By Grace McClain, Program Analyst, NACCHO
This story originally ran in NACCHO’s Essential Elements blog.
Global climate change may seem like a public health threat of the future, but many communities in the United States are feeling the health impacts of climate change today. Both geological and medical sciences have linked climate change to extreme weather events like hurricanes and wildfires, hotter temperatures, and a wider distribution of vector-borne diseases. Public health professionals need to brace themselves for a continued and escalating response on these fronts. Continue reading
By Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, NACCHO President and Executive Director of Harris County Public Health in Houston, Texas
Local health departments (LHDs) have been on the front lines of responding to the Zika virus since its emergence as a public health threat in the United States (U.S.) more than two years ago. The virus, spread by Aedes aegypti (L.) and Ae. albopictus Skuse mosquitoes, carries adverse and costly health risks for pregnant women and their babies and has affected communities across the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2,395 pregnant women in the U.S. states and the District of Columbia have shown laboratory evidence of possible Zika virus infection to date. Additionally, NACCHO’s 2017 Forces of Change survey found that confirmed travel-related cases of Zika have been reported in nearly 90% of large LHD jurisdictions. LHDs incorporated a multi-pronged, One-Health approach to responding to the virus that included vector control, epidemiology, environmental public health, maternal and child health, community engagement, and advocacy activities. Continue reading