Allegheny County Health Department

Environmental Protection Agency

  Residents driving past the Clack Health Complex in Lawrenceville might notice green, orange and red flags flying over the building -- a visual guide for those concerned about local air quality.  

The Allegheny County Health Department has adopted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s program of flying pennants to signify air quality levels. The color-coded banners went up last week.

A Wilmerding family's exposure to rabies after taking in a pair of stray kittens prompted the Allegheny County Health Department to warn residents not to touch or take in feral animals and wildlife.

“It is well-intentioned efforts by individuals trying to help, and sometimes they unnecessarily get exposed to rabies,” chief public health nurse Sharon Silvestri said.

The family is doing fine, she said, because rabies is not a fast acting virus. The incubation period can take 30 days up to several years before it reaches the nervous system and travel to the brain, she said.

Tom / Flickr

  Mosquitos with West Nile virus are turning up in more city neighborhoods and communities, and that means more spraying.

The Allegheny County Health Department opted to fight West Nile in Bloomfield, Polish Hill, Lawrenceville and Stanton Heights with a truck-mounted, Ultra Low Volume sprayer between 8 and 10 p.m. Tuesday after recent mosquito samples tested positive for the virus. 

Rebecca Pollard / Flickr

Allegheny County teens, on the whole, look fairly healthy in comparison to teens around the nation, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Allegheny County Health Department.

Of the 1,600 teens surveyed, 96 percent said they have health insurance and 62 percent reported getting one hour or more of moderate or vigorous exercise every day. Other areas raised red flags for health officials.

Mike McNeil / Flickr

Allegheny County is one of four sites nationwide to be chosen for a new initiative aimed at improving health throughout the county.

The Bridging for Health: Improving Community Health Through Innovations in Financing initiative will have the health department working with the nonprofit Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to simplify and strengthen the links among different health-related areas, according to Karen Hacker, Allegheny County Health Department director.

The Allegheny County Health Department will be conducting a survey with the help of the University of Pittsburgh in the next few weeks to gauge the overall health of the county.

The 25-minute survey will be conducted by phone with about 9,000 county residents in an effort to fill in some big blank spots in the data.

AP Photo/Victoria Arocho, File

Cases of Lyme disease are on the rise in Allegheny County, with a more than 40-fold increase in a little over a decade.

The Allegheny County Health Department (ACDH) is warning the public of this rise and offering preventive tips.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Following more than a year of planning, research and community meetings, Allegheny County has released the Plan for a Healthier Allegheny (PHA), which sets priorities for health officials and partners to work on going forward.

“It’s a five-year plan that sets forth health priorities, measurable goals and strategies to reach those goals,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

The plan identifies five key areas to focus on, including access, the environment, maternal and child health, mental health and substance abuse.

Eleven years ago, Tina Gaser moved into a home in Lawrenceville and right away noticed that when the wind blew in just the wrong direction she could smell the McConway & Torley Steel Foundry just a few blocks away.

A few years later, her husband had a stroke that doctors say could have been indirectly caused by high levels of fine particulate matter in the air. Tonight she will speak at a public hearing calling on the plant to live under tighter environmental controls.

You take the good with the bad.

That’s what officials at the Allegheny County Health Department said about the sixth annual County Health Rankings released last week.

According to the report, the county improved from 40th to 34th in health outcomes, but fell from 15th to 19th in health factors, which include measurements of health behaviors, social and economic factors and physical environments.