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Tag Archives: el paso department of public health

2017 Community Preparedness Expo Set for Saturday

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health and emergency response partners invite the community to celebrate “National Preparedness Month” by participating in the 2017 Community Preparedness Expo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 9, at the El Paso Convention Center.

“In the aftermath of recent Hurricane Harvey, we are reminded of the importance of being prepared for an emergency,” said Department of Public Health Director Robert Resendes. “While we can’t predict unforeseen emergencies and disasters, we can have an emergency plan in place.”

The free educational and family-friendly event provides information on how to prepare, respond and cope with unexpected community emergencies and disasters. The event allows visitors to get a first-hand look at emergency response units from the El Paso Fire Department, Homeland Security, Office of Emergency Management, and many other agencies (great phot opportunities for children).

In addition, the expo will include workshops, hands-on displays, dozens of informational booths and demonstrations from a variety of organizations.
As part of National Preparedness Month, which is recognized in September, the event is co-sponsored by the El Paso City-County Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the El Paso Fire Department.

The Community Preparedness Expo is free and open to the public. For more information call the Department of Public Health at (915) 212-6524 or visit their website.

Area Partners Join Against HIV/AIDS for Candlelight Vigil Friday Night

With more than 2,000 reported cases of people living with HIV in El Paso County and even more believed to be infected but not diagnosed, the City of El Paso Department of Public Health’s HIV Prevention Program is teaming up with other organizations to bring international awareness to the issue.

“This event is a chance for us to share information with our partners in the region and to reflect on the challenges we face in this battle and the strides we have made in fighting the disease,” said Joanna Arriola, Program Supervisor. “We need to remind everyone that about 1 in 8 people are living with HIV and don’t know their status.”

The Binational HIV/AIDS Candlelight Vigil is a tradition that aims to raise social consciousness and help stop the shame and discrimination often associated with the disease. The event brings together representatives from El Paso, Las Cruces, and Ciudad Juarez to destigmatize testing, promote various methods of prevention, and early linkage to care.

The event will feature testimonies from people who have been impacted by HIV/AIDS as well as free and confidential HIV testing.

Various agencies will be providing information about the services offered to the community, as well as education on topics including HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, and substance abuse.

The public is invited to attend the event which will take place on Friday, May 19, 2017 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church located at 1340 Murchison Drive.

El Paso Fire, Health Departments announce November Dates for Free Flu Vaccines

The program “Vaccinations for Health” that teams up the El Paso Fire Department with the El Paso Health Department to provide free vaccines and medical check ups returns this month.

Officials say influenza vaccines, blood pressure and glucose screenings to patients 18 and older, colorectal screening kits to patients 50 and over and pneumonia vaccines to those 65 and older, will start again in November at the following locations and times:

Saturday Nov. 5: Station 12, 3801 Ft. Blvd., 8-11 a.m.

Thursday Nov. 10: EPFD Safety, Health Outreach Center, 5415 Trowbridge Dr., 1-6 p.m.

Thursday Nov. 17: EPFD Safety, Health Outreach Center, 5415 Trowbridge Dr., 1-6 p.m.

Wednesday Nov. 30: EPFD Safety, Health Outreach Center, 5415 Trowbridge Dr., 1-6 p.m.

“There’s no question that firefighters are some of the most respected members of our community,” said Bruce Parsons, Assistant Health Director. “They assist those in need and have a rapport with those they serve. Those qualities, coupled with life-saving vaccines and screening tools will help us advance the health of Vaccinations for Health participants and the community.”

Remember that the service is FREE to residents of El Paso and Hudspeth County who are 18 and over and DO NOT have medical insurance or are on Medicaid. We are encouraging residents who meet these guidelines to take advantage of the program.

The goal of the program is to increase the wellness of our community who do not have access to these services.

Department of Health Confirms first West Nile Case in El Paso this Year

The City of El Paso announced today that the first case of West Nile Virus in El Paso this season has been confirmed. The patient is a man in his late 70’s who lives in the central part of town.

The news comes as the Department of Public Health begins its efforts to prevent mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile and the newly emerging Zika virus.

“There are two different mosquito species that carry these two diseases and others,” said Fernando Gonzalez, Lead Epidemiologist. “Both of the mosquito types are known to be present in our city but behave differently in that the mosquito that carries Zika is active both indoors and outdoors and is active at all times of the day and night,” he said.

Because of the threat of Zika virus as well as West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases, the Department continues to recommend mosquito bite prevention tips as provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which are different than prevention tips previously promoted. The new tips are as follows:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Drain standing water both inside and outside your home
  • Stay in cool places with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol

(Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old)

To report standing water or other mosquito breeding sites, call the Environmental Services Department Vector Control Program at 3-1-1.

The mission of the Department of Public Health is to provide research and evaluation, prevention, intervention, and mobilization services to the people of El Paso so they can be healthy, productive, safe, and secure.

For more information on the programs and services offered by the Department of Public Health, visit EPHealth.com or dial 2-1-1

Second Flu-Related Death in El Paso Recorded

A second El Paso resident has died as a result of flu complications this season. The City of El Paso Department of Public Health reported today that the patient was a woman in her early 50’s who had underlying medical conditions.

She had tested positive for Influenza A. It is not yet known if she had received a flu vaccine this year.

“This is the kind of news we always regret to announce,” said Robert Resendes, Public Health Director. “Our thoughts and prayers are with this woman’s loved ones as we continue to urge our community to do everything they can to avoid this virus.”

The flu vaccine is still available at local retail outlets and through the “Vaccinations for Health” program which teams up the El Paso Fire Department with the El Paso Health Department. Residents of El Paso and Hudspeth County who are 18 and over and do not have medical insurance or are on Medicaid qualify to receive the vaccine along with other services free of charge.

May dates for the program are:

Saturday, May 7: Go Purple Health Fair at Bassett Place, 6101 Gateway West, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Thursday, May 12: Station 32, 101 George Perry Blvd., 8-10 a.m.

Tuesday, May 24: Station 31, 122 Mesa Park Dr., 1-4 p.m.

Residents are also asked to practice the “4 C’s” which have proven to be effective in preventing the spread of the flu virus.

CLEAN – Wash your hands often. Scrub your hands for at least 30 seconds with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.

COVER – Cover your cough. Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Don’t have a tissue? The crook of your elbow will do.

CONTAIN – Contain germs by steering clear of others who are sick. If you do get sick, stay home until you’re well again, so you don’t spread more germs.

CALL – Call or see your doctor if you or your child has a fever of greater than 100 degrees.

As of last week, a total of 5,971 flu cases have been reported. There were a total of 5,815 cases of flu reported at this time during the 2015 flu season.

The mission of the Department of Public Health is to provide research and evaluation, prevention, intervention, and mobilization services to the people of El Paso so they can be healthy, productive, safe and secure. For more information on the programs and services offered by the Department of Public Health, visit EPHealth.com or dial 2-1-1.

El Paso Department of Public Health Recognized as ‘TB Elimination Champion’

As health agencies around the globe commemorate World TB Day on March 24, 2016, the City of El Paso Department of Public Health’s Tuberculosis (TB) Prevention program is being recognized as a TB Elimination Champion by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

After presenting the CDC with a list of best practices and success stories in the borderland, the Division of Tuberculosis Elimination presented the distinction in honor of the program’s commitment and continuing efforts to improving public health.

“This award could not come at a better time for our staff,” said Robert Resendes, Public Health Director. “Our employees have spent more than a year investigating high-profile TB cases and working with hundreds of local and international partners who join us in our commitment to end TB. We share this recognition with our state and regional partners, along with the patients, caretakers and parents we have seen over the past several years, who have cooperated with us to help make this a reality.”

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser has proclaimed March 24, 2016 World TB Day in El Paso, and the Department of Public Health is also co-sponsoring a Binational Community TB Forum on this date at EPCC Administrative Service Center (9050 Viscount, Building A) It will take place from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Currently, there are approximately 265 Latent TB (infection) patients and 38 individuals with active TB overseen by the DPH in the El Paso region. Tuberculosis remains at epidemic levels in many parts of the world and millions of people die each year from the disease.

Despite the discovery of the TB bacteria more than one hundred years ago, Mycobacterium tuberculosis continues to infect a vast number of the world’s population. Today, an uncomplicated TB case treatment consists of four-medicinal cocktails referred to as “Ripe therapy.” Drug resistant TB cases require a longer course of treatment and different medical protocols.

Symptoms of TB range from a prolonged cough, an elevated temperature, significant weight loss, night sweats, and sputum production with possible blood content. When a person comes in direct contact with an active case and acquires the infection but not the disease, it is called latent TB.

The TB germs are dormant but may activate in the future causing active TB. Tests to determine a patient’s status in regards to TB may range from a skin test or blood test to an x-ray and a patient history.

If you think you have TB symptoms or have had contact with an active TB case, or if you live or work in a large-group setting, please contact the Health Department for an evaluation. More information can be found by visiting www.EPHealth.com

Department of Public Health Warns Residents of Possible Contaminated Cheese

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health is warning residents of the dangers of consuming unpasteurized cheese. This, after a local man was hospitalized after eating goat cheese purchased from an unlicensed food vendor.

After complaining of fever, joint pain, and fatigue, the man who is in his mid-sixties, tested positive for Brucellosis.

Brucellosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria. The most common way a person can become infected is by eating or drinking unpasteurized or raw dairy products.

When sheep, goats, or cows are infected, their milk becomes contaminated with the bacteria. If the milk from the infected animal is not pasteurized the infection will be transmitted to a person who consumes the milk and/or cheese product. There was only one case of this disease reported last year.

“We want our residents to keep in mind that purchasing food from an illegal vendor can be very dangerous. One should assume all cheese sold on the street is unpasteurized,” said Robert Resendes, Public Health Director.

Initial symptoms of the disease include: fever, sweats, malaise, anorexia, headache, pain (in muscles, joints, and/or back), and fatigue. Some signs and symptoms may persist for longer periods of time. Others may never go away or reoccur.

These can include: recurrent fevers, arthritis, swelling of the testicle and scrotum area, swelling of the heart (endocarditis), neurologic symptoms (in up to 5% of all cases), chronic fatigue, depression, and swelling of the liver and/or spleen. Depending on the timing of treatment and severity of illness, recovery may take a few weeks to several months. Death from brucellosis is rare, occurring in no more than 2% of all cases.

Anyone who experiences these symptoms and has consumed unpasteurized cheese products should contact their primary care physician immediately. To report illegal food vendors, please call 3-1-1.

El Paso Department of Public Health recognized by national group for emergency planning

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) has been recognized by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) for its ability to plan for, respond to, and recover from public health emergencies.

The Department demonstrated these capabilities by meeting the comprehensive preparedness benchmarks required by Project Public Health Ready (PPHR), a unique partnership between NACCHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  El Paso joins a cohort of nearly 450 local health departments across the country that have been distinguished for excellence in preparedness through PPHR, either individually or as part of a region.

“Receiving this type of recognition shows our commitment to being prepared for large-scale emergencies and public health threats and helping make sure our residents are well equipped,” said Robert Resendes, Public Health Director. “I am extremely proud of the year-long effort which included planning and exercises put forth by our preparedness staff and partners.”

PPHR recognition confirms that DPH has a thorough and coordinated emergency response plan in place and that staff have the training to protect the health of the community during an emergency. Local health departments recognized by PPHR undergo a rigorous evaluation by peer review to assess their ability to meet a set of national standards for public health preparedness. These standards align with federal government requirements and other national best practices.

PPHR recognition also requires health departments to collaborate with their state, local, and community partners to develop plans that account for all the constituents in their jurisdictions. DPH Emergency Preparedness Program strengthened existing partnerships with the City/County Office of Emergency Management, Environmental Services Department and developed new partnerships with the El Paso County Medical Examiner, American Red Cross, and Emergence Health Network, just to name a few.

“Project Public Health Ready has allowed DPH to strengthen our ability in all aspects of preparedness, ultimately ensuring the safety of our community. My team is honored to have worked for and received such a prestigious recognition.” said Diane Huerta, Public Health Preparedness Planner.

NACCHO, the voice of the 2,800 local health departments across the country, provides resources to help local health department leaders develop public health policies and programs to ensure that communities have access to vital programs and services that people need to keep them protected from disease and disaster.

For more information on Project Public Health Ready, including recognized sites, project tools, and resources, visithttp://www.naccho.org/PPHR

Department of Public Health: Get Flu Shot before season’s peak

While many residents are counting down the days until Christmas and New Year’s, the City of El Paso Department of Public Health is counting down to the peak of this year’s flu season.

For the months of October and November, 159 confirmed cases of the flu have been reported to the Epidemiology Program. While this is lower than last year’s total of 277 cases during these two months, officials warn the peak of the flu season is typically still weeks ahead.

“We don’t usually see a spike in the number of flu cases until January or February. That’s why it is so important that residents in El Paso receive the flu vaccination right now,” said Fernando Gonzalez, Lead Epidemiologist. “Yearly flu vaccination is the most effective method for preventing influenza virus infection and its complications.”

It takes several weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza virus infection. This is why the Department of Public Health (DPH) is urging residents to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the season and get vaccinated as soon as possible.

In addition to your primary health care provider, many local drugstores and retail outlets offer the flu vaccine. Parents may also call the DPH Immunization Program at 915-212-6555 to see if their children qualify for reduced-cost vaccination. Eligible children will not be denied vaccination if parents are unable to pay the administration fee.

Also, the Vaccinations for Health program (a partnership between the DPH and El Paso Fire Department) is offering the flu shot and a basic health screening to those who are age 18 and above who don’t have private medical insurance on Saturday December 19, 2015 at Fire Station 4 located at 1218 Randolph Dr. from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

It is important to keep in mind that the flu vaccine is still considered the first line of defense against the disease. Additionally, residents are asked to practice the “4 C’s” which have proven to be effective in preventing the spread of the flu virus.

  1. CLEAN – Wash your hands often. Scrub your hands for at least 30 seconds with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  1. COVER – Cover your cough. Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Don’t have a tissue? The crook of your elbow will do.
  1. CONTAIN – Contain germs by steering clear of others who are sick. If you do get sick, stay home until you’re well again, so you don’t spread more germs.
  1. CALL – Call or see your doctor if you or your child has a fever of greater than 100 degrees.

The mission of the Department of Public Health is to provide research and evaluation, prevention, intervention, and mobilization services to the people of El Paso so they can be healthy, productive, safe and secure. For more information on the programs and services offered by the Department of Public Health, visit EPHealth.com or dial 2-1-1.

Free testing offered as part of World AIDS Day Tuesday

With more than 2,000 people living with HIV in the El Paso area, testing continues to be an important way to prevent the spread of the disease locally and around the world. That is why the City of El Paso Department of Public Health is commemorating World AIDS Day 2015 with free HIV as well as Syphilis testing.

Free tests will be administered on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 222 South Campbell Street, Suite 105 from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“Last year there were 4,405 new HIV diagnoses reported in the state of Texas, with 109 new cases reported in the El Paso area,” said JoAnna Arriola, Disease Intervention Supervisor. “We can make a difference in our community, state, and ultimately the world if we all just got tested and knew our status.”

World AIDS Day was first held in 1988 and was the first ever global health day.  World AIDS Day is held on December 1 each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate those we’ve lost.

The HIV Prevention Program provides culturally-sensitive, quality customer service to individuals who seek testing for HIV and Syphilis.  Counseling services are also provided, as well as referrals to other programs if needed.

More information on HIV/AIDS and other preventable diseases is available at www.EPHealth.com or by calling 915-212-6665.

Additionally, in observation of World AIDS Day, Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe (La Fe) will host a free HIV testing, awareness, and education event from noon to 6 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015 at the La Fe Culture and Technology Center (CTC), 721 S. Ochoa (Rear Building).

State-certified HIV educators and testers from the La Fe CARE Center — the region’s largest comprehensive HIV/ AIDS treatment and education facility — will be onsite to provide free, rapid HIV testing and prevention information in English and Spanish. Anyone 13-years-of-age and older can receive a free HIV Test without parental permission.

The Rapid HIV testing used by the La Fe CARE Center requires only a few drops of blood and delivers a 99.9 percent accurate result in 60 seconds.

A free screening of the film “Silent Shame” (Rated R) will take place atnoon inside the La Fe CTC’s auditorium. The 1999 independent film by Proud Latina Productions tells the story of a young Hispanic man who must come to terms with his family’s struggles with HIV.

The La Fe CARE Center, established in 1999, currently provides medical and case-management services to more than 1,000 HIV/ AIDSpatients. It is the region’s only AIDS Education and Training Center of Texas (AETC) certified facility.

According to the La Fe CARE Center (1505 Mescalero) its fastest-rising demographics for new HIV diagnoses are: Married and Heterosexual Latinas ages 14 to 30; Hispanic Youth ages 14 to 25; and El Pasoans ages 55 and up.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that for every individual diagnosed as HIV-Positive there are three to five others within that same community who remain undiagnosed and medically untreated. “Getting tested for HIV is a brave first step toward taking care of yourself and your loved ones. Each of us needs to get educated about HIV/ AIDS. We need to talk openly with our partners — and especially with our children — about prevention,” La Fe CEO Salvador Balcorta said.

For More Information about this event or HIV/ AIDS prevention, testing, and resources, the public may contact the La Fe CARE Center’s HIV Testing and Education Department at (915) 772-3366 or 545-7183 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

What are the risks for getting HIV?

 • Not knowing facts or personal risk • Having sex
• Having sex under the influence of alcohol or drugs • Multiple sex partners
• Injecting drugs • No condom use
• No testing history

EPFD,Health Departments announce December dates for free medical services for seniors

The program “Vaccinations for Health” that teams up the El Paso Fire Department with the El Paso Health Department to provide free influenza and pneumonia vaccines, blood pressure and glucose screenings and colorectal screening kits for seniors will start again in November at the following dates and locations.

Remember that the service is FREE to residents of El Paso and Hudspeth County who are 50 and over and do not have medical insurance or are on Medicaid. We are encouraging seniors who meet these guidelines to take advantage of the program.

The goal of the program is to increase the wellness of our senior citizens in our community who do not have access to these services.

Saturday Dec. 5: Station 17, 8803 Alameda Ave., 8-11 a.m.

Thursday Dec. 10: Station 21, 10000 Dyer St., 1-4 p.m.

(The public has management’s permission to park next door at Wienerschnitzel’s)

Tuesday Dec. 15: EPFD Community Center, 5415 Trowbridge Dr., 1-4 p.m.

Saturday Dec. 19: Station 4, 1218 Randolph Dr., 8-11 a.m.

For more information, citizens are encouraged to call 3-1-1 or visit www.ephealth.com

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