County of Marin Health and Human Services

Public Health Officer Newsletter, February 2018

Public Health Officer Newsletter, February 2018
Marin County Public Health Newsletter Volume 6 - Issue 2 - February 2018
In this Issue: Fentanyl | Vaccinate Cat | Zika | Salmonella | Food Now | 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.

Fentanyl Overdoses

Last week in San Francisco, three men were found dead of suspected fentanyl poisoning.  Fentanyl has been increasingly present in street-purchased drugs in the Bay Area, and can lead to clusters of overdoses over a short period of time.  Alert physicians can offer early notice by reporting fentanyl overdoses directly to the Health Officer at 415-473-4163.  Fentanyl overdoses also may require multiple doses of naloxone, the opioid reversal agent.  We recommend you prescribe naloxone to patients at risk for overdose.  Patients can call (888) 818-1115, 24/7, to access substance use recovery services in Marin County.

Vaccinate Your Cat!

February is National Cat Health Month.  Marin Health & Human Services is partnering with the Marin Humane Society to urge residents to vaccinate their cats for rabies.  Rabies in domestic dogs and cats can serve as a bridge for transmission from wildlife to humans.  California law requires that domestic dogs be licensed and vaccinated against rabies.  In Marin County, a local ordinance also requires that domestic cats be vaccinated.   However, many pet owners are not aware or are non-compliant with vaccinating their cats. Visit our Rabies Information page for more information.

  Don't Bring Zika Home

After two years of active Zika surveillance, there have been more than 600 travel-associated Zika infections in California.  With spring approaching, more Marin County residents will be traveling to Zika-endemic areas.   The most frequented countries of Zika exposure include Mexico, Nicaragua and Guatemala.  Encourage your patients to stay informed and protected by visiting the Marin County HHS Zika website

Backyard Poultry Flocks and Salmonella

Marin County residents are becoming modern farmers and adding chicken coops to their yards.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported a major increase in illnesses associated with backyard poultry flocks, especially in California.  For families with backyard flocks, the CDC recommends (1) Thoroughly wash hands with soap and water after touching birds or the areas where they reside, (2) Do not let live poultry into your house, and (3) Supervise children while handling birds and assist with hand-washing.  Salmonella cases should be reported to Marin County Public Health.

Food Now Marin

One in five Marin County residents suffers from food insecurity.  Clinicians can help solve this problem by using the following screening:  "Please let me know if either of these statements is true for your family:  (1) Within the last 12 months, we worried whether our food would run out before we got money to buy more; (2) Within the last 12 months, the food we bought just did not last and we did not have money to get more."  For patients with a positive response to either question, you can offer the new Food Now Marin, a free, bilingual mobile application that helps people find low-cost food sites near them..

Message from the Deputy Public Health Officer

Effective public health practice requires constant vigilance at all levels of our community.  While the health department has many tools to protect the health of our community  and ensure public safety, the best tool is always prevention.  Health care providers in Marin can practice harm reduction by prescribing naloxone.  Pet owners can keep their pets' vaccinations up-to-date.  Travelers can stay informed and prevent mosquito bites.  And, we can all wash our hands more often.  But, one of the most critical forms of prevention is addressing the social determinants of health.  Regardless of the disease or condition, health outcomes are worse when people are poor, hungry and have unstable housing.  Food Now Marin is a great example of our community working together to address one of the key social determinants of health by ending hunger in Marin.
Stay healthy,
Lisa Santora, MD, MPH
HHS Website
HHS Youtube
Copyright (c) 2018
Matthew Willis MD, MPH
Marin County Public Health Officer
(415) 473-4163
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Our mailing address is:
3240 Kerner Blvd.
San Rafael, CA 94901

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