Kent County Health Department

Kent County Health Department monitors for West Nile Virus

June 25, 2015 // 0 Comments

Most people would like it if mosquitoes would just go away. Staff at the Kent County Health Department is collecting them by the thousands and they want more. Now through Labor Day, KCHD will place, monitor and maintain 11 mosquito traps in the following zip codes in the county 49503, 49507 and 49519. The goal of monitoring in disease prevention, specifically West Nile Virus (WNV). The trap, called a Gravid trap, lures pregnant female mosquitoes by creating a false breeding environment. A pungent bait of grass clippings and yeast fools the insects by attracting them with carbon dioxide, a gas found in the exhaled breath of mammals. Mosquitoes end up sucked into a nylon net by a battery operated fan. Each week, the mosquitoes that get trapped will be returned to KCHD where they will be pulverized and tested for West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses. Results will be logged along with geographic information that will provide a nearly real time picture to health authorities. “We have selected these areas because we know that in the past they have been hot spots for the West Nile Virus,” said Sara Simmonds, Supervising Sanitarian with the department’s Environmental Health division. “Given our past experience, we fully expect that we will find the presence of West Nile Virus within our community. Early detection is critical to help people protect themselves from contracting the virus.” “Knowing where the virus is located will allow municipalities to make more informed decisions about eradication practices,” said Adam London, Administrative Health Officer with KCHD. “West Nile Virus is a potentially debilitating illness and we know that it is largely preventable through surveillance, education and action.” West Nile Virus was first detected in the United States in 1999. Since the first case was diagnosed in Michigan in 2001 more than 1100 people have been diagnosed with the disease. 92 people have died. In 2001 and again in 2012, Kent County had the second highest number of West Nile cases in the state. More about West Nile Virus can be found here. The best treatment for WNV is prevention. The Kent County Health Department recommends wearing a mosquito repellant that contains 10 – 35% DEET, wearing light colored clothing and staying indoors during […]


August 10, 2011 // 0 Comments

SCHOOL BEAT Race For Healthy Kids on October 8  by LISA JACOBS Exective Director, Rockford Community Services and DAWN DAVIES Public Health Educator Kent County Health Department For the second year in a row, Rockford Community Services (RCS) and Rockford Public Schools (RPS) will have a wonderful opportunity to partner with the West Michigan Action for Healthy Kids (WMAFHK). WMAFHK is a nonprofit volunteer network fighting childhood obesity and undernourishment. WMAFHK works with schools and families to improve nutrition and physical activity to help our kids learn to eat right, be active every day and be ready to learn. The sponsors and members include Spectrum Health, Kellogg’s, Kent County Health Department, United Lifestyles, Kent County Sheriff’s Department, United Dairy Industry of Michigan and RPS. The partnership includes a 5k walk/run for adults, and a Fruity Fun Run just for kids. The race and course takes place at Rockford High School and the surrounding area on October 8, 2011. Proceeds from the race go directly to support WMAFHK. The nonprofit coalition works with schools to help kids learn to be healthy and active every day. The first-year proceeds will go directly to help Meadow Ridge and Roguewood elementary schools. WMAFHK will donate pedometers, water bottles, running shoes and free registrations for this year’s race to start the 2011-2012 school year moving! There is a $20 registration fee for the 5K walk/run event ($10 student rate) and a $5 fee for the Fruity Fun Run. Registration forms can be downloaded from Completed forms and registration fees can be done online, dropped off or mailed to Dawn Davies at the Kent County Health Department, 700 Fuller Ave. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. If you are interested in becoming involved with WMAFHK or the network, please contact Dawn Davies at or Lisa Jacobs at Please register and help the WMAFHK support programs that encourage healthier kids, families and schools to get outside and be active!

All health department locations offering H1N1 vaccination

January 14, 2010 // 0 Comments

So, you think you don’t need the H1N1 vaccination? Isn’t the “swine flu” over? Not so, according to Cathy Raevsky, administrative health officer for the Kent County Health Department (KCHD). “While the worst of the flu season could be over,” said Raevsky, “we don’t know what we’ll see this winter or spring. Another wave of illness is feasible and a flu shot is the best way to protect people from the flu. I encourage anyone who wants a vaccination to make an appointment with their doctor, a pharmacy, or the Kent County Health Department.” KCHD is now offering novel H1N1 flu shots by appointment at all six of its clinic locations. Clinics are in Wyoming, Kentwood, Rockford, and multiple Grand Rapids locations. Appointment times for each location vary, but appointments can be made by calling 2-1-1 (or 459-2255 if not using a land line) or by visiting There is no up-front cost for vaccination, but those with insurance cards should bring them to the appointment and KCHD can bill your insurance if the vaccination is covered. To those who are not covered, the vaccination is being offered free of charge.

First death reported in Kent County associated with H1N1 influenza

October 29, 2009 // 0 Comments

On October 23 the Kent County Health Department was informed a female in her 50s died from multiple underlying health conditions, including the H1N1 influenza. It is the first such death in the county. “We extend our deepest sympathies to this woman’s family and friends,” said Cathy Raevsky of the Health Department. “Flu activity has increased greatly in Michigan this week. While most cases of flu are mild, this is a reminder that flu can be a very serious illness and that people with underlying health conditions are at higher risk for severe complications.” Persons with influenza do not need to see a doctor unless their symptoms are unusually severe or if they are at increased risk of severe illness due to an underlying health condition. Most people recover from H1N1 flu without medication just as they do from seasonal flu. However, each year in the United States, seasonal flu claims the lives of 36,000 people and hospitalizes another 200,000. This is why it is important to know when to seek medical attention or care. People are likely to experience complications of the flu and who should talk to a health care provider if they get flu symptoms include children younger than five, but especially younger than two; people 65 and older; pregnant women; people who have cancer, blood disorders, chronic lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disorders, liver disorders, neurological disorders, neuromuscular disorders, or weakened immune systems. The number one way to avoid flu is to be vaccinated. At this time H1N1 vaccine is not widely available, but larger supplies are expected to be available in the coming weeks. Visit or call the flu hotline at (616) 742-4FLU for updates.

Kent County Health Department offers full lipid profile tests

July 16, 2009 // 0 Comments

On Thursday, August 6, the Kent County Health Department will offer full lipid profile tests at its North County Clinic, 4388 14 Mile Road N.E., Rockford . The test includes cholesterol, HDL, LDL, triglycerides, blood pressure and pulse measurements, risk factor analysis, 10-year coronary heart disease risk score, an immediate explanation of results, and follow-up for high risk individuals. Participants must fast 12 hours prior to the appointment but may drink plenty of water and take medications as directed. The cost for the test is $25, which covers the materials for testing, and all tests are between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m., by appointment. This is a simple, low-cost way to protect one’s health. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please call (616) 632-7290.