Chicago Department of Public Health Weekly Media Brief, 8/25/2023

August 25, 2023

CDPH Public Information

Healthy Chicago Symposium

The Chicago Department of Public Health is mid-way through the five-year implementation period of Healthy Chicago 2025, and to celebrate the efforts around the movement, CDPH hosted the Healthy Chicago 2025 Symposium and Healthy Chicago Equity Zones (HCEZ) showcase event last Friday at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Representatives of Chicago’s vast public health system came together to discuss hyper-local and systems level ways to address health disparities and improve community health for all Chicagoans. During the event, different organizations had the opportunity to participate in interactive sessions and shared how they are working to promote health and racial equity in all communities.

Healthy Chicago focuses on quantifiable equity measures and compares data and community feedback over time to measure progress. Every 5 years CDPH publishes an updated city-wide plan for collective action.

To watch and download any of the presentations from last week's symposium, visit our Healthy Chicago website.

Watch Out for West Nile Virus

The year’s first human cases of West Nile Virus were confirmed in Chicago and suburban Cook County this week, and the risk of infection remains high. The best way to avoid West Nile infection is to avoid mosquito bites themselves - take precautions to protect yourself, such as:

  • Use insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
  • Eliminate standing water from flowerpots, pool covers, pet water dishes, and other containers.
  • Keep grass and weeds short to eliminate hiding places for mosquitoes.
  • When outside between dusk and dawn, wear loose-fitting, light colored clothing including long pants, long sleeve shirts, socks and shoes.
  • Check that all screens, windows and doors are tight-fitting and free of holes and tears.
  • Check on neighbors regularly who may need additional assistance, including the elderly.

CDPH will continue its targeted spraying of EPA-approved insecticide in particularly mosquito-heavy neighborhoods as needed. Additional information on the virus, including symptoms and how to protect against the virus can be found on the CDPH website.

New RSV Vaccines Can Protect Seniors, Babies, and Pregnant Women

For the first time, those at highest risk for severe outcomes from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) will be able to get protection from severe illness as a result of the respiratory virus this fall, thanks to newly approved vaccines and an antibody therapy.

Each year, an estimated 58,000 to 80,000 children under 5 years of age, most of them infants, and an estimated 60,000-160,000 older adults are hospitalized due to RSV infection.

Federal health officials approved RSV vaccines for adults age 60 and older, and pregnant women in order to pass antibodies on to their babies through the placenta.

Also approved is an injectable RSV drug for newborns, infants and children younger than 8 months that delivers a dose of antibodies directly to the bloodstream during a child’s first RSV season (typically fall through spring). Children up to age 2 who are vulnerable to severe disease from the respiratory virus can receive a second dose during their second RSV season.

CDC has included this RSV therapy in the Vaccines for Children program schedule, which means it will be accessible to millions of children at no cost.

Quick Hits

International Overdose Awareness Day

Join us next week as we observe International Overdose Awareness Day on Thursday, 8/31, and partner with local organizations to spread the word to #EndOverdose. CDPH will participate in several events and activations throughout the week. Full press release and list of activities coming Monday!