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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UPDATE provides updated information regarding an incident or situation; unlikely to require immediate action.

November 21, 2018


Improving Air Quality

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) has extended its Spare the Air alert through Wednesday, 11/21st, due to some pockets of “unhealthy” air quality remaining in the East Bay, but improvements to moderate air quality are anticipated throughout the region on Thursday, 11/22nd.

May 11, 2018


High Levels of Pertussis in Alameda County

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a contagious disease affecting the lungs. It is caused by a bacteria that can spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks near to other people. Pertussis can affect people of all ages but infants younger than 6 months are at greatest risk for severe disease leading to hospitalization and death. The highest rates of pertussis are seen in infants who are too young to have received all their pertussis vaccines, and in teenagers 14 to 17 years old whose pertussis vaccine protection has "worn off".

Full Update

March 21, 2018


Alameda County Public Health and Berkeley Public Health

Hepatitis A Guidance for Healthcare Facilities and Clinicians

A high demand of single antigen hepatitis A vaccine resulted in a national vaccine shortage toward the end of 2017.  Currently, issues with single antigen vaccine supply and ordering appear to be resolved.  Medical providers should now be vaccinating based on their own inventory instead of trying to ration or prioritize hepatitis A vaccine.

Administer hepatitis A vaccine to any person exposed to a case of hepatitis A (household/sexual contact) and continue to vaccinate all persons in the following risk groups:

  • Persons currently experiencing homelessness
  • Persons using illicit drugs
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Persons with chronic liver disease
  • Persons traveling to or working in countries where hepatitis A is common

If inventory permits, also consider vaccinating persons with close contact to individuals in high risk groups listed above as well as anyone seeking protection from hepatitis A disease.

Full ACPHD & BPH Joint Hepatitis A Guidance Update

September 29, 2017


Mandatory Influenza Vaccination or Masking of Health Care Workers During Every Influenza Season

As Health Officers for Alameda County and the City of Berkeley, we are updating our joint Health Officer orders (originally dated Aug. 28, 2013) mandating that all licensed health care facilities in Alameda County and the City of Berkeley require their health care workers (HCWs) to receive an annual influenza vaccination or, if they decline, to wear a mask during every influenza season while working in patient care areas. This order applies to all facilities regardless of documented HCW influenza vaccination rate. The 2017update defines Influenza Season as November 1 to April 30 of the following year. This order is ongoing and applies to each influenza season, unless rescinded or modified.

August 09, 2017


Updated Guidance for Health Care Providers Caring for Pregnant Women with Possible Zika Virus Exposure

On August 2, 2017 the California Department of Public Health released

Updated Guidance for Health Care Providers Caring for Pregnant Women with Possible Zika Virus Exposure. This guidance differs from CDC’s 7/28/17 guidance update, which extends discretion to states where regional epidemiology and travel patterns may deviate from patterns seen in other parts of the country. The Alameda County Public Health Department is adopting the new CDPH guidance.

As of 8/4/2017,) there have been 37 cases of Zika virus infection in Alameda County (and an additional 3 in Berkeley), many of whom were pregnant women. Providers should continue to screen pregnant women for possible Zika virus exposure and continue advising women who are pregnant or who want to conceive in the near future to avoid unnecessary travel to areas where Zika is circulating and to follow the appropriate recommendations for preventing sexual transmission. When indicated, testing should be ordered through commercial labs for patients with Zika virus exposure related to travel or sexual contact and either uncomplicated clinical illness (regardless of pregnancy status) or who are asymptomatic pregnant women.

March 02, 2017


ACPHD and BPH Joint Zika Virus Update

Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) and Berkeley Public Health (BPH) are now encouraging providers to route Zika virus testing through commercial labs for uncomplicated situations.  Routing directly to authorized commercial labs does not compromise quality and improves turnaround time by up to five weeks.

Clinicians should continue to obtain testing through Public Health (ACPHD or BPH) in complex or questionable situations, such as:

  • A fetus or infant with microcephaly or signs of congenital Zika virus syndrome whose mother was potentially exposed to Zika virus;
  • A person with Guillain-Barré syndrome and potential exposure to Zika virus; or
  • When sexual, local mosquito-borne, laboratory, or blood transfusion/organ transplant exposure is suspected.

If there are clinical circumstances where it is unclear whether a specimen should be routed through ACPHD or a commercial lab, clinicians should consult with the ACPHD Acute Communicable Disease section during normal business hours M-F 9am – 5pm by calling 510-267-3250. For Berkeley residents only, contact the Berkeley Communicable Disease program by calling 510-981-5292.

June 25, 2015


Ebola Virus Disease

The ongoing Ebola epidemic in West Africa that started last year is the largest in history, and continues to affect the countries of Guinea and Sierra Leone.  Liberia was declared free from Ebola virus transmission by the World Health Organization on May 9, 2015.  In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not declared Liberia Ebola free, but classifies Liberia as a country with former widespread transmission and current, established control measures. Effective June 17, 2015, the CDC changed its monitoring procedure for Liberian travelers from public health active monitoring to traveler self monitoring.  Travelers from Liberia will continue to be screened in the 5 east coast airports they must pass through to enter the US.  CDC will continue to notify California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and local health departments of travelers arriving in our jurisdictions for informational purposes.  Alameda County is no longer actively monitoring travelers from Liberia.

CDC, CDPH, and Alameda County Public Health Department recommends that healthcare providers:

  • Should conduct thorough histories that include: health status, travel, and exposures.
  • Should assess travel history for any possible infectious disease exposures (e.g., MERS-CoV, malaria) and not focused only on Ebola-affected countries.
  • Should use clinical judgment to evaluate patients based on those histories and their symptoms.
  • Should implement infection control measures as appropriate to travel history and clinical presentation.
  • Follow standard protocols for patient care (e.g., medical equipment and procedures, infection control, laboratory testing)
    • If the patient reports travel from Liberia and no travel into Guinea and Sierra Leone – no Ebola-specific precautions are required.
  • Should continue to report suspect cases of any potential high risk infectious disease to Alameda County Public Health Department Acute Communicable Disease at 510-267-3250.

June 11, 2015


Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS CoV)

In light of the recent largest outbreak of MERS-CoV outside of the Arabian Peninsula in Korea, the CDC has issued Health Advisory including an update of the criteria for a Patient Under Investigation for MERS-CoV to add – “A history of being in a healthcare facility (as a patient, worker, or visitor) in the Republic of Korea within 14 days before symptom onset.” Only two patients in the U.S. have ever tested positive for MERS-CoV infection, both in May 2014, while more than 500 have tested negative.

The CDC has also issued updated Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Hospitalized Patients with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). This updated guidance continues to recommend standard, contact, and airborne precautions. In addition, the updated infection control guidance emphasizes additional elements of infection prevention and control programs that should be in place to prevent the transmission of any infectious agents including respiratory pathogens such as MERS-CoV in healthcare settings.

CDC continues to closely monitor the MERS situation globally and work with partners to better understand the risks of this virus, including the source, how it spreads, and how infections might be prevented. CDC recognizes the potential for MERS-CoV to spread further and cause more cases globally and in the U.S. We have provided information for travelers and are working with health departments, hospitals, and other partners to prepare for this.

August 19, 2014


Ebola Virus and West Nile Virus Update

There is currently a large outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the West African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and most recently, Nigeria. As of August 19, the World Health Organization has reported a cumulative total of 2240 suspect and confirmed cases and 1229 deaths. CDC has advised travelers to avoid all non-essential travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, and has issued a lower level alert for Nigeria. As of August 19, 2014, there are no EVD cases acquired in the United States. While the risk of importation of Ebola into the United States is considered to be very low, Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) is working with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to prepare in the event that a returning traveler from these countries develops illness that may be concerning for EVD. Early identification of such cases and prompt infection control implementation will be key components to containment and prevention of spread.

As of August 13, 2014, Alameda County reported 51 dead birds and 10 mosquito pools positive for West Nile Virus (WNV); this is an unusually high number and already higher than all prior years. Mosquito Abatement has undertaken precautions to treat mosquitoes in areas where activity is highest in Livermore. There are currently no reported symptomatic cases of human WNV in Alameda County this year, and there are 57 reported human cases in CA from 36 jurisdictions.

June 10, 2014


Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS CoV)

The CDC had previously reported on May 17, 2014 that an individual from Illinois who had extended face-to-face contact with the Indiana case had become infected with MERS CoV but had no symptoms. After further laboratory testing on May 28, the CDC announced that they have now concluded that the Illinois resident was not infected with MERS CoV

September 04, 2013


Recurrent Nationwide Shortage of Tuberculin Skin Test Antigen Solutions

In April 2013, CDC reported that TUBERSOL®, a product of Sanofi Pasteur Limited, was in shortage nationwide. Although supplies were restored in early June 2013, TUBERSOL® is in shortage again until at least the middle of October 2013. At the current time, the 5 tuberculin units/0.1 mL, 5 mL (50 tests), multiple dose vials are unavailable. The 5 tuberculin units/0.1 mL, 1 mL (10 tests), multiple dose vials are in limited supply. This CDC notice advises public health officials, clinicians, and workers in occupational health and infection control about how to adapt testing protocols to the recurrent shortage.

June 03, 2013


Multistate Outbreak of Hepatitis A

As of May 31, 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported 30 people ill with acute hepatitis A from five states, including California. Illnesses may be linked to consumption of contaminated “Townsend Farms brand Organic Antioxidant Blend”, a frozen berry and pomegranate seed mix, sold from late February 2013 until late May 2013 at Costco stores. Health care providers evaluating patients with acute hepatitis should ask about exposure to this product and report suspected cases to Alameda County Public Health Department at 510-267-3250. Health care providers should provide hepatitis A postexposure prophylaxis to patients who are susceptible to hepatitis A infection within two weeks of their last exposure to this berry product.

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