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Post Date
Health Alerts/Bulletins Index
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

CDPH Warns Consumers Not to Eat Sport-Harvested Bivalve Shellfish, Anchovy or Sardines from Monterey or Santa Cruz Counties

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

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

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
 

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
Influenza 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
 

Oct. 8, 2013
Press
Release

2013 Seasonal Flu Vaccine Schedule

For the current 2013-2014 flu season, the seasonal flu vaccine once again includes protection against H1N1 flu. 
  • Flu vaccines are recommended once a year.
  • Children (6-months to 8-years of age) who did not receive a flu vaccine last year or have never had a flu vaccine may need two doses.
  • Talk with your doctor about protecting yourself and others against the flu. 
  • Call the flu information line at (831) 454-4343 for up-to-date information regarding flu within Santa Cruz County

Days/Times

Cost

Locations

Monday - Friday
Between 1:30pm and 4pm
(excluding holidays)

No appointment necessary, subject to availability and space.

Cost: $30*
* No cost for people with Medi-Cal, Medicare, Healthy Families or Healthy Kids.

Santa Cruz Health Center
1080 Emeline Ave.
Santa Cruz, CA (831) 454-4100

Watsonville County Health Clinic
9 Crestview Drive, Watsonville
(831) 763-8400

Vaccine Availability:

Thimerosal-free vaccine is currently available for pregnant women and children 6 to 36 months of age.

It is now recommended that everyone six months or older get vaccinated against the flu each year. This is especially important for the following groups:

  • Children aged 6 months to 18 years of age,

  • Pregnant women,

  • People 50 years of age and older,

  • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions,

  • People who live in nursing homes and other long term care facilities,

  • People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:

    • Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu (see above),

    • Household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated),

    • Healthcare workers.

The following sources may also have the flu shot available:  

If you have questions about flu vaccine, call 454-4343 (at the end of the message, during business hours, you will be able to speak to a public health nurse).

Click here for more information about the Flu

Oct. 1, 2013
Public
Health
Advisory

Masking of Health Care Workers During Influenza Season

Influenza infection accounts for an estimated 36,000 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.

Santa Cruz County Health Officer, Dr Lisa Hernandez, 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 2013-2014 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.

Duration of Order: For the purposes of this order, the influenza season is defined as November 4, 2013 to March 31, 2014. If influenza surveillance data suggest widespread influenza activity late in the spring, this order may be extended.

Sept. 18, 2013
Public
Health
Advisory
Nationwide Shortage of Tuberculin Skin Test Antigens

Due to the shortage of tuberculin skin test (TST) products, the Public Health Department is asking all health care providers and school officials to conserve the limited supplies for use only in children under the age of 5 years, if indicated. Public Health officials recommend the following testing guidelines for all others:

Click here to view entire public health advisory

Click here to view TB Risk Assessment Form
 

Aug 30, 2013
Press
Release
West Nile Virus (WNV) Update

WEST NILE VIRUS RISK INCREASES- MOSQUITOES INFECTED  

MOSQUITOES AND BIRDS CARRY VIRUS

WATSONVILLE, CALIFORNIA - - Santa Cruz County Mosquito and Vector Control is reporting that for the first time in our County, a mosquito sample has tested positive for West Nile virus, a bird virus spread by mosquitoes that can also infect people and animals. The mosquitoes were collected in the Freedom Boulevard area south of Green Valley Road, from a trap placed on Landis Avenue. In addition, one positive dead bird was collected earlier this month from the Thurber Lane area of Santa Cruz.

Click here to view entire press release
 

Aug. 6, 2013
Public
Health
Advisory
West Nile Virus (WNV) Recently Detected

West Nile virus (WNV) has been detected for the first time in 2013 in our county.

  • Two dead birds have tested positive for the virus.
  • The first dead bird tested positive for chronic WNV. It was found on the upper West Side of the city of Santa Cruz and was submitted for testing on July 17th.
  • The second dead bird tested positive for acute WNV. It was found in the Thurber Lane and Winkle Ave. area and was submitted for testing on July 31st.
  • An acute infection of a dead bird indicates that there are mosquitoes in the area that can transmit the infection. A chronic infection of a dead bird does not indicate that infection occurred in the area where the bird was found.
  • There has been WNV activity in many counties of the state. Regionally, Santa Clara County has been particularly active.
  • As of today, there have been no human cases reported this year in Santa Cruz County.

Click here to read press release from County Health Officer

West Nile Virus Frequently Asked Questions

 

Aug. 6, 2013
Public
Health
Advisory
Rise in Pertussis Cases

The Communicable Disease Unit of the Public Health Department has noted a sharp rise in reported pertussis cases from one case in the first quarter of 2013 (Jan. through March) to 14 cases in the second quarter (April through June). All of the cases were 13 years of age and younger. These numbers indicate a local increase in pertussis activity.

Click here to read press release from County Health Officer

 

Sept. 4, 2012
Public
Health
Update

Reporting a Dead Bird

Reporting a Dead Bird Video
CDPH Reports First Human West Nile Virus Case of 2012

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. 

May 9, 2011
Public
Health
Update

Measles Health Update and Immunization Reminder

Student Immunization Reminder:
Beginning July 1, 2011, all students entering grades 7-12 within Santa Cruz County must provide proof of having immunization against whooping cough (‘Tdap’) before starting school. In light of California’s recent whooping cough (also known as pertussis) epidemic, there is no reason to wait for the new school year. Health professionals encourage parents to have their children vaccinated with the whooping cough booster shot, Tdap, now in order to protect them against whooping cough and to meet the 2011-12 school requirements. 

Press Release: New Rule Before School! Vaccines Now Required for 7th-12th Grade Students

Public
Health
Warning

Early Quarantine of Sport-Harvested Mussels

Coming a month earlier than in normal years, the annual quarantine of all mussel species publicly harvested along the California coast takes effect March 29, 2011.  The quarantine is beginning earlier this year because testing by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) detected elevated levels of domoic acid and paralytic shellfish poisoning.

The mussel quarantine runs through October 31, 2011.  It applies to sport-harvested mussels along the coast, including all bays, harbors and estuaries. Commercially harvested shellfish are not included in the annual quarantine. These products are certified by the state and subject to strict requirements to ensure that all oysters, clams and mussels entering the marketplace are free of toxins. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Feb. 15, 2011
Public
Health
Advisory

Immunizations for Students entering Grades 7-12

Beginning July 1, 2011, all students entering grades 7-12 within Santa Cruz County must provide proof of having immunization against whooping cough (‘Tdap’) before starting school. In light of California’s recent whooping cough (also known as pertussis) epidemic, there is no reason to wait for the new school year. Health professionals encourage parents to have their children vaccinated with the whooping cough booster shot, Tdap, now in order to protect them against whooping cough and to meet the 2011-12 school requirements. 

Press Release: New Rule Before School! Vaccines Now Required for 7th-12th Grade Students

 

Public
Health
Warnings

Food/Product Recalls

Recalls, Market Withdrawals and Safety Alerts - A comprehensive, up-to-date list of all food and product recalls from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Posted 8/10/10: Recall of Ground Beef Products From Valley Meat Company

Previous Food/Product Recalls

April 3, 2010

Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases

People working or playing outdoors in the winter/spring months should be on the alert for ticks that may carry bacteria that cause Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.  Western black-legged ticks were observed this month in Humboldt, Marin, Mendocino, Sonoma and Trinity counties, somewhat earlier than what has been documented for the past 10 years.

Ticks can be found in tall grass and brush in urban, suburban and rural settings.  Adult ticks climb to the tips of vegetation, often alongside trails or paths, and wait for a host to brush against them. They attach to animals and humans and feed by sticking their mouthparts into the skin and sucking blood for up to several days. Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis and babesiosis, are transmitted while the tick is attached and feeding.

When hiking outdoors:

  • 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.

  • Inspect yourself frequently for ticks while in tick habitats. Once out of tick habitat, thoroughly check your entire body for ticks. Parents should examine their children, especially on the scalp, hairline and skin folds.

  • Apply a repellent, such as DEET, registered for use against ticks. Always follow directions on the container and be extra careful when applying to children. Permethrin spray may be used on clothing to kill ticks before entering tick habitat.

  • Stay in the middle of the trail. Avoid trail margins, brush and grassy areas.

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.  

Additional information on Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases

March 11, 2009 Proper Disposal of Household Medications and Sharps

The County of Santa Cruz is pleased to offer residents a safe, free and environmentally responsible way to get rid of household medications and sharps.


                                Click here for detailed information about Sharp Solutions

 

 

Bulletin and Alert Archive

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