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Health & Environment

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Department News

Johnson County maintains #1 ranking as healthiest place to live in Kansas

Johnson County maintains its top ranking as the healthiest place to live in Kansas according to the ninth annual County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, released on March 14, 2018 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI). The Rankings are available at www.countyhealthrankings.org.

“Johnson County is fortunate to have many of the key factors that contribute to a long and healthy life,” says Lougene Marsh, director of the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment. “However, this report is also a call to action for leaders and community members to note those areas where we can make improvements so everyone in Johnson County has a fair and just chance to lead the healthiest life possible”

The 2018 Rankings show that where you live influences how well and how long you live. Good health is influenced by many factors beyond medical care including housing, education, jobs, access to healthy foods and more.

Johnson County ranked number one in the state for another year for health outcomes like a low number of premature deaths and low birthweight babies. The county also ranked number one for health factors such as access to quality medical care and exercise opportunities, a healthy food environment and a high percentage of adults with some post-secondary education.

The report identifies areas where more work needs to be done in Johnson County to reduce obesity and heavy drinking in adults, slow down the rate of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and address the number of workers who commute in their car alone.

Marsh says Johnson County has a number of initiatives underway to address these issues: LiveWell Johnson County, a grant-funded program that addresses chronic disease prevention by promoting healthy eating and active living; and abstinence-based programs for adolescents that focus on STI and pregnancy prevention; and improved mass transit with the expansion of RideKC routes to southern Johnson County starting in April 2018.

Three measles cases confirmed in Johnson County

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) has confirmed three cases of measles in a Johnson County, Kan. child care facility. All identified cases are in children less than one year of age, who are too young to be vaccinated for the disease. Those at risk for the disease have been contacted and the investigation is ongoing.

In order to prevent the spread of measles, the affected children and others they have come in contact with have been excluded from the child care facility for 21 days following the last exposure to the disease, per the Kansas Administrative Regulation 28-1-6. Any child that has been exposed to measles should not attend any childcare facility or school. This protects the community from further spread.

Measles is a respiratory disease caused by a virus. Since the creation of the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine, measles cases are rare in the United States; however, it still sickens millions and kills 146,000 people worldwide each year.

“Vaccination is the best way to prevent measles in children and adults. Make sure children have the MMR vaccine when they are 12 to 15 months old, and again before they enter kindergarten,” said JCDHE Director Lougene Marsh.

Measles is highly contagious and is spread through the air by breathing, coughing, or sneezing. The signs and symptoms of measles typically begin one to two weeks after someone is exposed to an infected person. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Blotchy rash on the skin, which spreads from the head to the trunk then to the lower extremities (Measles can be spread to others from four days before to four days after the rash appears.)
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Feeling run down, achy
  • Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers found inside the mouth (Koplik’s spots)

“If your child has a fever, keep them home except to see a healthcare provider. If you need to visit your healthcare provider, call ahead so appropriate measures can be taken to protect other patients and staff,” said Marsh.

People at high risk for severe illness and complications from measles include infants and children less than 5 years of age, adults older than 20 years, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems.

For more information about measles: http://www.cdc.gov/features/Measles/index.html

Immunization clinics closed on March 12, 2018

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment's immunization clinics in Olathe (11875 S. Sunset Drive) and Mission (6000 Lamar Ave.) will be closed on Monday, March 12, 2018. All other walk-in services will be available at both locations from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

New shingles vaccine for adults over age 50 now available in clinics

Shingles on skinThe new shingles vaccine that is 90 percent effective in preventing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), the most common complication from shingles, is now available at the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment’s immunization clinics.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults over age 50 get two doses of the shingles vaccine Shingrix®, separated by 2 to 6 months, to prevent shingles and the complications from the disease. Shingrix is the preferred vaccine because it provides stronger protection than Zostavax®, a shingles vaccine in use since 2006. Shingrix is also recommended for people who have already gotten Zostavax.

You can get Shingrix whether or not you remember having had chickenpox in the past. Studies show that more than 99 percent of Americans 40 years and older have had chickenpox, even if they don’t remember having the disease. Chickenpox and shingles are related because they are caused by the same virus (varicella zoster virus). After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant (inactive) in the body. It can reactivate years later and cause shingles. If you had shingles in the past, you can get Shingrix to help prevent future occurrences of the disease. Consult with your healthcare provider or one of JCDHE’s immunization nurses about the best time to receive Shingrix.

Shingrix is available on a walk-in basis at the immunization clinics in Olathe and Mission: https://www.jocogov.org/dept/health-and-environment/health/immunizations/adults

Many health insurance plans will cover the vaccine. Contact your insurer to find out.

WIC Offices Closed on Jan. 10, 2018

The WIC (Women/Infants/Children) offices in Olathe and Mission will be closed on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 for staff training on the new eWIC program. 

Tdap Vaccine Clinic on Jan. 23, 2018

The Tdap vaccine protects adults from tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). Whooping cough can be a life-threatening illness for infants less than a year old. Babies can catch the disease from household members and caregivers who might not know they are infected. Those who have close contact with infants should get vaccinated at this clinic offered by the child care licensing and health services divisions of the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment. 

WHO SHOULD ATTEND:
Childcare providers, parents, grandparents and adult caregivers of children

WHEN:
Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

WHERE:  
St. Joseph Early Education Center
11525 Johnson Drive, Shawnee, KS 66203

WHAT TO BRING:
$20 or insurance card. JCDHE is a KanCare provider for all managed care organizations: Amerigroup, Sunflower and United Community. JCDHE accepts private insurance from Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Coventry and UnitedHealthcare. We do not take insurance from Medicare, Coventry Advantra or Humana Gold Plus for this service. Check your health benefit plan to confirm coverage for payment of services.

QUESTIONS?
Call 913-826-1261

JCDHE Health Clinics Closing at 3 p.m. on Dec. 4, 2017

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment's health clinics in Olathe and Mission will be closing (except for appointments that are already scheduled) Monday, Dec. 4, 2017 at 3 p.m. for a special all staff meeting. We apologize for the inconvenience. Clinics will open at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. 

Yellow Fever vaccine temporarily out of stock at immunization clinics

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment is temporarily out of Yellow Fever vaccine and does not expect to receive a new supply from the manufacturer until mid-2018. More information about the vaccine shortage can be found here.

Travelers and health care providers can find locations with remaining doses of Yellow Fever vaccine and its alternative, Stamaril, by visiting the yellow fever vaccination clinic search page. 

For information about which countries require yellow fever vaccination for entry and which countries the CDC recommends yellow fever vaccination, visit the CDC Travelers’ Health website (www.cdc.gov/travel).

Flu shots now available for the 2017-18 influenza season

Flu shots are now available for adults and children over the age of 6 months at our walk-in health clinics in Olathe (11875 S. Sunset Dr.) and Mission (6000 Lamar Ave.). The cost is $30 for a seasonal flu shot and $50 for the high dose flu shot for those age 65 and older. The nasal spray vaccine will not be offered during the 2017-18 flu season.

We accept private insurance from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, Cigna, Coventry, UnitedHealthcare and Medicare Part B. We do not take insurance from Coventry Advantra or Humana Gold Plus. We are a KanCare provider for all managed care organizations such as Amerigroup, Sunflower and United Community. Cash, check or credit card payment is also accepted for those without insurance or who carry other insurance plans. Click here for immunization clinic hours and locations. If you have additional questions, call 913-826-1261.

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Take precautions to prevent mosquito bites and reduce risk of West Nile Virus

Mosquitoes infected with West Nile Virus (WNV) are showing up in surveillance reports across Kansas, including Johnson County. All four traps collected on Aug. 11 in Johnson County contained mosquitoes positive with the virus.

West Nile is a virus most commonly spread to people by mosquito bites. In North America, cases of WNV occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall. There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV (8 out of 10) do not have symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness. You can reduce your risk of WNV by using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing to prevent mosquito bites. More prevention tips: https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/prevention/index.html

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