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DCHD Confirms County’s Second AFM Case

          A second case of Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) in a Douglas County resident has been confirmed. The individual is less than 18 years of age and has been released from the hospital.

          The previous case was confirmed in December by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  An earlier suspect case could not be confirmed as the CDC reported the patient met some but not all of the criteria for being a confirmed AFM Case.

          “This was the final case from Nebraska that had been under review with the CDC,” Health Director Dr. Adi Pour said. “It is important to remember AFM remains extremely rare.”

          Much remains to be learned about AFM. The Health Department suggests staying current on vaccinations, practicing proper hand washing techniques, and recommends anyone who is sick should stay home from school, work or other activities as your best prevention methods.

         About 90 percent of AFM patients had a mild respiratory illness or fever consistent with a viral illness before developing the condition. Common symptoms are the sudden onset of limb weakness and a loss of muscle tone and reflexes. Droopy eyelids, problems moving the eyes, and a facial droop may be evident. Problems swallowing or slurred speech also may occur. .

          If you see these symptoms in anyone, especially a young person who may have had a viral illness within the past week, immediately contact your health care provider. The average AFM patient in the U.S. is four years old and 90 percent of cases involve people less than 18 years of age. AFM remains extremely rare, occurring in about one or two children in a million according to the CDC and there are fewer than 500 confirmed cases in the five years it has been monitored.

        The number of AFM cases has spiked nationally in even-numbered years since it first drew national attention in 2014. AFM has been linked to several viruses but no single infectious cause has been identified. It has generally appeared in the fall of the year.

       Cases have been limited to the fall months. The Douglas County Health Department will work with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and the medical community to monitor possible future cases.

 

Douglas County Reports Season’s First Child Flu Death

              The Douglas County Health Department has confirmed the county’s first pediatric death of the current flu season. Pediatric deaths are defined as those in which the deceased is less than 18 years old. It is not known if the child was vaccinated.

The most recent CDC report on the flu season stated there had been 28 pediatric deaths in the United States this flu season. That would not include the Douglas County death.

Douglas County has experienced nine adult flu deaths, all of them involving people at least 50 years old. Most of those cases involved individuals with other underlying medical conditions.

The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get the vaccine, especially pregnant women, and anyone over 65 years of age or who has a chronic disease. In cases where the vaccine does not prevent influenza, it generally reduces the severity of the illness. Remember, the vaccine takes two weeks before it provides protection.

The flu season runs from October through April, so it is not too late to get a flu shot.

An annual flu vaccination is the best way to reduce the risk of catching influenza and suffering its potentially serious complications.

            Other ways to protect yourself from the flu include washing your hands and covering your cough. Anyone who becomes ill should stay home for 24 hours after they have recovered from the illness and are free of a fever.

Douglas County had 2,851 confirmed flu cases in the most recent DCHD report on the flu season. That report will be updated Tuesday, February 19.

  

 February Means Heart Month Is Here

             Don’t forget the candy and flowers, but good health is even better.

The Douglas County Health Department wants you to consider giving the gift of health – even give it to yourself – throughout February which is Heart Health Month and it doesn't end with Valentine's Day.        

            “Heart disease remains the nation’s leading cause of death and the second leading cause of death in Douglas County,” Health Director Dr. Adi Pour said. “The good thing is there are many things you can do to improve your heart health.”

            Suggestions to improve heart health include:

  • Preventing and control high blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Monitor diabetes and keep active.
  • Don’t smoke, avoid second-hand smoke and limit alcohol use.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and eat healthy food – lots of fruit and vegetables.

                Cardiovascular disease costs the nation nearly $200 billion annually in health care costs, medications, and lost productivity. Prevention is much less costly.

            You can help by knowing the signs and symptoms that can lead to a heart attack.

Chest discomfort that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back is a reason for concern. Discomfort in one arm or both, the back, neck, jaw or stomach also can mean problems. Other warning signs include shortness of breath, with or without discomfort, breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

            Remember, heart disease is not just a man’s disease - it is the nation’s leading cause of death for men AND women.  That holds true in Douglas County where in 2017 – the most recent year with confirmed statistics - there were 403 male deaths from heart disease and 345 female deaths.

            “Making healthy choices is a wonderful way to show how much you care for someone,” Dr. Pour said.

 

 Health Department Confirms AFM Case in Douglas County

A case of Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) has been confirmed in a Douglas County resident less than 18 years of age by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The individual has been released from the hospital.

An earlier suspect case of AFM could not be confirmed by the CDC. That patient met some but not all of the criteria for being a confirmed AFM Case. Two cases in the Sarpy/Cass Health Department jurisdiction have been confirmed.

“AFM remains extremely rare,” Health Director Dr. Adi Pour said. “It is not something that can be passed from person to person.”

Remember, much remains to be learned about AFM. The Health Department recommends staying current on vaccinations, practicing proper hand washing techniques, and suggests anyone who is sick should stay home from school, work or other activities as your best prevention methods.

 About 90 percent of AFM patients had a mild respiratory illness or fever consistent with a viral illness before developing the condition. Common symptoms are the sudden onset of limb weakness and a loss of muscle tone and reflexes. Droopy eyelids, problems moving the eyes, and a facial droop may be evident. Problems swallowing or slurred speech also may occur. All U.S. cases have tested negative for polio.

If you see these symptoms in anyone, especially a young person who may have had a viral illness within the past week, immediately contact your health care provider. The average AFM patient in the U.S. is four years old and 90 percent of cases involve people less than 18 years of age. AFM remains extremely rare, occurring in about one or two children in a million according to the CDC and fewer than 500 confirmed cases in the five years it has been monitored.

The number of AFM cases has spiked nationally in even-numbered years since it first drew national attention in 2014. AFM has been linked to several viruses but no single infectious cause has been identified. It has generally appeared in the fall of the year. Guillain-Barre syndrome, genetic disorders and environmental toxins have been known to cause AFM. One death has been linked to the disease, but no deaths this year.

The Douglas County Health Department will work with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and the medical community to monitor possible future cases.

 

Douglas County Updates Improved STD Rate

 When the Douglas County Health Department released STD rate for 2017 earlier this year, there was encouraging news. The infection rate for chlamydia appeared to be leveling off. That was a positive sign after more than a decade of battling what the Board of Health has labeled an epidemic.

Now there is even better news as recently released updated census data for 2017 shows a population increase in Douglas County. That population increase changes the infection rate. DCHD and the Adolescent Health Project now can report a decrease in chlamydia rates for last year from 662.2 per 100,000 population to 658.5 per 100,000 population.

“This is a time to recognize our success,” Health Director Dr. Adi Pour said. “This means we have been doing the right thing, but our work is far from over. We will continue to educate, test, and provide outreach to as many people as we can.”

Among the most successful programs has been free condom distribution. The health benefits of community condom distribution programs have been realized. And in the past 15 months, more than 1 million condoms have been distributed through the Adolescent Health Project. Free condoms are available at all STD testing locations as well as at more than 150 locations throughout the Omaha metro.

 “An increase in sexual health knowledge and improved health outcomes are results of providing unrestricted access to STD testing and treatment as well as free condoms to reduce STDs,” said Brenda Council, Adolescent Health Project Manager at the Women’s Fund of Omaha.

As part of the Adolescent Health Project, an initiative of the Women’s Fund of Omaha, the Douglas County Health Department and other clinical partners make STD testing accessible by screening people at locations that are convenient to them, including public libraries. There are an average of 40 outreach testing sites offered by DCHD throughout the county each month in addition to normal testing hours at the health clinic.

“This slight decrease is a bright light for our continued work in the community. We are optimistic that with access to education and safer sex resources, more people will be able to take control of their sexual health,” Dr. Pour said. “We know the only way to maintain this trend is to continue with our hard work and create sustainable, community-wide changes.”

 

 

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