Health Officials Urge Californians to Remove Standing Water

Source: California Department of Public Health  |  2016-10-14

Rains Can Lead to More Mosquitoes

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith called on the people of California to help reduce the number of mosquitoes by eliminating standing water, especially in areas that have recently had rain and continue to experience warm temperatures.

“Rainy weather can create new breeding grounds for mosquitoes if water is allowed to pool and remain stagnant,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “Mosquito season in California peaks in October, making it critically important that Californians take action to empty even small amounts of water from our gardens and yards.”

To help control mosquitoes, check your yard weekly for water-filled containers. Clean and scrub bird baths and pet watering dishes weekly, and dump the water from dishes under potted plants. Contact your local vector control agency if you detect unusual numbers of mosquitoes or you are being bitten during the day.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito, an aggressive mosquito that bites during the day, has been detected in 12 California counties. This black-and-white striped mosquito has the potential to transmit Zika and other diseases, such as dengue fever, chikungunya and yellow fever. While the mosquito is especially active two hours after sunrise and several hours before sunset, it can also bite during the day. These mosquitoes often enter buildings through unscreened windows and doors and bite people indoors.

To prevent mosquito bites, apply repellents containing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-registered ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 to exposed skin and/or clothing (as directed on the product label). During the times mosquitoes are most active you should wear long- sleeve shirts, long pants, socks and shoes. Be sure window and door screens are in good condition to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.

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New Standards Set to Improve Quality and Safety for Child Care in California

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services  |  2016-09-29

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) announced new quality and safety standards aimed at providing for higher quality care and safer environments for millions of children, including our youngest learners.

The rule, which implements bipartisan legislation signed by President Obama in 2014, sets higher standards for states, territories and tribes receiving federal funds through the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program in important areas such as health and safety requirements; training and professional development for child care providers; and eligibility rules that better support working families.

In 2016, California received $601,597,737 in federal funding through the CCDF program, which each month serves 111,400 children (78,100 families).

Last year, the Federal government provided over $5 billion to states, territories and tribes to help 850,000 working families pay for child care and to support quality improvements for providers that serve our neediest children.  CCDF serves approximately 1.4 million children each month, a majority of whom are children under the age of five.  The new rule protects the health and safety of children, helps parents make more informed consumer choices, supports early child development for our youngest learners, and enhances the quality of child care for all children. 

All children in one of the 370,000 child care settings across the country that participate in the federal child care program – not just those receiving direct child care assistance from CCDBG – will benefit from new health and safety requirements, staff training requirements, and criminal background checks for staff.  In addition, CCDF quality investments can benefit all children in child care regardless of whether or not they receive federal funding.

We know from U.S. Census data that nearly 12.5 million children under the age of five are in some form of child care arrangement each week.  They spend an average of 36 hours per week in care.  Research, particularly in neuroscience, has shown how much this time matters to our youngest children.  Providing safe, high-quality environments that nurture our youngest children’s healthy growth and development will help them grow, thrive, be successful in school, and even find better jobs and earn more as adults.

“Many parents rely on child care programs, and it is important that their children are cared for in safe learning environments with qualified providers,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “These new standards, which are the result of bipartisan legislation, include robust safety, screening, and training procedures to boost quality, empower parents, and ensure that child care programs promote healthy and positive early childhood development.”

The rule strengthens a number of new provisions in the law and provides needed guidance to states, territories and tribes in a number of areas, including:

  • requiring all staff in child care facilities have mandatory criminal background checks;
  • enhancing the health and safety of children through more robust standards for CCDF providers, including requiring initial and ongoing training and professional development on 10 key topics (e.g. First Aid/CPR, medication administration, SIDS prevention) for the early childhood workforce;
  • disseminating information to help parents choose child care, including through an accessible website;
  • devoting more funding to improve quality across all child care settings; and
  • ensuring CCDF programs are monitored at least annually so children are healthy and safe in child care programs.

“This rule continues the historic re-envisioning of the Child Care and Development Fund program and raises the bar so that low-income parents will know their children are safe, learning, and on the path to future success in school and life,” said Linda Smith, deputy assistant secretary for early learning at ACF. “Child care is both an economic support for working parents and an early learning program for millions of children.  It’s critical to our nation’s future that we get this right.”

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CDPH Urges New Tuberculosis Screening Recommendations

Source: California Department of Public Health  |  2016-09-08

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith has urged health care providers to adopt new recommendations recently announced by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force calling for adults 18 years of age or older who are at increased risk of tuberculosis (TB) to be screened for the disease.

Those considered to be at increased risk of TB include individuals born in countries with elevated rates of the disease and individuals who live in settings with a large number of people, like group homes or homeless shelters.

“I urge health care providers in the state to adopt these new screening recommendations as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Smith. “Local health departments should work with providers to ensure that today’s new recommendations are implemented. Today’s recommendations, if universally adopted, can help us eliminate TB in California in the next few decades.”

Evidence shows that screening of individuals at increased risk for TB is an effective method for preventing the development of TB disease.

TB is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs but can also attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine and brain. It can be spread through the air from one person to another by coughing, sneezing or speaking.

When TB bacteria actively grow in people and cause symptoms, the condition is known as TB disease and can be deadly. People with TB disease can infect others. The bacteria can also be inactive, causing no symptoms and held in check by the immune system. This condition is known as latent TB.

Elimination of TB in California is possible by detecting and treating latent TB infection before it progresses to infectious TB disease.

In California, an estimated 2.4 million people have latent TB infection. In 2015, 2,137 people were diagnosed with TB disease in the state.

Health care providers can consult with their local health departments to develop specific plans for screening their patient populations. The CDPH Tuberculosis Control Branch provides technical assistance to local health departments and health plans to implement tuberculosis prevention efforts.

CDPH has developed the California Risk Assessment Screening Tool to help health care providers to quickly identify people at risk for developing the disease and also a fact sheet that offers suggested courses of treatment.

For more information on TB, please visit www.cdph.ca.gov.

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Send Your Children Back to School Protected from Serious Disease

Source: California Department of Public Health  |  2016-08-18

With the arrival of back-to-school season, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) urges parents and guardians to ensure their children are current on vaccines. Immunizations protect against a number of serious and potentially life-threatening diseases.

“Getting children all of the vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children from serious diseases,” said Dr. Karen Smith, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer. “If you haven’t done so already, check with your child’s doctor to find out what vaccines your child needs. Vaccinations are the best way to ensure that students are protected against serious and preventable diseases, including measles.”

When children are not vaccinated, they are at increased risk for contracting diseases and can also spread diseases to other people, including students in their classrooms and both children and adults within their communities. Babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated, and people with weakened immune systems due to cancer or other health conditions are especially susceptible.

California law requires students to receive certain immunizations in order to attend public and private elementary and secondary schools as well as licensed child care centers. Schools and licensed child care centers are required to enforce immunization requirements, maintain immunization records of all children enrolled, and report student immunization status to CDPH.

Talk to your child’s doctor to find out which vaccines are recommended for them before going back to school.

Visit www.ShotsforSchool.org for more information on immunization laws and required vaccinations.

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Now is the Time to Lean Up

Source: Spare Time Clubs  |  2016-08-18

Free 8-Week Wellness Program for Area Residents

Now is the time to take advantage of a great opportunity to change your life and get healthier. It is time to Lean Up!

“Lean Up” is designed by fitness professionals for people who have had a lifelong struggle to be fit and healthy. This is a life-changing program for those who need it most.

Those individuals selected for the 8-week fitness program will participate in a small group boot camp three days a week, meet with a personal trainer once a week, attend a nutrition and motivational group meeting, and enjoy other fitness activities at one of 10 participating sports clubs.  In addition, “Lean Up” team members receive a membership at their host club.  From September 12 through November 4, 2016 selected participants will enjoy free, unlimited access to the club and all its amenities.

At www.LeanUp.net you can read first person accounts about how this program has inspired past participants to change their lives.

All area residents are welcome to apply. Selected applicants will offer their most compelling reasons for wanting to dedicate themselves to this life-changing commitment. Those deserving participants will receive the program absolutely free. Anyone 13 and over is welcome to apply, although individuals under 18 must obtain parental consent.  All selected participants must receive medical clearance from their health care provider.

Applications are available for Lean Up 2016. This free wellness program, now in its 8th season, is for area residents seeking to get healthier and more fit.  The program, which begins September 12, 2016, is open for all to apply, but limited to 225 participants.

Applications are available online at www.LeanUp.net or at participating Spare Time Clubs. The deadline to apply is August 31, 2016. So come on people -- Let's get lean!

Apply on-line at www.LeanUp.net and at the following area locations: Gold River Racquet Club in Gold River, Rio del Oro Racquet Club or Natomas Racquet Club in Sacramento, or Johnson Ranch Racquet Club in Roseville. Look for other locations for your area.

Spare Time Clubs owns and operates 13 multi-purpose sports clubs located in the Greater Sacramento Metropolitan Area, Lodi and Oakley.  Founded in 1973 by William M. Campbell III and his wife Margie, Spare Time Clubs specializes in providing state-of-the-art fitness programming, sports facilities and individual services for every member of the family.

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CDPH Reports Record-Low Birth Rates Among Adolescents

Source: California Department of Public Health  |  2016-08-11

The birth rate among adolescents decreased among all racial and ethnic groups between 2000 and 2014.

California’s birth rate among adolescents has continued to decline to record-low levels, reports California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. The state’s 2014 numbers indicate a record low of 20.8 births per 1,000 females between the ages of 15 and 19. Those numbers reflect a 10 percent decline from 2013 and a 55 percent decline from the 2000 rate of 46.7.

“California’s continued success in reducing births among adolescents is an excellent example of public health at work,” said Dr. Smith. “We can have a positive influence on the lives of young people when we empower them with knowledge, tools and resources to make healthy choices.”

The birth rate among adolescents decreased among all racial and ethnic groups between 2000 and 2014. During this time, the birth rate dropped from 77.3 to 31.3 (births per 1,000 females aged 15 to 19) among Hispanics, 59.1 to 24.6 among African Americans, 22.3 to 8.4 among Whites and 15.0 to 3.7 among Asians.

Despite these declining birth rates, racial disparities persist in adolescent childbearing in California. African American and Hispanic adolescents are three to four times as likely to give birth as White females. In addition, the birth rate among adolescents varies considerably across counties, from a low of 7.0 in Marin County to a high of 45.1 in Kern County.

California has a number of programs aimed at preventing adolescent pregnancy and improving pregnancy outcomes among young women. CDPH funds the Information and Education Program, the Personal Responsibility Education Program authorized through the Affordable Care Act of 2010, and the Adolescent Family Life Program for expectant and parenting adolescents. In addition, the state provides no-cost family planning services to eligible men and women, including adolescents, through the Family PACT Program.

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CDPH Confirms First Human West Nile Virus Death of 2016

Source: California Department of Public Health  |  2016-08-11

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith today announced the first confirmed death in California due to West Nile virus (WNV). The deceased person was a senior citizen in Sacramento County.

“West Nile virus can cause a deadly infection in humans, and the elderly are particularly susceptible, as this unfortunate fatality illustrates,” said Dr. Smith. “West Nile virus activity in the state is increasing, so I urge Californians to take every possible precaution to protect themselves against mosquito bites.”

CDPH has reported ten human cases of WNV from eight California counties this year. In addition, 764 dead birds from 26 counties have tested positive for WNV in 2016 and 1,487 mosquito samples from 30 counties have also tested positive for WNV this year.

The number of WNV positive dead birds and mosquito samples exceeds the numbers at this same time last year and are above the state’s most recent five-year average.

West Nile virus is influenced by many factors, including climate, the number and types of birds and mosquitoes in an area and the level of WNV immunity in birds. West Nile is transmitted to humans and animals by the bite of an infected mosquito. The risk of serious illness to most people is low. However, some individuals – less than 1 percent – can develop serious neurologic illnesses such as encephalitis or meningitis.

People 50 years of age and older and individuals with diabetes or hypertension have a higher chance of getting sick and are more likely to develop complications.

CDPH recommends that individuals protect against mosquito bites and WNV by practicing the “Three Ds”:

  1. DEET – Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 according to label instructions. Repellents keep the mosquitoes from biting you. Insect repellents should not be used on children under two months of age.

  2. DAWN AND DUSK – Mosquitoes usually bite in the early morning and evening so it is important to wear proper clothing and repellent if outside during these times. Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.

  3. DRAIN – Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, by emptying flower pots, old car tires, buckets, and other containers. If you know of a swimming pool that is not being properly maintained, please contact your local mosquito and vector control agency.

California’s West Nile virus website includes the latest information on WNV activity in the state. Californians are encouraged to report dead birds on the website or by calling toll-free 1-877-WNV-BIRD (968-2473).

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