Widespread Flu Activity that is More Severe than Last Year

California Department of Public Health Special Report  |  2017-01-26
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California Department of Public Health (CDPH) State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith reported today that the state is experiencing widespread influenza activity that is more severe than last year. CDPH has also received the first report of a death associated with influenza in a child younger than 18 years of age. The death occurred in Riverside County.

“This is a tragic reminder that the flu is a serious illness for people of all ages and kills thousands of Americans each year,” said Dr. Smith. “If you haven’t been immunized yet this season, getting flu shots for you and your family now can still help protect you this winter.”

CDPH disease monitoring indicates widespread flu activity across the state that is more severe than last year. Since the beginning of the influenza season, CDPH has received reports of 14 influenza-associated deaths, including the child in Riverside. This count represents a fraction of the total flu deaths statewide because only deaths in people younger than 65 are reported to the state and not all influenza-related deaths are easily attributable to influenza.

Hospitals statewide have been impacted by a surge in influenza patients, and hospitalizations for pneumonia and influenza at Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Northern California during the week ending January 7 reached 10.2 percent, the highest level recorded in 10 years. “We are closely monitoring the impact of influenza on health care facilities,” said Dr. Smith. “Some acute care hospitals in California are full and have diverted patients to other facilities.”

For anyone who has not yet received a flu shot this season, it is not too late. Influenza activity usually continues for several months, and it is still early in the season. CDPH recommends all Californians aged six month and older, including pregnant women, should get the annual flu vaccine. The flu virus circulating this season closely matches the vaccine, suggesting that the vaccine will provide protection against influenza and reduce the risk of severe disease.

The flu vaccine prevents disease due to the most serious wintertime virus, but other viruses are also circulating now.

For more information about influenza visit the CDPH influenza web page: www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Pages/Influenza(Flu).aspx.


Crab Health Advisory Lifted for CA Coast

Source: California Department of Public Health  |  2017-01-13

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has lifted the last remaining health advisory for Dungeness crab caught along the California coast. CDPH lifted this advisory on January 11th due to recent tests showing that traces of domoic acid have declined to low or undetectable levels in Dungeness crabs caught in the area, indicating they are safe to consume.

Dungeness crabs caught along the coast are safe to consume. However, as a precaution, consumers are advised not eat the viscera (internal organs, also known as “butter” or “guts”) of crabs. The viscera usually contain much higher levels of domoic acid than crab body meat. When whole crabs are cooked in liquid, domoic acid may leach from the viscera into the cooking liquid. Water or broth used to cook whole crabs should be discarded and not used to prepare dishes such as sauces, broths, soups or stews (for example, cioppino or gumbo), stocks, roux, dressings or dips.

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. In severe cases, the victim may experience trouble breathing, confusion, disorientation, cardiovascular instability, seizures, excessive bronchial secretions, permanent loss of short-term memory, coma or death.

Domoic acid accumulation in seafood is a natural occurrence that is related to a “bloom” of a particular single-celled plant. CDPH will continue to monitor conditions to ensure that seafood sold in California is safe to consume.

For more information, visit www.cdph.ca.gov


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Use Caution When Collecting, Eating Wild Mushrooms

Source: California Department of Public Health  |  2016-12-29

Amanita phalloides. 
--Photo courtesy of Trent Pearce, Tilden Nature Area

With seasonal rains promoting the growth of wild mushrooms, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith is reminding people that collecting and eating hazardous wild mushrooms can lead to serious illness and even death.

“It is difficult to distinguish between wild mushrooms that are poisonous and those which are safe to eat,” said Dr. Smith. “Wild mushrooms should not be eaten unless they have been carefully examined and determined to be edible by a mushroom expert.”

Wild mushroom poisoning continues to make people ill and send them to the hospital. According to the California Poison Control System (CPCS), 679 cases of ingestion were reported statewide from November 2015 to October 2016. Among those cases:

  • Three suffered a major health outcome, such as liver failure leading to coma and/or a liver transplant, or kidney failure requiring dialysis.
  • 50 suffered a moderate health outcome, such as dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea, or injury to the liver or kidney.
  • 348 were children under six years of age. Usually the children ate a small amount of a mushrooms growing in yards or neighborhood parks.
  • 415 were treated at a health care facility.
  • Eight were admitted to an intensive care unit.

The most serious illnesses and deaths have been linked primarily to wild mushrooms known to cause liver damage, including Amanita phalloides, also known as the “death cap” and Amanita ocreata, or “destroying angel.” These and other poisonous mushrooms grow in some parts of California year-round, but are most commonly found during fall, late winter or spring.

Eating poisonous mushrooms can cause abdominal pain, cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, liver damage or death. Anyone who develops symptoms after eating wild mushrooms should seek immediate medical attention. People who develop these symptoms, or their treating health care providers, should immediately contact Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.

Local mycological societies offer educational resources about mushroom identification, and may be able to help people identify mushrooms they have picked.


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SAMHSA Provides $7,196,038 in Grants for People and Communities Recovering from Trauma

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services  |  2016-12-22

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded up to a total of $7,196,038 over the next five years to programs in California for programs that help people and communities recover from, and build resiliency from trauma.

“Trauma, whether from exposure to child abuse, community violence, or natural disaster can have a devastating effect on people,” said SAMHSA Principal Deputy Administrator Kana Enomoto.  “We must help people in every segment of our community -- especially youth and Tribes, many of whom have experienced significant historical, community, and individual traumas.”

The grant programs going to California included in this SAMHSA effort are:

National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative: Purpose – Creates a national network of grantees — the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) or Network — that works collaboratively to develop and promote effective trauma treatment and services for children, adolescents, and their families exposed to a wide array of traumatic events

Community Treatment and Services Centers grants: Purpose – Improves the quality of trauma treatment and services for children, adolescents, and their families who experience or witness traumatic events; and to increase access to effective trauma-focused treatment and services for children and adolescents throughout the nation.  The work of this initiative is carried out by a national network of grantees – the National Child Traumatic Stress Network – that works collaboratively to develop and promote effective trauma treatment, services, and other resources for children, adolescents, and families exposed to an array of traumatic events.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities. For more information on SAMHSA grants, visit www.samhsa.gov/grants.


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CDPH Releases Reports on Healthcare-Associated Infections -Vaccination Rates

Source: California Department of Public Health   |  2016-12-22

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released two annual reports recently. The reports provide information about healthcare-associated infections (HAI) and influenza vaccination rates among health care providers.

While California hospitals have made progress in preventing healthcare-associated infections, HAIs continue to be a significant public health issue in the state. In 2015, hospitals reported 19,847 healthcare-associated infections to CDPH. From 2014 to 2015, 56 hospitals demonstrated significant improvement in preventing one or more HAI type. Hospitals are making progress in preventing HAI with the exception of C. difficile diarrheal infections (CDI), which increased 8 percent since 2011. CDPH offered infection-prevention assistance to 73 hospitals with high infection rates.

The department’s influenza vaccination report indicates that vaccination rates among health care providers have improved in the past five years. Since 2011, vaccination rates increased 21 percent for hospital employees and 11 percent for non-employee healthcare providers, such as physicians or other contracted staff members.

Both the HAI and influenza vaccination rate reports include data reported by 392 licensed general acute care hospitals representing 419 campuses. The reports are on the CDPH website at www.cdph.ca.gov.

Due to various factors in the way data are classified and validated, the information in this HAI report is not directly comparable to previous annual reports the department released. The report provides additional details about these changes.

Using data from these reports, CDPH created an interactive map for the public, Healthcare Personnel Influenza Vaccination in California Hospitals and updated the data for the My Hospital’s Infections Map.

“Hospitals can utilize the data in our HAI report to implement and improve infection-prevention strategies,” said Dr. Karen Smith, CDPH director and state public health officer. “This same information can help Californians stay informed about what their local hospitals are doing to protect against healthcare associated infections.”


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Placer Community Foundation Grants $250,000 to Local Nonprofits Working on Mental Health Issues

Source: Placer Community Foundation  |  2016-12-06

Loren Nakai of Sierra Native Alliance receives his check from Eileen Speaker, Grants Manager at Placer Community Foundation.

Placer Community Foundation recently made $250,000 in grants for mental health prevention and early intervention in Placer County. Grants of $50,000 each were awarded to five local nonprofits that provide services to youth and families. This funding will allow the organizations to provide varied mental health services, including court advocates for foster children, mentors for fathers of at-risk children, counseling for birth families recently reunited with their children, support and services for mental illness within the Placer Native community, and intervention for teens exposed to, and at risk for, drug abuse.

This funding was made available through a partnership with the County of Placer Department of Health and Human Services and the Mental Health Services Act. The grantees are: Child Advocates of Placer County - CASA Expansion Project, Lilliput Children’s Services - Home to Stay, KidsFirst- Supporting Fathers, Community Recovery Resource - Full Circle Student and Family Support Program, Sierra Native Alliance - Native Community: Early-Onset Mental Health Services.

These grants are impacting local people by providing a safe space for them to work through issues affecting mental health. KidsFirst’s program serves single fathers and one participant shared, “The Forever Fathers program is a great place for men to come together and openly talk and discuss parenting and relationships. I come to the meetings voluntarily and find that I am not alone in the struggles that life throws out. The speaker/programs we have had are always professional as well as helpful. They cover a wide array of issues that different men may have.”

About Placer Community Foundation
Placer Community Foundation (PCF) grows local giving to strengthen our community by connecting donors who care with causes that matter. Known for sound financial management and knowledge of the nonprofit sector, the Community Foundation continually monitors the region to better understand the nature of local needs, so that it can invest in areas such as arts and culture, education, health and human services, animals and the environment. To learn more about establishing charitable funds during your lifetime or through your estate plan, visit PlacerGives.org, contact Jessica Hubbard at jhubbard@placercf.org, or call (530) 885-4920.


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Placer County Partners with Sutter Health To Address Homelessness, Accepts $1 Million Grant for Homeless Housing

Source: Scott Sandow, County of Placer  |  2016-12-06

Placer County will receive a $1 million grant from Sutter Health to help house its chronically homeless population under a grant agreement approved today by the Placer County Board of Supervisors.

The funds will be used to support Placer County’s Whole Person Care Pilot program, which is designed to better coordinate physical health, behavioral health and social services for high users of multiple care systems who have poor health outcomes - and to increase their access to housing and supportive services. The Sutter Health grant will support the development of permanent housing for program participants with the purchase of housing units and by offering rental subsidies.

“Ending homeless in Placer County continues to be a high priority, and we are committed to being innovative and creative in seeking solutions that benefit not only those facing homelessness but everyone in our community,” said Robert Weygandt, chairman of the Placer County Board of Supervisors. “By partnering with Sutter Health, we’ll secure additional resources to jumpstart our Whole Person Care Pilot and provide some of our most vulnerable residents the security they need to get back on their feet."

The Whole Person Care Pilot will serve up to 50 homeless people each year. With the grant, Placer expects to provide housing for between 15-20 people a year.

“Every day we see growing numbers of homeless in our region, and see the toll homelessness takes on individuals and our communities,” said Sutter Health Valley Area President James Conforti. “At Sutter Health, we are working to create a regional, data-driven response to chronic homelessness by working with government, businesses and service providers to support projects that offer low- and no-barrier housing options for the most vulnerable populations, like the Whole Person Care Pilot program."

The grant is part of a larger strategic initiative, “Getting to Zero,” being led by Sutter Health to align public, private and philanthropic resources in Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties in support of a Housing First response to homelessness – a federal strategy that calls for low or-no-barrier access to permanent housing.

“As Sutter Health has met with local leaders and experts to explore best practices for addressing homelessness in our region, we’ve identified immediate opportunities for action and as a result have already begun to commit matching funds to support key elements that will be a critical part of our campaign,” Conforti explained. “We are having positive and productive discussions with elected officials throughout our region and look forward to engaging the entire community in this effort in 2017.”


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