Shigella clusterOrange County Public Health has recently received an increase in reports of Shigellosis in our county’s homeless population. Shigellosis is an intestinal infection caused by the Shigella bacteria. Symptoms include diarrhea, often with stomach cramps and fever. Infection can be passed person to person or can be foodborne. We are reaching out to educate those at risk about ways to keep from getting infected. For information on Shigella please see the Shigella FAQ or http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/shigellosis/.
We are also working to minimize community spread of infection and asking that health care providers consider shigellosis in symptomatic patients. Health care providers and laboratories should report all suspect or confirmed cases of Shigellosis immediately by phone to Orange County Public Health at 714-834-8180. More information for medical providers is available at Shigella FAQ.
Influenza season is officially hereThe County’s first locally-acquired case of influenza signals that the flu season is officially here. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated, and anyone who has not already received flu vaccination should get it now before flu season peaks. Flu vaccine is available from health care providers, clinics, and pharmacies throughout Orange County. The Health Care Agency is offering free seasonal influenza vaccinations on a walk-in basis for people six months of age and older who do not have a medical provider or health insurance coverage. Vaccinations are available every Thursday beginning November 7, 2013 from 8:00 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:00-4:00 p.m. at 1725 West 17th Street, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Vaccine is recommended every year for people six months of age and older, and is especially important for infants, young children, pregnant women, adults over 50, and for those with chronic medical conditions. Close contacts and caregivers of these high-risk people should also get vaccinated. The most current local information, including vaccination locations, is available 24/7 at www.ochealthinfo.com/flu or by calling the Health Referral Line at (800) 564-8448, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
West Nile Virus in Orange CountyThe County continues to see cases of West Nile Virus. Our first case of West Nile Virus infection of 2013 was found in July, in a Cypress female in her sixties. West Nile Virus disease is caused by a mosquito-borne virus. Most persons who are infected have mild or no symptoms; however, a small number will develop serious illness, including meningitis or encephalitis. West Nile Virus disease is most common in late summer and early fall. The best way to protect yourself is to prevent mosquito bites. For more information, see the West Nile Virus web page.
Certain communicable diseases are required to be reported to the local health department (see List of Reportable Diseases) as per the State of California Code of Regulations. Epidemiology and Assessment (E&A) unit's medical directors, public health nurses, and epidemiologists investigate individual cases and outbreaks of reported communicable diseases. We monitor disease trends, and often provide current statistics and other information to doctors, hospitals, the public and news media. We may also provide education or preventive treatment in some circumstances. Although other units handle reports of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), we do monitor their trends in Orange County.
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