County of Marin Health and Human Services

Public Health Newsletter - April 2018

Public Health Newsletter - April 2018
Marin County Public Health Newsletter Volume 6 - Issue 4 - April 2018
In this Issue: Pertussis | Drug Take-Back Day | TB | Data | Hepatitis A | Message from the Deputy Public Health Officer
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A message to physicians and other health care providers from Marin County's Public Health Officer.

Pertussis 

Pertussis (whooping cough) is on the rise in Marin County and in California.  In Marin, 104 cases have already been reported this year, compared to a total of 74 cases in 2016 and 2017 combined.   Whooping cough incidence has a natural cycle with peaks every three to five years.  The pertussis vaccine remains the best defense, along with appropriate screening, treatment and prophylaxis for high-risk contacts.  Visit the Marin HHS Communicable Disease Prevention and Control's Pertussis Update for more information.

Take-Back Day

Unused and unwanted medications can become a source for misuse, abuse and harm if not disposed of promptly and safely.  April 28 is the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.  The Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other agencies are encouraging residents to rid their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs and dispose of them at locations throughout the county.  These locations are available year-round.

Latent Tuberculosis in Marin 

Although it is preventable and curable, in a typical year up to 20 Marin County residents will develop tuberculosis (TB) disease.  The vast majority of these cases were carrying the infection in its latent state for years but did not receive treatment that would have prevented disease.  In order to support efforts to find and treat latent TB infection and TB disease, Marin HHS' TB Control Program has created a new webpage for health care providers with resources and tools to screen, diagnose, treat and report TB.  A suspected case of active TB disease must be reported within one working day to Marin County TB Control by telephone at 415-473-4163, or by completing a confidential online report.

Living Data 

Marin Health and Human Services' Community epidemiology Program gathers, analyses, and interprets data on the heath and well-being of Marin County residents.  The data are used for planning and evaluating programs and prioritizing resources.  We have compiled a dashboard of continuously updated data stories or collections of data.  You can explore these "Live Stories" online.

Hepatitis A 

A large hepatitis A outbreak is on-going in California.  The majority of patients in this outbreak report experiencing homelessness and/or using illicit drugs in settings of limited sanitation.  The best way to prevent hepatitis A infection is to get vaccinated.  Data show that hepatitis vaccination coverage is low in Marin County.  The hepatitis A vaccine it recommended  for anyone wishing to obtain immunity.

Message from the Deputy Public Health Officer

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month.  This year's theme is "Embrace Your Voice," building upon the voices emerging from the #MeToo and Time's Up movements.  While studies have shown that most women want to be asked about their experiences with sexual violence, few health care providers screen any patients, male or female, for such trauma.  The SAVE method is a simple protocol to start - Screen all of your patients for sexual violence.  Ask direct questions in a non-judgmental way.  Validate your patient's response and Evaluate, educate and make referrals.  The National Sexual Violence Resource Center has prepared a guide for health care providers.
                                       Warm Regards,
                                       Lisa Santora
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Copyright (c) 2018
Matthew Willis MD, MPH
Marin County Public Health Officer
mwillis@marincounty.org
(415) 473-4163
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