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News You Can Use

Zika Virus

There have been 6 confirm cases of Zika Virus in Kentucky.  These cases have all been travel related, none of which were locally acquired cases.  Zika virus disease (Zika) is a disease caused by the Zika virus, which is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects. Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections. To learn more, visit this website.

Bats: Kentucky’s Natural Resources

Warm summer weather is here and so are insects and bats. It is important to remind the public that it is not acceptable for bats to be residences or public buildings. Bats are very good at getting in small cracks and crevices in homes but are very poor at exiting them. I attach a bat poster for your education and further dissemination. Click here to view Bat Poster_2015

A Hunger Pang We Can’t Ignore

Providing children with access to nutritious food beyond the school year can have a lasting impact on a child’s health and academic achievement.

  • Students who don’t get enough nutrition over the summer months are more likely to fall behind their peers once the school year starts.
  • Students from low-income families experience a greater “summer slide” than their peers, returning to school two months behind in reading.
  • Low-income families have to spend an additional $300 on groceries each month during the summer, forcing many parents to make tough choices between food and medical care, utilities, and transportation.
  • Many families struggling with hunger turn to cheap, calorie dense foods with little nutritional value. As a result children from low-income families often gain weight two to three times faster during the summer than during the school year.
  • Food insecurity makes children more susceptible to chronic diseases like asthma, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Bring the Farm to Summer

Promoting summer meals at farmers’ markets is an innovative way to provide fresh, local food to children and their families. Because seasonal produce is freshest in the summertime, utilizing the harvest from a market is a great way to source tasty, healthy ingredients for summer meals. Markets are unique, family-friendly gathering places, where people can connect to their local community, listen to music, sample new foods, and shop for produce.

Kentucky is proud to offer two KY Kids Eat program sites located at farmers’ markets, with several others interested. At the Letcher County Farmers Market and Berea Farm Stand, children can sit together and enjoy their summer meal prepared with food straight from local farmers. Nearly 40 markets now accept SNAP/EBT and many participate in the Double Dollars program, making local food an affordable option for lower income families. Parents are encouraged to shop for fruits and vegetables while children eat, and together they can experience the fun activities and entertainment of the market.

Locate a KY Kids Eat summer meal site today by calling the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-877-8-HAMBRE), texting FOOD to 877-877, or visitingwww.KyKidsEat.org. Summer meal programs welcome volunteers for tasks like food transportation, meal site set up and clean up, education, and recreation. Residents interested in volunteering should visit www.KyKidsEat.org for more information.

The Trouble With Tiny Turtles

According to studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, contact with reptiles (such as turtles, snakes, and lizards) can be a source of human Salmonella infections. Reptiles can carry Salmonella germs and still appear healthy and clean. Salmonella germs are shed in reptile feces (droppings) and can easily contaminate their bodies and anything in areas where these animals live. Reptiles that live in tanks or aquariums can contaminate the water with germs, which can spread to people. Turtles with a shell length of less than 4 inches are a well-known source of human Salmonella infections, especially among young children.  For more information, click here.