— UPDATED 17 May 2013 —
Region 1 Communicable Disease 2012 Year-end Report
Region 1 Communicable Disease 2013 Monthly Report
Pertussis status statewide through 4 May 2013
State Department of Health Newsroom
County Health Ranking
Did you know that alcohol based hand cleansers effectively 'sterilize' your hands only temporarily? The static effects are practically gone within just a few minutes. Get into the habit of washing your hands frequently ...and for at least 18-20 seconds (sing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star...")
Fungal Meningitis News: There have been 722 cases in 20 states and 50+ deaths associated with the fungal meningitis outbreak connected to injectable methylprednisolone from New England Compounding Center (NECC). With the exception of one case in Idaho, all cases have occurred in central and eastern states. None of the initial implicated product reached Washington State, and no cases have been reported here. Additional microbial contamination with bacteria and other fungi has been identified in products from NECC during FDA follow-up, but no human illnesses with these other agents have been identified. www.cdc.gov/HAI/outbreaks/meningitis.html
The 'Influenza season' winds down: CDC weekly update
Influenza activity is at its base nationally, in Washington State, and locally. This was the earliest that influenza activity reached the national baseline level since the 2003-2004 flu season. Most isolates were influenza A/H3N2. During this flu season, 3 elderly Island County residents were hospitalized diagnosed with inflluenza, one of whom died.
Every one ages 6 months and older is strongly encouraged to get their influenza vaccine annually as soon as the vaccine becomes available. The vaccine is readily available at local pharmacies on Whidbey and Camano. Please be advised that due to funding constraints, the health department no longer conducts flu shot clinics.
For more information regarding all vaccines, click here
West Nile Virus in Washington
(annual reports accumulated daily since 2002)
Swimming Beach Closure for Cranberry Lake Lifted . . .The west side swim beach of Deception Pass State Park's Cranberry Lake, closed since 2 August 2012, due to persistently elevated levels of biolife harmful to health, has been reopened. The entire lake is now considered safe for swiming and other water related activities,
Travelers to Europe are advised to avoid eating raw tomatoes, fresh cucumbers, and leafy salads, until further notice. They should also follow regular food safety measures when handling fruit and vegetables.
If you have traveled to Germany and have bloody diarrhea and stomach cramps, go to a doctor right away and tell him or her about your recent travel.
The state department of health has completed random sampling of arsenic levels in well water around the state by phoning residents or sending requests for participation in this study to determine what levels of arsenic in drinking water can scientifically be determined to be safe, rather than just arbitrarily assigning 'safe levels' as has been done in setting the current EPA 'safe levels'. Participation in the project was entirely voluntary - you had to "opt-in" to this study. If you elected to participate, you were further informed of the details of the sample collections required. Again, this was entirely a voluntary project.
Radiation Effect Issues:
Any lingering concerns about radiation effects from the Japanese reactor incident are well behind us. Detected levels of I-131 remained well below a level that would normally trigger re-testing, and were but a fraction of a percentage point of the level that would pose a public health concern for a "single point in time exposure". (That standard considers that the risk of drinking 2 liters of water daily for 70 years would increase the risk of cancer by one person in one million.) For local interest, the vast majority of Island County residents get their drinking water from wells or community/municipal water systems — none of which have been affected by the release of radiation in Japan. For further information see the WA State Department of Health "Frequently Asked Questions". Links to other useful information sources:
Radiation Monitoring in Washington State
I-131 in surface water
Emergency Preparedness and Response
Radiation Scale Perspective
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