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News From The Health Officer

Updated June 25, 2014



It's almost time for swimming...  it's never the right time for drowning!  Here is some good information from our friends at the State Department of Health.



There has been an outbreak of E.coli illness related to eating raw clover sprouts in salads or sandwiches.  Produced by Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, LLC of Idaho.  These were distributed to restaurants and food vendors as well as to grocery stores.  If you have any of these products at home, you should throw them out.  Washington DOH news release



Again, there are some cases of both laboratory confirmed and clinically suspect cases of Pertussis in the community.  This is especially important if you are around or care for infants or are pregnant!  (Also grand-parents or others who may be care-givers.)  Vaccination can help minimize the illness and early treatment with antibiotics may help at least reduce the rate of infecting others if not reduce your own illness.  Here is a link to the CDC information about Pertussis.   CDC Pertussis info      For the latest alert, click here.    

     (Distinguish the sounds of various coughs)
             Pertussis Billboard (English) ( En Español)
                    Surround Your Baby With Protection


If you've watched TV lately, you've likely seen ads for Hepatits C screening.   Here's the background, and why it's pretty darn exciting:  It's estimated that 3.2 million people in the US have chronic Hepatitis C and most of them do not know it.  And it's not just folks traditionally considered to be at high risk.  Prior to 1992 (when Hep C was discovered and preventive measures were put in place) baby-boomers (born 1945-65) were young adults and may have been exposed through blood transfusions, in health care settings, through drug use, or sexual activity. 

WHAT HAS CHANGED?:  There is now a comfortable, effective, short course treatment available with oral medication, which allows treatment of the illness and previnting progressive liver disease and liver cancer.  Best of all, since this screening has been recommended by governmental groups, there is a good chance private health insurance may cover this as a no cost preventative program.  It's estimated that if everyone was screened appropriately it could prevent 120,000 premature deaths!    Here's a link to the CDC web site:  CDC Viral Hepatitis C  Consider asking your health care provider if this is appropriate for you!



MERS now in the United States

The Center for Disease Control has confirmed MERS in the US.  Details are here:  CDC Link to MERS

Chicken and Poultry Safety

Raising poultry can be fun and profitable (and good eatin')... just make sure you don't get more than eggs and joy out of the proposition:  Washing hands after handling poultry can go a long way toward staying safe.

Poultry Safety Link


Drug Take Back Day  

On April 26, was a great success!  Oak Harbor Police Department also has a drug take back station which is open 24/7. 


FLU SEASON, 2014 Winding Down

Flu season may finally be winding down, and luckily we had a mild season.  But it is still a miserable way to spend a week or more feeling like every molecule in your body is staging a minor coup.   Flu Shots can help. This year's flu vaccine may have been about 61% effective against this years predominant flu strain.  Likely this same vaccine will be recommended for the 2014-15 flu season as well.   And don't forget what grandma told you as well:  Cover Your Cough, Stay Home When You Are Sick, Wash Your Hands.  And here is a link to the Washington State Health Department about flu shots:  Flu Prevention News Release     The CDC reminds us that flu shots are recommended for everyone over the age of six months, and they can be particularly beneficial for pregnant women and young children.

Health Department Flu Shot Access

 CDC weekly update  (Current Influenza status)

Washington State and Local .

CDC on H7N9 Influenza  There has been a recent death of a Canadian from H7N9 influenza, acquired while in China.  This is not one of the strains accounted for in current vaccine BUT it is also a very low risk for this to be transmitted locally.  This is of note only because it is the first case found in the Americas.



Antibiotic Resistance

is becoming increasingly a problem, especially for certain at risk populations, hospitalized patients, and patients with artificial joints.  Here's a CDC site which discusses the "bad old days" before antibiotics, the magic era of antibiotics, and the unfortunate potential for a world of infection post antibiotic effectiveness.

 Emerging Antibiotic Resistance


West Nile Virus…

Hmmm… Doesn’t  sound like something to mess with.  Here’s some tips on how to avoid being one of our state’s (luckily small) statistics:

west nile virus prevention tips

 West Nile Virus in Washington
(annual reports accumulated daily since 2002)



Vaccinations help prevent illness!  What is your status?   A lot of adults forget about the benefits of keeping current with vaccines. Tdap, yearly influenza, Zoster "shingles" shot, if over age 60 are worth considering.  There are also special situations where other vaccines may be of benefit. has an excellent travel page for vaccinations that may be recommended for travel outside the US, as well as other travel tips for staying healthy.  Health Tips for Travellers

       For more information regarding all vaccines, click here

      Do you know which vaccines you may need?
               Read more about Communicable Disease
                        State-wide Data and Statistical Reports


Healthy Families / Healty Communities

  Region 1 Communicable Disease 2014 Monthly Report
              Pertussis status statewide through 22 June 2013  
                      State Department of Health Newsroom  
                               County Health Ranking  


Health Status Indicators
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services maintains data on Island County Health Status Indicators. All said, we're doing fairly well, but regular exercise is the best medicine. Just do it! 
      Click here for Island County data.  
            Washington State County Health Rankings


Related Links