A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

State begins tracking possible cases of severe pulmonary disease related to vaping

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) is working closely with health care providers, local health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to gather information and investigate severe pulmonary disease related to e-cigarette product use or vaping, primarily among adolescents and young adults. “While there have no reported...

Health departments have another year before pension hikes kick in, but some are already raising taxes

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News While local health departments are more than grateful that legislation passed in the recent special legislative session gives them another year to manage their looming pension crisis, several counties have already asked for a tax increase as a way to help pay for it. The Kentucky Department of Public Health said in an email last week that it had received 63 of...

Kentucky ‘Strike Team’ offering hepatitis A vaccines at county jails, other locations to curb outbreak

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service The Kentucky Department of Public Health’s “Strike Team” of nurses is offering hepatitis-A vaccines at county jails and other locations across the state. The effort comes as Kentucky’s hepatitis-A outbreak has become the deadliest in the country, with a death toll of 58. In some rural communities, said Dr. Jeff Howard, Department of Public...

New state health commissioner Jeffrey Howard’s sincerity, passion ‘a breath of fresh air’ for Kentucky

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Kentucky’s recently installed health commissioner is a 30-year-old doctor, two years short of being a surgeon, a goal he still plans to achieve. But right now he’s in charge of public health in a state with huge health issues, and local health departments with big financial issues. Dr. Jeffrey Howard is still learning. He will graduate from Harvard...

Three Hepatitis A deaths; CDC recommends vaccinations for children in affected counties

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Three deaths are being blamed on the hepatitis A outbreak in Kentucky, according to the Department of Public Health.   
Through April 14, the Kentucky Department of Public Health confirmed 352 outbreak-associated cases, leading to 246 hospitalizations and three deaths. 
State health officials are recommending vaccinations for residents in six Kentucky counties affected...

Kentucky Department of Health reports 117-case, multi-county outbreak of Hepatitis A

A multi-county outbreak of Hepatitis A remains ongoing with the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) now reporting 117 cases, most of which have occurred in the Jefferson County/Louisville area. According to DPH, 96 of the cases were reported in Jefferson County. Outbreak-associated cases were also found in Boyd, Bullitt, Carter, Hopkins, Leslie, Marion, McCracken, and Taylor counties. DPH first...

State public health officials issue advice for safe viewing of upcoming solar eclipse

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) is warning the public not to directly look at the upcoming solar eclipse on Aug. 21 without the proper equipment and techniques. People from all over the world will converge on the U.S. to witness the eclipse. While the solar eclipse will occur across the continental U.S., those within an estimated...

52 Weeks of Public Health: Campaign focuses on World Hepatitis Day, highlighting the silent killer

As part of the 52 Weeks of Public Health campaign, the Kentucky Department of Public Health (DPH) within the Cabinet of Health and Family Services (CHFS) is highlighting World Hepatitis Day (July 28). This is in honor of the birthday of Dr. Baruch Blumberg (1925 – 2011) and his discovery of the Hepatitis virus in 1967, which led to his development of the first Hepatitis B vaccine in 1969. For these...

52 Weeks of Public Health: One in three adults in rural areas dealing with impact of arthritis

As part of the 52 Weeks of Public Health campaign, the Kentucky Department of Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), is emphasizing the negative impact of arthritis on people who live in rural areas. A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that one-third of adults in rural areas have arthritis, and that more than one-half...

State Department of Public Health uses 52 Weeks Campaign to spotlight laboratory services

As part of the 52 Weeks of Public Health campaign, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), is promoting the impact of the Public Health Laboratory. The Kentucky Division of Laboratory Services partners with community, state, and federal health entities, including local health departments in every Kentucky county, to prevent and control...

Majority of Kentucky adults have experienced abuse linked to physical, mental health issues

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Many health-care providers have started looking at adverse childhood experiences when assessing their patients’ poor health because ACEs have been linked to risky health behaviors, chronic health conditions, low life potential and early death, and because 59 percent of Kentucky adults were exposed to at least one such experience as a child. “There...

Kentucky Department of Health raises flu level from regional to widespread in state

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) is raising the influenza (flu) level in the state from “regional” to “widespread.” 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. “With widespread flu activity reported...

ZIKA travel advisory: State Dept. of Public Health reminds pregnant women to avoid risky destinations

As mosquito season comes to an end and the holiday and winter travel season begins, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, urges pregnant women, those who might be pregnant and their sex partners to avoid traveling to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission. “With the Christmas holiday coming, travel to Zika-affected areas is expected...

Public Health Department issues smoke inhalation advisories in southeastern part of state

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, is issuing a Public Health Alert – Smoke Inhalation Advisory due to wildfires causing poor air quality in southeastern Kentucky. Air quality tests conducted in some areas of Bell, Harlan and Rockcastle counties by the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection (KDEP) have shown values...

Kentuckians urged to get vaccinated against the flu as officials confirm state’s first case

The Kentucky Department for Public Health is reporting the first positive lab-confirmed influenza case this week, indicating the presence of flu circulating in Kentucky. The case was in Jefferson County.   DPH officials are reporting the results to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of statewide flu surveillance efforts. Kentucky’s flu activity will be classified as “sporadic,”...

State health officials warn against drinking raw milk after four children hospitalized

The Kentucky Department for Public Health is warning consumers about the dangers of consuming unpasteurized milk as well as other products that could lead to disease-producing E. coli infection, following a recent outbreak in north central Kentucky and the hospitalization of four children.   DPH has been working with local health departments, hospital and the provider community to investigate...

‘Very common virus’ cause of respiratory illness in children; treat like common cold, flu

Staff report   The headline-grabbing respiratory illness affecting children in in the Midwest – including five confirmed cases in Kentucky – is believed to be caused by a “very common virus” called enterovirus – enterovirus EV-D68, to be specific.   The Kentucky Department of Public Health, in information provided to the Lexington Health Department, said there...

CHIKV case confirmed in Anderson Countian who recently visited Haiti; 9 cases pending

The Kentucky Department for Public Health has received lab results confirming the first case of the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus, also called chik-v, in an Anderson County resident who recently traveled to Haiti. Results for nine possible cases in other individuals who recently traveled to the same region are still pending but are expected to be positive.   “We have been testing...

Flu vaccine is gift that keeps on giving; can help protect against flu’s spread, severity

State public health officials are encouraging Kentuckians to get a flu vaccination during National Influenza Vaccination Week, Dec. 8-14, to reduce the spread of illness this holiday season.   “Getting a flu vaccine is an early holiday gift you can give to yourself and your family,” said Stephanie Mayfield, M.D., commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health. “Many people visit...

First two cases of flu reported in Kentucky; adequate vaccine supplies expected this year

The Kentucky Department for Public Health reported the first two positive influenza cases this week, indicating the presence of flu in Kentucky. The cases were from Henderson and Jefferson counties.   DPH officials are reporting the results to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of statewide flu surveillance efforts. Kentucky’s flu activity will be classified as “sporadic,”...