Bookmark and Share

Health Alerts Archive

Post Date Bulletin/Alert/Advisory
Dec. 22, 2016
Public
Health
Advisory

2016-17 Influenza Season

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

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

Public Health Advisory

Dec. 7, 2016
Public
Health
Advisory

Updated Influenza Guidance for Long-Term Care Facilities

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

Public Health Advisory

Nov. 16, 2016
Public
Health
Advisory

Coccidioidomycosis Increasing in Monterey County

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

Public Health Advisory

Oct. 20, 2016
Public
Health
Advisory

Mycobacterium chimaera infections following open chest surgeries

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

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

Public Health Advisory

Oct. 13, 2016
Public
Health
Advisory

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

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

Public Health Advisory

Sept 28, 2016
Public
Health
Advisory

Loma Fire Air Quality Advisory

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

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

Public Health Advisory

Sept 7, 2016
Provider
Health
Advisory

Mandatory Influenza Prevention Program for Health Care Workers

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

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

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

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)