Indiana Department of Health

Becca Costello / Indiana Public Broadcasting

The Indiana State Health Commissioner Friday declared a public health emergency for Wayne County, allowing the county to establish a syringe exchange program. The state has approved four other syringe exchange programs.

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It’s been a year since Governor Mike Pence declared a public health emergency in response to a historic HIV outbreak in Scott County, Indiana.

The declaration allowed the county to start a needle exchange to limit the spread of the virus through injection drugs.

The exchange was also meant to connect people to addiction treatment.

Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Jake Harper reports, talking to people about treatment is just one of the first steps toward overcoming addiction.

More Mumps Confirmed At IU-Bloomington

Mar 1, 2016
Sanofi Pasteur / https://www.flickr.com/photos/sanofi-pasteur/5280386078

At least eight cases of the mumps are now being reported on the IU Bloomington campus.

Mumps cases have also been reported at other Indiana colleges, but health officials say at this point, there does not appear to be any connection between the cases at Butler, IU-Bloomington and IUPUI.

Up to 30-percent of people who have mumps may not show symptoms, so it can be difficult to determine who may be infectious or how people may have been exposed.

HIV Outbreak Likely To Cost Millions In Medical Treatment

Dec 21, 2015
Gretchen Frazee / IPBS

One health expert predicts the lifetime cost of treatment for those impacted by Indiana’s HIV outbreak could reach $58 million.

Since the outbreak began last year, the state health department says 184 people have been diagnosed with HIV.

Co-Director of the Rural Center for AIDS and STD Prevention Beth Meyerson says the lifetime medical costs for a person with HIV run between $230,000 and $350,000.

“This is non-medication related costs or chronic disease medication,” she says.

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The Indiana Department of Health says it’s in recovery mode when it comes to addressing the HIV outbreak in Scott County.

Health officials talked about the next steps in addressing the outbreak during a panel discussion Tuesday at Indiana University.

The state and the Centers for Disease Control just finished re-testing more than 500 at-risk people for HIV. Only three of those tests came back positive.

Scott County Public Health Nurse Brittany Combs says that’s encouraging.  

Tippecanoe County, State Seeing A Syphilis Increase

Oct 30, 2015
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State health officials Friday were pressed into releasing numbers showing a statewide increase in the number of syphilis cases, after the Tippecanoe County Health Department announced a spike.

Tippecanoe County has seen 12 cases of the sexually transmitted disease this year. That’s a big increase over the last four years – none of which registered even five cases for the whole year.

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The creation of food hubs, which connect local producers and buyers, could help boost Indiana’s economy and fulfill demand for local food products, according to an Indiana State Department of Agriculture a study released Monday.

Food hubs can be a broad term, but Agriculture Department Director Ted McKinney says people should think of the word “aggregation.”

It’s a way for farmers and food producers, often via a website, to connect with buyers.

World Bank Photo Collection / https://www.flickr.com/photos/worldbank/

The Marion County Health Department has asked Tippecanoe County officials to partner with them on a new initiative designed to disseminate information about public health events more quickly.

Tippecanoe County Health Administrator Craig Rich says hospitals currently report concerns to the state Department of Health, which eventually disseminates the information to county health departments.

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The Senate has unanimously endorsed a first step toward creating "baby boxes" for abandoned newborns.

Since 2000, Indiana has had a "safe haven" law allowing babies to be dropped off anonymously at hospitals or fire stations. A House bill would go a step further and allow the installation of incubator dropboxes.

Rep. Casey Cox (R-Fort Wayne) says there have been cases in which parents don‘t trust the promise of anonymity and abandon infants in parks or trash bins -- exactly the scenario the safe haven law was intended to prevent.

The State Department of Health is spending the next year reaching out to new and expectant mothers in an effort to curb the state’s infant mortality rate. 

Indiana’s rate of infant deaths is one of the worst in the country.  First Lady Karen Pence says the Labor of Love campaign, meant to reduce that rate, will be carried on all major TV stations, at bus depots, in radio ads, and in a variety of publications.  She says messages will include everything from the importance of prenatal care and breastfeeding to safe sleep.

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