Fight the Bite-May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month

Fight the Bite-May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month

The DeKalb County Health Department (DCHD) encourages the community to learn how to protect themselves from ticks and Lyme disease by “fighting the bite.”

Lyme disease is an infection that individuals can get from the bite of infected ticks – and it is the most common vector-borne illness in the United States with more than 500,000 people diagnosed and treated each year.

The most important thing people can do to “Fight the Bite” is to diligently check themselves, their pets, and children for ticks after spending time in areas where ticks live, such as in and near wooded areas, tall grass, and brush. Removing ticks within a 24-hour period reduces the risk of potential disease transmission.

To learn how to help fight the bite, IDPH created a fact sheet and Tick Defense Knowledge Check crossword puzzle that make it fun to learn about how to protect yourself and your loved ones from tickborne illnesses. They also partnered with the Illinois Natural History Survey to launch an interactive Tick Surveillance Map that documents the counties in Illinois where the different tick species have been confirmed as well as the diseases they may carry.

Below are additional tips for how to avoid tickborne illnesses:

  • Avoid wooded, bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. Walk in the center of trails.
  • Wear light-colored clothing to make ticks easier to find. Tuck long pants into socks and boots.
  • Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent containing 20% DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus according to label directions.
  • Conduct full-body tick checks on family members (underarms, ears, belly button, behind knees, between legs, waist, hair and scalp) every two to three hours. Also check any gear or pets taken on outings.
  • Put your clothes in the dryer on high for 10 minutes (or one hour for damp clothes) to kill ticks.
  • Bathe or shower within two hours after coming indoors.

Learn about tick removal and symptom awareness on IDPH’s website

For information about Health Department services, visit the DCHD website.

DeKalb County Health Department Releases 2023 Annual Report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DeKalb County Health Department Releases 2023 Annual Report

We are pleased to present our fifty-seventh Annual Report which highlights the ways in which the DeKalb County Health Department works each and every day to improve health outcomes in our community.

Many of the highlights in the 2023 Annual Report include local data on services accomplished to help protect and promote the wellbeing of DeKalb County residents. Some of the 2023 highlights include:

  • Launching a new recycling site pilot program accessible year-round 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Distributing Naloxone to individuals in the community as well as continuing partnerships to provide Naloxone to community agencies.
  • Offering Binx Rapid Point-of-Care Chlamydia and Gonorrhea testing.
  • Partnering with Kishwaukee College of Nursing to become a clinical practice site for their Community Health Nursing practicum.
  • Post pandemic focus on expanding outreach efforts throughout DeKalb County.
  • Completed 1,280 routine, follow-up and temporary food inspections.
  • Providing Family Case Management assistance to 10,959 individuals.
  •  Helping to prevent the spread of disease by conducting 4,332 case investigations.

We encourage community members to view the full report by visiting the DeKalb County Health Department’s website at https://health.dekalbcounty.org/annual-reports/

“We continue to be grateful for our dedicated staff, our valued community partners, the elected and appointed officials and the residents of DeKalb County for their ongoing support and commitment to public health. We are honored to continue providing essential public health services to meet the needs of our community,” Lisa Gonzalez, Public Health Administrator.

For additional information about the DeKalb County Health Department, visit the Health Department’s website at https://health.dekalbcounty.org/

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National Public Health Week Continues in DeKalb County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National Public Health Week Continues in DeKalb County

During the first full week of April each year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) brings together communities across the United States to observe National Public Health Week (NPHW) as a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation’s health.

The theme for National Public Health Week 2024 is Protecting, Connecting and Thriving:  We Are All Public Health. The DeKalb County Health Department (DCHD) has taken part in NPHW by sharing the daily themes on social media, encouraging community engagement in NPHW and participating in outreach events. Saturday’s daily theme for NPHW is emergency preparedness. DCHD will be continuing to feature this theme the entire month of April to highlight the importance of preparedness. This past week, DCHD staff have participated at various events to encourage community members to build or restock emergency supply kits. During the outreach events held at NIU, Cortland Public Library and Sandwich Public Library, community members had the opportunity to receive an emergency supply kit to help launch their emergency supplies.  

Visit DCHD staff at one of the events below to receive an emergency supply starter kit:

  • Genoa Public Library April 10th from 10am-2pm
  • Kishwaukee YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day April 13th from 1pm-3pm
  • Genoa Area Food Hub April 15th from 9am-11am
  • DeKalb Public Library April 16th from 9:30am-11:30am
  • Community Health Fair-Fox Valley Community Services April 16th  from 1pm-3pm
  • Malta Public Library April 25th  from 10am-2pm

Please note kits will be distributed while supplies last. Visit the APHA’s website at https://www.nphw.org for more information about National Public Health week.

For additional information, visit the DeKalb County Health Department’s website at https://health.dekalbcounty.org/

COVID-19 Cases Slowly Rising Across the State

For Immediate Release

COVID-19 Cases Slowly Rising Across the State

According to the latest Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) news release, IDPH reported that COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses are rising across the State and forty-four Illinois Counties are now at elevated level for COVID-19.

COVID-19 hospitalization rates have slowly started to rise in Illinois, and residents are urged to get “fully protected” with COVID booster shots and the flu vaccine in time for the holidays.

The hospital admission level in DeKalb County is considered “low,” however, according to the CDC, about 64 hospitalizations were recorded in the week ending Dec. 2., a 16.4% increase from the previous week in DeKalb County.

Late last week, IDPH announced that it is launching a new, weekly Infectious Respiratory Disease Surveillance Dashboard that will be updated weekly on Fridays after 3 p.m. This report will provide the public with access to the latest data on hospital visits, seasonal trends, lab test positivity and demographic data.

The CDC recommends that children ages 6 months or older get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu. DCHD offers COVID-19 Moderna vaccine by appointment and there are other providers throughout the County who provide the COVID-19 vaccine.

In November, the federal government announced that every household in the U.S. is eligible to receive four free at-home tests through the COVID.gov website. You can also receive COVID-19 tests by visiting the DCHD.

For additional information, check out the DeKalb County Health Department website at https://health.dekalbcounty.org/

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Walk-in Flu Vaccines Available at the Health Department Beginning Monday, September 25th

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Walk-in Flu Vaccines Available at the Health Department Beginning Monday, September 25th

Getting an annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccination has been shown to have many benefits including reducing the risk of flu illness and hospitalizations.

The circulating viruses of every flu season are different and while many people contract influenza despite receiving the vaccine, the symptoms of those who received the vaccine are much less severe than if they had not received the vaccine. This year’s quadrivalent flu vaccine contains the following four strains of the influenza virus:

  • A/Victoria/4897/2022 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • A/Darwin/9/2021 (H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Austria/1359417/2021 (B/Victoria lineage)-like virus
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013 (B/Yamagata lineage)-like virus

Please review the information available on the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/spotlights/2022-2023/flu-vaccination-recommendations-adopted.htm and consider the benefits of flu vaccination. You can also visit the website link to view the Vaccine Information Statement.

Ways to help you and your family prevent the flu:

  • Get an annual flu vaccine
  • Wash hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces often
  • Use proper hygiene etiquette by coughing into your elbow instead of your hands; avoid close contact with people who are sick and if you are sick stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone

Beginning Monday, September 25th, DCHD provides flu vaccines for adults and children starting at 6 months of age, with no appointments needed Monday-Friday from 8:00am-4:00pm.

A parent or guardian must accompany individuals under 18 years of age. Most PPO insurance plans, Medicaid, and Medicare Part B are accepted with no cost to the client. Please bring all insurance cards and a photo ID. We are a Vaccine for Children (VFC) Provider.

To learn more about flu vaccinations, visit: https://health.dekalbcounty.org/services/flu-vaccinations/ or https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/index.html

For more information about the DeKalb County Health Department Services, visit https://health.dekalbcounty.org/ or follow us on social media.

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Mosquito Samples Reported by DeKalb County Health Department

Mosquito Samples Reported by DeKalb County Health Department


The DeKalb County Health Department (DCHD) is reporting that this week mosquitoes collected in traps in all four locations, DeKalb, Genoa, Sandwich, and Sycamore have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV).
Earlier this summer, DCHD reported WNV positive mosquito samples and several counties have reported WNV positive mosquito samples. To date, there have been no WNV human cases in DeKalb County this year.
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected after feeding on an infected bird. It is important to remember that not all mosquitoes, or birds, carry West Nile virus – most do not.
Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. Illness from West Nile is usually mild and includes fever, headache, and body aches, but serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis have been known to develop. Persons older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease.
“The most effective way to prevent you or your family from being infected is to reduce the chances of being bitten by mosquitoes” says Greg Maurice, Director of Health Protection. “This includes eliminating standing water from around your house and using mosquito repellent when outside.” Maurice offers these tips:
•Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.
•When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
•Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.
•Change water in birdbaths weekly. Properly maintain wading pools and stock ornamental ponds with fish. Turn over any buckets, garbage cans, or other containers that collect water.
For additional information, check the DeKalb County Health Department website at https://health.dekalbcounty.org/services/nuisance-complaints/

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Positive Mosquito Samples Reported by DeKalb County Health Department

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Positive Mosquito Samples Reported by DeKalb County Health Department

The DeKalb County Health Department is reporting that mosquitoes collected in traps in DeKalb and Sandwich have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). This is in addition to Sycamore which had a positive test for WNV in July 2023.

Several counties have reported WNV positive mosquito samples this year, which is associated with an increased risk of WNV in people. There have been no human cases in DeKalb County this year.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected after feeding on an infected bird. It is important to remember that not all mosquitoes, or birds, carry West Nile virus – most do not.

Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. Illness from West Nile is usually mild and includes fever, headache, and body aches, but serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis have been known to develop. Persons older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease.

“The most effective way to prevent you or your family from being infected is to reduce the chances of being bitten by mosquitoes” says Greg Maurice, Director of Health Protection. “This includes eliminating standing water from around your house and using mosquito repellent when outside.” Maurice offers these tips:

  • Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.
  • When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
  • Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.
  • Change water in birdbaths weekly. Properly maintain wading pools and stock ornamental ponds with fish. Turn over any buckets, garbage cans, or other containers that collect water.

For additional information, check the DeKalb County Health Department website at https://health.dekalbcounty.org/services/nuisance-complaints/  

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DeKalb County Animal Control is advising pet owners to protect their pets from canine distemper

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DeKalb County Animal Control is advising pet owners to protect their pets from canine distemper

DeKalb County Animal Control is advising pet owners to protect their pets from canine distemper. The department has seen an increase in cases of confirmed canine distemper virus found in raccoons and skunks tested after displaying abnormal neurologic signs. Canine distemper outbreaks in local raccoon populations can signal increased risk for pet dogs in the area.

Canine distemper is a contagious and serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of puppies and dogs.  The virus can also be found in wildlife such as foxes, wolves, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, mink and ferrets. In wildlife, infection with canine distemper closely resembles rabies.

Puppies and dogs most often become infected through airborne exposure (through sneezing or coughing) to the virus from an infected dog or wild animal. The virus can also be transmitted by shared food and water bowls and equipment. Infected dogs can shed the virus for months, and mother dogs can pass the virus through the placenta to their puppies.

All dogs are at risk but puppies younger than four months old and dogs that have not been vaccinated against canine distemper are at increased risk of acquiring the disease.  Distemper is often fatal, and dogs that survive usually have permanent, irreparable nervous system damage.

Vaccination is crucial in preventing canine distemper.

  • A series of vaccinations is administered to puppies to increase the likelihood of building immunity when the immune system has not yet fully matured.
  • Avoid gaps in the immunization schedule and make sure distemper vaccinations are up to date.
  • Avoid contact with infected animals and wildlife
  • Use caution when socializing puppies or unvaccinated dogs at parks, puppy classes, obedience classes, doggy day care and other places where dogs can congregate.
  • Pet ferrets should be vaccinated against canine distemper using a USDA-approved ferret vaccine.

DeKalb County Animal Control responds to sick/injured wildlife during normal working hours (M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm) as time permits, with the exception of skunks (removal service must be utilized). After hours calls for sick/injured and all nuisance wildlife will need to be managed through a wildlife removal service for a fee.  A list of wildlife removal companies can be found on our website. https://health.dekalbcounty.org/services/animal-control/

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Family Planning Program Rolls Out Rapid Point-of-Care Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Testing

DATE:                    August 1, 2023

TO:                        DeKalb County News Media

FROM:                  DeKalb County Health Department 

Family Planning Program Rolls Out Rapid Point-of-Care Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Testing

The DeKalb County Health Department now has Rapid Point-of Care Chlamydia and Gonorrhea testing available. This new method of testing will allow clients to receive same-day or next-day results. If the test is positive, clients can receive same-day treatment (when they receive same-day results).

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are both sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis and Niesseria gonorrhoea, respectively.  Both types of bacteria are spread through unprotected vaginal, oral, and anal sexual contact.

The CDC reported a total of 1,644,416 cases of Chlamydia infection and a total of 710,151 cases of Gonorrhea infection, making them the two most common sexually transmitted infections in the United States for 2021.

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea often have no symptoms, meaning individuals and their partner(s) could be infected and have no idea.  Among other health concerns, untreated Chlamydia and Gonorrhea infections can cause serious and permanent health problems in both men and women. They may lead to conditions such as:

  • pelvic inflammatory disease (PID),
  • tubal factor infertility,
  • ectopic pregnancy,
  • and chronic pelvic pain.

Any sexually active person can be infected with chlamydia and/or gonorrhea. The CDC recommends yearly chlamydia and gonorrhea screening for all sexually active men and women younger than 25 years, as well as older individuals with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners, or a sex partner who has a sexually transmitted infection.

“We are really excited about this new service. We anticipate less reliance on the Emergency room and better compliance with treatment” says Holly Kuhn, Family Planning Program Coordinator.  “These STI’s are in our community and we want to be part of the solution by helping provide quicker treatment and education on safer sex.”

Medicaid and private insurance are billed when applicable; clients must check with their medical insurance carrier for eligibility benefits in- and out-of-network. No HMO plans are accepted. Payment is requested at the time of service, and can be made by cash, checks and credit/debit cards with valid identification.

For any questions, contact the Family Planning staff at 815-748-2420. For additional information, check the DeKalb County Health Department website at https://health.dekalbcounty.org/services/family-planning-reproductive-health-services/. To learn more about the many programs and services of the Health Department, visit https://health.dekalbcounty.org/

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Family Planning Program Rolls Out Rapid Point-of-Care Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Testing

Positive Mosquito Samples Reported by DeKalb County Health Department

DATE:    July 25, 2023

TO:         DeKalb County News Media

FROM:    DeKalb County Health Department  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Positive Mosquito Samples Reported by DeKalb County Health Department

The DeKalb County Health Department is reporting that mosquitoes collected in traps in Sycamore have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). This is the first positive tests for WNV in DeKalb County since September 2022.

Several counties have reported WNV positive mosquito samples this year, which is associated with an increased risk of WNV in people. There have been no human cases in DeKalb County this year.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected after feeding on an infected bird. It is important to remember that not all mosquitoes, or birds, carry West Nile virus – most do not.

Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. Illness from West Nile is usually mild and includes fever, headache, and body aches, but serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis have been known to develop. Persons older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease.

“The most effective way to prevent you or your family from being infected is to reduce the chances of being bitten by mosquitoes” says Greg Maurice, Director of Health Protection. “This includes eliminating standing water from around your house and using mosquito repellent when outside.” Maurice offers these tips:

  • Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.
  • When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
  • Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.
  • Change water in birdbaths weekly. Properly maintain wading pools and stock ornamental ponds with fish. Turn over any buckets, garbage cans, or other containers that collect water.

For additional information, check the DeKalb County Health Department website at https://health.dekalbcounty.org/services/nuisance-complaints/ To learn more about the many programs and services of the Health Department, visit https://health.dekalbcounty.org/ or follow us on social media.

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Positive Mosquito Samples Reported by DeKalb County Health Department