County of Marin Health and Human Services

Public Health Newsletter December 2016

Public Health Newsletter December 2016
Marin County Public Health Newsletter Volume 4 - Issue 10 - December 2016
In this Issue: Flu | RxSafe Marin | Norovirus | TB | Message from the Public Health Officer
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A message to physicians and other health care providers from Marin County's Public Health Officer.

Flu Is Here 

On December 1st, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced the first influenza-associated fatality in a person under the age of 65 for the 2016-2017 flu season.  It is mandatory to report laboratory-confirmed influenza cases who require admission to an intensive care unit (ICU) and/or who die at any location (i.e. home, hospital, ER).  Visit www.marinflu.org for the most up-to-date information about current influenza activity in Marin. 

RxSafe Marin

On December 9th, David Mineta, former White House Deputy Director of Demand Reduction for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (INDCP), addressed attendees of the annual RxSafe Marin community meeting.  Marin's trend of increased co-prescription of opioids and benzodiazepines with age was highlighted.  About one in three Marin residents over age 65 who are prescribed opioids are also receiving benzodiazepines, increasing the risk of falls, cognitive impairment, and overdose.  The leading cause of accidental death in Marin is prescription opioid overdose, and most opioid-related deaths include other sedatives.  Adhering to Marin County safe opioid prescribing guidelines can decrease harmful polypharmacy.

Wash Your Hands!

Norovirus is now increasing in circulation throughout Marin County.  Remind patients of the importance of hand-washing, especially after using the toilet or changing diapers, and before preparing and handling food.  Also, please encourage patients to stay home from work or school for at least 24 hours (OSHA recommends 48-72 hours) after the symptoms have subsided.  Norovirus outbreaks rapidly grow due to contact with others while still contagious.

Tuberculosis Outbreak 

In September 2016, the County of Marin reached an important threshold -- more than 10 related TB cases over a 2 1/2 year period.  These cases (both US-born and foreign born) have close social and familial ties to each other as well as ties to a congregate community site and/or a local work site.  Review of TB genotype results revealed that they all shared the same rare genotype and thus were likely linked in the same local chain of TB transmission. It is critical for health care providers to think TB when evaluating patients.  Also, Marin County providers should enhance screening and treatment of latent tuberculosis infection.

Message from the Public Health Officer

Matthew Willis Marin County PHO HeadshotOn December 6th, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution opposing any repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The ACA, through Medi-Cal expansion, Covered California, consumer protections, and quality improvement initiatives, has increased access to affordable, high-quality health care for tens of thousands of Marin County residents.  Between 2013 and 2016, the number of Marin residents covered by Medi-Cal nearly doubled from 20,154 to 38,843.  Increased access has been matched by quality improvements in prevention and screening, chronic disease management, patient experience and advanced care planning.  HHS is committed to working with you, our healthcare partners, to protect access to high quality health care to achieve health equity for All in Marin.
Warm Regards,
Matt Willis
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Copyright (c) 2016
Matthew Willis MD, MPH
Marin County Public Health Officer
mwillis@marincounty.org
(415) 473-4163
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