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CDPH in the News, January 2017

CDPH in the News

California Department of Public Health Reports Widespread Flu Activity that is More Severe than Last Year

from Sierra Sun Times

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith reported today that the state is experiencing widespread influenza activity that is more severe than last year due to significantly higher numbers of hospitalizations and outbreaks throughout the state. CDPH has also received the first report of a death associated with influenza in a child younger than 18 years of age. The death occurred in Riverside County. "This is a tragic reminder that the flu is a serious illness for people of all ages and kills thousands of Americans each year," said Dr. Smith. "If you haven’t been immunized yet this season, getting flu shots for you and your family now can still help protect you this winter."
Since the beginning of the influenza season, CDPH has received reports of 14 influenza-associated deaths, including the child in Riverside. This count represents a fraction of the total flu deaths statewide because only deaths in people younger than 65 are reported to the state and not all influenza-related deaths are easily attributable to influenza.
Hospitals statewide have been impacted by a surge in influenza patients, and hospitalizations for pneumonia and influenza at Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Northern California during the week ending January 7 reached 10.2 percent, the highest level recorded in 10 years. CDPH has also received reports of 83 influenza outbreaks, mostly in long-term care facilities, more than twice the reports received in recent years.

Why are a handful of measles cases an ‘outbreak’?

from KPCC

Los Angeles County’s public health department said Friday that it has confirmed two more measles cases, bringing to nine the number it has identified in the outbreak that it says began a month ago.
So why does such a small number of cases constitute an outbreak?
Public Health says it declared an outbreak because “the number of cases is definitely greater than expected and the majority of confirmed cases are epidemiologically linked.” The criteria for defining an outbreak depend on the particular disease. For “uncommon conditions,” the department says, an outbreak could be “two or more cases that are connected by social, environmental or geographical circumstance.”
While the department says there have been sporadic cases in the past 20 months, this is the first measles outbreak in L.A. County since the one that began at the Disney theme parks in Dec. 2014. By the time that outbreak was contained in April 2015, the California Department of Public Health had confirmed 136 cases statewide.

Genomic sequencing gives insight into Shigella outbreaks

from United Press International

Researchers have sequenced and analyzed genomes from Shigella sonnei bacteria associated with major shigellosis outbreaks in California in 2014 and 2015. Shigellosis causes abdominal pain, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems and results in roughly 500,000 infections, 6,000 hospitalizations and 70 deaths in the United States each year.
A team from UC Davis and the California Department of Public Health conducted the first major whole-genome study of S. sonnei strains in North America to gain insight into how the bacteria acquired virulence and antibiotic resistance, and to show the California strains’ relationship to other strains throughout the world.

California SNF fined $100k over safety violations that led to patient’s death

from Becker’s Hospital Review

The State of California has fined Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, a skilled nursing facility in San Francisco, $100,000 after an investigation by the California Department of Public Health found safety violations that were a proximate cause of a patient’s death.
The safety violations occurred Nov. 26, 2014. According to the investigation report, a nurse assistant failed to lock both wheels of a patient’s wheelchair while on an outing to a movie theater and then left the patient unattended. The wheelchair rolled off the curb and the patient landed face-first on the ground. The patient, who had dementia and other chronic conditions, suffered severe injuries, including a face laceration, hip fractures and internal head bleeding, and died Dec. 10, 2014. According to the California Department of Public Health, $100,000 is the maximum fine state regulators can impose under state law.

California hospitals with high rates of HAIs have not been inspected in years, investigation finds

from Becker’s Hospital Review

While California law requires hospitals to be inspected every three years, 131 hospitals in the state have not been inspected in five years, and 80 of those hospitals have high rates of hospital-acquired infections, according to a petition filed by Consumers Union covered by the Los Angeles Times.
California does not require hospitals to report patient infections with certain rare superbugs nor does it require these facilities to report deaths resulting from HAIs. In order to identify hospitals in the state with troubling infection patterns, the national nonprofit Consumers Union looked at rates of a few HAIs that must be reported under a 2008 law. The pathogens included in the nonprofits analysis were methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium difficile. While Consumers Union said the data is not comprehensive, it has revealed which hospitals have struggled with controlling infections.
“It’s time to start looking at these hospitals that have significantly higher infection rates and do something that makes them accountable,” said Lisa McGiffert, director of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project, according to the LA Times. The petition requests the state investigate hospitals with high infection rates and enforce penalties for safety violations. The state must either respond to the petition in writing or hold a public hearing on the matter. According to the LA Times, the California Department of Public Health said it would respond within 30 days.

CDPH in the News December 2016

CDPH in the News

Tyler Technologies Enables Sonoma County, California, to Digitize Marriage License Signatures

from Yahoo!

Tyler Technologies, Inc. (TYL) today announced a new offering in partnership with the Sonoma County Clerk and Recorder’s Office in California, which is using Tyler’s Eagle Recorder™ software to electronically print staff signatures on marriage licenses. Sonoma County is leading the charge in making this offering possible because of Eagle Recorder’s robust and intuitive capabilities.
Over the past several months, the Sonoma County Clerk and Recorder’s Office has led a pilot program in collaboration with the California Department of Public Health to print marriage licenses with digitized signatures of the issuing and registering clerks, thereby automating a once manual process. Sonoma is the first county in California to begin offering this service for county staff.

California Residents Learn About Common Asthma Triggers Found in Homes

from wEBwIRE

According to a report prepared by the Environmental Health Investigations Branch of the California Department of Public Health, approximately five million Californians have been diagnosed with asthma at some point in their lives. The report states that almost three million residents currently have asthma and that over one in five are considered to have very poorly controlled asthma.
"Understanding environmental triggers that can cause an asthma attack is important for those who suffer from the condition," said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager of LA Testing’s Huntington Beach facility. "At LA Testing, we offer comprehensive air testing services, sampling supplies and test kits for known allergens and asthma triggers. Indoor testing allows people to understand what they are being exposed to so they can take steps to mitigate or avoid exposure risks at home, school or in the workplace."

California’s Menu Labeling Law Takes Effect December 1, 2016, Months Ahead of FDA Enforcement

from Lexology

Eight years after being signed into law, California’s menu labeling law will finally go into effect on December 1, 2016. While FDA has delayed enforcement of the federal menu labeling standard until May 5, 2017, California’s Department of Public Health confirms that local health departments may begin inspecting restaurants subject to the statewide standard as early as December 1, 2016. The California Department of Public Health has recommended, however, that local health departments work with restaurants on complying with the law and not issue violations during the first six months of enactment.
In 2008, California became the first state in the U.S. to pass a menu labeling law requiring the disclosure of calorie information on restaurant menus and menu boards. The law initially applied only to chain restaurants that had at least 20 locations in the state and was set to take effect in 2011. After Congress passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, however, the California legislature repealed its original menu labeling law and replaced it with a new version that was identical to the menu labeling provisions of the ACA. California also delayed implementation of its statewide standard until the compliance date of the federal FDA rule.

California Department of Public Health encourages caution around wild mushrooms

from SF Examiner

In the wake of recent wet weather, Dr. Karen Smith, the Director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), is reminding Californians that picking and consuming wild mushrooms may not be a good idea unless you’re an expert. "It is difficult to distinguish between wild mushrooms that are poisonous and those which are safe to eat," said Dr. Smith. "Wild mushrooms should not be eaten unless they have been carefully examined and determined to be edible by a mushroom expert." According to data collected by CDPH, 679 cases of people ingesting mushrooms and subsequently becoming ill were reported between Nov. 2015 to Oct. 2016.

County receives $40k for campaigns to educate public about Zika

from Valley News

The Board of Supervisors signed off on a Riverside County Department of Public Health request to accept $40,000 in federal funding for education campaigns intended to help residents protect themselves against the Zika virus Tuesday, Dec. 13. In a 4-0 vote without comment, the board approved the health department’s plan to utilize $24,000 for education efforts in the current fiscal year and $16,000 in 2017-18.
The funds were distributed by the California Department of Public Health but originated from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, according to documents posted to the board’s policy agenda. The countywide education campaigns will highlight "measures to reduce mosquito breeding sources," according to a health department statement.

CDPH in the News, November 2016

CDPH in the News

The rise in Sacramento County STDs and the condom dilemma
from ABC-10

Sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in California for the second year in a row. A California Department of Public Health report shows cases are increasing at a faster pace than in the rest of the country. I spoke with Staci Syas, Sacramento County’s STD/HIV program manager for the Department of Health and Human Services about the challenges that public health experts face when it comes to STDs.
"Syphilis was actually an STD that in the late 90’s the public health community thought we could actually eradicate," Syas said. Since 2014, Syphilis increased by 9 percent nationally but in California it rose by 29 percent. Gonorrhea jumped 20 percent in the state and Chlamydia is at its highest level since reporting was mandated in 1990. Especially concerning are stats on young women, ages 15 to 24, accounting for 63 percent of Chlamydia cases and 51 percent of Gonorrhea.
Cheri Greven at Planned Parenthood says, "California received a report in August that says teen pregnancy is down 55 percent since 2000, which is a huge deal, but what we’re finding is misinformation of (patients who) think they’re on the pill and protected." In other words, people are using birth control to avoid pregnancy but not wearing condoms to avoid STDs.

Cases of dog bites on the rise in California
from ABC-10

The vast majority of animal bites in the United States are inflicted by dogs, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). California has specifically seen an increase in dog-bites especially during the past 11 years.
The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) compiles data every year based upon dealing with the number of Emergency department treat and release visits due to dog-bites. From the six-year span of 2005 to 2010 the California statewide number saw a total of 181,618 people visit the Emergency department, but in just the past five years from 2011 to 2015 the total is 187,448. From data received in 2011, Pit bull terrier’s (29 percent), German Shepherd or Shepherd mixes (15 percent) and Chihuahuas (11 percent) were the three breeds most frequently reported in bite incidents, according to the report.

Can Facebook Improve Longevity? Moderate Use Of Social Media Network May Lead To Longer Life, Study Finds
from Inquisitr

According to a new study, moderate use of Facebook can improve longevity. Yes, as bizarre as it may sound, science how now shown that a certain amount of Facebook may actually lead to a longer life. This particular Facebook study, which was conducted by a team of researchers led by William Hobbs and James Fowler at the University of California-San Diego, was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). As Ashley Welch of CBS News reports, the study looked at 12 million California-based Facebook users, and their records were then juxtaposed with California Department of Public Health vital records.
Among the selected Facebook users, the aspects that were studied included their number of friends, as well as other typical Facebook functions, such as the frequency of status updates, photos posted, friend requests, timeline postings, sent and received messages, etc. As also reported by Welch, it was found that Facebook users were approximately 12 percent less likely to die in a given year.
When it comes to the real world, the study further explains that previous research has shown that those who have many friends and strong social bonds to their community usually live longer. Right up until now, there has been a question as to whether or not this translates to the online world.

Those Halloween devil eyes could be ‘sight-threatening’E
from Fresno Bee

Anyone planning to wear colored contact lenses on Halloween should heed a warning from eye-care professionals: Decorative contacts that have not been properly fitted could damage your eyes. Wearing any kind of contact lens requires proper fitting. Lenses that are too loose or too tight can cause damage by rubbing against the cornea, the transparent front part of the eye.
"The risks include infection, ulcers, decreased vision, cuts or scratches to the surface of the eye, itchiness or redness. If these conditions are left untreated, the injuries can progress rapidly. In severe cases, blindness and eye loss can occur," warns Dr. Karen Smith, California’s public health officer.
Decorative contact lenses often are sold at beauty supply and novelty stores, the California Department of Public Health said. But the sale of contact lenses without a prescription is illegal. Only licensed optometrists and ophthalmologists can prescribe contact lenses and registered opticians and optical shops can fill the prescriptions.

Columbia doesn’t meet California group’s standard for drinking water
from The Missourian

If you don’t filter your drinking water, you might want to give it some serious thought. Columbia’s [Missouri] drinking water contains 1.3 parts per billion of chromium-6 and 0.0499 parts per million of trihalomethane, both associated with cancer. Chromium-6 and chlorine-chloramine disinfection cycles have been making news lately due to a report by the Environmental Working Group, which called for stricter chromium-6 regulations, and a widely circulated September Facebook post by environmental activist Erin Brockovich that named Columbia as a city with dangerously high levels of trihalomethane because of its use of chlorine for disinfecting drinking water.
Columbia’s water tested at 1.3 parts per billion, placing the city above many major metropolitan areas across the U.S., including Omaha, Nebraska, Los Angeles, Chicago, Oklahoma City, Washington, D.C., New York, Denver and Dallas to name a few. Kansas City’s Chromium 6 level at 2.5 parts per billion is above Columbia’s, but St. Louis falls below. California Department of Public Health scientists believe the limit for chromium-6 alone should be 0.02 parts per billion, or 50 times less than what the Environmental Protection Agency deems safe.

141 Things You Can Learn About Your Community in Just 3 Clicks

Use Community Commons to quickly build a report about any state, county, or group of counties in the USA! Within a minute or so, you will see information on 141 indicators (as of today) including health outcomes, physical environment, clinical care, social and economic factors, and demographics. Use this information for assessment, case-making, advocacy, grant applications, presentations and much more.

Information can be displayed as a table, pie chart, map, or downloaded to Excel.

To get started click here.


Webcast: BD2K Open Data Science Symposium

Big Data to Knowledge

Open Data Science Symposium: How Open Data and Open Science are Transforming Biomedical Research; Details at http://event.capconcorp.com/wp/bd2k-odss/

The Open Data Science Symposium is open to the public and will be available through a webcast.

Big Data is an underutilized resource for innovation and discovery in biomedical research and the NIH is committed to unleashing its full potential by making it an open and easily accessible resource. The Open Data Science Symposium will feature discussions with the leaders in big data, open science, and biomedical research while also showcasing the finalists of the Open Data Science Prize, a worldwide competition to harness the innovative power of open data.

Please Register for the Open Data Science Symposium by November 18, 2016.

Registration is free.

Who Should Attend:

Join us for this meeting if you are interested in:

  • Learning how NIH and other agencies are utilizing new models and funding approaches to support open innovation and open science
  • Exploring the challenges, opportunities, and implications of a changing biomedical research landscape in which openness is the default across the globe
  • Seeking to use open data in your own research and looking for inspiration from international teams who have developed award-winning prototypes
  • Watching live demos of all six Open Science Prize semifinalists, and participating in the awards process through casting your vote for your favorite innovation

Event Highlights:

  • Dialogue between current NIH Director, Dr. Francis Collins, and former NIH and former NCI Director, Dr. Harold Varmus, on open science at the National Institutes of Health
  • Live demonstrations of six award-winning prototypes developed by international teams competing for the Open Science Prize.
  • Panel discussion on new models for advancing data sharing capability through innovative infrastructure and initiatives with perspectives from leading international organizations such as ELIXIR, Wellcome Trust, and Global Alliance for Genomics and Health.
  • Keynote by John Wilbanks, Chief Commons Officer at Sage Bionetworks, who has been named by Seed Magazine as one of the “revolutionary minds” and featured in Scientific American for his visionary thinking.


This symposium is funded through the NIH Big Data to Knowledge Initiative, which was launched in December 2013 as a trans-NIH program with funding from all 27 Institutes and Centers as well as the NIH Common Fund.

The Open Science Prize is made possible through a collaboration between NIH and the Wellcome Trust. The Howard Hughes Medical institute is also contributing funds for this effort.

CDPH in the News, October 2016

CDPH in the News

New Report has California Residents Concerned over Hexavalent Chromium in Water Supplies

from Web Wire

A new report issued by the Environmental Working Group made national headlines last month. The report found what the group believes to be potentially dangerous levels of hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) in the tap water of 218 million Americans. The report indicates that hexavalent chromium was present at or above 0.03 parts per billion (ppb) in 75% of water samples taken between 2013 and 2015 by local water utilities. It was also discovered that seven million Americans have tap water with levels over California’s legal limit of 10 ppb. California’s legal limit was established in 2014 when the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced regulations establishing the first-in-the-nation drinking water standard for hexavalent chromium.

The fight against Zika: What it takes to avoid raising mosquitoes in your backyard

from San Gabriel Valley Tribune

How do you make it socially unacceptable to raise mosquitoes in your backyard?
At first blush, that doesn’t seem so hard, but what it means is convincing Southland residents to make “hard choices” to remove backyard birdbaths and all saucers beneath plants, Kenn K. Fujioka, manager of the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District, said Thursday at a briefing about the Zika virus. The two species that carry the Zika virus can breed in “very small sources of water,” Fujioka, said. “A bottle-cap is enough.”
In San Bernardino, possible Zika-carrying mosquitoes have been found only Colton, Montclair and Upland, according to the California Department of Public Health website. Among the Riverside County locations where at least one of the carrier mosquitoes have been found are Corona and Riverside, the state website says.

‘A Dire Situation’ Skilled nursing closures threaten ‘every household’

from North Coast Journal

As your former legislative representatives in Sacramento, we want the community to know how appalled we are by the pending closures of three skilled nursing facilities in Humboldt County. Rockport Management, which manages the five skilled nursing facilities owned by Brius Healthcare Services in Humboldt County, is planning to simultaneously close three facilities in Eureka by March of next year. The closures would reduce the number of beds by 258, or 60 percent. But most devastating, it would have the catastrophic effect of moving hundreds of elderly, poor and vulnerable individuals out of the county to other facilities at this time unknown. And, at this point, there is no guarantee other facilities would be willing or able to receive our local residents. There have been a number of stakeholder meetings in the district, and formal requests have been made to the California Department of Public Health to reject Rockport’s closure and relocation plan to give more time to develop contingency plans to ensure patient safety.

STD rates hit 20-year high in California

from San Luis Obispo Tribune

California’s rate of sexually transmitted diseases is at a 20-year high. The California Department of Public Health said the state ranks first for syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and congenital syphilis. And the rates are up for the second year in a row. “Cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia are going up in California at a concerning rate,” Dr. Karen Smith, director of the California Department of Public Health, said Tuesday. “This is the second year in a row that we have seen increases in all three diseases.”
The report found an 11.6 percent increase in STDs from 2014, with a total of 249,224 reportable cases in California for 2015. State health officials cite less condom use, people having sex with more partners and barriers to care and testing as reasons for the rising STD rates. Improved reporting of the diseases by public health agencies could also be a contributing factor, the state said.

Exide, state fight over lead contamination data

from 89.3 KPCC

Exide Technologies is suing the California Department of Public Health to obtain more data about the sources of lead contamination around its former battery recycling plant in Vernon. The state is pushing back, arguing that releasing the information would threaten the privacy rights of lead-poisoned children. Exide says it’s seeking the data so it can more accurately evaluate lead contamination in the community and its potential sources. Critics suggest the suit is an attempt by Exide to dodge financial responsibility for the lead cleanup around its facility.
Exide filed its suit in April. In a statement to KPCC, the company says the state Department of Public Health had previously released “incomplete information, which Exide believes has portrayed an inaccurate picture of the extent and sources of lead impacts, and has led to inaccurate statements by others about the situation.” Its lawyer declined requests for an interview.

2016 Ig Nobel Winners Announced !!

The 2016 Ig Nobel Prize winners were recently announced. Each year, scientists (and others) vie (or are chosen without their knowledge or consent) for this sought-after prize.

This year’s winners include:

REPRODUCTION PRIZE [EGYPT] — The lateAhmed Shafik, for studying the effects of wearing polyester, cotton, or wool trousers on the sex life of rats, and for conducting similar tests with human males. REFERENCE: “Effect of Different Types of Textiles on Sexual Activity. Experimental study,” Ahmed Shafik, European Urology, vol. 24, no. 3, 1993, pp. 375-80. REFERENCE: “Contraceptive Efficacy of Polyester-Induced Azoospermia in Normal Men,” Ahmed Shafik, Contraception, vol. 45, 1992, pp. 439-451.

MEDICINE PRIZE [GERMANY] — Christoph Helmchen, Carina Palzer, Thomas Münte, Silke Anders, and Andreas Sprenger, for discovering that if you have an itch on the left side of your body, you can relieve it by looking into a mirror and scratching the right side of your body (and vice versa). REFERENCE: “Itch Relief by Mirror Scratching. A Psychophysical Study,” Christoph Helmchen, Carina Palzer, Thomas F. Münte, Silke Anders, Andreas Sprenger, PLoS ONE, vol. 8, no 12, December 26, 2013, e82756.

PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE [BELGIUM, THE NETHERLANDS, GERMANY, CANADA, USA] — Evelyne Debey, Maarten De Schryver, Gordon Logan, Kristina Suchotzki, and Bruno Verschuere, for asking a thousand liars how often they lie, and for deciding whether to believe those answers. REFERENCE: “From Junior to Senior Pinocchio: A Cross-Sectional Lifespan Investigation of Deception,” Evelyne Debey, Maarten De Schryver, Gordon D. Logan, Kristina Suchotzki, and Bruno Verschuere, Acta Psychologica, vol. 160, 2015, pp. 58-68.

PERCEPTION PRIZE [JAPAN] — Atsuki Higashiyama and Kohei Adachi, for investigating whether things look different when you bend over and view them between your legs. REFERENCE: “Perceived size and Perceived Distance of Targets Viewed From Between the Legs: Evidence for Proprioceptive Theory,” Atsuki Higashiyama and Kohei Adachi, Vision Research, vol. 46, no. 23, November 2006, pp. 3961–76.

… and several more.

Enjoy science!

CDPH in the News, September 2016

CDPH in the News

Public health officials upgrade Isabella algae warnings

from Bakersfield.com

The Kern County Department of Public Health has raised its water contact advisory from “warning” to “danger” for the Kissack Cove area of Lake Isabella, and has issued a new warning at Isabella’s Paradise Cove.
One week after it posted cautionary notices at three locations due to the discovery of potentially harmful blue-green algae in parts of Isabella Lake and the Kern River, the department said in a news release Wednesday that further sampling has indicated toxins produced from blue-green algae are indeed present in the Kissack Cove area of Isabella at levels that warrant raising the notice from warning to danger.
A separate news release from the California Department of Public Health indicates Kern is hardly alone in experiencing this seasonal phenomenon. Since June of this year, blue-green algae blooms have been identified in more than two dozen freshwater reservoirs, lakes and streams statewide.

State rejects closure plans for 3 Eureka nursing homes

from Times Standard

The California Department of Public Health has rejected Rockport Healthcare Services’ plans to close three of its Eureka nursing homes due to low staffing, stating the plans did not properly address health impacts to patients.
“If it is your intent to close Seaview Rehabilitation & Wellness Center, Pacific Rehabilitation & Wellness Center, and Eureka Rehabilitation & Wellness Center, please submit new closure plans that adequately addressed the issues as outlined in this correspondence,” the department states in a Thursday letter to Rockport Healthcare Services.
However, that does not mean that the closures are completely off the table.

Immunization law targets school vaccination exemptions

from Richmond Confidential

California’s new immunization law, which went into effect in July, requires students to be fully vaccinated for school unless they have a medical reason and a doctor’s signature to prove it.
The new law shouldn’t be a burden for Richmond families this fall, said West Contra Costa County Unified School District Communications Director Marcus Walton. That’s because it was designed to eliminate so-called personal belief exemptions-which allow parents to forego required vaccines they object to for their children-and few such exemptions were filed in Richmond schools.
But the law does not address the most common reason some students in Richmond schools lack required vaccines: so-called conditional admission. Children who have not been fully vaccinated for their age or grade can start school “conditionally”-which means they pledge to get vaccinated eventually, but are not fully protected against the infectious diseases vaccines are meant to prevent.
The number of personal belief exemptions filed in Richmond has been historically low. A report released by the California Department of Public Health for the last school year shows that they were filed for just six students in the city’s schools. The tiny Contra Costa town of Byron, by contrast, has one school, Vista Oaks Charter, at which 47 percent of students lacked vaccines due to personal beliefs.

CDPH begins ALD screening in California infants

from Kern Golden Empire

The California Department of Public Health has announced that starting today its Genetic Disease Screening Program will now screen infants for adrenoleukodystrophy. Adrenoleukodystrophy, or ALD, is a progressive neurological disease that is found in roughly one in 20,000 newborn boys. Without care, those afflicted with the disease can quickly die after complications are identified.
ALD complications can include adrenal gland dysfunction, which can cause weight loss, muscle weakness and fatigue. Complications from the disease do not usually occur until after the age of three.

Asian Pacific Islander Health Data Disaggregation Bill Signed into Law

from Christian Daily

A bill that requires California’s Department of Public Health to record the data separately for each Asian and Pacific Islander group was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on Sunday. Current state law already requires certain departments, including the Department of Industrial Relations and the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, to collect data separately for each specific group among Asians and Pacific Islanders when conducting decennial census reports. This bill, AB 1726, would include the Department of Public Health in that existing law. Advocates who have been pushing for this legislation have said that the law would help to close disparities in health needs among Asian and Pacific Islanders.

First ever state hearing on aquaculture to be held in Bodega Bay next week

from Lake County News

Sen. Mike McGuire, chairman of the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture, and Congressman Jared Huffman will convene a special hearing on Tuesday, Oct. 4, at the Bodega Marine Laboratory to take an in-depth look at the aquaculture industry in California, as well as receive an update on the outlook for the upcoming Dungeness and rock crab seasons. This hearing will be the first time that the Joint Committee has focused primarily on aquaculture, which can be thought of as “farming in water.”
The farmed fish, oysters and seaweed industry is larger than ever and panelists will explore finfish, shellfish, inland production and perspectives from state agencies. The public is encouraged to attend. The hearing, “Crab Season Outlook for 2016-17 and Modern Aquaculture in California,” will feature testimony and updates on the upcoming crab season and current and anticipated domoic acid levels from representatives with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Department of Public Health and top ocean scientists.

CDPH in the News, August 2016

CDPH in the News

Discovery Bay Water Samples Test Positive for Algae Toxin

from East County Today

Samples taken from the waters around the Discovery Bay community have tested positive for microcystin, a potentially harmful toxin produced by certain algal species, according to laboratory results from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lab in Richmond. Contra Costa Health Services’ Environmental Health Division and the California State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) recommend that people, pets and livestock avoid contact with water around Discovery Bay until further notice. State health officials, including the California Department of Public Health, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, and the State Water Board, have been working with local authorities to ensure that accurate caution and danger messages are available to post where needed in the community.

Big Tobacco aims its guns to kill California tobacco tax

from The Conversation

Public health and medical advocates have been working for nearly two years to increase California’s tobacco tax, one of the nation’s lowest, by US$2.00. The current tax, a mere 87 cents a pack, ranks close to tobacco-growing states like Kentucky. The proposal that will be on the ballot in November as Proposition 56, the California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016, allocates most of the revenue to pay for expanded medical services for poor people through Medicaid, known as MediCal in California. More important, it includes crucial funds to reinvigorate California’s aggressive and effective, but fading, tobacco control and research programs. Inflation-adjusted expenditures to fight smoking in California have declined; Prop 56 could restore the loss, says Stanton Glantz, using data from California Department of Public Health and Legislative Analyst.

County-USC patients’ personal information stolen in car break-in

from Los Angeles Times

Files containing personal information on more than 700 patients treated at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center were stolen when an employee’s car was broken into, county health officials said Monday. The break-in occurred in July. The county Department of Health Services released a statement after trying to notify the affected patients by mail. The files stolen from the car contained appointment lists for people who were treated at the County-USC neurosurgery clinic between May 10 and July 26, according to the statement. The documents did not contain Social Security numbers or financial information, but did include patients’ full names, birth dates, telephone numbers and details about their scheduled appointments, including diagnosis information in some cases. Health services also notified the California Department of Public Health and will notify the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, according to the statement.

Teen birth rates tumble in Sonoma County, but cultural disparities persist

from Sonoma Index-Tribune

Lost in the recent good news about declining birth rates among California teens is a Sonoma County statistic that has some local health experts scratching their heads. In the past 15 years, the county’s overall teen birth rate has been cut in half, declining to 13.9 births for every 1,000 teens. But a wide disparity remains for birth rates for white teens and Latina teens. For white teens, the birth rate is only 4.5 births per 1,000 teens, far lower than the state’s rate of 8.4 births for white teens. In contrast, the birth rate for local Latina teens is 27.7 births per 1,000 teens, very close to the state average of 31.3 births for Latina teens.
The reason for this disparity is difficult to pinpoint. Across the state, teen birth rates also dropped sharply among all racial and ethnic groups between 2000 and 2014. The birth rate dropped from 77.3 to 31.3 births per 1,000 teens among Latina teens; 59.1 to 24.6 births for African-American teens; 22.3 to 8.4 births for white teens; and 15.0 to 3.7 births for Asian teens, according to a study by the California Department of Public Health. But the state found racial disparities have actually increased during that period, with black and Latina teens three to four times more likely to give birth than white teens.

Health officials warn of Shigella infections in Southern California

from Your Central Valley

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and southern California health officials are investigating a cluster of Shigella infections. Shigella is a type of bacteria that causes shigellosis, a diarrheal disease. Health officials say the infections are predominantly affecting men who have sex with other men. As of last Thursday, the health department identified 14 men infected with an uncommon strain of Shigella.

California audit identifies state government waste, misuse

from SFGate

A California state district engineer approved $3.9 million in payments to the firm that employed the worker’s spouse and the state public health department improperly reimbursed an official $75,000 for driving to work, according to an audit released Thursday. The findings are the result of whistleblower tips investigated within the first six months of the year. The report details seven substantiated investigations from several state agencies, and identifies $400,000 in undisclosed gifts and wasted money due to improper travel expenses and mismanagement.
Auditors could not identify a cost to the state by the actions of the district engineer who violated conflict-of-interest law when the engineer, from 2010 through 2015, participated in decisions that financially benefited an engineering firm that employed the engineer’s spouse. They found the engineer approved dozens of claims seeking payment by the engineering firm totaling $3.9 million. Supervisors in the drinking water program knew of the spouse’s employment, but did not think it would affect the engineer’s work, according to the report.
The drinking water program started with the California Department of Public Health but moved to the Water Resources Control Board in July 2014. A spokesman for the water board said his department has always separated financial payments from project decisions, and sought to bring the drinking water program in line when they identified the differences.

Embase database: 30 million citations in biomedicine, health, pharmacology, and more.

Embase is a biomedical and pharmacological database with over 30 million citations. Don’t forget to use Embase, and not solely PubMed, when doing literature reviews on health topics.

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Besides strong coverage in pharmacology and toxicology (including economic evaluations), Embase covers biochemistry, biomedical engineering & medical devices, clinical medicine, genetics, healthcare policy & management, infectious diseases, microbiology, molecular biology, and occupational and environmental health. Over 8,500 journals from over 90 countries are indexed, as well as conference abstracts from over 6,000 conferences.

Use Embase’s indexing system, Emtree (pdf), to build strong and precise searches, particularly on disease and drug/substance topics. In addition, Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Numbers are generated for all drug/substance terms in each citation.

Use Embase off-campus via proxy server or VPN. Use UC-eLinks to get full text of articles. elinks

For help learning how to search Embase,  download this quick guide (pdf).

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