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[ 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
<![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 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

11730 NW Ambassador Dr.
Kansas City, MO

April 10, 2018

Nebraska Furniture Mart

9:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

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 a.m.-10:30 p.m.

Oak Park Mall
11323 W 95th St
Overland Park, KS

March 30, 2018

Subway

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

312 E 51st St
Kansas City, MO

March 30, 2018

Cosentino's Price Chopper

12:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

6327 Brookside Plaza
Kansas City, MO

March 31, 2018

Laundroplex

5:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.

575 NW 68th St
Kansas City, MO

March 31, 2018

Quick Trip

7:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m.

601 NW 68th St
Kansas City, MO

April 1, 2018

Pleasant Valley Baptist Church (church and lobby)

10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

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