DHEC in the News: HIV prevention, swimming advisory, vaccines

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

North Charleston HIV prevention group is reaching at-risk with free testing

A North Charleston HIV testing group recently began driving a van filled with blood tests, condoms and literature to a homeless shelter, a gay bar and local churches.

Despite the difference in these settings, the recently rebranded Palmetto Community Care is targeting each of the populations at these locations by offering HIV and hepatitis C tests outside the clinic’s walls.

Temporary swimming advisory issued in Myrtle Beach, DHEC says

Some sections of the beach in Myrtle Beach have been placed under a swimming advisory after high levels of bacteria were detected, the Department of Health and Environmental Control reported.

General Interest
Opting out of vaccines leaves these US ‘hot spots’ most vulnerable for outbreaks

(CNN)A number of American states and metropolitan “hot spots” are vulnerable to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease, new research suggests. The reason? Children whose parents opted out of vaccination.

The risk of outbreaks is rising in 12 of the 18 states that permit nonmedical exemptions from childhood vaccinations, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS Medicine. Those states are Arkansas, Arizona, Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah.

DHEC in the News: Emergency preparedness drill, flu, penicillin-resistant superbug

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

4 Tri-County agencies team up for emergency preparedness drill

DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) – First responders across the Lowcountry are making sure we’re prepared for any emergency that comes our way.

At the Dorchester County Emergency Operations Center, the staff is doing joint activation drills with the Town of Mount Pleasant, Charleston County, and the City of North Charleston in its annual emergency drill. On Wednesday, that training is preparing for a 5.5 magnitude earthquake.

General Interest

Scientists want to infect you with the flu, but you’ll earn $3,500 and a ‘hotel’ stay

Getting the flu sucks, so why not do it in style?

Researchers at Saint Louis University’s Center for Vaccine Development are offering that opportunity, although their reason for it is much more scientific and less glib. They want to infect willing participants with the influenza virus — after giving them either a real vaccine or a placebo — and then monitor how their body reacts, the Center for Vaccine Development’s director Daniel Hoft said.

Here’s what’s in it for you: A free stay at “Hotel Influenza,” a payout of around $3,500, catered meals and access to TV and internet.

Penicillin-resistant superbug found in Orange County facility, CDC report says

A strain of antibiotic-resistant Pseudomonas bacteria was found in a health-care facility in Orange County, making it the first case of its kind in Florida, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The superbug, which produces genes that make it resistant to the penicillin family of antibiotics, was identified in 2017 in seven patients in a long-term acute care hospital — an inpatient hospital for patients who are too sick for nursing homes but not sick-enough for the ICU. The bacteria was identified in patients before causing infections or complications, according to the CDC report.

From Other Blogs: Hurricane season, National Safety Month, pork and swine market reports & more

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Preparing Emergency Managers for Hurricane Season

The 2017 hurricane season will be remembered for the extreme devastation it caused in Texas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Florida as well as our neighbors in the Caribbean.  While long-term recovery efforts continue, plans have been readied for the  2018 hurricane season.  No one knows how the United States will be affected by hurricanes this year, so plans must be prepared with the possibility that your community will be impacted.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency with federal partners, such as the National Weather Service/National Hurricane Center and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, alongside state, county, and city emergency managers, have been working diligently to prepare for hurricane season.  This is done through training and outreach events coordinated by FEMA’s National Hurricane Program.  The program’s mission is to provide technical assistance to emergency managers and federal government partners for hurricane preparedness training, response and evacuation planning, and operational decision support. — From the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) blog

Make One Change for Safety this National Safety Month

June is National Safety Month, an opportunity to help prevent unnecessary injuries and deaths at work, on the roads, and in our homes and communities. With this year’s theme, No 1 Gets Hurt, we are encouraging readers to think of at least one change you can make to improve safety this month. This joint blog from NIOSH and the National Safety Council (NSC) highlights the weekly themes of emergency preparedness, wellness, falls and driving. Help us spread the word about National Safety Month to your family, friends and co-workers. Use the information below, download and share free materials from the NSC website, and visit the NIOSH website to help ensure that No 1 Gets Hurt. — From the CDC’s NIOSH Science blog

Knowledge is Power with New Users Guides for Pork and Swine Market Reports

The smell of pork barbeque fills the country air – must be time for the summer grilling season! Before pork makes its way into the store and onto your grill, complex transactions occur between producers, packers, retailers, and foodservice providers. To ensure market transparency, USDA’s Livestock Mandatory Reporting Program (LMR) provides the U.S. pork industry the market intelligence they need to competitively buy and sell pork.

LMR provides price and volume data covering about 97 percent of the swine industry and 87 percent of wholesale pork sales. LMR reports provide a wealth of information, but they can be complex. To help the pork industry navigate LMR and how pork is priced, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) created three user’s guides that provide insight into understanding the information available through our market reports. – From the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) blog

5 Communication Lessons Learned from Hurricane Maria

When Category 4 Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, CDC assembled a team of experienced communicators who were flexible, bilingual, and culturally sensitive communicators. This group of experts prepared to deploy to Puerto Rico on short notice to support the communication needs of the Puerto Rico Health Department. I was asked to lead content development, and as a native Puerto Rican I did not hesitate to go home and help in any way I could.

I was part of the first team of four health communications specialists who arrived on the island just three weeks after the hurricane. We knew our job was not going to be easy— severe electrical power outage meant that residents had no access to internet, social media, or television. Antennas had fallen during the storm, so there was very limited radio coverage and almost no cell phone connectivity. Large billboards were literally on the ground and newspapers were not circulating widely because there was no way to publish and transport them for delivery. — From the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Public Health Matters blog

Building a Resilient Nation

My first day on the job at FEMA was the day Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico. Since then I’ve seen firsthand the tireless efforts of FEMA’s dedicated workforce in supporting disaster survivors from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, the catastrophic California wildfires, and dozens of other disasters around the nation.

As we moved from immediate response and recovery to long term recovery, we reflected on the lessons from the 2017 disasters. In doing so, we contemplated not only how to increase our readiness for catastrophic disasters, but also how best to reduce impacts from future disasters. We soon realized that we needed to shift the way we as a nation think about disasters, so that together, we can be better prepared in the future.

As a result of our months-long after action review, we recently released our 2018-2022 Strategic Plan. Goal 1 is to Build a Culture of Preparedness. — From the FEMA blog

Death of Bald Eagle Yields Life Lessons for West Virginia Students

Most educators agree that experiential learning makes a more lasting impression on students than classroom lectures. It’s the reason why Cindy Bryant and Greg Phillips, both teachers from Robert C. Byrd High School in Clarksburg, WV, put in the hard work to organize an overnight field trip for their students. The two educators never imagined it would be something they, and their students, would never forget.

On a cold night last November, a group of 10th grade biology students were on a bus, heading home to Clarksburg. For two days, they had hiked, observed wildlife and conducted their first stream study at Experience Learning, a center near Spruce Knob in the Monongahela National Forest. Sitting at the front of the bus, Cindy, who is also a biologist, noticed a large object in the road ahead.

As the bus got closer, she knew immediately it was a bald eagle—and it was blocking the way. Standing more than 2 ½ feet tall, the eagle did not respond when she and Greg tried to shoo it out of harm’s way. Seeing no other option, they decided to rescue it in the hopes of connecting with a wildlife rescue organization. – From the USDA blog

From Men’s Health Month to Father’s Day: June Is for the Men

By Chanelle Taylor

There is something special about June. It is Men’s Health Month. It is also the month during which we celebrate Father’s Day, which is June 17 this year. In short, June is for the men.

In June, we celebrate our men and boys and encourage them to seek consultations, participate in age appropriate health screenings, and get adequate exercise for longer, healthier lives.

Men are at a higher risk than women for many preventable health conditions and die an average of five years younger than women. According to the Center for Disease Contron and Prevention (CDC), some of the top causes of death among men include cancer, heart disease, unintentional injuries, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease and stroke.

In an effort to protect and preserve their health, men should:

  • Eat healthy foods; include a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Visit the doctor.
  • Maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • Do not use tobacco products. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

Visit the CDC website for more information on Men’s Health Month and men’s health topics.

DHEC in the News: Community baby showers, swimming advisory, heart disease

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Community baby shower draws 100 expectant mothers

Sequoia Rivers waited outside of the Palmetto Electric community room in Ridgeland on Friday, anxious to enter the community baby shower being hosted by Sen. Margie Bright Matthews in partnership with Molina Healthcare of South Carolina.

Rivers, a Ridgeland resident, who is expecting her fourth child, has twins and a 7-year-old child. She said she attended to get the most up-to-date information about what opportunities are available for expectant mothers.

SCDHEC lifts swimming advisory for North Myrtle, Surfside

A temporary ban on swimming along portions of the Grand Strand coast has been lifted, South Carolina Department of Health and Environment Control announced Friday afternoon.

General Interest

Limited health literacy is a major barrier to heart disease prevention and treatment

Limited healthy literacy is a major barrier blocking many people from achieving good cardiovascular health or benefiting from effective treatment for heart attacks, heart failure, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases, according to a scientific statement published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

Health literacy encompasses not only the ability to read, but skills such as being able to ask questions about your care, understand documents with medical terminology, perform the basic arithmetic needed to take medication correctly and negotiate with health care providers and insurance companies. Inability to do these things effectively can have serious health consequences.