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Public Health

Potential public exposure to measles

DPH_Version2_FullColorThe Department of Public Health  has confirmed four cases of measles within the County as of January 23, 2015. These cases are either initial exposures or linked as secondary cases in conjunction with the recent outbreak associated with California Disneyland theme parks. It is possible that San Bernardino County residents may have been exposed to measles since one of the confirmed cases visited public places while infectious.

Potential exposure locations and times:

• Montclair Plaza, 5060 E Montclair Plaza Lane Montclair, CA 91763
o Friday, January 16, 2015 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

• Harkins Theater, 3070 Chino Avenue Chino Hills, CA 91709
o Saturday, January 17, 2015 10:30 p.m. – Sunday, January 18, 2015 1:30 a.m.

Measles is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease that causes fever, rash, cough, and red, watery eyes. Measles spreads very easily by air and by direct contact with an infected person. Measles is contagious from approximately four days before the rash appears through four days after the rash appears.

The Department of Public Health has been working with the places listed above to contact people who may have been exposed to these cases. As a precaution, people who were in the locations above around the same time as the individual with measles should:

• Monitor themselves for illness with fever and/or an unexplained rash from 7 days to 21 days after their exposure (the time period when symptoms may develop); if symptoms develop, stay at home and call a health care provider immediately or the DPH at 1-800-722-4794.

• Do not visit a health care provider without first notifying them of your potential exposure.

Measles is a rare disease in the United States and in regions of the world where vaccination coverage is high. Maintaining high vaccination rates is vital to prevent outbreaks of disease in our community. Given the recent cases identified here and in other jurisdictions in Southern California, additional cases are expected and vaccination is key in preventing infection from future exposures.

For more information about measles, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/faqs.html, California Department of Public Health at http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Pages/Measles.aspx or call the County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health Communicable Disease Section at 1-800-722-4794, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

County confirms measles cases, potential public exposure

DPH_Version2_FullColorThe County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health has confirmed two cases of measles within the County as of January 12, 2015. These cases are in conjunction with the recent outbreak associated with California Disneyland theme parks that occurred between December 15 – 20, 2014. It is possible that San Bernardino County residents may have been exposed to measles since one of the confirmed cases visited public places while infectious.

Potential exposure locations and times:

  • Casino Morongo, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon, CA 92230

o  Sunday, January 4, 2015 6 p.m.– 11:30 p.m.

  • Magic Wok, 12029 Central Avenue Chino, CA 91710

o  Tuesday, January 6, 2015 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

  • Jimmy’s Warehouse Sportscard (Swap meet in Westminster), 12327 Whittier Blvd, Whittier, CA 90602

o  Wednesday, January 7, 2015 3 p.m. – 10 p.m.

  • Pomona Valley Health Center- Urgent Care, 3110 Chino Avenue Suite #150 Chino, CA 91709

o  Thursday, January 8, 2015 3:56 p.m. – 5:05 p.m.

Measles is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease that causes fever, rash, cough, and red, watery eyes. Measles spreads very easily by air and by direct contact with an infected person. Measles is contagious from approximately four days before the rash appears through four days after the rash appears.

The Department of Public Health has been working with the places listed below to contact people who may have been exposed to these cases. As a precaution, people who were in the below locations around the same time as the individual with measles should:

  • Monitor themselves for illness with fever and/or an unexplained rash from 7 days to 21 days after their exposure (the time period when symptoms may develop); if symptoms develop, stay at home and call a health care provider immediately or the Department of Public Health at 1-800-722-4794.
  • Do not visit a healthcare provider without first notifying them of your potential exposure.

Measles is a rare disease in the United States and in regions of the world where vaccination coverage is high. Maintaining high vaccination rates is vital to prevent outbreaks of disease in our community. Given the recent cases identified here and in other jurisdictions in Southern California, additional cases are expected and vaccination is key in preventing infection from future exposures.

For more information about measles, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/faqs.html, California Department of Public Health at http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Pages/Measles.aspx http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Pages/Measles.aspxor call the County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health Communicable Disease Section at 1-800-722-4794, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

‘Tis the season to be jolly and food safe

raw eggsFood plays a central role in the way we celebrate the holidays. With the holiday season upon us, this is a great time to remind everyone about the importance of holiday food safety. To keep unwanted visitors like Salmonella, E. coli and Staph aureus from crashing your holiday party, the Division of Environmental Health Services would like to share some important food safety tips and resources that you can use for holiday and everyday meals.

Holiday Treats: Certain foods and methods of food preparation that are popular during the season can increase the risk of foodborne illness. For example, consuming foods that contain raw eggs as called for in some homemade egg nog recipes, meringue-topped pies or even tasting raw cookie dough, can all lead to food poisoning. To reduce the risk of foodborne illness associated with raw or undercooked eggs, consider using a cooked-egg mixture. Be sure that any food products that contain eggs are cooked to 160ºF. You can also substitute raw eggs for pasteurized eggs or egg products. This way, you can enjoy your favorite holiday treats without sacrificing taste or food safety.

Buffet-Style Gatherings: When hosting a potluck or buffet-style gathering, be sure to make your food safety check list, and check it twice! If proper handling, preparation and storage guidelines are not followed, many people can become ill. Young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with certain health conditions are especially at-risk for serious complications of foodborne illnesses. To keep you, your family and your guests safe from food poisoning, always remember to follow these steps:

Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often. Bacteria that cause food poisoning can survive in many places around your kitchen, including on your hands, utensils, serving plates and cutting boards.

•Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm, running water. Be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your fingernails.

•Wash all surfaces and utensils after each use. Rinsing utensils, countertops, and cutting boards with water won’t do enough to stop bacteria from spreading. Clean utensils and small cutting boards with soap and hot water. Clean all surfaces and cutting boards with soap and hot water, and sanitize with a bleach solution.

•Wash fruits and vegetables—but not meat, poultry, or eggs. Even if you plan to peel fruits and veggies, it’s important to wash them first because bacteria can spread from the outside to the inside as you cut or peel them.

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Tips for a safe Thanksgiving meal

Thanksgiving FeastThanksgiving is just around the corner to kick start the holiday season. It is the time of the year when all our friends and family are together to give thanks for our good fortunes and to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving meal! Whether you are preparing the feast yourself or helping out in the kitchen, be sure to follow these helpful tips to prepare a safe Thanksgiving dinner for your loved ones—they’ll be thankful they did not get a foodborne illness!

Handling and Thawing—Always wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 15 seconds before and after handling the turkey. Fresh turkeys need no thawing and are ready to cook. Frozen turkeys can be purchased weeks in advance, but can require several days to thaw before cooking. If you are planning on purchasing a frozen turkey, first make sure there is sufficient space in your freezer for storage.

Never defrost the turkey on the counter! The safest way to thaw a turkey is in the refrigerator. When you are ready to thaw the turkey, make enough room for it in your refrigerator. Leave the turkey in the original packaging and place in a shallow pan and allow refrigerator thawing time at a rate of 4 to 5 pounds per 24 hours.

Time to Cook—Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed. Do not refreeze. If you purchase a fresh turkey, cook it within a day or two of purchase. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, not touching any bone, and cook to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing, and the thickest part of the breast as well. Cook stuffing separately in a casserole pan to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F or higher. If you cook stuffing in the turkey, ensure the turkey and stuffing both reach 165°F or higher.

Storing Leftovers Safely—Within two hours of taking the turkey out of the oven, store leftover turkey in shallow containers and put them in the refrigerator or freezer. Use cooked leftover turkey, stuffing and gravy within 3 to 4 days. When using leftovers, reheat the foods thoroughly to 165°F and bring gravy to a boil before serving.

For more information, contact San Bernardino County Department of Public Health Division of Environmental Health Services at (800) 442-2283 or visit our website at www.sbcounty.gov/dph/dehs.

Personal protective equipment training held for healthcare workers

Ebola trainingThe County of San Bernardino has taken steps to ensure it is prepared to respond to Ebola or other infectious diseases that may arise in the county. Several hospitals and healthcare facilities in the county participated in training today on how to put on and take off personal protective equipment. The County Department of Public Health and Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency hosted the training which was opened to all healthcare workers.
The goal of the training is to provide healthcare workers an opportunity to practice steps to properly put on and take off required personal protective equipment. The San Bernardino County Department of Public Health has adopted the Cal/OSHA Aerosolized Transmissible Disease Standard, which is the highest standard currently available for healthcare workers to treat infectious patients.
“The health of our residents is always a priority and we strive to be prepared for every scenario. Bringing healthcare workers together for training is a key step in the County’s preparedness efforts”, said County Health Officer Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare.
Should the Ebola virus or any other infectious disease present itself in the County, medical and public health professionals are preparing to stop the spread of the virus by isolating ill patients, protecting healthcare providers, tracing all who may be exposed to ill patients, and further monitoring of contacts if they develop symptoms.

Learn how to prevent lead poisoning

lead poisoningThe Department of Public Health announced plans to commemorate National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, October 19-25, with a week-long information campaign about childhood lead poisoning.  The campaign theme “Kids Learn Better Lead Free,” will educate families and community members about ways to prevent lead poisoning and the importance of testing children for lead, said Sara Hernandez-Singh of the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.

Lead poisoning can seriously affect a child’s brain and nervous system. It can cause learning and behavioral problems. A blood lead test is the only way to identify and confirm lead poisoning in children. “The purpose of this campaign is to remind parents that lead poisoning can be detrimental to young children’s health and development. It is important for parents to ask their child’s doctor about lead testing,” stated Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, Health Officer of the Department of Public Health.

In California, children can be exposed to lead by ingesting lead-contaminated dust, paint chips from deteriorating lead-based paint, and lead-contaminated soil. Other sources of lead poisoning include lead dust brought home on parents’ work clothes, certain imported ceramic pottery, and traditional home remedies among others. Imported candies or foods, especially from Mexico, containing chili or tamarind may contain lead. Additionally, activities that involve lead products such as soldering, making stained glass, and handling bullets or fishing sinkers can put children at risk.

All parents and caregivers of young children are invited to contact Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at 1-800-722-3777 to learn about the upcoming education campaign and ways to protect their children from this silent and serious environmental disease.

Public Health supports Latino AIDS awareness

AIDS LatinoHIV continues to threaten the health of Hispanics/Latinos in the United States. The Center for Disease Control estimates that approximately 1 in 50 Hispanics/Latinos will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime.  Over 8,000 individuals of all races and ethnicities are living with HIV/AIDS within the Counties of San Bernardino and Riverside.

October 15, 2014 is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD).  The 2014 theme is “To End AIDS, Commit to Act”

The County of San Bernardino, Department of Public Health, Ryan White Program, supports NLAAD and according to the County Health Officer, Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, “everyone, especially those at high risk of infection, should be tested.”

HIV testing is more important than ever because 1 in 5 people with HIV are unaware of their HIV status, and almost half of Hispanics/Latinos have never been tested. The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested at least once in their lifetime. Individuals at higher risk should be tested even more frequently, at least annually.

Getting an HIV test has never been easier.  To find an HIV test site near you, please visit: National HIV and STD Testing Resources . Simply enter your zip code and a list of nearby testing suites will be presented.

The President’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy is to reduce new HIV infection rates by 25% by the year 2015. This will take a combination of effort, predominantly increasing HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention efforts by increasing the number of people living with HIV who know their status.

For more information about the Ryan White Program or to find services near you, please call the Ryan White Program office at (909) 387-6492 or visit our website at         http://www.sbcounty.gov/dph/publichealth/programs_services/ryan_white/ryan_white_home.asp.

County, local hospitals prepared for Ebola virus

ebolaSan Bernardino County’s top public health officer told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that even though there are no confirmed cases of Ebola in California, the County is prepared to respond to the virus.

“We know how to stop the spread of diseases such as the Ebola virus,” said Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, Health Officer for the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health. “I can assure you if and when we have Ebola in this county, it will be handled effectively with no danger to the public.”

On Sept. 18, a meeting was held with hospitals throughout the county, the Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency and first responders about the Ebola virus and reviewing the infection control process. Fifty percent of the hospitals in the county are prepared to treat patients with Ebola and the rest are prepared to isolate patients suspected of having the virus, Ohikhuare said.

Ebola is an infectious disease caused by the Ebola virus. Symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure and include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and abnormal bleeding. There are no specific treatments but supportive therapy can be provided to address bleeding and other complications. The Centers for Disease Control confirmed the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the U.S. on Sept. 30 in a man who traveled to Dallas, Texas from Liberia.

Medical and public health professionals throughout the county are prepared to stop the spread of the virus by isolating ill patients, tracing all who may be exposed to ill patients and further isolation of contacts if they develop symptoms, Ohikhuare said. Medical workers are trained to wear protective gloves, gowns, facemasks and eye protection. They are expected to report any patient suspected of having the Ebola virus to the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health.

The Ebola virus cannot be transmitted through the air, food or water. The virus is transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids of an infected person with symptoms or through exposure to objects, such as needles, that have been contaminated. People who do not have symptoms are not contagious. People at the highest risk for Ebola are health care workers and family and friends of infected patients.

For additional resources on Ebola visit http://www.cdc.gov/ or contact the Communicable Disease Section (CDS) at 1-800-722-4794. Continuous health information can be found on the CDS Facebook page at http://www.facebook/CommunicableDiseaseSection or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SBCOUNTYHS.

Heat advisory issued in San Bernardino County

Rising TemperatureWith above average temperatures expected, the County of San Bernardino Health Officer Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare has issued a heat advisory for residents. High temperature above 100 degrees forecasted for the inland valleys, mountains and desert regions are expected to continue into early next week. Residents are urged to take precautions that will help prevent heat-related illness.

High or unusually hot temperatures can affect your health. Most vulnerable are the elderly, those who work or exercise outdoors, infants and children, the homeless or poor, and people with chronic medical conditions.

Take the necessary precautions to prevent serious health effects such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke by following the tips below.

Stay cool

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings.
  • Find an air-conditioned Cooling Center open to the public by dialing the United Way’s toll-free resource telephone line at 2-1-1, or online at www.coolingsb.org
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.
  • Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when it is the hottest part of the day, and avoid direct sunlight.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature.
  • Check on at-risk friends, family and neighbors at least twice a day.

Stay hydrated

  • Drink more than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working
  • Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
  • Make sure your family, friends and neighbors are drinking enough water.

For more information on the extreme heat visit the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health website at http://www.sbcounty.gov/dph/publichealth/ph_divisions/preparedness_response/natural_disasters.asp

Or visit the California Department of Public Health website at: http://www.bepreparedcalifornia.ca.gov/BeInformed/NaturalDisasters/ExtremeHeat/Pages/ExtremeHeat.aspx

First human cases of West Nile Virus in San Bernardino County

westnilevirusTwo human cases of West Nile Virus have been confirmed in the County of San Bernardino. These are the first confirmed human cases within the County this year. At this time last year, the County had a total of three confirmed cases and one death due to West Nile Virus. As of August 13, 2014, the California Department of Public Health has confirmed a total of 57 human cases and two deaths within the state due to West Nile Virus infection.

“We strongly encourage the public to be aware of the WNV activity in your area and take action to protect yourself and your family by taking appropriate precautionary measures,” said Maxwell Ohikhuare, M.D., County of San Bernardino Health Officer. “People over 50 years old should be especially cautious, as they are more likely to develop serious illness if they contract WNV.”

West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Signs and symptoms of West Nile Virus may include fever, body aches, rash, nausea, vomiting and headache. Most people infected with the virus have no symptoms. However, some people may develop severe symptoms which can lead to brain inflammation or paralysis. The most effective way to avoid West Nile Virus infection is to prevent mosquito bites.

County of San Bernardino citizens can protect themselves from mosquito bites by taking the following precautions:

  • DAWN and DUSK – Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active.
  • DRESS – Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts that are loose fitting and light colored.
  • DRAIN – Remove or drain all standing water around your property where mosquitoes lay eggs (birdbaths, ponds, old tires, buckets, clogged gutters or puddles from leaky sprinklers).
  • DEET – Apply insect repellent containing DEET.   When using DEET, be sure to read and follow the label instructions.
  • DOORS – Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens.  Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes to prevent mosquitoes from entering the home.

The public can participate in the West Nile Virus surveillance program by reporting dead birds to the State West Nile Virus toll-free hotline at (877) WNV – BIRD (968-2473) or at www.westnile.ca.gov.

For more information on West Nile Virus, visit the Mosquito and Vector Control Program at www.sbcounty.gov/dehs, or call the Communicable Disease Section (CDS) at 1 (800) 722-4794. Continuous health information on West Nile Virus and other health topics can be found on the CDS Facebook page at http://www.facebook/CommunicableDiseaseSection .

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