Officials at the Philadelphia Health Department are issuing a health alert for medical providers throughout the city regarding the ongoing measles outbreaks happening in other cities.
There are no cases reported here, however, Dr. Kristen Feemster, a communicable diseases expert with the department, says it’s likely there will be one given how much people travel between Philadelphia and cities like New York, Los Angeles, and those overseas where there are active outbreaks.
By Alison Gorman
In Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania contacted pharmacies in zip codes with high rates of heroin possession in 2016, and found that 40 percent of the pharmacies they contacted stocked the drug, said Jim Garrow, a spokesman for the city’s health department. Pharmacy students from the University of the Sciences later launched an education campaign at dozens of local pharmacies. In early 2018, about 75 percent of the city’s pharmacies were carrying Narcan — and by the end of the year, Mayor Jim Kenney had signed a law requiring every pharmacy in the city to stock it.
By Aubrey Whelan
Allison Herens, the harm reduction coordinator for the city, said secondary traumatic stress or ways to cope with the trauma of reversing overdoses are not currently discussed in the city’s naloxone trainings, but is something the city will be investing in through resilience trainings in the future.
“I think these are really important things to be thinking about,” Herens said. “Thinking about how we could better prepare people for these incidents and how you might advise them to deal with any trauma and emotional feelings about the experience.”
“Because we recognize it can be emotional, it can be triggering, it can be hard,” she added.
By Henry Savage, Evan Easterling and Maggie Loesch
James Garrow, a spokesperson for the city health department, said that to prevent the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and mumps, high percentages of children should receive the required immunizations on schedule. Philadelphia is in better shape than many other communities, Garrow said, because about 95 percent of its students have received one dose of a vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella, and 75 percent have received two doses.
“The School District of Philadelphia has policies to enforce the requirement that children receive their recommended immunizations, and the Department of Public Health is working with the School District to assess and maintain high levels of immunization coverage at individual schools,” Garrow said in a statement.
By Kristen Graham
Others in the HIV prevention field agreed that if you can get past the logistical obstacles, the ER offers a great opportunity to start people on PrEP.
“I think you capture a population that may not be accessing medical care elsewhere that may be using emergency rooms as their primary-care providers” said Erika Aaron, the PrEP clinical adviser for Philadelphia’s Aids Activities Coordinating Office.
By Nina Feldman
The report also found that sales of amphetamines, such as Adderall, a popular ADHD drug, increased by 617 percent between 2000 and 2017 in Philadelphia, and pharmaceutical companies that make stimulants are spending more on free meals for doctors, presumably to bring their attention to the product.
By Aubrey Whelan
The increase in women with syphilis is especially alarming to Philadelphia officials because the disease is most serious when it is passed on to a fetus.
“As more women are affected, we are going to see more infants affected, and that’s really devastating,” said Deputy Health Commissioner Caroline Johnson.
By Nina Feldman