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Department of Public Health Newsroom 2017

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November 7, 2017: St. Louis County Executive Releases First PDMP Report
October 25, 2017: Free Lead Screenings in Jennings Screenings Being Offered to Children 6 Months to 6 Years of Age
October 18, 2017: County Executive and Department of Public Health Urge All Residents to Get Vaccinated Against Seasonal Flu
October 4, 2017: $1 Million Awarded to St. Louis County to Fight Opioid Epidemic
September 7, 2017: Saint Louis County Department of Public Health to Host Influenza Vaccination Clinics
August 14, 2017: Upcoming Solar Eclipse Prompts Concern Over Eye Safety
August 11, 2017: Community Voting Opportunities Announced for St. Louis ReCAST Projects
August 1, 2017: St. Louis County Awarded $1.7 Million Grant To Improve Academic Performance and Reduce Violence Among Teenagers
July 11, 2017: Parents Encouraged to Schedule Back-to-School Vaccinations Early
July 10, 2017: Caution Urged During Heat Advisory
July 10, 2017: Four Requests for Proposals (RFPs) Issued on Behalf of the St. Louis ReCAST Initiative
June 26, 2017: Saint Louis Area Public Health Departments Urge All Sexually Active People to be Tested for HIV
June 21, 2017: Community Reception Center to Test the St. Louis Region's Radiological Screening and Decontamination Process
June 19, 2017: Food Safety Encouraged as Temperatures Rise
June 15, 2017: Caution Urged During Extreme Heat
June 13, 2017: Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile Virus in St. Louis County
Heavy Rains Also Boost Non-WNV Mosquito Population
May 30, 2017: Swimming Season Arrives
Department Reminds Citizens About Safe Swimming Practices
May 24, 2017: Rabid Bat Serves as Reminder
Department Cautions Residents about Interaction with Wildlife
May 16, 2017: St. Louis County Executive Announces Official Launch of PDMP
May 11, 2017: Prevention Essential as Flood Waters Recede and Mosquito Season Arrives
April 24, 2017: Local Public Health Agencies Urge Vigilance and Action to Combat Rise in Congenital Syphilis Cases
April 17, 2017: St. Louis ReCAST to Kick Off Regional Efforts on Saturday, April 22, 2017
April 6, 2017: City of St. Louis Department of Health and Saint Louis County Department of Public Health to Focus on Sexually-Transmitted Infections (STI) during STI Awareness Month


St. Louis County Executive Releases First PDMP Report

(November 7, 2017) – St. Louis County has released a report covering the first three months of its Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. The information pertains to the 14 jurisdictions that went live during the program’s inception on April 25, 2017. The PDMP program’s goals include improving opioid prescribing by providing critical information regarding a patient’s controlled substance prescription history and informing clinical practice by identifying patients at high-risk who would benefit from early interventions. Among the findings:

  • Those aged 65+ years old receive the highest rates of controlled substances.
  • Opioids are the most frequently prescribed drug type and represent approximately 40% of controlled substance prescriptions.
  • The St. Louis County opioid dispensation rate is 632.0 opioid prescriptions per 1,000 populations which is significantly lower than the overall PDMP (642.5 opioid prescriptions per 1,000 populations).
  • Hydrocodone, oxycodone, and tramadol are the 3 most frequently prescribed opioids and comprise 85% of opioid prescriptions. Over 90% of opioid prescriptions are low dose (<50 morphine milligram equivalents).

“This report includes the first tangible numbers from our PDMP,” County Executive Steve Stenger said. “With our program now covering 52 jurisdictions and 74% of the population, our PDMP will continue to be an important component in our fight against the deadly opioid epidemic.

County Executive Stenger acknowledged Councilman Sam Page’s role in the legislation. “I want to again thank Sam for his contribution to and support of this initiative,” the County Executive said.

St. Louis County is using a $400,000 federal grant to cover all PDMP costs for participating counties. The grant will also support the hiring of an additional PDMP staff member, and provide funds for engagement, education, and reporting.


Free Lead Screenings in Jennings
Screenings Being Offered to Children 6 Months to 6 Years of Age

(October 25, 2017) – On Thursday, October 26th, the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health will be offering free lead screenings to all children six months to six years of age who live in Jennings. The service is being funded by a mini-grant from the National Center for Healthy Housing.

“Given the dangers inherent in exposure to lead as a child, I highly encourage everyone eligible for these screenings to take part,” said County Executive Steve Stenger.

The screenings are being offered this week to coincide with Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, which this year runs from October 22nd – 28th. The annual event aims to help individuals, organizations, and state and local governments work together to reduce childhood exposure to lead.

In addition to screenings being offered to students at Fairview, Northview, and Woodland Elementary Schools, walk-in screenings will be available for any Jennings resident aged six months to six years of age at the Gary Gore Community Education Center on Thursday, October 26th, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The center is located at 2545 Dorwood Drive in Jennings (63136).

“We’re quite excited about being able to offer this service in Jennings,” said Dr. Faisal Khan, director of the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health. “Along with the county executive, I would like to strongly urge everyone eligible for these screenings to participate.”

In addition to the lead screenings, a “lunch-‘n’-learn” is being offered to community stakeholders in the City of Jennings as well as to staff and officials in the Jennings School District. The “lunch-‘n’-learn” will teach attendees about the dangers of lead poisoning, how to prevent lead poisoning, and what can be done to eliminate lead in the community.

The lead screenings are being funded by a $5,000 mini-grant awarded to the department by the National Center for Healthy Housing. In addition to the screenings, educational materials and lead cleanup kits will be made available to members of the community.

For more information about the department’s Healthy Homes program or about the dangers of lead poisoning, please visit:

http://www.stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness/EnvironmentalServices/Healthy Homes-LeadPoisoningPreventionProgram

For more information about the National Center for Healthy Housing and Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, please visit:

http://www.nchh.org/Policy/NationalSafeandHealthyHousingCoalition/Lead PoisoningPreventionWeek2017.aspx

Support for this event was provided in part by the National Center for Healthy Housing. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the center.


County Executive and Department of Public Health Urge All Residents to Get Vaccinated Against Seasonal Flu

(October 18, 2017) – Influenza season has arrived and both County Executive Steve Stenger and the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health are urging all county residents six months of age and older to get vaccinated against the seasonal flu. To help combat seasonal illness, the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health will be hosting two flu vaccination clinics during October.

“This isn’t just about protecting yourself, although that is certainly important.” said County Executive Stenger. “If you don’t catch the flu, then you can’t spread the illness to others.”

“Getting the flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting yourself and your family against the flu,” said Dr. Faisal Khan, director of the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health. “Even if you encounter a flu strain not included in the vaccine, having been vaccinated will help decrease severity of your symptoms and the duration of your illness.”

Every year, seasonal influenza vaccine offers protection against different influenza types, based on recommendations from experts who determine which types are most likely to be circulating in the fall. Vaccines available for the 2017-2018 influenza season include:

  • Trivalent influenza vaccines will contain the three vaccine virus strains below:
    • an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus (updated)
    • an A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus
    • a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like (B/Victoria lineage) virus
  • Quadrivalent (four-component) influenza vaccines will include the strains listed above and an additional vaccine virus strain:
    • B/Phuket/3073/2013–like virus (Yamagata lineage).
  • FluMist® Quadrivalent is still an FDA-licensed product. As such, there may be some supply of FluMist® Quadrivalent on the U.S. market during the 2017-2018 season. It is important for clinicians and the public to be aware that because of concerns about this vaccine’s effectiveness, CDC recommends that this vaccine not be used during the 2017-2018 influenza season.

The costs of the vaccine at the Department of Public Health’s flu clinics are as follows:

  • Uninsured children: Will receive the vaccination for free.
  • Insured adults and children: Will be billed through their insurance provider.
  • Uninsured adults: Will only pay $25.

The locations, dates, and hours of operation for each influenza vaccination clinic are provided below:

  1. John C. Murphy Community Health Center
    1. Date: Saturday, October 21, 2017
    2. Time: 9:30AM – 2:30PM
    3. Address: 6121 North Hanley Road, Berkeley, MO 63134
  2. South County Community Health Center
    1. Date: Saturday, October 28, 2017
    2. Time: 9:30AM – 2:30PM
    3. Address: 4580 South Lindbergh Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63127

Certain children will not be able to receive the influenza vaccination at these clinics:

  • Children who have taken influenza-antiviral drugs 48 hours prior to the vaccination date.
  • Children who are allergic to eggs.
  • Children ages 2 to 4 who have asthma or a history of wheezing in the past 12 months.
  • Children who have chronic health issues.

If your children have any of the conditions listed above, please talk to your health care provider about other vaccination options and ways to protect your children during the flu season. Additionally, adults with a severe egg allergy should be vaccinated in a medical setting and be supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic reactions.

While the CDC recommends getting a flu vaccination by the end of October if possible, other standard precautions being urged by the Department of Public Health are:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or into your sleeve.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Try to maintain a distance of three feet between you and others.
  • Stay home when you are sick or think you may be getting sick.

If you think you may have the flu, the department recommends that you contact your health care provider. Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches, chills, tiredness or fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Persons unable to attend one of these events are urged to visit the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health’s flu website for information on alternative sites to receive the seasonal flu vaccination:

www.SaintLouisCountyFlu.com

For more information about the flu vaccine, visit:

www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm


$1 Million Awarded to St. Louis County to Fight Opioid Epidemic
County Department of Public Health to Lead Effort

(October 4, 2017) – The Saint Louis County Department of Public Health has been awarded two grants from the U.S. Department of Justice to address the opioid epidemic. The two grants, totaling $1,000,000, will be used to fund efforts over a three-year period.

“Heroin remains a deadly epidemic in our region,” said County Executive Steve Stenger. “Over the past eight years, more than 2,700 area residents have died from a heroin or opioid-related overdoses. These two grants will greatly enhance our ability to address this deadly threat.”

The first grant will provide $400,000 over two years to enhance the St. Louis County Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). The second grant will provide $600,000 over three years to support collaboration with partners across the state on sharing innovative ideas and solutions to address the heroin and opiate issues.

The grants also cover the participation costs for all current and potential participating jurisdictions for two years.

The two grants were awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Given the scope of the current crisis, we’re using all the tools at our disposal to combat the problem,” said Dr. Faisal Khan, Director of the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health. “These grants will expand our capacity to continue to address this as a public health priority.”

The St. Louis County PDMP, which is available to the entire state of Missouri, launched in April 2017. Currently, there are 48 jurisdictions participating, encompassing 71% of the state’s population and 88% of all providers in the state. Leaders in most of the participating jurisdictions wrote letters in support of the PDMP grant application, which was also strongly supported by the area’s federal legislative delegation.

St. Louis County applied for the first grant on behalf of all Missouri jurisdictions. Part of the grant will be used to cover the costs for participating counties. The grant will also support the hiring of an additional PDMP staff member, and provide funds for engagement, education, and reporting.

The second grant will fund regional collaboration and will also support the hiring of an additional staff member. The expanded program will permit increased regional collaboration to spread innovative solutions to other areas dealing with this critical issue, the development of communitybased interventions, and evaluation of the effort.

As part of the collaborative effort, St. Louis County, the City of St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia and Springfield are partnering to collect and share regional information.

For more information on the St. Louis County PDMP, visit www.stlouisco.com/PDMP.


Saint Louis County Department of Public Health to Host Influenza Vaccination Clinics

(September 7, 2017) – As flu season approaches, the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health will be hosting three flu vaccination clinics during September. While there are other ways to help prevent seasonal flu, getting vaccinated is critical to protecting the health of individuals and their community as a whole.

“It is recommended by the CDC that anyone six months of age and older, get the influenza vaccination,” said Dr. Faisal Kahn, director of the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health. “Getting the influenza vaccination is the best way to protect children, their families, and the community against seasonal flu.”

The costs of the flu vaccine for children and adults are as follows:

  • Uninsured children: Will receive the vaccination for free.
  • Insured adults and children: Will be billed through their insurance provider.
  • Uninsured adults: Will only pay $25.

The locations, dates, and hours of operation for each influenza vaccination clinic are provided below:

I. North Central Community Health Center

a. Date: Saturday, September 9, 2017
b. Time: 9:30AM – 2:30PM
c. Address: 4000 Jennings Station Road, Pine Lawn, MO 63121

II. John C. Murphy Community Health Center

a. Date: Saturday, September 16, 2017
b. Time: 9:30AM – 2:30PM
c. Address: 6121 North Hanley Road, Berkeley, MO 63134

III. South County Community Health Center

a. Date: Saturday, September 23, 2017
b. Time: 9:30AM – 2:30PM
c. Address: 4580 South Lindbergh Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63127

Certain children will not be able to receive the influenza vaccination at these clinics:

  • Children who have taken influenza-antiviral drugs 48 hours prior to the vaccination date.
  • Children who are allergic to eggs.
  • Children ages 2 to 4 who have asthma or a history of wheezing in the past 12 months.
  • Children who have chronic health issues.

If your children have any of the conditions listed above, please talk to your health care provider about other vaccination options and ways to protect your children during the flu season. Additionally, adults with a severe egg allergy should be vaccinated in a medical setting and be supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic reactions.

Other standard precautions being urged by the health department are:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or into your sleeve.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Try to maintain a distance of three feet between you and others.
  • Stay home when you are sick or think you may be getting sick.

If you think you may have the flu, the department recommends that you contact your health care provider. Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches, chills, tiredness or fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Persons unable to attend one of these events are urged to visit the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health’s flu website for information on alternative sites to receive the seasonal flu vaccination: www.SaintLouisCountyFlu.com

For more information about the flu vaccine, visit: www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm


Upcoming Solar Eclipse Prompts Concern Over Eye Safety

(August 14, 2017) – August 21st, 2017 is a thrilling occasion for American skywatchers, as they will be treated to the first solar eclipse visible from the continental United States in nearly four decades. As excitement for the event grows and crowds flock to the St. Louis area to view the celestial sight, concern over proper eye safety has become an active topic of conversation. With many misconceptions over how to safely enjoy the solar eclipse, the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health has outlined several health and safety tips.

“There have been rumors that it is safe to view the solar eclipse using regular polarized sunglasses, movie theater 3D glasses, or smartphone cameras,” said Dr. Faisal Khan, director of the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health. “These mediums are not designed for solar filtering and allow too much sunlight to filter through. Viewing the sun like this can result in permanent eye damage. It is important that everyone use recommended eyewear when watching the eclipse.”

For those planning to view the eclipse, the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health advises the following:

  • Only wear special-purpose solar filters such as eclipse glasses that are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard.
  • Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter.
  • Always supervise children using solar filters.
  • Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After looking at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun.
  • Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device.
  • Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury.
  • If you are within the path of totality, remove your solar filter only when the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality, then, as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to look at the remaining partial phases.
  • Outside the path of totality, you must always use a safe solar filter to view the sun directly.
  • If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses on over them, or hold your handheld viewer in front of them.

In addition, if individuals discover any noticeable change in vision following solar eclipse viewing, it is recommended that they call their primary care physician immediately. By following these safety precautions, solar eclipse viewers can both protect their health and gain memories that will last a lifetime.

For additional information on solar eclipse safety, visit: eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety

For information on reputable vendors of solar viewers, visit: eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters

For directions on how to view the solar eclipse indirectly, visit: solar-center.stanford.edu/observe/


Community Voting Opportunities Announced for St. Louis ReCAST Projects

(August 11, 2017) – The St. Louis ReCAST Project is holding a series of six community voting events during the week of August 14th – 19th, 2017, to allow residents of the St. Louis Promise Zone to vote on which community resiliency projects will be funded by the federal grant. Any resident of the Promise Zone who is at least 11 years old or older is eligible to vote.

“I am very excited about the possibilities inherent in the efforts of the St. Louis ReCAST Project,” St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger said. “ReCast is unique because our residents are part of the decision making process regarding programs that will improve the quality of life in St. Louis County.”

Those voting will be helping decide which projects to fund in four different areas of focus: 1) Mental Health; 2) Youth Engagement; 3) Peer Support; and 4) Violence Prevention. A total of $550,000 will be awarded to community projects based on the outcome of the voting; $137,500 will be awarded in each of these four areas mentioned above.

The six opportunities for residents to vote are:

1) Monday, August 14th; 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Julia Davis Branch of the St. Louis Public Library
4415 Natural Bridge Avenue; St. Louis, MO 63115

2) Tuesday, August 15th; 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
St. Vincent Community Center
7335 St. Charles Rock Road; Normandy, MO 63133

3) Wednesday, August 16th; 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
William J. Harrison Education Center
3140 Cass Avenue; St. Louis, MO 63106

4) Thursday, August 17th; 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
North County Transit Center
3140 Pershall Road; Ferguson, MO 63135

5) Friday, August 18th; 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Saint Louis County Department of Public Health
6121 North Hanley Road; Berkeley, MO 63134

6) Saturday, August 19th; 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Mary Ann Lee Technology Center
1313 North Newstead Avenue; St. Louis, MO 63113

The St. Louis ReCAST project is funded by a 5-year, $4.7 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that was awarded to the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health last year. Partners in the effort include the St. Louis City Department of Health, the Saint Louis Mental Health Board, and over 70 other local agencies, not-for-profits, and municipalities.

The project is focused on the St. Louis Promise Zone – a federally-designated area in North St. Louis City and County that encompasses 11 wards in St. Louis City and 28 municipalities in North St. Louis County.

For more information about the St. Louis ReCAST Project, visit: www.ReCAST-STL.org


St. Louis County Awarded $1.7 Million Grant To Improve Academic Performance and Reduce Violence Among Teenagers

(August 1, 2017) – The St. Louis County Department of Public Health has been awarded a 4-year, $1.7 million grant to implement and evaluate efforts to improve academic performance and reduce violence among teenagers.

“Youth violence is extremely troubling and can have lifelong consequences,” County Executive Steve Stenger said. “We want to do whatever we can to prevent youth violence while promoting academic success. This grant will be used to help us identify which approaches work best to accomplish both.”

“Violence of any kind is a threat to public health,” said Dr. Faisal Khan, director of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health. “We’re calling this effort ‘Project RESTORE’ – an acronym for ‘Reconciliation and Empowerment to Support Tolerance and Race Equity’.”

The grant was awarded by the Office of Minority Health, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Partners with the County Department of Health in the research effort will include the St. Louis County Police Department, the Police Athletic League, the Department of Criminology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and three area school districts: Hazelwood School District, Normandy School District, and The School District of University City.

A series of intervention strategies will be implemented among this group. These interventions will include peer mentoring and life-skills training, academic tutoring, after-school and summer programs, training for educators, and proactive parent engagement.

The violence rate and other outcomes among the students participating in these programs will be compared to outcomes among students from similar demographics.

Researchers hope that successful interventions will improve academic outcomes, reduce disciplinary actions, decrease crime and gun violence, cut down on arrests and court referrals, and promote positive behavioral health and family engagement.

“This is a great opportunity to determine what is most effective in bringing positive change to the lives of young people at a very impressionable age,” Stenger said. “A lot of people are very interested in this research. What we learn in St. Louis County will make a real difference in our community and across the country.”


Parents Encouraged to Schedule Back-to-School Vaccinations Early

(July 11, 2017) – With the new schoolyear quickly approaching, the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health is encouraging parents to get ahead of the back-to-school rush by scheduling their children’s required vaccinations early.

“Competing priorities and busy schedules often cause parents of school-aged children to delay scheduling vaccination visits,” said Dr. Faisal Khan, director of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health. “To keep children, classmates, and others in the community healthy, it is important that parents immunize their children on time.”

The Saint Louis County Department of Public Health encourages parents to remember that while vaccine-preventable diseases are rare, outbreaks still occur. In 2016, the CDC reported that from January 1st to June 13th alone, 6,000 cases of whooping cough had been reported by 50 States and Puerto Rico. Diseases such as this and measles have reemerged within the past few years, and while they are treatable, they can still be very dangerous and even life-threatening.

Since vaccinations work most effectively through group immunity, it is critical that all children receive the proper vaccinations on time to ensure maximum protection against disease for everyone. Getting to the doctor before the back-to-school rush ensures that your child can receive their vaccinations without delay or putting themselves and others at risk.

The Saint Louis County Department of Public Health offers vaccination services at three different locations:

John C. Murphy Health Center:
6121 N Hanley Rd, Berkeley, MO 63134
Monday-Friday: 8:30 – 10:30 AM and 1:00 – 3:00 PM
(314) 615-0500

North Central Community Health Center:
4000 Jennings Station Rd, Pine Lawn, MO 63121
Monday-Friday: 8:30 – 10:30 AM and 1:00 – 3:00 PM
(314) 679-7800

South County Health Center:
4580 South Lindbergh Blvd, Sunset Hills, MO 63127
Monday-Friday: 8:30 – 10:30 AM and 1:00 – 3:00 PM
(314) 615-0400

For a list of required immunizations for the 2017-2018 school year, visit:

http://health.mo.gov/living/wellness/immunizations/schoolrequirements.php

For recommended vaccination schedules and how they protect your children, visit:

www.cdc.gov/features/catchupimmunizations/index.html


Caution Urged During Heat Advisory

(July 10, 2017) – The National Weather Service in St. Louis has issued a heat advisory, which will be in effect from 1:00 PM this afternoon to 9:00 PM CDT Wednesday, July 12th. Heat index values are expected to reach 104 degrees due to temperatures in the upper 90s, with temperatures peaking in the afternoon and evening hours. The Saint Louis County Department of Public Health urges residents to be cautious during this time by taking proper heat safety measures.

“Our region experiences extreme heat almost every year and it’s important to observe common sense precautions whenever this happens,” said St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger. “It’s also important to keep in mind that these common sense precautions should be in place for pets too. Remember: if you’re hot, they’re hot.”

Whenever temperatures rise above 95 degrees, the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health recommends the following:

  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Spend as little time as possible in the sun and keep activity levels to a minimum.
  • Drink plenty of cool, non-alcoholic beverages, especially those without sugar or caffeine.
  • Take regular breaks in the shade or in an air-conditioned room.
  • Eat light, easily-digested foods, avoiding hot, heavy, or greasy meals.
  • Be sure not to leave food unrefrigerated for long – food spoils rapidly in the heat.
  • Take care of those who might not be aware of the danger or able to react accordingly –especially young children and the elderly. Check on your neighbors and relatives if they may be vulnerable or do not have air conditioning.
  • Use air-conditioning whenever in a vehicle or roll down the windows if there is no air conditioning. Never leave a child or a pet in a parked car without air conditioning!
  • Know the signs of heat exhaustion. If someone becomes dizzy, nauseated, or sweats heavily, find a cooler location for him or her immediately.
  • Know the signs of heat stroke. Heat stroke is much more serious than heat exhaustion. The symptoms are similar to heat exhaustion, but also include hot, flushed skin, and normally sweating stops. If heat stroke is a possibility, call 911 immediately. Heat stroke is life threatening!

If a person is unable to keep his or her residence cool and needs to find a cooling center, that person is urged to call the United Way of Greater Saint Louis by dialing 211 from his or her landline phone, or by dialing 1-800-427-4626 from any other type of phone.

Residents are also urged to consider pets whenever temperatures rise. To protect pets in extreme heat citizens should:

  • Regularly check a pet’s water to make sure it is clean and fresh. Ample drinking water is vital to animals during hot and humid conditions. Make sure to adjust the drinking quantity for the size and number of pets in the area. You can also spray your pet with water to cool them off.
  • Provide a shady spot for pets. A pen near trees will work or you can fasten a sunroom screen to the sides and top of the pen to provide shade too.
  • Never leave your pet unattended in a hot vehicle. Internal vehicle temperatures can reach 150 degrees.

To find a cooling center near you, visit:

www.211helps.org/heating-cooling-sites.aspx

For more information, please visit the department’s heat safety tips webpage at:

www.stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness/HotWeatherSafetyTips

The County Executive has also allocated $150,000 in federal grant money this summer to Cooldownstlouis.org to establish a utility assistance fund.

For information on utility assistance, visit the Cool Down St. Louis website:

http://cooldownstlouis.org/


Four Requests for Proposals (RFPs) Issued on Behalf of the St. Louis ReCAST Initiative

(July 10, 2017) – The Saint Louis County Department of Public Health has issued four requests for proposals (RFPs) on behalf of the St. Louis ReCAST Initiative to elicit bids from organizations interested in projects for youth engagement, mental health, peer support, and violence prevention. A total of $550,000 will be awarded to the winning bidders – $137,500 for each category.

“The ReCAST grant is great example of regional cooperation that is helping us find solutions to longstanding problems in our communities,” County Executive Steve Stenger said.

The deadline for submitting a bid is 2:00 p.m. CDT on Friday, July 21st, 2017.

Links to all four RFPs can be found at:

https://www.stlouisco.com/Community/News/Year/2017/Month/6

Youth Engagement:

https://www.stlouisco.com/Community/News/Article/1828/Youth-Engagement-Services-RFP-2017-43-TP

Mental Health:

https://www.stlouisco.com/Community/News/Article/1831/Mental-Health-Services-RFP-2017-42-TP

Peer Support:

https://www.stlouisco.com/Community/News/Article/1829/Peer-Support-Services-RFP-2017-45-PR

Violence Prevention:

https://www.stlouisco.com/Community/News/Article/1830/Violence-Prevention-Program-RFP-2017-44-TP


Saint Louis Area Public Health Departments Urge All Sexually Active People to be Tested for HIV

(June 26, 2017) – Tuesday, June 27th is National HIV Testing Day and the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health and City of St. Louis Department of Health are using this opportunity to remind everyone who is sexually-active to be tested regularly for HIV.

“HIV has been a public health threat for almost a quarter century,” said Melba Moore, acting director of the City of St. Louis Department of Health, “yet some still have not gotten the message that HIV testing is one of the major keys to stopping the spread of the virus.”

HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Whenever someone is infected by HIV yet fails to receive treatment, that person can develop Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, also called AIDS. In the U.S., more than a million Americans are living with HIV.

“When the HIV epidemic first started, it was considered a death sentence,” said Dr. Khan, “but with today’s anti-viral drugs, it can be treated much more like a chronic disease. However, people first need to know they have it before treatment can begin. The sooner treatment is started, the better the prognosis. Again, the key is testing.”

Testing also serves an important role in preventing the spread of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that more than 90 percent of new HIV infections in the United States could be prevented by testing and diagnosing people who have HIV and ensuring they receive prompt, ongoing care and treatment.

The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested at least once as part of their routine health care. People with certain risk factors should be tested more frequently.

The Saint Louis County Department of Public Health offers free HIV testing at its North Central Community Health Center located at 4000 Jennings Station Road in Pine Lawn, MO. Throughout the month of June, Walgreens Company is also offering free HIV testing at select locations as part of National HIV Testing Day. Additionally, two City of St. Louis Department of Health subcontractors will offer extended hours for free HIV testing on June 27th:

  1. Project Ark
    4169 Laclede Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63108
    Hours: 11 AM-8 PM
    (314) 535-7275
  2. St. Louis Effort for AIDS
    1027 South Vandeventer Avenue 7th Floor, St. Louis, MO 63110
    Hours: 7 AM-7 PM
    (314) 645-6451

For more local St. Louis City and St. Louis County locations that provide free HIV testing, visit:

www.STLCondoms.com

www.GetTestedSTL.org

For information about the Walgreens locations, visit:

www.greaterthan.org/free-hiv-testing-walgreens-2017

For information about other locations that provide testing, visit:

www.gettested.cdc.gov

For more information about National HIV Testing Day, visit:

www.hiv.gov/events/awareness-days/hiv-testing-day


Community Reception Center to Test the St. Louis Region's Radiological Screening and Decontamination Process

(June 21, 2017) – On June 23rd, Saint Louis County Department of Public Health, the Saint Louis Regional Radiological Response Medical Reserve Corps (STLRRRMRC), and regional partners from Missouri and Illinois will be conducting an exercise based on a hypothetical radiological incident. The community reception center (CRC) exercise, based at Ritenour High School, will test and evaluate the St. Louis region’s ability to handle an unlikely radiological event. Mass care services, environmental response/health and safety, public health and medical services, and public information and warning are the core capabilities that will be tested.

“We are not conducting this exercise because of any imminent situation. The goal of this activity is to demonstrate that the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health has this CDC-recommended capability” said Dr. Faisal Khan, director of the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health. “Our ultimate goal at the department is to make Saint Louis a more resilient community that is capable of handling any type of incident, from flu epidemics to natural disasters. We do these exercises because we want to be competent and well prepared, not because we feel threatened.”

The Department of Public Health has developed specific tasks to meet the core capabilities recommended by the CDC and will evaluate them upon completion. The core capabilities integrated within the exercise include:

  • Mass Care Services: Activate and manage a CRC with the appropriate command structure, assets, and resources according to the Community Reception Center Plan.
  • Environmental Response/Health and Safety: Conduct radiological monitoring and decontamination operations for potentially contaminated populations.
  • Public Health and Medical Services: Conduct radiological assessments to determine if follow-up medical care is needed.
  • Public Information and Warning: Address the communication and information issues related to the operation of the CRC.

This exercise was designed using the Center for Disease Control’s Community Reception Center Toolkit. In order to handle hundreds of potentially contaminated visitors, the community reception center is divided into the following seven stations.

  1. Initial sorting: Staff will identify those who have an urgent medical need, are contaminated, or require special assistance. All visitors will go through a portal monitor that detects radiation. If no contamination is found, they will be sent to registration. If contamination is found they will be sent to the contamination screening station for further investigation.
  2. Contamination Screening: Staff will determine whether people are contaminated with radioactive material. If contamination is detected during a full-body screening, the individual will be escorted to the wash station for decontamination. People who are not contaminated will proceed to registration.
  3. Washing: Decontamination may involve simply removing contaminated clothing and performing localized washing or it may require showering multiple times. Staff will determine the appropriate method of decontamination and assist in the cleaning process.
  4. Registration: Staff will collect demographic and event-specific information from those who have been screened or decontaminated. The information gathered may prompt certain individuals to receive further follow-up at the next station.
  5. Epidemiological Follow Up: Will collect further information from anyone that was contaminated, pregnant, or a first responder for necessary public health follow-up.
  6. First Aid: Staff will monitor all participants for injury or heat-related illness.
  7. Discharge: Will provide visitors with additional educational information and sign them out.

Upon completion of the exercise, the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health will be more knowledgeable about available resources, efficiency, and effectiveness of current response methods. The department will use this information to improve radiological response proficiency and resource utilization. This exercise, however, is just one of many preparedness exercises that the department conducts to ensure public safety and a more resilient community.


Food Safety Encouraged as Temperatures Rise

(June 19, 2017) – The Saint Louis County Department of Public Health is encouraging residents to practice safe food handling and preparation. Reports of foodborne illnesses typically rise during the summer months, and are often caused by easily preventable mistakes.

“Many foodborne illnesses can be prevented by following a few simple rules,” said Dr. Faisal Khan, director of the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health.

To safely prepare, handle, and serve food, the Department of Public Health recommends the following four steps:

Clean

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and handling pets.
  • Wash your cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item.
  • Consider using paper towels to clean up kitchen surfaces. Sponges and cloths harbor bacteria and can spread them throughout your kitchen.
  • Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten. Scrub firm produce with a clean produce brush. Cutting into unclean produce can transfer contaminants from the rind or peel into the food product.

Separate

  • Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from other foods in your grocery shopping cart, grocery bags, and refrigerator.
  • Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Clean and sanitize the cutting board before and after cutting each different type of food.
  • Never place cooked food on a plate that held raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs unless the plate has been washed in hot, soapy water.
  • Do not reuse marinades used on raw foods unless you bring them to a boil first.

Cook

  • Color and texture cannot determine safety. Always use a food thermometer for meat, poultry, seafood, and egg products for all cooking methods. Check packaging for the minimum internal temperature.
  • When cooking in a microwave oven, cover food, stir, and rotate for even cooking. If there is no turntable, rotate the dish by hand once or twice during cooking. Always allow standing time, which completes the cooking, before checking the internal temperature with a food thermometer.
  • Bring sauces, soups and gravy to a boil when reheating.

Store

  • Use an appliance thermometer to be sure the temperature is consistently 40° F or below and the freezer temperature is 0° F or below.
  • If foods will be held hot until serving, hold above 135-F.
  • Refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, and other perishables within 2 hours of cooking or purchasing. Refrigerate within 1 hour if the temperature outside is above 90° F.
  • Never thaw food at room temperature, such as on the counter top. Foods can be defrosted: in the refrigerator, under cold running water, or in the microwave. Food thawed under cold water or in the microwave should be cooked immediately.
  • Always marinate food in the refrigerator.
  • Divide large amounts of leftovers into shallow containers for quicker cooling in the refrigerator.

For more information on food safety and foodborne illness, please visit:

www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/groups/consumers.html


Caution Urged During Extreme Heat

(June 15, 2017) – The Saint Louis County Department of Public Health is urging residents to be cautious during the hot weather expected in the Saint Louis area during the summer months.

“Our region experiences extreme heat every summer, and it’s important to observe common sense precautions whenever this happens,” said Steve Stenger, County Executive of Saint Louis County.

Whenever temperatures rise above 95 degrees, the Department of Public Health recommends the following:

  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Spend as little time as possible in the sun and keep activity levels to a minimum.
  • Drink plenty of cool, non-alcoholic beverages, especially those without sugar or caffeine.
  • Take regular breaks in the shade or in an air-conditioned room.
  • Eat light, easily-digested foods, avoiding hot, heavy, or greasy meals.
  • Be sure not to leave food unrefrigerated for long – food spoils rapidly in the heat.
  • Take care of those who might not be aware of the danger or able to react accordingly –especially young children and the elderly. Check on your neighbors and relatives if they may be vulnerable or do not have air conditioning.
  • Use air-conditioning whenever in a vehicle or roll down the windows if there is no air conditioning. Never leave a child or a pet in a parked car without air conditioning!
  • Know the signs of heat exhaustion. If someone becomes dizzy, nauseated, or sweats heavily, find a cooler location for him or her immediately.
  • Know the signs of heat stroke. Heat stroke is much more serious than heat exhaustion. The symptoms are similar to heat exhaustion, but also include hot, flushed skin, and normally sweating stops. If heat stroke is a possibility, call 911 immediately. Heat stroke is life threatening!

If a person is unable to keep his or her residence cool and needs to find a cooling center, that person is urged to call the United Way of Greater Saint Louis by dialing 211 from his or her landline phone, or by dialing 1-800-427-4626 from any other type of phone.

Residents are also urged to consider pets whenever temperatures rise. To protect pets in extreme heat citizens should:

  • Regularly check a pet’s water to make sure it is clean and fresh. Ample drinking water is vital to animals during hot and humid conditions. Make sure to adjust the drinking quantity for the size and number of pets in the area. You can also spray your pet with water to cool them off.
  • Provide a shady spot for pets. A pen near trees will work or you can fasten a sunroom screen to the sides and top of the pen to provide shade too.
  • Never leave your pet unattended in a hot vehicle. Internal vehicle temperatures can reach 150 degrees.

For more information, please visit the department’s Heat Safety Tips webpage at:

www.stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness/HotWeatherSafetyTips


Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile Virus in St. Louis County
Heavy Rains Also Boost Non-WNV Mosquito Population

(June 13, 2017) – Mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus have been discovered in St. Louis County, although no human cases have been reported this year, according to the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health.

“Positive mosquito tests are a reminder that preventative measures are important,” said Dr. Faisal Khan, director of the department. “Even though serious West Nile Virus cases in humans are rare, it is important to minimize our exposure. We can do this by eliminating opportunities for mosquitoes to breed and multiply, and by taking steps to prevent mosquito bites.”

Floodwater mosquitoes, which do not carry West Nile Virus, have also been emerging in recent weeks and are active in daylight hours as well as being attracted to bright lights at night.

Here are steps residents can take to reduce the opportunities for mosquitoes to breed and multiply:

  • At least once a week, eliminate the sources of standing water around a home by draining garbage cans, buckets, toys, flowerpots, wading pools, pet dishes, and other objects. Turn them over to prevent them from refilling with water.
  • Fill any holes in the yard with sand or dirt.
  • Drill holes in the bottom of tire swings to allow water to drain.
  • Change the water in birdbaths at least once a week and keep all gutters cleaned out.
  • Treat birdbaths and ponds with products containing the active ingredient methoprene or Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) to prevent mosquitoes from developing.
  • Ensure that drainage pipes are properly sloped. Flexible drainage pipe is commonly used to drain water from downspouts, but if not properly installed, they can hold water and breed mosquitoes.

Residents can also prevent mosquito bites by doing the following:

  • Repair any tears in door and window screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering a home.
  • When outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Spray clothing with repellents registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that contain one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin (also called KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and Icaridin), oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or IR3535. Always follow the directions on the label. Do not use products that contain oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than 3 years of age, and never apply insect repellants of any kind to children under 2 months of age.

The Saint Louis County Department of Public Health routinely collects mosquito samples to test and help determine where to focus control efforts. Its Vector Control program monitors and treats standing water in public areas as part of its preventative larviciding program. To find out where the county will be spraying, call 615-4-BUG (615-4284) for the nightly mosquito-spraying schedule.

For more information on mosquito prevention, contact the department’s Vector Control office at 314-615- 0680 or visit the department’s website at:

www.stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness/MosquitoControl


Swimming Season Arrives
Department Reminds Citizens About Safe Swimming Practices

(May 30, 2017) – As warmer weather arrives and swimming pools reopen, St. Louis residents are heading out to take part in the popular summer activity. During the swimming season, the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health reminds citizens that pool safety is an important part of their summer fun.

“People should be aware of the risks associated with swimming,” said Dr. Fredrick Echols, director of Communicable Disease Control Services at the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health. “It is important that residents take proper pool safety and health measures to protect themselves and others.”

Checking the quality of the pool is the first step residents can take towards protecting individual and public health. Pool safety can be evaluated by doing the following:

  • Check the pool’s latest inspection report.
  • Make sure the drain at the bottom of the deep end is visible.
  • Check that the drain covers at the bottom appear to be secured and in good repair.
  • Check for a lifeguard: If on duty, a lifeguard should be focused on the swimmers and not distracted. If there is no lifeguard on duty, a "No Lifeguard on Duty" sign should be posted. In the case of no lifeguard, check to see where safety equipment, such as a rescue ring or pole, is located.
  • Make sure no chemicals are out in the open.

People are also encouraged to protect themselves and others from recreational water illnesses (RWIs) such as diarrheal illness, ear infections, rashes, and respiratory infections by taking the following measures:

  • Shower before entering the pool.
  • Stay out of the pool if you have an open wound that is not sealed with a waterproof bandage.
  • Do not swim if you have diarrhea or have been sick within the last two weeks. Even small amounts of fecal matter can infect an entire pool and make others sick.
  • Take children on bathroom breaks and check diapers every hour. Change diapers in a bathroom or changing area, not by the poolside.

Finally, swimmers are encouraged to protect themselves against sunburn by regularly applying sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.

For more information about swimming pool safety and RWIs, visit:

www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/swimmers/steps-healthy-swimming.html
and
www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/swimmers/rwi.html


Rabid Bat Serves as Reminder
Department Cautions Residents about Interaction with Wildlife

(May 24, 2017) – A local bat has tested positive for rabies. It was sent for testing on May 19th. This is the first bat to test positive for rabies in St. Louis County this year. The event serves as a reminder that residents should always be cautious around wildlife.

“Residents need to be aware that area bats have awoken from hibernation,” said Dr. Faisal Khan, director of the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health. “It is extremely important that residents not try to handle or interact with these wild animals because some of them do carry rabies.”

People are urged to be aware of and cautious around all wildlife, especially bats, and to avoid direct contact with any animal that is behaving strangely. Children should be taught to stay a safe distance away from any unknown animals, including unknown pets.

Residents should check their pets’ immunization records. Because rabies can be readily passed from wild animals to domestic pets, the first line of defense is to make sure all cats and dogs are properly vaccinated, as required by county ordinance. Once the symptoms of rabies start, there is no cure and the disease almost always fatal. There is treatment available if it can be started before any symptoms begin.

Any county resident who encounters a bat in their home – alive or dead – is urged to call the public health department immediately. Residents should not attempt to capture a live bat but should confine it to the room where it was discovered so that animal control officers can collect it for possible rabies testing.

Never release a bat found in a home if it was present while people were sleeping or in the same room with anyone who is not able to describe the extent of their exposure.

To report a bat, call Saint Louis County Animal Care and Control at 314-615-0650 during regular business hours (Monday – Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.). After business hours, call 636-529-8210.

For more information about bats and wildlife control, visit:

www.stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness/MosquitoControl/BatsandWildlifeControl

For more information about rabies, visit:

http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/


St. Louis County Executive Announces Official Launch of PDMP

(May 16, 2017) – St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is pleased to announce that St. Louis County’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) is operational. The program went online April 25th.

The prescription drug monitoring program creates an electronic database on opioid and other controlled substance prescriptions dispensed within a given jurisdiction. PDMPs help prevent an individual from receiving multiple prescriptions for the same opioids or controlled substances, making it more difficult for these drugs to be abused.

“Heroin is a deadly epidemic in our region,” County Executive Steve Stenger said. “Over the past eight years, more than 2,700 St. Louis area residents have died from a heroin or opioid-related overdose. A majority of heroin users begin with prescription drugs. Our PDMP is a big step in fighting this public health crisis.”

Pharmacies will be required to report controlled substances (Schedules II-IV) dispensed in St. Louis County to a central, safe and secure, password-protected database maintained by the St. Louis County Department of Public Health. The database will be accessible to registered physicians and pharmacists.

Missouri is the only state in the nation without a statewide PDMP. Recognizing this deficiency, at County Executive Stenger’s urging, the St. Louis County Council enacted legislation last year authorizing creation of the County’s program. County health officials have worked steadily since then to develop and operationalize the first database in the state. Fourteen cities and counties across Missouri that joined St. Louis County’s PDMP are part of the initial rollout. An additional 8 counties will join in July. 48% of the state’s population and 70% of all providers have joined St. Louis County’s PDMP.

“Our staff has done an incredible job of getting the PDMP going and spreading the word to the medical community across the state,” said Dr. Faisal Khan, Director of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, “Over 1300 providers have registered and been approved to utilize the PDMP. We will be extremely busy over the next several weeks as those numbers grow and the program expands.”

The cities and counties that are part of the PDMP include: St. Louis City, Jackson County, St. Charles County, Ste. Genevieve County, Kansas City, City of Independence, City of Columbia, Jefferson City, Cole County , Lincoln County, and Stoddard County.

For more information on the St. Louis County PDMP including links to the registration guide and tutorial visit www.stlouisco.com/PDMP.


Prevention Essential as Flood Waters Recede and Mosquito Season Arrives

(May 11, 2017) – As flood waters continue to recede and cleanup efforts are well underway, the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health would like to remind residents to protect themselves from mosquitoes. Warmer temperatures, stagnant pools of water and flood debris all combine to form ideal conditions for mosquito breeding. Besides being a nuisance, some species of mosquitoes can transmit diseases, such as West Nile Virus, to people.

The Saint Louis County Department of Public Health’s Vector Control Services Program works to reduce the number of mosquitoes in the county, focusing primarily on those species that can transmit disease. Vector Control conducts routine surveillance throughout the county to identify locations with high numbers of adult mosquitoes as well as testing adult mosquitoes for the presence of West Nile Virus. Using data collected throughout the county, Vector Control treats standing water on public property during the day and treats for adult mosquitoes at night to reduce the mosquito populations in those neighborhoods.

Residents are also urged to help reduce mosquito populations by eliminating the standing water that mosquitoes need to reproduce. Mosquitoes can only develop in water, and eliminating or treating standing water is the best way to reduce mosquito populations and protect yourself from bites. Residents are asked to check their property for standing water and do the following:

  • Properly discard or recycle old tires, tin cans, jars, buckets, flower pots, drums, trash, and any other containers, or store them so they will not collect water.
  • Maintain, treat, or drain pools and be sure pool covers do not hold water when in use and are stored in a manner in which they do not collect water while not in use.
  • Cover or store boats, canoes, and wheelbarrows upside down when not in use. Be sure to remove drain plugs so that water does not collect in your boat.
  • Empty small plastic wading pools, children’s play items, flower pot saucers, and bird baths every few days.
  • Keep gutters clean and repair any tears in door and window screens.
  • Standing water that cannot be drained should be treated with a mosquito larvicide containing the active ingredient B.t.i. (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) according to the product’s label to prevent mosquitoes from developing.
  • Residents are asked to report any standing water located on public areas to Vector Control at 314-615-0680.
  • Remove unwanted weeds and brush, and treat plants and shrubs with an EPA approved mosquito barrier spray to eliminate resting areas for adult mosquitoes.

To help prevent mosquito bites, residents should avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn, as those are the times when mosquitoes are most active. If you must be outdoors where mosquitoes are present, wear light colored, loose fitting long sleeve shirts and long pants. Residents are also encouraged to use insect repellents containing N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET) or other active ingredients approved for repelling biting insects.

In areas that have been impacted by the recent flooding, residents should also be aware that there will be more water than usual for mosquitoes to hatch and develop. In addition to the previously mentioned precautions, residents in the process of cleaning up their homes and property following the flood should also do the following:

  • Clear floodwater-deposited debris on or around your property.
  • Remove standing pools of water by clearing debris from ditches, creating channels to assist in draining pools, and fill in holes created by debris or wheel ruts.
  • Be aware of and extract buried debris which can create stagnant water pools.

Should residents have any further questions regarding mosquitoes or Vector Control services, they may contact St. Louis County Vector Control at 314-615-0680. For more information regarding vector-borne diseases such as West Nile Virus, and others, you may visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov.


Local Public Health Agencies Urge Vigilance and Action to Combat Rise in Congenital Syphilis Cases

(April 24, 2017) – In 2016, the rate of congenital syphilis in Missouri rose to the highest it has been in decades. The Saint Louis County Department of Public Health, the St. Louis City Department of Health, and the St. Louis STI Regional Response Coalition (STIRR) are joining together to call for vigilance and action by everyone in the local health community to address the problem.

“Sexually-transmitted infections are entirely preventable,” said Dr. Faisal Khan, director of the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health. “Everyone in local health community needs to be aware of the problem in order to combat this unacceptable increase.”

Missouri is not the only state affected by rising rates of congenital syphilis. The U.S. saw a 39% increase from 2012-2014. Preventative techniques, medical recommendations, and timely treatments are all being encouraged to both prevent congenital syphilis as well as ensure the health and safety of mothers, their sexual partner(s), and children.

“It is also critical that the local health community understand that risk factors outside of unprotected sex exist in the contraction and spread of syphilis,” said Dr. Fredrick Echols, director of the Division of Communicable Disease Control Services at the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health. “These include drug use, the diagnosis of another sexually-transmitted infection, new or multiple partners during pregnancy, and sex with non-monogamous partners.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) recommends that pregnant women be tested for syphilis during their first trimester. Missouri law requires that such testing occur either during the first trimester or during the initial prenatal screening. In addition, since women who remain sexually active during their pregnancy can still contract syphilis, it is recommended that women continue to be screened for syphilis periodically throughout their pregnancy. Monitoring for syphilis is vital since an infection can cause abnormal fetal development, miscarriage, birth defects, and because it can be passed from mother to child during delivery.

Because of the high prevalence of primary and secondary syphilis in the St. Louis region, STIRR is recommending an additional screening for syphilis between 28 and 32 weeks and repeat testing at delivery for all pregnant women. This testing may be considered as early as 24 weeks.

Added Dr. Hilary Reno, director of STIRR, “Combining precision prevention methods and compassionate treatment options are steps the health community must take to prevent further maternal, partner, and infant exposure and infection with syphilis.”

Medical and other healthcare professionals are being reminded to follow all recommended testing and treatment protocols regarding pregnant women and congenital syphilis. In addition, local public health agencies are recommending the following for medical professionals:

Treatment for pregnant women who test positive for syphilis is vital. It has been shown that early detection and swift treatment more than 30 days before delivery dramatically decreases the number of congenital syphilis cases. Pregnant women with syphilis should be treated with benzathine penicillin. However, it should also be recognized that pregnant women, especially those who show fetal abnormalities on an ultrasound, are at increased risk for treatment failure and a second dose of penicillin G can be given one (1) week later for primary, secondary, or early latent syphilis. Patients with penicillin allergies should be desensitized and treated with penicillin.

With infants, consideration should be given to both live birth and stillbirth circumstances. In the case of a live birth, infants should not be discharged from the hospital without syphilis testing of the mother at least once during pregnancy and preferably again at delivery. Decisions for the evaluation and treatment of newborns should be based on the timing and treatment regimen of the mother and the history of ultrasound finding of the neonate. In the case of patients with a stillbirth after 20 weeks of pregnancy, testing for syphilis should also occur.

To control a congenital syphilis outbreak, other testing, evaluation, actions, and care should be considered. Screening for syphilis with nontreponemal antibody testing is typical, but reverse screening protocols using treponemal antibody testing are also acceptable. Since syphilis is a reportable illness, all incidents should be reported to the Missouri State Department of Health and Senior Services. The testing and treatment of partners should also be considered, especially to prevent reinfection during pregnancy. Encouraging prenatal care not only works to ensure a healthier pregnancy, but also increases the chances for early syphilitic symptom detection. Finally, syphilis infections are closely related to the risk of an HIV infection, so strong consideration should be given to testing for that as well.


St. Louis ReCAST to Kick Off Regional Efforts on Saturday, April 22, 2017

(April 17, 2017) – St. Louis ReCAST – a grant-funded effort to promote community well-being – is holding its public kick-off meeting on Saturday, April 22, at 11:00 a.m. at the O’Fallon Rec Center at 4343 W. Florissant Drive (63115).

The St. Louis ReCAST project is being funded by a 5-year, $4.7 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that was awarded to the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health last year. St. Louis County’s Office of Community Empowerment helped secure the grant. Partners in the effort include the St. Louis City Department of Health, the Saint Louis Mental Health Board, and over 70 other local agencies, not-for-profits, and municipalities.

“The ReCAST grant is great example of regional cooperation that is helping us find solutions to longstanding problems in our communities,” County Executive Steve Stenger said.

The project will focus on the St. Louis Promise Zone – a federally-designated area in North St. Louis City and County that encompasses 11 wards in North St. Louis City and 28 municipalities in North St. Louis County. Priorities for ReCAST include:

  • violence prevention;
  • youth engagement;
  • peer support;
  • mental health; and,
  • trauma-informed care.

Each year, St. Louis ReCAST will allocate $650,000 to community microprojects in the Promise Zone that address ReCAST priorities. All the funds will be awarded through a community-based, participatory budgeting process that will include residents from the targeted communities. The meeting on April 22, 2017, is to begin the process of selecting the community delegates that will make the funding decisions for the first year of the effort.

Anyone who lives in the Promise Zone is eligible to be a community delegate, provided they are at least 11 years old (parental permission will be required for those under 18). Those selected to be community delegates will be eligible for childcare and transit passes as needed.


City of St. Louis Department of Health and Saint Louis County Department of Public Health to Focus on Sexually-Transmitted Infections (STI) during STI Awareness Month

(April 6, 2017) – April is STI Awareness Month and the City of St. Louis Department of Health and the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health are using the event to educate residents about the very serious health challenges posed by STIs for communities in the St. Louis region.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 20 million new STIs occur in the United States every year and they cost the American healthcare system nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs alone. In addition, there has been an alarming rise nationally in the number of syphilis cases, which serves as a reminder to local health officials and medical providers to follow CDC screening recommendations.

The CDC estimates that half of all new STIs occur among young men and women aged 15 to 24. In 2016, a significant percentage of all new STI cases in the St. Louis region were in persons under 25 years of age. For that reason, prevention efforts must include age-appropriate education for teens and young adults and the development and use of online options to reach this population.

“If we are to respond effectively and improve and protect the health of St. Louis residents and visitors, we must work together,” said Dr. Faisal Khan, director of the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health. “There are a lot of factors at work here and a regional response is required to both address the immediate disease specifics and those factors that contribute to the problem, such as the lack of health insurance, a lack of knowledge about sexual health and available sexual health resources, the inability to cover medical costs, and a lack of transportation to needed services.”

Added Melba Moore, acting director and commissioner of health for the City of St. Louis Department of Health: “Through the continued coordination of regional prevention efforts, screenings, and treatments, we are working with all our regional and community partners to close the gap on STIs by enabling and empowering our communities to access the services they need.”

Added St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger: “I applaud these efforts as they relate directly to my strategic initiative to engage in more preventative public health measures that support optimal health for all residents in the region.”

Added Dr. Fredrick Echols, director of the Division of Communicable Disease Control Services at the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health: “People from all walks of life can play an important role in the prevention and education efforts for HIV and other STIs. Regardless of sexual orientation, religious beliefs, age, income, or any other distinctions, lives are worth saving.”

There are effective ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat STIs. Screenings and early diagnoses are crucial in preventing the spread and long term health consequences of STIs. Health officials in both the city and county are reminding parents and guardians to talk to their children about the risks associated with sexual activity and the steps they can take to protect themselves and prevent the spread of STIs.

There are simple measures people can take to lower their chances of getting an STD:

  • abstain from having sex;
  • be in a monogamous relationship with a partner who has tested negative for STIs;
  • consistently and correctly use condoms every time you have sex; and
  • talk openly and honestly with your healthcare provider to find out what tests may be right for you.

If you test positive for an STI, get treated right away and make sure your partner is treated to reduce the risk of becoming infected again. Safe, effective vaccines are also available to prevent hepatitis B and some types of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause disease and cancer. And for all individuals who are sexually active – particularly young people – STI screening and prompt treatment (if infected) are critical to protect a person’s health and prevent transmission to others.

Area youth (and their parents or guardians) are encouraged to visit www.STLCondoms.com, www.STLProtectYours.org, and www.GetTestedSTL.org, for STI-related information and resources.