The Alameda County Public Health Department sends out Health Alerts, Advisories, and Updates regarding communicable disease outbreaks, immunization updates, and other public health concerns to Alameda County clinicians and other partners. See recent releases below.

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Advisory

ADVISORY: provides important information for a specific incident or situation; may not require immediate action.

June 13, 2016

Advisory

Bicillin L-A (Benzathine Penicillin G) Shortage

On April 29th, 2016, a Bicillin L-A (Benzathine Penicillin G) drug shortage was announced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Benzathine penicillin G is the recommended treatment for syphilis and the only recommended treatment for pregnant women infected with or exposed to syphilis. Other formulations of penicillin, including Bicillin C-R, are not acceptable alternatives to Bicillin L-A for syphilis treatment. The manufacturer estimates the Bicillin L-A shortage will last until at least July, 2016. This advisory provides recommended actions and resources to help clinicians safely address the current Bicillin L-A drug shortage.

April 01, 2016

Advisory

Zika Virus Disease Updated Advisory

Zika virus transmission continues in Latin America, the Caribbean, Oceania/Pacific Islands and Cape Verde in Africa. As of 3/29/2016, two Alameda County residents have been confirmed by laboratory testing to have had travel-associated Zika virus infection. On 3/25/2016, The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced the first confirmed Zika virus case in California acquired through sexual contact with a partner with travel-associated Zika-infection. As of 3/25/16, CDPH began diagnostic Plaque Reduction Neutralization Testing (PRNT) for Zika virus on serology specimens, which no longer require confirmatory testing at CDC.

New information on Zika infection continues to emerge and guidelines for Zika virus testing have been updated. This health advisory summarizes key updates since the last Zika health advisory on 3/11/16 and includes new information and guidance for Zika virus testing in Alameda County.

For travelers:

For health care providers:

March 11, 2016

Advisory

Zika Virus Disease Updated Advisory

Zika virus transmission continues in Latin America, the Caribbean, Oceania/Pacific Islands and Cape Verde in Africa. New information on Zika infection continues to emerge and guidelines for Zika virus testing have been revised, including the addition of more testing capabilities of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Viral and Rickettsial Disease Laboratory (VRDL). This health advisory summarizes key updates since the last Zika health advisory on 2/11/16 and includes new information and guidance for Zika virus testing in Alameda County. As of 3/11/16, one Alameda County resident has been confirmed by laboratory testing to have had travel-associated Zika virus infection. Health care providers should consider testing for Zika virus infection in the following persons  with a potential Zika virus exposure:

  • Zika Virus symptoms within two weeks of exposure
  • Asymptomatic pregnant women
  • Infants born to a mother with a potential Zika virus exposure
  • Patients with Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Potential Zika virus exposure is defined as (a) travel to areas with active Zika Virus transmission in the 2 weeks before symptoms onset; or (b) condomless sexual contact with a male partner who traveled to an area of active Zika virus transmission and had symptoms of Zika disease during travel or within 2 weeks of return.

For travelers:

For health care providers:

March 01, 2016

Advisory

Preventing Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse - Opioids

Please distribute to all providers in your practice.

Prescription drug misuse and overdose is a national epidemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Nationally, each year, prescription narcotics result in more fatal overdoses than heroin and cocaine combined and, in 2015, surpassed auto accidents as the number one cause of accidental deaths. In California, deaths involving opioid prescription drugs have increased 16.5 percent since 2006. In 2012, there were more than 1,800 deaths from all types of opioids – 72 percent involved prescription opioids. In Alameda County, deaths from opioid misuse tripled between 2005 and 2014 and hospitalizations for opioid-related, non-fatal overdoses increased by over 74 percent. This advisory provides actions and resources to help clinicians safely prescribe opioid prescriptions.

February 11, 2016

Advisory

Zika Virus Disease Updated Advisory

Zika virus transmission continues in Latin America, the Caribbean, Oceania/Pacific Islands and Cape Verde in Africa. New information on Zika infection continues to emerge and guidelines for Zika virus testing have been revised, including specific revisions for testing in pregnant woman. This health advisory summarizes key updates since the last Zika health advisory on 1/29/16 and includes new information and guidance for Zika virus testing in Alameda County. In California, six travel-associated Zika cases were reported between 2013 and 2015. On 2/9/16, ACPHD confirmed an Alameda County resident has preliminarily tested positive for the Zika virus. The person was infected with Zika virus while traveling in a Zika-affected country. Health care providers should consider testing for Zika virus infection in persons with a compatible clinical illness and pregnant women with recent travel to affected areas.

For travelers:

For health care providers:

 

January 29, 2016

Advisory

Zika Virus Disease and Current Travel-Associated Viral Diseases of Concern

Outbreaks of Zika virus disease have been reported in 24 countries and territories in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Oceania/Pacific Islands. Zika virus causes a mild illness in 20% of those infected, with symptoms of fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes beginning within 14 days of travel to a country with Zika virus transmission.  Additionally, in Brazil and other countries with Zika virus transmission, an unusual increase in the number of infants born with microcephaly has been reported.  The virus is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, which is not native to California but has been detected in 12 California counties. Thus far, the few Zika virus disease cases reported in Californians have occurred in returning travelers; no local transmission has been identified.  Health care providers should obtain travel histories from patients with a febrile illness, and consider testing for dengue fever, chikungunya, or Zika virus disease in persons with a compatible clinical presentation and a history of travel to Latin America, the Caribbean, and Oceania/Pacific Islands.  Providers should counsel patients who are pregnant or who are attempting to become pregnant about special travel precautions and preventing mosquito bites.

For travelers:

For health care providers:

December 09, 2015

Advisory

Chikungunya and Dengue in Mexico and Latin America

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) urges Californians to protect themselves against mosquito bites if traveling to Mexico or Latin America, where there have been increasing reports of chikungunya and dengue infections. Chikungunya infection causes fever and joint pain; as of November 2015, over 10,000 cases were reported in Mexico this year, and over 34,000 cases were reported in the Caribbean and Central and South America. Dengue causes fever, headache, joint pain and muscle pain; over 23,000 cases have been reported in Mexico this year as of November 2015, and widespread outbreaks have occurred throughout the Caribbean and Central and South America in recent years.

For travelers:

For health care providers:

September 09, 2015

Advisory

Heat Advisory

The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for the San Francisco Bay Area that remains in effect until Friday, 9/11.

September 02, 2015

Advisory

Measles in a UC Berkeley Student

One laboratory-confirmed case of measles has been identified in a UC Berkeley student. As of September 1, 2015, no Alameda County residents outside of the City of Berkeley have been identified as contacts to this case. However, the case spent time at many public venues while infectious, so not all contacts could be identified.

For Healthcare Providers:
Consider measles in patients with fever, followed by a descending rash that starts on the face or head, regardless of age, immunization status, or travel history. Call Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) at 510-267-3250 to report suspected measles cases who live in Alameda County outside of Berkeley, and to arrange for expedited PCR testing at the Public Health Laboratory; do not send specimens to a commercial lab.

Implement airborne precautions immediately for patients with a febrile rash illness with suspected measles.

September 02, 2015

Advisory

Legionellosis at San Quentin State Prison

As of September 1, 2015, six confirmed cases of legionellosis have been reported in inmates of San Quentin State Prison. No confirmed cases have occurred among prison guards, staff, family members living on prison grounds, or visitors.

For Healthcare Providers:
Consider testing for legionellosis in patients with pneumonia who visited or worked at San Quentin State Prison in August 2015.  Please order a Legionella urine antigen test and culture of lower respiratory tract secretions (e.g., sputum, lung tissue, broncheoalveolar lavage), specifying suspected legionellosis to ensure that specimens are cultured on appropriate media.

Report confirmed and suspected legionellosis cases to ACPHD by phone (510-267-3250) or fax (510-268-2111) in Alameda County residents not living in the City of Berkeley.

July 29, 2015

Advisory

Heat Advisory

The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for the San Francisco Bay Area that remains in effect until Thursday, July 30.

May 22, 2015

Advisory

Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)

Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) are untreatable or difficult to treat multidrug-resistant organisms that have developed high levels of resistance to carbapenems, a class of antibiotics that includes doripenem, ertapenem, imipenem and meropenem. Risk factors for CRE colonization or infection include open wounds, presence of indwelling devices including endotracheal tubes, multiple co-morbidities, and high antimicrobial use. Long-term acute care (LTAC) hospitals have the greatest prevalence of patients with CRE-colonization or infection as a result of receiving and caring for patients who have many CRE risk factors and a history of lengthy hospitalizations.

Multiple clusters and outbreaks of CRE have been increasingly recognized in recent years in Northern California acute and long-term care facilities, including facilities in Alameda County. CRE are highly transmissible in healthcare settings and both infected and colonized patients can serve as reservoirs for transmission. Early recognition and prompt implementation of infection control precautions are critical to control the spread of CRE in our region.

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