Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services HEALTH AND SAFETY http://health.mo.gov/information/news/rss.xml Official news releases issued by the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services. en-us <![CDATA[ Synthetic Cannabinoids and Hepatitis A Could be a Fatal Combination]]>JEFFERSON CITY, MO - On April 9, 2018, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) issued a news release ""Use of Synthetic Cannabinoids Linked to Severe Bleeding in the US" informing the public about the national outbreak of bleeding illnesses among those consuming synthetic cannabinoids which appear to have been contaminated with a long-acting anticoagulant usually used in rodenticides. The press release indicated that one person in Missouri was considered a part of the growing national outbreak.

Further investigation revealed the Missouri case's exposure to the synthetic cannabinoid occurred in the southeast Missouri, an area already hard hit with the outbreak of hepatitis A. Many of the outbreak cases are among people who are homeless and/or people who use injection and non-injection drugs. Because all coagulation factors are made in the liver, severe liver disease, including hepatitis A, may disturb blood clotting abilities by impairing clotting factor production in the liver. The presence of liver injury due to hepatitis A, and the simultaneous exposure to the synthetic cannabinoids also causing coagulation disorder, may put a person at even greater risk of potentially fatal bleeding than patients using synthetic cannabinoids without having hepatitis.

Physicians should ask patients who present with unexplained bleeding and coagulopathy about synthetic cannabinoid use. Physicians evaluating patients for hepatitis should also ask about the synthetic cannabinoid use. These substances are not detected on a routine urine toxicology screen.

Synthetic cannabinoids are known by various names, including K2, spice, legal weed, fake weed, synthetic marijuana, and many local "brand" names such as King Kong. If you have acquired synthetic cannabinoid product, do not use it.

Health care professionals should report suspected cases to the Missouri Poison Control Center by calling 800-222-1222.

About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov.

 

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Fri, 20 Apr 2018 11:46:12 CST
<![CDATA[ Possible measles exposure in the Kansas City, Missouri area]]>JEFFERSON CITY, MO - The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is working with the Kansas City, Missouri Health Department to notify individuals who may have been exposed to measles in the Kansas City, Missouri area.  Known locations where exposures may have occurred include the following:

Date

Location Name

Exposure Timeframe

Location Address

April 6, 2018

KCI Expo Center-

Midwest Parent Educators Vendor Hall

8:30 AM - 1:00 PM

11730 NW Ambassador Dr.

Kansas City, MO

April 10, 2018

Nebraska Furniture Mart

9:30 AM - 2:00 PM

1601 Village West Pkwy

Kansas City, KS

Note:  Locations where individuals may have been exposed to measles, but can be identified, are not listed.  Those individuals will be notified separately.

Measles is a highly contagious, acute viral illness that is transmitted by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. Patients are considered to be contagious from four days before until four days after the rash appears. The measles virus can remain infectious in the air for up to two hours after an infected person leaves an area. Measles is vaccine-preventable disease. You can check with your health care provider to make sure you and your family are up-to-date on vaccines.

The symptoms of measles generally include a rash that appears 7-21 days after exposure. Measles typically begins with:

  • A high fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red, watery eyes

Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash starts to appear. The rash usually looks like flat red spots that break out first on the face and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs and feet.

People who may have been exposed to measles should contact their health care provider if they develop cold-like symptoms with a fever and/or rash as described above. If you may have been exposed to measles and you have symptoms, you should NOT go to any health care facility without calling first. This will help the health care facility prepare for your arrival and allow the facility to provide instructions to you to reduce possible exposures to others at the facility.

Director of DHSS, Dr. Randall Williams, says, "If someone has measles, it is important they stay isolated from others to keep from spreading it. Measles is extremely contagious, and you can have very severe outcomes. For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it. If you are diagnosed with measles, it is important to follow the instructions of your health care provider and public health officials to protect your family and community."

Health care providers should isolate suspected measles case-patients and immediately report suspected cases to the local public health agency or to DHSS at 573/751-6113 or 800/392-0272 outside normal business hours. For more information about measles go to https://www.cdc.gov/measles/index.html

About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov.

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Fri, 20 Apr 2018 08:52:06 CST
<![CDATA[ Possible measles exposure in the Kansas City, Missouri area]]>JEFFERSON CITY, MO - The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and the Kansas City Missouri Health Department have been notified of a confirmed case of measles. At this time, the investigation does not connect the individual to the Kansas outbreak of measles. The Department is waiting for the completion of tests to determine the strain of disease from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  In addition, the Kansas City Health Department can now confirm the previously reported Kansas City case was not related to current Kansas outbreak of measles.

DHSS is working with the Kansas City, Missouri Health Department to notify individuals who may have been exposed to measles in the Kansas City, Missouri area related to this most recent confirmed case. Known locations where exposures may have occurred include the following: 

Date

Location Name

Exposure Timeframe

Location Address

March 30, 2018

Barnes & Noble

8:00 AM-10:30 AM

Oak Park Mall

11323 W 95th St

Overland Park, KS

March 30, 2018

Subway

11:30 AM-2:30 PM

312 E 51st St

Kansas City, MO

March 30, 2018

Cosentino's Price Chopper

12:30 PM-5:00 PM

6327 Brookside Plaza

Kansas City, MO

March 31, 2018

Laundroplex

5:00 PM-10:00 PM

575 NW 68th St

Kansas City, MO

March 31, 2018

Quick Trip

7:00 PM-9:30 PM

601 NW 68th St

Kansas City, MO

April 1, 2018

Pleasant Valley Baptist Church (church and lobby)

10:30 PM-2:30 PM

1600 MO-291

Liberty, MO

Note:  Locations where individuals may have been exposed to measles, but can be identified, are not listed.  Those individuals will be notified separately.

Measles is a highly contagious, acute viral illness that is transmitted by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. Patients are considered to be contagious from four days before until four days after the rash appears. The measles virus can remain infectious in the air for up to two hours after an infected person leaves an area. Measles is a vaccine-preventable disease. You can check with your health care provider to make sure you and your family are up-to-date on vaccines.

The symptoms of measles generally include a rash that appears 7-21 days after exposure. Measles typically begins with:

  • A high fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red, watery eyes

Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash starts to appear. The rash usually looks like flat red spots that break out first on the face and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs and feet.

People who may have been exposed to measles should contact their health care provider if they develop cold-like symptoms with a fever and/or rash as described above. If you may have been exposed to measles and you have symptoms, you should NOT go to any health care facility without calling first. This will help the health care facility prepare for your arrival and allow the facility to provide instructions to you to reduce possible exposure to others at the facility.

Director of DHSS, Dr. Randall Williams, says, "If someone has measles, it is important they stay isolated from others to keep from spreading it. Measles is extremely contagious, and you can have very severe outcomes. For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it. If you are diagnosed with measles, it is important to follow the instructions of your health care provider and public health officials to protect your family and community."

Health care providers should isolate suspected measles case-patients and immediately report suspected cases to the local public health agency or to DHSS at 573/751-6113 or 800/392-0272 outside normal business hours. For more information about measles go to https://www.cdc.gov/measles/index.html

About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov.

 

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Thu, 12 Apr 2018 16:18:16 CST
<![CDATA[ Use of Synthetic Cannabinoids Linked to Severe Bleeding in the US]]>

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Clinician Outreach message to health care providers related to the use of synthetic cannabinoids with street names such as synthetic marijuana, fake weed, K2 and spice. According to the message, 94 people in five states who used synthetic cannabinoids have been treated since March 10, 2018, for bleeding due to coagulopathy, a blood clotting disorder. The number of cases reported in the message include: 89 in Illinois, two in Indiana, one in Maryland, one in Missouri and one in Wisconsin.  There were two fatalities in Illinois.

Laboratory testing confirmed that at least 18 individuals had been exposed to brodifacoum, a highly lethal vitamin K antagonist anticoagulant. It is used in commercial products for killing rodents and other pests. Some synthetic cannabinoid product samples related to the outbreak also tested positive for brodifacoum. Public health investigation indicates that synthetic cannabinoids were likely contaminated with brodifacoum.

Synthetic cannabinoids are classified as a controlled substance and their possession can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the amount possessed.  

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is asking healthcare providers to maintain a high index of suspicion for vitamin K–dependent antagonist coagulopathy in patients presenting with clinical signs of coagulopathy, bleeding unrelated to an injury, or bleeding without another explanation and with a possible history of use of synthetic cannabinoids.

For the full message from CDC please visit: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USCDC/bulletins/1e6dac3. Similar communications regarding drug induced severe coagulopathy have been issued by the Missouri Poison Center: http://missouripoisoncenter.org/synthetic-cannabinoids/ and the Illinois Department of Public Health: http://dph.illinois.gov/news/idph-issues-warning-about-synthetic-cannabinoids.

Those who may be suffering from adverse effects from the use of synthetic cannabinoids should seek medical care immediately. Health care professionals should report suspected cases to the Missouri Poison Control Center by calling 800-222-1222.

About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov.

 

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Mon, 09 Apr 2018 14:46:58 CST
<![CDATA[ Tick season is upon us]]>Now that spring is here, Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services urges precaution against tick-borne illnesses

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo - With warmer weather on the way, the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services (DHSS) wants to remind people living in and visiting the state to take precautions against tick bites. Ticks can transmit serious, potentially deadly, illnesses and they can be active anytime the ground isn't frozen.

"As spring arrives, we are reminded what a beautiful state Missouri is and for those of us who enjoy the outdoors, it creates more opportunities to be outdoors exercising and enjoying the state's natural beauty," said DHSS Director Dr. Randall Williams. "For those of us in public health, this time of year serves as a transition from flu season to prime time for diseases carried by ticks."

Missouri is home to a variety of tick species, meaning we experience a variety of tick-borne illnesses. In 2017, Missouri reported 634 cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and 334 cases of ehrlichiosis. 60 percent of cases in the U.S. of Rocky Mountain spotted fever are in five states and Missouri is one of them. At least six different types of human tick-borne diseases have been reported in Missouri, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrilichiosis, tularemia, Lyme or lyme-like disease, Heartland Virus and Bourbon Virus. Many of these illnesses can be effectively treated if they are caught early, however, on occasion they can be deadly. That is why it is so important to practice prevention by using DEET or insect repellent and checking for ticks any time you go outdoors.

Ticks can be found throughout Missouri, primarily in wooded and brushy areas, tall grasses and close to the ground. Despite the presence of ticks, everyone can safely enjoy the outdoors by taking a few safety precautions.

"We encourage everyone to use precautions such as insect repellent and careful body checks after being outdoors to prevent these diseases whenever and wherever you are in Missouri," said Williams. "While the incidence of these diseases is low throughout Missouri, the severity of illness can be high in some patients. So as always, prevention remains our best advice." 

DHSS recommends the following precautions to prevent tick bites:

  • Use an insect repellent with a minimum of 20% DEET, picaridin or IR3535 on exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours whenever you spend time outdoors. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age.
  • When possible, wear protective clothing (light colored, long sleeved shirts and pants) when outdoors to keep ticks off skin.
  • Avoid tick infested areas including brushy areas, tall grasses, wood piles and leaf litter. When hiking, stay near the center of trails to avoid ticks.
  • Reduce ticks around your home by keeping lawns mowed short, shrubs and trees trimmed, and remove leaf litter, wood piles, fallen branches, trash and debris from yards.
  • People with pets should talk with their veterinarian about use of tick prevention treatments. You should regularly check your pet for ticks.
  • Check for ticks while outdoors and again after returning from the outdoors. If possible you should change clothes and shower soon after spending time outdoors.

Preventing tick bites is the best way to avoid getting sick from any number of disease that ticks can carry. Just one bite from a tick can lead to serious illness. If you find an attached tick, don't panic. The tick should be removed promptly. The longer it is attached the greater the risk of infection. To remove ticks:

  • Using tweezers, grasp tick near its mouth and as close to your skin as possible.
  • Pull tick firmly, straight out, away from skin. Do not jerk or twist the tick.
  • Do NOT use alcohol, matches, liquid soap or petroleum jelly to remove a tick.
  • Wash your hands and the bite site with soap and water after the tick is removed. Apply an antiseptic to the bite site.

Everyone should be aware of the signs and symptoms of tick-borne disease, which can vary among individuals and differ according to the disease. In general, a sudden high fever, severe headache, muscle or joint aches, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea can be signs of tick-borne disease.  You should consult your health care provider if experiencing these symptoms. If these symptoms occur following a tick bite, or even after exposure to a tick habitat, be sure to tell your health care provider.  Another possible sign of tick-borne disease is a rash or pus-filled wound that appears at the site of a tick bite, or a spreading rash that follows a tick bite or exposure to tick habitat.

About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov.

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Wed, 04 Apr 2018 10:35:14 CST
<![CDATA[ Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Celebrates National Public Health Week (April 2-8, 2018)]]>JEFFERSON CITY, MO - The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is celebrating National Public Health Week (NPHW) by highlighting the power of prevention, advocating for healthy and fair policies, sharing strategies for successful partnerships and championing the role of a strong public health system.

"During the last 100 years, the average lifespan of Missourians has increased by 30 years thanks, in part, to state public health efforts," said Dr. Randall Williams, DHSS Director. "We greatly appreciate the tireless work of our local health departments and leaders in public health throughout the state who are working to improve both the quality and longevity of life for our citizens."

National Public Health Week (NPHW) is celebrated the first week of April each year. This year's state theme is Healthy Missouri 2030: Be an Advocate for Public Health.

Investing in prevention and public health can make an enormous difference and plays a critical role in keeping individuals and communities healthy. Some of the greatest achievements of public health include vaccinations, safer work places, safer and healthier foods, control of infectious diseases, fluoridation of drinking water, public health preparedness, and recognition of tobacco use as a health hazard.

"We are encouraging everyone across the state to engage with their communities about the role each of us can play in protecting health and keeping people safe," said Dr. Williams. "Where we live, learn, work, worship and play impacts our health and our opportunities. With that in mind, we can create a healthier population if we work together."

Each day of NPHW 2018 will focus on a different public health topic to move Missouri forward in bettering the health of its citizens. Monday's theme is Behavioral Health; Tuesday's theme is Communicable Diseases; Wednesday's theme is Environmental Health; Thursday's theme is Injury and Violence Prevention; and Friday's theme is Ensuring the Right to Health.

You can find more information about NPHW 2018 at http://health.mo.gov/information/nphw/.

About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov.

 

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Mon, 02 Apr 2018 14:20:30 CST
<![CDATA[ Possible measles case in the Kansas City, Missouri area]]>JEFFERSON CITY, MO - The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is working with the Kansas City, Missouri Health Department to investigate a possible case of measles in the Kansas City, Missouri area. The individual presented to a hospital in Kansas after developing a rash on March 21, 2018. The illness began following international travel. The initial laboratory test for measles was positive and additional tests for measles are pending. Known locations where exposures may have occurred on March 19 and 22 were: March 19, Señor Tequila restaurant (6502 North Oak Trafficway, Kansas City, Missouri 64118) and March 22, CVS (1914 Swift St., North Kansas City, Missouri 64116).

This is an ongoing investigation, so information may change as the investigation continues.

Measles is a highly contagious, acute viral illness that is transmitted by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. Patients are considered to be contagious from four days before until four days after the rash appears. The measles virus can remain infectious in the air for up to two hours after an infected person leaves an area such as a waiting room. Measles is vaccine-preventable disease. You can check with your health care provider to make sure you and your family are up-to-date on vaccines.

The symptoms of measles generally include a rash that appears 7-21 days after exposure. Measles typically begins with:

  • A high fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red, watery eyes

Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash starts to appear. The rash usually looks like flat red spots that break out first on the face and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs and feet.

People who may have been exposed to measles should contact their health care provider if they develop cold-like symptoms with a fever and/or rash as described above. If you may have been exposed to measles and you have symptoms, you should NOT go to any health care facility without calling first. This will help the health care facility prepare for your arrival and allow the facility to provide instructions to you to reduce possible exposures to others at the facility.

Director of DHSS, Dr. Randall Williams, says, "If someone has measles, it is important they stay isolated from others to keep from spreading it. Measles is extremely contagious, and you can have very severe outcomes. For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it. If you are diagnosed with measles, it is important to follow the instructions of your health care provider and public health officials to protect your family and community."

Health care providers should isolate suspected measles case-patients and immediately report suspected cases to the local public health agency or to DHSS at 573/751-6113 or 800/392-0272 outside normal business hours. For more information about measles go to https://www.cdc.gov/measles/index.html

About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov.

 

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Fri, 30 Mar 2018 16:12:08 CST
<![CDATA[ Possible measles exposures in the St. Louis area]]>JEFFERSON CITY, MO - The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is working with the St. Louis County Department of Public Health to notify individuals who may have been exposed to measles on March 13 or March 14, 2018. Known locations where exposures may have occurred on March 13 are The Magic House in Kirkwood, Missouri, Racanelli's New York Pizzeria in Kirkwood, Missouri, and Homewood Suites in Chesterfield, Missouri. The only known location where exposure may have occurred on March 14 is Homewood Suites in Chesterfield, Missouri. This is an ongoing investigation, so information may change as the investigation continues.

Measles is a highly contagious, acute viral illness that is transmitted by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. Patients are considered to be contagious from four days before until four days after the rash appears. The measles virus can remain infectious in the air for up to two hours after an infected person leaves an area such as a waiting room. Measles is vaccine-preventable disease. You can check with your health care provider to make sure you and your family are up-to-date on vaccines.

The symptoms of measles generally include a rash that appears 7-21 days after exposure. Measles typically begins with:

  • A high fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red, watery eyes

Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash starts to appear. The rash usually looks like flat red spots that break out first on the face and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs and feet.

People who may have been exposed to measles should contact their health care provider if they develop cold-like symptoms with a fever and/or rash as described above. If you may have been exposed to measles and you have symptoms, you should NOT go to any health care facility without calling first. This will help the health care facility prepare for your arrival and allow the facility to provide instructions to you to reduce possible exposures to others at the facility. If you are diagnosed with measles, it's important to follow the instructions of your health care provider and public health officials to protect your family and community.

Health care providers should isolate suspected measles case-patients and immediately report suspected cases to the local public health agency or to DHSS at 573/751-6113 or 800/392-0272 outside normal business hours.

About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov.

 

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Wed, 21 Mar 2018 08:01:27 CST
<![CDATA[ Missouri among five states selected to participate in project addressing maternal opioid use]]>JEFFERSON CITY, MO - Missouri is one of five states selected by the National Governor's Association to work on a new project titled, "Addressing Maternal Opioid Use Disorder to Prevent and Reduce the Effects of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS): Preventing NAS Learning Lab." This project will be a collaborative effort between the Governor's Office, Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS), Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH), Missouri Hospital Association (MHA) and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). Together representatives from these organizations, along with those from the other states selected, will work together to better serve pregnant and post-natal women with opioid use disorder and improve health outcomes for their babies.

This opportunity will enable the Missouri team to develop resources and increase access to Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) screening and treatment with the intent of preventing NAS. While Missouri has many programs and services available to target OUD in mothers and the prevention and treatment of NAS, there are several challenges and barriers the team hopes to overcome.

"The Department of Social Services is very proud to be a part of this strong collaborative that will enable Missouri to more effectively help thousands of women and their babies overcome the devastating impact of opioid use disorder so they can have healthy, safe, and productive lives," said Steve Corsi, Psy.D., Director, DSS.

The collaborative will work to develop OUD recommendations that can be deployed statewide, including increasing availability of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) and OUD treatment and the prevalence of OUD-diagnosed pregnant women in treatment. Current data indicate that an increasing number of women of childbearing age are involved with opioids, both illicit drugs and legally-prescribed narcotic pain medications. In Missouri, the rates of NAS have gone up among all races, but the greatest increases have been seen in minority populations.

Director of DHSS, Dr. Randall Williams, says, "We are incredibly appreciative that Missouri has been selected by the National Governor's Association to further our work to help prevent neonatal abstinence syndrome and help moms and babies that need our assistance. Governor Greitens and the First Lady saw firsthand at the WISH Clinic in St. Louis this summer the incredible work Dr. Jaye Shyken and others are doing, and as an obstetrician and gynecologist I personally appreciate their and the NGA's support of our efforts."

Over the past year, DHSS held nine opioid summits across the state. These summits included speakers from state, local and private organizations, along with individuals impacted by opioid use. Additionally, Dr. Williams convened stakeholders from every local public health agency in the state at the Statewide Public Health Meeting to discuss next steps regarding OUD and a review of what we have learned from each other and how to put those items into practice. Participation in the NAS Learning Lab is one of several steps the department is taking combat the opioid crisis in Missouri.

Additional information regarding the opioid epidemic in Missouri can be found on the DHSS website at http://health.mo.gov/data/opioids/. For more information on the state's initiatives, available resources and statistics related to the crisis, please visit https://opioids.mo.gov/.

About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov.

 

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Wed, 21 Feb 2018 10:01:17 CST
<![CDATA[ Vaccine effectiveness in US may be higher than other countries this flu season]]>JEFFERSON CITY, MO - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced yesterday that, as of February 3, preliminary numbers show the flu vaccine in the United States was 36 percent effective in preventing influenza A and B this flu season. The estimate is 25 percent for influenza A (H3N2); 67 percent for influenza A (H1N1); and 42 percent against influenza B. Widely reported estimates for both Australia and Canada put their vaccine effectiveness around 10 percent.

Young children are at higher risk than most people for severe flu complications that can lead to death. So far this flu season, 63 flu deaths have been reported in children. However, the CDC estimates that the flu vaccine effectiveness is actually higher for children, at 59 percent.

DHSS director Dr. Randall Williams says, "Back on Oct. 10 we predicted this would be a difficult flu season and even now, in February, our message remains the same: get your flu shot, especially for young children who are particularly prone to getting sick and suffering from severe complications. Everyone should get their flu shot, though, especially those who come into contact with children or the elderly, which is virtually everyone."

Missouri data shows that the 2017-2018 influenza season may be peaking, but it there are several weeks to go until it's over. That means there is still time to get the flu vaccine. People who are vaccinated but still get the flu typically experience a faster recovery, reduced risk for complications or hospitalization, and a shorter period of being contagious. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services recommends that all Missourians get their flu shot as soon as possible to provide the most protection during the ongoing flu season. Find the closest location to get a flu vaccine at http://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/communicable/influenza/

About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov.

 

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Fri, 16 Feb 2018 09:42:55 CST
<![CDATA[ State seeking organizations to serve meals to children during summer months]]>Federally funded program helps fight childhood hunger

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is looking for organizations throughout the state to help feed thousands of children who would otherwise go without meals during the summer months when school is not in session.

The Summer Food Service Program reimburses organizations for meals they serve to children who are at risk of not having enough to eat. The program is only one of the ways Missouri is working to fight childhood hunger.

"Preventing food insecurity in children is an important step in improving the health of Missourians," said Dr. Randall Williams, DHSS director. "Without the assistance of organizations across the state many of Missouri's children would go hungry during the summer months. Thank you to all organizations who have participated in the past, and thank you to any organization considering participating this summer. DHSS would be happy to answer any questions an organization may have as they consider participating in this program."

The summer food program provides nutritious meals to children under age 18 during the summer months when school breakfast and lunch programs are not operating.

Organizations eligible to participate in the program include schools, faith-based organizations, camps, private nonprofit agencies and local government entities. The sites are required to be located in areas where at least half of the children are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals.

The federally funded program is administered by DHSS. The department will accept applications March 1 through May 15 to participate in the program. Organizations interested in becoming sponsors are required to attend training. 

More information about the Summer Food Service Program is available online at www.health.mo.gov/sfsp , by telephone at 888-435-1464 (toll-free) or through RELAY MISSOURI for the Hearing and Speech Impaired by dialing 711 or 1-800-676-3777.  Potential sponsors may also write to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Summer Food Service Program, P.O. Box 570, Jefferson City, MO 65102.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits.  Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or
(3) email: program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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Thu, 01 Feb 2018 11:56:20 CST
<![CDATA[ MO Dept. of Health and Senior Services awarded grant for prevention of heart disease]]>Department working to increase efforts to prevent heart disease in adults and children

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - The month of February is American Heart Month and includes National Wear Red Day. Both of these campaigns seek to remind Americans and Missourians to focus on their hearts and work together to build a culture of health in the state.

Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), a physician with 30 years of experience in obstetrics and gynecology, notes the importance of heart health in mothers. "I strongly encourage people to see heart health as an integral part of pregnancy-related care," says Williams. "Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in Missouri mothers and congenital heart defect is the leading birth defect in our country. Keeping mothers healthy and screening for potential problems as babies develop are as key to prenatal care as taking vitamins and getting regular checkups."

The American Heart Association is hoping to bring awareness to the issue this coming Friday, February 2, by encouraging everyone to "Go Red for Women" on National Wear Red Day, then share photos with friends and colleagues with the social media tag #WearRedandGive.

Chair of the Missouri Women's Health Council and Go Red Ambassador Teri Ackerson is acutely aware of the importance of heart health. "As a congenital heart defect and stroke survivor, as well as a Registered Nurse that specializes in neuroscience, the recognition of heart health for the month of February gives me the opportunity to express my gratitude for all of the positive changes we have made with medications, technologies and therapies to improve my quality of life through research," she says. "It also gives me the opportunity to educate and advocate in the community for prevention. Heart disease is the number one killer in our great state and stroke is the number one cause of long term disability; 80 percent of these issues are preventable.

"We have made great strides, but we need to continue to work to decrease mortality, and increase quality of life," Ackerson continues. "Red is more than a color to me...it inspires, and encourages. It brings promise of hope for a cure."

DHSS' efforts to address cardiovascular disease will extend beyond February thanks to a new collaboration with the National Governors Association. The department and the state of Missouri were selected by the National Governors Association to participate in a learning collaborative called Improving Health in Rural America: Addressing the Leading Causes of Death. Missouri is one of six states selected.

The Missouri delegation, consisting of members from the Governor's Office, Missouri Hospital Association and DHSS, will develop and implement strategies to address heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in both rural and urban Missouri. As part of the National Governors Association initiative, Missouri will work to address these preventable factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and obesity.

Heart disease can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure and death. Risk can be reduced or prevented with a few simple lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Maintain a normal weight;
  • Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables;
  • Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days;
  • Avoid tobacco products and limit alcohol intake;
  • Get regular medical check-ups and screenings;
  • Follow your doctor's instructions for medications, treatment, and management of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

More information about heart disease can be found at: http://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/chronic/heartdisease/index.php.

For more information about the DHSS Office of Primary Care and Rural Health, please visit http://health.mo.gov/living/families/ruralhealth/index.php.

About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov.

 

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Thu, 01 Feb 2018 09:03:34 CST
<![CDATA[ Hepatitis A case identified in Poplar Bluff, MO]]>

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - A case of hepatitis A has been identified in a food handler that worked while potentially contagious at Huddle House in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. The restaurant, in conjunction with the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services and Butler County Health Department, is investigating and is taking necessary control measures to decrease the spread of the illness.

Members of the public who ate at the Poplar Bluff, Missouri Huddle House between January 3, 2018 and January 17, 2018 should consider speaking with their health care provider about steps to take to prevent illness. Patrons exposed during this time period should seek medical care if they have symptoms of hepatitis A. Symptoms usually develop between two and seven weeks after exposure and can include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)

Vaccine and Immune Globulin (IG) for those Exposed to Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable disease. If given within two weeks of exposure, according to the specific CDC guidelines for prophylaxis, vaccine or immune globulin (IG) can prevent illness. With concurrent outbreaks occurring across the nation, vaccine and IG are in limited supply. Therefore, use of these prevention strategies must be restricted to those at highest risk for illness or complications. It is important to note that receiving a Hepatitis A vaccine or IG more than two weeks after a known exposure may not prevent illness. 

Disease Information

Hepatitis A is a virus that infects the liver. Most people who get hepatitis A feel sick for several weeks, but they usually recover completely and do not have lasting liver damage. In rare cases, hepatitis A can cause liver failure and death; this is more common in people older than 50 and in people with other liver diseases.

Prevention

Hepatitis A is spread when a person swallows the virus present on objects or in food or drinks contaminated by tiny amounts of stool from an infected person. The best way to keep from getting sick from hepatitis A is to get vaccinated. Hepatitis A vaccine is highly effective when administered properly. However, because vaccines may be limited at this time, good hand washing practices are even more important than usual to prevent hepatitis A from spreading. Washing hands after going to the bathroom and changing diapers and before preparing or eating food help keep the virus from spreading to uninfected people.

For more information about Hepatitis A, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at: https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/afaq.htm

Members of the public or providers with patients who are concerned about a potential exposure can call Butler County Health Department at 573-785-8478.

About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in promoting, protecting and partnering for health. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov.

 

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Thu, 25 Jan 2018 14:36:37 CST
<![CDATA[ Take Action to Prevent the Flu]]>Flu Activity is Widespread in Missouri

Missouri's flu activity for 2017-2018 is widespread. The season currently is very similar to what was seen during the 2014-2015 flu season, both in the timing and amount of cases reported. A season total of almost 31,000 cases were reported to the Department of Health and Senior Services through the first week of 2018. During the same time period in the 2014-2015 flu season, 32,528 flu cases were reported statewide. 

While the current flu season is similar to the 2014-2015 season, it's important to remember that flu is hard to predict, but you can help prevent the spread of the flu. The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year.

How can I prevent the flu?

  • Get a yearly flu vaccination.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces.
  • Stay home while you're sick and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

How does the flu spread?

Flu viruses are thought to spread mainly from person to person through droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Flu viruses also may spread when people touch something with flu virus on it and then touch their mouth, eyes or nose. Many other viruses spread these ways too. People infected with flu may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. That means you may be able to spread the flu to someone else before you know you are sick as well as while you are sick. Young children, those who are severely ill, and those who have severely weakened immune systems may be able to infect others for longer than 5-7 days.

How do I know if I have the flu?

The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

What should I do if I have the flu?

Most people with flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get sick with flu symptoms, drink plenty of water and other clear liquids to prevent dehydration; get plenty of rest; and treat symptoms such as fever with over-the-counter medicines. In addition, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. You should stay home for at least 24 hours after fever is gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.

Remember that groups of people at high risk for flu-related complications include children age 5 and under, adults older than 65, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease. If you have symptoms of the flu and are in a high risk group, or have questions or concerns, contact your primary health care provider.

For more information or to find a flu vaccine location near you, visit health.mo.gov/flu.

About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in promoting, protecting and partnering for health. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov.

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Thu, 11 Jan 2018 17:28:57 CST
<![CDATA[ 2016 CDC Water Fluoridation Awards]]>JEFFERSON CITY, MO - The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced today that 19 Missouri public water systems have been awarded a Water Fluoridation Quality Award from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Fluoridation is the adjustment of fluoride in drinking water to a level that is effective for preventing tooth decay.  The award recognizes communities that achieved excellence in community water fluoridation by maintaining a consistent level of fluoride in drinking water throughout 2016.  Those communities are as follows:

Jefferson County Public Water Supply District #5
Jefferson County Public Water Supply District #7

Hannibal Board of Public Works

Glasgow Public Water District

Eureka Public Works Water Department

Public Water District #1 of Stoddard County

Cole County Public Water Supply District #4

City of Kahoka

Consolidated Public Water Supply

Liberty Water Treatment Plant

Chillicothe Public Water Supply District #3

Brookfield Public Water Supply District #3

Linn-Livingston Public Water Supply District #3

Nixa Water District

Park Hills Public Water Supply District

Perryville Water Supply District

Slater Water Supply District

Jackson Water Supply District

Fort Leonard Wood Water Supply

For 2016, a total of 1,360 public water systems in 29 states received these awards, including those in Missouri.

"Water fluoridation is one of the best investments that a community can make to maintain the oral health of its citizens.  It is equally as effective in preventing cavities in children and adults," states Casey Hannan, MPH, Acting Director, CDC Division of Oral Health. 

Fluoridation is highly cost effective.  Studies continue to show that for every $1 a community invests in water fluoridation, $38 are saved in dental treatment costs.

Community water fluoridation has been recognized by CDC as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th Century.  CDC recommends water fluoridation as one of the most practical, cost-effective, equitable and safe measures a community can take to prevent tooth decay and improve oral health.

About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in promoting, protecting and partnering for health. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov.

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Mon, 08 Jan 2018 09:21:15 CST