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Department of Health Newsroom 2008


Dec 16, 2003: "Respiratory Etiquette" to help prevent common colds, flu and other illnesses.
Dec 15, 2003: Flu shots for children and adults at Brentwood Community Center Wednesday.
Oct 29, 2003: Protect yourself and those you love - get a flu shot!
Oct 22, 2003: New paint program helps homeowners in Lemay.
Oct 14, 2003: Agencies join forces to fight childhood hunger.
Oct 14, 2003: Flu shots, foot screening, and more - for people with diabetes.
Oct 10, 2003: Rabies vaccination & microchip clinic for pets.
Oct 10, 2003: Immunizations save lives.
Sep 22, 2003: Nutrition and exercise program at Affton White-Rogers Community Center.
Sep 22, 2003: Death of elderly St. Louis County woman attributed to West Nile Virus.
Sep 19, 2003: Health Dept schedules rabies vaccination & microchip clinics for pets.
Sep 8, 2003: 5 a Day for better health.
Sep 5, 2003: Health Department reports 7th rabid bat; Eureka man possibly exposed to rabies.
Sep 3, 2003: DOH reports rabid bat in North County; stray cat may have been exposed to rabies.
Aug 29, 2003: West Nile Virus update.
Aug 22, 2003: Possible case of WNV in County: test results expected next week.
Aug 14, 2003: County mosquitoes test positive for West Nile Virus.
July 29, 2003: "Safety Street" at North Central Health Center.
July 28, 2003: National Immunization Awareness Month.
July 15, 2003: "Safety Street" at South County Health Center.
July 15, 2003: West Nile Virus confirmed in birds in Saint Louis County.
June 27, 2003: June 27 mosquito-spraying schedule.
June 26, 2003: June 26 mosquito-spraying schedule.
June 25, 2003: DOH announces mosquito-spraying schedule.
June 13, 2003: Left a bat at County Animal Shelter? You may need rabies shots.
June 4, 2003: DOH will hold public hearing on proposed waste transfer station.
May 30, 2003: Newborns smoking?
May 28, 2003: June is Adopt a Cat Month.
May 15, 2003: Public health officials are monitoring for West Nile virus in humans.
May 15, 2003: WIC program gives mothers and babies a healthy nutritional start.
May 5, 2003: Abstinence By Choice Program recognition night.
April 22, 2003: DOH provides daily pollen counts for metropolitan area.
April 15, 2003: Make sure pets have rabies vaccinations and microchips.
April 8, 2003: DOH stresses importance of childhood immunizations.
April 7, 2003: Tobacco is taboo in students' poster art.
March 26, 2003: Obesity reaches epidemic proportions in U.S.
February 25, 2003: Change in asbestos abatement procedure.
February 10, 2003: DOH offers hepatitis C support group meetings.
February 7, 2003: County completes first round of smallpox vaccinations.
January 29, 2003: Free vision screening offered at DOH diabetes program.
January 17, 2003: February is National Children's Dental Health Month.
January 10, 2003: It's not too late to get a flu shot!


Health Department Recommends "Respiratory Etiquette" To Help Prevent Common Colds, Flu And Other Illnesses

December 16, 2003. The Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) is today issuing some basic recommendations to hospitals, emergency rooms and other health care providers as well as school districts in St. Louis County. The recommendations, based on guidelines for "Respiratory Etiquette" developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will help control the spread of respiratory illnesses including influenza and the common cold.



"Disease prevention depends on more than vaccine," said Jacquelynn A. Meeks, DrPH, DOH Director. "Prevention is enhanced through good hygiene," she added. This is a reminder and an opportunity to improve basic hygiene and infection control in health care facilities.



Here are some examples of the "Respiratory Etiquette" measures being recommended:



  • Have surgical masks available for patients with respiratory illnesses.
  • Educate patients about the importance of handwashing, covering the nose and mouth when sneezing, and proper disposal of soiled tissues.
  • Designate separate waiting areas for patients with respiratory symptoms to keep them 3 feet or more from other patients who don't have those symptoms.

These guidelines can help control the spread of pathogens in healthcare settings. In addition, schools should teach the importance of basic hygiene, and children who are ill with respiratory symptoms should be sent home as promptly as possible.



Whether you got a flu shot or not, here are some simple things YOU can do to keep from catching or spreading a "bug" - whether it's a "flu bug" or the common cold.



  1. Try to keep a distance of three feet away from others.
  2. Always cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough.
  3. Wash your hands frequently, especially after sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose.
  4. Stay home if you are ill.
  5. Call your doctor on the phone if you can avoid going in to the office.
  6. Wear a surgical mask when going in for medical care.

For more information on communicable disease control, visit www.stlouisco.com and click on Health.



Contact: Michael Williams, PhD, Communicable Disease Control, 314-615-1636


Flu Shots For Children And Adults
At Brentwood Community Center Wednesday

December 15, 2003. The Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) in coordination with the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA), will sponsor a flu shot clinic Wednesday, December 17, 2003 at Brentwood Community Center, located at 2505 South Brentwood Blvd. from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (or until vaccine runs out).



For high-risk infants and children age six months through eight years, the Saint Louis County Department of Health will administer vaccinations at a charge of $5 per child to cover administration cost (vaccine provided by Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services).



VNA will provide vaccine for adults and children nine years of age and older, at a cost of $19 per shot. Parental consent is required for anyone under the age of 18. Individuals with Medicare Part B will have no out-of-pocket expense.



Children 6 months to 24 months of age and adults 50 years of age and older are considered to be at increased risk for complications from the flu. Also at high risk are individuals with chronic illnesses - including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, suppressed immune systems, and asthma.



For a flu site near you call 314-644-4FLU or visit our flu information page at www.stlouisco.com/doh/flu_info_2003.html



People who have had a serious allergic reaction to eggs or to a previous dose of influenza vaccine, or those who have a history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome should consult with their health care provider before getting a flu shot. The influenza vaccine may be contraindicated for some of these individuals.



Contact: Kelley Guertzgen, Community Health Education Coordinator
Saint Louis County Department of Health, 314-615-1674


Protect Yourself and Those You Love - Get a flu shot!

October 29, 2003. It's that time of year again - time for your annual flu shot. Vaccine is currently plentiful and both high-risk individuals and healthy adults should be able to get their flu shots now.



The Saint Louis County Department of Health, in coordination with the Diabetes Today Coalition, will sponsor a flu shot clinic Friday, November 7, 2003 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, located at 2100 Switzer Road in Jennings, Missouri.



The cost of a flu shot is $19; but individuals with Medicare Part B will have no out-of-pocket expense. The site will also offer a variety of screenings provided by the St. Louis College of Pharmacology, AstraZenica and information from the St. Louis Regional Asthma Consortium.



Each year more than 36,000 people die from influenza and 114,000 more are hospitalized due to complications from the flu. Those hardest hit by the disease are also our most vulnerable populations, including the very young, and seniors age 65 and older.



Everyone 50 years of age and older is considered to be at increased risk for complications from the flu. Individuals with chronic illnesses - including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, suppressed immune systems, and asthma - are also considered high risk. Health care workers, household members and others in close contact with high-risk individuals should also be immunized.



Protect those you love this flu season, get your flu shot today! For a flu site near you call 314-644-4FLU or visit our flu information page at https://stlouisco.com/doh/flu_info_2003.html



People who have had a serious allergic reaction to eggs or to a previous dose of influenza vaccine, or those who have a history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome should consult with their health care provider before getting a flu shot. The influenza vaccine may be contraindicated for some of these individuals.



Contact: Kelley Guertzgen, Community Health Education Coordinator
Saint Louis County Department of Health, 314-615-1674


New Paint Program Helps Homeowners In Lemay.

October 22, 2003. A notice of violation for peeling paint on your house generally doesn't come as good news, but for some Lemay homeowners, it may be their ticket for free paint, thanks to a new program called "Project Brush-Up."



Under the pilot project, homeowners cited for paint violations under the DOH Neighborhood Preservation code can receive a voucher from the health department, to exchange for free paint at the local Sherwin Williams store. Participants may also receive a discount on paint supplies.



"Project Brush-Up" is a collaborative effort between the Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH), the Sherwin Williams Paint Company, and ARCHS (Area Resources for Community & Human Services). Funding for the project is provided by the Lemay Branch of Midwest BankCentre, Lemay Charting for Change, and ARCHS.



"In 2003, one-third of the citations issued in Lemay have been for peeling paint alone," said Joe O'Connell, manager of the DOH Neighborhood Preservation Program. He estimated for 2004 there could be more than 1,250 homes cited for paint violations within unincorporated St. Louis County.



"In many cases, when these homeowners are issued citations, they are unable to make the necessary repairs and this may result in legal action. This adds additional financial strain of having to appear in court and pay fines," said Frank Siano, ARCHS CEO. "Hopefully this new project will ease some of that financial burden." Approximately 20 homeowners are expected to receive free paint under the pilot program.



The pilot program for "Project Brush-Up" is designed initially to help residents in a target area bounded by Military, Lemay Ferry, Telegraph, and Gentry. According to U.S. Census information, Lemay is identified as a low to moderate income community.



The project's collaborators hope to expand the project next spring to all unincorporated communities of St. Louis County, including Castle Point in North St. Louis County. ARCHS and Saint Louis County Department of Health will collect data on the number of homeowners who participate and how many of those residents' homes are brought up to code.



"We are very excited about the potential for the program," O'Connell said. "This is the type of shared activity that we strive to be a part of," he noted, "helping county residents to make their neighborhoods and communities better."



Contact: Joe O'Connell, Manager,
Neighborhood Preservation
Saint Louis County Department of Health
314-615-7839

Nina Thompson, ARCHS
VP of Communications
314/-534-0022 X140


AGENCIES JOIN FORCES TO FIGHT CHILDHOOD HUNGER.

October 14, 2003. Several local agencies have joined forces with America's Second Harvest - the nation's largest domestic hunger relief charity - in recognition of National Child Hunger Awareness Day, (October 16). A FREE special event will showcase their efforts:



WHO: Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH), Operation Frontline, and the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Chef & Child Foundation
WHAT: A culinary arts competition and a 'silent auction de culinaire'
WHEN: Friday October 24 and Saturday October 25, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
WHERE: Westfield Shoppingtown - West County Center
WHY: To raise awareness of child hunger

The agencies are joining together to fight child hunger and the stress that hunger places on millions of families in America. "We want to do our part to ease the burden of hunger on St. Louis County residents," says Denise L. Chapel, RD, DOH Community Health Education Supervisor. "Raising awareness about this issue of child hunger is a start."



This fall and winter, registered dietitians from Operation Food Search will team up with chefs from the ACF Saint Louis Chef and Child Program, and Community Health Education Coordinators from the St. Louis County Department of Health. Together they will provide hands-on nutrition education for low income and homeless children and their caregivers, as part of Operation Frontline's "Side-by-Side" program.



"Our joint mission is to educate and assist the family in understanding proper nutrition, and to be the voice of the American Culinary Federation in its fight against childhood hunger," states D'Aun Carrell, Chef & Child Chair for ACF Chefs de Cuisines St. Louis Chapter. "We will be showcasing these efforts at our event."



America's Second Harvest has a national network of over 200 regional food banks and food-reserve programs. Operation Frontline is a local chapter for this organization that feeds over 95,000 individuals each month. Operation Frontline also supports over 300 agencies and kitchens locally. "I just love working with the children!" says Batya Jacobsen, registered dietitian and coordinator for the program.



If you would like more information about child hunger, please contact Denise Chapel at 314-615-1625. For details about the ACF Chef and Child program, call D'Aun Carrell at 314-323-3490. To learn what you can do about child hunger, call the Hunger Hotline at 314-569-0053; or Batya Jacobsen, at 314-726-5355; or visit http://www.ofsearch.org/



Contact: Denise L. Chapel, MPH, MS, RD, Community Health Education Supervisor
(314) 615-1625
[email protected]


Flu shots, foot screening, and more - for people with Diabetes.
County Health Department hosts event in Wellston.

October 14, 2003. The Saint Louis County Department of Health, supported by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Diabetes Control Program, is offering a special program on Monday, October 20th from 10:00 a.m. till 3:00 p.m at the Wellston Community Center, 1414 Evergreen in Wellston.



Information about foot care, nutrition, vision, oral health, asthma and nutrition will be provided. Students from St. Louis Pharmacy College will provide foot screenings.



The Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) will offer flu shots. For those with Medicare Part B, flu shots will be free; all others will be charged $19 (only cash and checks will be accepted). People with diabetes are considered to be more at risk of serious complications if they become ill with influenza, yet only half of them get annual flu shots.



The Diabetes Today program was initiated to reach individuals in the St. Louis County area who have diabetes or have gone undiagnosed. Diabetes affects men and women of all ages and ethnic groups. It can cause problems with the eyes, kidneys, and teeth. Diabetes can also harm the blood vessel and nerves in your feet.



The event is being co sponsored by the St. Louis Influenza Immunization Task Force, MOPRO, and VNA, along with the Saint Louis County Department of Health. Representatives from St. Louis Society for the Blind, American Diabetes Association, St. Louis Regional Asthma Consortium, Comfort Shoe, Crown Optical, and Bioten Pharmaceutical will also be in attendance.



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


Rabies Vaccination & Microchip Clinic for Pets.
At County Health Department Animal Shelter

October 10, 2003. Saint Louis County Department of Health requires rabies vaccinations for all dogs and cats. This protects pets from contracting rabies, and also serves as a barrier between wild animals and people. To give pet owners an opportunity to have their animals vaccinated against rabies and microchipped for identification, a rabies vaccination clinic will be offered at the County's North Animal Shelter tomorrow.



RABIES VACCINATION CLINIC
  Saturday, October 11, 8:00 AM to Noon
  North Animal Shelter, 4100 Seven Hills (phone 314-831-6500)

A rabies vaccination will cost $5, and a microchip $10. Dogs should be on leashes, and cats in carriers.



Health officials stress the importance of vaccinating pets, especially in light of recent cases of rabid bats. It's vital to teach children not to approach or touch wild animals or unfamiliar pets. Once transmitted, the disease of rabies has no cure and is almost always fatal. For more information on animal control and rabies, visit www.stlouisco.com/doh or call the nearest Saint Louis County Department of Health Animal Shelter.



Contact:
Ron Twillman, Program Manager, Vector Control and Veterinary Services, 314-615-8351
Helen Kamp, D.V.M., Veterinarian, Animal Control, 314-726-6655


Immunizations Save Lives.

October 10, 2003. October 12-18 is National Adult Immunization Awareness Week, and public health officials are reminding everyone of the importance of immunization in preventing disease.



Most adults should get annual flu shots. In addition, vaccinations for pneumonia, diphtheria, hepatitis A and B, measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, meningococcal disease and varicella (Chickenpox) are recommended for adolescents and adults.



You should discuss your vaccination status with your health care provider to make sure you and your loved ones are up to date.



For more information about public health and disease prevention, visit the Saint Louis County Department of Health web page at https://stlouisco.com/doh/.



A list of "Recommended Adult Immunizations By Age Group And Medical Condition" is provided on http://www.cdc.gov by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).



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


Nutrition and Exercise Program at Affton White-Rogers Community Center.

September 22, 2003. The St. Louis County Department of Health, supported by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Diabetes Control Program, is offering a nutrition and exercise program on Wednesday, September 24 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, at the White-Rogers Community Center, 9801 Mackenzie Road, in Affton.



Health educators will conduct special "PACE" exercises developed by the Arthritis Foundation. Dietitians will present information on the "5 a day" program, and demonstrate food preparation techniques. The first 100 participants will be given pedometers. Door prizes and refreshments will also be available. Reservations are not required.



The program is designed to reach people who may have diabetes that has gone undetected. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death, affecting men and women of all ages and ethnic groups. Sixteen million Americans have diabetes. In Missouri, 12,968 are affected by diabetes and 2,428 are St. Louis County residents. Diabetes can lead to heart disease, which is the leading cause of death. It can also result in stroke, blindness, amputations and kidney failure. Diabetes costs the USA nearly $100 billion a year, more than cancer and heart disease combined.



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


Death of Elderly St. Louis County Woman Attributed to West Nile Virus.

September 22, 2003. Public Health officials report that an 83- year-old woman who was diagnosed with West Nile virus, has died. Other health problems also contributed to her death. This is the first death associated with West Nile virus (WNV) in St. Louis County this year. The woman, who lived in North County (zip code 63136), died September 14 after a brief hospital stay.



According to Mike Williams, Ph.D., manager of Communicable Disease Control with Saint Louis County Department of Health, this brings the total number of WNV cases (probable and confirmed) in St. Louis County to six (6) this year. "Most human infections are mild," Dr. Williams said. "Less than one percent of people who are bitten by an infected mosquito get seriously ill. Persons older than 50 years of age and those with compromised immune systems have the highest risk of severe disease."



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. If you have symptoms, contact your health care provider.



Until frost has eliminated the risk of mosquito bites, people should continue to avoid 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 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.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and socks.
  • Use insect repellents containing DEET (follow product instructions carefully).
  • Make sure screens fit tightly in doors and windows.

Saint Louis County Department of Health continues to conduct a comprehensive mosquito control program, including monitoring, larvaciding, treating thousands of potential breeding sites, and spraying for adult mosquitoes. To find out where the spraying is scheduled each night, call 314-615-4-B-U-G.



West Nile virus infects birds and is spread through mosquitoes. Virtually all human cases of WNV are caused by mosquito bites. 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 314-612-4252. Jefferson County residents may call 636-789-3372. In Franklin County call 636-583-7300.



There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus in humans. In critical 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. No human vaccine has been approved, but several companies are working towards developing a vaccine.



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


Health Department Schedules Rabies Vaccination & Microchip Clinics for Pets.

September 19, 2003. Saint Louis County ordinance requires rabies vaccinations for all dogs and cats. This not only protects pets from contracting rabies, but also serves as a barrier between wild animals and people. To give pet owners an opportunity to have their animals vaccinated against rabies and microchipped for identification, Saint Louis County Department of Health will hold rabies vaccination clinics the first two Saturdays in October.



RABIES VACCINATION CLINICS
  • Saturday, October 4, 8:00 AM to Noon
    South Animal Shelter, 77 Hunter Ave. in Ladue (phone 314-726-6655)
  • Saturday, October 11, 8:00 AM to Noon
    North Animal Shelter, 4100 Seven Hills (phone 314-831-6500)

A rabies vaccination will cost $5, and a microchip $10. Dogs should be on leashes, and cats in carriers.



"While we can't schedule individual appointments, we do ask that you please call ahead for a recommended time to attend," said Dr. Helen Kamp, veterinarian for Saint Louis County Animal Control.



Health officials stress the importance of vaccinating pets, especially in light of recent cases of rabid bats. It's vital to teach children not to approach or touch wild animals or unfamiliar pets. Once transmitted, the disease of rabies has no cure and is almost always fatal. For more information on animal control and rabies, visit www.stlouisco.com/doh or call the nearest Saint Louis County Department of Health Animal Shelter.



Contact:
Ron Twillman, Program Manager, Vector Control and Veterinary Services, 314-615-8351
Helen Kamp, D.V.M., Veterinarian, Animal Control, 314-726-6655


5 a Day for Better Health.

September 8, 2003. Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) celebrates National 5 A Day for Better Health Month during September. On Saturday, September 13, from 9:00 to 12:00 noon, DOH and the Clayton Farmers Market will be at the corner of North Central and Maryland in Clayton, encouraging everyone to "eat their fruits and vegetables!"



Research indicates that by consuming 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day, we can reduce the risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other chronic health concerns. But 80% of Americans aren't doing it. According to "State of the Plate in America" research conducted in 2002 by Produce for Better Health Foundation, the average American consumes approximately 3.6 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Missouri residents do a little better with 4.5 servings (source: www.cdc.gov).



"Different groups of people have different needs," explains Denise Chapel, a registered Dietitian with the health department. The recommended range of 5 to 9 servings addresses that fact. Children, ages 2 to 6 years, and most women need 5 servings a day (2 fruits and 3 vegetables). Older children, teen girls, active women and most men need 7 servings a day (3 fruits and 4 vegetables). Teen boys and active men need 9 servings a day (4 fruits and 5 vegetables). This may sound like a lot, but a serving size is actually ¼ cup (6 ounces) of 100% fruit or vegetable juice, ½ cup cooked, canned or frozen legumes (beans and peas), ½ cup raw, cooked, frozen or canned fruits (in 100% juice) or vegetables, one medium-sized fruit, 1 cup of raw, leafy vegetables or ¼ cup of dried fruit.



Because each fruit and vegetable has unique nutrients, eating a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables each day is an easy way to get a healthy mix. Variety is the best way to get the benefit each has to offer and color is an easy way to get variety.



In an effort to continually educate the public about the health-protecting, disease-preventing capabilities of fruits and vegetables, the 5 A Day for Better Health program was established in 1991. The founding partners of the programs are the Produce for Better Health Foundation and the National Cancer Institute. This program remains the nation's largest public-private nutrition educational initiative with 5 A Day Coordinators in each of the 50 states, territories and military. For more information visit www.5aday.org. For more events check out the St. Louis County web site, www.stlouisco.com.



Contact: Denise Chapel, RD, Community Health Education Supervisor, 314-615-1625


Health Department reports 7th rabid bat;
Eureka man possibly exposed to rabies.

September 5, 2003. Another rabid bat, the seventh this year, has been reported by Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH). On Tuesday September 2, a 50-year old man found a bat on a parking lot in Eureka (zip code 63025). He picked it up with his bare hands, put it in a box, and took it home with him. He then called Animal Control officers, who collected the bat and sent it for testing. Results received yesterday (Thursday September 4) from the state health laboratory confirmed that the bat had rabies.



The man who picked the bat up is consulting with DOH communicable disease control staff about post-exposure rabies prophylaxis. Even though the bat did not bite or scratch him, it is considered a risk to handle a rabid bat. Health officials recommend that he undergo the five-day series of shots (one shot in the hip and the remaining shots in the arm). The shots, which cost about $1200 for the series, are no more painful than ordinary injections, and most people tolerate them well.



A rabid bat found in Ferguson earlier this week sparked a search for a stray cat that may have been exposed to rabies. Animal Control officers captured the stray in a live trap (a cage baited with food) and the homeowner identified it as the black cat that had been playing with the bat. Test results on that animal are expected next week. There were no known human exposures in that case.



It's vital to teach children not to approach or touch wild animals or pets they don't know. Don't handle any bat, especially if it's on the ground, unable to fly, or behaving abnormally. If a bat is found inside your home, especially in a bedroom, it should be tested for rabies. County residents should call Saint Louis County Animal Control at 314-831-6500 (north county) or 314-726-6655 (south and west county). Animal Control officers will collect the bat for testing, if it's in a residence or exhibiting abnormal behavior.



Health officials stress the importance of vaccinating pets, and remind people to be very cautious around unfamiliar animals. 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. Once transmitted, the disease of rabies has no cure and is almost always fatal. The average incubation period for rabies is two to eight weeks, but it can be anywhere from five days to a year or more.



For more information on animal control and rabies, visit www.stlouisco.com/doh and click on Animal Control.



Contact:
Ron Twillman, Program Manager, Vector Control and Veterinary Services, 314-615-8351
Helen Kamp, D.V.M., Veterinarian, Animal Control, 314-726-6655


Health Department reports rabid bat in North County;
Stray cat may have been exposed to rabies.

September 3, 2003. Saint Louis County Department of Health Animal Control reports that a bat found in a yard in the 500 block of Wiegel Drive in Ferguson has tested positive for rabies. Results came back from the state health laboratory on Saturday August 30. There were no known human exposures. This is the sixth rabid bat in St. Louis County this year.



A black cat, possibly a neighborhood stray, was seen near the bat, and may have been exposed to rabies. Health officials are trying urgently to locate the animal. Anyone with information on a black stray cat in the vicinity of Wiegel Drive and Marvin Avenue should call county Animal Control at 314-831-6500. If you see this cat, do not try to pick it up yourself. Instead, call Animal Control.



The family's two pet cats were playing with the bat in the yard of the home. The cats were not vaccinated for rabies, and were turned over to Animal Control. 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. Once transmitted, the disease of rabies has no cure and is almost always fatal.



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 314-831-6500 (north county) or 314-726-6655 (south and west county). Animal Control officers will collect the bat for testing, if it is in a residence or is exhibiting abnormal behavior.



It's important to teach children not to approach or try to pet unfamiliar animals. For more information on animal control and rabies, visit www.stlouisco.com/doh and click on Animal Control.



Contact:
Ron Twillman, Program Manager, Vector Control and Veterinary Services, 314-615-8351
Helen Kamp, D.V.M., Veterinarian, Animal Control, 314-726-6655


West Nile Virus Update:
Test Results on Possible Human Case of WNV in Saint Louis County.

August 29, 2003. Test results today confirm that a 53-year-old West County resident does have West Nile virus. This is the first human case of the virus in St. Louis County this year. The man is recovering from his illness at home. The State Public Health Laboratory notified Saint Louis County Department of Health this afternoon that the test results were positive for WNV.



Virtually all human cases of WNV are caused by mosquito bites. That is why it is so important to avoid exposure to mosquitoes, and eliminate conditions that are favorable for mosquito breeding. Prevention is key. People can reduce their chance of exposure by taking these steps:



  • Get rid of standing water.
  • Remove tires, buckets, and other water-holding objects.
  • Change 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, long pants, and socks.
  • Use insect repellents when outdoors, especially in the early morning and evening (follow product instructions carefully).
  • Make sure screens fit tightly in doors and windows.

There is no specific treatment for West Nile encephalitis in humans. 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.



For more information on West Nile virus, log on to www.scchealth.org and click on West Nile virus. If you don't have access to the Internet, 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; City of St. Louis 314-622-4252; Jefferson County, 636-789-3372; and Franklin County 636-583-7300.



Contact:
Mike Williams, Ph.D., Manager, Communicable Disease Control, 314-615-1630 (Pager 314-430-5885)


West Nile Virus: The Message is Prevention
Possible case of WNV in St. Louis County: test results expected next week.

August 22, 2003. Public Health officials in St. Louis County are waiting for confirmation of a positive test result on a County resident who may have West Nile virus. If confirmed, this would be the first human case of the virus in St. Louis County this year. The 53-year-old West County man is recovering at home. West Nile encephalitis is diagnosed by testing a blood sample and/or spinal fluid.



The incidence of WNV has been less prevalent in the St. Louis metropolitan area this summer than last year. Health officials attribute this to a number of factors, including weather (a wet spring and a dry summer), fewer birds, and exhaustive public health efforts in mosquito control, including larvaciding and spraying. In addition, a more educated public appears to be taking greater preventive measures.



But, health officials urge, this is no time to become complacent! Prevention is still the key message in avoiding exposure. People can reduce their chance of exposure by taking these steps:



  • Get rid of standing water.
  • Remove tires, buckets, and other water-holding objects.
  • Change 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, long pants, and socks.
  • Use insect repellents when outdoors, especially in the early morning and evening (follow product instructions carefully).
  • Make sure screens fit tightly in doors and windows.

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. No human vaccine has been approved, but several companies are working towards developing a vaccine.



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.



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.



Ever since West Nile virus was confirmed in dead birds in the St. Louis metropolitan area in fall 2001, health officials have anticipated the disease would eventually spread to the human population. Local public health agencies joined together to form a Metropolitan West Nile Virus Task Group, to monitor the progress of WNV and coordinate response measures.



The disease infects birds and is spread through mosquitoes. Crows, blue jays, and hawks are particularly vulnerable to the West Nile virus. A diseased bird cannot infect humans - virtually all human cases occur as a result of a bite by an infected mosquito. That is why it is so important to prevent exposure to mosquitoes.



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.



PHOTO OP:
VECTOR CONTROL, 314-727-3097
Contact:
Mike Williams, Ph.D., Manager, Communicable Disease Control
314-615-1630 (Pager 314-430-5885)


Mosquitoes in Saint Louis County Test Positive for West Nile Virus.

August 14, 2003. Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) has received confirmation from the State of Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services that samples of mosquitoes in St. Louis County have tested positive for the West Nile Virus (WNV). Samples of mosquitoes tested at the St. Louis County DOH Environmental Health Laboratory have also tested positive.



Samples are collected throughout St. Louis County, including municipalities and unincorporated county areas. Nineteen (19) positive mosquito pools were located in central North and West County, with some occurring in South County. Health officials stress there is no reason for undue concern in any one area, but urge residents throughout the county to take precautions.



Public health officials expected to see confirmation of WNV in the area again this season. The Culex pipiens mosquito is the primary carrier of the West Nile Virus in the St. Louis metropolitan region. It feeds primarily on birds but occasionally feeds on humans and other mammals. Although birds and mosquitoes have tested positive for WNV, there have been no human cases of WNV in St. Louis County this season. The first human cases of WNV in St. Louis County occurred in August last year.



The best way to avoid being infected with West Nile Virus is to prevent exposure to mosquito bites. Health officials suggest these preventive measures:



  • 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.
  • Eliminate sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed around homes.
  • Change the water in birdbaths weekly.

For more information on mosquito prevention, please call St. Louis County DOH Vector Control at 314-727-3097 or log on to www.stlouisco.com.


Contact:
Ron Twillman, Vector Control and Veterinary Services, 314-615-8351
Pager 314-430-6132

Michael Williams, Ph D., Communicable Disease Control, 314- 615-1630
Pager 314-430-5885




"Safety Street" at North Central Health Center.

July 29, 2003. Saint Louis County Department of Health and Saint Louis County Police Department are sponsoring a "Safety Street" event on Friday, August 1, from 9:00 A.M. to Noon at the North Central Health Center, 6150 Natural Bridge Road, in Pine Lawn.


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.
Contact: Andrea Johnson Lee, Health Center Manager (314) 389-4700

 
NATIONAL IMMUNIZATION AWARENESS MONTH.

July 31, 2003. Immunization is an important aspect of preventive medicine for people of all ages. Despite the availability of safe and effective vaccines, thousands of cases of infectious diseases still occur in the US each year - diseases that could be prevented by immunization.


Saint Louis County Department of Health is joining with other organizations throughout the country in celebrating National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) this August. This year's campaign theme, "Are You Up to Date? Vaccinate!," reminds people of the importance of immunization. August is a particularly good time to focus on the value of immunization, as parents are enrolling children in school, older students are entering college, and adults are preparing for the coming flu season.


(NOTE: Individuals who received Tetanus vaccine during the floods of 1993 are now due for a booster, which is recommended every ten years.)


Vaccines are one of public health's greatest triumphs. With the exception of safe water, no other health strategy, not even antibiotics, has had such a tremendous effect on reducing disease and improving health. However, vaccine-preventable diseases and deaths still occur in persons of all ages in the US.


  • Pneumococcal disease causes up to 40,000 deaths and 175,000 hospitalizations each year in the US. Pneumonia and influenza together are the seventh leading cause of death in the US and the fifth leading cause of death among people 65 years of age and older.
  • Disease outbreaks occur when immunization rates decline. For example, from 1989 through 1991, low rates of immunization for measles, mumps and rubella among pre-school children resulted in a measles epidemic that caused over 55,000 cases and 120 deaths.
  • Chickenpox is widespread in the US, and virtually all individuals who are not vaccinated are at increased risk for contracting chickenpox in adulthood. The risk of complications and death from Chickenpox can be up to 10 to 20 times greater for adults than children.
  • More than 200 Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) infections occur each year in children under five years of age. Because children can be exposed to Hib bacteria carried by healthy people, the potential for unvaccinated children to contract this disease is high.

Immunization is a lifelong, life-protecting community effort. Recommended vaccinations begin soon after birth and should continue throughout life. By protecting ourselves and our families with recommended vaccines, we also protect those around us who would otherwise be exposed to vaccine-preventable diseases. Maintaining high immunization rates protects the entire community by interrupting the transmission of disease-causing bacteria or viruses and reducing the risk for unimmunized people. This type of protection is known as "herd immunity."


The viruses and bacteria that cause vaccine-preventable diseases and death still exist and can infect people who are not protected by vaccines. Vaccine-preventable diseases have a costly impact, resulting in doctor's visits, hospitalizations and premature deaths. Sick children can also cause parents to lose time from work.


Saint Louis County Department of Health encourages persons of all ages to stay up-to-date on the recommended immunization schedule throughout their lifetime. For a complete listing of childhood and adult vaccinations, log on to www.stlouisco.com/DOH.


###

General guidelines for immunization in the first two years of life are as follows:


Diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis (DTP): Four vaccinations - at 2, 4, 6, and 15 to 18 months.
Polio: Three vaccinations - at 2, 4, and 6 to 18 months.
Measles/mumps/rubella (MMR): One vaccination - at 12 to 15 months.
Chickenpox: One vaccination - at 12 to 18 months.
Hepatitis B: three vaccinations - at 0 to 2 months, 1 to 4 months, and 6 to 18 months.
H.influenzae type b (Hib): Three or four vaccinations at 2, 4, 6, and 12 to 15 months.
Pneumococcal: four vaccinations - at 2, 4, 6, and 12 to 15 months.


Contact: Kelley Guertzgen, Community Health Education Coordinator, 314-615-1674


"Safety Street" at South County Health Center.

July 15, 2003. Saint Louis County Department of Health and Saint Louis County Police Department are sponsoring a "Safety Street" on Friday, July 25, from 9:00 A.M. to Noon 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.


CONTACT: Diane McKenna, Health Center Manager
(314) 842-1300 x 7201

West Nile Virus Confirmed in Birds in Saint Louis County.

July 15, 2003. Saint Louis County Department of Health has received confirmation from the State of Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services that samples collected from birds in North County last week have tested positive for the West Nile Virus (WNV). Blood samples from three of 25 sparrows from the 63134 zip code were confirmed to have the virus. This is the first time this year that WNV has been identified in the bird population in Saint Louis County.


Public health officials expected to see confirmation of WNV in the area again this season. 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.
  • Eliminate sources of standing water.
  • Change the water in birdbaths weekly.

To report the location of dead crows, blue jays or hawks, please log on to www.scchealth.org and click on the "West Nile Virus Information Center" then click on "Report Dead Birds" for instructions. Or call Saint Louis County's Communicable Disease Control office at 314-615-1630 and leave a voice message. 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.


Contact:
Michael Williams, Ph D., Communicable Disease Control, 314- 615-1630
Pager 314-430-5885
Ron Twillman, Vector Control and Veterinary Services, 314-615-8351

County health department announces mosquito-spraying schedule.

June 27, 2003. Weather permitting, the Saint Louis County Department of Health will spray for mosquitoes in the following area (s) during the evening hours tonight, Friday, June 27, 2003:


  • Parts of Crestwood
  • Parts of Sunset Hills
  • Lakeshire
  • Concord Village
  • Affton
  • Lemay
  • Oakville
  • Mehlville

This information, which is also available by calling (314) 615-4-B-U-G, is provided by the health department as a public service, to inform citizens of mosquito prevention activities in their neighborhood. Spraying is only one aspect of mosquito control, along with larviciding, monitoring and treating thousands of potential breeding sites.


Contact: Joan Bradford, Vector Control Supervisor, (314) 727-3097


County health department announces mosquito-spraying schedule.

June 26, 2003. Weather permitting, the Saint Louis County Department of Health will spray for mosquitoes in the following area(s) during the evening hours tonight, Thursday, June 26, 2003:


  • Parts of Des Peres
  • Parts of Oakland
  • Parts of Kirkwood
  • Parts of Manchester

This information, which is also available by calling (314) 615-4BUG, is provided by the health department as a public service, to inform citizens of mosquito prevention activities in their neighborhood. Spraying is only one aspect of mosquito control, along with larviciding, monitoring and treating thousands of potential breeding sites.


Contact: Joan Bradford, Vector Control Supervisor, (314) 727-3097


County health department announces mosquito-spraying schedule.

June 25, 2003. Weather permitting, the Saint Louis County Department of Health will spray for mosquitoes in the following area(s) during the evening hours tonight, Wednesday, June 25, 2003:


  • Parts of Chesterfield
  • Parts of Wildwood
  • Parts of Manchester
  • Twin Oaks

This information, which is also available by calling (314) 615-4BUG, is provided by the health department as a public service, to inform citizens of mosquito prevention activities in their neighborhood.


Contact: Joan Bradford, Vector Control Supervisor, (314) 727-3097


Someone left a bat at Saint Louis County Animal Shelter: Now that person - whoever it is - may need rabies shots.
Health Department wants to learn if anyone was exposed to deadly disease.

June 13, 2003. Officials at the Saint Louis County Department of Health want to hear from anyone who knows anything about a bat found in a park in University City last weekend.


The bat was left in a coffee can at the County's Animal Shelter at 77 Hunter Avenue in Ladue on Saturday, June 7. A note left with it stated only that the bat was picked up at Green's Center in Kaufman Park at 10:00 Saturday morning. There was no name or phone number on the note, so health officials have no way of following up.


The bat has tested positive for rabies. If the person who turned it in had direct contact with this rabid bat, he or she may now need to undergo a series of shots to keep from contracting rabies. Rabies is an incurable disease that, once contracted, is fatal.


Anyone with information should contact the St. Louis County Department Of Health by calling 314-615-1636 (weekdays) or pager number (314) 430-2671 weekends and after hours.


Contact: Steve Fine, Director of Public Health & Ancillary Services
Pager (314) 430-2671


Health Department Will Hold Public Hearing On Proposed Waste Transfer Station In South County

June 4, 2003. The Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) will hold a public hearing on a proposed waste transfer station in South St. Louis County. The DOH received an application from Fred Weber Disposal, LLC, to construct a solid waste transfer station at a site located east of Lemay Ferry Road at the juncture of Baumgartner and Old Baumgartner Roads. The hearing, in accordance with Chapter 607 of the Waste Management Code, will give citizens an opportunity to comment on the proposal.


The public hearing will be at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 19, 2003, in the gymnasium at Oakville Senior High School, 5557 Milburn, St. Louis County, Missouri, 63129. Public comments will be entered into the official record. Questions will not be answered during the hearing portion of this meeting. Written comments addressed to the DOH Director will be accepted twelve (12) days prior to the public hearing.


To review the plans, make an appointment at Saint Louis County Government Center, Keller Plaza, 4562 Lemay Ferry Road, Saint Louis, Missouri, 63129 (Phone: 314-615-4130) or Saint Louis County Department of Health, 111 So. Meramec Avenue, Clayton, Missouri, 63105 (Phone 314-615-8958). TTY: 314-615-8428 or 800-735-2966.


Contact: Sue Taylor, Supervisor, Waste Management Section
Saint Louis County Department of Health (314) 615-4116


Newborns Smoking?

May 30, 2003. To educate parents of newborns about the dangers of secondhand smoke, Tobacco Free Missouri is partnering with area hospitals to provide packets of information and baby t-shirts reminding parents not to smoke around children. On May 31, local hospitals will distribute these items to parents of newborns for World No Tobacco Day. The information in the packet discusses secondhand smoke and its effects on children and infants, the Environmental Protection Agency's "Take the Smoke Free Home Pledge" initiative, a smoke free dining guide, and local smoking cessation resources. Participating hospitals include Barnes Hospital, Barnes Hospital - St. Peters, DePaul Hospital, Jefferson Memorial Hospital, Missouri Baptist Medical Center, St. Anthony's Medical Center, St. John's Mercy Medical Center, St. Joseph's Hospital - Kirkwood, St. Joseph's Hospital - St. Charles, St. Joseph's Hospital - West, St. Luke's Hospital and St. Mary's Health Center.


Secondhand smoke is a mixture of the smoke given off by the burning end of a cigarette, pipe or cigar and the smoke exhaled from the lungs of smokers. It represents a dangerous health hazard. Over 4,000 different chemicals have been identified in it, and at least 43 of these chemicals cause cancer.


Infants and children are especially susceptible to secondhand smoke because their lungs are still developing, and childhood exposure to secondhand smoke results in decreased lung function. Children who breathe secondhand smoke are more likely to develop asthma, the leading serious chronic childhood disease in the US.


Public health authorities urge people not to use tobacco and to avoid exposing children to secondhand smoke. Here are some steps you can take to reduce your family's exposure to secondhand smoke:


  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Make your home a smoke-free zone. Remove ashtrays and post "no smoking" signs. Remember, air flows throughout a house, so smoking in even one room allows smoke to go everywhere.
  • Protect children by letting caregivers and babysitters know that smoking is not allowed in the home or around the children.
  • Ask family, friends and coworkers not to smoke around you or your children.
  • Don't smoke or allow others to smoke in cars. Opening windows is not enough to clear the air.

In restaurants, shopping malls, bowling alleys and other public places, sit in the non-smoking area or only go to those that are smoke-free. Tobacco Free Missouri is a grassroots initiative working with local community organizations, health departments and concerned individuals to reduce tobacco use in Missouri. A listing of smoke-free places in the St. Louis metropolitan area can be found on www.breatheeasymo.org.


Attachment: FAQ on Secondhand Smoke.


Contact: Emily Pike, Health Educator, and Chair of the Healthcare Committee for Tobacco Free Missouri, 314-615-1672


June is Adopt a Cat Month
Adopt Cats and Kittens at Saint Louis County Animal Shelter Open House June 14.

PURRSONAL AD: SINGLE FEMALE seeks companionship. I have long dark hair and green eyes. I'm a very good-looking girl who LOVES to play. I especially enjoy hunting, fishing and cozy winter nights in front of the fire. Call if you have love and attention to share...


May 28, 2003. Saint Louis County Department of Health will host an open house Saturday, June 14 to invite people to adopt a new pet from the animal shelter.


WHAT: ADOPT CATS AND KITTENS!
WHEN: Saturday June 14
8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
WHERE: Saint Louis County Animal Shelter (South)
77 Hunter Ave. (off Ladue Rd. just east of I-170 / Inner Belt)

"We have many beautiful cats and adorable kittens that would make wonderful and loving pets," said Helen Kamp, DVM, Veterinarian in charge of Saint Louis County Animal Control. Residents can adopt pet cats and dogs from the county's animal shelters year round. During June they will receive starter packages of pet food, informational brochures, and other items. There is an adoption fee of $25 per pet (dog or cat), said Dr. Kamp.


Litters of kittens are plentiful in the spring. For more information, call 314-726-6655 or log on to www.stlouisco.com.


Contact: Helen Kamp, DVM, 314-726-6717


Public Health Officials Are Monitoring for West Nile Virus in Humans

May 15, 2003. Physicians and emergency rooms have been requested to immediately report all suspected cases of viral encephalitis, viral meningitis and other illnesses suggestive of West Nile virus (WNV). Patients with these illnesses will be assessed to determine if WNV infection is the cause. Public health officials in the St. Louis metropolitan area began surveillance this week (May 12) for West Nile virus in the human population. Early detection of the disease in humans will help them implement prevention measures, including mosquito control and public education.


West Nile encephalitis is diagnosed through blood testing. Several companies are working towards developing a human vaccine, but none has been approved yet. Most infections are so mild that they don't show any symptoms. The disease infects birds and is spread through mosquitoes. A diseased bird cannot infect humans - the only way for humans to become infected is through a mosquito bite (and in rare cases through blood transfusion, organ transplant and mother's milk). The chance of becoming severely ill from a single mosquito bite is extremely small.


Public health officials are also 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.scchealth.org and click on the "West Nile Virus Information Center" then click on "Report Dead Birds" 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 314-622-4800. Jefferson County residents may call 636-789-3372. In Franklin County call 636-583-7300. 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.


Symptoms of WNV


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. In severe cases there may be headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis. People over 50 and those with compromised immune systems have a higher risk of severe infection. 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.


Prevention of WNV


To reduce your chance of exposure, take the following preventive steps:


  • Eliminate standing water sites where mosquitoes can breed by removing tires, buckets, and other water-holding objects from your 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.
  • Make sure drainpipes from gutters and sump pumps are properly sloped so they don't hold water.
  • Wear light colored, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks.
  • Use insect repellents (follow product instructions carefully).
  • Make sure screens fit tightly in doors and windows.
  • Mosquito control products for use in birdbaths, fishponds, swimming pool covers, and horse troughs are available online and at retail stores; use the right product for the right situation, and follow label directions.

West Nile virus (WNV) was first confirmed in dead birds in the St. Louis metropolitan area in the fall of 2001. Health officials anticipated its potential spread to the human population. Local public health agencies implemented a Metropolitan West Nile Virus Response Plan, to monitor WNV transmission and coordinate response measures. 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.


As of November 15, 2002, 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 in 2002. A number of animals including horses were also affected.


Regional Contacts:
St. Louis County Department of Health, Mike Williams, Ph.D., Manager, Communicable Disease Control, 314-615-1630
St. Louis County Department of Health, Ron Twillman, Manager, Vector Control & Veterinary Services, 314-615-8351
City of St. Louis, Larry Kettelhut, Bureau Chief, Environmental Health, 314-612-5309 or 5311
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



WIC Program Gives Mothers & Babies A Healthy Nutritional Start

May 15, 2003. The Saint Louis County Department of Health will participate with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services in a special three-year WIC Project Grant - A Client-Centered Approach to Education for the Prevention of Overweight Children.


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 issued checks for over 92,500 food packages for county residents in 2002. Food packages contain nutritious foods such as infant formula, juice, peanut butter, iron fortified cereal, eggs, cheese, and milk.


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 Steve Fine, Director of Public Health and Ancillary Services. "We know that WIC mothers, infants and children are getting a healthy start. WIC is there to help anyone who meets the income guidelines, and is at medical or nutritional risk," he said. WIC has five sites located throughout Saint Louis County.


Who is eligible for WIC services? Guidelines are based on income and family size. For example, a family of three earning up to $28,231 or a family of eight earning up to $57,276 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 Lynn Murphy, program manager of WIC and Nutrition Services, "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 of concentrate." In 2002, WIC provided over $5.5 million dollars in Food Instruments for nutritional supplemental food in Saint Louis County.


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


Attachment: WIC Income Guidelines


WIC INCOME GUIDELINES
MISSOURI
April 1, 2003 - March 31, 2004


FAMILY SIZE ANNUAL MONTHLY WEEKLY
One (1) $16,613 $1,385 $320
Two (2) $22,422 $1,869 $432
Three (3) $28,231 $2,353 $543
Four (4) $34,040 $2,837 $655
Five (5) $39,849 $3,321 $767
Six (6) $45,658 $3,805 $879
Seven (7) $51,467 $4,289 $990
Eight (8) $57,276 $4,773 $1,102
Each additional
family member:
+$5,809 +$485 +$112

Pregnant women are counted as two family members.


Standards for participation in the WIC Program are the same for everyone regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.


Contact:
Lynn Murphy, Program Manager, WIC and Nutrition Services, 314-615-8370
Steve Fine, Director, Division of Public Health & Ancillary Services, 314-615-6445


Media Advisory
Abstinence By Choice (ABC) Program Annual Recognition Night.

WHAT Abstinence By Choice (ABC) Program
Annual Recognition Night
WHEN Wednesday, May 7, Presentations begin at 7:30 PM
WHERE Yacovellis Banquet Center located at 407 Dunn Road, Florissant, MO
WHO 200 students, parents, faculty and board members from participating school districts: Jennings, Normandy, Pattonville, Riverview Gardens, University City, Wellston
WHY To acknowledge contributions of all who have worked in this teen pregnancy prevention program, especially the high school students who were trained to present the program to middle school students
SPEAKERS Several elementary students, a parent, a faculty member and two high school students will speak about the benefits of the Abstinence By Choice Program from their perspective
OUTCOMES Teen pregnancy rates have significantly decreased in all participating districts that fully implement the ABC Program

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY

Contact: Peggy Mohl, Health Education, Abstinence by Choice
314-615-1626


Saint Louis County Department Of Health Provides Daily Pollen Counts For Metropolitan Area.

April 22, 2003. Early Spring rains, followed by mild days and cool nights, have been ideal for beautiful, blossoming trees, from dogwood to magnolia. But these same weather conditions have created a "perfect storm" for pollination. Several days of windy, 80-plus degree weather generated a pollinating frenzy. Rain brings temporary relief to allergy sufferers, but we should expect another two to three weeks of the tree-pollinating season.


Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) monitors pollen and mold counts for the entire metropolitan area, every workday of the year. The Environmental Health Laboratories provide daily pollen counts to the news media. The information is also posted on the County's web page at www.stlouisco.com/health/ (click on Pollen and Mold Center on lower right side of page). Visitors to the web site can view today's pollen and mold counts, check the air quality, track the 60 day history of an individual pollen, and obtain other useful facts about pollen and mold. Daily pollen counts are also available by dialing the DOH Pollen Information Line at 314-615-6825.


People who are particularly sensitive to aeroallergens and want to reduce their exposure to them may find it helpful to monitor pollen levels every day, and avoid outdoor activities when levels are high. In addition to the allergic reactions of asthma, hay fever (allergic rhinitis) and red eye (allergic conjunctivitis), pollen and mold may aggravate other respiratory diseases.


Oak pollen creates allergy problems in our area every spring, and this year is no different. The oak pollen count on April 16 was at 3,066 grains per cubic meter; while ash was at 1,679; and mulberry at 1,054. Small consolation, but these counts are not the regional historic high. April 19, 2002 saw oak even higher, at 5,537, and ash at 2,252. For a free fact sheet on pollen and mold, call the Saint Louis County Department of Health at (314) 615-8324.


Photo Opportunity: Environmental laboratory analysts count microscopic samples of pollen.


CONTACT: Dr. Robert Nicolotti, Manager, Environmental Health Laboratories
(314) 615-6830


Make Sure Pets Have Rabies Vaccinations & Microchips.
Saint Louis County Animal Shelters Offer Rabies Vaccination Clinics for National Pet Week

April 15, 2003. Saint Louis County Department of Health will hold two clinics for pet owners to have their dogs and cats vaccinated for rabies and microchipped for identification. No appointments are needed. The cost of a rabies vaccination is five dollars ($5); the cost of a microchip is ten dollars ($10). The vaccination clinics are offered in conjunction with National Pet Week, observed May 4-10.


On Saturday May 10, from 8:00 AM to noon, the first Rabies and Microchip clinic will be held at the County's South Animal Shelter located at 77 Hunter in Ladue (phone 314-726-6655).


On Saturday May 17, from 8:00 AM to noon, there will be a Rabies and Microchip clinic at the North Animal Shelter located at 4100 Seven Hills (phone 314-831-6500).


According to Helen Kamp, DVM, Veterinarian in charge of Saint Louis County Animal Control, a microchip is the best way to track a lost pet and return it to its owner. In addition, residents can adopt a pet from the county's animal shelters. There is an adoption fee of $25 per pet (dog or cat). "We have many animals that would make wonderful and loving pets," said Dr. Kamp.


For more information, log on to www.stlouisco.com/doh or call the shelter nearest you.


Contact: Helen Kamp, DVM, 314-726-6717


Saint Louis County Department of Health Stresses the Importance of Childhood Immunizations.

April 8, 2003. Making sure they are immunized against serious diseases is one of the most important ways parents can protect their children. Much progress has been made in immunization rates for children younger than two years old. We celebrate that success during National Infant Immunization Week, April 13-19. This year's theme is "Love Them / Protect Them / Immunize Them."


Each day 11,000 babies are born who will need to be immunized against eleven diseases before age two. Infants and young children are especially vulnerable to infectious diseases. That's why it's critical to protect them through immunizations. We can prevent more diseases now than ever before. Not all parents are aware of what it takes to fully immunize a child. Parents and caregivers need to take responsibility for their child's vaccinations, be informed consumers and keep records of their children's vaccinations. Vaccinations are especially important at this time of new and emerging diseases.


Nationwide, most vaccine preventable diseases have been reduced by more than 99 percent since the first vaccination was administered by Dr. Edward Jenner over 200 years ago. Immunization is one of the most cost-effective public health strategies because it's a safe way to protect our families and communities. Working together we can continue to reduce the number of vaccine-preventable diseases, disabilities, and deaths.


For more information please call Saint Louis County Department of Health at (314) 615-1630. For a complete listing of childhood and adult vaccinations, log on to www.stlouisco.com/DOH.


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General guidelines for immunization in the first two years of life are as follows:
Diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis (DTP): Four vaccinations - at 2, 4, 6, and 15 to 18 months.
Polio: Three vaccinations - at 2, 4, and 6 to 18 months.
Measles/mumps/rubella (MMR): One vaccination - at 12 to 15 months.
Chickenpox: One vaccination - at 12 to 18 months.
Hepatitis B: three vaccinations - at 0 to 2 months, 1 to 4 months, and 6 to 18 months.
H.influenzae type b (Hib): Three or four vaccinations at 2, 4, 6, and 12 to 15 months.
Pneumococcal: four vaccinations - at 2, 4, 6, and 12 to 15 months.

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


TOBACCO IS TABOO IN STUDENTS' POSTER ART .

April 7, 2003. Nearly 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 sponsored by the Saint Louis County Department of Health to coincide with "Kick Butts Day" April 2. The contest was open to students in first through twelfth grades attending public and private schools in Saint Louis County.


Public health experts have learned that messages from peers may have more influence on young people than the same information received through other sources. The poster contest encourages students to spread messages about the health risks associated with tobacco use among peers.


Each of thirteen students with winning posters will receive a $20 gift card for Westfield Shoppingtowns, and the winning posters will be made into a calendar.


Missouri residents exceed the national norm for tobacco use, the most preventable cause of premature death in the U.S. In Missouri, 27.2 percent of adults and 30.3 percent of high school students smoke. In Missouri, 16,300 youth under the age of 18 become new smokers every single year. If current trends continue, 139,000 Missouri children are projected to die prematurely from tobacco related disease.


View the winning posters on our Tobacco Education site.
Additional state and national statistics are available at www.tobaccofreekids.org.


Contact: Emily Pike, Health Education Coordinator, 314-615-1672


Obesity Reaches Epidemic Proportions in U. S.

March 26, 2003. Public health officials in Saint Louis County and across the United States are using National Public Health Week, April 7-13, to call attention to the increasing number of Americans suffering from overweight or obesity. The problem has reached epidemic proportions and immediate intervention is critical to the health of our country.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 127 million adults in America are overweight, 60 million are obese and nine (9) million are severely obese. Childhood obesity has reached its highest level in 30 years. Every year 300,000 people die as a result of weight-related risk factors. The rate of obesity has increased in all 50 states. In Missouri the percentage rose from 12.2 percent in 1991 to 19.8 percent in 2000. Missouri now ranks sixth in the nation for the highest obesity risk factors, with over half of all adult Missourians classified as overweight.


The leading causes of overweight and obesity in the United States are inactivity and poor eating habits. Americans are less active than ever before. Individuals who are overweight carry a higher risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, breathing problems and premature death. During National Public Health Week, Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH) highlights activities to promote physical activity, encourage healthy eating habits and heighten awareness of the health risks associated with overweight and obesity.


On April 5, Saint Louis County Health Educators will join with County YMCAs to help promote "Healthy Kids Day." During Public Health Week, County health centers will display brochures and handouts promoting "Let's Get Fit." DOH Community Health Educators will participate in the American Diabetes Association telethon on April 10 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Westfield Shoppingtown - West County. Health Education staff will wear pedometers that week to promote awareness of physical activity.


National Public Health Week was established in 1995 as a way to recognize the contributions of public health and prevention services to America's well being. Local organizations can continue their efforts toward improving employee health by calling the Saint Louis County Department of Health Worksite Wellness Program at 314-615-1625.


Contact: Denise L. Chapel, MPH, MS, RD
(314) 615-1625
[email protected]


Change in Asbestos Abatement Procedure.

February 25, 2003. The asbestos abatement procedure known as a "wet demolition" is no longer allowed per MDNR (Missouri Department of Natural Resources) and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) interpretation of the regulation.


The Air Pollution Control Program at Saint Louis County Department of Health issues permits for asbestos abatement projects in St. Louis County. The department wants to get word to the regulated community that interpretation of the regulation has changed.


Effective immediately, all regulated asbestos-containing material in a facility must be removed prior to demolition, with four exceptions:


  1. It is Category I nonfriable asbestos-containing material that is not in poor condition and is not friable;
  2. It is encased in concrete or other hard material and is wet whenever exposed during demolition;
  3. It was not accessible for testing and was not discovered until after demolition began and cannot be safely removed. If not removed for safety reasons, any asbestos-contaminated debris must be treated as asbestos-containing waste and be kept adequately wet at all times until disposed of.
  4. The materials are Category II nonfriable and the probability is low that it will be crumbled, pulverized or reduced to powder during demolition.

For more information, see the county's web page at www.stlouisco.com/doh/ or direct questions to Larry Hacker, Regional Asbestos Coordinator, EPA, (913) 551-7602.


Contact:
Ellen Waters, Media Coordinator, 314-615-1747

Air Pollution Control Program, 314-615-8923



Saint Louis County Department of Health Offers Hepatitis C Support Group Meetings.

February 10, 2003. Saint Louis County Department of Health will hold Hepatitis C Support Group meetings on the third Thursday of each month. Patients and family members are encouraged to attend.


DATE: Thursday, February 20
TIME: 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM
PLACE: Institute for Family Medicine, 4590 South Lindbergh (next door to the Saint Louis County Department of Health South County Health Center)
PURPOSE: "To educate ourselves, our families, 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 are scheduled for March 20, April 17, May 15, June 19, July 17, August 21, September 18, October 16, November 20, and December 18.


For more information please call 314-842-1300 x7507.


Contact: Robin Hinshaw, Clinical Social Worker
314-842-1300 x7507


County Completes First Round of Smallpox Vaccinations.

February 7, 2003. Public health workers who will be vaccinating area health care employees were inoculated against the smallpox virus today in the first step to protect caregivers who could be called on in the event of a smallpox outbreak.


"We are working very hard with the state and local surrounding public health agencies to prepare response teams," said Saint Louis County Health Director Dr. Jacquelynn A. Meeks, who was among those receiving the vaccination.


The County Health Department is using a federal grant, administered by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), to develop and implement an immunization program to prevent an outbreak of this disease. The public health workers will vaccinate physicians as well as housekeepers, who could be exposed to the first victims of an outbreak. Vaccinations for these volunteers will begin in a few weeks.


"Many St. Louis area hospitals have stepped forward to make this a success and hospital employees have volunteered for this important assignment," Meeks said. The vaccinations will continue for several weeks at a designated location.


In Missouri, 80 hospitals and 81 local public health agencies indicated their willingness to coordinate volunteers for smallpox response teams. According to information provided by these agencies, vaccinations may include an estimated 2,400 public health and hospital workers.


The DHSS Center for Emergency Response and Terrorism will coordinate the vaccinations throughout the state. In addition to the Saint Louis County Health Department, health departments in Butler County, Springfield/Greene County, Columbia/Boone County and Kansas City will also administer the vaccine.


Contact: John C. Shelton
Office (314) 615-8922
Pager (314) 460-6148


Free Vision Screening Will Be Offered at Diabetes Program Hosted by County Health Department.

January 29, 2003. Anyone interested in learning more about diabetes and vision care is invited to attend a "Diabetes Today" program.


What: DIABETES TODAY
Educational Program on Vision and Diabetes Care
When: Tuesday, February 11, 2003
11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
Where: Hope Congregational Church
4200 Brown Road
St. John, MO

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


Vision screening will be provided by the Society for the Blind and Crown Optical within the church facility. Public health nurses will be available for additional information.


This program is provided through a community effort of volunteers and the Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH), with support from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Staff from DOH Health Centers and DOH Health Education Program will be on hand.


Contact: Denise L. Chapel, Health Educator, (314) 615-1625


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

January 15, 2003. One of the first things that people notice about someone is their smile. A good smile helps to create a positive self-image. February is National Children's Dental Health Month (NCDHM). This is an excellent time for children to brush up on their dental health habits.


Positive health habits in the adult are established during childhood. Optimal oral health for children is critical not only to their current oral function, but also for long-term health. Researchers are continuing to explore the links between adult oral disease and diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and pre-term, low birth weight babies.


"Tooth decay is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever, making it the most common disease of childhood," states Nita F. Johnson, DDS, Chief of Dental Health Services for Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH). "It can impair a child's ability to eat, speak, sleep and learn when it is not treated. According to statistics more than half of our school-age children do not see a dentist annually although preventive check-ups bi-annually can aid in the prevention of tooth decay and gum disease that may result in serious health complications."


The American Dental Association recommends the following tips for parents to protect children's teeth and good oral health: provide children with a balanced diet, limit their snacks, ensure that they brush twice a day and floss daily, and have regular dental exams and professional cleanings. Other recommended dental health practices include: visiting the dentist six months after the eruption of the first tooth (typically around age one), preventive measures such as dental sealants, and wearing a mouth guard during sports activities.


"The mouth can reflect the health of the entire body, showing the effects of nutrition, stress, reactions to medications, and other conditions," said Johnson. "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. Patients include adults and children above age three. 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 (314-679-7820), 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: Nita F. Johnson, DDS
Chief of Dental Health Services, 314-522-6410 x6027


It's Not Too Late To Get A Flu Shot!

January 10, 2003. There's still time to get a flu shot, local health officials say. Vaccine is currently plentiful, so anyone who is not yet immunized - including high-risk individuals and healthy adults - should get their flu shots now.


The cost of a flu shot is $15; but individuals with Medicare Part B will have no out-of-pocket expense. To locate a flu clinic site near you, call 314-644-4FLU, or contact your health care provider.


The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends flu vaccinations for anyone 50 or over. Everyone age 65 and over is considered to be at high risk for complications from the flu. Individuals with chronic illnesses - including cancer, suppressed immune systems, and asthma - are also considered high risk. Health care workers, household members and others in close contact with high-risk individuals should also be immunized.


There are 44 laboratory confirmed cases of influenza so far this season in Saint Louis County. Influenza has peaked in January or later in 15 of the past 19 influenza seasons. Even when influenza is occurring in a community, individual patients who have not yet been exposed, especially the elderly and those with risk conditions, can benefit from vaccination.


CONTACT:
Steve Fine, Director, Division of Public Health and Ancillary Services
314-615-6445 (Pager: 314-430-2671)
Mike Wiliams, PhD, Manager, Communicable Disease Control, 314-615-1630