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Health Alerts

The Snohomish Health District Health Officer Dr. Gary Goldbaum sends alerts via email to local health care providers. Alerts cover current local, regional or national health threats and important updates on medical care and protocols. Alerts are written as needed to cover urgent or emergent health issues.

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Access to health alerts online & arboviral infections & clostridium infections among persons who inject drugs

ACCESS TO HEALTH ALERTS ONLINE

Action requested: Refer to the new Health District website for access to recent health alerts.

Background: The Health District has updated its website to improve public and provider access to health information.  Providers can now find recent health alerts posted at http://www.snohd.org/Providers/Health-Alerts.

 

ARBOVIRAL INFECTIONS

Action requested: Remain alert to possible arboviral infection.

Background: The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has received three reports of West Nile Virus (WNV) this year, including one case acquired in Walla Walla.  A case of equine WNV has been reported from Franklin County.  DOH has also received four reports of Chikungunya infections among Washington residents who visited Haiti.

Recommendations:

  1. Contact the Health District at 425-339-5278 to report WNV or Chikungunya infections and for guidance on testing.
  2. Treatment is supportive for these infections.

See http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/healthCareProviders/ for more information about diagnosis and treatment.

 

CLOSTRIDIUM INFECTIONS AMONG PERSONS WHO INJECT DRUGS

Action requested: Be alert for symptoms of clostridium infection among persons who inject heroin.

Background: Harborview Medical Center is seeing a spike in Clostridium botulinum wound infections among people who inject heroin, suggesting that an infected batch of heroin is being sold in the region.  Classic symptoms of botulism include double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and muscle weakness.  Untreated C. botulinum infection can progress rapidly to respiratory failure and death.

Recommendations:

  1. Among persons who inject drugs, look for signs of infection around injection sites.  In particular, note if there is a blood-colored discharge at the site.
  2. Contact the Health District at 425-339-5278 to report suspect cases and to request antitoxin.
  3. Administer antitoxin as soon as possible; treatment is otherwise largely supportive.

For more information about botulism, see http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/botulism/professional.html.

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Health alerts include information about diseases or other health risks or issues that affect Snohomish County.