Salem health office issues ’13 report

SALEM – The Salem City Health District released its 2013 annual report last month, showing a history of the department’s activities for last year, including nuisance complaints about everything from bed bugs and pigeons to head lice and garbage.

A limited number of annual reports were printed, but city Health Commissioner Richard Setty said anyone interested can come to the health department offices at the KSU City Center to see a copy or make a request to have the file sent electronically.

The report includes lots of numbers such as a financial statement, money receipted for services, fees paid to the state, vital statistics, injections administered, environmental inspections and investigations and animal bites or possible rabies exposure events. New this year was an entry for the number of fetal deaths, which was 2 for 2013.

In his message to the public, Setty highlighted how the department participated in initiatives in preparation for eventually seeking public health accreditation. Those initiatives included membership in the Northern Appalachian Public Health Alliance, which will give the department access to grant-funded projects with other health districts, and participation in the Community Health Assessment for Columbiana County.

The report showed a very slight drop in revenue for 2013 from the previous year and a drop in expenditures, too. The revenue decreased from $154,172 in 2012 to $152,012 in 2013 while expenditures decreased from $105,621 in 2012 to $91,089 in 2013. The vital statistics registrar dropped to a part-time position, which could account for some savings. There was less carryover in 2013 than the previous year, but more income for environmental health due to a revision in the cost methodology for food licenses.

The number of certified birth and death certificates issued both increased, with 1,430 birth certificates and 1,341 death certificates, while the total number of births dropped from 529 in 2012 to 460 in 2013. The number of deaths stayed the same at 315, but the the number of females and males dying flipped, with fewer females and more males in 2013. In 2012, more females died than males.

In the nursing division, the number of injections administered for infants, children or adolescents rose from 429 in 2012 to 473 in 2013 while the numbers for adults decreased from 33 in 2012 to 13 in 2013.

For environmental investigations, numbers stayed about the same, but with more nuisance complaints and more animal bite complaints. The number of nuisance complaints increased to 34 in 2013 from 27 in 2012. The number of animal bites increased to 40 in 2013 from 34 in 2012. The bite investigations included 29 dogs, seven cats, one rabbit and one bat in 2013, with at least two people starting post-rabies exposure treatment. There were no positive rabies cases reported in Salem.

For bedbugs, the department received two separate complaints. One was for an apartment building that had a similar problem the year before and used professional pesticide applicators to fix the problem. Another pesticide company was used in 2013 to eliminate the problem. The other complaint involved a rental property and was referred to the city housing inspector office, with pesticide application ordered.

There were five mold complaints for rental properties, which were referred to the housing inspector office. Another complaint concerned a classroom at Salem High School but an out-of-state environmental consulting firm took samples and found nothing, with the complaint withdrawn.

The health department received nine complaints about the conditions and pigeons hanging out at a commercial property in the 600 block of East State Street, creating a nuisance for neighboring properties and the public walking along the sidewalk. The owner of the property had been contacted and the building was to be examined by the Ohio Department of Commerce for structural integrity.

There were also complaints about garbage, two swimming pools on residential properties, an asbestos complaint that was determined to warrant no action by the Ohio Department of Health and a head lice complaint regarding children at a residence. There was a complaint about a nursing home that was referred to the Ohio Department of Health.