Tag Archives: epidemic

DHEC in the News: Flu, opioids, child vaccine rates

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

9 Died from Flu in South Carolina Last Week Alone

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – State health officials say nine people have died from the flu in South Carolina in the past week.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control said the deaths during the second of January mean that two dozen people have died from influenza this season, which started in October.

General Interest

Walmart is giving away free opioid disposal kits

Walmart is trying to help curb America’s opioid crisis.

The retail chain said Wednesday that its pharmacies will offer a free kit that allows patients to safely throw out unused opioid prescription pills at home. The packet, called DisposeRx, dissolves pills into a biodegradable gel.

Child vaccine rates higher in South Carolina than national average even as more parents refuse

More than three-quarters of South Carolina children insured by BlueCross BlueShield received their recommended vaccines for measles, mumps, hepatitis B and other infectious diseases between 2010 and 2016, even as a growing number of parents refuse to vaccinate their children, a new national report shows.

In this state, 77.8 percent of these children were appropriately vaccinated, compared to 73.5 percent nationally.

DHEC in the News: ‘Widespread’ flu activity, opioid addiction

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

‘Widespread’ Flu Activity Reported Across SC

COLUMBIA, SC (WTAT-TV) — New health data in from the state health department reveals widespread flu activity in South Carolina.

The report is from December 10th through the 16th and the most recent data DHEC is providing.

They say those numbers present a 56% spike from the previous week.

Painkiller addictions often start in the doctor’s office, but prescribers are rarely punished

To hear Dr. Charles Bruyere tell it, his problem was he had too much empathy. That’s why he doled out painkillers at such a high rate, why he landed in jail and why he was stripped of his medical license, he said.

The former physician, who operated a cash-only pain management clinic in Greenwood, said he didn’t know he was breaking the law by writing prescriptions for future dates when he would be out of the country. And anyway, he doesn’t believe in opioid addiction, or doesn’t believe doctors should have to take responsibility. The blame, he said, lies with the American people.

DHEC in the News: World Aids Day, Supermoon, flu

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

New HIV prevention program launched in time for World AIDS Day

Every month in South Carolina, 66 people are diagnosed with HIV or AIDS.

With nearly 19,000 South Carolinians infected with HIV or AIDS, the state ranks eighth nationally in the rate of AIDS cases and 10th in HIV cases.

So as people around the globe mark World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, state health officials have launched an initiative to reduce the number of new infections through better health care and prevention.

Called “Stop the Epidemics,” the effort also targets sexually transmitted diseases and Hepatitis C, which has tripled in the past five years, with millennials making up the fastest growing group of those infected.

General Interest

Supermoon coming to South Carolina skies Sunday; meteor shower in mid-December

Up in the sky on Sunday will shine the year’s only Supermoon. The skies should be mostly clear. The full moon could bring flood tides.

A week later, the heavens will blaze with a Geminid meteor shower. In the midst of the shower, NASA astronaut and Citadel graduate Randy Bresnik returns to Earth.

Supermoons are full moons that appear larger than usual because they arrive when the full moon is at perigee, or a point closest to earth in its oval-shaped orbit.

Australia’s flu season has US health officials bracing for a bad winter, and wishing for a new vaccine

The flu season is just getting underway in North America, but if Australia’s experience with influenza is any guide, we’re in for a miserable winter.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned Wednesday that the United States could experience a “relatively severe influenza season.” If so, it would extend a run of bad luck that began in 2014, when the available flu vaccines proved to be a poor match for the most common viruses in circulation.

DHEC in the News: S.C. Adopt-A-Stream Program, Swim Advisories, Opiods

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

Edisto group backs S.C. Adopt-A-Stream program

Edisto River conservationists are supporting recently announced efforts by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and Clemson, who said this month, they are partnering to form the South Carolina Adopt-a-Stream (or SCAAS) program.

S.C. DHEC and Clemson’s Center for Watershed Excellence said in a news release the program will closely mirror the Georgia Adopt-a-Stream program, on in which several volunteer organizations in South Carolina have already been utilizing to monitor and record water quality in the streams and rivers around the state.

Several Grand Strand beach access points under swim advisories for July 4th holiday

If you’re thinking about heading to the Grand Strand for the July 4th holiday, you may want to pay close attention if your plans include a visit to the beach.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reports several beach access points from Garden City to Atlantic Beach are currently impacted by long-term swimming advisories.

Impacted beach areas will have signs posted, discouraging swimming within 200 feet of either side of the sign.

South Carolina one of 10 states with lowest hospitalizations from opioid abuse

The opioid epidemic is sweeping hospitals across the country, but South Carolina hospitals have so far escaped the brunt of it, according to a report by the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. 

At the end of 2014, the last year for which data is available, Maryland had about three times the number of opioid-related emergency room visits than South Carolina did. Maryland has struggled with heroin overdoses, a problem that exists in South Carolina to a lesser degree.