MO.gov News Feed: Department of Health & Senior Services /news-rss?filter=health_and_senior_services MO.gov News Feed: Department of Health & Senior Services Tue, 20 Feb 2018 01:36:48 +0000 en-us Vaccine effectiveness in US may be higher than other countries this flu season http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2018/vaccine021618 http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2018/vaccine021618 Fri, 16 Feb 2018 09:42:55 +0000 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.   State seeking organizations to serve meals to children during summer months http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2018/childhood-hunger020118 http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2018/childhood-hunger020118 Thu, 01 Feb 2018 11:56:20 +0000 Federally funded program helps fight childhood hungerJEFFERSON CITY, MO - The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is looking for organizations throughout the state to help feed thousands of children who would otherwise go without meals during the summer months when school is not in session. The Summer Food Service Program reimburses organizations for meals they serve to children who are at risk of not having enough to eat. The program is only one of the ways Missouri is working to fight childhood hunger. "Preventing food insecurity in children is an important step in improving the health of Missourians," said Dr. Randall Williams, DHSS director. "Without the assistance of organizations across the state many of Missouri's children would go hungry during the summer months. Thank you to all organizations who have participated in the past, and thank you to any organization considering participating this summer. DHSS would be happy to answer any questions an organization may have as they consider participating in this program." The summer food program provides nutritious meals to children under age 18 during the summer months when school breakfast and lunch programs are not operating. Organizations eligible to participate in the program include schools, faith-based organizations, camps, private nonprofit agencies and local government entities. The sites are required to be located in areas where at least half of the children are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals. The federally funded program is administered by DHSS. The department will accept applications March 1 through May 15 to participate in the program. Organizations interested in becoming sponsors are required to attend training.  More information about the Summer Food Service Program is available online at www.health.mo.gov/sfsp , by telephone at 888-435-1464 (toll-free) or through RELAY MISSOURI for the Hearing and Speech Impaired by dialing 711 or 1-800-676-3777.  Potential sponsors may also write to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Summer Food Service Program, P.O. Box 570, Jefferson City, MO 65102. In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits.  Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of AgricultureOffice of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights1400 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. MO Dept. of Health and Senior Services awarded grant for prevention of heart disease http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2018/heart-disease020118 http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2018/heart-disease020118 Thu, 01 Feb 2018 09:03:34 +0000 Department working to increase efforts to prevent heart disease in adults and childrenJEFFERSON CITY, MO - The month of February is American Heart Month and includes National Wear Red Day. Both of these campaigns seek to remind Americans and Missourians to focus on their hearts and work together to build a culture of health in the state. Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), a physician with 30 years of experience in obstetrics and gynecology, notes the importance of heart health in mothers. "I strongly encourage people to see heart health as an integral part of pregnancy-related care," says Williams. "Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in Missouri mothers and congenital heart defect is the leading birth defect in our country. Keeping mothers healthy and screening for potential problems as babies develop are as key to prenatal care as taking vitamins and getting regular checkups." The American Heart Association is hoping to bring awareness to the issue this coming Friday, February 2, by encouraging everyone to "Go Red for Women" on National Wear Red Day, then share photos with friends and colleagues with the social media tag #WearRedandGive. Chair of the Missouri Women's Health Council and Go Red Ambassador Teri Ackerson is acutely aware of the importance of heart health. "As a congenital heart defect and stroke survivor, as well as a Registered Nurse that specializes in neuroscience, the recognition of heart health for the month of February gives me the opportunity to express my gratitude for all of the positive changes we have made with medications, technologies and therapies to improve my quality of life through research," she says. "It also gives me the opportunity to educate and advocate in the community for prevention. Heart disease is the number one killer in our great state and stroke is the number one cause of long term disability; 80 percent of these issues are preventable. "We have made great strides, but we need to continue to work to decrease mortality, and increase quality of life," Ackerson continues. "Red is more than a color to me...it inspires, and encourages. It brings promise of hope for a cure." DHSS' efforts to address cardiovascular disease will extend beyond February thanks to a new collaboration with the National Governors Association. The department and the state of Missouri were selected by the National Governors Association to participate in a learning collaborative called Improving Health in Rural America: Addressing the Leading Causes of Death. Missouri is one of six states selected. The Missouri delegation, consisting of members from the Governor's Office, Missouri Hospital Association and DHSS, will develop and implement strategies to address heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in both rural and urban Missouri. As part of the National Governors Association initiative, Missouri will work to address these preventable factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and obesity. Heart disease can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure and death. Risk can be reduced or prevented with a few simple lifestyle changes, such as: Maintain a normal weight; Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables; Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days; Avoid tobacco products and limit alcohol intake; Get regular medical check-ups and screenings; Follow your doctor's instructions for medications, treatment, and management of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. More information about heart disease can be found at: http://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/chronic/heartdisease/index.php. For more information about the DHSS Office of Primary Care and Rural Health, please visit http://health.mo.gov/living/families/ruralhealth/index.php. About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov.   Hepatitis A case identified in Poplar Bluff, MO http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2018/hepatitisa-012518 http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2018/hepatitisa-012518 Thu, 25 Jan 2018 14:36:37 +0000 JEFFERSON CITY, MO - A case of hepatitis A has been identified in a food handler that worked while potentially contagious at Huddle House in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. The restaurant, in conjunction with the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services and Butler County Health Department, is investigating and is taking necessary control measures to decrease the spread of the illness. Members of the public who ate at the Poplar Bluff, Missouri Huddle House between January 3, 2018 and January 17, 2018 should consider speaking with their health care provider about steps to take to prevent illness. Patrons exposed during this time period should seek medical care if they have symptoms of hepatitis A. Symptoms usually develop between two and seven weeks after exposure and can include: Fever Fatigue Loss of appetite Nausea Vomiting Abdominal pain Dark urine Clay-colored stools Joint pain Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes) Vaccine and Immune Globulin (IG) for those Exposed to Hepatitis A Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable disease. If given within two weeks of exposure, according to the specific CDC guidelines for prophylaxis, vaccine or immune globulin (IG) can prevent illness. With concurrent outbreaks occurring across the nation, vaccine and IG are in limited supply. Therefore, use of these prevention strategies must be restricted to those at highest risk for illness or complications. It is important to note that receiving a Hepatitis A vaccine or IG more than two weeks after a known exposure may not prevent illness.  Disease Information Hepatitis A is a virus that infects the liver. Most people who get hepatitis A feel sick for several weeks, but they usually recover completely and do not have lasting liver damage. In rare cases, hepatitis A can cause liver failure and death; this is more common in people older than 50 and in people with other liver diseases. Prevention Hepatitis A is spread when a person swallows the virus present on objects or in food or drinks contaminated by tiny amounts of stool from an infected person. The best way to keep from getting sick from hepatitis A is to get vaccinated. Hepatitis A vaccine is highly effective when administered properly. However, because vaccines may be limited at this time, good hand washing practices are even more important than usual to prevent hepatitis A from spreading. Washing hands after going to the bathroom and changing diapers and before preparing or eating food help keep the virus from spreading to uninfected people. For more information about Hepatitis A, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at: https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/afaq.htm Members of the public or providers with patients who are concerned about a potential exposure can call Butler County Health Department at 573-785-8478. About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in promoting, protecting and partnering for health. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov.   Take Action to Prevent the Flu http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2018/flu011118 http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2018/flu011118 Thu, 11 Jan 2018 17:28:57 +0000 Flu Activity is Widespread in MissouriMissouri's flu activity for 2017-2018 is widespread. The season currently is very similar to what was seen during the 2014-2015 flu season, both in the timing and amount of cases reported. A season total of almost 31,000 cases were reported to the Department of Health and Senior Services through the first week of 2018. During the same time period in the 2014-2015 flu season, 32,528 flu cases were reported statewide.  While the current flu season is similar to the 2014-2015 season, it's important to remember that flu is hard to predict, but you can help prevent the spread of the flu. The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year. How can I prevent the flu? Get a yearly flu vaccination. Avoid close contact with sick people. Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces. Stay home while you're sick and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. How does the flu spread? Flu viruses are thought to spread mainly from person to person through droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Flu viruses also may spread when people touch something with flu virus on it and then touch their mouth, eyes or nose. Many other viruses spread these ways too. People infected with flu may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. That means you may be able to spread the flu to someone else before you know you are sick as well as while you are sick. Young children, those who are severely ill, and those who have severely weakened immune systems may be able to infect others for longer than 5-7 days. How do I know if I have the flu? The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms: Fever or feeling feverish/chills Cough Sore throat Runny or stuffy nose Muscle or body aches Headaches Fatigue (tiredness) Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults. What should I do if I have the flu? Most people with flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get sick with flu symptoms, drink plenty of water and other clear liquids to prevent dehydration; get plenty of rest; and treat symptoms such as fever with over-the-counter medicines. In addition, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. You should stay home for at least 24 hours after fever is gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine. Remember that groups of people at high risk for flu-related complications include children age 5 and under, adults older than 65, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease. If you have symptoms of the flu and are in a high risk group, or have questions or concerns, contact your primary health care provider. For more information or to find a flu vaccine location near you, visit health.mo.gov/flu. About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in promoting, protecting and partnering for health. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov. 2016 CDC Water Fluoridation Awards http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2018/water-fluoridation-awards010818 http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2018/water-fluoridation-awards010818 Mon, 08 Jan 2018 09:21:15 +0000 JEFFERSON CITY, MO - The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced today that 19 Missouri public water systems have been awarded a Water Fluoridation Quality Award from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Fluoridation is the adjustment of fluoride in drinking water to a level that is effective for preventing tooth decay.  The award recognizes communities that achieved excellence in community water fluoridation by maintaining a consistent level of fluoride in drinking water throughout 2016.  Those communities are as follows: Jefferson County Public Water Supply District #5Jefferson County Public Water Supply District #7 Hannibal Board of Public Works Glasgow Public Water District Eureka Public Works Water Department Public Water District #1 of Stoddard County Cole County Public Water Supply District #4 City of Kahoka Consolidated Public Water Supply Liberty Water Treatment Plant Chillicothe Public Water Supply District #3 Brookfield Public Water Supply District #3 Linn-Livingston Public Water Supply District #3 Nixa Water District Park Hills Public Water Supply District Perryville Water Supply District Slater Water Supply District Jackson Water Supply District Fort Leonard Wood Water Supply For 2016, a total of 1,360 public water systems in 29 states received these awards, including those in Missouri. "Water fluoridation is one of the best investments that a community can make to maintain the oral health of its citizens.  It is equally as effective in preventing cavities in children and adults," states Casey Hannan, MPH, Acting Director, CDC Division of Oral Health.  Fluoridation is highly cost effective.  Studies continue to show that for every $1 a community invests in water fluoridation, $38 are saved in dental treatment costs. Community water fluoridation has been recognized by CDC as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th Century.  CDC recommends water fluoridation as one of the most practical, cost-effective, equitable and safe measures a community can take to prevent tooth decay and improve oral health. About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in promoting, protecting and partnering for health. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov. Mo. Department of Health and Senior Services issues original birth certificates to adoptees http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2018/birth-certificates010318 http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2018/birth-certificates010318 Wed, 03 Jan 2018 14:17:35 +0000 Department efforts are recognized with Missouri House of Representatives Resolution JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Until recently, people who were adopted in Missouri were unable to access their original birth certificates, making information about birth parents and family medical history difficult, if not impossible, to obtain. This has all changed thanks to the efforts of several adoptee advocacy groups and State Representative Don Phillips, who sponsored the Missouri Adoptee Rights Act, which became law in 2016. As of January 2, 2018, Missouri adoptees no longer need a court order to request their original birth certificates. Yesterday morning, several of those requests were filled as staff from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ (DHSS) Bureau of Vital Records gave out certificates at an event in Jefferson City. Known as “Breaking the Seal,” the event was attended by adoptees, members of the public and adoption advocates including First Lady Dr. Sheena Greitens. Of the event, Greitens said, “I joined a group of adoptees from across the state, and watched as they held their birth certificates for the first time in their lives. Some of the people receiving certificates were in their seventies and eighties. It was a moving and humbling experience to watch them claim part of their history, and to see how much it meant to them.” Also in attendance was Representative Phillips, whose successful legislation is not only a professional success but a personal one as well: he received his own birth certificate for the first time at the event. Phillips recognized DHSS for the hard work that has gone into fulfilling the birth certificate requests by presenting the department with a Resolution from the Missouri House of Representatives. He also praised the DHSS Bureau of Vital Records staff and acting director of the Division of Community and Public Health, Kerri Tesreau for their remarkable efforts in helping people access their original birth certificates. DHSS director Dr. Randall Williams was also at the event. “As an obstetrician, I have very strong memories of children that I delivered being adopted at birth,” Williams said. “For 30 years, it was my privilege to be part of adoption processes and I’m so appreciative of our staff for helping all involved in any way they can. Mothers, adoptive parents, social workers, our staff and anyone who makes that process work, I’m thankful for.” DHSS staff were able to provide birth certificates to attendees of yesterday’s event by accepting requests beginning in October. Each request can take several weeks to process and the department has received an average of 50 to 100 requests per week since the process was opened. To make a request, an adoptee or their attorney must complete the Application for Non-Certified Copy of an Original Birth Certificate and pay a non-refundable $15 fee. Applications may be submitted in person or by mail.  Non-certified copies of the original birth certificates issued by DHSS cannot be used for establishing identity, and will be stamped “For genealogical purposes only—not to be used for establishing identity.” In addition, no records will be released without first checking for receipt of a parental preference form. Another provision of the Missouri Adoptee Rights Act, the parental preference form allows birth parents to designate whether they want their information released. Birth parents may also establish a contact preference and complete a medical history form. The Application for Non-Certified Copy of an Original Birth Certificate, Birth Parent Contact Preference and Medical History forms can be obtained at the BVR office in Jefferson City, requested via phone or found on the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website at http://health.mo.gov/data/vitalrecords/adopteerightsact.php. About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in promoting, protecting and partnering for health. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov. Attachment: Photograph of DHSS Division of Community and Public Health Acting Director Kerri Tesreau with Missouri State Representative Don Phillips   Governor proclaims January 2018 as Missouri Birth Defects Prevention and Awareness Month http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2018/birth-defects010218 http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2018/birth-defects010218 Tue, 02 Jan 2018 11:22:50 +0000 JEFFERSON CITY, MO - The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and the office of Governor Greitens have proclaimed January 2018 as Missouri Birth Defects Prevention and Awareness Month in coordination with the National Birth Defects Network (NBDPN), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the March of Dimes, the Teratology Society and MothertoBaby. During the 2018 campaign "Prevent to Protect: Prevent Infections for Baby's Protection," special emphasis is focused on the importance of preventing infections before and during pregnancy that can increase the risk of having a baby with a birth defect. DHSS is actively working to raise awareness of how common birth defects are and what steps can help to prevent them. In Missouri, approximately eight percent of all babies are born with a birth defect, and in 2014 approximately 19 percent of infant deaths had birth defects as an underlying cause. Birth defects are the most common cause of death in the first year of life and the second most common cause of death in children aged one to four years. Dr. Randall Williams, director of DHSS, said, "As an OB-GYN, healthy pregnancies, mothers and babies are something I care deeply about. I am excited that Governor Greitens has also made it a priority to do what he can to protect families and unborn children through awareness and prevention with Missouri's Birth Defects Prevention and Awareness Month in January." Congenital heart defects are the leading cause of birth defect deaths and illness, with 17 per 100,000 babies born with critical congenital heart defects. These can be life threatening and require intervention during infancy. Although not all birth defects can be prevented, many steps can be taken to increase a woman's chance of having a healthy baby. It is important to prevent those infections that can increase the risk of birth defects and other health problems for mothers and babies. Here are some helpful tips for pregnant women or women who may become pregnant: Practice Healthy Habits Take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day. Eat a healthy diet and be physically active. Seek prenatal care early in your pregnancy. Get vaccinated. Get the flu shot and the whooping cough vaccine. Become up-to-date with all vaccines before getting pregnant. Prevent insect bites. Use insect repellent. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outside. Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands often with soap and water. Avoid putting a young child's cup or pacifier in your mouth. Talk to your health care provider. Ask about how you can prevent infections, such as Zika virus. Discuss how to prevent sexually transmitted infections. In addition to following these tips to prevent infections, all women capable of becoming pregnant should abstain from alcohol, tobacco and avoid secondhand smoke and other harmful chemicals, including illegal drugs. These steps can go a long way in promoting a healthy you and a healthy baby. DHSS encourages you to be an active participant in National Birth Defects Prevention and Awareness Month. Additional materials and resources are available at http://health.mo.gov/living/families/genetics/birthdefects/index.php, www.CDC.gov/ncbddd, www.marchofdimes.org, www.healthychildren.org, www.MothertoBaby.org and www.Teratology.org. About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in promoting, protecting and partnering for health. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov.   State health department advises Missourians to take precautions against bitter cold temperatures http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2017/cold122917 http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2017/cold122917 Fri, 29 Dec 2017 16:39:33 +0000 Missourians are urged to check on neighbors, the elderly and disabled citizensJEFFERSON CITY, MO- Bitterly cold temperatures and dangerously cold wind chills are forecasted for this weekend and next week. The National Weather Service forecast for Friday (Dec. 29) afternoon through Thursday (Jan. 4) includes low temperatures between 10 F and -5 F; dangerous wind chill values are expected to be as cold as -15 F to -30 F. The coldest temperatures are expected to be Sunday night through Monday night. The coldest periods are expected during the early hours of each of those days. Prolonged exposure to the cold can lead to serious health issues including frostbite, hypothermia and, in extreme cases, death. Therefore, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services urges residents to minimize outside activities during the extreme cold and follow these safety tips: Stay indoors in a warm area. If heat is not available, a warming center near you can be located at https://ogi.oa.mo.gov/DHSS/warmingCenter/index.html or you can call the United Way Referral at 211. Check on your neighbors, especially senior citizens and disabled adults. Make sure they are using adequate and safe heating sources. The state's toll-free, adult abuse and neglect hotline can be used to report any elderly persons who may be suffering from extreme cold temperatures and need assistance. The number is 1-800-392-0210 and operates 365 days per year from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. If you do have to be outdoors, dress in several layers of loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing. The space between these layers works as insulation to help keep you warmer. Wear something on your head and wear water repellent boots. Protect your ears and face. Wear a scarf to help protect your lungs from cold air - it will also protect your ears and face. Schedule outdoor activities during the warmest part of the day, usually 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Carry extra clothes with you such as socks, gloves, hats and jackets so you can change them if they get wet. Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and pale or waxy white appearance of extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, or the tip of the nose.  Other signs may include numbness, a tingling or stinging sensation in the affected body part, and reduced blood flow. If any of these symptoms are detected, please seek help immediately. The warning signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. In infants, the skin will turn bright red and cold, and they may present with a very low energy level. If any of these signs appear get the victim to a warm location immediately and call 911 for immediate medical assistance. Increase your fluid intake - regardless of your activity level. Don't wait until you feel thirsty to drink fluids. Avoid alcohol. Ensure infants and children drink adequate amounts of liquids. Medications can also increase the risk of temperature related illnesses. Some of these medications include antidepressants, antihistamines, heart medications, diuretics, and chemotherapy drugs. Always consult with your doctor regarding the medications you are taking. Make sure your car is properly winterized. Keep your gas tank filled. Prepare an emergency kit including blankets, a flashlight, waterproof matches, non-perishable foods, and water. Ensure you have sufficient heating fuel, as well as alternative emergency heating equipment in case you lose electricity. When using alternative heating sources, such as a generator, a fireplace, wood stove or space heater, take necessary safety precautions: Carbon Monoxide is odorless, colorless gas that can cause flu-like illness or death. Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen during extreme cold weather when individuals try warming their homes through unconventional methods. Never heat your home with a gas stove, oven, kerosene heater, or charcoal or propane barbecue grill. Make sure all heating devices are properly ventilated and always operate a generator outdoors and at least 20 feet away from any window, door, or vent in your home. Improper heating devices can lead to dangerous carbon monoxide buildup in the home. Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Keep a fire extinguisher handy and ensure everyone knows how to use it properly. Place anything that can burn easily at least three feet away from space heaters. Do NOT run a car or truck inside a garage that is attached to your house, even if the door is open. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911 immediately and get the victim to fresh air. Limit outdoor time for your pets. They are also susceptible to the extreme cold temperatures. For additional information regarding Extreme Cold Safety tips, visit http://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/hypothermia/index.php or contact your local health department. About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in promoting, protecting and partnering for health. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov.   Don't bring bed bugs home this holiday season http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2017/bed-bugs121817 http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2017/bed-bugs121817 Mon, 18 Dec 2017 09:51:30 +0000 JEFFERSON CITY, MO - This holiday season, travelers should be on the lookout for bed bugs.  Many people think of bed bugs as a problem of the past, but over the last several years they have made a comeback.  Unlike many other insects, bed bugs are not a sign of a dirty or unsanitary environment.  Any hotel, airport waiting area, taxi, or other public-use area could result in an unexpected encounter with this pest.  Here are answers to some of the most common questions about bed bugs. What are bed bugs?  They are small insects, about the size of an apple seed as an adult, that survive by feeding on blood from people and sometimes animals.  They tend to be active at night when there is little activity and the person is resting for long periods of time.  In some situations such as public-use settings, bed bugs may become active during the daytime as well.  While bed bugs are unpleasant to encounter and can be a challenge to get rid of, they do not spread disease. How common are bed bugs?  According to a 2011 survey, 1 in 5 Americans has either encountered bed bugs personally or knows someone who has.  Unfortunately, bed bugs are now a common problem across Missouri and the rest of the United States. Where should I check for bed bugs?  They are usually found within a few feet of a bed or common area used by people, which makes it more likely that they can easily find a blood meal.  They prefer to hide in small, dark places such as cracks, crevices, or folds in cloth and will generally stay hidden unless they are feeding.  Bed bugs are flat and can easily fit in spaces as thin as a credit card. What are the signs of a bed bug infestation?  If present in large numbers, live bed bugs may be seen directly either as adults or as smaller, immature stages, called nymphs. In small numbers, bed bugs can be more difficult to find and will require looking for less obvious signs.  On mattresses or other furniture around the bed, look for pin-head sized dark spots of dried blood.  Spotting often occurs where bed bugs defecate after feeding. Although small, bed bug eggs and empty "skins" (left behind when the bugs go from one stage to the next) can be seen with the naked eye and may be found in seams, folds, and crevices of furniture.  Eggs will be small, white specs while empty "skins" will be a clear or pale yellow. How can I protect myself and my family during holiday travel?  Place clothing in sealable plastic bags before packing in luggage to prevent infestation when using public transportation (for example, a bus or airline cargo compartment). Keep luggage and other belongings away from the walls, bed, and other resting areas in your hotel room, including chairs and sofas.  If possible, keep your belongings on a hard surface, such as tile.  Do a thorough check of the bed.  Examine the headboard (including the back of it, if possible) and remove the sheets to check the seams of the mattress for signs of bed bugs. Inspect curtains or side tables near the bed and couches or chairs that may be nearby.  It's safest to keep personal items in your bag rather than unpacking and placing them in drawers or a closet. What should I do when I return home after traveling?  Prepare a space to unpack before bringing your luggage inside.  Lay out a clean sheet or piece of plastic so that you can easily spot any bed bugs that may be in or on your items as you unpack. Remove clothing from luggage and place all items that can be heated straight into the dryer on high heat for 20-30 minutes.  This will kill any stage of bed bug, even eggs, which may be in or on clothing. Inspect luggage carefully for signs of bed bugs, paying special attention to seams, zippers, folds, pockets, and wheels or feet.  Vacuum all surfaces of the luggage, inside and outside, to dislodge any bed bugs or eggs that may be on the luggage.  Replace the vacuum bag or empty the bin contents when you are done. For more information, visit http://health.mo.gov/living/environment/bedbugs/index.php. About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in promoting, protecting and partnering for health. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov.   Hepatitis A case identified in Dexter, MO http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2017/hepatitis121417 http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2017/hepatitis121417 Thu, 14 Dec 2017 17:02:51 +0000 JEFFERSON CITY, MO - A case of Hepatitis A has been identified in a food handler that worked while potentially contagious at Huddle House in Dexter, Missouri. The restaurant, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Senior Services and Stoddard County Health Center, is investigating and has taken necessary control measures to decrease the risk of spreading the illness. Members of the public who ate at the Dexter, Missouri, Huddle House between November 21, 2017 and December 2, 2017 should watch for symptoms of Hepatitis A and seek medical care if they have symptoms. Symptoms usually develop between two and seven weeks after exposure and can include: Fever Fatigue Loss of appetite Nausea Vomiting Abdominal pain Dark urine Clay-colored stools Joint pain Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes) Vaccine and Immune Globulin (IG) for those Exposed to Hepatitis A Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable disease. If given within two weeks of exposure, according to the specific CDC guidelines, prophylaxis vaccine or immune globulin (IG) can prevent illness. With concurrent outbreaks occurring across the nation, vaccine and IG are in limited supply. Therefore, use of these prevention strategies must be restricted to those at highest risk for illness or complications, such as close personal contacts. It is important to note that receiving a Hepatitis A vaccine or IG more than 2 weeks after a known exposure may not prevent illness.  Disease Information Hepatitis A is a virus that infects the liver. Most people who get Hepatitis A feel sick for several weeks, but they usually recover completely and do not have lasting liver damage. In rare cases, Hepatitis A can cause liver failure and death; this is more common in people older than 50 and in people with other liver diseases. Prevention Hepatitis A is spread when a person swallows the virus present on objects or in food or drinks contaminated by tiny amounts of stool from an infected person. Good hand washing practices are critical for preventing the spread of Hepatitis A. Washing hands after going to the bathroom and changing diapers and before preparing or eating food will help keep the virus from spreading to uninfected people. If you are concerned that you are at high risk of exposure, the best way to keep from getting sick from Hepatitis A is to get vaccinated. The Hepatitis A vaccine is highly effective when administered properly. For more information about Hepatitis A, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at: https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/afaq.htm. Members of the public or providers with patients who are concerned about a potential exposure can call the Stoddard County Health Center at 573-568-4593. State completes nine opioid summits with significant community engagement http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2017/opioids-121317 http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2017/opioids-121317 Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:45:25 +0000 JEFFERSON CITY, MO -Missourians from every corner of the state filled auditoriums for a series of nine regional opioid summits held by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), as part of a state-wide initiative that saw participation from directors and members of all 16 cabinet departments in the state. These summits created a collaborative opportunity for a variety of sectors-health care professionals, the faith community, state and local governments, law enforcement and more-to bring awareness to the issue, discuss the best interventions available, spur action and make local leaders the champions of this cause."As we've been in each region throughout the state, listening to people's concerns, we have been incredibly moved by people's willingness to share their experiences and by those who want to help," said DHSS Director Dr. Randall Williams. "Governor Greitens and I heard a young woman who told us that before she got into recovery, she 'was slowly waiting to die.' Experiences like hers solidify our commitment to helping people like her move to recovery and prevent others from going down a path that leads to substance abuse."Each summit featured local and national thought leaders such as Dr. Ted Cicero, professor at Washington University in St. Louis with more than 50 years' experience in the field of neuropharmacology; James Shroba, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Agency St. Louis Field Division, covering a six-state area; Howard Weissman, executive director of the National Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse ; and Generation Rx, a nonprofit that provides free educational resources for parents, teachers and community groups. The summits also included panel discussions with local leaders and community members, creating the opportunity to listen to how the opioid crisis is affecting each region of the state."We've held these summits to align our local, state and national partners and to plan the way forward," said Dr. Williams. "Next month, stakeholders from every Local Public Health Agency in the state will come together to discuss our next steps as we take what we've learned from each other and put it into practice."For anyone who was unable to attend one of the summits, livestreams of both the St. Louis and Springfield summits are available here. The summits are part of the State of Missouri's comprehensive, integrated and innovative approach to addressing the opioid crisis. 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 promoting, protecting and partnering for health. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov. Update: Public health response to Bourbon virus http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2017/bourbonvirus-121317 http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2017/bourbonvirus-121317 Wed, 13 Dec 2017 10:30:52 +0000 JEFFERSON CITY, MO - The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and local public health agencies recently completed a follow-up investigation of the Bourbon virus case identified during the summer of 2017. Results of blood testing among participants are protected health information and will not be released.  It is important to note, because Bourbon virus is believed to be spread by ticks, Missourians likely have one more reason to practice tick avoidance while outdoors. Testing for Bourbon virus and Heartland virus (another cause of tick-borne illness in Missouri) was conducted on more than 7,000 ticks collected in the state park. Bourbon virus was not detected in any of the ticks collected. This does not mean the virus is not present in some ticks in the park.  Instead, it means none of the ticks that might have been infected at the time of this investigation were trapped and tested. Heartland virus was detected in one group of ticks. Patients diagnosed with Bourbon virus have shown signs similar to infection with Heartland virus and ehrlichiosis (the latter is a type of bacteria transmitted by ticks), including fever, muscle aches, fatigue, headache, anorexia, diarrhea, and rash. Like Heartland virus and ehrlichiosis, Bourbon virus can affect blood cells that help the body fight infection and prevent bleeding. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for Bourbon virus. For members of the public worried about the possibility of tick-borne diseases, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being bitten by a tick. Instructions on how to prevent exposure while outdoors are as follows: Apply insect repellents containing at least 20% DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 (no more than 30% DEET in children) to exposed skin according to label instructions. Apply a permethrin solution to clothing according to label instructions. This will last through several washings. Do not allow people or pets to have contact with treated surfaces until spray has dried. Stay on marked and paved trails. Wear light-colored long sleeve shirts and pants. Immediately perform a thorough tick inspection after being outdoors. If a tick is found, remove as soon as possible. Grasp the base of the head of the tick with a pair of tweezers and pull off with a straight motion, making sure to avoid twisting and jerking motions. If a person begins developing a fever, muscle aches, fatigue, headaches, anorexia, diarrhea, or a rash after exposure to a tick bite or tick habitat, they should seek treatment from a medical professional and inform them of recent tick exposure. For more information on ticks and the Bourbon virus investigation, please contact the Department of Health and Senior Services, Office of Veterinary Public Health at 573-526-4780 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in promoting, protecting and partnering for health. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov. Flu season hitting hard in Missouri http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2017/flu-12417 http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2017/flu-12417 Mon, 04 Dec 2017 15:04:49 +0000 JEFFERSON CITY, MO - The 2017-2018 flu season is off to an early start in Missouri. As of November 25, 2017, there were 1,545 cases of the flu reported to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, compared to 379 cases reported at the same time last year. These numbers could indicate that flu season is coming early to the Show-Me State or that it will be particularly severe-as was seen in the southern hemisphere where flu season precedes ours. For 2016-2017, there were more than 70,000 confirmed influenza cases in Missouri. If these trends continue, the state could see even more during the 2017-2018 season. "We know that historically, the intensity or prevalence of flu can vary from year to year. But this year, all indications are that we are seeing more flu earlier in the year and we anticipate more cases," said Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. "Now is the time to get your flu shot if you haven't already. The flu shot combined with proper handwashing are the two most effective things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones this holiday season."  Flu facts: How big is the problem?  Flu spreads every year, but the timing and severity of flu season is unpredictable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that flu results in between 9.2 million and 35.6 million illnesses, between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations, and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths annually in the U.S. What does flu illness look like?  The most common symptoms of flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and muscle or body aches. Flu viruses spread by tiny droplets when a person with flu coughs, sneezes, or talks. It's important to remember that certain people are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia or bronchitis, if they get sick.  Some of these complications are very serious and can lead to death.  Those at high risk for flu-related complications include people age 65 years and older, people with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease), pregnant women and young children. What can you do to protect family and friends?  A flu vaccine is the best form of defense to protect yourself and your loved ones this winter. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to reach its full protective abilities. Now is the time to get vaccinated so you can protect yourself and loved ones ahead of the upcoming holidays. In addition to getting your flu shot, take these steps to prevent the spread of flu: Avoid close contact with sick people. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after touching shared objects or surfaces such as door knobs, light switches, remote controls, shopping counters, debit card readers, etc.  If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces. Stay home while you're sick and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. It is easy for flu viruses to spread as you travel during the holidays and get together with friends and family.  People with flu can pass the virus on to others a day before feeling sick and sometimes for about a week after feeling better, so it's important to use these steps throughout the flu season.    For more information or to find a flu vaccine location near you, visit health.mo.gov/flu. About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in promoting, protecting and partnering for health. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov. Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services director joins board of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2017/astho112017 http://health.mo.gov/information/news/2017/astho112017 Mon, 20 Nov 2017 09:37:53 +0000 JEFFERSON CITY, MO - Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), will be joining the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) National Board of Directors as Region VII Director. One of 10 regional representatives, Williams will attend meetings and leadership events across the country on behalf of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. ASTHO, which recently celebrated its 75th anniversary, is a nonprofit organization representing public health agencies across the country with a membership of more than 100,000 public health professionals. According to the ASTHO website, their members "formulate and influence sound public health policy and ensure excellence in state-based public health practice." "It's a privilege to work with colleagues that I admire and respect. I hold ASTHO and its membership in the highest esteem and look forward to serving to the very best of my ability," said Dr. Williams. "I have visited all 115 counties in Missouri to take a history and get a ground-level perspective on the health concerns facing our state," he continued. "But Missouri's health doesn't begin or end at our borders: it is influenced by our neighboring states, the nation and even on a global scale. Several of my colleagues from ASTHO have become valuable partners as we face complex health issues in Missouri and around the United States, including Dr. Jerome Adams, U.S. Surgeon General, and Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, director of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention." Dr. Fitzgerald will be visiting Missouri on April 10 to participate in a meeting of the state's local public health agency stakeholders and Women's Health Council. About the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials: ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and freely associated states, and the District of Columbia, as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. More information about ASTHO can be found at astho.org. About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in promoting, protecting and partnering for health. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov. Attachment: Photograph of Dr. Williams and Dr. Adams at the ASTHO 75th Anniversary Conference