CDC recognizes MCHD’s work during Alabama Coastal Cleanup 07.12.24

July 12, 2024

CDC recognizes MCHD’s work during Alabama Coastal Cleanup

MOBILE, Ala. — In 2021, the Mobile County Health Department established the Health Equity Office (HEO) to address health disparities in Mobile County. Funding came from the National Initiative to Address COVID-19 Health Disparities Among Populations at High-Risk and Underserved, Including Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations and Rural Communities.

During the 35th annual Alabama Coastal Cleanup, the HEO partnered with the Alabama Coastal Foundation (ACF) to host a cleanup project in North Mobile. MCHD’s Environmental Health and Community Prevention Program team members assisted in the cleanup.

Among the community partners were Mount Vernon’s Willing Workers Community Action Group and the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians. Volunteers covered 50 miles of land and collected over 3,000 pounds of trash inland and along the water. Looking ahead to future coastal cleanup projects, the HEO worked with the Alabama Department of Conservation and National Resources to get the Mount Vernon and MOWA communities designated as official Coastal Cleanup locations, which entitled them to supplies and other resources to support their cleanup projects.

Those efforts have not gone unnoticed. The Alabama Department of Public Health submitted the MOWA/Mount Vernon project to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. The national organization highlighted the event on its website at https://www.cdc.gov/public-health-gateway/php/story/alabama-environmental-cleanup-project.html.

“We are honored to be acknowledged for our efforts in advancing health equity and environmental justice within our community,” said Dr. Kevin Michaels, Health Officer for Mobile County. “Health equity partnerships play a crucial role in improving the overall well-being of community members by addressing disparities and ensuring that everyone has access to the resources they need for a healthy life.”

The CDC overview stated “Partners in Alabama came together to address social determinants of health and environmental justice issues that were contributing to community health outcomes. Through the implementation of an organized environmental cleanup day and site, residents will be able to enjoy cleaner air, waters, and recreational spaces for years to come.”

Visit https://healthequity-mc-hd.hub.arcgis.com/ to learn more about the HEO.

Bayou La Batre reports Sanitary Sewer Overflow 7-11-24

July 11, 2024

Bayou La Batre reports on Sanitary Sewer Overflow

MOBILE, Ala. — The Utilities Board of the City of Bayou La Batre has reported on a Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) that occurred July 10. The cause was a pump station mechanical failure.

The SSO occurred from a manhole near 14090 Shell Belt Road. More than 1,000 gallons and less than 10,000 gallons were discharged. The SSO did not reach a body of water.

Dr. Kevin Philip Michaels, Health Officer for Mobile County, advises area residents to take precautions when coming into contact with any standing water that may have accumulated as a result of this overflow. Those who have come into direct contact with untreated sewage are advised to wash their hands and clothing thoroughly.

Bayou La Batre reports Sanitary Sewer Overflow 7-10-24

July 10, 2024

Bayou La Batre reports on Sanitary Sewer Overflow

MOBILE, Ala. — The Utilities Board of the City of Bayou La Batre has reported on a Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) that occurred July 9. The cause was an equipment failure.

The SSO occurred from a manhole near 14358 Shell Belt Road. Less than 1,000 gallons were discharged. The SSO did not reach a body of water.

Dr. Kevin Philip Michaels, Health Officer for Mobile County, advises area residents to take precautions when coming into contact with any standing water that may have accumulated as a result of this overflow. Those who have come into direct contact with untreated sewage are advised to wash their hands and clothing thoroughly.

MCHD smartphone app making impact 07.09.24

July 9, 2024

MCHD smartphone app making impact

MOBILE, Ala. — The Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) and Family Health (its primary care division) announced in 2022 the release of a smartphone app called “My MCHD Health Check.” This app has served as a new way for the health department to connect with Mobile County residents and visitors, providing information quickly and efficiently to anyone with a smartphone.

The public has certainly taken notice. The app has been downloaded more than 3,600 times (2,559 for iPhones and 1,112 for Android phones). The next goal is set for 4,500 by the end of 2024.

The effort has not gone unnoticed. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) featured the software on its Health Center Stories webpage. The section is titled “Free App May Help Lower Blood Pressure in Alabama Patients.”

The MCHD app was developed by ThePublicHealthApp.com, a division of OCV. The app offers quick access to items of public interest and is easy to use.

“What began as a way to assist patients with health lifestyle tools for lowering high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol through a grant from ADPH five years ago has turned into an agency-wide mobile application that includes restaurant ratings, a Health Center locator map, Overdose Prevention, a connection to download the WIC state app, and a primary care tool,” said Melissa Creighton, Family Health’s grant manager who has played a key role in the project. “The app still contains those tools for healthy lifestyle such as the ‘Talk to a Nutritionist’ button to be automatically connected to an in-house licensed registered nutritionist who can call the patient to set up an in person or virtual appointment.

“Also, the app includes a tool called ‘Blood Pressure Calculator’ to keep and retain blood pressure readings. It gives a handy alert to the user based on the readings.”

In May, a new tool was added to track local heat risks. The tool is a health-based heat forecast developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Mobile County Health Department app is available for download for free in the App Store and Google Play. Search “My MCHD Health Check” or click the following link to download the app — https://apps.myocv.com/share/a65536603. The app can be used in both English and Spanish.

MCHD preparing to place sentinel chickens throughout the county to monitor for diseases 07-08-24

July 8, 2024

MCHD preparing to place sentinel chickens throughout the county to monitor for diseases

MOBILE, Ala. — Since 1985, the Mobile County Health Department’s (MCHD) Vector Services has monitored sentinel chickens placed throughout the county to help detect the presence of viruses carried by mosquitoes. The practice is being renewed, as the first of 13 coops will be deposited this week in various predetermined locations.

“MCHD continues to conduct countywide surveillance and spraying for mosquitos,” said Dr. Kevin Michaels, Health Officer for Mobile County. “We are presently positioning our sentinel chickens throughout the county and watch for our MCHD spraying vehicles in our community.”

In April, 95 chicks arrived at Vector Services (a vector is any insect, rodent, or animal capable of harboring or transmitting diseases to humans) the day after being hatched. Vector Services keep the chickens in a facility that is a half-enclosed hen house and half-screened yard. It has taken several months for the chickens to mature enough to be placed into service.

Prior to the coops being dispatched, the chickens received their initial blood draws today to ensure they were healthy. They have also been vaccinated for fowl pox and a numbered band was attached to identify each hen.

Starting soon, the Vector Services inspectors will draw blood samples from the wings of two hens, usually on Mondays. The samples are sent to the Florida Department of Health Laboratory in Tampa. The tests can reveal the presence of West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, and St. Louis Encephalitis.

With the use of 13 coops, it means only 52 hens are used at one time. The rest are kept in reserve at Vector Services. The program continues into the fall, usually until Thanksgiving or mid-December. At that point, the hens are given away to the people at the locations where the coops are kept. A new group of chicks will start the program the following spring.

Vector Services also has mosquito traps set up across Mobile County. The traps are used with reports from inspectors and complaints from the public to track the local mosquito population. There are more than 50 species of mosquitoes in Mobile County.

Since 2018, those collections from the traps are brought to researchers at the University of South Alabama on a weekly basis. An entomologist will identify and sort the mosquitoes into pools. A virologist will screen the pools for viruses Dengue, Zika, and Chikungunya — along with West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, and St. Louis Encephalitis — using high-throughput molecular methods.

Vector Services’ fleet of trucks has been covering 50 routes across Mobile County with night-time spraying since May. Vector Services is rotating first- and second-generation chemical insecticides and organo-phosphates so that no tolerance is built up in the mosquito population.

A new online portal is now available to help the public request assistance from Vector Services and receive feedback on their request to deal with mosquitoes or rodents. To learn more about the department, you may visit https://mchd.org/vector-control. From there, you can find a link and a QR code to access the new online portal for ordering services. The telephone numbers for those without internet access are 251-690-8124 for Mosquito Control and 251-690-8819 for Rodent Control.

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Saraland reports on Sanitary Sewer Overflows 07.08.2024

July 8, 2024

Saraland reports on Sanitary Sewer Overflows

MOBILE, Ala. — Saraland Water and Sewer Service has reported on Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSO) that occurred on July 5 and July 7. The events were the result of the strong storms that crossed over Mobile County.

The initial SSO was from a manhole located on the southwest side of Celeste Road between Camelot Drive and Lafayette Drive. More than 50,000 gallons and less than 75,000 gallons overflowed into Bayou Sara.

The second SSO was from a manhole outside of the lift station located east of Highway 43 and south of Bayou Sara Avenue. In addition to the heavy rainfall, a power flicker caused a pump controller to malfunction. Less than 1,000 gallons spilled into Bayou Sara.

Dr. Kevin Philip Michaels, Health Officer for Mobile County, advises area residents to take precautions when coming into contact with any standing water that may have accumulated as a result of these overflows. Those who have come into direct contact with untreated sewage are advised to wash their hands and clothing thoroughly.

Area residents should take precautions when using Bayou Sara for recreational purposes because of these overflows. All seafood harvested in this general area should be thoroughly cooked before eating. People should wash their hands after cleaning seafood and before preparing food.

Satsuma reports on Sanitary Sewer Overflows 07.08.2024

July 8, 2024

Satsuma reports on Sanitary Sewer Overflows

MOBILE, Ala. — Satsuma Water and Sewer Board has reported on Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSO) that occurred on July 5 and 6. The cause of the overflows was an extreme weather event, in which Satsuma received 7.1 inches of rain in 2.5 hours. This caused a hydraulic overload to the system.

The SSO’s occurred from manholes in the area of Baker Road near the railroad tracks and on Old Highway 43 near Gator Drive. The estimated volume was more than 25,000 gallons and less than 50,000. The overflows reached a drainage ditch that empties into Steele Creek.

Dr. Kevin Philip Michaels, Health Officer for Mobile County, advises area residents to take precautions when coming into contact with any standing water that may have accumulated as a result of these overflows. Those who have come into direct contact with untreated sewage are advised to wash their hands and clothing thoroughly.

Area residents should take precautions when using Steele Creek for recreational purposes because of these overflows. All seafood harvested in this general area should be thoroughly cooked before eating. People should wash their hands after cleaning seafood and before preparing food.

Prichard reports on Sanitary Sewer Overflows 7-5-24

July 5, 2024

Prichard reports on several Sanitary Sewer Overflows caused by heavy rains

MOBILE, Ala. — Prichard Water Works & Sewer Board has reported on Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSO) that took place on July 4-5. Heavy rains were the cause of the SSO’s.

The nearest manhole locations, estimated overflow, and receiving waters are listed below:

LocationEstimated GallonsReceiving Water
218 Patricia Ave.90,000Gum Tree Branch
N. Bessemer Ct. & Whistler St.90,000Gum Tree Branch
2407 Whistler St.27,000Gum Tree Branch
198 Wood St.9,000Chickasaw Creek
Chin St. & Butts St.228,125Toulmins Spring Branch

Dr. Kevin Philip Michaels, Health Officer for Mobile County, advises area residents to take precautions when coming into contact with any standing water that may have accumulated as a result of these overflows. Those who have come into direct contact with untreated sewage are advised to wash their hands and clothing thoroughly.

Area residents should take precautions when using Gum Tree Branch, Chickasaw Creek and Toulmins Spring Branch for recreational purposes because of these overflows. All seafood harvested in this general area should be thoroughly cooked before eating. People should wash their hands after cleaning seafood and before preparing food.

Be safer this summer by following these tips 07-02-24

July 2, 2024

Be safer this summer by following these tips

MOBILE, Ala. — Summer has finally arrived, and the Fourth of July is just around the corner. However, many health and safety challenges come with the large amount of fun.

“As we approach summer, we need to be aware of potential safety hazards during this time of year,” said Dr. Kevin Michaels, Health Officer for Mobile County. “If you are thinking about using fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July, be sure to find out if they are legal where you live and remember that children should never play with fireworks.

“Things like firecrackers, rockets, and sparklers are just too dangerous. If you give your child a sparkler, make sure your child keeps it outside and away from their face, clothing, and hair. Sparklers can reach 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit — hot enough to melt gold. Also, make sure eyes are protected by wearing proper eyewear — either safety glasses or goggles, with lenses that are high impact resistant.”

Dr. Michaels also recommends being extra careful while traveling.

“There will be a lot of people on the road during this holiday,” he said. “Although you may be a safe driver, the driver in the other car might not be. So, please wear your seat belt and do not become one of the more than 60 percent of people killed in car accidents each year who were not wearing seat belts.

“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports there were 3,142 people killed by distracted driving in 2019. It is estimated that 8.7 percent of all car crash fatalities were due to distracted driving in 2019. Texting and social media have become one of the most common forms of distracted driving. So, when you get behind the wheel, put your phone away.”

If you are going to be outside enjoying July 4th activities, follow these pointers:
• Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
• Limit strenuous activity.
• Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing at least 20 percent DEET to protect against mosquitoes, ticks, and other bugs.
• Drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour.
• Rest often in shady areas.
• Wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.
• Use a personal flotation device.
• When boating, always leave a float plan in your vehicle.
• Use sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher).

“There are many summertime illnesses that are spread during collective gatherings,” Dr. Michaels said. “Remember the basic preventive strategies of cough/sneeze etiquette, handwashing, and social distancing. If you are sick, stay away from others. Consider staying up to date with the COVID vaccination if not already vaccinated and other vaccine preventable illnesses.”

Rabies clinics planned in July for dogs, cats, ferrets 07.02.2024

July 2, 2024

Rabies clinics planned in July for dogs, cats, ferrets

MOBILE, Ala. — The Mobile County Health Department provides low-cost rabies shots for dogs, cats, and ferrets that are good for one year during weekend clinics. Here is a list of the rabies clinics planned during Saturdays in July across Mobile County:

• July 6, 10 a.m. to noon, City of Mobile Animal Shelter, 855 Owens Street in Mobile
• July 13, 10 a.m. to noon, Mobile County Animal Shelter, 7665 Howells Ferry Road in Mobile
• July 13, 1 to 3 p.m., Pet Supplies Plus, 803 Hillcrest Road in Mobile
• July 20, 10 a.m. to noon, Kuddles-N-Kisses Connection, 13268 Wintzell Avenue in Bayou La Batre
• July 27, 1 to 3 p.m., B&B Pet Stop, 5035 Cottage Hill Road in Mobile

These events will be drive-through clinics. The cost of the rabies vaccine per pet is $12. All rabies shots are payable in cash.

Each month, MCHD’s Rabies Officer provides residents with low-cost vaccines for their pet dogs, cats, and ferrets at a variety of locations. The state of Alabama tasks local health departments with providing affordable rabies vaccinations to pet owners. MCHD’s Rabies Officer provided 198 vaccinations (165 dogs and 33 cats) during June.

Rabies is a virus that attacks the central nervous system. It is transmitted from infected mammals to humans and is fatal once symptoms appear. Symptoms of rabies include unusual behavior, irritability, headache, fever, inability to eat or drink, balance problems, circling, seizures, coma, and, finally, death. All warm-blooded mammals, including humans, are susceptible to rabies.

MCHD’s Rabies Officer vaccinated 2,004 household pets (1,600 dogs and 404 cats) in 2023. To learn more about our program, visit https://mchd.org/disease-control/#rabies.

A Rabies Quarantine Fact Sheet is available through the Alabama Department of Public Health at https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/assets/rabiesquarantinefactsheet.pdf.

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