In the News

West Nile Virus Death in Jackson County, Missouri

October 9, 2018

INDEPENDENCE, MO – The Jackson County Health Department (JACOHD) reported that a Jackson County resident has died from neuro-invasive West Nile virus. This represents the second neuro-invasive West Nile virus death in Jackson County this year.

West Nile virus (WNV) is most commonly spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. The most effective way to prevent infection from West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites. Mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Residents can also lower their risk of bites by installing or fixing screens on windows and doors and emptying standing water from containers or places where water collects.

“Although we’re moving towards the end of warm weather, mosquitoes that could potentially carry West Nile virus remain active until the first hard frost,” said Bridgette Shaffer, Jackson County Health Department Health Director. “It’s important for everyone to continue taking precautions like using insect repellent, wearing long sleeve shirts and pants, and staying indoors between dusk and dawn.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 80% of people infected with WNV have no symptoms, while about 1 in 5 will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people experiencing this type of West Nile virus will recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. Though rare, those experiencing more severe symptoms such as high fever, severe headaches, neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, vision loss, and numbness or paralysis should seek medical attention immediately.

“While the risk of serious complications from West Nile virus may be minimal, severe illness can occur in people of any age,” said Director Shaffer. “All residents, especially those 60 and older or with certain medical conditions, should continue to take precautionary measure to prevent mosquito bites.” For more information regarding West Nile virus, please visit the CDC’s website:
https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html

Jackson County Health Department Examines the Potential Health Impacts of Climate Change in the Region

July 5, 2018

INDEPENDENCE, MO – National health organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Public Health Association (APHA) recognize climate change as a serious threat to public health. Accordingly, these organizations have underlined the importance of preparedness and adaptation at the national, state, and local levels to support the safety and well-being of communities. Jackson County Health Department’s (JACOHD) report, Climate Change in Jackson County takes a narrowed yet comprehensive view of climate change in the region and the possible health impacts to residents. Over the next century, the Jackson County region is expected to see an increase in temperature, precipitation, and drought – potentially causing a rise in heat-related illnesses, infectious diseases, illnesses associated with water and air pollution, as well as population displacement and injury due to extreme precipitation.

The report also uses the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) to locate populations within Jackson County that will be most vulnerable during extreme weather events. This information is intended for use by state and local emergency planners as well as those interested in promoting community health and resilience in Jackson County. “We have to prepare for all-hazards.” states Zach Koch, Emergency Planner for JACOHD. “Tools like the SVI allow us to better understand our communities on a local level throughout each phase of emergency management. It can provide us with the insight needed for a timely and successful response.”

While working to mitigate the contributing factors of climate change could lessen its effects, communities will still experience remarkable weather and environmental changes due to the current level of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. JACOHD gives recommendations on how best to adapt to these changes at the community level – focusing on education, resilience, emergency preparedness, surveillance of weather conditions and vulnerable populations, infrastructure, and collaborative capacity of organizations to address climate change within the region.

For those interested, the Health Promotion Division of the Jackson County Health Department will be offering presentations of the Climate Change Report to the community. To learn more, contact the health department at (816)-404-6416 or visit its website: http://jacohd.org/services/community/request-a-program. JACOHD’s Climate Change Report can be found at: http://jacohd.org/health-initiatives/health-data-reports.

For Media Inquiries Contact: Leslie Carto – (816) 404-3776

Jackson County Health Department Leaders to Participate in The Kresge Foundation’s Emerging Leaders in Public Health initiative

June 28, 2018

Bridgette Shaffer and Ray Dlugolecki selected to participate in leadership cohort and will receive a grant to perform transformative work in Eastern Jackson County, Missouri

INDEPENDENCE, MO – Bridgette Shaffer, Health Director, and Ray Dlugolecki, Community Health Promotion Division Manager, of the Jackson County Health Department will work to transform the role of public health in Eastern Jackson County as part of the third cohort of The Kresge Foundation’s Emerging Leaders in Public Health initiative.

Kresge’s Emerging Leaders in Public Health initiative was designed to provide public health leaders of county and local health departments opportunities to build additional knowledge and skills to tackle the challenges they face in their communities. The initiative is designed to develop local public health leaders in pairs, including the health officer and a future leader from the public health agency. As a team, Bridgette and Ray will be asked to challenge and support each other while building skills and competencies together.

“Public health leaders are valuable assets to our communities,” said Dr. Phyllis Meadows, senior advisor to The Kresge Foundation’s Health Program and the Emerging Leaders in Public Health lead. “Leaders in this program will have the opportunity to create meaningful and lasting change in their agencies that will positively impact those they serve.”

During the program, Shaffer and Dlugolecki will participate in an action-oriented program focused on the design and implementation of a transformative concept that shifts or expands the capacity of their local department. They will also receive a grant up to $125,000 as well as coaching and technical assistance to evolve their ideas into action.

Bridgette and Ray join 19 other teams from across the country selected to participate in the third cohort of Emerging Leaders in Public Health. Collectively, the 20 health departments represented by cohort leaders serve nearly 10 million community members in cities across the country.

“This opportunity will build upon our ability to lead and facilitate innovate solutions to the complex health challenges facing Eastern Jackson County,” said Health Director Bridgette Shaffer. “We are eager to engage in work that continues our journey of building a healthier Jackson County for all residents.” The team will also join a growing community of public health leaders support by The Kresge Foundation. Since 2015, 64 public health leaders have been trained through Emerging Leaders in Public Health. With the addition of Cohort III, Kresge meets its goal of providing leadership development and resources to more than 100 local, public health leaders across the country so that they can approach public health in a new way.

About The Kresge Foundation
The Kresge Foundation was founded in 1924 to promote human progress. Today, Kresge fulfills that mission by building and strengthening pathways to opportunity for low-income people in America’s cities, seeking to dismantle structural and systemic barriers to equality and justice. Using a full array of grant, loan, and other investment tools, Kresge invests more than $160 million annually to foster economic and social change. For more information visit kresge.org.

For Media Inquiries Contact: Leslie Carto – (816) 404-3776

Jackson County Legislature to Pass Tobacco21 Ordinance for Unincorporated Jackson County

November 14, 2016

JACKSON COUNTY, MO – The Jackson County, Missouri Legislature voted in favor of a Tobacco21 ordinance Monday afternoon at the Eastern Jackson County Courthouse in Independence. The approved ordinance amends the current Jackson County code to raise the age of sale and purchase of tobacco and related products from 18 to 21 throughout unincorporated areas of Jackson County.

Each day, 580 kids under the age of 18 become regular, daily smokers; and almost one-third will eventually die from smoking.

Jackson County Health Department Director Bridgette Casey believes that this new ordinance, with other interventions, will make a difference in that number.

“We have an obligation to protect our youth from the dangerous effects of tobacco products, and this ordinance will aide us in doing that,” she said.

Becoming the 21st legislative body to pass Tobacco 21 in the Kansas City Metro area, Jackson County joins jurisdictions such as Independence, Grandview, and Lee’s Summit in the fight against tobacco use among youth. As of right now, almost 1.5 million Kansas City Metro residents are living in an area with a Tobacco21 ordinance. That number is anticipated to increase throughout the year.

As tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 480,000 each year, the primary drive of Tobacco21 is to reduce the number of lifelong smokers before they start and work to decrease health disparities directly linked to tobacco use.

“Today was another step in the direction of building a healthier Jackson County, ” said Director Bridgette Casey. “We look forward to seeing the continued progress of Tobacco21 throughout Jackson County.”

To learn more about Tobacco 21, visit the HealthyKC website at wearehealthykc.com.

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Lee’s Summit City Council Latest to Pass Tobacco 21 Ordinance

Lee’s Summit City Council Latest to Pass Tobacco 21 Ordinance

August 19, 2016

LEE’S SUMMIT, MO – The Lee’s Summit, Missouri City Counsel became the latest governmental body to pass a Tobacco 21 ordinance, raising the age of purchase and distribution of tobacco, rolling papers, alternative nicotine, and vapor products from 18 to 21 within city limits.

“To put it simply, passage of the Tobacco 21 ordinance will result in a healthier Lee’s Summit community,” said Dr. Ed Kraemer, a physician and member of the city’s Health Education Advisory Board.

Lee’s Summit joins Independence, Grandview and many other communities in the Metro area who have increased their age of sale for tobacco products from 18 to 21. As of right now, nearly 1.5 million area residents are covered under a Tobacco 21 ordinance in the bi-state region.

As tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 480,000 people each year, the primary drive of Tobacco 21 is to reduce the number of lifelong smokers before they start. Each day, 580 kids under the age of 18 become regular, daily smokers; and almost one-third will eventually die from smoking.

To learn more about Tobacco 21, visit the HealthyKC website at wearehealthykc.com.

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Grandview Alderman Pass Tobacco 21 Ordinance

Grandview Alderman Pass Tobacco 21 Ordinance

May 24, 2016

GRANDVIEW, MO – The Grandview, Missouri Board of Alderman voted 4-2 Tuesday evening, May 24th, in favor of a Tobacco 21 ordinance. Ordinance No. 6887 amends the Code of Laws regarding the sale and distribution of tobacco, rolling papers, alternative nicotine, and vapor products to persons under the age of 21.

“If we can help stop some young smokers from starting right now, I think it’s important,” said Alderman Brian Hochstein.

Grandview joins many other communities in the Metro area who have increased their age of sale for tobacco products including KCMO, KCKS, Olathe, Overland Park, Prairie Village, and Independence with more expected.

As tobacco use remain the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 480.000 people each year, the primary drive of Tobacco 21 is to reduce the number of lifelong smokers before they start. Each day, 580 kids under the age of 18 become regular, daily smokers; and almost one-third will eventually die from smoking.
Area Health Officials Issue Health and Travel Advisory Regarding the Zika Virus

Area Health Officials Issue Health and Travel Advisory Regarding the Zika Virus

March 7, 2016

KANSAS CITY, MO – Metro area health departments are urging travelers to take precautions to prevent Zika virus infection if they are going to areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Health officials suggest travelers follow the CDC’s updated travel guidelines, which include a recommendation that pregnant women not travel to areas with active Zika virus transmission. Health care providers are also urged to counsel patients who are planning to travel to endemic areas about the prevention of mosquito bites and seek Zika virus testing for patients with Zika virus symptoms who have recently traveled to areas with Zika infection.

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Jackson County Health Department Receives a $35,000 Award for Preventing Cancer

Jackson County Health Department Receives a $35,000 Award for Preventing Cancer

December 18, 2015

INDEPENDENCE, MO – The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), has awarded Jackson County Health Department $35,000 in funding to support cancer prevention in Jackson County, Missouri. The funds will be used to identify strategies and develop an action plan to improve vaccination rates for Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the leading cause of cervical and several other types of cancers. Each year in the United States, there are about 26,000 new cases of HPV-related cancers, the majority of which can be prevented with the three-dose series vaccine.

Contact

Jackson County Health Department
313 S. Liberty Street
Independence, MO 64050
816-404-6416