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Health Alerts & Advisories

Archived Health Alerts & Advisories - Current Water Quality Information

Post Date Bulletin/Alert/Advisory
July 28, 2017
CDPH Press Release
Pregnant Women Urged to Avoid Going to Areas with Zika Risk
SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) advises pregnant women, and men and women of child bearing age, not to go to areas with Zika. If they must go to places with known transmission of the Zika virus, CDPH recommends they protect themselves against sexual transmission of Zika and take steps to prevent mosquito bites. Pregnant couples in which one or both partners were in an area with Zika should use condoms every time they have sex, or not have sex during the pregnancy in order to reduce the risk of transmitting Zika to the fetus. Read More
Ongoing

Hepatitis A Virus Outbreak in Santa Cruz County

  • Above Average Incidence of Acute Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) Infection – 2017 
  • Request for vigilance in case recognition and reporting
  • Recommendation for prophylactic vaccination against HAV

Current Situation:
Santa Cruz County continues to experience an increase in new Hepatitis A infection cases.  The County usually has 1-2 confirmed cased per year.  Since April 2017 the county has received 52 confirmed cases.  These newly identified cases share one or more of the following characteristics: illicit drug use (injection and non-injection), homelessness, and/or dense living conditions. Of concern is the fact that there have been recent, serious and widespread outbreaks of Hepatitis A in similar identified populations in other counties. 
 
Santa Cruz County Public Health officials are concerned that some of our community’s most vulnerable members are currently at increased risk due to shared activities and living conditions.  Read More

Advisories, Press Releases and Letters:

July 25, 2017
CDPH Press Release

CDPH Urges Caution on How to Avoid Hantavirus following Diagnosis in Northern California Man

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reminds individuals to take precautions when entering cabins, trailers and other buildings that may be infested with rodents after the recent diagnosis of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in a Northern California man.

“Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is a rare, but often fatal disease spread by rodents,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “The chances of getting the virus are greatest when entering or cleaning buildings, or other closed spaces, where wild rodents are present.”

HPS is caused by a virus that individuals contract through contact with the urine, droppings or saliva of wild rodents, primarily deer mice. Breathing small particles of mouse urine or droppings that have been stirred up into the air is the most common means of infection. The illness begins with fever, headache, and muscle aches and progresses rapidly to severe difficulty breathing and, in some cases, death.
Read More

July 20, 2017
CDPH Press Release

Valley Fever Cases Increase in California in 2016

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced today a large increase in the number of reported Valley Fever cases in California with illness onset in 2016.

From January through December 2016, 5,372 new cases of Valley Fever were reported to CDPH corresponding to an incidence rate of 13.7 cases per 100,000 people. This is very similar to the most recent peak in 2011 (5,213 cases), which was the highest number of cases since individual cases were made reportable in 1995. 

“People who live in or travel to areas where Valley Fever is common should take steps to avoid breathing in dusty air,” said CDPH Director and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “If they develop flu-like symptoms, such as cough, fever, or difficulty breathing, lasting two weeks or more, they should ask their doctor about Valley Fever.” Read More

July 14, 2017
Public
Health
Alert

West Nile virus (WNV) has been detected for the first time in 2017 in Santa Cruz County

  • A dead bird has tested positive for an acute infection of the virus.
  • An acute infection of a dead bird indicates that there are mosquitoes in the area that can transmit the infection.
  • The bird was found in the East Santa Cruz near Soquel Avenue on Morrissey Boulevard.
  • There has been WNV activity in many counties of the state.
  • As of today, there have been 3 human cases reported this year in the state.
  • Read More
June 5, 2017
CA Dept. of Public
Health Alert

Salmonella Infections Linked to Contact with Live Poultry

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is warning people of the risks of Salmonella infection associated with contact with live poultry. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that from January 2017 through May 25, 2017, 372 ill persons in 47 states have been infected with several Salmonella strains that have been linked to live poultry contact; 36% are children younger than 5 years old. Seventy-one ill persons have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported. Infected persons include 21 California residents from 15 counties.

Salmonella symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, and usually begin 12 to 72 hours after a person has been infected. Most infected people recover within a week without treatment. However, some people may have severe illness that requires hospitalization. Young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems are at highest risk for more severe illness.

Outbreaks linked to contact with live poultry have increased in recent years as more people keep backyard flocks. Read More

CA Dept of Public Health Advisory - en español

May 18, 2017
Public
Health
Press Release

Potential for Norovirus Outbreak in Santa Cruz County

Santa Cruz County Health Agency is concerned about the potential for a significant norovirus outbreak in Santa Cruz County. We have already had an outbreak at a Boulder Creek camp with 28 children plus staff sickened.

There have been over 1200 cases in Yolo County schools and at least 200 students in ten schools in the San Jose Unified School District.

Though this virus is common, this is an unusually high incidence of cases. Norovirus is generally a mild illness with associated nausea, vomiting and diarrhea lasting from 1-3 days. People are infectious prior to symptoms and for several days after symptoms begin. The primary danger is dehydration which, in severe cases can lead to hospitalization. People with vomiting and or diarrhea should stay home for at least 48 hours after symptoms have stopped. Read More

Public Health Press Release

May 17, 2017
Medical Provider
Health
Notification

 

Outbreak of Foodborne Botulism in Sacramento Region: Delayed Identification of Some Patients

CDPH is working with local public health departments in the Sacramento region to investigate an outbreak of foodborne botulism linked to consumption of nacho cheese sauce at a Sacramento County gas station. Identification of botulism has been delayed for some patients.

While foodborne botulism is rare, it should be considered in patients presenting with weakness that initially affects cranial nerves. Local public health departments should be notified immediately of any suspected case of botulism to facilitate treatment and disease prevention. Foodborne botulism has been associated with a variety of foods and does not always involve home-canned foods.

Click here to view information regarding delayed identification of some patients.

May 11, 2017
Public
Health
Advisory

Above Average Incidence of Acute Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) Infection – 2017
Request for vigilance in case recognition and reporting
Recommendation for prophylactic vaccination against HAV

Current situation:
Santa Cruz County has experienced a higher than average number of acute Hepatitis A virus infection cases over the past month. These newly identified cases share one or more of the following characteristics: illicit drug use (injection and non-injection), homelessness, and/or dense living conditions. Of concern is the fact that there have been recent, serious and widespread outbreaks of Hepatitis A in similar identified populations in other counties.

Santa Cruz County Public Health officials are concerned that some of our community’s most vulnerable members are currently at increased risk due to shared activities and living conditions. Read More

Public Health Alert

May 10, 2017
CA Dept. of Public
Health Alert

 

Consumers Warned Not to Drink Herbal Teas Produced by U.S. Deer Antlers Exports and Imports Inc. Due to Botulism Risk

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today warned consumers not to drink herbal tea in plastic pouches produced by U.S. Deer Antlers Exports and Imports Inc. due to concerns the teas may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum. Ingestion of botulism toxin from improperly processed liquid teas may lead to serious illness and death. CDPH is investigating two possible cases of botulism in Orange County residents, both of whom consumed U.S. Deer Antlers Exports and Imports Inc. herbal tea products in March. Read More

CA Dept of Public Health Advisory

March 24, 2017
Public
Health
Advisory for Medical Providers

STD Rates On the Rise in Santa Cruz County

  • Rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are dramatically rising in Santa Cruz County, in California, and across the United States. In Santa Cruz County, syphilis rates have increased 308% while gonorrhea rates have increased 448% since 2010.
  • April is STD Awareness Month and the Health Services Agency will be doing community messaging on STDs which may result in more questions from your patients and more requests for testing. Visit www.santacruzhealth.org/SEX to learn more.
  • Medical providers are critical in helping control the spread of infection by appropriately screening and testing patients, providing timely treatment for patients and their partners, and reporting cases to the Communicable Disease Unit via STD Confidential Morbidity Reports. Read More

Public Health Advisory

Dec. 22, 2016
Public
Health
Advisory

2016-17 Influenza Season

In the United States, flu season typically occurs in the fall and winter, mainly from October to March -- though it most often peaks between December and February. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes a weekly flu surveillance report from October to May, called “Flu View,” with multiple sources of flu-related data. The California Department of Public Health also summarizes flu activity weekly, and as of Dec 10, 2016, statewide activity is considered sporadic. Click here for updated California data.

Locally, flu activity increased around Thanksgiving, based on data from local sentinel providers. There have not yet been any reports of outbreaks or severe illness, which are reportable events. Read More

Public Health Advisory

Dec. 7, 2016
Public
Health
Advisory

Updated Influenza Guidance for Long-Term Care Facilities

Local surveillance data indicates influenza activity is increasing.  The California Department of Public Health recently released updated guidance on the prevention and control of influenza in long term care facilities.  Facilities should take the opportunity now to review the updated guidance and make preparations for increased influenza activity. Read More

Public Health Advisory

Nov. 16, 2016
Public
Health
Advisory

Coccidioidomycosis Increasing in Monterey County

Coccidioidomycosis, also known as Valley Fever, results from inhalation of Coccidioides immitis and Coccidioides posadasii spores. Although Santa Cruz County does not have any locally-acquired cases and is not considered endemic, Monterey County is a Coccidioides
endemic area -- particularly the Salinas Valley and South County regions. In October 2016, an unusually high number of Coccidioidomycosis cases among Monterey County residents were reported by local medical providers. Some individuals were severely ill and required extensive medical care. At this time, Public Health Officials recommend medical providers. Read More

Public Health Advisory

Oct. 20, 2016
Public
Health
Advisory

Mycobacterium chimaera infections following open chest surgeries

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a Health Alert stating that epidemiologic and laboratory evidence in the U.S. and Europe point to an association between invasive Mycobacterium avium complex (including M. chimaera) infections and exposure to contaminated Stöckert (or Sorin) 3T heater-cooler devices, used in many open-chest surgeries in California and nationwide. M. chimaera is a species of nontuberculous mycobacterium (NTM) commonly found in soil and water. The infected patients had undergone open-heart surgery that used contaminated heater-cooler devices during extracorporeal circulation.

These infections are difficult to treat and delays in diagnosis further complicate patients’ clinical management. Therefore, it is imperative that patients and providers are informed about the risk of infection associated with use of the 3T device and the need for appropriate diagnostic evaluation to facilitate timely diagnosis and treatment. Read More

Public Health Advisory

Oct. 13, 2016
Public
Health
Advisory

Increase in Reports of Suspected Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM)  Cases—2016
Request for continued vigilance for case recognition and reporting

Surveillance for AFM has been conducted in California since 2012 and nationally since 2015. CDC received an increased number of reports of suspected AFM from May through July 2016; this increase is notable when compared to the same period in 2015. Clinicians are encouraged to maintain vigilance for cases of AFM among all age groups and to report cases of AFM to the patient’s local health jurisdiction. Reporting of cases will help the California Department of Health (CDPH) and CDC monitor the occurrence of AFM and better understand factors possibly associated with this illness. Read More

Public Health Advisory

Sept 28, 2016
Public
Health
Advisory

Loma Fire Air Quality Advisory

Due to the Loma Fire, Santa Cruz County Public Health Division continues to track air quality in Santa Cruz County in conjunction with the Monterey Bay Air Resources District (http://mbard.org/air-quality/). Air quality may change frequently due to fire behavior and weather patterns.

Health Officials recommend that residents actively assess their risk for exposure to unhealthy air quality from wildfire smoke and take appropriate actions. Symptoms that may develop from wildfire smoke include irritation of the lungs and eyes, coughing, scratchy throat and irritated sinuses. If you develop repeated coughing, chest tightness or pain, wheezing, difficulty breathing or nausea, call your medical
provider immediately. Read More

Public Health Advisory

Sept 7, 2016
Provider
Health
Advisory

Mandatory Influenza Prevention Program for Health Care Workers

Influenza infection accounts for up to 49,000 excess deaths in the US each year and approximately 200,000 hospitalizations. Health Care Workers (HCWs) are both at risk for influenza and can transmit the virus to their vulnerable patients. Influenza vaccination of HCWs protects medically fragile patients and reduces employee absenteeism during influenza season.

State law requires that acute care hospitals and certain employers offer influenza vaccinations to employees or have the employee sign a declination statement if they choose not to be vaccinated. While compliance to these existing laws is high, actual HCW vaccination rates are not and may be below that which will blunt the spread of infection in a health care setting. Mandatory vaccination with masking policies have been shown to increase HCW vaccination rates to above 90%.

My goal is to increase the rate of influenza vaccination of HCWs, reduce employee absenteeism and protect Santa Cruz County residents from influenza infection. I believe you share these goals. Therefore, I am issuing the following Health Officer Order. Read More

Ongoing
Public
Health
Advisory

Zika Virus Information
Zika is an infectious disease caused by the Zika virus, which is transmitted to people by the bite of Aedes mosquitos and then transmitted sexually from infected individuals to sexual partners.  Most infected people have no symptoms. If symptoms develop, the most common are fever, rash, joint pain, and/or conjunctivitis.  Symptoms usually begin within 2 weeks after a person is infected, and last several days to one week.  The illness is usually mild; severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.  On April 13, 2016 The U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledged that “A causal relationship exists between prenatal Zika Virus infection and microcephaly and other serious brain anomalies.”  There is no specific treatment for Zika virus disease. To date there has been no local transmission of Zika Virus and no known transmission by mosquitos in California. Read More

This is an evolving situation and guidance may be modified when more information is available.

Aug 17, 2016
Provider
Health
Advisory

Outbreak of Invasive Meningococcal Disease involving Men who have Sex with Men in Southern California: Recommendations for Providers
Since March 2016, there have been 24 confirmed cases of serogroup C invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) -- including 2 deaths, among residents of Los Angeles and Orange Counties and the City of Long Beach. Of the 24 cases, 22 are men and of these, 19 identified as men who have sex with men (MSM). Persons with HIV infection are known to be at increased risk of invasive meningococcal disease, and two cases also had HIV infection. IMD results from infection with Neisseria meningitidis bacteria, which can cause meningitis, bacteremia and septicemia. Transmission is via contact with respiratory secretions or aerosols or someone carrying the bacteria in their nasopharynx; usually by close or sexual contact. Transmission occurs more easily in households and other crowded or congregate setting where there is close contact with many others. Read More

Provider Health Alert

Aug 12, 2016 Immunization Law(SB 277) Change for School Entrance - Letter from HSA Health Officer/Dr. Arnold Leff
Aug 1, 2016
Provider
Health
Advisory

Cryptosporidiosis cases associated with Simpkins Swim Center
After receiving lab results of two individuals diagnosed with Cryptosporidiosis and conducting public health investigations, it is suspected the Simpkins Swim Center pools may have been contaminated. As a result, the pools have been closed and treated with an extremely high concentration of chlorine known to kill the organism because standard levels of chlorine used in swimming pools and hot tubs may not kill Cryptosporidium (also known as Crypto). Read More

Provider Health Alert

July 21, 2016
Provider
Health
Alert

Escherichia coli (E.coli) 0157 with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS)
A cluster of E.coli 0157 with HUS potentially associated with a daycare in south Santa Cruz County has been reported to the Santa Cruz County Communicable Disease Unit. Two cases were both under the age of 5 years and are currently hospitalized for HUS. Onset of illness began at the end of June. There was delay in diagnosis. Symptoms of E.coli include diarrhea (often bloody), abdominal cramps and may be complicated by HUS as in these two cases. Read More

Provider Health Alert

July 19, 2016
Public
Health
Advisory

West Nile Virus (WNV) Update
The Davis Arbovirus Research and Training (DART) Lab at UC Davis notified Santa Cruz County Public Health Division on Friday, July 15, 2016 of this summer’s first find of a West Nile virus (WNV) positive sample of mosquitoes in Santa Cruz County.  The sample of seven Culex pipiens, or Northern house mosquitoes, was collected by dry-ice baited trap hung by Mosquito and Vector Control (MVC) staff overnight on July 11 at Neary Lagoon in Santa Cruz and submitted on July 12, 2016.  WNV is primarily a bird virus that can affect humans and other animals and can be spread by the bite of summer mosquitoes. In humans, symptoms of infection range from no symptoms to fever and flu-like illness to serious illness affecting the central nervous system in less than 1% of cases. Read More

Public Health Advisory

http://www.westnile.ca.gov/

July 6, 2016
Public
Health
Advisory

West Nile Virus (WNV) Detected First Time in 2016 In Santa Cruz County

West Nile virus (WNV) has been detected for the first time in 2016 in our county. 

  • A dead bird has tested positive for an acute infection of the virus. 
  • An acute infection of a dead bird indicates that there are mosquitoes in the area that can transmit the infection.
  • The bird was found in the upper West Side (Santa Cruz) area near Nobel Drive.
  • There has been WNV activity in many counties of the state. 
  • As of today, there have been no human cases reported this year in the state.
  • Mosquito and Vector Control technicians have been sent to the site to target mosquito-breeding sources in the area and to conduct disease surveillance by trapping adult mosquitoes. 
  • The Public Health Division is coordinating activities with the California Department of Public Health and the Mosquito Abatement Program throughout the county.
  • Health care providers in the county have knowledge of specific information on signs and symptoms of WNV and have been performing testing as appropriate.  Read More

Public Health Advisory

June 3, 2016
Provider
Health
Alert

Wound Botulism Associated with Drug Injection
Since May 29, 2016, two highly suspect cases of wound botulism associated with heroin injection (potentially black tar heroin) have been reported in Santa Cruz County. The two hospitalized cases are apparently unknown to each other and presented with wound infections and a recent history of injecting heroin. Symptoms included diplopia, bilateral ptosis, extraocular palsy, slurred speech, dysphagia, and generalized weakness. The patients were treated with botulism antitoxin released by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). The sources of the botulism remain unknown and additional cases may occur. Read More

Provider Health Alert

May 3, 2016
Public
Health
Advisory

Overdoses and deaths due to counterfeit drugs contaminated with fentanyl
California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently issued a statewide Drug Overdose Health Alert in response to an increased number of overdoses and deaths reported by Sacramento County and anecdotal reports of similar overdoses in other counties.

Since late March, Sacramento County has reported 52 overdoses of illicitly obtained drugs, including 12 deaths.  Contra Costa County reported 10 overdoses and Santa Clara County reported two overdose deaths.  Many of these overdoses and deaths were the result of consumption of pills that strongly resembled the prescription opioid drug Norco (hydrocodone/acetaminophen) but actually contained an undetermined amount of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opiate analgesic much more potent than morphine and heroin. Read More

 April 22, 2016
Public
Health
Update
Updated information About Ebola

On May 13, 2015, the CDC changed the Ebola classification for Liberia to a “country with former widespread transmission and current, established control measures” – if a patient has recently returned from Liberia, please call the Communicable Disease Unit during business hours at 831-454-4114 and after hours call 831-471-1170 and be sure to follow these steps:

  1. Conduct a travel, Ebola exposure, and health history.
  2. Isolate in a private room ONLY IF patient’s travel/health history indicates a significant risk of Ebola exposure.
  3. Implement standard, contact, and droplet precautions as appropriate.
  4. Investigate other potential causes of patient’s symptoms.
  5. Follow standard protocols for patient care (e.g., medical equipment and procedures, infection control, and lab testing).

Health Advisory 4/22/16 – Updated Guidance on screening for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)

 

Click here to view CDC Ebola Poster - infections spread by air or droplets

 

Interim Guidance for Healthcare providers - Travelers from Ebola-affected countries

 

For more in-depth information, please visit the CDC web site at the following link:  http://emergency.cdc.gov/HAN/han00381.asp 

April 18, 2016
Public
Health
Advisory

Mosquitos are Taking Flight - Inspect your yard for and standing water

On Tuesday, April 19, at their public meeting on or after 9:00 a.m. the County Board of Supervisors reviewed a report presented by the Agricultural Commissioner’s Mosquito and Vector Control (MVC) district, in collaboration with the Health Services Agency, about local response plans for invasive mosquitoes and exotic diseases new to California.

In addition to our native mosquitoes, there are two invasive mosquitoes species that have recently been found in parts of California: Aedes aegypti (the yellow fever mosquito) and Aedes albopictus (the Asian tiger mosquito).

These mosquitoes are more aggressive than our native mosquitoes, are black-and-white striped, and tend to bite people during the day. They lay their eggs in very small containers of water (bottles, buckets, plant saucers) and prefer living in and around homes. They are responsible for transmitting the diseases dengue, chikungunya, and most recently Zika in various parts of the world.

Currently, all California cases of these diseases can be attributed to recent travel to other parts of the world, and are not due to local transmission. Santa Cruz County Mosquito Vector Control (VC) has increased surveillance this year by deploying more traps throughout the county, but theystill need the public’s help in reporting day-biting mosquitoes and maintaining dry backyards so that these mosquitoes do not make their way into Santa Cruz County.

Spring and summer is also the season for mosquitoes that can spread West Nile virus (WNV). Mosquitoes are not only a nuisance, but also a public health threat. WNV is transmitted from birds to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. The California Department of Public Health reported 783 human WNV cases from 31 counties in 2015.

This year has brought some heavy rains intermixed with longer warm periods. This type of weather pattern might lead to slightly earlier breeding of spring and summer mosquitoes. In warmer months, it takes seven to ten days for a mosquito egg to develop into a flying blood- sucking insect. A female mosquito can lay between 50 to 200 eggs at a time, so a neglected swimming pool for example, can produce hundreds of thousands of mosquitoes and infest an entire neighborhood.

It is critical that residents empty water-holding containers in-between rains and properly seal septic systems and water-conserving containers like rain barrels. Instructions for “mosquito-proofing” rain barrels can be found on our website at agdept.com/mvc.html.

During this time, please remember to:

  • Report dead birds by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD (877-968-2463) or online at www.westnile.ca.gov
  • Dump and drain standing water sources around your property. Obtain mosquito-eating fish for free by calling the district.
  • Report neglected swimming pools and other backyard sources, and day-biting mosquitoes to Mosquito and Vector Control at (831) 454-2590, agdept.com/mvc.html, or visit our office: 640 Capitola Rd. Santa Cruz

April 19th-25th is Mosquito and Vector Control and West Nile Virus Awareness Week, as declared by the California Legislature.

March 31, 2016 Extension of Influenza Season to April 15th
Ongoing Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases

Spring is a time of high tick activity in our coastal hills and residents should be aware when spending time outdoors. Santa Cruz County Mosquito and Vector Control (SCCMVC) staff and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) collaborate to collect and test ticks in the County. At least 2% of Western black-legged ticks (Ixodes pacificus) tested in recent years contain the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease. In 2013, there were 5 reported cases of Lyme disease in Santa Cruz County, about the annual average (1.66 cases per 100,000 people).

The western black legged tick (Ixodes pacificus) and other human biting ticks found in Santa Cruz County such as the Pacific Coast tick (Dermacentor occidentalis) may carry other tick-borne diseases. Thus, SCCMVC plans to conduct surveys for these tick species and will submit them to the CDPH for testing. Because of tick-borne disease risk, residents are advised to take precautions to protect themselves from tick bites.

The tick starts out as an egg then matures into a larva, nymph and adult stage over several years. The nymph life stage is active in spring and summer, and is found on tree trunks, fallen logs, wooden benches and in leaf litter and feed on smaller animals, but they will also attach to people and pets. Adult ticks are active in fall when they climb to the tips of vegetation, often alongside trails or paths, and attach themselves to hosts, such as deer, pets or humans that brush against them.

Ticks feed by sticking their mouthparts into the skin of their host and sucking blood. Infections such as Lyme disease may be transmitted when the feeding tick is attached for at least a day. Immature ticks are about the size of a pinhead, and may be missed without careful examination.

The risk of being bitten by ticks may be reduced with the following precautions:

  • Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Tuck pant legs into boots or socks and tuck shirts into pants.
  • Wear light-colored clothing so ticks can be easily seen.
  • Use a repellent registered for use against ticks; always follow label directions.
  • Stay in the middle of a trail and avoid logs, tree trunks, trail margins, brush and grassy areas.
  • Inspect yourself frequently while in tick habitat. Once out of tick habitat, thoroughly check your entire body and pets. Parents should examine their children, especially on the scalp and hairline.
  • Shower and launder clothes soon after activity in tick habitat.

To reduce the possibility of infection, remove attached ticks as soon as possible. Gently and firmly grasp the tick close to the head and pull it straight out, preferably with a tick tool or with fine-pointed tweezers. Save the tick for identification. Ticks should be kept alive by placing the tick into a sealable bag or container with a moist cotton ball in a refrigerator or cooler. The person removing the tick should wash their hands before and after removal and apply antiseptic to the bite area. Insecticides, Vaseline, lighted matches or gasoline should not be used to remove ticks because these techniques are ineffective or unsafe. Anyone who develops symptoms after being bitten by a tick should consult his or her physician.

Painful redness that occurs less than 24 hours after a tick bite and does not expand is likely a local allergic reaction to the tick bite. Early Lyme disease also has a rash but the Lyme disease rash appears three to 30 days after the tick bite, is often painless, and spreads to greater than 5 cm in diameter. The spreading rash can be accompanied by flu like symptoms, such as fever and body aches. Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics and most patients recover without complications, particularly when the disease is diagnosed early. If left untreated, Lyme disease can progress to arthritis and in some cases serious nervous system problems.

Individuals should consult their physician immediately if symptoms similar to those described for Lyme disease develop within one to several weeks after being bitten by a tick.

Click here to view the media release

Prevent Tick Bite - Pamphlet provided by CDPH

Additional information on Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases

Dec. 18, 2015
Public
Health
Advisory

Increase in Gonorrhea Infections

  • Cases of gonorrhea have nearly quadrupled among Santa Cruz County residents, increasing from 46 cases in 2010 to 178 cases in 2014.
  • November 2015 was the highest month on record since 2010 with 29 cases, nearly twice the monthly average of 15 cases between January and October of 2015.
  • The increase is among all genders, ages and ethnicities.  The greatest increase over the past few months has been among men ages 18-35 who are having sex with men.
  • Read More...
 Nov. 4, 2015
Public
Health
Advisory

Opioid Overdoses in Santa Cruz Caused by Counterfeit “Xanax” Pill Containing Fentanyl
The Sheriff’s Office received information that a counterfeit version of the prescription drug alprazolam is being sold on the street in Santa Cruz County.  Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine with brand names that include Niravam and Xanax.  This street alprazolam may be linked to two recent overdose deaths.  Alprazolam is a medication used to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders and anxiety caused by depression.

Read More...

Current Water Quality Information - Archived Health Alerts & Advisories