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Health Alerts Archive

Health Alerts & Advisories - Current Water Quality Information


 
Post Date Bulletin/Alert/Advisory
Nov 16, 2018
Public Health Provider Advisory

Wound Botulism in Black Tar Heroin Users – Multiple Counties
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) would like to alert local health jurisdictions and health care providers of an overall increase in reported wound botulism cases associated with injection drug use (IDU), including several local clusters, in California in 2018. Santa Clara County has had three confirmed wound botulism cases since mid-September, including one who was hospitalized in Santa Cruz County. Read More

Sept 18, 2018
Public Health Press Release

Public Health Officials Announce "It's Time to Get Vaccinated for the Flu!"

The County of Santa Cruz Public Health urges everyone six months and older to get vaccinated early before the virus starts going around. The flu vaccine helps stop the spread of the flu and protects everyone’s health. The start of the flu season is unpredictable, and the vaccine takes two weeks to become fully effective.

Vaccines are available at doctors’ offices, and many pharmacies provide free and low-cost flu vaccinations to the public. “Flu shots are the best way to protect yourself, your family, and the community from becoming seriously ill with the flu,” said County Health Officer, Dr. Arnold Leff.

It is important to get the flu vaccine every year because flu strains change over time. Timely flu shots help prevent a disease that hospitalizes hundreds of thousands and kills tens of thousands of Americans every year. Read More

Sept 2018
Public Health Provider Advisory

2018-19 Influenza Season Bulletin for Health Providers

Topics includes:

  • NEW FOR 2018-19! CHANGES IN REQUIRED INFLUENZA REPORTING
  • HEALTH CARE WORKER VACCINATION ORDER
  • VACCINATION
  • INFLUENZA ANTIVIRAL MEDICATION
  • SPECIMEN COLLECTION & TESTING

Click here to read 2018-19 Influenza Season Bulletin

Visit our Influenza (Flu) Information Page

Sept 7, 2018
CDC Health Advisory

Advice to Clinicians about Leptospirosis in U.S. Travelers Returning from Northern Israel

The Israeli Ministry of Health is reporting an outbreak of leptospirosis in persons with exposure to natural water sources in the Golan Heights region of northern Israel after July 1, 2018. As of September 6, 2018, three persons with leptospirosis who traveled to Israel have been identified in the United States, with additional suspected cases reported and under investigation. Early symptoms of leptospirosis include fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, conjunctival suffusion (conjunctival redness without exudates), jaundice, and sometimes a rash. Clinicians should consider leptospirosis as a diagnosis in any patient who develops an acute febrile illness within 4 weeks of travel to one of the areas in northern Israel listed below since July 1, 2018. Read More

Sept 5, 2018
Public Health Advisory

Order for Licensed Healthcare Facilities to Implement a 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%. Read More

August 13, 2018
Public Health Advisory

Aeromonas Infection
Current Situation: In late July, Aeromonas was identified in the stool of an out-of-state traveler who developed gastrointestinal symptoms following a visit to Santa Cruz County. From July 15-19, a large group of friends and family traveled to Santa Cruz County, visiting several sites throughout the area. Of the twenty travelers, seven developed gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea and inappetence, with about half the cases’ symptoms progressing to vomiting after several days. The confirmed Aeromonas case is an infant whose symptoms persisted for 11 days, until antibiotics were administered with symptoms largely resolving within 12 hours. Currently, the Aeromonas infection is suspected to have been locally acquired during the trip.

All cases deny recent consumption of seafood. The group of travelers report several potential points of exposure, including a Felton RV/campsite and Santa Cruz city’s Main Beach and San Lorenzo River mouth. Additional lab results are pending as several of the travelers are still ill, including one child with intussusception. Environmental sampling of the potential sites of exposure is in progress. Read More

Public Health Advisory: August 13, 2018: Aeromonas infection

July 16, 2018
Public Health Advisory

Increase in Cyclosporiasis San Francisco Bay Area

Current Situation: Since May 2018, there has been an increase in the reported number of Cyclospora cayetanensis infections (i.e., cyclosporiasis) in the San Francisco Bay Area. The reasons for the increase in reported cases, including sources of infection, are unknown but are under active investigation. As of July 9, 2018, a total of 50 patients with laboratory-confirmed Cyclospora infection without a history of international travel have been reported, mainly from the San Francisco Bay Area. Reported illness onset occurred in May and June 2018, mostly among adults. The recent increase of cyclosporiasis in California appears to be unrelated to the large outbreak of cyclosporiasis in several Midwestern states that has been linked to pre-packaged Del Monte Fresh Produce vegetable trays, as the recalled lots were not distributed in California. Read More

Public Health Advisory: July 16, 2018: Increase in Cyclosporiasis San Francisco Bay Area

June 22, 2018
Press Release

West Nile Virus Found in Santa Cruz County
The California Department of Public Health / West Nile virus program notified the County of Santa Cruz Thursday, June 21 of this summer’s first find of a West Nile virus (WNV) positive dead bird in Santa Cruz County. The bird, an American Crow with an acute infection, was submitted by Mosquito and Vector Control (MVC) on June 13 and obtained from a resident in Live Oak near 30th Ave between Moran Lake and Pleasure Point.

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

Press Release: June 22, 2018: West Nile Virus Found in Santa Cruz County

June 11, 2018
Press Release

Cough That Won’t Quit? Think Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
The number of cases of whooping cough in Santa Cruz County has more than doubled during the first four months of 2018. In January through April of this year, 11 cases of pertussis, or whooping cough were confirmed, compared to 5 cases in the same period of 2017.

“Pertussis disease rates are cyclic, peaking every 3 to 5 years. The last epidemic in California was 2014. We don’t know yet if 2018 or 2019 will turn out to be peak years, but vigilance is in order,” said Naomi Lobell, Immunization Coordinator for Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency.

Dr. Arnold Leff, the County Health Officer emphasized the importance of immunizations. “Pertussis is covered in the DTaP shot, given to babies at age 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and 12 months. Booster shots are given again before kindergarten and middle school. Summer is a good time to get immunizations, so students are ready for school in the fall. Adults who have never received a dose of Tdap should also get vaccinated against pertussis,” stated Dr. Leff. Read More

Press Release: June 11, 2018: Cough That Won’t Quit? Think Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

May 14, 2018
Press Release

County Public Health Officials Urge Caution on How to Avoid Hantavirus following Diagnosis in Santa Cruz County Resident

Santa Cruz County health officials offer recommendations on how to avoid hantavirus following the recent diagnosis of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in a local resident. HPS is a rare disease. Infection 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 stirred up into the air when entering or cleaning buildings or enclosed spaces where mice are present 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. Prompt diagnosis and medical treatment increase an individual's chances of recovery. Read More

April 23, 2018
Press Release

County, Medical Reserve Corps Test County's First-Ever Mobile Medical Hospital

The Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency and members of the County's Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) on Monday, April 24th 2018 began training exercises using the County's first-ever Mobile Medical Hospital.

Awarded by the State of California Emergency Medical Services Authority and housed at Watsonville Community Hospital, the Mobile Medical Hospital enhances our disaster response capabilities by increasing our resiliency and expanding the resources available to assist residents in the event of a natural or man-made emergency. Read More

April 10, 2018
Press Release

Measles in San Francisco Bay Area
SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA - Since early March, there have been cases of measles in the Bay Area, including 5 confirmed cases in Santa Clara County as of April 4, 2018.

Although the general public is at very low risk of measles as a result of these cases, measles is an acute, highly contagious viral disease. “The best way to protect yourself and your family against measles and other vaccine preventable diseases is by immunization,” says Dr. Arnold Leff, Health Officer for Santa Cruz County. Two doses of MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine provide long-lasting protection against measles. Those who have previously been infected with measles are also protected from being infected with measles again. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children get the first dose at 12–15 months of age, and the second dose at 4–6 years of age. Measles vaccination protects not just the person being vaccinated, but the community around them, including babies less than 12 months old who are too young to be vaccinated and cancer patients. Read More

April 3, 2018
Press Release

CDPH Warns Consumers Not to Eat Sport-Harvested Bivalve Shellfish
SANTA CRUZ – The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is warning consumers not to eat recreationally harvested mussels, clams or whole scallops from Santa Cruz County. Dangerous levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins have been detected in mussels from this area. The naturally occurring PSP toxins can cause illness or death in humans. Cooking does not destroy the toxin.

Health advisories due to PSP are also in place for Alameda and Contra Costa, Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo counties. These health advisories apply to the entirety of the counties including inside the San Francisco Bay.

This warning does not apply to commercially sold clams, mussels, scallops or oysters from approved sources. State law permits only state-certified commercial shellfish harvesters or dealers to sell these products. Shellfish sold by certified harvesters and dealers are subject to frequent mandatory testing to monitor for toxins.

Early symptoms of PSP include tingling of the lips and tongue, which may begin within minutes after eating toxic shellfish. These symptoms are typically followed by loss of balance, lack of muscular coordination, slurred speech and difficulty swallowing. In severe poisonings, complete muscular paralysis and death from asphyxiation can occur. Read More

March 14, 2018

Bilingual Ad Campaign Exposes Dangers of Flavored Tobacco Products
Santa Cruz County, CA -- Looks Like Candy. Tastes Like Candy. Kills Like Tobacco. That’s the message Santa Cruz County residents will see in English and Spanish on busses, movie screens, and a Freedom Boulevard billboard, beginning this week. The ads are part of a public health campaign about the dangers of flavored tobacco products.

“Products like e-cigarettes, little cigars, and smokeless tobacco use sweet flavors like cherry, chocolate and mint to appeal to youth,” said Andrea Solano, Project Director of the The Santa Cruz County Tobacco Control Program. “Flavors mask the harsh taste of the tobacco and keep kids smoking long enough to get them hooked.” Read More

Jan. 4, 2018

2017-18 Influenza Season Update

Local influenza cases have jumped in recent weeks. Influenza-like illness (ILI) rates have been higher than usual nearly every week this season, based on data from sentinel providers. This could just reflect an earlier-than-usual season, but it could also indicate a worse-than-usual season, like the one just experienced in the Southern hemisphere. The first institutional influenza outbreak was reported to Public Health just before the end of the year. Read More

Ongoing

Hepatitis A Virus Outbreak in Santa Cruz County

COUNTY DECLARES END TO LOCAL HEPATITIS A OUTBREAK

Santa Cruz County Public Health Officer Dr. Arnold Leff on Tuesday declared an end to the hepatitis A outbreak that began afflicting local patients in April 2017.

Overall, Santa Cruz County saw 76 confirmed cases of hepatitis A, including one death where hepatitis A was a contributing factor. To address the outbreak, the County conducted widespread outreach with the public, local businesses and impacted populations, consulted with top state public health officials and held several free vaccine clinics.

Hepatitis A: Information & Resources

Number of Confirmed Hepatitis A Cases by Week (4/1/17 through 11/2/17)

Advisories, Press Releases and Letters:

Sept. 9, 2017
Public Health Exposure Notice

It is possible that you have been exposed to hepatitis A virus if you have consumed food prepared at Boulder Creek Redwood Keg Liquor and Deli between August 15 and September 7th. Read More

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
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

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.

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

2016

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

March 31, 2016 Extension of Influenza Season to April 15th
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...

Oct. 20, 2015
Media
Release

Shigella Investigation
Santa Cruz County Public Health Communicable Disease Unit is currently investigating suspect cases of Shigella that may be linked to the current Shigella outbreak in Santa Clara County.  Since Saturday October 17th, over 40 individuals have become acutely ill with fever, abdominal pain, and diarrhea and have been reported to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department (SCCPHD); all of these individuals ate at Mariscos San Juan restaurant #3 (205 N. 4th Street in San Jose) on Friday or Saturday (October 16th or 17th). Most of the ill persons reported to SCCPHD have required hospital admission, of which 12 required admission to intensive care. It is suspected that these cases represent only a small proportion of the total cases. Thus far, at least 15 of the reported cases are laboratory confirmed with Shigella (shigellosis). An investigation of this Shigella outbreak is underway, and lab results from additional cases are expected to arrive daily.

 

As of Monday, October 26, 2015, at 5:00pm Santa Cruz County had 3 confirmed cases, 1 probable cases, and 2 secondary case of Shigella.

 

(A)Probable: A person reporting acute diarrheal illness after eating at Mariscos San Juan on either October 16 or 17, 2015

(B) Confirmed: A person who meets criteria (A) with laboratory confirmed Shigella

(C) Secondary case: A person with diarrheal illness or Shigella infection who did not eat at Mariscos San Juan but had exposure to a confirmed or probable case between 12‐72 hours prior to illness onset

 

Read More...

Oct. 16, 2015
Media
Release

State Public Health Officer Warns of Invasive Mosquitoes Detected in California
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a warning to Californians regarding the growing threat from invading, exotic mosquitoes:  the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), and the Yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti). In September 2015, Aedes aegypti was detected in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, bringing the count to twelve California counties in which one or both Aedes species have been detected since 2013.

These invasive species have not yet been found in Santa Cruz County. Our County mosquito program has deployed detection traps, but first detections in other counties have been the result of reports from the public of daytime biting by aggressive black and white mosquitoes.

Read More...

 Oct. 14, 2015
Public
Health
Advisory
Pinto Lake Advisory
Recent testing of various locations around Pinto Lake has indicated the presence of harmful levels of toxins produced by blue-green algae. These areas include include City and County parks. Warning signs have been posted. 

 

People and pets should not have contact with or drink the water. Boating is also not recommended due to the risk of contacting the water. Toxins from blue-green algae are known to have caused several deaths in dogs in Humboldt, Alameda and Sacramento Counties. Toxins released by the type of blue-green algae found in Pinto Lake can cause respiratory problems, liver problems, skin rashes, and gastro-intestinal upsets in humans and can cause stumbling, foaming, tremors, and death in animals.

 

Read More...

Oct. 9, 2015
Media
Release

October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month 
In 1991 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that infants be placed on their back to sleep, and since then, the number of SIDS deaths in the United States have dropped by more than half.  However, SIDS remains the leading cause of death for infants one month to twelve months of age.  In 2011, the AAP made additional recommendations for infant sleep safety that incorporated the Safe to Sleep campaign by the National Institute of Health (NIH).  The flyers may be downloaded or free copies may be ordered in English and Spanish to share with parents and caregivers at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/SIDS.

Read More...

Oct. 1, 2015
Public
Health
Advisory

Lower San Lorenzo River Lagoon Health Advisory
Recent testing of the lower San Lorenzo River Lagoon at the railroad trestle has indicated the presence of harmful levels of toxins produced by algae and blue-green algae in the water.

People and pets should not have contact with or drink the water. Toxins from blue-green algae are known to have caused several deaths in dogs in Humboldt and Alameda Counties. Toxins released by the type of blue-green algae found in the San Lorenzo River Lagoon can cause respiratory problems, liver problems, skin rashes, and gastro-intestinal upsets in humans and can cause stumbling, foaming, tremors, and death in animals.

Click here to view Public Health Advisory

Sept. 17, 2015
Public
Health
Advisory

Order for Licensed Healthcare Facilities to Implement a Mandatory Influenza Prevention Program for Health Care Workers
The Health Officer of Santa Cruz County has ordered that all licensed healthcare facilities  and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers  in Santa Cruz County implement a mandatory influenza  vaccination  program  for the 2015-2016 influenza season. All of the facility's HCWs must receive an annual influenza vaccine or, if they decline, wear a mask while providing direct patient care or working in patient care areas during the influenza season.

Click here to view Public Health Advisory

Sept. 16, 2015
Media
Release
West Nile Virus Risk - Horse Infected

WATSONVILLE, CALIFORNIA - - The California Department of Food and Agriculture earlier this week announced confirmation of a case of West Nile virus in a horse east of Watsonville. West Nile is a bird virus spread by mosquitoes that can also infect people and animals. This is the first indication of West Nile virus in Santa Cruz County this year.

 

This has been expected, although in most years the virus is detected first in dead birds in the summer. The unvaccinated horse is recovering, and Santa Cruz County Mosquito and Vector Control is monitoring and controlling mosquitoes in the area and throughout the County, and mosquito counts are decreasing. 
Read More...

Sept. 4, 2015
Public
Health
 Advisory

Health Care Provider Notice:
Reminder to Consider Measles in Patients Presenting with Rash Illness and International Travel

Measles continues to circulate in much of the world outside of North and South America. With the start of the new academic year be alert for patients presenting with rash and fever who also may be returning to campus from international destinations. Remember to notify your County of Santa Cruz Communicable Disease Unit (CDU) immediately if you suspect measles.

 

Click here to view Public Health Advisory

 Aug. 6, 2015

California Department of Public Health Investigates Human Plague Case

SACRAMENTO - California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith today announced the department is investigating a case of human plague in California, and conducting an environmental evaluation in the Stanislaus National Forest, Yosemite National Park and the surrounding areas.

The department began investigating this incident after a child from Los Angeles County became ill and was hospitalized after visiting the Stanislaus National Forest and camping at Crane Flat Campground in Yosemite National Park in mid-July. No other members of the camping party reported symptoms and health officials are continuing to monitor the child’s family and treatment providers. The child is recovering. Read More...

July 17, 2015 Recent Meningitis Activity

A 10 year-old Santa Cruz County resident died of suspected viral encephalitis last week.  The child presented with symptoms of and was diagnosed with meningitis.

 

To date, extensive laboratory testing has not identified any causal organisms. There has been community concern regarding this case however there are no Public Health actions required of providers at this time.

 

Viral meningitis, a provider reportable condition, is a syndrome characterized by acute onset of meningeal symptoms, fever, and cerebrospinal fluid pleocytosis.

 

Click here to view Public Health Alert

June 2, 2015
Public
Health
Bulletin

Elevated Bacteria Levels at Capitola Beach West of Jetty
The most recent water quality results for Capitola Beach west of the jetty, sampled on June 2, 2015, indicate bacteria levels above safe body contact standards.  The beach has been posted with swimming advisory signs.  Water testing will continue and warning signs will be maintained until bacteria levels fall below the safe body contact standard.  No other Santa Cruz beaches are affected by this advisory.

Click here to view Public Health Advisory

April 14, 2015
Public
Health
Advisory

Rabid Bat Found
A bat, brought into the Public Health Laboratory by the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, tested positive for rabies on April 9, 2015.  There were no known human exposures to this bat. Two dogs were quarantined as they might have been exposed.

INFORMATION

  • Do not touch a dead or injured bat. Call Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter at 831-454-7303 and they will remove it safely.
  • Children should be instructed to avoid approaching any unfamiliar animal, especially a wild animal. If you find an animal in distress, call the Animal Shelter.
  • Pets are at risk for rabies.  Be certain your dog, cat or any pet who spends time outdoors is up-to-date on their rabies vaccine.  If you find your pet playing with an injured or ill-appearing wild animal, notify your veterinarian and Animal Control immediately. Animal Control can be reached at 831-454-7303.

Click here to view Public Health Advisory

 April 3, 2015
Media
Release
End of Influenza Season
Based on local influenza activity reports, I am declaring an official end to the influenza season as of April 3, 2015.  While you may continue to see cases of influenza, I am assigning a specific date to the end of flu season to aid health care facilities in determining when unvaccinated employees may stop using masks.

Click here to view Media Release

April 1, 2015
Media
Release

National Public Health Week Begins April 6th
Public Health Departments across the country will be participating in National Public Health Week events from April 6th through April 12th.  This year’s theme is “The Healthiest Nation in One Generation”.

Santa Cruz County’s Public Health staff have put together a campaign to remind county residents of the impact that Public Health has on everyone and how Public Health has changed our lives and communities for the better.  Look for six different
“Public Health Is . . . “ posters in restaurants, retail shops, and schools which are designed to get residents thinking and talking about all the ways Public Health influences our personal decisions which promote good health.

Click here to view Media Release

Click here for more information about National Public Health Week

March 24, 2015
Media
Release
University of Oregon Meningococcal Disease Outbreak

We are asking all providers to be alert for University of Oregon students who present for acute medical care.

Six cases of serogroup B meningococcal disease have been reported among University of Oregon students with onsets during January 13th to March 15th. The outbreak is considered ongoing. Most of the cases involved meningococcemia rather than meningitis, and many presented initially with nonspecific symptoms. Because many students will be home or traveling during Spring Break, March 20th to March 29th, it is essential that providers in California be aware of the situation.

Click here to view the entire media release

Jan. 28, 2015
Public
Health
Advisory

Measles Cases in California & Santa Cruz
Seventy-three (73) cases of measles have been confirmed among California residents since late December 2014. Fifty (50) of these cases have been linked to Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park. Cases have been reported in Alameda, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Clara, San Mateo, and Ventura Counties. There have been no confirmed cases of measles in Santa Cruz County in 2015. Due to the extent of this outbreak, it is possible we will see cases here.

General Information Resouces

Information for Medical Providers

Jan. 28, 2015
Public
Health
Advisory

Electronic Cigarettes: Summary of Public Health Risks and Recommendations for Health Care Professionals
This health advisory seeks to inform health care professionals of the public health risks posed by the marketing, sale and use of electronic cigarettes (e‐cigarettes) especially to children and young people. Electronic cigarettes (e‐cigarettes) are battery‐operated devices, often designed to resemble a cigarette, that deliver and emit a nicotine‐containing aerosol. E‐cigarettes are considered electronic nicotine delivery devices (ENDS) and have many names. They are frequently referred to as e‐cigs, e‐hookahs, hookah pens, vapes, vape pens, vape pipes, or mods. There are disposable and rechargeable e‐cigarettes as well as refillable “tank systems” that hold a larger volume of the e‐cigarette liquid (e‐liquid) and that heat the e‐liquid to higher temperatures.

January 28, 2015 Public Health Advisory Regarding Electronic Cigarettes

Oct. 6, 2014
Public
Health
Advisory

Enterovirus Update for Medical Providers
The California Department of Public Health has confirmed 4 cases of EV-D68 cases in patients in San Diego (3) and Ventura (1) counties. These are the first confirmed cases in California in 2014 due to EV-D68. More cases are anticipated in the coming weeks.

What Parents Need to Know about Enterovirus D68

For Medical Providers:

Aug. 13, 2014 Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) - Evolving Situation
The current Ebola outbreak is an evolving situation. While the risk of importation of Ebola into the United States is considered to be very low, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is working with local health departments to prepare in the event that a returning traveler from affected countries develops the illness.

Contact the Santa Cruz County Communicable Disease Unit (CDU) IMMEDIATELY at (831) 454-4114 if you suspect a patient has EVD. After hours, please call (831) 471-1170.

For Medical Providers:
On September 30, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed, through laboratory tests, the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States in a person who had traveled to Dallas, TX from Liberia.

July 14, 2014
Public
Health
Advisory

2014 West Nile Virus Update
West Nile Virus (WNV) has been detected for the first time in 2014 in a dead bird found in the upper Rodeo Gulch Road area (Soquel hills).  This was an acute infection of WNV which indicates that there are mosquitoes in the area that can transmit the infection.

June 3, 2014
Public
Health
Advisory
Pertussis Increase in Early 2014

Over 1,700 cases of pertussis have been reported to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) in the first four months of 2014. This represents more than a 3-fold increase compared to the same time period in 2013. In Santa Cruz County, 12 cases of pertussis have been confirmed in the first quarter of 2014 compared to one case in the first quarter of 2013.
As of 5/30/14, we have had a total of 26 confirmed cases of pertussis. Statewide, teenagers appear to be the age group most affected by this illness.

Click here to view the entire public health advisory recommended for health provider

May 16, 2014
Media
Release

Mosquitos are Taking Flight

As many residents know, this spring the mosquitoes are worse than ever! Because the Watsonville sloughs dried in the winter, the fish that prey on the mosquito larva died also, so the mosquitoes are breeding thickly. Also, the miles of small streams throughout Santa Cruz County have slowed to a trickle, forming small pools where mosquitoes are breeding. The County is experiencing rapidly warming and lengthening days, and the light spring rains were just enough to leave standing water in gutters and low places. Stagnant rainwater left in buckets, birdbaths, and tires is warmed by the sun and becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes, hungry for blood. This time of year, mosquitoes breed anywhere and everywhere in water held by tarps, boat bilges, clogged drains, gutters and unmaintained swimming pools, spas, fountains and fish ponds.

Click here to view entire press release

May 9, 2014
Public
Health
Advisory
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

The first case of MERS-CoV infection has been identified in a traveler from the United States. This new development was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on May 2, 2014. The patient is hospitalized in Indiana after having flown from Saudi Arabia to Chicago via London. Most people who get MERS-CoV develop severe acute respiratory illness, with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. There is clear evidence of person-to-person transmission, though the specifics of modes and routes of transmission are still being investigated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the CDC. Neither organization has yet to issue travel warnings to any of the countries affected. We are asking physicians to increase their index of suspicion and to consider MERS-CoV infection in travelers from the Arabian Peninsula and neighboring countries.

Click here to view the entire public health advisory

April 11, 2014
Public
Health
Advisory
for Medical
Providers
Proper Storage of Vaccines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued a new document, which consolidates the recommendations for Hib vaccine for both adults and children. Please go to http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/rr/rr6301.pdf for complete guidance.

We would also like to bring to your attention that all vaccines must be properly stored in order for them to be effective. The EZIZ web site has a short graphic, which illustrates the best way to store vaccine. Please go to http://eziz.org/assets/docs/IMM-962.pdf for “Vaccine Refrigerator Setup” and to http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/storage/default.htm for recommendations, guidelines and a toolkit for “Vaccine Storage & Handling”.

For a chart of the immunization schedule for children aged 0 to 18 years, please go to: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/child/0-18yrs-child-combined-schedule.pdf.

For a chart of the immunization schedule for adults, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/adult/adult-combined-schedule.pdf.

Should you have any questions, please call Naomi Lobell, Immunization Coordinator, at 831-454-4646 or the Communicable disease Unit at 831-454-4114.

Click here to view the entire public health advisory which contains medical provider action

 April 7, 2014
Public
Health
Warning

Sport-Harvested Shellfish Warning

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is advising consumers not to eat commercially or recreationally caught anchovy or sardines, or the internal organs of commercially or recreationally caught crab taken from Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.

Dangerous levels of domoic acid have been detected in some of these species and could be present in other species. Anchovy and sardines are of concern because the toxin resides in their digestive tracks. These fish are not usually gutted before they are eaten. CDPH is working with commercial fishermen in the area to ensure that recently caught sardines, anchovies and crab were not distributed into the human food supply.

This health advisory is in addition to the April 4 warning not to eat recreationally harvested bivalve shellfish (such as mussels, clams or whole scallops) from Monterey or Santa Cruz counties due to dangerous levels of domoic acid in mussel samples.
That warning does not apply to commercially sold clams, mussels, scallops or oysters from approved sources. State law permits only state-certified commercial shellfish harvesters or dealers to sell these products. Shellfish sold by certified harvesters and dealers are subject to frequent mandatory testing to monitor for toxins.

CDPH continues to collect bivalve shellfish, fin fish and crab samples from the area to monitor the level of domoic acid in seafood. There have no reported illnesses associated with this event.

Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning can occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours after eating toxic seafood. In mild cases, symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache and dizziness. These symptoms disappear within several days. In severe cases, the victim may experience trouble breathing, confusion, cardiovascular instability, seizures, excessive bronchial secretions, permanent loss of short-term memory, coma or death.

To receive updated information about shellfish poisoning and quarantines, call CDPH’s toll-free “Shellfish Information Line” at (800) 553-4133. For additional information visit CDPH’s Natural Marine Toxins: PSP and Domoic Acid Web page. www.cdph.ca.gov

 April 7, 2014
Public
Health
Advisory
for Medical
Providers
Measles Update for Providers

49 Measles Cases in the State of California in 2014
Look for Signs of this Highly Contagious Disease

Measles activity continues to be high in California this year. As of March 27, 2014, 49 confirmed measles cases with onset in 2014 had been reported to California Department of Public Health. In 2013, four measles cases had been reported by this date. Among the 2014 cases, 11 patients had traveled outside of North and South America with travel to the Philippines (n=8), India (n=2), or Vietnam (n=1). Of the patients without international travel, 30 had contact with known measles cases, 3 had contact with international travelers and 5 are under investigation to identify potential sources. Measles cases have occurred in both Northern and Southern California; however, the majority of cases are in Southern California (40/49). Several large contact investigations are ongoing.

Cases range in age from 5 months to 60 years. Of the 29 measles cases for whom vaccination records are available: 22 were unvaccinated (16 were intentionally unvaccinated, 3 were too young to be vaccinated, 3 were not vaccinated for unknown reasons), and seven had received appropriate vaccination. Immunization data collection is ongoing and vaccination status is preliminary. Transmission has occurred in the following settings: households, urgent care clinics, physician offices, hospitals, churches and schools.

There are 10 independent measles transmission chains. Four originated from imported cases (Philippines, n=4), two from cases who had contact with international travelers and four from cases with unknown source. A large measles outbreak is ongoing in the Philippines with over 15,000 cases in 2014, but measles is also circulating in many other countries outside of North and South America.

Updated measles case numbers are posted each Friday on the CDPH website

Click here to view the entire public health advisory which contains medical provider action

March 28, 2014
Press
Release
Influenza Update - The End of Flu Season 2013

Based on local influenza activity reports HSA Health Officer Lisa Hernandez MD, MPH is declaring an official end to the influenza season as of March 31, 2014. While you may continue to see cases of influenza, Dr Hernandez is assigning a specific date to the end of flu season to aid health care facilities in determining when unvaccinated employees may stop using masks.

From the current influenza season onward, the following order will be ongoing and will apply to each influenza season: At the start of each influenza season, through notification by the Health Officer, it will be mandated, that every health care facility and Emergency Medical Service provider in Santa Cruz County implement a program requiring that HCWs receive an annual influenza vaccine or, if they decline, wear a mask during the entire flu season while working in patient care areas.

Click here to view the entire public health press release

 

Santa Cruz County is #11 in Health Ranking in CA

Santa Cruz County is #11 in Health Ranking in CA

 Feb. 25, 2014
Public
Health
Advisory
Acute flaccid Paralysis Cases in California

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has received several requests for testing of viral agents in cases of unexplained acute flaccid paralysis. Many of these cases are described as “polio-like” syndromes. Several features of these cases indicate an infectious etiology. Thus far, testing has not revealed a single etiology. Testing has been hampered by incomplete specimens, samples taken late after onset of symptoms, and serum draws after IV immunoglobulin has been administered.

Locally, the Public Health Department has not received any reports of cases within our county. However, we are supplying the case definition and lab submittal procedures for local providers in the event that we have a local case.

Click here to view the entire public health advisory which contains clinician action and case definition

Feb. 21, 2014
Public
Health
Advisory
Measles Update

In the last two months, there has been increased measles activity in our region.  Our Communicable Disease Unit (CD) responded to one measles case at the end of December 2013.  This one case generated eighty-eight (88) contact investigations by our CD staff and one hundred eleven (111) contact investigations for the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

We are currently monitoring eight (8) contacts to two (2) cases of measles which originated elsewhere.

Click here to view the entire public health advisory

 Jan. 13, 2014
Public
Health
Advisory
Influenza Update

The first confirmed death due to influenza infection has occurred in Santa Cruz County in a male under the age of 50. Two suspect influenza deaths, in two males under the age of 50, have not yet been confirmed by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). The Public Health Department has received official reports of five patients under the age of 65 admitted to the ICU with confirmed influenza. One of these five is the first confirmed death due to influenza. There are five additional suspect influenza cases in ICU under investigation.

INFORMATION

    • CDPH has reported seven confirmed influenza deaths statewide in persons under the age of 65. Twenty-eight more deaths are under investigation. Influenza deaths in persons over the age of 65 are not reportable in California.
    • The H1N1 strain appears to be the predominant strain so far this flu season and is contained in this year’s flu vaccine.
    • There is no shortage of vaccine and it is not too late to get vaccinated.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Get vaccinated.
  • If you do get sick, limit contact with others.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based rub and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Those at high risk (the elderly, pregnant women, infants or those with other health conditions) who show flu symptoms should contact their physician immediately in order to get the most effective treatment. Symptoms include the sudden onset of fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.

Click here to view the entire public health advisory

June 18, 2013
Public
Health
Advisory

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)
A novel coronavirus, known as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) has caused severe illness and death in several countries. This coronavirus was identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. As of today, 64 cases have been laboratory-confirmed, with 38 deaths. Most people who get MERS-CoV develop severe acute respiratory illness, with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. There is clear evidence of person-to-person transmission, though the specifics of modes and routes of transmission are still being investigated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Neither organization has yet to issue travel warnings to any of the countries affected. No cases have been reported in the U.S. as yet.        

Click here to read press release from County Health Officer

 Nov. 16, 2011
Press
Release
Poisonous Wild Mushroom Warning

View Press Release

  • Santa Cruz County received the second report this year of a hospitalized person who became seriously ill after eating mushrooms collected in the La Selva Beach area.
  • Both illnesses were probably due to the mushroom Amanita phalloides.
RECOMMENDATIONS
  • Wild mushrooms should not be eaten unless they have been determined edible by a recognized mushroom expert.
  • Individuals who develop any of these symptoms--abdominal pain, cramping, vomiting, and/or diarrhea after eating wild mushrooms should immediately contact the California Poison Control System at 1-800-8-POISON (1-800-876-4766) or 1-800-222-1222 and seek immediate medical attention.

INFORMATION

  • In past years, multiple hospitalizations, gastrointestinal illnesses and even deaths, have been caused by the consumption of wild mushrooms.
  • The deaths have been linked to the Amanita ocreata mushroom, also known as the “destroying angel” and the Amanita phalloides mushroom, commonly called the “death cap” mushroom. · Poisonous mushrooms are found throughout Santa Cruz County. The most common are:
    • Amanita phalloides
    • Amanita ocreata
    • Galerina autumalis (deadly)
  • Eating poisonous mushrooms can cause abdominal pain, cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, liver damage resulting in the need for liver transplant, and death-- the symptoms usually occur 6 to 12 hours after ingestion. After gastrointestinal symptoms subside, liver damage may appear.

Mushroom resources recommended by the Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz County are: http://www.fungusfed.org, www.namyco.org and www.mykoweb.com.

 Sept. 20, 2011
Press
Release
Emergency Survival Guide

In recognition of September's designation as National Preparedness Month, the Santa Cruz County Department of Public Health has just completed a comprehensive guide to emergency preparedness intended to help the residents of Santa Cruz County prepare for, respond to, and recover from the disasters that affect our region.

 

(To view current health alerts and advisories click here)