Community Health News

What's Happening Now?

Key Updates for Week Ending December 18

Nationally, influenza activity remains low, but is slowly increasing. Influenza cases have been reported in Sedgwick County.

Influenza-Like Illness

The percentage of influenza-like illness (ILI) visits to selected outpatient clinics was at 3.1% (US). Eight state experienced high and fourteen states experienced moderate ILI activity. All other states, including Kansas experienced low to minimal ILI activity.

Virus Strains

The majority of influenza viruses detected are A(H3N2). To date, all viruses that CDC has typed match the vaccine strains.

Hospitalizations and Deaths

In the weekend ending December 18, 1,265 patients nationally were admitted to hospitals with influenza. Two influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported to the CDC for the week ending December 18.

Increase in Hepatitis A Cases in Sedgwick County

Confirmed Hepatitis A Cases in Sedgwick County Residents 

May 15, 2020, through December 3, 2021

Total Cases

Hospitalizations

New Cases

Week of Nov 26-Dec 3

424

322(76%)

2

Exposures Identified in Confirmed Hepatitis A Cases in Sedgwick County Residents

May 15 through December 3, 2021

Some cases have multiple exposures.

IV Drug Use         

Drug Use (Non-injections)

Experiencing Homelessness

Travel (within  USA)

Correctional Facility Inmates

Other risk factors

No identified risk factors

206(48%)

110(26%)

77(18%)

16(4%)

25(6%)

73(17%)

23(5%)

* Other risk factors reported include history of men having sex with men, history of food exposure. There is no specific food sources such as grocery stores, a food brand, restaurant or kitchen staff has been identified in the Sedgwick County. The history of food exposure primarily include food exposures identified during their interviews.

** Medical records are reviewed for every case. If no risk factors are noted in medical record or patient interview, then the case is counted under “No Risk Factors Identified.”

The Sedgwick County Health Department and other local healthcare providers have identified more than 400 Sedgwick County residents who have been diagnosed with hepatitis A since May 2020. In all of 2019, four hepatitis A cases were reported.

Most of the cases are people who are experiencing homelessness or who use recreational drugs (injection and non- injection). Of the 424 cases, 322 have been hospitalized and five deaths have been identified. 

Hepatitis A is vaccine preventable and is caused by the hepatitis A virus. The virus is spread through exposure to the stool (poop) and blood of people who are infected. Close personal contact with an infected person or eating contaminated food or drink can transmit the hepatitis A virus.

Signs and symptoms of hepatitis A include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), dark urine, diarrhea, clay-colored stool, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, fever, tiredness (fatigue), and joint pain. Symptoms usually last less than two months. The average time from exposure to symptoms is about 28 days.

Some people are more at risk for hepatitis A infection. Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent hepatitis A infection. People recommended to receive hepatitis A vaccine include children aged 12-23 months and people at increased risk for infection or severe disease. Contact your medical provider or the Sedgwick County Health Department (316-660-7300).

 What actions can I take?

 What is the Sedgwick County Health Department doing to control the spread of disease?

 Sedgwick County Health Department Hepatitis A Fact Sheet [link]

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Hepatitis A, https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/index.htm

Prevent the Spread of Norovirus! 

Norovirus is a common foodborne illness during the holiday season. It is very contagious and causes sudden vomiting and diarrhea. It spreads quickly and easily to other people. Norovirus outbreaks happen throughout the year, but they occur most often from November to April.

Take Steps to Keep Norovirus from Spreading:

Norovirus can be more serious for young children, older adults, and people with other chronic health conditions. One can get norovirus from having direct contact with an infected person, consuming contaminated food or water, and touching contaminated surfaces and then putting your unwashed hands in your mouth. It can lead to severe dehydration, hospitalization and even death.

For more details, please visit the Norovirus fact sheet page here.

Lead Poisoning Prevention Recipe Book

Lead Poisoning is when lead builds up in the body anywhere from months to years. No amount of lead is safe, especially for kids. Lead Poisoning is more dangerous in children younger than six, because it can affect their mental and physical development. At high levels, lead poisoning can be fatal. Some likely exposures are lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in older buildings. Contaminated water, soil, and air are other sources of exposure. Adults are also exposed to lead if they work with batteries, do home remodeling, go to a shooting range, or work in auto repair shops.

Some of the common symptoms in children include:

In Sedgwick County the most common causes of exposure are:

Because there is still so much unknown about lead, the best way to mitigate high levels is through diet. A diet that is rich is calcium, vitamin c, and iron will help lower the lead levels in children and adults. Sometimes it might be hard for families to know what foods contain these vitamins and mineral. This is where our recipe book comes in. With the recipe book online and available to the public many families would benefit from this. Our newly edited recipe book provides healthy food options for the whole family. Although the book was created to target families with children who have elevated blood lead levels, it can be used by everyone not just those affected by lead. Sometimes it might be hard to know ways to introduce vegetables to children and with some of the easy to make recipes available via the internet, parents have easier access to them and can bookmark them for future reference.

Please view the Lead Recipe Book here.

For more information, please view the Sedgwick County Blood Lead Fact Sheets for adults and children.

Notifiable Disease Investigations

Read about the epidemiology (disease investigation) program at the Sedgwick County Health Department