Florida Department of Health

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is held annually on Feb. 7.  The theme for 2017 is “I am my Brother’s and Sister’s Keeper.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, African Americans are the racial/ethnic group most affected by HIV in the United States. That’s also the case in Florida and Escambia County.

In 2015, smoking among adults in Florida dropped to 15.8 percent, the lowest it has ever been. State health officials are celebrating the decline and giving much of the credit to passage of a constitutional amendment ten years ago.

In the late 1990's, Florida was one of just four states to craft its own multi-billion dollar settlement with the nation’s big tobacco companies. About a decade later, Florida voters approved a ballot measure mandating that the state use part of that money to provide a dedicated funding source for smoking prevention education.

Carol Myers

  Researchers at the University of West Florida are out with a first-of-its-kind study, assessing the health effects of the major flood that hit the Pensacola area in 2014. 

The Health Impact Assessment (HIA)  also involved the Florida Department of Health, and was funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

CDC

Escambia County Health Director Dr. John Lanza spoke to the Pensacola Rotary Club Tuesday on the Zika virus and the fight against it. 

Lanza began his midday remarks at New World Landing downtown with a confession.

“This is a standard, Department of Health community Power Point that I have given many times before,” Lanza said. “So if you think there’s going to be some big scoop or something or other – there isn’t.”

Florida Department of Health

  As Florida goes through its typical humid, bug-filled summer, Florida is recording its first home-grown cases of Zika. 

Governor Rick Scott says all four people live in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. One of the cases involves a woman and the other three involve men, none of whom have needed to be hospitalized.

“The Florida Department of Health believes that active transmissions of this virus could be occurring in one small area in Miami-Dade County, just north of downtown,” said Scott. “

OneBlood.org

On Monday, Aug. 1, one of the nation's largest blood suppliers will begin testing its donations for the Zika virus.

 

OneBlood’s announcement on Thursday comes the same day that Florida health officials reported that a woman in Miami-Dade could be the state’s first Zika case who contracted the virus without traveling outside the continental United States. Later, a spokeswoman corrected the statement, saying that sexual transmission related to travel has not been ruled out.  

The Okaloosa County Farmers’ Market is growing, with plans to provide more space for residents, visitors, and vendors just in time for summer. WUWF’s Danielle Freeman attended the groundbreaking, and the market’s re-naming. 

   

Ceremonial gold shovels in hand, several local and community officials lined up in front of the only existing structure at the Farmers Market to turn the first dirt.

“Now we’re going to throw some dirt…dirt/shovels/talking & laughter…”

Photo via Flickr// Ivy Dawned / https://flic.kr/p/5EFnAk

Florida’s Department of Agriculture is reminding Christmas chefs to follow some basic but effective steps to avoid food-borne illnesses.

About one in six Americans, roughly 48 million, gets a food-borne illness each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most common illnesses are norovirus and the Salmonella bacteria. 

There’s a new potential for “red tide” off the western Panhandle, according to the Florida Department of Health, just over a month after the first such reports.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting red tide concentrations will increase the next few days along portions of northwest Florida. That leading to an elevated potential for respiratory irritation in Escambia, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties.

Photo via Flickr// Mike Mozart / https://flic.kr/p/uhaGZN

   A new survey by the Florida Department of Health shows teens aren’t smoking as much as they used to, but they are still finding a way to get nicotine.

Just under seven percent of high school students in Florida smoked cigarettes last year, according to the state Department of Health’s 18th annual Youth Tobacco Survey. That represents a 1.7% drop from 2013.

Danielle Freeman

Throughout the spring and summer, the Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County keeps a close watch on the quality of saltwater beaches. That includes weekly testing at more than a dozen locations, as part of the Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program.  

I’m holding a bailer, attached with a role pack that will contain the water that I’m sampling I’m going to dip it into the water about 18 inches below the surface to avoid the contaminants like gas, oils, debris, stuff like that.”

Florida Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong joined community leaders in Okaloosa County as a part of his “Health In All Places Tour.” Wuwf’s Danielle Freeman reports the stop highlighted veterans and the importance of working together to move health forward in Florida.

Photo via Flickr//James Jordan

State health officials are urging Floridians and visitors to protect themselves against West Nile Virus. The warning comes after the first such case in Florida this year is reported in Walton County.

There have been 38 other states with confirmed cases of West Nile this year. The Walton county case, an adult female, is not being identified any further.

Josh Morton

An public meeting is set for Friday afternoon from 3:00 - 7:30 pm at the Marie K. Young-Wedgewood Community Center at 6405 Wagner Road in Pensacola. The meeting is to answer questions and take comments on a preliminary health report on the Rolling Hills Landfill’s hydrogen sulfide gas emissions. 

Photo via Flickr// Apotek Hjartat

Despite the attention given to the recent measles outbreak in California, the disease remains uncommon through the rest of the nation – including Florida.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 102 cases of measles in 14 different states since last month. Florida is not among them, but four people passing through the state, two of them international travelers, were confirmed to have the disease. Ninety-one measles cases were reported in California, most of them linked to an outbreak at Disneyland, and possibly thousands of others have been exposed.

cdc.gov

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports influenza is now an epidemic, with varying amounts of activity in 36 states. Flu season normally peaks in January or February.

Twenty-two states and Puerto Rico are reporting moderate to high levels of flu activity, according to the CDC. Fifteen children in nine states – including Florida – have died. Escambia County Health Director Dr. John Lanza says seniors and children are the most vulnerable.

Photo via Flickr//Matteo Bagnoli

The Florida Department of Health has established that flu season has a head start this year. As a result, school districts are reminding parents to keep infected kids at homed.

Escambia County School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas says we can expect to see an ebb and flow of influenza over the next few months. To that end, letters are being sent home after the state Health Department announced the early season, especially when it comes to children. The key, says Thomas, is fever.

Photo via Flickr//peasap

  AIM - "Attack Infant Mortality", is a collaboration between the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County, the University of West Florida and other are agencies dedicated to infant health. They say the health of newborns begins long before a woman decides to have a baby.

Let's Go Northwest Florida

Health officials in Santa Rosa County have announced a plan to improve the overall health of county residents. The plan was first announced last year and has been reviewed and revised. Joann Vanfleteren, Operations Review Specialist for the Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County says the state DOH created an initiative for for community health improvement planning. All 67 Florida counties are required to create the Community Health Improvement Plan.

In light of reports of the handful of Ebola cases elsewhere in the US, healthcare workers in Florida and Pensacola are making their own preparations just in case. However, there have been no Ebola cases here, or in the rest of Florida.

Suspected Ebola cases reported in Miami and Jacksonville this week turned out to be something else. Governor Rick Scott last week asked hospitals across Florida – large and small -- to require that their healthcare professionals undergo safety training to guard against Ebola measure.

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