Allen County avoiding vaccine problems

First Posted: 2/13/2015

LIMA — Allen County continues to dodge the problems being experienced nationwide from the decrease in the rate of childhood vaccinations.

The county saw just three cases of chicken pox in January, each involving children, the according to Allen County Public Health’s monthly disease report. In two of those cases, the children had not been vaccinated and one had received the first dose of the two recommended vaccine doses.

January also saw two cases of Haeophilus infuenzae, a bacterial disease that can cause serious illnesses like meningitis and even death. Before it was considered eradicated in the 1970s as a result of the vaccine, it was the leading cause of meningitis in children in the U.S. It has a higher rate of infectivity than other preventable illnesses, like the measles.

Both patients were diagnosed and cared for before the infection could spread.

“I’ve been practicing for many years and I didn’t see any cases for a long period of time, but now its making a comeback and its going to be a problem,” said Board President Wilfred Ellis. “If it takes off, you’re going to see literally thousands and most of those cases will be in the pediatric population.”

On the bright side, the county saw a decrease in the flu last month with only 60 cases.

“The important thing is we’ve been able to keep things under control, and we’re in the waning push of the season,” Ellis said.

In other action, Allen County Public Health employee Tom Berger accepted the position as the county’s director of emergency preparedness.

The only thing that makes it easier to let him go, said Commissioner Kathy Luhn, is that Berger is staying with the county.

“It’s not goodbye,” Berger said. “It’s ‘till we meet again.’”

The board also approved a resolution abolishing two jobs regarding plumbing for the city. The county had three plumbing positions, but with a decrease in work load the commissioner saw the number of full time employees as excessive. Though two of the jobs were not technically active she said the department had to hold the funds, unable to use them until the positions were no longer sanctioned.

Board member Kha Tran said that the motion would be appropriate as long the abolishment is truly justified.

“We can always bring these jobs back if needed,” he said.

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