SAVE THE DATE: Second Annual JeffX Global Health Conference

Save the date for the Second Annual JeffX Global Health Conference: Planetary Health!

WHEN: Friday, December 6, 2019 from 3:00 – 8:30 pm
WHERE: Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA

KEYNOTE: Dr. Jo Ivey Boufford, MD, President, International Society for Urban Health; Clinical Professor, Global Public Health, New York University; Clinical Professor, Pediatrics, NYU School of Medicine.

FLU IS NOW CONFIRMED STATEWIDE; DPH ANNOUNCES FIRST FLU CASES IN KENT AND SUSSEX COUNTIES FOR THE 2019-2020 SEASON

DOVER (Oct. 14, 2019) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is reporting the state’s first laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza in Kent and Sussex counties, for the 2019-2020 flu season. The Kent County case involves a 26-year-old female, while the Sussex County case involves a 7-year-old male. This brings the total number of flu cases this season to three. The first confirmed flu case for New Castle County was announced last week. There are two main types of influenza (flu) virus – types A and B – that routinely spread in people and are responsible for seasonal flu outbreaks each year. All three lab-confirmed influenza cases were type B.

 

“With flu cases confirmed in all three counties, we are urging Delawareans not to delay getting their flu vaccine,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “Vaccination is not just about protecting yourself, it’s also about protecting your children who are quite vulnerable to effects of the flu, other family members and those with whom you work.” Vaccinations not only prevent people from getting the flu, but they can reduce the severity of flu illness and prevent visits to the doctor, clinic, emergency room and hospitalizations. Vaccinated people also have less chance of missing family, school and work events due to influenza illness.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced last week concerning national numbers that show only about half (54%) of pregnant women surveyed report getting a flu vaccine either before or during pregnancy.  When pregnant women are vaccinated they pass on antibodies to the fetus that provide protection after birth, during the time babies are too young to be vaccinated. Newborns who get influenza or whooping cough are at high risk of hospitalization and death. Additionally, pregnant women have more than double the risk of hospitalization compared to non-pregnant women of childbearing age if they get influenza. The CDC and DPH recommend that expectant mothers be up-to-date with recommended vaccinations as part of their routine prenatal care.

 

The flu vaccine is recommended for Delawareans 6 months of age and older. Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against influenza virus infection to develop in the body, it is important to get vaccinated as early as possible to give your body time to build immunity. DPH will offer various flu clinics throughout the season. A schedule can be found at https://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/fluclinics.html. Flu vaccines also are offered through physician offices, many pharmacies and some grocery stores. To locate where flu vaccines near you are being offered, Google “CDC flu finder” and enter a ZIP code.

 

Getting the flu vaccine now also will provide protection during the entire flu season. During the 2018-2019 flu season, Delaware recorded 6,387 laboratory-confirmed flu cases. More than 1,000 Delawareans were hospitalized due to the flu and 24 people died from flu complications.

 

The flu is easy to transmit and you can get it even from seemingly healthy, but unvaccinated, children and adults. Children, older adults, pregnant women and those who have chronic underlying medical conditions are most at-risk for complications from the flu and are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated now.

 

In addition to getting an annual flu vaccine, Delawareans can prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory illness with good hygiene: Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and dispose of tissues immediately. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your inner elbow. Droplets from a sneeze can travel up to six feet. Also avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Keep your distance from people who are coughing or sneezing.

 

Flu symptoms come on suddenly, and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches and body aches, chills and fatigue. Some people get complications including pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections. Those sick with the flu should stay home from work, school and other gatherings and not return until they have been free of fever – with a temperature of less than 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C), without the use of fever-reducing medications – for at least 24 hours.

 

People with flu symptoms should avoid close contact with well people in the household and stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other clear liquids. Over-the-counter medicines can provide symptom relief, but if you suspect you have influenza, call your doctor as they may decide to provide antiviral medications to help hasten recovery and prevent serious complications. This is particularly important for those who feel very sick, are pregnant or have chronic medical conditions.

 

For more information about the flu and where to get vaccinated, visit flu.delaware.gov or call 1-800-282-8672.

 

Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary

Jill Fredel, Director of Communications

302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498

Email:  jill.fredel@delaware.gov

 

DPH Media Contact:
Jennifer Brestel
302-744-4907, Cell 302-612-6223
Email: 
Jennifer.brestel@delaware.gov

Images from the 89th Annual Meeting of the Academy/DPHA

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DPH LAUNCHES MY HEALTHY COMMUNITY DATA PORTAL

DOVER (May 13, 2019) — Today, the Division of Public Health (DPH) launched a data portal allowing Delawareans to assess the overall health of their communities. The My Healthy Community data portal delivers neighborhood-focused population health, environmental and social determinant of health data to the public. The innovative technological showpiece, which was unveiled at the Rt. 9 Library and Innovation Center in New Castle, allows users to navigate the data at the smallest geographical area available, to understand and explore data about the factors that influence health.

“This is another example of how we are making data more transparent, accessible, and easy to understand,” said Governor John Carney. “Sharing community-level statistics and data allows Delawareans to understand what is occurring in their neighborhoods, make informed decisions about their health, and take steps to continue improving our quality of life.”

Delaware residents are able to explore a variety of data indicators in the following categories: community characteristics, the environment, chronic disease, and mental health and substance use. Air quality data, asthma incidence data, public and private drinking water results, and drug overdose and death data are currently available. Over the next several months, additional categories and data indicators are expected to be added including community safety, maternal and child health, healthy lifestyles, health services utilization, infectious diseases, education, socioeconomic influencers, lead poisoning, suicide and homicide, and populations vulnerable to climate change.

“Our health and the environment in which we live are inherently connected,” said DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker. “The portal will allow communities, governments and stakeholders to better understand the issues that impact our health, determine priorities and track progress. Communities can use the data to initiate community-based approaches, support and facilitate discussions that describe and define population health priorities, and educate residents about their community’s health and the environment in which they live.”

Residents can search health indicators by street address, ZIP code, census tract, neighborhood, town/city, county and state. In addition, they can compare their community’s health measures with other Delaware communities, their county, and the state as a whole, as well as view data trends over time. To ensure compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), not all data can be made available at the community level therefore, the system is designed to provide data for the smallest geographic area possible.

“Access to data is a key factor in making progress toward a stronger and healthier Delaware. The ability to easily access such crucial information like substance use and overdose data by ZIP code enables Delawareans to compare it to larger areas and examine trends,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. Drug overdose deaths, non-fatal drug overdoses, and youth use of prescription pain medicines are available through My Healthy Community. Also for the first time, Emergency Department non-fatal drug overdose data from DPH, and Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) data will be available thanks to a partnership with the Division of Professional Regulation.

“Addiction, air quality, chronic disease and drinking water quality impact every one of us,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “When communities become aware of the level at which these issues are occurring in their neighborhoods, it can spur action that can improve the quality of life for current and future generations.”

“People want to know detailed information about the health of their communities,” said Rysheema Dixon, Wilmington City Council Member At-Large. “Providing this data with a neighborhood lens is going to open Delawareans’ eyes to how healthy – or unhealthy – their communities really are.”

My Healthy Community has been years in the making through a partnership among several DPH programs, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), the Division of Substance Use and Mental Health (DSAMH), and the Delaware Health Care Commission (HCC). $138,500 in seed funding for this project was provided by DNREC in 2016, $79,000 for the initial research phase, and $59,500 for construction of the of the data portal’s framework with supplemental funding from DPH through Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grant funds ($30,000 for development). DPH’s contractor for this project was Green River of Brattleboro, Vermont.

“Health and environmental agencies have a long history of separately tracking trends, when, in fact, environmental conditions and health outcomes are often closely related,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “This public-access portal brings health and environmental data together and puts this information at the fingertips of all Delawareans, including healthcare and environmental professionals.”

Additional funding was provided by DSAMH for substance use disorder (SUD) data and from the HCC to build in additional health indicators starting this summer, that will also serve to highlight Delaware’s progress in meeting health care benchmarks (obesity, tobacco use, preventable Emergency Department visits, etc.) as part of DHSS’s ongoing efforts to bring transparency to health care spending and to set targets for improving the health of Delawareans. Future funding has been secured from DNREC for data on vulnerable populations and climate change, and from DPH through CDC grants for violent death data and internal sharing of timely SUD data.

My Healthy Community encompasses the Delaware Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (EPHTN), and benefits from participation in an Environmental Public Health Tracking Peer-to-Peer Fellowship program through the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), with the Kentucky Department of Health as Delaware’s EPHTN mentor.

Access the My Healthy Community data portal at MyHealthyCommunity.dhss.delaware.gov. Comments can be submitted via an online feedback form.

U.S. Surgeon General releases new video “The Doctor Is In”

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, M.D., M.P.H., released a new video, “The Doctor Is In,” on the topic of  vaccinations. As the Nation’s doctor, VADM Adams wants to share the message that vaccines are safe and effective ways to protect your children, your family, your neighbors, and yourself.

This is particularly timely, given that CDC announced yesterday that from January 1 to May 3, 2019, 764 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 23 states. This is an increase of 60 cases from the previous week. This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1994 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.

In the video, Dr. Adams responds to frequently asked questions about vaccination.

Surgeon General VADM Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH Statement on National Infant Immunization Week, Safety and Effectiveness of Vaccines

Vaccinations save lives, protect our children, and are one of the greatest public health achievements in history. Most parents choose to protect their children with these safe, proven vaccines. Despite this, we are now seeing a large, very concerning outbreak of measles. Vaccinating your baby according to the recommended immunization …