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Your Checkup

  • Ohio Reports First Human West Nile Virus Case in 2017; ODH Urges Precautions to Prevent Mosquito-Borne Diseases

    by Cody Klinker | Aug 16, 2017

    COLUMBUS – Ohio’s first human West Nile virus case in 2017 is being reported by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). A 44-year-old man from Clermont County is recovering from the West Nile virus infection and did not require hospitalization. Clermont County Public Health will conduct an environmental assessment in the affected area and implement mosquito control measures.

    This year, 29 Ohio counties have reported West Nile virus activity reported in mosquitoes collected as part of statewide surveillance. Last year, ODH reported 17 human West Nile virus cases.

    The primary way people get West Nile virus is through the bite of an infected mosquito.  Most people who become infected with West Nile virus do not have any symptoms. About one in five people who become infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Less than 1 percent of infected people develop a serious neurologic illness, such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues). There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent West Nile virus infection.

    “This time of year, we could possibly see a growing number of human cases of West Nile virus infection and positive mosquito samples throughout the state,” said ODH State Epidemiologist and Bureau Chief of Infectious Disease Sietske de Fijter. “This case serves to remind Ohioans that they should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites in order to prevent mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile virus.”

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 states have reported more than 200 combined human West Nile virus cases so far in 2017, as well as West Nile virus infections in mosquitoes and the birds who infect them.

    Here are some tips to avoid mosquito bites:

    • If you are outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, be sure to wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes and socks.
    • Wear light-colored clothing, which is less attractive to mosquitoes.
    • Use EPA-registered mosquito repellent and follow the label directions.
    • Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home.

    Here are some tips to eliminate mosquito breeding sites around your home:

    • Eliminate standing water.
    • Empty or remove water-holding containers, such as buckets, unused flower pots and bird baths.
    • Make sure all roof gutters are clean and draining properly.
    • Keep child wading pools empty and on their sides when not being used.

    Learn more about mosquitoes and West Nile virus on the ODH website at www.odh.ohio.gov/wnv.

  • Be Prepared for Back-to-School; Get Your Children Vaccinated

    by Cody Klinker | Aug 08, 2017
    COLUMBUS – Summer is almost over and that means it’s time for parents to begin thinking about back-to-school season. Along with the back-to-school necessities such as folders and backpacks, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) wants to remind parents to make sure their kids are up-to-date on their vaccines against serious diseases.
     
    To emphasize the importance of vaccinations, and to make sure that children are protected with all the immunizations they need, ODH is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month.
     
    “When parents are thinking about their back to school checklists, vaccines should be at the top of the list,” said ODH State Epidemiologist and Bureau Chief of Infectious Diseases Sietske de Fijter. “Getting children all of the vaccines recommended by CDC’s immunization schedule is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children’s health as well as the health of classmates and the community.”
     
    Unvaccinated children are at an increased risk for contracting vaccine-preventable diseases like measles, mumps and rubella. They also may spread diseases, like pertussis, which are serious or potentially life-threatening for high-risk individuals such as infants who are too young to be fully vaccinated and others who have weakened immune systems due to health conditions.
     
    “If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to check with your doctor to find out what vaccines your child needs, and when,” said de Fijter.
     
    This fall will be the second school year that the new meningococcal vaccine requirement is in effect under Ohio Revised Code. All incoming seventh graders must have one dose of the meningococcal vaccine, and all incoming twelfth graders must have a second dose of the vaccine.
     
    ODH is currently running a back-to-school public awareness campaign that features radio and television ads that you can hear and see across the state. Parents should check with their child’s doctor, school or local health department to learn more about specific requirements.
     
    For more information on the meningococcal vaccine and other vaccination requirements, visit http://www.odh.ohio.gov/immunization.         
  • Van Wert County Hospital Unveils Plan for New Outpatient and Ambulatory Center

    by Haley Thomas | May 23, 2017



    Van Wert, OH – Today, Van Wert County Hospital announces they will soon begin construction of a sizable outpatient and ambulatory center. Construction is expected to begin in late summer of 2017 and be completed by early summer 2018. The new facility will allow Van Wert County Hospital to continue to meet the healthcare needs of the northwest Ohio region and ensures residents have access to the highest quality of care.

    The new facility, Van Wert Health North, will be conveniently located at Towne Center, directly east of Goodwill Industries International, Inc. The nearly 19,000 square-foot facility will give patients access to a walk-in clinic, family medicine, physical medicine and rehabilitation, occupational health, a specialist clinic, laboratory, and imaging services, which will include open MRI, CT scan, and X-ray capabilities.

    “Access to high-quality health care services is a crucial aspect of a thriving community. The facility will combine the exceptional level of care and dedicated staff with the latest innovations and advancements in healthcare,” said Gary Clay, President of the Van Wert County Hospital Board of Trustees. “This new state-of-the-art facility will truly strengthen our community and help people and families to live healthier lives.”

    Van Wert Health North will have the region’s largest open MRI with a 1.2-tesla advanced high-field magnet, which is the strongest open air scanner available.  “This is excellent news for patients and their families because it provides a more comfortable setting for patients,” said Jim Pope, President and CEO of Van Wert County Hospital. “The open MRI does not have a tube, so patients will be able to see on all sides, which eliminates that ‘closed-in’ claustrophobic feeling that some people experience in a closed scanner.” The open MRI will have the ability to accommodate patients up to 600 pounds.

    The walk-in clinic will help people with medical issues that aren’t quite an emergency, but need to be seen that day such as abdominal pain, allergies/allergic reactions, animal bites, asthma, bladder infections, ear infection, strep throat, strains and sprains, and other non-emergency medical issues. “We wanted to provide patients with convenient hours to ensure families get the care they deserve when they need it,” said Pope. The walk-in clinic will function as an extension of a patient’s own primary care provider, whether the patient lives in our community or is visiting from another part of the country. 

    “This is a milestone day for Van Wert County. Van Wert County Hospital’s commitment to the community has been unwavering and this exciting project will provide greater access to healthcare for families in our county. I’m thrilled this project will also strengthen our local economy by creating good-paying jobs for several area residents,” stated Mayor Jerry Mazur. 

    Van Wert Health North will be part of Van Wert County Hospital. The outpatient and ambulatory center is being designed from the ground up by Design Collaborative, Inc.  


  • Fight the Bite: Mosquito and Tick Season Begins in Ohio

    by Haley Thomas | May 09, 2017

    ODH offers tips on how to prevent mosquito- and tick-borne diseases





    COLUMBUS – Mosquito and tick season has officially begun in Ohio, and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) urges people to “fight the bite” and take precautions to prevent bites from mosquitos and ticks which can carry diseases such as West Nile virus, Zika virus and Lyme disease.

    In Ohio, ticks are most active April through September, and mosquitoes May through October.


    Mosquitoes

    Ohio has a type of mosquito that can transmit West Nile virus, and 17 cases were reported in the state last year.

    The primary mosquito that transmits Zika virus is found in the tropics and southern U.S., but it is not known to be established in Ohio. A “cousin” of the mosquito is found in parts of Ohio and may potentially transmit Zika virus. Ohio had 95 travel-associated Zika cases last year in returning travelers from Zika-affected areas, and three travel-associated cases so far in 2017.

    Nationally, there have been more than 5,000 travel-associated Zika cases in the U.S. since Jan. 2015. The only cases of local mosquito-borne Zika transmission in the continental U.S. were in South Florida and Brownsville, Texas, last year.

    “You can take some simple precautions at home and when traveling to prevent potentially serious mosquito-borne diseases,” said Sietske de Fijter, ODH State Epidemiologist and Bureau Chief of Infectious Diseases.

    Mosquitoes can live indoors and outdoors, and some species bite during the day while others bite at dusk and dawn. Here are some tips to avoid mosquito bites and prevent mosquito-borne diseases:

    • If you are outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, be sure to wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes and socks.
    • Wear light-colored clothing, which is less attractive to mosquitoes.
    • Use EPA-registered mosquito repellent and follow the label directions.
    • Wear clothing and gear treated with permethrin, an insecticide (do not apply permethrin directly to skin).
    • Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home.

    Here are some tips to eliminate mosquito breeding sites around your home:
    • Eliminate standing water.
    • Empty or remove water-holding containers, such as buckets, unused flower pots and bird baths.
    • Make sure all roof gutters are clean and draining properly.
    • Keep child wading pools empty and on their sides when not being used.

    Ticks 

    The types of ticks found in Ohio can transmit a variety of diseases, including Lyme disease, and 160 cases were reported in the state last year.

    “If you find a tick attached to your body, remove it and monitor your health to watch for a fever, rash, muscle or joint aches or other symptoms,” said de Fijter. “If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider.”

    Here are some tips to avoid tick bites and prevent tick-borne diseases: 
    • Avoid direct contact with ticks by avoiding wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter, and by walking in the center of trails.
    • Wear clothing and gear treated with permethrin, an insecticide (do not apply permethrin directly to skin).
    • Use EPA-registered tick repellent and follow the label directions.
    • Here are some tips for finding and removing ticks attached to your body:
      • Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible.
      • Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Do not twist or jerk the tick, which can cause the mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
      • After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub or soap and water.
      • Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.
      • Avoid folklore remedies such as "painting" a tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly or using heat to make the tick detach from your skin. 

    Go to the ODH website at odh.ohio.gov for more information about how to prevent mosquito-borne and tick-borne diseases and other information and resources. ODH’s statewide campaign started Monday, May 8.

     


     

  • Van Wert Medical Services Announces Dr. Gammill as Internal Medicine Physician

    by Haley Thomas | Apr 03, 2017


    VAN WERT, Ohio – Van Wert Medical Services welcomes Todd Gammill, M.D., as a physician in internal medicine. Gammill joins Christine Ulrich, C.N.P. and Scott Jarvis, M.D. in Suite 105 of the Van Wert Health Center, which is located at 140 Fox Road, Van Wert, Ohio.  Dr. Gammill is Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Cardiology.

    “One of the things that I enjoy most about being a physician is really listening to my patients. I like being able to make an impact on their lives,” Dr. Gammill said. He will treat patients with acute and chronic medical problems and sees adult patients with a broad spectrum of illnesses.

    Dr. Gammill was a cardiologist with Arkansas Heart Hospital Clinic in Little Rock, Arkansas, before coming to Van Wert. He received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Arkansas in 1979 and completed his Internal Medicine Residency at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Gammill also completed a Fellowship in Cardiology at St. Luke’s Hospital in St. Louis.

    Dr. Gammill welcomes new patients to his office and accepts most insurance plans. At his office, you will find courteous and friendly staff, same day appointments, and exceptional medical care. To schedule an appointment, please call 419-238-7727.