Tag Archives: virus

DHEC in the News: Flu, “Stop the Bleed” kits, opioids

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

South Carolina flu season deadlier than any of past five

Some 221 South Carolinians have died so far this flu season, more than in any of the previous five flu seasons, state health officials report.

And flu season isn’t over yet.

According to state records, 46 South Carolinians died during the 2012-13 flu season, 78 perished in the 2013-14 season, 157 in the 2014-15 season, 47 in the 2015-16 season, and 94 in the 2016-17 season.

“This flu season has been particularly harsh for South Carolina and our country as a whole,” said Dr. Linda Bell, epidemiologist for the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Upstate hospital sparks initiative to get life-saving equipment into every SC school

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — A team effort led to grant funding that will provide 19,000 life-saving kits to every school in South Carolina. The idea for the initiative started in Spartanburg.

“We’ve always called EMS first responders, but we want the lay public that has no background in medicine at all to not be afraid of what bleeding looks like,” said Amy Hamrick, trauma program manager at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.

General Interest

Centers for Disease Control to award over $15 million in opioid overdose prevention funds

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is awarding more than $15 million over three years to seven chosen projects that will help prevent opioid overdoses.

The CDC will award $15,750,000, given out as $750,000 per year, for a total of $2,250,000 over the three years.

Keeping watch over flu activity is critical to limiting its damage

Flu seasons such as the one South Carolina and the nation have been enduring reminds us why it is so important to monitor flu activity.

Severe flu seasons can be devastating, and even milder influenza seasons cause missed work and school time, hospitalizations and deaths.

Keeping an eye on diseases

Each year, DHEC and U.S. public health experts monitor influenza and other diseases. This activity is called disease surveillance.

Surveillance of influenza plays a big role in understanding the spread of the disease, as well as the severity of potential epidemics. Although surveillance can tell us the trend of influenza illness in South Carolina, it cannot tell us exactly how many cases of flu there are in the state.  This is because not everyone who gets the flu goes to the doctor to get tested, and we have no way of monitoring unreported cases of flu.

Flu surveillance allows DHEC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to see what impact flu is having on the health of residents. In South Carolina, influenza surveillance consists of several components. Each component provides different types of information about influenza; together, they create a solid overview of influenza activity in the state.

The benefits of surveillance

Surveillance helps us to:

  • Understand which new flu viruses are circulating in South Carolina (The types of influenza virus that infect people often change from one flu season to the next.);
  • Establish when the influenza virus first appears in the state and also when it decreases;
  • Determine where in the state the influenza virus is circulating; and
  • Understand what types of vaccines are most likely to succeed the following year.

DHEC produces a weekly summary of reported influenza activity in South Carolina in a report called Flu Watch. Visit the DHEC website for more information and the latest update of Flu Watch. Also, visit the CDC’s website for national statistics on flu.

Protect yourself

DHEC and CDC recommend that everyone 6 months and older get the flu vaccine, because it is the best way to combat the flu. It is also important to take other preventive actions, such as limiting contact with sick people and washing your hands frequently.

DHEC in the News: Flu, sewage discharge, American Heart Month & more

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

DHEC: Week 8 of high-activity flu season brings second child death to South Carolina

Horry County, S.C. (WPDE) — The eighth week of flu season brought the second flu-related child death of this year, according to a report by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

In its weekly flu watch report, DHEC said the week of Feb. 18 to Feb. 24 was the 11th consecutive week of widespread flu activity.

2 million gallons of sewage discharged into the Stono River

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Department of Health and Environmental control says an estimated 2.4 million gallons of sewage discharged into the headwaters of the Stono River over the course of 8 days.

According to DHEC, the Town of Hollywood noticed disruption of flow in a wastewater line on February 19, 2018. The disruption indicated a problem with the collection system.

Take care of your heart during Heart Health Month

Heart disease is a leading cause of early death and disability in South Carolina. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control encourages residents to adopt habits to keep their hearts healthy.

In 2016, heart disease was the second leading cause of death in the Palmetto State. But small changes can make a big difference.

General Interest

1 in 14 women still smokes while pregnant, CDC says

(CNN)About one in 14 pregnant women who gave birth in the United States in 2016 smoked cigarettes during her pregnancy, according to a report released Wednesday.

The findings, gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, revealed that 7.2% of all expectant mothers smoked — but that the percentage of pregnant smokers varied widely from state to state.

DHEC in the News: Flu, Surfside Beach pier, discharge into Saluda River ended

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

DHEC: Number of SC flu deaths reported this season now at 167

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – The death toll this flu season continues to grow in South Carolina.

16 more people have died in the state within the last week.
Another child dies of the flu in South Carolina, but DHEC report shows activity is down

Flu activity continued to decline in the last week, but experts at both the federal and state health agencies said influenza is still considered widespread.

There were 6,332 influenza cases reported in the state in all, less than half that of the previous week, according to a report from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

FEMA set to fund upgraded Surfside Beach pier

The pier will be going back up in Surfside Beach, pending some official paperwork.

Interim administrator Jim Duckett said Tuesday the town is anticipating $9.5 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) money to build a concrete pier. The town’s wooden pier was destroyed by Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Mayor Bob Childs predicted it would be back up in late 2019 at the earliest.

It’s Over: Discharge Into Saluda River from I-20 Sewage Plant Formally Ends

A yearslong fight to eliminate discharges from the former Carolina Water Service wastewater treatment facility near I-20 into the lower Saluda River came to a close Wednesday as the Town of Lexington, which now owns the plant, officially ended the discharge.

Lexington Mayor Steve MacDougall and Congaree Riverkeeper Bill Stangler confirmed to Free Times Wednesday afternoon that the discharge has ended. Wastewater from that facility is now being pumped to a regional wastewater treatment facility in Cayce.

DHEC in the News: HPV, flu, critical need for more emergency medical professionals

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

This virus causes 31,500 cancers annually but few complete the vaccine to prevent it

Vaccination rates against HPV remain low in South Carolina, according to the national Blue Cross Blue Shield association, despite a wide acceptance by doctors as a key in preventing cervical and other types of cancer.

Gardasil had been administered in three doses until 2016, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended two doses of the same vaccine for adolescents. The Blue Cross study examined the percentage of children who got the first dose by the time they were 10 and the percentage who had gotten the final dose three years later.

Urgent care chain expanding as flu cases spike

As flu cases and related deaths continue to increase in South Carolina ahead of the peak flu season, urgent care facilities like American Family Care are rapidly expanding and opening more clinics in the Upstate.

American Family Care opened its newest location on Friday in Boiling Springs to help meet the surge in patients dealing with the flu or flu-like symptoms.

Fire chief: Critical need for medic professionals in York Co.

YORK COUNTY, S.C. — A local fire chief is speaking out about the lack of medical resources in the area.

City of York Fire Chief Domenic Manera tells NBC Charlotte his firefighters are also licensed EMTs, because the closest hospital is more than 20 minutes away. …

Chief Manera says there is a critical need for medic professionals in the western York County.