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[ Making Tick Bite Prevention a Summer Routine]]>As the summer season continues it is important that tick bite prevention remains a part of your summer routine.

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - To date in 2018, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has recorded 344 cases of spotted fever rickettsioses, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, 208 cases of ehrlichiosis, 7 cases of Lyme disease, 11 cases of tularemia and 1 case of Heartland virus. There have been no recorded cases of acute Bourbon virus. Overall, 2018 tick-borne illness case counts are slightly behind 2017 reported cases.

"Missouri is a beautiful state, home to gorgeous parks, fantastic hiking trails, national forest lands, pretty lakes, and unfortunately ticks," said Dr. Randall Williams, DHSS Director. "Symptoms of tick-borne diseases typically begin within two weeks of a bite by an infected tick and for most people include a sudden fever, body aches and headache. Symptoms are often flu-like. If you find an attached tick, remove it 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.

In 1804, Lewis and Clark even made note in their journals about Missouri's ticks and mosquitos. Back then, they didn't have the same awareness of the dangers of tick bites as we do today. Today we know tick bites can transmit disease which is why DHSS continues to collaborate with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding ticks and the diseases they carry, including emerging diseases such as Heartland and Bourbon viruses. As was published this past Wednesday, July 25, in the New England Journal of Medicine, (Tickborne Diseases - Confronting a Growing Threat) "The burden of tickborne diseases seems likely to continue to grow substantially."

Ticks may be small pests but their bite can have big consequences. DHSS was notified by the CDC that final results for a recent possible case of Bourbon virus were not indicative of acute Bourbon virus infection. Test results indicated that the individual most likely had ehrlichiosis. It is important to note that scientists and researchers are still learning how Bourbon virus affects the body and how the body responds to exposure. Due to test results, it is possible this individual had a prior infection due to Bourbon virus.

"As with any emerging illness, we still have a lot to learn about Bourbon virus," said Williams. Missouri continues to monitor tick-borne diseases and request testing through the CDC for emerging diseases such as Heartland virus and Bourbon virus when indicated. Acute Bourbon virus illness has been detected in two Missourians. Since its discovery, Bourbon virus has also been detected in tick populations in Missouri. Ongoing statewide collaborations between DHSS and the CDC, including additional testing this summer, indicate that statewide, five others in Missouri may have been infected with Bourbon virus, but to our knowledge, the infection was not associated with a known illness. Like other tick-borne diseases, not everyone who is bitten by a tick gets infected or gets sick.

"We are able to provide this number at this time because additional testing for this emerging disease has now been conducted on individuals throughout the state, including this summer, providing us and our partners at the CDC confidence that both privacy requirements and public health objectives are met," said Williams. "With such a new virus, we just don't know how prevalent the disease is in Missouri or the United States.  We do know that Bourbon virus and Heartland virus are present in Missouri ticks, which is why tick bite prevention is so important. We anticipate as the tick season continues, we will continue to test for Bourbon and Heartland viruses."

In addition to collaborating on testing, DHSS is working with the CDC to better understand the burden of tick-borne illness in Missouri and the United States. DHSS and the CDC will be partnering to conduct enhanced surveillance for rickettsial disease (spotted fever group), to identify hot spots for ehrlichiosis, and to improve diagnostic testing. 

DHSS and the CDC also plan to conduct additional surveillance of ticks in Missouri in the near future and will be releasing findings regarding the predicted prevalence of Heartland virus in Northwest Missouri and other vector-borne diseases in animals. The tick-borne disease expertise of DHSS staff in Missouri make Missouri an ideal partner for collaborations with the CDC on these issues. 

Missouri has also prepared and distributed health guidance for medical professionals regarding tick-borne illness in Missouri. The health guidance includes information regarding the number of tick-borne illnesses in Missouri, common symptoms to look for, and information regarding testing and diagnosis.

Preventing tick bites will reduce your risk of tick-borne infections such as Bourbon and Heartland viruses, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, tularemia, and Lyme or other tick-borne diseases. Everyone can more safely enjoy the outdoors, whether at home or traveling, by using the following precautions to avoid tick bites.   

  • Take two-minutes to apply an insect repellent with a minimum of 20% DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin and clothing. Choose a product 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 and should regularly check pets for ticks.
  • Take two more minutes to check for ticks while outdoors and again after returning from the outdoors. If possible, change clothes and shower soon after spending time outdoors.
  • When possible, wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and pants.
  • Always check yourself, family, and friends for ticks after spending time outdoors.
  • Remove ticks promptly.

For more information visit https://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/communicable/2minutedrill/

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 or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo.

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Fri, 27 Jul 2018 13:42:19 CST
<![CDATA[ DHSS remains committed to working with partners to ensure continuation of the Time Critical Diagnosis System]]>

For Immediate Release:

Contact:
Megan Hopkins

Megan.hopkins@health.mo.gov 

 

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is working with partners, including hospitals, providers and emergency medical service professionals to ensure funding for the Time Critical Diagnosis (TCD) System will remain steady moving forward.

 

The TCD System is a statewide system that brings together the 911 response system, ambulance services and hospitals in a coordinated way to provide patients the right care, at the right place, in the right amount of time. By ensuring timely treatment for stroke, STEMI and trauma patients, the system improves recovery times, reduces complications and saves lives.

DHSS’s overall budget is $1.4 billion. Governor Parson’s veto of the TCD program totaled $153,546 with the intent to find a more stable long-term funding source than operating from general revenue.

“We remain committed to working closely with our hospitals, providers and emergency medical services professionals to provide time-sensitive care to patients in a coordinated manner. As we transition the time-critical diagnosis system forward, we will ensure the funding remains steady and continue to provide this essential service for Missourians,” stated Randall Williams, DHSS Director. 

As the DHSS moves forward in this transition, it will continue to work with its partners, and current designations and emergency transport protocols will remain in place.

The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel and agencies throughout Missouri recognize that the TCD System saves hundreds of lives a year. We are excited about the prospect of working with others to improve the TCD System and assure its long term viability,” said Jason White, EMS Consultant Mid-America Regional Council.

“We look forward to working with Gov. Parson and his administration to make sure that access to life saving care is available to every Missourian. We appreciate his commitment to continuing this important program,” stated Herb Kuhn, President and CEO of the Missouri Hospital Association.

Missouri currently has 56 hospitals designated as stroke centers, 55 hospitals designated as STEMI centers and 30 hospitals designated as trauma centers. Most hospitals carry two or more designations. In all, 71 hospitals participate in these voluntary designation programs.

For more information about the TCD System in Missouri, visit https://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/chronic/tcdsystem/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 or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo.

 

 

 

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Tue, 17 Jul 2018 09:01:49 CST
<![CDATA[ Missouri reports cases of cyclosporiasis linked to McDonald's salads]]>

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services in collaboration with local public health agencies across Missouri is investigating cases of cyclosporiasis that appear to be linked to eating McDonald’s salads. A total of seven cases from Missouri report having eaten at McDonald’s restaurants prior to becoming ill.  Additional cases in Missouri and other states continue to be reported and investigated. 

Persons can become infected by consuming food or water contaminated with feces (stool) that contains the cyclosporiasis parasite. Cyclospora is not spread directly from one person to another. In the U.S., foodborne outbreaks of cyclosporiasis have been linked to various types of imported fresh produce. Cases in the U.S. have also occurred in people who traveled to parts of the world where the parasite is found.

 

Symptoms of cyclosporiasis usually begin about one week after exposure, although some people who are infected will not develop symptoms. The infection usually is not life threatening. Symptoms of cyclosporiasis may include the following:

·         Watery diarrhea (most common)

·         Loss of appetite and weight

·         Cramping, bloating, and/or increased gas

·         Nausea (vomiting is less common)

·         Fatigue

·         Low-grade fever

Cyclospora infection can be treated with specific antibiotics. If not treated, symptoms can persist from several weeks to a month or more. Contact your healthcare provider if you have developed these symptoms, and let him or her know you have eaten a salad at McDonald’s.

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 or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo.


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Sat, 14 Jul 2018 14:01:00 CST
<![CDATA[ Keep your Independence Day celebrations safe]]>JEFFERSON CITY, Mo - As families and friends gather to celebrate the July Fourth holiday it is important to take safety precautions to prevent injury and illness.

"This is a great time of year to get outside with the kids, watch the parades and fireworks, and barbecue in the backyard with friends and neighbors," said Dr. Randall Williams, Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). "Taking basic safety precautions can prevent a variety of injuries and illnesses, and could even save your life or that of your loved ones."

Firework Safety. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to leave it to the professionals and attend one of the many free displays across the state. If you will be lighting your own fireworks be sure to:

  • Obey all local laws regarding fireworks.
  • Have a responsible adult supervise all fireworks; do not give fireworks to children.
  • Fireworks and alcohol do not mix, save the alcohol for after the show.

Tick and Mosquito Bite Prevention. Ticks and mosquitoes may be small pests but their bite can have big consequences. DHSS remains concerned about the prevalence of ticks and mosquitoes throughout Missouri. The following safety precautions will help prevent both established and emerging diseases spread by ticks and mosquitoes.

  • Use insect repellent with a minimum 20% DEET, picaridin or IR3535.
  • When possible wear light colored, long sleeved shirts and pants.
  • Always check yourself, family and friends for ticks after spending time outdoors.
  • Remove ticks promptly.

Take two minutes to protect yourself from ticks and mosquitoes.

Food Safety. Whether you are having a picnic, barbecue or fish fry, some simple food safety steps can prevent foodborne illness from crashing your celebration. The following safety guidelines should be followed:

  • Always wash your hands before preparing foods and after handling raw meats, as well as before and after eating.
  • Keep hot food hot (135°F or above) and cold food cold (41°F or below). Left overs not kept under temperature control should be discarded if left out over two hours.
  • Cook foods completely. Hamburgers should reach 155°F, fish and pork 145°F and chicken or other poultry 165°F.
  • Avoid cross contamination of foods by keeping them separate and well wrapped.

Find more food safety tips here.

Water Safety. Missouri has a wealth of recreational water areas from backyard ponds, lakes and streams to multi-million gallon water parks with wave pools and slides. All these recreational water options provide hours of fun, but dangers can lurk in the water. Drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury worldwide and among Missouri's children. The majority child drowning fatalities in Missouri occurred in unsupervised children under the age of five.

A drowning can occur quickly and silently in a matter of seconds and young children can drown in as little as one inch of water. Children under the age of one are most likely to drown at home in a bathtub or bucket. Children aged one through five are most likely to drown in a pool. Children aged five and older are most likely to drown in open water such a lake, pond, stream or river. By following the safety tips below you can reduce the risk of drowning this holiday:

  • Never leave a child unattended in or near water.
  • Actively supervise children and stay within arm's reach of young children. Avoid distractions.
  • Teach children water safety skills and swimming skills as early as possible.
  • Only swim in designated areas, preferably with a lifeguard. Remember lifeguards provide assistance in emergencies and should not be relied on for supervision.
  • Warn children to stay away from drains in pools.
  • Install proper barriers and covers around your pool and spa.
  • Wear life jackets as appropriate. Life jackets should be US Coast Guard certified, the proper size for the individual, and in good condition. Floatation devices are not a substitution for adult supervision.
  • Know CPR and if a child is missing check the water first.

"The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays but unfortunately it can also be one of the most dangerous holidays of the year," said Williams. "No matter how you are celebrating this year be it watching a fireworks display, tubing down a river or feasting on a backyard barbecue, we want you to do it safely."

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 or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo.

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Fri, 29 Jun 2018 16:17:42 CST
<![CDATA[ Missouri's rate of opioid deaths decreasing]]>JEFFERSON CITY, MO - While the 2017 numbers of opioid related deaths increased from the 2016 numbers, the rate of increase in opioid deaths was markedly reduced compared to the previous year. From 2015 to 2016 there was a 35 percent increase in opioid- or heroin-related deaths in the state, but the 2016 to 2017 numbers increased by only 4.7 percent.

In 2016, there were 908 opioid- or heroin-related deaths in the state, a 35 percent increase over 2015's number of 672. During this past year, the opioid related deaths increased only 4.7 percent. In total, there were 951 opioid deaths in Missouri, with 298 heroin deaths and 653 opioid deaths that were non-heroin.

Missouri is suffering through an opioid abuse crisis which impacts many families. The State of Missouri along with many partners continues to take significant steps in fighting this epidemic.

"We must continue our efforts to find innovative solutions to combat and curb opioid abuse," said Governor Mike Parson. "We remain committed to fighting this drug epidemic and will work to help all families and individuals throughout Missouri to end this epidemic."

"The opioid crisis is the number one public health issue Missouri is facing," said Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) director Randall Williams, MD. "We are incredibly thankful to all who have helped us meet the challenge that exists both nationally and in Missouri. The declining rate of opioid deaths shows improvement statewide; however, we recognize that one loss is too many and we are committed to working as hard as we can to decrease the number of deaths."

"The Department of Social Services is committed to making a positive difference and saving lives as our neighbors, friends, family and colleagues struggle with opioids," said Steve Corsi, Psy.D., Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) director. "There is no group of people who are immune to opioid addiction and we are engaged with physicians and physician groups to work to refine an early detection and prevention system for opioids while reducing administrative burdens on physicians so they can remain focused on patient care. We've made great strides in shifting the trajectory of opioid deaths in Missouri over the past year and we want to see that progress accelerate."

One of the most significant efforts DHSS has undertaken is trying to decrease the potential for people to become addicted to opioids. Prescriber data is now being proactively reviewed once received from a pharmacy benefit manager, which is provided to DHSS voluntarily. While no patient information is received, it allows the department to analyze data to identify activity indicating that controlled substances, including opioids, are being inappropriately prescribed, dispensed or obtained, and for DHSS to take appropriate action. DHSS has stepped up investigations of improper prescription behavior through its Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD).

DHSS is also working with Missouri's Medicaid Program, MO HealthNet, to improve interactions with providers and to ensure MO HealthNet patients are receiving care according to best practice guidelines for opioid prescribing. These quality indicators are used for provider education and also to engage physicians.

The Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH), in collaboration with researchers at the University of Missouri, St. Louis - Missouri Institute of Mental Health (MIMH), received a grant to expand access to integrated prevention, treatment and recovery support services for individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD) throughout the state. This grant, known as the Missouri Opioid State Targeted Response (STR) is implementing a "medication first" treatment model, designed to increase access to evidence-based medications for OUD.

"Early results from the STR grant efforts indicate a successful implementation of the medication first model. At agencies throughout the state, individuals were more likely to receive medication for OUD and receive the medication sooner, needed fewer psychosocial services and remained in treatment longer," said Mark Stringer, DMH director.

In addition, the grant has supplied over 5,000 naloxone kits to at-risk individuals and their loved ones, and clinicians who work with at-risk populations.

Other efforts to reduce opioid related deaths include:

  • The passing of Senate Bill 826 that limits initial new prescriptions of opioids to a seven day supply. This bill allows BNDD to implement rules so drug disposal boxes may be placed in pharmacies for citizens to use. The current drug take-back events held every six months in Missouri are averaging almost 40,000 pounds per event over the past two years.
  • The passing of HB 2280, which extends MO HealthNet (Medicaid) coverage an additional year for mothers in need of substance use treatment. The extended coverage would be limited to benefits for substance use treatment and mental health services so long as the woman remains adherent with the treatment. Missouri is the first state in the nation to pass such a policy.
  • Establishing the St. Louis Emergency Operations Center. The Missouri Departments of Health and Senior Services, Social Services, Corrections, Public Safety, Economic Development and Mental Health in partnership with the City of St. Louis Departments of Health, Human Services, Fire, EMS, Police and the DEA have launched St. Louis Emergency Operations Center, a command center aimed at reducing opioid overdose death and homicides. The command center operations will take place from the City of St. Louis Department of Health. The command center response team will utilize predictive analytics and public health intelligence to guide interventions.The response team will perform secondary assessments to determine the need for substance abuse treatment and/or additional wrap around support or services, once individuals have been duly stabilized by City of St. Louis emergency first responders.
  • Creating the Missouri Overdose Rescue and Education (MORE) project through a federal grant awarded to the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services to provide naloxone to first responders and train them on administering the nasal spray to reverse an apparent opioid overdose. Additional information on the MORE project can be found at: https://health.mo.gov/safety/ems/more/.

Additional information regarding the opioid epidemic in Missouri can be found on the DHSS website, https://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 or find us on Facebook (@HealthyLivingMo) and Twitter (@HealthyLivingMo).

About the Missouri Department of Mental Health: The department is nationally recognized in treatment and services for individuals with mental illness, substance use disorders and developmental disabilities. More information about DMH can be found at dmh.mo.gov. You can also find us on Facebook (@MentalHealthMo) or Twitter (@MentalHealthMo).

About the Missouri Department of Social Services:  We will lead the nation in building the capacity of individuals, families, and communities to secure and sustain healthy, safe, and productive lives. More information about DSS can be found at dss.mo.gov. You can also find us on Facebook (@MOSocialServices) or Twitter (@DSS_Missouri).

 

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EDUCATIONWed, 27 Jun 2018 15:39:55 CST
<![CDATA[ Effective stillbirth prevention campaign launches in Missouri]]>Goal to save 119 Missouri babies every year, reducing the stillbirth rate by 26 percent

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is announcing a partnership with Count the Kicks, a proven stillbirth prevention public health campaign. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Missouri has the 21st highest stillbirth rate in the country. Missouri vital statistics show that 458 stillborn babies are born each year in our state. The introduction of Count the Kicks in Missouri has the potential to save 119 babies every year if Missouri's stillbirth rate decreases by 26 percent, as has happened in neighboring Iowa where the campaign began.

Count the Kicks teaches the method for and importance of tracking fetal movement in the third trimester of pregnancy. Scientific studies show that expectant moms should track their baby's movements once a day in the third trimester and learn how long it normally takes their baby to get to 10 movements. Moms will start to notice a pattern, a normal amount of time it takes their baby to get to 10. If "normal" changes during the third trimester, this could be a sign of potential problems and an indication to call their provider.

Particular efforts will be made to eliminate racial disparities while lowering the overall stillbirth rate. Nationally and across Missouri, African American women are more than twice as likely to lose a baby to stillbirth as the general population of pregnant women.

"As a former practicing obstetrician, I know the power of this simple but highly effective method of kick counting and educated my patients on this during the third trimester of pregnancy as something mothers can do to help keep their baby safe. Stillbirth affects one in every 167 pregnancies. I encourage all Missouri health providers to order Count the Kicks educational materials today and let them spark the kick counting conversation with patients," said Dr. Randall Williams, DHSS Director.

Thanks to DHSS, maternal health providers, birthing hospitals and social service agencies throughout Missouri can order FREE Count the Kicks educational materials at www.countthekicks.org and can start using these materials in their practices right away. Moms everywhere can download the FREE Count the Kicks app, which is available in the Google Play and iTunes online stores. The app, which is available in English and Spanish, allows expectant moms to monitor their baby's movement, record the history, set a daily reminder and count for single babies and twins. The app already helped save three Iowa babies so far this year.

A formal announcement about the partnership will occur on Thursday, June 21 at 10:45 a.m. during the Quarterly Coalition meeting of Generate HealthSTL.org at The Heights, 8001 Dale Ave., St. Louis, Mo 63117.

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 or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo.

Healthy Birth Day, Inc. is the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that created the Count the Kicks public health campaign.

 

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Wed, 20 Jun 2018 15:06:24 CST
<![CDATA[ Planned Parenthood Loses Federal Lawsuit Challenging DHSS Abortion Complication Regulation]]>JEFFERSON CITY, Mo .- The United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri has issued a ruling upholding the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services' (DHSS) complication plan regulation in Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains v. Williams.  DHSS developed a regulation to implement Senate Bill 5, abortion legislation passed during a 2017 special legislative session.  The legislation requires physicians who prescribe or administer certain drugs to induce abortions to have in place a complication plan approved by DHSS.  Under DHSS' regulation, the complication plan must ensure that a board-certified or board-eligible obstetrician/gynecologist is on call and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to treat complications related to abortion drugs prescribed or administered by the physician.

"My experience in state government has taught me that much can be accomplished when people work together. I appreciate both the legislature's passage of this important law and the efforts of those who worked so hard to implement and defend it," Governor Mike Parson stated. Senate Bill 5 was sponsored by Senator Andrew Koenig (R-15).  "I was happy to hear that the court denied the injunction," stated Koenig.  "Senate Bill 5 protects and provides for the health and safety of women in Missouri."   

DHSS Director Randall W. Williams, MD, FACOG, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist with thirty years of experience, is voluntarily an expert witness in the case as well as a defendant.  He provided expert testimony in the case regarding the standard of care for physicians who initiate elective procedures. 

Williams stated, "DHSS is pleased with the Court's ruling upholding its complication plan regulation.  Ensuring the safety of all patients is always the Department's foremost concern.  The complication plan regulation protects the health and safety of patients by reemphasizing the importance of the physician-patient relationship, providing for continuity of care, and ensuring communication among the physician and patient."

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 or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo.

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Wed, 13 Jun 2018 11:02:09 CST
<![CDATA[ Tick Season Continues, Use Caution]]>DHSS issues statement to stress abundance of caution regarding tick-borne illnesses.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo - On the heels of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) advisory in May, the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) wants to again remind everyone to take precautions to prevent tick bites. According to the CDC, tick and mosquito-borne illnesses increased three-fold between 2004 and 2016. Nine new diseases spread by ticks and mosquitos have been discovered since 2004, including Zika in mosquitos and Heartland and Bourbon viruses in ticks.

"This time of year, we remain concerned about the prevalence of ticks and mosquitos throughout Missouri. Out of an abundance of caution, this is our fourth statement since April reminding Missourians to take two minutes to prevent tick bites by using insect repellant and checking for ticks after spending time outdoors. Those two minutes could save your life or the life of a loved one. These steps will help prevent both established and emerging tick-borne disease," said Dr. Randall Williams, DHSS Director.

Late spring through summer are the prime months for tick activity, although DHSS receives reports of tick-borne illness throughout the year, including winter months. According to Dr. George Turabelidze, DHSS State Epidemiologist, "DHSS communication and collaboration with clinicians is critical to timely identification and treatment of tick-borne illness. We don't want anyone to experience tick-borne illness, but if they do we want to accurately and quickly diagnose the disease."

Missouri's 2018 reported cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis are lagging slightly behind 2017 cases but are expected to be similar to prior years. However, a possible case of Bourbon virus has been reported in an adult resident of St. Louis County. The individual has recovered. While initial testing was negative for Heartland and Bourbon virus, due to clinical symptoms and in an abundance of caution, additional different testing was conducted. Test results indicate a possible case of Bourbon virus. Confirmation of the possible positive test results, which require blood samples collected over time, will not be available for two to three weeks. CDC is the only entity that conducts Heartland and Bourbon virus testing.

The patient with possible Bourbon virus reports being bitten by a tick after spending time outdoors in the southwest St. Louis area. The patient does not report spending time in specific locations associated with prior positive Bourbon virus test results in people or ticks. Bourbon virus was initially identified in an individual in Bourbon County, Kansas. It has also been reported in Oklahoma and detected in ticks in Northwest Missouri, in a resident of Southwest Missouri, a resident of East Central Missouri, and now possibly a second resident of East Central Missouri.

"This potential case was identified through our collaboration with physicians, the CDC and an individual assessment of every suspected tick-borne illness in the state with special attention to emerging diseases in Missouri," said Turabelidze. "It is important for individuals and health care providers to pay attention to symptoms and be open to the possibility of tick-borne illness, especially during the warmer months."

"I'm thankful for our state epidemiologist, clinicians and the CDC for their collaboration and heightened surveillance. This possible case may not have been identified if not for their diligence," said Williams. "It is so important to seek medical attention if you are bit by a tick and develop flu-like symptoms and be sure to let your provider know tick-borne illness is a possibility. But remember, 52 percent of people have no recollection of being bitten by a tick, so if you experience flu-like symptoms in the summer you and your health care provider should consider the possibility of a tick-borne illness," said Williams.

Symptoms of these tick-borne diseases typically begin within two weeks of a bite by an infected tick and for most people include a sudden fever, body aches and headache. If you find an attached tick, remove it promptly. The longer it is attached the greater the risk of infection. If symptoms occur following a tick bite, or even after exposure to a tick habitat, be sure to tell your health care provider.

"As we have indicated previously, Bourbon virus and Heartland virus are present in Missouri. If Bourbon virus follows the trend of Heartland virus it is reasonable to expect we will see reports of these emerging illnesses in different locations in Missouri," said Williams. "This is why everyone should be concerned about tick bites no matter where they spend time outdoors."

Despite the variety of ticks throughout Missouri, everyone can safely enjoy the outdoors by taking two minutes to prevent tick bites:

  • Use an insect repellent with a minimum of 20% DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin and clothing. Choose a product that lasts several hours whenever you spend time outdoors. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age.
  • If you are also using sunscreen, apply it first, let it dry, and then apply repellent. Products that contain both sunscreen and repellent are not recommended
  • When possible, wear protective clothing (light colored, long sleeved shirts and pants) when outdoors to keep ticks off skin.
  • Always check yourself, family, or friends for ticks after spending time outdoors. Change your clothing or shower quickly after spending time outdoors when possible.

For more information visit https://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/communicable/2minutedrill/

 

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Thu, 07 Jun 2018 18:46:06 CST
<![CDATA[ Online map will help families locate local summer food programs]]>Free meals will be served to low-income children at hundreds of locations in Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) offers an online map that can help low-income families in Missouri find out where their children can receive free meals this summer. The interactive map pinpoints hundreds of locations in Missouri where meals will be provided through the state health department's Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

Community organizations serve the meals at schools, churches, parks, swimming pools, YMCA facilities, Boys and Girls Clubs, and other spots where children gather when school is not in session.  The meals are provided to children who receive free or reduced price meals during the regular school year. Children do not have to register and there is no fee to participate in the program.

"Summer can be a time of food insecurity for students who receive free and reduced lunches during the school year," said Dr. Randall Williams, DHSS Director. "This interactive map will help ensure Missouri's children are getting critical nutrition all year long by helping identify locations where free food is being served."

The map and more information about the SFSP can be found at www.health.mo.gov/sfsp/.  The map can be searched by city, county or zip code. Additional information about the SFSP can be found 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. 

Meals will be served to children age 18 and under. They are also provided to individuals age 18 to 21 that have been determined by a state or local educational agency to be mentally or physically disabled and who participate in an established school program for the mentally or physically disabled.

Funding for the SFSP is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Organizations interested in providing meals through the program can also write to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Summer Food Service Program, P.O. Box 570, Jefferson City, MO 65102 or email at sfsp@health.mo.gov.

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. 

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 or find DHSS on Facebook and Twitter at @HealthyLivingMo.

 

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Thu, 31 May 2018 08:02:52 CST
<![CDATA[ Protect Yourself and Others from Tick Bites]]>Two minutes is all it takes to prevent tick bites and tick borne illnesses by applying insect repellant while enjoying the outdoors this Memorial Day weekend.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo -The upcoming Memorial Day Weekend gives Missourians a chance to honor those who have lost their lives serving our country and many of us will spend time outdoors attending Memorial Day events.

"As you gather with friends and family to honor those who gave their lives for our freedoms, the Department of Health and Senior Services wants you to be safe by protecting yourself, friends and family by practicing the 2-Minute Drill to prevent tick bites," said Dr. Randall Williams, Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). "We know with hotter weather ticks become more active, so taking a few minutes to protect yourself and others can prevent you from becoming sick."

Two minutes are all it takes to prevent infection from tick-bites:

  • Use an insect repellent with a minimum of 20% DEET, picaridin or IR3535 on exposed skin and clothing. Choose a product that lasts several hours whenever you spend time outdoors. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age.
  • If you are also using sunscreen, apply it first, let it dry, and then apply repellent. Products that contain both sunscreen and repellent are not recommended
  • When possible, wear protective clothing (light colored, long sleeved shirts and pants) when outdoors to keep ticks off skin.

Missouri is home to a variety of tick species, including the Lone Star tick, American Dog tick and Deer tick. Missouri also experiences a variety of tick-borne illness including Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis.

"In 2018, we have already seen 37 cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and 14 cases of ehrlichiosis throughout Missouri, which is similar to what we have seen in years past. May, June and July are our prime months for tick-borne illness in Missouri," continued Dr. Williams.

Other tick-borne diseases include tularemia, Lyme or Lyme-like disease, and disease caused by Heartland and Bourbon viruses. "We continue to work with experts on tick-borne disease from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who study emerging tick-borne threats such as Bourbon and Heartland viruses and monitor symptomatic patients experiencing tick-borne illness," said Dr. Williams.

No matter where you spend your outdoor time this weekend, use insect repellant, check for ticks while you're having fun and again after returning from the outdoors. If possible you should change clothes and shower soon after spending time outdoors. "Prevention is the key to decreasing tick-borne disease whenever you are outside, please remember to use insect repellant and check for ticks," stated Dr. Williams.

Symptoms of tick-borne diseases typically begin within two weeks of a bite by an infected tick and for most people include a sudden fever, body aches and headache. If you find an attached tick, remove it 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.

If symptoms occur following a tick bite, or even after exposure to a tick habitat, be sure to tell your health care provider. For more information visit http://health.mo.gov/2minutedrill/ and cdc.gov/ticks.

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 or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo.

 

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Thu, 24 May 2018 15:04:24 CST
<![CDATA[ Stay cool, stay hydrated, stay informed]]>The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is urging everyone to prepare for summer heat by staying cool, staying hydrated and staying informed.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo - The heat and humidity of Missouri can affect everyone, but can be especially dangerous to small children, the elderly and the chronically ill.

Each year many Missourians suffer from heat related illnesses, some of which can result in death. In 2017, 19 Missourians died from heat related illness*.

"When temperatures rise, especially early in the season, it is important that we remain vigilant about the dangers of heat exhaustion and heat stroke," said Dr. Randall Williams, Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). "We are mindful that 12 seniors died in a nursing home from the heat after Hurricane Irma. We encourage everyone to check on elderly family, friends and neighbors to make sure they are staying cool and hydrated."

The elderly and chronically ill are often more vulnerable to heat and humidity because they perspire less and are more likely to be taking medications that can impair the body's response to heat. Williams urges Missourians to use the state's toll-free abuse and neglect hotline at 1-800-392-0210 to report any elderly or adults with disabilities suffering from the heat and needing assistance.

There are a number of steps individuals can take to stay cool during the summer season including:

  • Wear appropriate clothing-wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Stay Cool Indoors-stay in air-conditioned places as much as possible. Local cooling centers can be found on our website at https://ogi.oa.mo.gov/DHSS/coolingCenter/index.html
  • Stay Hydrated-drink plenty of fluids regardless of your activity level and don't wait to until you are thirsty. Avoid sugary and alcoholic beverages, these actually cause you to lose body fluids.
  • Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully-try to plan outdoor activity for morning or evening hours when the temperature is coolest.
  • Pace yourself-reduce exercise or physical activity during the hottest part of the day and take frequent breaks in the shade or in an air-conditioned place.
  • Wear Sunscreen-sunburn affects your body's ability to cool down and can make you dehydrated.
  • Prepare your Home-change air conditioner filters, cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes or shades, and make sure you have portable fans if necessary.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of heat related illness and how treat them is also important.

"Symptoms related to heat stroke or heat exhaustion can be very serious," said Williams. "Developing muscle cramping may be the first indication that you are developing a heat related illness. Knowing the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke could save your life or that of a loved one."

Signs of heat exhaustion may include muscle cramps; heavy sweating; cold, pale and clammy skin; dizziness; headache; nausea or vomiting; and fainting or passing out.  If you think you or a loved one are experiencing heat exhaustion you should stop physical activity; move to a cool place-preferably air-conditioned-loosen clothing; and sip cool water. Seek medical attention immediately if you are throwing up, your symptoms get worse or symptoms last longer than one hour.

Signs of heat stroke may include high body temperature (103°F or higher); hot, red, dry or damp skin; fast, strong pulse; headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; or loss of consciousness.  If you think you or a loved one are experiencing heat stroke you should call 911 immediately.  Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Move the person to a cool place-preferably air-conditioned. Help lower the person's body temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath until medical personnel arrive. Do not give the person anything to drink.

For more information regarding heat related illness and prevention visit the DHSS website or the CDC.

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 or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo.

*This number is preliminary.  2017 death records will not be final until July 2018.

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Fri, 18 May 2018 15:17:27 CST
<![CDATA[ Missouri designates 55 STEMI centers improving response time and care]]>JEFFERSON CITY, MO - Missouri has designated 55 STEMI (ST-elevation Myocardial Infarction) Centers, the newest component of the Time Critical Diagnosis (TCD) System, throughout the state.  A STEMI is one type of heart attack that is a potentially lethal condition for which specific therapies, administered rapidly, reduce mortality and disability. The TCD System is a statewide system that brings together the 911 response system, ambulance services and hospitals in a coordinated way to provide patients the right care, at the right place, in the right amount of time.  With the designated STEMI Centers in place, individuals suffering a STEMI will receive quicker response times and improved survival and recovery rates.

"Minutes matter during an emergency," said Dr. Randall Williams, Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. "Having this coordinated approach through the STEMI Centers will help a greater number of people survive and recover from trauma, stroke and heart attack."

For a list of STEMI Centers visit https://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/chronic/tcdsystem/designatedhospitals.php. For more information on the Missouri Time Critical Diagnosis System visit https://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/chronic/tcdsystem/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 or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo.

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Tue, 15 May 2018 12:52:10 CST
<![CDATA[ Ticks can carry many diseases]]>Whether people are enjoying the beautiful outdoors in Missouri or elsewhere, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services recommends awareness of diseases transmitted by ticks.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo - Tick season is here and milder winters and warm spring temperatures could result in a higher numbers of ticks and tick-borne disease. National numbers recently released May 1 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that cases of diseases transmitted by ticks doubled from 2004 - 2016. In addition, new disease-causing agents that can be transmitted by ticks have been discovered in the past few years. Missouri is home to large numbers of ticks, which means that tick-borne diseases can pose a risk to persons who work or play outdoors.   

"As with the flu, we stated in October it looked like it might be a difficult year with high rates of flu and potentially severe strains and encouraged everyone to get a flu shot. Unfortunately, we did experience a very tough flu season," said Dr. Randall Williams, DHSS Director. "Based on last week's CDC report, we are again reminding every one of the potential of tick-borne illness in Missouri and encouraging you to take simple precautions to lower your risk of tick bites and tick-borne illness."  At least six different types of tick-borne diseases have been reported in Missouri residents, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, tularemia, Lyme or Lyme-like disease, and disease caused by Heartland and Bourbon viruses. The majority of these cases occur in May, June and July.

Symptoms of these diseases typically begin within two weeks of a bite by an infected tick and for most people include a sudden fever, body aches and headache. "As I often told patients, if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms in the summer when it is not flu season, you should talk with your doctor about the possibility of tick-borne illness," continued Dr. Williams. Another possible sign of tick-borne disease is fever and a 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. Not all ticks transmit these infections, and not all tick bites lead to illness. The majority of Missouri's tick-borne illnesses can be successfully treated if they are caught early, but sometimes they are deadly.

As DHSS stated in April, everyone can safely enjoy the outdoors, whether at home or traveling, by using some simple precautions to avoid tick bites.    

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 and clothing. Choose a product 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.

If you find an attached tick, remove it 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.

If symptoms occur following a tick bite, or even after exposure to a tick habitat, be sure to tell your health care provider. For more information visit www.health.mo.gov/ticks.

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 or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo.

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Mon, 07 May 2018 15:05:55 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.  Currently, there are 10 cases of measles among Missouri residents identified as part of an ongoing measles investigation.  Known locations where exposures may have occurred include the following:

Date

Location Name

Exposure Timeframe

Location Address

April 12, 2018

Casey's General Store

Noon-2 p.m.

112 Branch St,
Platte City, MO

April 12, 2018

Hy-Vee

11 a.m.-1:15 p.m.

207 NE Englewood Rd
Kansas City, MO

April 12, 2018

CommunityAmerica Credit Union

11 a.m.-1:15 p.m.

207 NE Englewood Rd
Kansas City, MO

April 12, 2018

Jasmine Mini Mart

11 a.m.-1:15 p.m.

406 NW Englewood Rd
Kansas City, MO

April 14, 2018

The Children's Place - Zona Rosa Town Center

11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

7220 NW 86th Pl
Kansas City, MO

April 14, 2018

Cosentino's New Mark Sunfresh

2:30 p.m.-5:30p.m.

10225 N Oak Trafficway Kansas City, MO

April 15, 2018

Cosentino's New Mark Sunfresh

2 p.m.-4:40 p.m.

10225 N Oak Trafficway Kansas City, MO

April 18, 2018

Saint Joseph Medical Center Medical Mall, Main Entrance and Elevators

8:45 a.m.-2 p.m.

1000 Carondelet Dr
Kansas City, 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 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 or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo.

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Thu, 26 Apr 2018 12:11:38 CST
<![CDATA[ National Drug Take Back Day - Saturday, April 28]]>JEFFERSON CITY, MO - On Saturday, April 28, law enforcement agencies across the state will be partnering with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to give Missourians the opportunity to discard expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs. Drop off locations, which will operate from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., can be found here. The DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches. The service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked.

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services director, Dr. Randall Williams, stresses the importance of this event. "National Drug Take Back Day is a fantastic opportunity for Missourians to clean out their medicine cabinets and discard old or unwanted medicines. It might seem like a small thing but getting rid of these drugs could end up saving a life. Nearly 80 percent of American using heroin reported misusing prescription drugs first and it's only about five years from when a person who's misusing prescription drugs moves on to heroin. We must take every step we can to stop this from happening."

Last October Americans turned in 456 tons (912,305 pounds) of prescription drugs at almost 5,500 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,200 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 13 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 8.1 million pounds-more than 4,050 tons-of pills.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug misuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the numbers of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that other methods for disposing of unused medicines-flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash-both pose potential safety and health hazards.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the April 28 Take Back Day event go to the DEA Diversion website. The next event will be held in October 2018.

Information on Missouri's efforts to combat the opioid crisis can also be found by using the tag #MoFightsOpioids on social media.

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, 25 Apr 2018 09:08:55 CST