Dover, Ohio - Tuscarawas County public health officials are sharing some important information to help reverse some troubling trends in last year’s communicable disease data.
The Tuscarawas County Health Department recently released its 2018 Communicable Disease Report for the county, which also includes data from the New Philadelphia Health Department. TCHD Director of Nursing Amy Kaser says this report looks at confirmed cases of illnesses that can be passed from person to person.
"It could be through contact with blood or bodily fluids, breathing in an airborne virus or bacteria or being bitten by an insect carrying the disease," she says. "It can find the host in the body through a variety of different methods."
Kaser says sexually-transmitted disease cases remained high in 2018. Chlamydia continued to be the most commonly reported illness representing 216 of last year’s 540 confirmed communicable disease cases, while gonorrhea cases rose by 42 percent, an increase of about 14 cases. Kaser says, fortunately, these diseases are easily prevented and treated.
"It’s very important to get the education out about making sure you’re using condoms or abstinence, being checked, having your partners checked," she says. "If you do have a positive case of chlamydia or gonorrhea, making sure you get treatment and making sure your partner or partners get treated as well."
Kaser says the health department offers STD testing and treatment by appointment at its headquarters on East Iron Avenue in Dover.
"We have a reproductive health and wellness grant through the Ohio Department of Health here at our health department," she says. "You can come in, and we accept most insurances and we also have a sliding fee scale for eligible participants as well."
Flu-related hospitalizations were also up by more than 150 percent in 2018. Kaser says they’ve been seeing much less of this so far this year, but she says people should still be taking precautions.
"If you have influenza, make sure you’re staying home. Make sure you’re washing your hands, covering your mouth when you’re sneezing, just doing good hygiene, making sure your cleaning surfaces, those kinds of things," she says.
The full report is available online at tchdnow.org. The Tuscarawas County Health Department can be contacted with any questions or concerns by calling 330-343-5555.
STACEY CARMANY, TUSCO TV