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Public Health

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 .

Primary care services expanded in the High Desert

adelantohealthcenterThe Department of Public Health is holding a grand opening at the Adelanto Health Center to celebrate its relocation to a new building.

The grand opening will be held on Thursday, August 14, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at 11336 Bartlett Avenue, Suite 11 Adelanto CA, 92301. Residents are encouraged to come and learn about services provided at the health center and get a chance to meet First District Board of Supervisor Robert A. Lovingood.

The Adelanto Health Center, recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration as a federally qualified health center, was originally a school-based clinic located at the Westside Park Elementary School in Adelanto. The Health Center was recently relocated to a larger, more accessible building on Bartlett Avenue. Clinical services at the new building began April 1, 2014. Along with the Hesperia Health Center, also operated by the Department of Public Health, it is one of only two federally qualified health centers fully serving the High Desert region.

“This larger, more accessible site will allow the department to expand access to preventive and primary care services for the uninsured and underinsured residents,” stated Dr. Meaghan Ellis, Chief of Community Health Services/Health Center Director.

The Adelanto Health Center provides an array of primary care, mental health, and dental services. Services include health screening, referral services, immunizations, management of acute and chronic diseases, and preventive health education. The Adelanto Health Center also provides other services, including Every Woman Counts and reproductive health services.

For more information or to access public health services contact the Department of Public Health at (800) 782-4264 or visit our website at www.sbcounty.gov/dph.

Celebrate National Health Center Week at County health centers

Caduceus with First-aid KitThe Department of Public Health Clinic Operations will commemorate National Health Center Week with events at the new Adelanto Health Center on Tuesday August 12 and Thursday August 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and at the Hesperia Health Center on Wednesday, August 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  There will be resource tables, nutritional demonstrations, free incentives, a visit from The Arrowhead Regional Medical Center Breathmobile®, and more!

In addition to providing patient-centered quality care, America’s health centers, like those in Hesperia and Adelanto, serve as local solutions for affordable and accessible health care by:

  • Reducing ethnic and income health disparities nationwide, even in the poorest and most challenged communities
  • Producing $24 billion in annual health system savings
  • Reducing unnecessary hospitalizations and unnecessary visits to the ER
  • Generating a system of preventive medicine that patients use regularly to stay healthy, thus saving lives

The theme for this year’s National Health Center Week is “Celebrating America’s Health Centers: Local Engines for Healthier Communities.”

“Our health centers provide our community members the ability to take charge of their health by expanding their health knowledge base,” said Dr. Meaghan Ellis, Chief of Community Health Services/Health Center Director. “It is our intention that when a client seeks care from us they will not only feel better, but will also leave with educational tools they themselves can use to improve their health and wellbeing. We provide a range of services onsite – primary care services, pediatrics, immunizations, TB screening, HIV care, even mental health services, all under one roof.”

Please join us at the Hesperia Health Center, 16453 Bear Valley Road and the Adelanto Health Center, 11336 Bartlett Avenue, to celebrate the vital work of our health centers.

For more information on our health centers and National Health Center Week, contact the Department of Public Health, Clinic Operations at (800) 722-4777 or visit  http://www.sbcounty.gov/dph.

Free HIV testing available

SBCDPH-logoThe 20th Annual National HIV Testing Day is Friday, June 27, 2014.  With an estimated 1.1 million people living with HIV and one in six unaware of their infection in the United States, this testing initiative’s message “Take the Test, Take Control” is a giant step in the right direction toward an AIDS-free generation.

The County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health Clinic Operations is hosting its annual free HIV testing event on Friday, June 27, 2014. The event will be at the corner of Baseline Avenue and “F” Street, in the city of San Bernardino from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

One of the goals of President Obama’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy is to reduce new HIV infection rates by 25% by the year 2015. This will take a combination of strategies: increasing HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention efforts in our communities, and increasing the number of people living with HIV who know their status. Although great strides have been made in the prevention of the spread of HIV, according to the 2010 AIDS Surveillance Report by the California Office of AIDS, there are up to 7,000 new cases of HIV in the state each year.

“Early HIV diagnosis is critical, so people who are infected can fully benefit from available life-saving treatments,” said Maxwell Ohikhuare, M.D., County of San Bernardino Health Officer. “Finding out whether you are infected with HIV is the first step to improving your health, and the health of your community.”

On June 27, 2014 HIV Testing counselors will be available to provide free testing and prizes, as well as answer any questions regarding HIV to community members who would like to know their HIV status. The Department’s Clinic Operations section provides conventional HIV antibody testing at all public health clinic locations.  Additionally, rapid HIV testing which provides results in 20 minutes is offered via a mobile testing unit at various alternative testing sites throughout the County of San Bernardino.

For more information on National HIV Testing Day events or about HIV/AIDS and testing, call the County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health, AIDS program at (800) 255-6560, or Clinic Operations at (800) 722-4777.

Heat advisory issued for San Bernardino County

Rising TemperatureCounty Health Officer Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare has issued a heat advisory for San Bernardino County, due to high temperature forecasts for the inland and desert regions. Residents are urged to take precautions that will 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 a chronic medical condition.

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

How to live and thrive with asthma

inhalerMay is National Asthma Awareness Month! The San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, Coordinated Asthma Referral and Education Program wants to let you know that you can live and thrive with asthma. Uncontrolled asthma does not have to be a reality during the spring season.

Asthma is one of the most common serious chronic diseases in San Bernardino County, particularly among children. San Bernardino County has one of the highest numbers of children diagnosed with asthma in the state. Additionally, asthma is a leading cause of school absenteeism, hospital emergency department visits and hospitalizations of children.

The CARE Program, which began in 2006, helps asthmatic families and patients obtain education and skills on how to properly manage their symptoms and disease. Additionally, the program provides free home assessment and health education, asthma management and supplies for children under 18 who have asthma and live in the East, West and Central areas of San Bernardino County.

Since asthma is a chronic disease condition that cannot be cured, life-long management skills will help patients and their families live a healthy and active life, which in turn leads to less emergency department visits, hospitalizations, absenteeism, and death rates.

For more information about the CARE Program and for additional asthma referral information in San Bernardino County, please call 1(800) 782-4264 or visit our website at http://www.sbcounty.gov/dph.

Immunize your infants and toddlers

vaccinateThe Department of Public Health will proudly observe National Infant Immunization Week April 26 to May 3 and  Toddler Immunization Month throughout May.

These annual observances highlight the importance of routine immunizations to protect children younger than two years of age from vaccine preventable diseases. These observances also celebrate the achievements of immunization programs and their partners in promoting healthy communities.

Now is the perfect time to schedule an appointment with your child’s medical provider to insure they have all of their recommended immunizations. Both infants and toddlers need timely immunizations to protect themselves and their communities from vaccine preventable diseases.

“It is never too early to start protecting your child from infectious diseases,” said Maxwell Ohikhuare, M.D., County of San Bernardino Health Officer. “The current measles outbreak in California emphasizes the consequence of deciding to delay or refuse immunizations. The decision to immunize your infant or toddler is a decision to protect them and the entire community.”

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that both infants and toddlers receive the following immunizations:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Rotavirus
  • Diphtheria, tetanus, & acellular pertussis (DTaP) – Whooping Cough
  • Haemophilus influenza (Hib)
  • Pneumococcal (PCV13)
  • Polio (IPV)
  • Seasonal flu shot
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
  • Varicella (Chicken Pox)
  • Hepatitis A

If your infant or toddler does not have health insurance, call 1-877-243-8832 for information about the Vaccines for Children Program, which provides vaccines at low-cost.  For County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health Clinic locations or to schedule an appointment, call 1-800-722-4777, Monday – Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or visit www.sbcounty.gov/dph.

Continuous health information can be found on the Communicable Disease Section Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/CommunicableDiseaseSection.

Take precautions with smoke from Etiwanda Fire

SBCDPH-logoPeople who live or work near the areas affected by the Etiwanda fire near Rancho Cucamonga in western San Bernardino are urged to stay alert to changing smoke levels. Smoke production from the fire has been high at times with winds of 70 mph to 80 mph reported. Cities that may experience Unhealthy air quality include: Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Ontario, Chino and Chino Hills.

Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, Health Officer with the County of San Bernardino, Department of Public Health today advised sensitive groups including young children, the elderly, and those with lung or heart ailments, to avoid prolonged or heavy activity.  The general public should also limit activities that require prolonged exposure and strenuous exercise or sports participation. Residents should seek medical attention if they have symptoms such as chest pain, chest tightness or shortness of breath. This is important for not only those with chronic lung or heart disease, but also for people who have not been previously diagnosed with such illnesses.  Smoke can “unmask” or produce symptoms of such diseases.

Even healthy people can have some of these symptoms in smoky conditions, as well as scratchy throat, headaches, stinging eyes, and runny nose.  There are some ways you can protect your health. If you are advised to stay indoors, keep indoor air as clean as possible.  Keep windows and doors closed unless it is hot outside.  Run an air conditioner if you have one, but keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor air from getting inside.  If you do not have an air conditioner and it is too warm to stay inside with the windows closed, seek shelter in a cool place like a mall or senior center.

For more information about wildfire health and safety, go to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at:  http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/wildfires/.  To get local public health guidance, go to the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health website at http://www.sbcounty.gov/dph.

Healthy eating, lifestyles highlighted during National Public Health Week

Woman Eating Fruit OutdoorsThe Department of Public Health will celebrate the 2014 National Public Health Week, April 7  to 11 by hosting Public Health Resource Exhibits throughout the county.   Each exhibit will promote a daily theme under the overall National Public Health Week’s campaign, “Public Health: Starts Here” while promoting the programs and services available to the community.

“Promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors and showing the residents that living healthy lives starts with small steps is an essential responsibility of the Department of Public Health” said Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, M.D., Public Health Officer.  San Bernardino County continues to make great strides in saving lives by promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors and creating awareness of services and resources available to residents.

National Public Health Week educates and engages Americans to create a healthier nation for ourselves and generations to come.  Hundreds of events will take place nationally showcasing the value of healthy eating, physical activity and the preventing chronic illnesses.

Public Health will promote its services and resources at the following locations:







April 7, 2014


Be Healthy From the Start Ontario Mills Mall 1 Mills Circle
Ontario, CA 91764

April 8, 2014


Don’t Panic Fontana Lewis Library & Technology Center 8437 Sierra Ave
Fontana, CA 92335

April 9, 2014


Get Out Ahead San Bernardino Valley Collage 701 S. Mt. Vernon

San Bernardino, CA 92410


April 10, 2014


Eat Well City of Redland’s Market Night 35 Cajon Street
Redlands, CA 92373

April 11, 2014


Be the Healthiest Nation in 1 Generation DPH Hesperia Clinic 16453 Bear Valley Road
Hesperia, CA 92345


For more information about San Bernardino County National Public Health Week Celebrations, call 1-800-782-4264.

Adelanto Health Center moving to new location

SBCDPH-logoThe San Bernardino County Department of Public Health is relocating its Adelanto Health Center to a larger, more accessible place on April 1.  The new center, located at 11336 Bartlett Avenue, Suite 11, in Adelanto will improve privacy, increase service hours to meet patient demand, increase the number of patient exam rooms and expand the types of health services available to patients.  The new center is within walking distance of the previous school-based location at the Westside Park Elementary School, 18270 Casaba Road #304 in Adelanto.

The new Adelanto Health Center will provide primary medical care, pediatrics and reproductive health services.  Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.  For more information or to schedule an appointment at the new Adelanto Health Center, contact the County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health Clinic Operations at 1-800-722-4777.  Services may be at no cost to the patient if they qualify for publicly-funded programs.  For those that do not qualify for publicly-funded programs, services are low cost and fees are based on patient income.  The Health Center accepts Medi-Cal, Medicare and private pay.  If you do not have health coverage, assistance is available to apply for Medi-Cal.

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