaths.
March 28, 2002: Tobacco is taboo in students' poster art.
February 28, 2002: March is National Nutrition Month.
January 31, 2002: Public Health Nurses host Valentine event for teen moms at Pine Lawn Health Center.
January 24, 2002: February is National Children's Dental Month.
January 25, 2002: WIC program gives mothers and babies a healthy start.
January 25, 2002: Hepatitis C support group to meet monthly at South County Health Center.
January 16, 2002: County Health Department praises school nurses for watching over students' health.
January 9, 2002: County Health Department offers radon test kits.
January 3, 2002: Holiday tree and paper recycling .(County Spotlight News)
January 2, 2002: Flu shots offered at two north County churches Sunday, January 6.
January 2, 2002: January is National Cervical Health Awareness Month.


Saint Louis County Department of Health Reminds Residents to Recycle This Holiday Season

December 20, 2002. During the holidays, approximately one million extra tons of waste go into area landfills. The Saint Louis County Department of Health urges residents to recycle their holiday materials instead of leaving them at the curb for trash pick-up.


For no charge, numerous locations around the St. Louis area (listed here) will recycle wrapping paper, gift bags, packing peanuts, gift boxes and Christmas trees. Many locations accept additional recyclables year-round.


For specific details about accepted materials, residents can visit the Saint Louis County Department of Health Web site at www.stlouisco.com, click on "search" and type in "wrapping paper." Additional details may be found by calling specific recycling locations (see attached page). For general recycling information, call the Department of Health Waste Management Hotline at 314-286-9200.


Contacts:
Bill Seffens, Department of Health
314-615-8915
Kelly Hahn, The Vandiver Group
314-991-4641 x120


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

December 12, 2002. The first case of influenza in St. Louis County was confirmed today by health officials. A positive case of the virus was identified in an adult (49 year old) male who lives in the 63125 zip code. 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, November and December. 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 disease. It's not too late to get a flu shot. There is no shortage of vaccine. Call 314-644-4FLU for the location of a flu clinic near you.


As many as seventy thousand adults in the United States die needlessly each year from vaccine-preventable diseases or their complications. Many groups and organizations sponsor influenza immunization campaigns each fall, helping to maintain a healthy community through disease prevention.


Contact:
Steve Fine, Director, Division of Public Health and Ancillary Services, 314-615-6445
Mike Williams, Ph.D. Program Director, Communicable Disease Control, 314-615-1630


"Diabetes Today" offers education program.

December 3, 2002. "Diabetes Today" will be offering a program for people with Diabetes and anyone who is interested in learning more about exercise, nutrition, and foot care.


WHO: Diabetes Today Program
WHAT: Program on exercise, nutrition, and foot care
WHEN: Tuesday December 10
TIME: 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
WHERE: Emerson YMCA, 3390 Pershall Road

This program is provided through a community effort of volunteers and the Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH). DOH staff from John C. Murphy, Pine Lawn and South County Health Centers, and the office of Health Education will be available. The program is supported by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.


Exercises will be shown and Public Health Nurses will conduct foot exams. A dietitian will provide nutrition education. New Balance and Pro Medical will be there to provide information. Those with Medicare Part B and are diabetic may be eligible for shoes through Pro Medical.


The event is free of charge and no registration is required.


Contact: Linda Hiette, Health Educator, 314-615-6821


METROPOLITAN WEST NILE VIRUS UPDATE.
West Nile Virus - Season Is Over

November 18, 2002. With the cooler weather, West Nile Virus (WNV) activity in the St. Louis metropolitan area has virtually slowed to a stop, and health officials herald the end of a challenging season. As of November 15, there were 129 human cases of WNV in the metro area (62 in St. Louis County, 56 in the city of St. Louis, one in Franklin County, three in Jefferson County and seven in St. Charles). Ages ranged from four to 91 years, with a median age of 53. There were 5 deaths attributed to WNV in Missouri.


The Metropolitan West Nile Virus Task Force - made up of health departments in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles, Jefferson and Franklin Counties - shared information and resources to meet the challenge of WNV. In recognition of their collaborative efforts in addressing WNV in our area, the group received the "Synergy Award" from the Bi-State Regional Infectious Disease Conference in early November. Dr. Mike Williams, manager of Communicable Disease Control with St. Louis County Department of Health, accepted the award on behalf of the group.


WNV first appeared in our area last fall, when the disease was found in birds such as crows. Mosquitoes feeding on infected birds can pick up the virus and carry it to other birds, horses, many other mammals, and humans. WNV is not transmitted directly from birds to humans or from person to person although nursing mothers may pass it on to their children. Most infections are mild; in fact, some people may not even know they are infected. Symptoms include fever, headache, body ache, occasional skin rash and swollen lymph glands. Rarely, infection results in meningitis and encephalitis.


Health officials expect to see WNV infections again next year. Some infected mosquitoes will probably survive the winter and spread the disease next spring. The task force plans to build on the experience gained during the past season in order to discourage the spread of WNV in our area. Prevention is a mainstay in combating WNV. Residents should remain vigilant throughout the winter months in preventing the accumulation of standing water where mosquitoes can breed in the spring. Any containers that may collect water should be emptied or thrown out. Prevent water from accumulating in pool covers, and keep gutters and down spouts clear.


For more information on West Nile virus, log on to www.scchealth.org and click on West Nile virus.


Contact:
Saint Louis County Department of Health:
  Mike Williams, Ph.D., Manager, Communicable Disease Control, 314-615-1630
  Ron Twillman, Manager, Vector Control and Veterinary Services, 314-615-8351
St. Charles County Department of Health: Gil Copley, Director, 636-949-7477
Jefferson County Department of Health: Dennis Diehl, Director, 636-942-3101 x104
Franklin County Department of Health: Conn Roden, Director, 636-583-7300
City of St. Louis: Larry Kettelhut, 314-612-5310



TIME TO THINK ABOUT FLU SHOTS.

October 21, 2002. October is FLU VACCINE AWARENESS MONTH, and Saint Louis County Executive Buzz Westfall urges residents to get their flu shots in the coming weeks.


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.


People in good health who are younger than 65 years of age should wait until at least November to get their flu shots. Individuals usually develop immunity to the disease about two weeks after receiving the immunization. Those who have not had an opportunity to get the vaccine until December or January should still get it. Flu seaseon usually does not peak until mid to late December in Missouri.


Saint Louis County Department of Health joins the Visiting Nurse Association, and other state and local health organizations 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 314-644-4FLU (314-644-4358) for recorded information on community sites.


FLU FACTS
  • Each year, approximately 600 persons in St. Louis City and Saint Louis County die from complications as a result of acquiring Influenza.
  • Influenza and pneumonia together are the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, with 90 percent of these deaths occurring in persons over the age of 65.
  • The death rate for pneumonia and influenza among Caucasians is 12.4 per 100,000 and the death rate for African-Americans is 17.8 per 100,000.
  • No shortage of influenza vaccine is anticipated.
Contact: Joan Bialczak, Director, Division of Health Services, 314-615-6415.


County Health Department Reports Rabid Bat in Wildwood.

October 16, 2002. Saint Louis County Department of Health Animal Control reports that a bat found in the 16000 block of Paradise Peak (zip code 63011) has tested positive for rabies. On October 10 a resident found the live bat outside his home, picked it up with hands protected by leather gloves, and placed it in a bucket. Animal Control sent the bat for testing on October 11. Results came back positive on October 15.


Saint Louis County ordinance requires all pet dogs and cats to have rabies vaccinations, both to protect the pets and to serve as a barrier between wild animals and the human population. Parents should caution children not to touch any bat, especially if it's on the ground or unable to fly. (The disease of rabies can interfere with a bat's sonar, causing it to crash into things and fall to the ground.) People should avoid contact with any animal that is unknown or behaving strangely. Once contracted, rabies has no cure and is almost always fatal.


For questions or to report animal bites, please call Saint Louis County Animal Control at 314-726-6655 (South and West County) or 314-831-6500 (North County) or visit www.stlouisco.com/doh and click on Animal Control.


Contact:
Helen Kamp, D.V.M., Veterinarian, Animal Control
314-726-6655

Mike Williams, Program Manager, Communicable Disease Control
314-615-1630


Flu Clinic At Corpus Christi Church In Jennings.

October 11, 2002. The Saint Louis County Department of Health and the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA), supported by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, will offer flu shots on Friday, October 25 at Corpus Christi Church, 2100 Switzer Road, in Jennings, from 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM.


Everyone age 65 and over is considered to be at high risk for complications of influenza. Individuals with chronic illnesses - including cancer, suppressed immune systems, heart or lung diseases and asthma - are also considered high risk and should get the flu vaccination.


For those with Medicare Part B, there is no out of pocket cost. Anyone else will be charged $17 (please bring exact change of $17 or a check made out to VNA).


Contact: Linda Hiette, Community Health Education Coordinator, (314) 615-6821.


South County Health Center Hosts Session On Music Therapy For Stress Relief.

October 7, 2002. The Saint Louis County Department of Health is offering tips on how to relieve stress through music therapy. Virginia Luetjke, music therapist and former dean of Deaconess College of Nursing will present the seession, whic is free and open to the public.


WHAT: "Using Music to Reduce Stress and Promote Relaxation"
WHEN: Monday October 14
9:00 AM to 10:30 AM
WHERE: South County Health Center (Auditorium)
4580 South Lindbergh Blvd
(just south of Gravois, across from Sunset Ford)

Everyone is welcome to attend. No registration is required. For more information, call (314) 842-1300.


Contact: Nina Berry, RN, CDE
(314) 968-3190


Saint Louis County Department of Health Offers Mental Health Services.

October 2, 2002. October is National Depression and Mental Health Month, and Saint Louis County Department of Health offers a number of mental health services at various County locations.


The Surgeon General defines mental health as "the successful performance of mental function, resulting in productive activities, fulfilling relationships with other people, and the ability to adapt to change and to cope with adversity". Mental health is and must be viewed as a fundamental component of a healthy individual. Mental disorders are health conditions, which impact all aspects of an individual's life. If left untreated, the individual cannot maximize his or her potential. Indeed, according to the Surgeon General's Report on Mental Illness, "mental illness is the second leading cause of disability and premature mortality" in established market economies such as the United States.


Depression is a form of mental illness marked by persistent feelings of sadness/loss, loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed, changes in appetite or weight, changes in sleep, changes in activity level, and difficulty thinking or concentrating. These symptoms are persistent and significantly interfere with an individual's ability to function. Approximately 1 in 100 American adults suffer from depression. Depression can be effectively treated with psychotherapy and/or medication.


Family Mental Health provides comprehensive outpatient mental health services for children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families who live in Saint Louis County. The department also works closely with school districts and other outside agencies to maximize and coordinate care for clients involved in the program or in crisis situations.


The staff is composed of clinical social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists. All staff members are licensed in their respective disciplines. A sliding fee scale is available and some insurance is accepted. To schedule an appointment, please contact one of the following Saint Louis County Department of Health office locations for Family Mental Health:


North County Center, 21 Village Square, Hazelwood, MO 63042, Phone: (314) 615-7471;
Central County Center, 111 South Meramec, Clayton, MO 63105, Phone: (314) 615-1760;
South County Center, Keller Plaza, 4548 Lemay Ferry Rd., St. Louis, MO 63129,
  Phone (314) 615-4072;
West County Center, 78 Clarkson-Wilson Centre, Chesterfield, MO 63017, Phone (314) 615-0950.

For more information, please contact Dr. Vivian Knipp at (314) 615-4072.


Health Department Reports Another Rabid Bat in South County.

September 27, 2002. Saint Louis County Department of Health Animal Control reports that a bat found in the 6800 block of Telegraph in the Oakville area has tested positive for rabies. Results came back positive on September 26. The family's two pet dogs are both current on their rabies vaccinations. There were no human exposures.


Health officials warn people not to handle any bat, especially if it's on the ground or unable to fly. County residents should call Saint Louis County Animal Control at 314-726-6655 (South and West County) or 314-831-6500 (North County). Animal Control officers will collect the bat for testing.


Saint Louis County ordinance requires all pet dogs and cats to have rabies vaccinations, both to protect pets and to serve as a barrier between wild animals and the human population. For more information, visit www.stlouisco.com/doh and click on Animal Control.


Contact: Helen Kamp, D.V.M., Veterinarian, Animal Control
314-726-6655


BREAST CANCER SCREENING ESSENTIAL FOR EARLY DETECTION.

September 27, 2002. Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women between the ages of 40 and 55. This year 182,000 new cases of breast cancer are expected in the United States. One woman in eight who lives to age 85 will develop breast cancer during her lifetime. All women are at risk for developing breast cancer and the risk increases with age. The best defense is early detection and treatment. When breast cancer is found early, the five-year survival rate is 96%. [Source: National Breast Cancer Foundation]


Saint Louis County Department of Health observes Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October by reminding residents of services at the department's health centers. Locations and phone numbers for the County's three health centers are:


  • John C. Murphy Health Center at 6065 Helen Avenue in Berkeley, (314) 522-6410;
  • Pine Lawn Health Center at 6150 Natural Bridge Road, (314) 389-4700; and
  • South County Health Center at 4580 South Lindbergh, (314) 842-1300.

Saint Louis County residents who do not have their own physician or primary health care provider may call the nearest health center for information. Services are provided to County residents on a sliding fee scale, based on income. No one is turned away because of inability to pay.


Contact: Joan Bialczak, Director
Division of Health Services (314) 615-6415


Rabid Bat in South County Prompts County Health Department to Recommend Rabies Shots for Family Member.

September 26, 2002. Saint Louis County Department of Health Animal Control reports that a bat found in the 7300 block of Becker (zip code 63129) has tested positive for rabies. Results came back positive on September 24 after the family dog retrieved the bat in its mouth on September 22. The family has two pet dogs: both are current on vaccinations and both will be revaccinated as a precaution.


A possible human exposure is being investigated by the health department. A family member was using a shovel to pick up the bat when the bat moved suddenly, touching the man's hand. Health officials recommend that the man undergo post-exposure prophylaxis - a series of five rabies shots administered in the arm - as a precautionary measure. The disease of rabies, once contracted, has no cure and is almost always fatal.


Saint Louis County ordinance requires all pet dogs and cats to have rabies vaccinations, both to protect the pets and to serve as a barrier between wild animals and the human population. Parents should caution children not to touch any bat, especially if it's on the ground or unable to fly. (The disease of rabies can interfere with a bat's sonar, causing it to crash into things and fall to the ground.) People should avoid contact with any animal that is unknown or behaving strangely.


For questions or to report animal bites, please call Saint Louis County Animal Control at 314-726-6655 (South and West County) or 314-831-6500 (North County) or visit www.stlouisco.com/doh and click on Animal Control.


Contact: Helen Kamp, D.V.M., Veterinarian, Animal Control
314-726-6655


Lead Poison Prevention Highlighted at Saturday Event.
County Health Department Aims at Raising Community Awareness

September 19, 2002. Prevention and education are key in the fight against lead poisoning. In an on-going effort to educate the community, Saint Louis County Department of Health is sponsoring an Annual Lead Awareness Event.


WHAT: Lead Awareness Event
WHEN: Saturday, September 21
9:00 A.M. to NOON
WHERE: St. John's Community Center
8944 St. Charles Rock Road

The Johnson & Johnson Company and the Ronald McDonald House are providing door prizes. Health department staff will be available to answer questions about lead poison prevention in the home, and nurses will test children for lead poisoning. For additional information, call (314) 615-5323.


Contact: Brenda Quarles, Program Manager, Lead Poisoning Prevention
314-615-5323


County Health Department Reports A Rabid Bat in University City.

September 13, 2002. Saint Louis County Department of Health Animal Control reports that a bat found in University City has tested positive for rabies. The bat was found in the 7100 block of Dartmouth on September 10. Results came back positive on September 11. There were no known direct human or animal exposures.


Health officials stress the importance of having pets immunized against rabies, as required by County ordinance. All dogs and cats in Saint Louis County must have rabies vaccinations, both to protect the pets and to serve as a barrier between wild animals and the human population. Parents should caution children not to touch any bat, especially if it's on the ground or unable to fly. (The disease of rabies can interfere with a bat's sonar, causing it to crash into things and fall to the ground.) People should avoid contact with any animal that is unknown or behaving strangely.


For questions or to report animal bites, please call Saint Louis County Animal Control at 314-726-6655 (South and West County) or 314-831-6500 (North County).


Contact: Helen Kamp, D.V.M., Veterinarian, Animal Control
Phone: 314-727-7017


County Health Department Reports A Rabid Bat in Webster Groves.

August 29, 2002. Saint Louis County Department of Health Animal Control reports that a bat found in Webster Groves has tested positive for rabies. The bat was found near a garage door at a home in the 8700 block of Big Bend on August 22. There were no known direct human or animal exposures.


Health officials stress the importance of having pets immunized against rabies, as required by County ordinance. All dogs and cats in Saint Louis County must have rabies vaccinations, both to protect the pets and to serve as a barrier between wild animals and the human population. Parents should caution children not to touch any bat, especially if it's on the ground or unable to fly. (The disease of rabies can interfere with a bat's sonar, causing it to crash into things and fall to the ground.) People should avoid contact with any animal that is unknown or behaving strangely.


For questions or to report animal bites, please call Saint Louis County Animal Control at 314-726-6655 (South and West County) or 314-831-6500 (North County).


Contact: Helen Kamp, D.V.M., Veterinarian, Animal Control
Phone: 314-727-7017

September is National Food Safety Education Month.
Activities in Saint Louis County

September is National Food Safety Education Month, an annual observance to focus attention on the importance of safe food handling and preparation in both home and commercial kitchens. Created by the foodservice industry in 1995, National Food Safety is widely supported by federal, state, and local government agencies; the food industry; and consumer organizations.


In recognition of National Food Safety Education Month Mr. Westfall has signed a proclamation to support our activities to educate the residents of Saint Louis County. Public Health Sanitarians have collaborated with community organizations such as Schnucks, Shop N Save and Gateway Pro Clean Incorporated to distribute food safety promotional items to the public. Look for Public Health Sanitarians at some of the local Schnucks stores on Thursday, September 5 and at some of the Shop N Save stores on Thursday, September 12. Permitted food establishment that are scheduled for a routine inspection in September will be receiving a free promotional item.


Dates and times:

Schnucks Stores
Thursday, September 5, 2002
9:30 am - 3 pm
Schnucks/Mason #116
12756 Olive Boulevard
Creve Coeur, MO 63141

Schnucks/Florissant #101
8200 North Lindbergh
St. Louis, MO 63031

Schnucks/Butler Hill #105
4333 Butler Hill Road
St. Louis, MO 63128

Schnucks/Lindbergh #180
10275 Clayton Road
St. Louis, MO 63124


Shop n Save Stores
Thursday, September 12, 2002
9:30 am - 3 pm
Shop N Save
175 Flower Valley Shopping Center
Florissant, MO 63033

Shop N Save
45 Gravois Bluffs
Fenton, MO 63026

Shop N Save
7057 Chippewa
St. Louis, MO 63119

Shop N Save
15446 Manchester Road
St. Louis, MO 63021

To learn more about safe food handling, please call (314) 615-8900 for more information or visit our Safe Food Center at www.stlouisco.com/doh/restaurant/index.cfm



West Nile Virus Update
Insect repellents containing DEET can cut the risk of West Nile virus.

August 26, 2002. West Nile virus (WNV) has come to town, and using insect repellents containing DEET can reduce the risk of exposure to mosquitoes carrying the virus. DEET is the commercial name for the chemical N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, the active ingredient in many insect repellents. (Active ingredients are sometimes listed on the front of the can). As always, be a careful label reader. Look for concentrations of about 25% for adults, and less that 10% for children. Reapply if time spent outdoors is longer than the label indicates it is effective.


To safely use products containing DEET, be sure to follow the instructions on the product label, and keep these tips in mind.


  • Use enough repellent to cover exposed skin or clothing. Don't apply repellent to skin that is under clothing. Heavy application is not necessary to achieve protection.
  • Do not apply repellent to cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.
  • After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water.
  • Do not spray aerosol or pump products in enclosed areas.
  • Do not apply aerosol or pump products directly to your face. Spray your hands and then rub them carefully over the face, avoiding eyes and mouth.
  • When using repellent on a child, apply it to your own hands and then rub them on your child. Avoid children's eyes and mouth and use it sparingly around their ears.
  • Do not apply repellent to children's hands. (Children tend to put their hands in their mouths.)
  • Do not allow young children to apply insect repellent to themselves; have an adult do it for them. Keep repellents out of reach of children.
  • Do not apply repellent to skin under clothing. If repellent is applied to clothing, wash treated clothing before wearing again.

In addition to using insect repellents, avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn, and wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks. Eliminate standing water where mosquitoes can breed. Empty or throw out any containers that may have collected water. Remove tires, buckets, and other water-holding objects. Change the water in birdbaths at least once a week. Clean and chlorinate swimming pools or drain and cover if not in use. Prevent water from accumulating in pool covers. Unclog gutters and down spouts. Make sure screens fit tightly in doors and windows.


Most individuals, even if bitten by an infected mosquito, won't become seriously ill or even experience any symptoms. However, people over age 50 and those with compromised immune systems are likely to be at higher risk. Anyone with a weakened immune system (due to diabetes, AIDS, cancer, or other chronic health problems) should avoid exposure to possible sources of infection, including WNV. Anyone in these higher risk groups should be especially careful to reduce the risk of mosquito bites.


Most human infections are mild. Less than 1% of people who get bitten by an infected mosquito get severely ill. Symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, occasional skin rash and swollen lymph glands. More severe infection may be marked by headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis, and, rarely, death.


For more information on West Nile virus, log on to www.scchealth.org and click on West Nile virus.


Contact:
Saint Louis County Department of Health:
 Mike Williams, Ph.D., Manager, Communicable Disease Control,
 314-615-1630
 Ron Twillman, Manager, Vector Control and Veterinary Services,
 314-615-8351
St. Charles County Department of Health:
 Gil Copley, Director, 636-949-7477
Jefferson County Department of Health:
 Dennis Diehl, Director, 636-942-3101 x104
Franklin County Department of Health:
 Conn Roden, Director, 636-583-7300
City of St. Louis:
 Ellen Ellick, 314-612-5143


Public Health Officials Report Four Cases Of West Nile Virus in St. Louis Area.

August 14, 2002. Public Health officials today announce preliminary reports that four residents of the St. Louis Metropolitan area have tested positive for the West Nile virus. Three live in St. Louis City, and one in St. Louis County. The first positive human case of the virus associated with Missouri was reported yesterday when a resident of Massachusetts tested positive after visiting the St. Louis area in July. Notification came from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.


Mosquito control and surveillance efforts are continuing in city and county areas. Health officials stress prevention, and urge people to take these steps to reduce their risk of exposure:


  • Eliminate standing water sites where mosquitoes can breed.
  • Remove tires, buckets, and other water-holding objects.
  • Avoid spending time outdoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are apt to be most active.
  • Change the water and clean bird baths at least once a week.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools or drain and cover if not in use; to prevent water from accumulating in pool covers.
  • Unclog gutters and down spouts.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and socks.
  • Use insect repellents (follow product instructions carefully).
  • Make sure screens fit tightly in doors and windows.

Most human infections are mild. Symptoms usually appear 3 to 15 days after infection, and include fever, headache, body aches, occasional skin rash and swollen lymph glands. More severe infection may be marked by headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis, and, rarely, death. Persons older than 50 years of age and those with compromised immune systems have the highest risk of severe disease. If you have symptoms, contact your health care provider.


There is no specific treatment for West Nile encephalitis in humans. In more severe cases, intensive supportive therapy is indicated, often involving hospitalization, intravenous fluids, airway management, respiratory support (ventilator), prevention of secondary infections (pneumonia, urinary tract, etc.), and good nursing care. West Nile encephalitis is diagnosed by testing a blood sample and/or spinal fluid. No human vaccine has been approved, but several companies are working towards developing a vaccine.


Less than 1% of people who get bitten by an infected mosquito become infected and get severely ill. Case-fatality rates range from 3% to 15% among those with severe illness due to West Nile virus, and are highest among the elderly. Persons over 50 years of age and people with compromised immune systems are more likely to experience significant clinical disease from West Nile virus infection.


The disease infects birds and is spread through mosquitoes. A diseased bird cannot infect humans - the only way to get it is through a mosquito bite. Crows, blue jays, and hawks are particularly vulnerable to the West Nile virus. Dead birds should be discarded safely, using gloves or covering the hands with a plastic trash bag. For more information on West Nile virus, log on to www.scchealth.org and proceed to the West Nile virus page. If you don't have access to the Internet, you may call your local health department. In Saint Louis County the phone number is 314-615-1630; in St. Charles County it's 636-949-7404; and in the City of St. Louis it's 314-622-4252. Jefferson County residents may call 636-789-3372. In Franklin County call 636-583-7300.


Contact:
Saint Louis County Department of Health:
  Mike Williams, Ph.D., Manager
  Communicable Disease Control, 314-615-1630
  Ron Twillman, Manager
  Vector Control and Veterinary Services, 314-615-8351
City of St. Louis Department of Health: Larry Kettelhut, 314-612-5300


Public Health Officials Confirm First Human Case Of West Nile Virus Associated with Missouri.

August 13, 2002. Public Health officials today announce that a resident of Massachusetts has tested positive for the West Nile virus after visiting the St. Louis area in July. This is the first positive human case of the virus associated with the St. Louis metropolitan area. Notification came from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.


Most human infections are mild. Symptoms usually appear 3 to 15 days after infection, and include fever, headache, body aches, occasional skin rash and swollen lymph glands. More severe infection may be marked by headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis, and, rarely, death. Persons older than 50 years of age and those with compromised immune systems have the highest risk of severe disease. If you have symptoms, contact your health care provider.


There is no specific treatment for West Nile encephalitis in humans. In more severe cases, intensive supportive therapy is indicated, often involving hospitalization, intravenous fluids, airway management, respiratory support (ventilator), prevention of secondary infections (pneumonia, urinary tract, etc.), and good nursing care. West Nile encephalitis is diagnosed by testing a blood sample and/or spinal fluid. No human vaccine has been approved, but several companies are working towards developing a vaccine.


Ever since West Nile virus was confirmed in dead birds in the St. Louis metropolitan area last fall, health officials have anticipated the disease would eventually spread to the human population. Local public health agencies formulated a Metropolitan West Nile Virus Response Plan, to monitor the progress of WNV and coordinate response measures.


Less than 1% of people who get bitten by an infected mosquito become infected and get severely ill. Case-fatality rates range from 3% to 15% among those with severe illness due to West Nile virus, and are highest among the elderly. Persons over 50 years of age and people with compromised immune systems are more likely to experience significant clinical disease from West Nile virus infection.


Prevention is paramount in reducing the risk of exposure. Health officials urge people to reduce their chance of exposure by taking preventive steps.


  • Eliminate standing water sites where mosquitoes can breed.
  • Remove tires, buckets, and other water-holding objects.
  • Change the water and clean bird baths at least once a week.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools or drain and cover if not in use; to prevent water from accumulating in pool covers.
  • Unclog gutters and down spouts.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and socks.
  • Use insect repellents (follow product instructions carefully)
  • Make sure screens fit tightly in doors and windows.

The disease infects birds and is spread through mosquitoes. A diseased bird cannot infect humans - the only way to get it is through a mosquito bite. Crows, blue jays, and hawks are particularly vulnerable to the West Nile virus. Dead birds should be discarded safely, using gloves or covering the hands with a plastic trash bag. For more information on West Nile virus, log on to www.scchealth.org and proceed to the West Nile virus page. If you don't have access to the Internet, you may call your local health department. In Saint Louis County the phone number is 314-615-1630; in St. Charles County it's 636-949-7404; and in the City of St. Louis it's 314-622-4252. Jefferson County residents may call 636-789-3372. In Franklin County call 636-583-7300.


Contact:
Mike Williams, Ph.D., Manager,
  Communicable Disease Control, 314-615-1630
Ron Twillman, Manager,
  Vector Control and Veterinary Services, 314-615-8351


County Health Department Reports Two Rabid Bats.

August 12, 2002. Saint Louis County Department of Health Animal Control reports that two rabid bats have been confirmed in the last three days.


A dead bat was found in the basement of a home in the 7500 block of Oxford in Clayton on Friday August 2, and results received yesterday (August 7) showed the bat tested positive for rabies. Another bat, found at a commercial address in the 600 block of McDonnell Blvd. in Hazelwood on Monday (August 5) was confirmed positive for rabies August 8. There were no known direct human or animal exposures in either case.


Health officials stress the importance of having pets immunized against rabies, as required by County law. Parents should caution children not to touch any bat, especially if it's on the ground or unable to fly. (The disease of rabies can interfere with a bat's sonar, causing it to crash into things and fall to the ground.) People should avoid contact with any animal that is unknown or behaving strangely.


Most bats don't carry rabies, and in fact they perform a beneficial service by eating large quantities of insects. But if one bat in a colony contracts rabies, the disease can quickly spread to other members of the colony.


Contact: Helen Kamp, D.V.M., Veterinarian, Animal Control
Phone: 314-727-7017


METROPOLITAN WEST NILE VIRUS UPDATE.

  Chance of getting sick from West Nile virus is small,
  but elderly and immune compromised are at higher risk.
  Recent rains could bring more mosquitoes.


August 8, 2002. With recent confirmation of West Nile virus (WNV) in birds and mosquitoes in the St. Louis metropolitan area, many of us are wondering if a mosquito bite could make us sick. The answer, according to health officials, is "probably not." Most individuals, even if bitten by an infected mosquito, won't become seriously ill or even experience any symptoms. However, people over age 50 and those with compromised immune systems are likely to be at higher risk. Anyone with a weakened immune system (due to diabetes, AIDS, cancer, or other chronic health problems) should avoid exposure to possible sources of infection, including WNV. Anyone in these higher risk groups should be especially careful to reduce the risk of mosquito bites.


Most human infections are mild. Less than 1% of people who get bitten by an infected mosquito get severely ill. Symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, occasional skin rash and swollen lymph glands. More severe infection may be marked by headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis, and, rarely, death. There is no human vaccine for West Nile virus, but there is a vaccination available for horses. The disease infects birds and is spread through mosquitoes. A diseased bird cannot infect humans - the only way to get it is through a mosquito bite. Dead birds (like any dead animals) should be discarded safely, using gloves, a shovel, or covering the hands with a plastic trash bag.


Recent rains could contribute to an increase in the mosquito population since mosquitoes breed in standing pools of water. Officials are asking residents to empty or throw out any containers in their yards that may have collected water. Prevention is vital in reducing the risk of exposure. Health officials suggest these preventive steps:


  • Eliminate standing water sites where mosquitoes can breed
  • Remove tires, buckets, and other water-holding objects
  • Change the water in bird baths at least once a week
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools or drain and cover if not in use
  • Prevent water from accumulating in pool covers
  • Unclog gutters and down spouts
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks
  • Use insect repellents containing DEET (follow product instructions carefully)
  • Make sure screens fit tightly in doors and windows

St. Louis City and County are no longer asking citizens to report dead birds, as they have enough information on dead birds and are shifting their focus to mosquito control. For more information on West Nile virus, or to report dead birds in St. Charles, Franklin and Jefferson counties, log on to www.scchealth.org and proceed to the West Nile virus page. If you don't have access to the Internet, please call St. Charles County Health Department 636-949-7404, Jefferson County 636-789-3372 or Franklin County 636-583-7300.


Contact:
Saint Louis County Department of Health:
 Mike Williams, Ph.D., Manager, Communicable Disease Control,
 314-615-1630
 Ron Twillman, Manager, Vector Control and Veterinary Services,
 314-615-8351
St. Charles County Department of Health:
 Gil Copley, Director, 636-949-7477
Jefferson County Department of Health:
 Dennis Diehl, Director, 636-942-3101 x104
Franklin County Department of Health:
 Conn Roden, Director, 636-583-7300
City of St. Louis:
 Ellen Ellick, 314-612-5143


West Nile Virus Confirmed in Birds in Saint Louis County and City.

July 29, 2002. Saint Louis County Department of Health today received confirmation from the State of Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services that birds collected in Ladue, Clayton, Warson Woods, University City, Crestwood and Calverton Park tested positive for the West Nile virus. This is the first time this year that the virus has been identified in the bird population in Saint Louis County. St. Louis City first identified a positive bird last week and today received notice of five additional birds testing positive. City locations included 63139, 63116 and 63108 zip codes.


The virus has also been confirmed to be present in mosquitoes collected in University City, Hillsdale and Wellston. These results were received from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Saturday. The Culex pipiens mosquito is the primary carrier of the West Nile Virus. It feeds primarily on birds but occasionally feeds on humans and other mammals.


To avoid mosquito bites and reduce the risk of becoming infected with West Nile virus, health officials suggest taking some simple precautions.


  • Stay indoors at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • When outdoors wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and light colors.
  • Spray clothing with repellents containing permethrin or DEET since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing.
  • Apply insect repellent sparingly to exposed skin. An effective repellent will contain 35% DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-tolumide). DEET in high concentrations (greater than 35%) provides no additional protection.
  • Repellents may irritate the eyes and mouth, so avoid applying repellent to the hands of children.
  • Whenever you use an insecticide or inspect repellent, be sure to read and follow the manufacturer's DIRECTIONS FOR USE, as printed on the product.

To report the location of dead crows, blue jays or hawks, please log on to www.scchealth.org or call Saint Louis County's Communicable Disease Control office at 314-615-1630 and leave a voice message. If necessary, calls will be returned during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Dispose of dead birds by double bagging and placing in the trash. For more information on mosquito prevention, please call St. Louis County Vector Control at 314-727-3097 or log on to www.stlouisco.com. In the city of St. Louis, please call City Vector Control at 314-622-4252.


Contact:
Michael Williams, Communicable Disease Control, 314- 615-1630
Pager 314-430-5885

City of St. Louis: Ellen Ellick 314-612-5143


Saint Louis County Department of Health Provides Schools 671 Post-Consumer Plastic Tables and Benches.
Equivalent of more than one million plastic containers kept from waste stream

July 29, 2002. More than one million milk jugs! The equivalent of that many plastic milk jugs was kept from the landfill with the Resourceful Schools Project's recent distribution of 671 post-consumer plastic tables and benches to 24 school districts in Saint Louis County. The Resourceful Schools Project, sponsored through the Saint Louis County Department of Health, handled the distribution in conjunction with Cooperating School Districts, a clearing house for resources and information to school districts in the region.


This project, known as the "Close the Loop at Smart Schools", has had an impressive impact on reducing the waste to landfills. The quantity of plastic used could be viewed in a variety of ways:


  • Nearly 130,000 pounds of plastic was kept from the waste stream.
  • Approximately 360 cubic feet of landfill space was saved which is the equivalent of 91 years of compacted waste generated by the average person;
  • More than one million one-gallon milk jugs were used to make the 671 tables and benches;
  • This quantity of milk jugs would cover the entire infield on a professional baseball diamond;
  • Spread across a football field, the milk jugs would cover the entire area between opposite end zones; and
  • Milk jugs laid end-to-end would reach about 162 miles, or the distance from St. Louis down Highway 44 to Lebanon, Missouri.

The primary goal of the Program was to increase awareness and promote the benefits of closing the loop by buying recycled-content products. "Purchasing products such as these generates a demand for recyclables, reduces the waste going to landfills, saves natural resources and conserves energy," said Jacquelynn A. Meeks, DrPH, Saint Louis County Department of Health Director. "These products create a demand for recyclable plastic, which we hope will lead residents to increase the supply by recycling more."


School districts received the items at no financial cost. The only "cost" was "sweat equity" to assemble and install the tables and benches. The Program was seen as having a two-fold benefit of improving school campuses while also demonstrating the benefits of recycling. "Providing the tables and benches to school districts is our way of recognizing area schools for their recycling efforts and encouraging them to continue while demonstrating the usefulness of quality products made from recycled resources," said Tom Post, Associate Director for Cooperating School Districts. "Also, using products made of recycled-content plastic lumber makes good financial sense because of the low maintenance requirements, long product life and safety since there are no splinters, paints or toxic wood treatments."


The participating districts chose between two types of 8-foot benches (park-style with a back and in-ground mounts or trail-style) or traditional 8-foot picnic tables with backless benches. The table below demonstrates how much recycled plastic was required to make the benches and picnic tables.


Recycled Plastic Requirements
  # items given to school districts Lbs recycled plastic per unit Total lbs recycled plastic # plastic 1-gallon milk jugs per unit (See note below) Total # milk jugs
Park Bench 283 124 lbs. 35,092 lbs 992 280,736
Trail Bench 83 64 lbs. 5,312 lbs 512 42,496
Picnic Table 305 288 lbs. 87,840 2,304 702,720
    Total 128,244 lbs Total 1,025,952 1-gal. jugs

Note: Other recycled plastics were used in addition to milk jugs to create the final product. These calculations are based on the equivalent of one-gallon milk jugs only.


Funding for the Program was made possible by the voter-approved 5% landfill surcharge. For more information about the Resourceful Schools Project, contact the Saint Louis County Department of Health at 314-615-8958.



West Nile Virus Confirmed in Mosquitoes in Saint Louis County.

July 29, 2002. Saint Louis County Department of Health received confirmation on July 27, 2002 from the State of Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that mosquitoes collected in University City, Hillsdale and Wellston tested positive for the West Nile Virus.


This is the first time the virus has been identified in the mosquito population in the County. The mosquito species (Culex pipiens) which feeds primarily on birds but occasionally feeds on humans and other mammals is the primary carrier of the West Nile Virus.


Saint Louis County Department of Health urges residents to take these simple precautions. Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants when outdoors, especially at dusk and dawn, the most active feeding times for mosquitoes and use insect repellent containing DEET (read and follow product instructions).


In addition, homeowners are asked to inform the health department of any storm sewer inlets in their backyards that are not currently being treated. After gaining permission to enter yards, health department staff will determine if storm sewers are holding water and treat them with biological control agents.


What can I do to reduce my risk of becoming infected with West Nile virus?


  • Stay indoors at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and light colors whenever you are outdoors.
  • Spray clothing with repellents containing permethrin or DEET since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing.
  • Apply insect repellent sparingly to exposed skin. An effective repellent will contain 35% DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-tolumide). DEET in high concentrations (greater than 35%) provides no additional protection.
  • Repellents may irritate the eyes and mouth, so avoid applying repellent to the hands of children.
  • Whenever you use an insecticide or inspect repellent, be sure to read and follow the manufacturer's DIRECTIONS FOR USE, as printed on the product.

To report the location of dead crows, blue jays or hawks, please log on to www.scchealth.org or call Saint Louis County's Communicable Disease Control office at 314-615-1630 and leave a voice message. If necessary, calls will be returned during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Dispose of dead birds by double bagging and placing in trash. For more information on mosquito prevention, please call St. Louis County Vector Control at 314-727-3097 or log on to www.stlouisco.com.


Contact:
Michael Williams, Communicable Disease Control, 314-430-5885
Joan Bradford, Vector Control, 314-220-9441


West Nile Virus Identified in Second Missouri Bird;
No Human Cases Reported.
    Article courtesy of Missouri Division of Health and Senior Services.

West Nile virus has been identified in one crow that was found dead in St. Louis City in late June. Today the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center, Madison, Wisconsin, notified the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services that the crow tested positive. To date, no laboratory-confirmed human cases of West Nile virus have been reported.


This is the second bird to test positive for West Nile virus in Missouri this year. A blue jay from Stoddard County tested positive on July 16, 2002 (refer to News Release dated July 17, 2002).


For more information on West Nile virus, contact your local health department or the Department of Health and Senior Services at 1-800/392-0272 or 573/751-6113. Additional information is also available at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services web site: www.dhss.state.mo.us.


Contact: Dr. Howard Pue
Section of Communicable Disease Control and Veterinary Public Health
573/751-6113

Check the St. Louis Metropolitan West Nile Virus Information Center
for regular news updates.


Public Health Officials Launch Human Surveillance Project To Help Monitor Presence of West Nile Virus.

July 11, 2002. Ever since West Nile virus (WNV) was confirmed in dead birds in the St. Louis metropolitan area last fall, health officials have anticipated its potential spread to the human population. Local public health agencies formed a Metropolitan West Nile Virus Response Plan, to monitor WNV transmission and coordinate response measures. Reports of dead birds, along with collection and testing of mosquitoes, help public health experts detect West Nile virus before the human population is infected. Now another layer of surveillance has been added.


Starting July 1, physicians and emergency rooms will be requested to immediately report all suspected cases of viral encephalitis, viral meningitis and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Patients with these illnesses will be assessed to determine if WNV infection is the cause. The objective of the human surveillance project is to quickly detect human disease that may be due to WNV so that necessary prevention measures can be implemented, including mosquito control and public information activities. Saint Louis County, St. Louis City, St. Charles, Jefferson and Franklin Counties are working together in a cooperative effort to prevent West Nile virus from spreading to humans.


Public health officials are still asking citizens to report crows, blue jays, or hawks that have recently died or seem to be dying with no apparent injuries. To report dead birds, log on to www.stlouisco.com or www.scchealth.org and proceed to the West Nile virus page for instructions. If you don't have access to the Internet, please call your local health department. In Saint Louis County the phone number is 314-615-1630; in St. Charles County it's 636-949-7404; and in the City of St. Louis it's 314-622-4252. Jefferson County residents may call 636-789-3372. In Franklin County call 636-583-7300.


Symptoms of West Nile virus include fever, headache, and body aches, occasionally with skin rash and swollen lymph glands, stiff neck, disorientation and muscle weakness. Symptoms usually appear 3 to 15 days after infection. More severe infection may be marked by headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis, and, rarely, death. Persons over 50 years of age and people with compromised immune systems have a higher risk of severe disease. In rare cases the disease can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and may prove fatal. If you have any of the above symptoms, contact your health care provider.


West Nile encephalitis is diagnosed through blood testing. No human vaccine has been approved, but several companies are working towards developing a vaccine. Most infections are mild, and most people who get infected with WNV don't show symptoms. The disease infects birds and is spread through mosquitoes. A diseased bird cannot infect humans - the only way to get it is through a mosquito bite. The chance of becoming severely ill from a single mosquito bite is extremely small.


Prevention is paramount in reducing the risk of exposure. Health officials urge people to reduce their chance of exposure by taking preventive steps, such as:


  • Eliminate standing water sites where mosquitoes can breed by removing tires, buckets, and other water-holding objects from their property.
  • Change the water and clean birdbaths at least once a week.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools or drain and cover if not in use; to prevent water from accumulating in pool covers.
  • Unclog gutters and down spouts.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks.
  • Use insect repellents (follow product instructions carefully).
  • Make sure screens fit tightly in doors and windows.

Contact:
Mike Williams, Ph.D., Manager, Communicable Disease Control
  St. Louis County Department of Health, 314-615-1630
Ron Twillman, Manager, Vector Control & Veterinary Services
  St. Louis County Department of Health, 314-615-8351
Gil Copley, Director, St. Charles County Department of Health
  636-949-7477
Dennis Diehl, Director, Jefferson County Department of Health
  636-942-3101 x104
Conn Roden, Director, Franklin County Department of Health
  636-583-7300
Ellen Ellick, City of St. Louis, 314-612-5143

 
County Health Department Reports First Rabid Bat Of Season

June 20, 2002. A resident of the 1500 block of Urbandale Drive in Florissant called the Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) after finding a dead bat in the yard on Monday June 17. Animal Control officers retrieved the bat and sent it for testing. Results received on June 19 showed the bat tested positive for rabies. There were no known direct exposures. The resident's pet dog, which was properly vaccinated for rabies, did not come in contact with the bat.


This is the first rabid bat of the season in Saint Louis County. Health officials urge people to be aware and cautious of all wildlife, especially bats, and avoid contact with any animal that is behaving strangely. Children should be taught not to touch any unknown animals.


Ron Twillman, DOH Program Manager of Vector Control and Veterinary Services, stresses that people should check with their veterinarians on the immunization status of their pets. Because rabies can be readily passed from wild animals to domestic pets, the first line of defense is to make sure all cats and dogs are properly vaccinated, as required by County law. Once transmitted, the disease of rabies has no cure and almost always is fatal.


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. For more information, or to report animal bites, please call Saint Louis County Department of Health, North Animal Shelter at 314-831-6500; or the South Shelter at 314-726-6655, or visit www.stlouisco.com/doh and click on Animal Control.


Contact: Ron Twillman, Program Manager
Vector Control and Veterinary Services, 314-615-8351


METROPOLITAN WEST NILE VIRUS RESPONSE PLAN
Public Health Officials Ask Citizens To Report Dead Birds
To Help Monitor Presence of West Nile Virus.

June 13, 2002. After West Nile virus was identified in several dead birds in the St. Louis metropolitan area last fall, local public health agencies responded by preparing a Metropolitan West Nile Virus Response Plan. While mosquito control is an important element of the plan, another component involves monitoring dead birds. That's where residents can help.


Why report dead birds?

Public health officials are asking citizens to report dead or dying crows, blue jays, or hawks, because these birds are particularly vulnerable to the West Nile virus. Birds are the primary source of blood meals for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes feeding on birds that are infected with West Nile virus can then transmit the disease to birds and other animals, including horses. In the same way, mosquitoes can also infect humans.


How to report a dead bird

To report dead birds, log on to www.scchealth.org and proceed to the West Nile virus page for instructions. If you don't have access to the Internet, please call your local health department. In Saint Louis County the phone number is 314-615-1630; in St. Charles County it's 636-949-7404; and in the City of St. Louis it's 314-622-4252. Jefferson County residents may call 636-789-3372. In Franklin County call 636-583-7300. Please report only birds that have obviously died recently or seem to be dying with no apparent injuries.


When NOT to report a dead bird

Please do not report a bird that is decomposed, mauled by an animal, crushed, or hit by a vehicle. Birds die for many natural reasons, and finding a dead bird doesn't necessarily mean West Nile virus is present. When you dispose of a dead bird (or any dead animal) always handle it carefully. Use gloves or cover your hands with a plastic trash bag. Double bag it for disposal in the trash.


Limited number of dead birds will be tested

It's important to understand that the health departments will not routinely retrieve birds for testing. A limited number of samples will be collected for laboratory analysis.


Reports of dead birds, along with collection and testing of mosquitoes, will help public health experts detect West Nile virus in birds and mosquitoes before the human population is infected. Saint Louis County, St. Louis City, St. Charles, Jefferson and Franklin Counties are working together in a cooperative effort to prevent West Nile virus from spreading to humans.


Symptoms of West Nile virus - headache, fever, stiff neck, disorientation and muscle weakness - usually appear 3 to 15 days after infection, but most people who get infected with WNV don't show symptoms. The chance of becoming severely ill from a single mosquito bite is extremely small. In rare cases the disease can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and may prove fatal. No vaccine for humans is currently available.


Contact:
Mike Williams, Ph.D., Manager, Communicable Disease Control, St. Louis County Department of Health, 314-615-1630
Joan Bradford, Supervisor, Vector Control, St. Louis County Department of Health, 314-727-3097
Gil Copley, Director, St. Charles County Department of Health, 636-949-7477
Dennis Diehl, Director, Jefferson County Department of Health, 636-942-3101 x104
Conn Roden, Director, Franklin County Department of Health, 636-583-7300
Ellen Ellick, City of St. Louis, 314-612-5143


"Safety Street" Event at Pine Lawn County Health Center Offers Children Free Safety Helmets.

June 4, 2002. Saint Louis County Department of Health and Saint Louis County Police Department are sponsoring a "Safety Street" event on Tuesday, June 18, from 10:00 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. at the Pine Lawn Health Center, 6150 Natural Bridge Road.


A mock street will be set up to teach children first-hand the rules of the road for safe bicycling. Studies show that wearing a properly fitted safety helmet can dramatically reduce head injuries. County ordinance requires helmets in unincorporated areas.


Free safety helmets for children will be available, while supplies last. A parent or responsible adult must accompany each child, and sign a consent form authorizing the child to receive a safety helmet. Health Department staff will properly fit each helmet for the child's safety. Children who already own helmets may bring their bikes and helmets to be checked for appropriate fit.


The event is free to County residents. For more information, or if you plan to bring more than five children, please call (314) 389-4700.


Photo Opportunity:
  • Children learning the rules of the road in a mock city complete with traffic signals.
  • Kids getting their safety helmets fitted, and their bikes checked for safety.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

FOR RELEASE: JUNE 4 THROUGH JUNE 18, 2002


INFORMATION: Andrea Johnson, Health Center Manager (314) 389-4700
Officer Lester Darris (314) 389-4700


"Safety Street" At Pine Lawn Health Center

Is your child safe while bicycling? Find out at "Safety Street" - a mock street, complete with traffic signals, where kids can learn the rules of the road. Get a free safety helmet (while they last) or have your child's helmet checked for proper fit. It's at the Pine Lawn Health Center, 6150 Natural Bridge Road, Tuesday, June 18, from 10:00 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. rain or shine! Saint Louis County Health Department and Saint Louis County Police Department are sponsoring the event.


[30 seconds]

Is your child safe while bicycling? Come to "Safety Street" and find out. Kids can learn the rules of the road, and get free safety helmets (while they last). It's at Pine Lawn Health Center, 6150 Natural Bridge Road on Tuesday, June 18; 10:00 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. Sponsored by Saint Louis County Health Department and Saint Louis County Police Department.


[20 seconds]


"Safety Street" Event at South County Health Center Offers Children Free Safety Helmets.

May 28, 2002. Saint Louis County Department of Health and Saint Louis County Police Department are sponsoring a "Safety Street" event on Wednesday, June 12 from 10:00 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. at the South County Health Center, located at 4580 South Lindbergh (just south of Gravois) in Sunset Hills.


A mock street will be set up to teach children first-hand the rules of the road for safe bicycling. Studies show that wearing a properly fitted safety helmet can dramatically reduce head injuries. County ordinance requires helmets in unincorporated areas.


Free safety helmets for children will be available, while supplies last. A parent or responsible adult must accompany each child, and sign a consent form authorizing the child to receive a safety helmet. Health Department staff will properly fit each helmet for the child's safety. Children who already own helmets may bring their bikes and helmets to be checked for appropriate fit.


The event is free to County residents. For more information, or if you plan to bring more than five children, please call (314) 842-1300, x 7777.


Photo Opportunity:


  • Children learning the rules of the road in a mock city complete with traffic signals and buildings.
  • Kids getting their safety helmets fitted, and their bikes checked for safety.
CONTACT: Diane McKenna, Health Center Manager, (314) 842-1300 x 7201
Officer Randy Leavitt, (314) 842-1300 x 7777


"Safety Street" Event at Murphy Health Center Offers Children Free Safety Helmets.

May 21, 2002. Saint Louis County Department of Health and Saint Louis County Police Department are sponsoring a "Safety Street" event on Tuesday, June 4 from 10:00 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. at the John C. Murphy Health Center, located at 6065 Helen Avenue in Berkeley.


A mock street will be set up to teach children first-hand the rules of the road for safe bicycling. Studies show that wearing a properly fitted safety helmet can dramatically reduce head injuries. County ordinance requires helmets in unincorporated areas.


Free safety helmets for children will be available, while supplies last. A parent or responsible adult must accompany each child, and sign a consent form authorizing the child to receive a safety helmet. Health Department staff will properly fit each helmet for the child's safety. Children who already own helmets may bring their bikes and helmets to be checked for appropriate fit.


The event is free to County residents. For more information, or if you plan to bring more than five children, please call (314) 522-6410 x 6222.


Photo Opportunity:


  • Children learning the rules of the road in a mock city complete with traffic signals and buildings.
  • Kids getting their safety helmets fitted, and their bikes checked for safety.
CONTACT: Officer G.T. Templeton, (314) 522-6410 x 6222
Betsy Alexander, Health Center Manager (314) 522-6410 x 6076


PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

FOR RELEASE: MAY 20 THROUGH JUNE 4, 2002


INFORMATION:
Betsy Alexander, Health Center Manager (314) 522-6410 x 6076
Officer G.T. Templeton, (314) 522-6410 x 6222


"Safety Street" At Murphy Health Center

Is your child safe while bicycling? Find out at "Safety Street" - a mock street, complete with traffic signals, where kids can learn the rules of the road. Get a free safety helmet (while they last) or have your child's helmet checked for proper fit. It's at the John C. Murphy Health Center located at 6065 Helen Avenue in Berkeley, on Tuesday, June 4, from 10:00 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. rain or shine! Saint Louis County Health Department and Saint Louis County Police Department are sponsoring the event.
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[30 seconds]

Is your child safe while bicycling? Find out at "Safety Street," where kids can learn the rules of the road, and get free safety helmets (while they last)! It's at the John C. Murphy Health Center, located at 6065 Helen Avenue in Berkeley, on Tuesday, June 4, from 10:00 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. Sponsored by Saint Louis County Health Department and Saint Louis County Police Department.
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[20 seconds]


"Safety Street" Events at County Health Centers Offer Free Bicycle Helmets for Children.

May 20, 2002. Saint Louis County Department of Health and Saint Louis County Police Department are sponsoring three "Safety Street" events at the three County Health Centers during the month of June.


Safety Street events will run from 10:00 A.M. to 1:30 P.M - rain or shine - on the following dates:


  • Tuesday, June 4, at the John C. Murphy Health Center, located at 6065 Helen Avenue in Berkeley;
  • Wednesday, June 12, at the South County Health Center located at 4580 South Lindbergh (just south of Gravois) in Sunset Hills; and
  • Tuesday, June 18, at the Pine Lawn Health Center, 6150 Natural Bridge Road.

A mock street will be set up at each health center to teach children first-hand the rules of the road for safe bicycling. Studies show that wearing a properly fitted safety helmet can dramatically reduce head injuries. County ordinance requires helmets in unincorporated areas.


Free bicycle helmets for children will be available, while supplies last. Each child must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult who will sign a consent form authorizing the child to receive a safety helmet. Health Department staff will properly fit each helmet for the child's safety. Children who already own helmets may bring their bikes and helmets to be checked for appropriate fit.


The events are free to County residents. For more information, or if you plan to bring more than five children, please call (314) 522-6410 x 6222.


Photo Opportunity:
  • Children learning the rules of the road in a mock city complete with traffic signals.
  • Kids getting their safety helmets fitted, and their bikes checked for safety.
CONTACT: Officer G.T. Templeton, (314) 522-6410 x 6222
Betsy Alexander, (314) 522-6410 x 6076


June is a Good Time to Adopt a Cat or Kitten from a County Shelter During National Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month.

May 14, 2002. June is the "purrfect" time to adopt a cat from your local animal shelter, during national "Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat" Month. The Animal Shelters of Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) have a variety of cats and kittens ready and waiting for adoption.


Cats are the ideal pets for busy people. They require less maintenance than dogs, as they can be trained to use a litter box and they don't need to be taken outdoors for walks. Cats are content to stay indoors; in fact, indoor cats generally live longer and healthier lives than those that spend time outdoors. Cats can take care of themselves while owners are away at work or school. Many households adopt two kittens to keep each other company while owners are away (and for the sheer fun of watching them play).


Like all pets, cats need basic care, including food, water, shelter, proper vaccinations, veterinary care, and love and attention from their human companions. When you adopt a pet from DOH Animal Shelters, a microchip and immunizations are included. Spay/neuter operations are required within 30 days.


Adoptable cats - and dogs - are available year-round at the County's two animal shelters, located at 77 Hunter Avenue in Ladue (phone 314-726-6655) and 4100 Seven Hills in Florissant (phone 314-831-6500). The cost to adopt a kitten, puppy, dog or cat is $20. For more information, please call or visit the nearest Saint Louis County Animal Control Shelter, or log on to www.stlouisco.com/doh/ and click on Pet Adoption.


Photo Opportunity: Adorable kittens and cats waiting to be adopted!

Contact: Chris Byrne, Program Manager, Acting, 314-615-8923
Don Edwards, North Shelter Supervisor, 314-831-6500
Mary Metzner, South Shelter Supervisor, 314-726-6655


Health Department Offers Tips on Avoiding Dog Bites.

May 13, 2002. Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) investigates more than 1,600 animal bites to humans each year. Children are the most likely victims of the majority of dog bites. People need to respect and be safe around animals, and pet owners need to keep their pets under control at all times. DOH Animal Control officers are available to teach animal bite prevention to children and field personnel with occupational risk of exposure to dogs. The following tips can help you avoid a dog bite.


What not to do:
  • Don't stare.
  • Don't run, jump or wave your arms around.
  • Don't scream.
  • Don't throw anything at the dog or hit him.
What you should do:
  • Freeze.
  • Count to five slowly and silently.
  • Move away slowly, sideways and backwards.
  • Put something between you and the dog (bike, gate, etc.)
  • If the dog jumps on you, stand like a tree with hands in fists, or lie down like a log with your arms over your head and ears.
  • Don't make a noise.

To report animal bites, dogs running at large, or to schedule tours or presentations, please call the shelter nearest you: South Shelter, 77 Hunter Road, 314-726-6655; and North Shelter, 4100 Seven Hills Drive, 314-831-6500. For more information, log on to www.stlouisco.com.


Nationally, more than four million animal bites are reported each year, at a cost of over $250 million in losses, according to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. More than 50% of those bites are to children under the age of 10. On the average there are 12 animal related fatalities reported annually. The U.S. Postal Service, the Insurance Industry and the Humane Society of the United States sponsor national Dog Bite Prevention Week (May 19-26).


Photo Opportunity: "Bite case" dogs confined at County animal shelters.

Contact: Chris Byrne, Program Manager, Acting, 314-615-8923
Don Edwards, North Shelter Supervisor, 314-831-6500
Mary Metzner, South Shelter Supervisor, 314-726-6655


What's The OZONE Level Today?
Air Quality Affects Asthma

May 9, 2002. Air quality in the St. Louis Metropolitan area is poorest in the warm weather months between May and September, according to Chris Byrne, Program Manager, Air Pollution Control at Saint Louis County Department of Health. Ozone air pollution, or smog, forms when heat and sunlight mix with emissions from automobiles, construction equipment, lawn mowers, gas pumps and smoke stacks. The highest levels typically occur during the afternoons. On hot days with little wind, smog lingers in the area. "This can cause health problems, especially for the very young, the elderly, and people with asthma or other respiratory conditions," Byrne said.


Ozone irritates the respiratory system and inflames the lining of the lung in the same way sunburn affects the skin. Ozone can make it more difficult to breathe deeply, particularly for people who exercise or work outdoors. Symptoms of ozone sensitivity include headaches, coughing, and irritation of the eyes, nose and throat. Ozone reduces lung function and aggravates asthma. Ozone makes people more sensitive to allergens, which can trigger asthma attacks requiring medical attention.


Here are some everyday ways to help keep the air clean during the summer ozone season:


Be aware of the daily air quality forecast, available through local news sources or online at www.cleanair-stlouis.com and www.stlouisco.com/doh. On green days the air quality forecast is good; on yellow days, moderate; on orange days, the air is unhealthy for people with special health needs; and on red days, it's unhealthy for everyone.


Walk, bike, or take public buses or the Metrolink to work, school, sporting events, or for running errands. Join a carpool or vanpool. Do not use a gas lawn mower on high ozone days. Consider replacing the gasoline mower with an electric or hand mower. Use propane or natural gas barbecue pits. If you do use charcoal or charcoal briquettes, don't use lighter fluid. Use chimney type charcoal starters or electric starters.


If you drive a car, choose one that gets good mileage. A car that gets 30 miles per gallon cuts emissions 50 percent over a car that gets only 15 mpg. Fill your gas tank before 10:00 in the morning or after 7:00 in the evening. Don't top off your tank - less gasoline evaporates to the air and fewer harmful pollutants are released. Keep your engine tuned up and tires properly inflated to reduce pollution from your exhaust and improve gas mileage. Do not leave your car idling when waiting for someone. An idling car produces more pollution than a car driving at normal speeds.


Each of us can make a difference in improving the air quality, and at the same time enhance our own health.


Contact: Chris Byrne, Program Manager
Air Pollution Control, 314-615-8923


County Health Department Promotes Asthma Awareness
As Number of Sufferers Increases.

May 3, 2002. Asthma has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, affecting about 15 million people of all ages and races, particularly children. The Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) reports the number of cases is rising among children in the county as well. The department is joining with other health organizations to observe Asthma Awareness Month during May. Knowing how indoor and outdoor pollutants can trigger asthma episodes makes it easier to avoid them, as part of a comprehensive asthma management plan.


Asthma is a long-term, inflammatory disease in which the airways of the lungs become constricted, causing wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing. Asthma can be life threatening. Today, one in thirteen school children has asthma. According to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report, between 1980 and 1994, the percentage of pre-school aged children with asthma increased 160 percent, with an alarming 8,000 to 26,000 new asthma cases arising each year.


Exposure to allergens such as dust mites, mold, cockroaches and pet dander can bring on an asthma attack. In addition to these allergens, an asthma attack can be triggered by secondhand smoke, viral respiratory infections, exercise, and by chemical contaminants such as pesticides used in schools. For some people, exposure to environmental triggers may cause the onset of asthma in early childhood. By reducing one's exposure to these triggers, one can help prevent an asthma attack.


World Asthma Day was established in 1999 by the Global Initiative for Asthma, a joint project between the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, at the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization. Throughout the world, organizations are working together to increase public awareness of the seriousness of asthma and to improve asthma care and management.


For more information please call the Saint Louis County Department of Health at 314-615-6871, or go to www.stlouisco.com/doh.


Contact: Brenda Quarles, Program Manager
Industrial Hygiene Section, 314-615-8952


Saint Louis County Department Of Health Offers Mental Health Services.

April 26, 2002. May is Mental Health Month, and Saint Louis County Department of Health offers a number of mental health services at various County locations.


"Our Family Mental Health program provides comprehensive outpatient mental health services for children, adolescents, adults, couples and families who reside in Saint Louis County," said Gregg Robinson, Clinical Psychologist and Family Mental Health Manager. The department also works closely with school districts, to assist teachers dealing with students in counseling situations.


The staff is composed of clinical social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists. All staff members are licensed in their respective disciplines. A sliding fee scale is available and insurance is accepted.


To schedule an appointment, please contact one of the following Saint Louis County Department of Health office locations for Family Mental Health:


North County Center, 21 Village Square, Hazelwood, MO 63042
Phone: (314) 615-7471;


Central County Center, 111 South Meramec, Clayton, MO 63105
Phone: (314) 615-1760;


South County Center, Keller Plaza, 4548 Lemay Ferry Rd., St. Louis, MO 63129
Phone: (314) 615-4072;


West County Center, 78 Clarkson-Wilson Centre, Chesterfield, MO 63017
Phone: (314) 615-0950.


For more information, please contact Dr. Gregg Robinson at
(314) 615-1760.


Citizens Urged to Fight Mosquitoes, Reduce the Risk of West Nile Virus.

April 24, 2002. Mosquitoes are a nuisance, but more importantly they can transmit disease. Mosquito control has been an important public health issue in the St. Louis area for many years. It is even more vital now that West Nile Virus was identified here last fall. Saint Louis County, St. Louis City, and Franklin, Jefferson and St. Charles Counties have prepared a Metropolitan West Nile Virus Response Plan in a cooperative effort to address the problem.


The plan provides a mechanism for local jurisdictions to coordinate West Nile Virus activities with monthly meetings, surveillance of mosquitoes, birds and mammals, while focusing efforts on prevention and reduction of mosquito breeding sites. To view a copy of the plan, log on to the St. Louis County Government's web site at www.stlouisco.com and click on Health, or go to www.scchealth.org.


Mosquitoes can breed anywhere that water collects. Pre-treatment begins in the spring and continues throughout the season. Possible breeding sites are monitored and treated if mosquito larvae are found. In spite of these defensive measures, there will still be some adult mosquitoes. Residents should contact their local health department to report a mosquito problem.


Here are some things residents can do to reduce mosquito populations.
  • Check and clean out clogged rain gutters and downspouts so they won't hold water.
  • Store inside, or get rid of, artificial containers such as flowerpots, cans, tires, etc.
  • Fill in any low places where water can stand.
  • Empty, clean and refill birdbaths on a weekly basis.
  • Keep fish in your fishpond, as they will eat mosquito larvae.
  • Repair outside leaky faucets.
  • Install splash blocks around homes to carry water away from foundations.
  • Empty and clean small wading pools at least once a week.
  • If you have a pool, make sure the cover isn't holding water and breeding mosquitoes.
  • Store wheelbarrows upside down; cover or store canoes and boats upside down.
  • Keep in mind that mosquitoes rest in vegetation and other protected places; keep the grass cut and bushes trimmed.
  • Homeowners can purchase biological mosquito control products at garden centers, home supply and other retailers. Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) is the active ingredient; it destroys the intestinal lining of the mosquito larvae. Another product contains methoprene which prevents the larvae from developing into adults. Barrier sprays are also available that can be sprayed on vegetation where mosquitoes rest.
  • Wear light colored clothing (white is best) and a white hat as mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors. Wear long sleeves and long pants to minimize exposed skin.
  • Check out various mosquito repellent products and follow label instructions.
Contact: Joan Bradford, Supervisor, Vector Control, 314-727-3097
Mike Williams, Ph.D., Manager, Communicable Disease Control
314-615-1630


AVOID HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS.
Record temperatures prompt health officials to urge caution.

April 17, 2002. With record-breaking warm temperatures in our area this spring, health officials are issuing the reminder that hot weather can be dangerous, even deadly.


Heat related illness and death can occur early in the season, before our bodies have a chance to adjust to the hot weather. Some people are especially vulnerable to the effects of heat stress, including individuals with respiratory conditions or those over age 65.


During hot weather it's important to check on older relatives and neighbors to make sure their living quarters are cool and ventilated. Never leave small children or pets in a closed car where temperatures can rapidly rise to dangerous levels.


Contact: Steve Fine, Director of Public Health and Ancillary Services
314-615-6445


COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT CALLS FOR VOLUNTEERS DURING PUBLIC HEALTH MONTH.

April 11, 2002. Do you want to make a difference? Do you want to contribute some of your time, talent and energy to your community? Do you love people or animals? Or do you just like to keep busy? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you will find it rewarding to be a volunteer with Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH). While the call for volunteers comes during National Public Health Month in April, volunteers are needed year round.


"The role of public health is more important than ever," said Jacquelynn A. Meeks, DrPH, Director of Health. She notes that public health is critical in the areas of disease prevention, environmental protection and health promotion. Every day, in countless ways the nation's public health departments are hard at work to protect the citizens.


The main offices of the County Health Department are located in Clayton near the County government center, with DOH services offered at locations throughout north, south, central and west county. Volunteers are needed in all areas, including the three DOH health centers, animal shelters, medical records, environmental protection, health education, and the printshop.


Assignments can vary depending on your preference and area of interest. Tasks could include clerical work, answering phones, stuffing mailers, filing, assisting patients, spending time with dogs or cats in the County animal shelters, or helping with blood drives and health fairs. Hours are flexible - you may choose to work a few hours a week, a few hours a month, or just for special projects. Volunteers may request assignments close to where they live.


To volunteer, you must be sixteen years or older and have your own transportation. For information about County health services, check www.stlouisco.com on line. If you would like to play a part in public health by volunteering your services, please call the County Health Department at 314-615-6459.


Contact: SHIRLEY EISENREICH, PERSONNEL OFFICER, 314-615-6459


IT'S OFFICIAL: COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT CERTIFIES BIRTHS & DEATHS.

April 11, 2002. Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) keeps records of births and deaths that occurred in St. Louis County from 1883 to the present. In addition to the St. Louis County area, DOH can also issue birth and death certificates for the entire state of Missouri. Computerized certificates of births and deaths occurring anywhere in the state are available for births beginning in 1920 and deaths since 1980. Every weekday the County's Office of Vital Records is buzzing, filling people's requests for birth and death certificates.


"Most people think they will automatically get a birth certificate from the hospital when the baby is born," said Celia Spencer, Manager of Vital Records for Saint Louis County Department of Health. "But that's not the way it works. The only way to get an official copy is by requesting it through a Vital Records office."


Why would you need an official copy of a birth or death certificate? Here are the TOP TEN REASONS FOR NEEDING A CERTIFIED BIRTH OR DEATH CERTIFICATE:


  1. SCHOOL REGISTRATION
  2. TAXES
  3. INSURANCE
  4. SOCIAL SECURITY
  5. DRIVERS LICENSE
  6. EMPLOYMENT
  7. MARRIAGE LICENSE
  8. MILITARY
  9. TRAVEL / PASSPORT
  10. GENEALOGY

You can either apply in person for a vital record or request it in writing. The Saint Louis County Office of Vital Records is located at 111 South Meramec Avenue, First Floor, Clayton, MO 63105-1711. In person, (8 - 4:30 Monday through Friday) the process is generally fast and painless - allow about fifteen minutes to fill out forms and receive your certified copies. If requesting by mail, please include a self-addressed stamped envelope and allow two weeks for processing. Be sure to include the full name, the date of birth or death, the hospital where the birth or death occurred, your relationship to the individual named on the record, and the purpose for the copies. For birth records also include the father's name and mother's maiden name.


For more information, call the Saint Louis County Office of Vital Records at 314-615-0376. For recorded information call 314-615-1720, or go to www.stlouisco.com/doh/vitals.html on line.


Contact: CELIA SPENCER, MANAGER, VITAL RECORDS, 314-615-8281


TOBACCO IS TABOO IN STUDENTS' POSTER ART.

March 28, 2002. Over 1,000 area students submitted anti-tobacco posters with themes like "Don't smoke or you'll croak" and "Don't be a fool, smoking's not cool." The contest was co-sponsored by the Saint Louis County Department of Health and Westfield Shoppingtowns, to coincide with "Kick Butts Day" April 3. The contest was open to students in first through twelfth grades attending public and private schools in St. Louis County.


"This gives kids a chance to show their creativity with original artwork and anti-tobacco themes," said Jacquelynn A. Meeks, DrPH, Director of Health. "It's important for young people to know the health risks associated with the use of tobacco products." Public health experts have learned that the messages young people receive from their peers may have more influence than the same information received through other sources, Dr. Meeks said.


Thirteen students with winning posters will each receive a $25 gift card for Westfield Shoppingtowns. An additional 65 students will receive honorable mention for their entries. The 13 winning posters may be viewed online at the Saint Louis County Department of Health web site located at www.stlouisco.com/doh/ and all entries will be displayed at Westfield Shoppingtowns Crestwood, Northwest, and South County.


Contact: Peggy Mohl, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
314-615-1626


MARCH IS NATIONAL NUTRITION MONTH.

Ever think your children aren't paying attention to you? Well, they are. Set a good example by eating healthy and staying active.


"Parents can be great role models for good nutrition by incorporating more vegetables, fruits and whole grains into meals," says Jacquelynn A. Meeks, DrPH, Director, Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH).


March is National Nutrition Month, and the 2002 theme is "Start Today for a Healthy Tomorrow." According to Dr. Meeks, that's good advice for everyone. Registered dietitians recommend creating family meals based on a wide range of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lean meats and low-fat dairy products.


"Studies show that incorporating good nutrition at an early age can have many positive effects on your short- and long-term health. Make healthy eating a family affair," Dr. Meeks says. "At the supermarket and in the kitchen, parents can allow children to choose their favorite vegetable or help with dinner. This lays a great foundation for their long-term health."


Jump-start your plans for health by including your children in planning meals or activities. Page through a cookbook together for a new recipe for a vegetable or fruit dish. Have your kids help make dinner. "Even if it's just stirring or pouring, children want to feel like they're a part of the process. And they are more likely to want to eat what they helped make," Dr. Meeks says. Offer kids a variety of healthy snacks after school. Whenever possible, make meals a family affair. Enjoy your time together.


Each day during the month of March and beyond, Dr. Meeks suggests families decrease the time spent watching TV or playing video games. "Instead, get your kids involved in a healthy and active lifestyle." Activities parents and children can enjoy together include throwing Frisbees, walking the dog, and bicycle rides. Take a long walk after dinner to help burn off calories. It's a great time to talk, too. Learn a new sport. (Try tennis, yoga, Pilate's or a new dance.) Go sledding, ice-skating, skiing or horseback riding with your family.


For more information about family nutrition, please call Saint Louis County Department of Health at 314-615-8370.


Contact: Ruth Klover, Program Manager, Nutrition & WIC Services, 314-615-8370


Public Health Nurses Host Valentine Event for Teen Moms At Pine Lawn Health Center.
"Bright Beginnings" Program Celebrates Family Life.

February 4, 2002. "Celebration of Family Life" is the Valentine theme for teenage mothers in the "Bright Beginnings" program at Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH). The group meets regularly for mutual support and encouragement during pregnancy and after delivery. On February 12, DOH Public Health Nurses will host a teen support meeting at the Pine Lawn Health Center, featuring guest speakers, refreshments, crafts, and a swap table of baby items for group members.


Twenty-five young mothers (under age 20) are enrolled in the 24-month "Bright Beginnings" program. Each participant has regular home visits from a DOH Public Health Nurse and a DOH Family Support Worker. The program provides education on parenting skills, family planning, and health assessments of mothers and babies, as well as an opportunity for "photo journaling" which provides the families with a keepsake memory book.


Families are linked to community resources for help with housing, insurance, childcare, transportation, clothing, and baby items. For more information about "Bright Beginnings," please call 314-842-1300 x7213.


PHOTO OPPORTUNITY!

• WHEN: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2002
5:30 PM to 7:00 PM
• WHERE: PINE LAWN HEALTH CENTER
6150 Natural Bridge, St. Louis, MO 63120
• WHAT: TEENAGE MOMS (DADS TOO) CELEBRATE FAMILY LIFE
AT "BRIGHT BEGINNINGS" VALENTINE EVENT

- Refreshments, Guest Speakers, Door Prizes, Hands-on Crafts, Photo Journaling, & Swap Table for Gently Used Baby Items!
- See a Public Health Nursing Program in Action in North County

Contact: Chris Nelson, Public Health Nurse
Tammy Dixon, Family Support Worker
314-389-4700


February is National Children's Dental Month.
Saint Louis County Outlines Dental Services Available to Residents.

January 24, 2002. Here are three top reasons for going to the dentist: 1) you'll be the center of attention; 2) you'll see yourself on film; and 3) it's good clean fun!


"The mouth can reflect the health of the entire body, showing the effects of nutrition, stress, reactions to medications, and other conditions," said Jacquelynn A. Meeks, DrPH, Director of Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH). "Because we recognize the importance of dental health, we offer a range of dental services at the three DOH health centers."


General dentistry services provided by DOH include exams, x-rays, cleaning, fillings, extractions, fluoride treatments, sealants, preventive periodontal work, and some root canals. Specialty services (such as orthodontics, oral surgery, dentures, partials, crowns or bridges) are not provided.


Patients include adults and children above age three. Each DOH dental patient receives an individual treatment plan. Patients are instructed in the newest techniques of brushing and the importance of flossing. They receive dietary advice and help for special problems (for example, a patient undergoing radiation treatment for other problems may need a prescription to help prevent cold sores). DOH dental services address a unique niche in that there are very few dental services that cater to low income and Medicaid patients.


DOH health centers are located in South County (314-842-1300), North County (314-522-6410), and Pine Lawn (314-389-4700), with weekday hours. Residents may call for details on eligibility requirements. Sliding fee scales are based on income and ability to pay. Schools and community agencies may call to schedule free educational programs for their groups. Although the month of February is a national focus for dental health, DOH dental hygienists provide interactive educational presentations throughout the year.


Contact: Dr. Nita Johnson, Chief
Dental Health Services, 314-522-6410 x 6027


WIC Program Gives Mothers & Babies A Healthy Start.

January 25, 2002. The Saint Louis County Department of Health has announced that a contract to continue to provide WIC services for federal fiscal year 2002 has been signed with the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services. Under the terms of the contract, the county will be able to serve 8,100 persons eligible for WIC every month.


Across the nation, the WIC (Women, Infants & Children) program serves nearly one out of every two infants born in the U.S., and their mothers. In Saint Louis County, the WIC program served 95,594 County residents last year, including 35,184 infants, 32,581 children and 27,829 prenatal and postpartum women.


WIC provides nutritious supplemental foods and individualized nutrition education and counseling for at-risk pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children to age five. WIC makes critical referrals to other health care and public assistance programs as needed. Breast-feeding education and support groups are open to all residents of Saint Louis County.


"Our local WIC clinic staff offers top-notch nutrition services to our WIC families," said Jacquelynn A. Meeks, DrPH, Director of Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH). "We know that WIC mothers, infants and children are getting a healthy start," said Dr. Meeks. WIC services are not just for low-income families, Dr. Meeks points out. "WIC is there to help anyone who meets the income guidelines, and is at medical or nutritional risk," she said.


Who is eligible for WIC services? Guidelines are based on income and family size. For example, a family of three earning up to $27,066 or a family of eight earning up to $55,001 annually, would qualify. Pregnant women are counted as two family members. Medical or nutritional eligibility is determined by the WIC nutrition staff.


"Our WIC office handles 200 calls a day from County residents," said Dr. Meeks, "including college students, single mothers, and families coping with layoffs, temporary unemployment or other cash flow problems. It can be hard meeting the cost of infant formula, which can cost as much as $3 to $6 per can." In 2001, WIC provided over $5.5 million dollars in Food Instruments for nutritional supplemental food in Saint Louis County.


WIC has six sites located throughout Saint Louis County. For more information about WIC, please call the Department of Health at 314-615-0685.


View WIC income guidelines.


Contact:
Ruth Klover, Program Manager
Nutrition/WIC Services, 314-615-8370

Steve Fine, Director
Division of Public Health & Ancillary Services, 314-615-6445


Hepatitis C Support Group To Meet Monthly at South County Health Center.

January 25, 2002. Starting next month, the Saint Louis County Department of Health will hold Hepatitis C Support Group meetings at its South County Health Center on the third Thursday of each month. Patients and family members are encouraged to attend.


DATE: Thursday, Feb 21
TIME: 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM
PLACE: Saint Louis County Department of Health, South County Health Center,
4580 South Lindbergh (just south of Gravois)
PURPOSE: "To educate ourselves, family, and the community about Hepatitis C; to nurture our physical and mental health, and to support each other in our daily challenges as we live with Hepatitis C."

Future meetings, to be held on the third Thursday of each month, are scheduled for March 21, April 18, May 16, June 20, July 18, August 15, September 19, October 17, November 21, and December 19.


For more information please call 314-842-1300.


County Health Department Praises School Nurses For Watching Over Students' Health.

January 16, 2002. Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) salutes all school nurses on January 23, School Nurses Day, for their dedication to the health needs of school children in Saint Louis County.


"A healthy child is a better learner," said Jacquelynn A. Meeks, DrPH, Director of DOH. "In addition," she observed, "school nurses share many of our public health goals. We especially appreciate their efforts in the area of health education, and we value their partnership in disease prevention."


Dr. Meeks notes that it's often the school nurse who links students and their families with public and private health care providers. "The important work of the school nurse helps to ensure healthy students in the classrooms today," she said, "and healthy citizens in our community tomorrow."


Contact: Mary Kay Wolf, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
314-615-8338


County Health Department Offers Radon Test Kits.
Reminder Comes During January Radon Action Month

January 9, 2002. Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) issues a reminder that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking. According to Jacquelynn A. Meeks, DrPH, Director, "a simple test can help determine if radon levels are a concern in your home."


Saint Louis County residents may contact the DOH Environmental Health Laboratories at (314) 615-8324 to obtain a home radon test kit, Dr. Meeks said. For a fee of $20 plus postage, a test kit will be provided, which the homeowner places in a designated location in the dwelling for a period of 5 to 7 full days. DOH Environmental Health Laboratories will evaluate the test results and the homeowner will then receive a written report, with recommendations for correction of the problem if radon levels are at or above the EPA recommended action level.


Radon exists naturally in the earth. Unventilated areas such as basements are usually more susceptible to unhealthy levels of the gas, especially if there are cracks in foundation walls or floors. Problems can be corrected by sealing cracks, improving ventilation and using other radon risk reduction methods. For more information about radon, please call Saint Louis County Department of Health or visit our web site at www.stlouisco.com/doh/


Contact: Brenda Quarles, Program Manager
Industrial Hygiene, (314) 615-5323


Flu Shots Offered at Two North County Churches Sunday, January 6.

January 2, 2002. If one of your New Year's resolutions is to get your flu shot, here's how you can start the year right!


On Sunday, January 6, flu shots will be available on a walk-in basis at two churches in North County:


  • New Northside Baptist Church at 1903 McLaren in Jennings (63147) from 2:00 to 4:00 PM; and
  • Bethesda Temple Church at 5401 Bishop J.A. Johnson Lane in Normandy (63121) from 2:00 to 5:00 PM.

Saint Louis County Department of Health is sponsoring the flu clinics. For more information please call Alice Mitchell at 314-615-1787.


Contact: Alice Mitchell, Program Manager, Home Health Care
314-615-1787


January is National Cervical Health Awareness Month.
Cervical Cancer is Nearly 100 Percent Curable With Early Detection;
Annual Pap Test Is Important.

January 2, 2002. January is National Cervical Health Awareness Month, with the goal of encouraging every woman to get a Pap test every year. Early detection through annual Pap tests is the best protection against cervical cancer deaths, because this form of cancer is nearly 100% curable when detected early.


Saint Louis County residents may visit one of the County health centers for well woman screening and other health services, including pap tests.


"County residents who do not have their own physician or primary health care provider may call the nearest health center for information," said Jacquelynn A. Meeks, DrPH, Director of Health.


Locations and phone numbers for the County's three health centers are:


  • John C. Murphy Health Center at 6065 Helen Avenue in Berkeley, (314) 522-6410;
  • North Central Health Center at 6150 Natural Bridge Road in Pine Lawn, (314) 389-4700; and
  • South County Health Center at 4580 South Lindbergh, (314) 842-1300.

Services are provided to County residents on a sliding fee scale, based on income. No one is turned away because of inability to pay, Dr. Meeks said.


Cervical cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer worldwide, and one of the most preventable and treatable. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that 12,900 cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in the year 2001 and about 4,400 women will die from the disease during the same period.


ACS reports that between 60% and 80% of American women with newly diagnosed invasive cervical cancer had not had a Pap test in the past five years, and some had never had one. The unscreened population groups include women over the age of 50, medically uninsured or underinsured women, ethnic minorities, and low-income women, especially those in rural areas.


For more information about the causes, detection and prevention of cervical cancer, call the Cancer Information Service toll-free: 1-800-4-CANCER.


Contact: Joan Bialczak, Director, Division of Health Services
(314) 615-6415