County of Marin Health and Human Services

Public Health Newsletter - December 2023

Public Health Newsletter - December 2023
Marin County Public Health Newsletter - December 2023
In this Issue: World AIDS Day | Fall Vaccine Progress I Pertussis | Xylazine | Green Space and Longevity | Message from the Public Health Officer 
A message to physicians and other health care providers from Marin County's Public Health Officers.

World AIDS Day


December 1st marked the 35th anniversary of World AIDS Day. Marin passed a resolution at the Board of Supervisors to commemorate this day.  HIV is highly preventable and treatable, and all clinicians have a part to play in reaching zero HIV transmission in Marin. Track local  progress with our newly launched HIV dashboard.  A list of local support services can be found here.


Fall Vaccine Progress

California reported its first pediatric flu death this month. This is an important reminder to protect eligible residents against common seasonal viruses. Flu, COVID and RSV levels continue to rise in Marin. As of this week, among residents aged 60 and over in Marin, 56% had the flu shot, 49% received the COVID-19 vaccine, and 19% had received the RSV vaccine. While these rates are significantly higher than state averages, a majority of older residents are not fully protected. The Bay Area health officers recently issued a press release encouraging residents to obtain the protection of vaccine


From 2010-2015, Marin County had among the highest rates of pertussis (whooping cough) in  the nation. With increased vaccinations, Marin’s last outbreak was in 2018. Concerningly, six pertussis cases have been reported to Marin Public Health so far this fall. Clinicians should consider pertussis and test any patients with characteristic symptoms. Persons at highest risk include infants who can’t get vaccinated (< 1 year old), pregnant women (especially in the third trimester), and those who may expose infants or pregnant women. Youth get their last vaccine in 7th grade. Public health recommends vaccination for pregnant women and any adult in close contact with infants.


Marin County Public Health monitors wastewater for the presence of xylazine, or Tranq, a powerful veterinary sedative increasingly found in the illegal U.S. drug supply. In May 2023, xylazine was detected locally and has not been detected since then. CDPH recently warned Californians about the dangers of xylazine. in an all Facilities Letter: Xylazine in the Illicit Drug Supply and Patient Best Practices. If and when this substance re-surfaces in Marin wastewater, Public Health will issue a local advisory.

Green Space and Longevity

Marin County is known for long life expectancy and abundant green space. While the health  benefits of being outdoors are well known, a new study provides insights into the cellular  mechanism by which our environment impacts our health.

Message from the Public Health Officer


One of the core functions of Public Health is to describe gaps in community health and wellbeing. During the pandemic, timely, locally derived data was critical to our strategic response. Our epidemiologists are committed to providing our clinicians and residents accurate and timely “community vital signs."  New features on our Marin County Public Health website include interactive charts describing local bicycle crashes and injuries, and the latest wastewater levels for nine infectious diseases.

With gratitude,

Matt Willis, MD, MPH
Public Health Officer

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Copyright ©  2023
Marin County Public Health, a division of the Marin County Health & Human Services Department

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