A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Department for Public Health issues health, safety guidelines in wake of severe flooding in Eastern Ky.

The Department for Public Health (DPH) is reminding Kentuckians to follow safety guidelines following severe flooding and water run-off events from recent rainfall across the state. Governor Andy Beshear, who today visited the Eastern Kentucky areas hardest hit by flood, praised residents for helping each other and told them his administration will support them. “We will use every resource available...

Eight more adults die from influenza in Ky. as cases continue to rise; many schools close due to illness

New cases of influenza inched up again in Kentucky during the week ended Feb. 1, and eight more adults in the state were reported dying from it. So far, 41 Kentuckians have died from the flu this season, three under the age of 18, according to the state Department for Public Health. The latest weekly report shows in the week ending Feb. 1, Kentucky counted 1,815 new cases, a slight increase from...

Dr. Steven Stack named commissioner of Department for Public Health; begins appointment Feb. 10

Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Acting Secretary Eric Friedlander has announced Dr. Steven Stack as the agency’s new commissioner of the Department for Public Health (DPH). Stack will begin his appointment on Feb. 10. Gov. Andy Beshear said Stack shares his commitment to making better health care and health education available to Kentuckians in every part of the state. “Health...

Flu cases dip in new year, but still much higher than last season; 21 deaths from flu confirmed in Ky.

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Influenza has killed 21 people in Kentucky this season, two under the age of 18, according to the state Department for Public Health. The latest weekly report shows that the flu activity in the state has dropped a bit in the first two weeks of the year, compared to the last two weeks of 2019, when the state was reporting more than 2,000 new cases each week. In...

Kentucky receives D-minus for high rate or pre-term births on annual March of Dimes report card

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Childbirth, which should be one of life’s most joyous occasions, has become more deadly for Kentucky mothers and remains problematic for many Kentucky babies because it comes too early. One in nine Kentucky babies is born prematurely, so many that the March of Dimes gave the state a D-minus on its 2019 Premature Birth Report Card. And the rate of Kentucky...

Officials encouraging Kentuckians to get flu shots now in order to be protected throughout the holidays

The Department for Public Health (DPH) is encouraging Kentuckians to get vaccinated against the flu, as the holiday season is approaching. “As the holidays approach, people will be traveling and families will gather together, increasing the potential for exposure to the flu,” said Dr. Angela Dearinger, Commissioner of DPH. “We are strongly urging anyone who hasn’t received a flu vaccine, particularly...

More than 1/3 of Kentucky students in violation of required hepatitis A shots; immunizations fall short

More than a third of students in Kentucky schools are in violation of the year-old state law requiring them to be vaccinated for the liver disease hepatitis A, according to the annual report by the state Department for Public Health on student immunizations. “While hepatitis A rates were the lowest of all required vaccines, they reflect a broader trend: Kentucky students still aren’t getting...

State health officials encourage flu vaccinations; DPH reports 154 confirmed flu cases since Aug. 4

The Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), is encouraging Kentuckians to get vaccinated against the flu, as the official flu season begins Sept. 29 and runs through May 16, 2020. DPH officials are reporting 154 laboratory-confirmed flu cases in regions across the state since Aug. 4. “Getting the flu can be debilitating and sometimes life-threatening,”...

Department for Public Health invites submissions for children’s environmental health poster contest

The Department for Public Health (DPH) is inviting school-age children kindergarten through eighth grade across the Commonwealth to create and submit original artwork for a chance to win cash prizes in a poster contest focusing on environmental health. This contest is sponsored by the Kentucky Environmental Public Health Tracking Network and Kentucky Population Health Institute. Students in Kindergarten...

Organizations from across Kentucky hold strategic planning meeting on elimination of hepatitis C

Kentucky’s Department for Public Health hosted a statewide Hepatitis C (HCV) elimination meeting Monday. Staff from the state’s local health departments, universities, hospitals, corrections departments, behavioral health facilities, private providers, and other groups attended the strategic planning meeting. Kentucky leads the nation in both acute and chronic cases of Hepatitis C. HCV...

Health officials urge public to take steps to avoid injury, illness during extreme summertime heat

Health officials with the Department for Public Health (DPH) urge the public to take steps to avoid injury and illness during periods of extreme summertime heat expected to move into the area over the weekend.   “During summer we often spend long periods of time outside. However, with warmer extreme temperatures comes the risk of overexertion, so we advise the public to take steps to keep cool and...

Widespread flu activity in Kentucky reported for 10th consecutive week; not too late to vaccinate

The Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, reports flu activity in Kentucky is at “widespread” for the 10th consecutive week. Widespread is the highest level of flu activity, indicating increased flu-like activity or flu outbreaks in at least half of the state’s regions. “With the traditional flu season running from October through May, it is...

State officials defend handling of hepatitis A outbreak in wake of additional warnings, legislators concerns

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News State Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Adam Meier called a news conference on March 1 to discuss the state’s hepatitis A outbreak and spent most of the time criticizing news-media coverage, mainly the Louisville Courier Journal’s investigation that revealed state health officials had rejected expert advice to mount a stronger response. Since...

DPH issues safety guidelines related to severe flooding after recent rainfall across Kentucky

The Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, reminds Kentuckians to follow safety guidelines following severe flooding and water run-off events from recent rainfall across the state. “We urge Kentuckians to use caution in flooded areas, and once floodwaters recede and the clean-up begins, to keep yourself and your family safe,” said Dr. Jeff Howard,...

Flu cases hit new high for the season in state’s latest report with two more deaths reported week of Feb. 2

The number of influenza cases confirmed in Kentucky hit the highest level of the season, by far, in the week ended Feb. 2, according to the latest surveillance report from the state Department for Public Health. The department’s laboratory confirmed 1,876 cases that week, for a total of 7,285 in the season. All 17 health regions of the state have confirmed cases, and only one region did not...

Kentucky Department for Public Health announces tickborne disease prevention poster contest

The Department for Public Health is inviting school-age children across the Commonwealth to create and submit original artwork for a chance to win cash prizes in a tickborne disease prevention poster contest sponsored by the Northern Kentucky Independent District Health Department. “I am excited to announce this poster contest spotlighting tickborne disease because this is a serious health problem...

Kentucky flu cases jump 65 percent in first week of the year; nearly half of all reported cases are children

By Al Cross Kentucky Health News The number of influenza cases confirmed in Kentucky rose by 65 percent in the first week of 2019, adding nearly 1,000 cases for a total of 2,408 in the current flu season, according to the latest weekly surveillance report from the state Department for Public Health. The department reported the first flu outbreak in a long-term-care facility, and for the first time...

Health officials investigating two new hepatitis A-related deaths in Franklin County

The Department for Public Health, within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, is investigating two recent hepatitis A-related deaths in Franklin County. DPH declared a hepatitis A outbreak last year. Since August of 2017 more than 2,275 outbreak-associated cases of acute hepatitis A have been reported in 94 of Kentucky’s 120 counties. Hepatitis A has been a contributing factor in 16 deaths...

Centers for Disease Control study shows state has high rate of addicted mothers — and it’s rising

By Melissa Patrick and Al Cross Kentucky Health News Kentucky has had a very high rate of opioid-use disorder among women delivering babies in hospitals, according to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Kentucky, 19.3 mothers out of every 1,000 who gave birth in a hospital in 2014 had an opioid-use disorder. Among the 30 states studied, only two were ahead of Kentucky:...

Public Health tobacco program launches second phase of Quit Now Kentucky information campaign

Quitting tobacco isn’t easy – but Kentuckians don’t have to do it alone thanks to services like the state’s free tobacco quit line, 1-800-QUIT NOW. That is the message behind the Department for Public Health’s (DPH) new public information campaign. It features broadcast, print, and digital advertisements, along with targeted outreach to medical providers and community engagement initiatives...