A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

Hepatitis A outbreak in Kentucky worst ever — over 900 cases confirmed, six deaths — and it isn’t over

Kentucky Health News State health officials say the hepatitis A outbreak in Kentucky is the worst ever, and the crisis isn’t over. “It’s the worst on record across the nation and in Kentucky,” Dr. Jeff Howard, Kentucky Commissioner of Public Health, told Beth Warren of the Louisville Courier-Journal. Kentucky health officials have confirmed 969 cases and six deaths from...

Dept. for Public Health recommends Hepatitis A vaccination for at-risk counties in Kentucky

Due to an ongoing outbreak of Hepatitis A, the Department for Public Health (DPH) within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), is recommending vaccination for everyone residing in Jefferson, Bullitt, Hardin, Greenup, Carter and Boyd counties.   To date, 214 cases have been reported in the Jefferson County/Louisville area. Bullitt, Hardin, Greenup, Carter and Boyd counties have each reported...

Bevin vetoes rare disease council, end-of-life controlled substances; legislature can override

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky lawmakers, so far, have two vetoes by Gov. Matt Bevin to potentially override when they return from recess on April 13. Senate Bill 7, would establish and fund the Kentucky Rare Disease Advisory Council, to support rare disease research and treatment for 10 years. The bill received unanimous approval in both the Senate and House and delivered to the governor on...

Kentucky Department for Public Health commissioner participates in national roundtable on opioid abuse

Kentucky is helping inform national policy on the opioid epidemic. Dr. Jeffrey Howard, acting Commissioner of the Department for Public Health took part in a national roundtable discussion earlier today focused on the prevention of opioid abuse through states’ prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). The invitation-only event in Washington, D.C. was sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control...

52 Weeks of Public Health: Move with heart to better your health during American Heart Month

As part of American Heart Month in February, the Department for Public Health encourages Kentuckians to increase their levels of physical activity to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. To get involved, use the hashtag #MoveWithHeart on social media to connect with others and search for posts about exercise, physical activity and improving cardiovascular health. Heart disease is the second...

February is deadline for Ky students to receive first of two-dose Hepatitis A vaccine for 18-19 school year

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News A new state regulation says Kentucky students must prove that they have had the two-dose hepatitis A vaccine by the first day of school, so it’s time to get the first dose, because the shots are given six months apart. Most schools start in August. The regulation also applies to children entering day-care centers, certified family child-care homes and pre-school...

52 Weeks of Public Health: Winter weather poses many risks; some tips for cold weather safety

With temperatures below freezing, and in some cases near zero, throughout this week, Department for Public Health (DPH) officials emphasize the importance of limiting exposure to the cold and taking steps to prevent hypothermia. The National Weather Service is reporting bitterly cold air will enter the area this evening, lowering temperatures and increasing risk of frostbite and hypothermia. Precautions...

Flu is now ‘widespread’; increased activity is early this year, expected to continue for several months

Department for Public Health (DPH) officials, within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), now report “widespread” flu for the first time this flu season.  Widespread activity is the highest level of flu activity, which indicates increased flu-like activity or flu outbreaks in at least half of the regions in the state.   The traditional flu season lasts from October through May....

School Boards Association says it will support any legislation to make all schools in state tobacco-free

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Usually opposed to statewide mandates on schools, the Kentucky School Boards Association says it will support any legislation that proposes a statewide tobacco-free school law in the 2018 legislative session, because the majority of its members support such a law. “We really try to protect local decision-making on these things,” Eric Kennedy, director...