There has been an increase in the number of whooping cough cases, also known as pertussis, in Mississippi County. Health officials are concerned because of the increase in cases during the most recent weeks and the low level of protection among very young children.
These cases occurred as a result of failure to vaccinate and not because of vaccine failure. Making sure that children receive all their shots on time is the best way to control this disease in the future. Children should not receive four doses of DTaP vaccine by 15 months of age and an additional dose of DTaP before they start school. Parents are urged to check their children's shot records to be sure they received all their shots. If they are not sure their children are completely immunized, they should contact their family doctor of the Mississippi County Health Department to bring their children's immunization up to date as soon as possible.
Infants and newborns get Pertussis (whooping cough) from adults who are carriers of this disease. Therefore, all adults who are in contact with, or care for infants, need to get a vaccine of Tdap to prevent pertussis (whooping cough). If you are not sure if you have received the vaccine please contact your doctor or the Mississippi County Health Department.
Whooping cough can be a very serious disease, particularly for infants less than one year of age. Since it is quite contagious, the disease can easily spread through the air from a sick person during talking, sneezing or coughing. The illness starts with symptoms to a common cold. Children suffering from whooping cough often develop coughing fits, especially at night, giving a high-pitched "whoop" sound. The "whoop" is a sign that the person is struggling to breathe between coughs. The disease can be very severe and, although deaths are rare, they do occur, especially in infants less than one year of age.
Adults and children 7 years and older usually develop a much milder form of pertussis. Anyone who is suspected of having whooping cough or who is exposed to a person with the disease should be seen by their physician. For more information call the Mississippi County Health Department at 573-683-2191.
New Asthma Program
The Mississippi County Health Department has instituted a new asthma program. This program is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). It is designed to: assist families of children with asthma in recognizing the signs and symptoms of asthma; offer in depth asthma education at no cost (a service not covered by most insurance plans); and, identify asthma triggers in the home and in the childcare setting. The asthma program also will be conducting non-regulatory Indoor Air Quality assessments of childcare facilities.
This program is targeted toward families of children of any age who have asthma and are in a childcare setting or children <6 years old who are not in a childcare setting. There is no cost for participation in the program.
Interested families should call 573-683-2191.
Salmonellosis, caused by the bacteria Salmonella, is an infection in the lining of the small intestine and can range from mild to severe illness. It is estimated that 40,000 people become infected with Salmonella in the U. S. each year, however there may be many milder cases that are not diagnosed or reported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 600 persons die each year in the United States from acute salmonellosis.
Humans become infected with the Salmonella bacteria by eating foods contaminated with animal feces. Contaminated foods usually look and smell normal. Contaminated foods are often foods of animal origin, such as beef, poultry, milk, or eggs. Any food, including vegetables and drinks, may become contaminated if it comes in direct contact with another contaminated food, infected person, or contaminated object. Other sources may include reptiles, chicks and other fowl, dogs, cats, and farm animals.
The time between exposure and appearance of symptoms is 6 to 72 hours, usually about 12 to 36 hours. Symptoms usually last 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment, unless the person becomes severely dehydrated or the infection spreads from the intestines. Persons with severe diarrhea may require intravenous (IV) fluids to become rehydrated. Antibiotics are not usually necessary unless the infection spreads from the intestines.
Symptoms of Salmonellosis include:
- Abdominal pain, cramping or tenderness
- Muscle pain
It is important for the public health department to know about cases of Salmonellosis. The State Public Health Laboratory identifies the specific type of Salmonella from an infected person to compare with other Salmonella cases in the community. There are over 2,000 different types of Salmonella that have been identified. If many cases of the same type of Salmonella occur at the same time in the community, it may mean that a restaurant, food, or water supply has a problem, which needs correction by the public health department.
Risk factors for becoming infected include:
- Eating contaminated foods, such as items that are undercooked or unrefrigerated
- Family members with recent Salmonellosis
- Owning per iguanas, turtles, lizards, and snakes (reptiles may be carriers of Salmonella)
- Persons with impaired immune systems
Preventative measures include:
- Proper food handling
- Proper food storage (refrigerate at 41 degrees)
- Wash hands, kitchen work surfaces, and utensils with soap and water immediately after they have been in contact with raw or undercooked meat, eggs, or poultry
- Cook all meats, particularly poultry, pork, egg products, and meat dishes thoroughly
- Do not eat or drink foods containing raw or undercooked eggs
- Do not drink raw unpasteurized milk
- Wash hands well after going to the bathroom
- Wash hands with soap and water after handling reptiles, baby chicks or ducklings, or after contact with pet feces
- Persons with weakened immune systems should avoid contact with reptiles, baby chicks, and ducklings and extra cautious when visiting farms and contacting farm animals, including animals at petting zoos
A person can carry the Salmonella bacteria from several days to many months. Infants and people who have been treated with oral antibiotics tend to carry the bacteria longer than others. People with diarrhea need to be excluded from child care, food service or any other group activity where they may present rick to others. Most infected people may return to work or school when their diarrhea stops if they carefully wash their hands after using the restroom. Food handlers, children and staff in child care settings, and health care workers must obtain the approval of the local or state health department before returning to the routine activities.
Please contact your doctor or the Mississippi County Health Department at (573)-683-2191 if you have other questions about salmonellosis.
Swine Flu Health Advisory
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is alerting medical providers of confirmed cases of swine influenza infection in the U.S.
There appears to be human-to-human spread of these viruses as U.S. investigators have not discovered a direct exposure to pigs in any of the confirmed cases. These viruses have also been linked to a swine influenza circulating in Mexico. Symptoms reported in Mexico are a sudden onset of fever higher than 102.2 degrees F, severe head and body ache, eye irritation, and runny nose.
Because of concerns regarding human-to-human transmission of swine flu, enhanced statewide human influenza surveillance is being implemented to identify additional cases that may be occurring. DHSS is requesting that influenza specimens be collected from patients in hospital ICUs with influenza-like illness, suspect or confirmed influenza, bacterial pneumonia, or lower respiratory illness. DHSS is also urging providers to collect specimens from outpatients who meet the definition for influenza-like illness, suspect or confirmed influenza, bacterial pneumonia, or lower respiratory illness. Specimens will be obtained by nasopharyngeal swab and sent to the Missouri State Public Health Laboratory for testing.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is offering this advice for preventing the spread of virus:
- If you have flu symptoms, stay home from work or school. Do not return until two days after symptoms are gone.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Go to the hospital if you have severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, but if your symptoms are mild stay home to avoid spreading the virus to others.
- Masks may be recommended for health care workers, family members and others who come in close contact with swine flu patients, but there is no need for the general public to wear masks.
- It is safe to eat properly handled pork. Cook it to at least 160 degrees.
If you have any questions about the swine flu please call the Health Department at 573-683-2191.
Mississippi County Health Department Re-accredidation 09
The Misssissippi County Health Department was awarded accreditation by the Missouri Institute for Community Health (MICH) for its exemplary service in public health.
this award acknowledges that the Mississippi County helath Department meets or exceeds the standards set by the Missouri Voluntary Accreditation Program for Local Public Health Agencies. Missouri is the only state in the nation to implement such a program, measuring a local health department's capacity and readiness to provide essential public health services to communities. This program is a proto-type for the national voluntary accreditation program that is currently under construction.
"Missouri cintinues to set standards for other states to follow in providing public health services," said Anne Lock, Director of the Center for Local Public Health Services of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. "many of our communities depend on their local public health agencies for services, and the accreditation program leads to continued excellence in serving them."
In order to reach accredited status, Mississippi County Health Department completed a rigorous self-assessment and demonstrated to reviewers that the county is protected by a public health system able to provide quality services and meet today's emerging desease and environmental challenges.
Reviewers noted that Mississippi County Health Department is "the first agency at the primary level to receive 100%, demonstrating exemplary community outreach by a professionally trained staff." In addition, Ms. Glaus and her staff continue to excell as public health leaders by serving as mentors to other agencies here in Missouri and other states preparing for accreditation.
Accreditation by the Missouri Institute for Community Health is a seal of aproval given for the agency's delivery of public health services, according to Lock. "The Missouri Institute for Community Health has done an outstanding job of establishing a challenging and visionary program," said Lock.
The Missouri Department of health and Senior Services partnered with the Institute and the Heartland Centers for Workforce Preparedness of St. Louis University to make the Voluntary Accreditation program for local public health agencies a reality. The Institute membership includes representatives from state academic institutions, local health departments and state agencies.
It is likely in the event of a pandemic that adequate supplies of effective medications (antivirals) will be in short supply, and that a vaccine for the particular strain of influenza virus causing the pandemic will not be available for some time, likely for several months. If this occurs, the public will have to use alternative means to protect themselves from becoming infected. Although the strategies outlined below may seem to be basic, they are very effective in reducing the risk of becoming infected with influenza and/or transmitting it to others.
For persons with symptoms in non-health-care settings Adults can shed influenza virus 1 day before symptoms appear (and up to 5 days after onset of illness), thus the selective use of masks when you are in the proximity of a symptomatic person may not effectively limit transmission in the community. Instead, emphasis should be placed on "respiratory hygiene" or "cough etiquette" for persons with respiratory symptoms when in the presence of another person at home, school, work, and in other public settings. Important components of this strategy include encouraging persons with respiratory symptoms to:
Cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
Use tissues to contain respiratory secretions and, after use, dispose of them in the nearest waste receptacle.
Perform hand hygiene (i.e. wash hands frequently or use hand-sanitizer in the absence of soap and water) after having contact with respiratory secretions and potentially contaminated objects/materials.
Remain at home until the fever is resolved and the cough is resolving to avoid exposing other members of the public.
If a symptomatic person cannot stay home early in their illness they should be sure to cover their cough with their hand and a tissue. Also, surgical masks can be worn by the infected person to help limit aerosol spread.
Well persons in the community (unvaccinated persons without symptoms) At this time, no specific recommendations can be made regarding the use of masks in this situation. There currently are no data available to demonstrate the effectiveness of masks in decreasing the risk of infection with influenza virus by the general public.
Instead, the following practical practices should be followed, at least until a vaccine is available:
Avoid crowded conditions
Wash hands often and well
Provide tissues and disposal receptacles for symptomatic family members, friends, and colleagues.
Watch and listen for public health directives at the time of an outbreak for updated information on prevention recommendations, vaccine, and anti-viral agent availability.
In addition to personal hygiene, individuals can prepare for a possible pandemic by having a family plan in case they are requested to remain at home during the period of greatest risk of spread of the virus, or if schools are closed.
Have a communication plan to stay in touch with family members.
Have supplies on hand, including essential medicines, so that they are able to stay at home for an extended period (at least ten days) if asked to do so by public health authorities to limit the spread of the disease in the community.
For more information on creating a family plan for an emergency, visit the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS)
Ready in Three website at http://www.dhss.mo.gov/Ready_in_3/index.html.
Safety Tips ffor Handling Chicks and Ducklings
Many children recieve chicks and ducklings as gifts durring the Easter season. However, they do not receive any tips for safe handling of these little birds. Abiding
by a few easy guidelines can keep all animal handlers safe and healthy.
Unsafe handling of chicks and ducklings has been linked to cases of
Children are at a higher risk of getting sick because they are less likely to
wash their hands after handling or playing with the birds and have more
frequent hand-to-mouth contact than adults.
What is Salmonella?
Salmonella bacteria are living microscopic creatures that pass from the feces of
animals or people to other animals or people. Several hundred cases occur each
year in Missouri. Children more commonly become ill with Salmonella than adults.
How Do I Avoid Getting Salmonella from Chicks or Ducklings?
Wash your hands (and the hands of infants and children) with soap and water
after handling these birds and after touching anything that had contact with them.
Avoid contact with feces from chicks and ducklings.
Keep chicks and ducklings away from food-preparation and childrens play areas.
IImportant Information about Salmonella:
Symptoms of Salmonella infection usually begin 12-36 hours after exposure.
Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and headache.
Some people may have very mild or no symptoms.
Illness usually lasts 4-7 days.
Most people will recover without treatment.
For more information about salmonellosis: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/submenus/sub_salmonella.htm
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
Bureau of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention
Phone: (866) 628-9891 or (573) 751-6113 or call your local public health department