Allegheny County Health Department

Essential Pittsburgh
2:02 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Allegheny County Health Director Explains Why We Need Not Worry About Ebola

Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5WESA

The Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola from a Liberian patient is reported to be in good condition. However, a second person has been diagnosed with the virus. This has heightened concerns about the spread of Ebola in the United States.

Although medical professionals think chances of an outbreak in the area are low, how is the region preparing for the possibility? We’ll pose that question to Dr. Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department.

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Food Inspection
1:24 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Proposed Budget Increase Prepares for Hiring of Additional Health Inspectors

The Allegheny County Health Department's effort to update its restaurant grading system is getting a boost from the 2015 budget presented this month to county council.  The $839.2 million budget drafted by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald includes an increase in funding for the department's food inspection effort.

Jim Thompson, deputy director of environmental health, says the Health Department will increase its number of full-time food inspectors from 20 to 22 if council approves the spending plan.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:45 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Air Quality Complications and Shenango Coke Plant

A view of Neville Island and Shenango Coke Works.
Credit Jon Dawson / Flickr

The Shenango Coke Works on Neville Island has consistently violated local clean air regulations leading some citizens to ask why the Allegheny County Health Department doesn't shut the plant down.

We pose that question and more to Jim Thompson, Air Quality Program Manager for the Allegheny County Health Department. Hear from Bellevue resident Ken Holmes and other local residents who are concerned about air quality in the area.

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Health
4:04 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Duquesne Elementary Becomes First Live Well Allegheny School

Second graders learn yoga poses during Tuesday's Move-a-Thon at Duquesne Elementary School.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Students at Duquesne Elementary School in the Mon Valley spent Tuesday running, jumping and playing, all in the name of health.

“It was really exciting to be going through the school, going through the play area, the gym, seeing the Move-a-thon, seeing the kids doing yoga, and relay races and the dancing and the nutrition, having meals with fruits and vegetables,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, who joined the kids for a couple of yoga poses during Tuesday’s event.

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Health
4:56 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Allegheny County Advances Restaurant Grading System, Community Health Assessments

New York City already has a similar food safety grading system in place.
Credit Flickr user Mike Licht

The Allegheny County Health Department wants you to help set its priorities as it attempts to become the healthiest county in the nation.

That’s according to department director Dr. Karen Hacker, who said the county is now moving into the second phase of its community health assessment process. The first phase was an online comment period, which Hacker said garnered more than 1,000 responses.

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Environment
2:37 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

County Board of Health Proposes Changes to Air Pollution Regulations

US Steel Clairton Coke Works is a "major source" of air pollution in Allegheny County, emitting more than 100 tons of pollutants each year.
Credit Flickr user roy.luck

Three changes to Allegheny County’s regulations on air pollution will be introduced in County Council Tuesday evening.

According to Jim Thompson, deputy director for environmental health at the Allegheny County Health Department, the most significant proposed change would increase the fees paid by “major sources” of air pollution.

“Prior to this year, large sources were paying $57.50/ton of pollutant emitted,” Thompson said. “Starting this year, it will be $85/ton.”

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Alerts Expands
1:23 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

County Health and Public Works Departments Join Allegheny Alerts

Allegheny County is making it easier to avoid road construction and get vaccinations now that its notification program has expanded to the Public Works and Health departments.

Allegheny Alerts is a program that will call, text, or email people who sign up about the four departments involved. The program began in April with the Parks Department and the Kane Regional Centers.

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Woodstove Roundup
4:53 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Rewards Offered in Woodstove Roundup

Despite the popularity and appeal of summer bonfires, too much wood smoke can cause problems, according to Allegheny County Health Department. The smoke can contain toxins, act as an asthma trigger and prevent neighbors from opening windows to receive cool breezes.

That’s why the ACHD’s Air Quality Program offered rewards for older, uncertified wood furnaces and wood-fired boilers.

On May 17th, 62 woodstoves were collected in North Park, loaded into trucks, and recycled by Tube City IMS.

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Health
2:32 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

County Health Department Seeking Public Participation

The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) is asking for public feedback on its 2014 Air Monitoring Network Review, an annual report listing where and how air pollution is being measured.

The 78-page document, required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, includes the location of monitoring stations, the process used to monitor the air and the pollutants detected at each location.

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Health
5:56 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Health Officials: Climate Change Expected To Have Local Impact In Decades Ahead

Following the release of national reports on climate change, Allegheny County Health Department officials are examining how best to prepare for the changes they say are imminent over the coming decades.

“It’s going to change the air pollution levels, it’s going to change the pollen levels, it’s going to change insects, it’s going to change water quality,” said Jayme Graham, Air Quality Program manager at ACHD. “What do we need to know about that, and what do we need to start preparing for that?”

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Essential Pittsburgh
1:50 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Allegheny County Live Well Project Shows Students How to Bring Healthy Habits Home

Dr. Karen Hacker
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5WESA

Nearly 1 in 3 school age children in the Pittsburgh region is overweight or obese. Last January Allegheny County launched the Live Well project to improve the health of county residents, particularly students, through health and fitness. It’s one of the leading health initiatives undertaken by Dr. Karen Hacker, Allegheny County’s Health Department Director.

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Air Pollution
2:41 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

County Collects Woodstoves, Boilers to Reduce Pollution

Woodstoves and boilers might have helped keep homes warm over the winter, but they also could have harmed the environment.

That’s why for the second year, the Allegheny County Health Department is collecting old woodstoves and outdoor wood-fired boilers that do not meet the current national emission standards.

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Health
3:30 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Allegheny County Youth Survey Aims to Improve Services for Adolescents

For the next year, Allegheny County will be surveying 14- to 19-year-olds in an effort to improve services offered for youth. The phone survey is based on the national “Youth Risk Behavior” survey.

“Which focuses on a whole variety of areas that include everything from drug abuse to physical activity and nutrition to sexual activity to mental health issues,” said Allegheny County Health Department Director Karen Hacker. “Many of the questions on the survey were drawn from the national survey.”

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Health
3:35 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

New Wellness Campaign Aimed at Making Allegheny County Healthiest in Nation

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and County Health Department Director Karen Hacker launched the Live Well Allegheny Campaign at PNC YMCA in downtown Pittsburgh.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Live Well Allegheny is a new initiative aimed at promoting health and wellness throughout Allegheny County.

The effort was launched Tuesday by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, members of the county Board of Health and Health Department Director Karen Hacker.

Fitzgerald said while the Pittsburgh region ranks high on national lists for things such as livability and academia, it could also be a leader in healthy living.

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Health
3:00 am
Thu November 28, 2013

Allegheny County Health Department to Provide Free Flu Shots to the Homeless This Thanksgiving

During the last flu season there were 1,415 confirmed cases of influenza in Allegheny County, but the health department adds that for every one laboratory-tested case there are as many as 100 others.

More vulnerable groups of people, such as the elderly and infants, are often affected by life-threatening symptoms brought on by the virus. This Thanksgiving, healthcare organizations in the area are starting a new initiative to help some of the most vulnerable residents.

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Health
3:30 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Allegheny County Baiting Raccoons As Rabies Precaution

It’s a one-inch brownish block made from a compressed mixture of fishmeal and fish oil — just what might make a tasty snack for a raccoon. 

The Allegheny County Health Department is hoping these fishy squares will attract the raccoons because they are laced with a rabies vaccine. Raccoon rabies is the most prevalent type of rabies in the county and across Pennsylvania.

Starting Monday and continuing through August 16, health department workers will be spreading 230,000 baits throughout the county to reduce the spread of rabies from raccoons to other animals and humans.

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Health
5:36 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Even Peskier-Than-Normal Asian Tiger Mosquito Found in Pittsburgh Neighborhood

The Asian tiger mosquito is from Southeast Asia and has characteristic black-and-white striped legs and body. It bites morning, noon and night.
Credit Naturegirl78 / Flickr

As if regular old mosquitoes weren’t bad enough, the Allegheny County Health Department is reporting that the Asian tiger mosquito has been found throughout Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood.

More common mosquitoes generally bother birds, and people as well, but they're usually most active at dawn and dusk. That’s not the case with this insect.

“The Asian tiger mosquito loves people,” said Health Department entomologist Bill Todaro. “It bites in the morning, it bites in the afternoon and it bites in the evening.”

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Health
3:30 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Allegheny Co. Health Department to Add Pesticide to Water Basins to Combat Mosquitoes

The Allegheny County Health Department will start treating storm water catch basins in Pittsburgh Monday with pesticide to combat mosquito breeding.

The pesticide, which is nontoxic to humans, pets and aquatic life, does not kill mosquitoes directly, but stops their maturation process. The mosquito eggs become stuck in a larvae stage and are eaten by other organisms.

Dr. Ronald Voorhees, acting director of the health department, said treating the water catch basins makes a serious impact on the mosquito population.

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Environment
1:22 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

Allegheny County Health Department Issues Combined Sewer Overflow Alert

The Allegheny County Health Department issued its second combined sewer overflow (CSO) alert of the season Thursday.

The advisories notify swimmers, boaters and other river-goers if the water has been contaminated by raw sewage after heavy rainfall clogs waste treatment facilities. The length of the advisories depends on the time it takes for the sewer systems to return to normal levels.

The CSO alerts do not prohibit recreational river activity, but advise the public to reduce water contact, especially those with weak immune systems or open cuts and sores.

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Tuberculosis Screening
4:03 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

TB Screenings Halted in Allegheny County Due to National Shortage

A nationwide shortage of a product used for tuberculosis (TB) screenings is forcing the Allegheny County Health Department to limit the skin test to only those at high-risk for contracting the disease.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed that there is a shortage of Tubersol across the country.  The company that manufactures the product, Sanofi Pasteur Limited, did not immediately return requests for comment.

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Bruce Dixon
9:48 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Former Allegheny County Health Director Bruce Dixon Dead at 74

Former Allegheny County Health Department Director Bruce Dixon died early Wednesday morning according to the County Medical Examiner’s office.  The death is listed as being related to a blood infection from a sudden inflammation of his gallbladder, which caused him to be hospitalized on Tuesday.

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