Saturday, January 17, 2015

Third Utah Resident Tests Positive for Measles

(Salt Lake City, UT) – A third Utah County resident has tested positive for measles. The individual is under the age of 18 and was in contact with the two people who became ill after traveling to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park in mid-December. This person was unimmunized, but did receive an MMR vaccine after the original cases became ill.  The three Utah cases are part of a larger outbreak being investigated in California. 

The new case was under quarantine during their infectious period, and as a result, would not have exposed anyone else to the virus.  

For more information about the current outbreak, visit:

The best way to protect yourself and your family from measles – as well as many other preventable diseases – is to be fully immunized. Children and adults can receive vaccinations for diseases such as measles, pertussis, and influenza, which protect not only themselves, but helps to limit the spread of disease in the community.  
For general information on vaccines and vaccine preventable diseases, please visit, or call the Utah Department of Health Immunization hotline at 1-800-275-0659, or your local health department.

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Media Contact:
Lance Madigan
Utah County Health Department

Rebecca Ward
Utah Department of Health

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Two Utah Residents Test Positive for Measles

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Two Utah County residents have tested positive for measles after traveling to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park in mid-December, where public health officials believe they were exposed to the virus. The two Utah cases are part of a larger outbreak being investigated in California. Public health officials there have confirmed seven total cases along with three suspect cases during the time period of December 15-20, 2014.

Individuals who came into contact with the two Utah cases may also have been exposed to the virus and public health officials are working to track down and notify these people. 

The infected individuals in Utah County would have been contagious from December 27, 2014 through January 5, 2015 and attended several events during the infectious period. Public health is urging anyone who was present at any of the following locations at the specified dates and times to contact the Utah Poison Control Center, which is screening individuals for potential exposure, at 1-800-456-7707, or visit the web site

FRIDAY, 12/26/14 - MACEY’S GROCERY STORE, OREM , 5:00 P.M. - 11:00 P.M.
FRIDAY, 12/26/14 - CINEMARK MOVIES 8, PROVO, 4:00 P.M. - 8 P.M.
MONDAY, 12/29/14 - WALMART, SANDHILL ROAD, OREM, 9:00 P.M. - 11:00 P.M.

Public health officials need to know if people at these locations during the specified times are fully vaccinated in order to implement appropriate measures to contain the outbreak. 

Individuals who were exposed to the virus and are not fully vaccinated will be asked to quarantine themselves in their homes until their infectious period has passed. This means no school, work, church, travel, outside contacts or community events for 21 days from the date of exposure to an infected individual.

To achieve maximum protection from the measles, individuals must receive two doses of the MMR vaccine. Those who haven’t had two doses, or those who aren’t sure if they are fully immunized, should contact their health care provider or their local health department. It is especially important for pregnant women, infants and people with weakened immune systems to be protected as these individuals may develop more severe illness.

Symptoms of measles include a fever of 101°F or higher, cough, runny nose and a rash that spreads to cover the body. The rash usually occurs within two weeks of exposure. The virus is transmitted by respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing, and is so contagious that 90 percent of people in close contact with an infectious person will get the disease if they’re not immunized.

If you develop symptoms, call your health care provider and let them know you may have the measles. It is important that you do not visit a physician’s office, emergency room, lab or any medical clinic without first calling the facility and informing them of your exposure to measles. This will enable the facility to take the necessary precautions to protect other individuals from possible exposure.  

The best way to protect yourself and your family from measles – as well as many other preventable diseases – is to be fully immunized. Children and adults can receive vaccinations for diseases such as measles, pertussis, and influenza, which protect not only themselves, but helps to limit the spread of disease in the community.  For general information on vaccines and vaccine preventable diseases, please visit, or call the Utah Department of Health Immunization hotline at 1-800-275-0659, or your local health department.

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Media Contacts:
Rebecca Ward, Utah Department of Health
(o) 801.538.6682
(c) 801.352.1270

Lance Madigan, Utah County Health Department
(phone/text) 385.204.4627

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

More Utah Women Giving Birth Out of Hospitals

(Salt Lake City, UT) – At the dawn of the 20th century, nearly all Utah babies were born at home. By 1969, only one percent were, as hospitals became the go-to place for moms to deliver. Fast-forward to 2014 and the trend is changing again, with nearly 3,700 babies, or 10 per day, delivered either at home or in a freestanding birth center according to statewide birth certificate data. 

The Maternal and Child Health Bureau at the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) partnered with Utah physicians and midwives to issue a new report to examine these trends, identify opportunities to improve data collection, and address potential areas for improving outcomes.  Using vital records data, the report reviewed out of hospital (OOH) births that occurred in Utah between 2010-2012. The report is available by clicking here.

“As more Utah women are choosing out of hospital births, it is critical that we identify and address issues that impact maternal and neonatal safety, including provider qualifications, provider-to-provider communication, and timely hospital transfer,” said Erin Clark, Maternal Fetal Medicine Physician at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center and one of the report’s authors. 

Between 2010 and 2012 a total of 139,958 full-term babies were born in Utah. Most of those births (136,625) occurred in hospitals under the care of a physician or certified nurse midwife. The remaining 3,693 births occurred as planned OOH births. The report examined the trends and characteristics of these births and found:
Utah’s OOH birth rate doubled between 1990 and 2012
2,595 births occurred at home, while 1,098 occurred in birthing centers
More than two-thirds of the births were attended by unlicensed midwives
Other births were attended by Licensed Direct-entry Midwives, unlicensed midwives, Certified Nurse Midwives, and naturopathic physicians

The report also compared women who deliver in hospitals to women who choose OOH births and found women choosing OOH births:
Tended to be older, white and non-Hispanic, married, and of rural residence
Were at a healthier weight prior to pregnancy, had five or more prior births, and were more likely to have paid for their deliveries out of pocket
Were more likely to have no prenatal care (home birth 1.9% vs. hospital 0.3%) or inadequate prenatal care (home birth 39.1%, birth center 30.5%, vs. hospital 14.9%)
Were less likely to begin care in the first trimester (home birth 52.9%, birth center 48.5%, vs. hospital 75.3%)
Had fewer overall complications, with the exception of higher rates of premature rupture of membranes (more than 12 hours), precipitous labor (less than 3 hours) and prolonged labor (more than 20 hours)

Additionally, the neonatal death rate among Utah babies delivered at home was found to be more than double that of babies born in hospitals, which mirrors findings from a recent national analysis. 

“Unfortunately, we are limited in our ability to further analyze data by birth attendant or to rigorously assess outcomes in this analysis by the relatively small numbers in the out of hospital birth cohort during the study period,” said Lois Bloebaum, director of Maternal and Child Health Quality Improvement at the UDOH and one of the report’s authors.

Bloebaum went on to say, “While the neonatal mortality rate among home births was significantly higher (95% C.I. p=.05), future analysis will indicate whether this finding is of concern or an artifact of small numbers.  We were also unable to calculate the neonatal mortality rate among birth center births at this time due to small numbers.”

Several recommendations have been identified based on this analysis, some of which include more precise collection of data on this topic. Changes to the Utah Birth Certificate have already been made and changes to the Utah Fetal Death Certificate are in process to enable more precise data collection. The Maternal and Child Health Bureau is also working collaboratively with Utah midwives and physician partners to improve communication and reporting among in-hospital and out of hospital providers when a transfer to a hospital becomes needed.

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Media Contact:
Lois Bloebaum
Utah Department of Health
Bureau of Maternal and Child Health

The mission of the Utah Department of Health is to protect the public's health through
preventing avoidable illness, injury, disability and premature death, assuring access to
affordable, quality health care, and promoting healthy lifestyles.

This project was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number 1 B04MC28130¬01¬00, Maternal and Child Health Services ($5,777,200.00 FROM: 10/01/2014   THROUGH: 09/30/2016) 0.00% was financed with nongovernmental sources. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Program to Deal with Prehospital Complaints

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Striving for consistent high quality care in the prehospital experience for anyone who requires emergency medical care in Utah, the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Preparedness (BEMSP), Utah Department of Health (UDOH), is pleased to announce the creation of the Complaint, Compliance and Enforcement Unit (CCEU). According to Dennis Bang, Director of the newly created unit, “We will investigate complaints and compliance concerns related to any entity or person who provides emergency medical services in a prehospital setting in the state.” Bang says it will allow the general public and even other state agencies to file complaints against anyone who is licensed or certified by the bureau.

Investigators with the CCEU will also be tasked with investigating compliance issues that are received by other areas of the bureau.  Concerns could range from issues involving improper equipment to licensing or certification concerns about people or EMS providers.

In addition, officials are unveiling a new disciplinary protocol to be used in conjunction with complaint and compliance issues. This creates uniformity for state actions against those who fail to follow the bureau rules and Utah state law.  It’s hoped this will encourage compliance within the profession, increase public trust, and ultimately improve patient care.

The Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Preparedness is dedicated to the well-being of Utah citizens and the visiting public. Bang adds, “It is our hope that this process will increase EMS performance statewide and reassure the public that we have a dedicated system that can be used to address concerns related to their care.”

You may file a complaint by visiting the bureau’s website at or by calling (801) 273-6629 to request a complaint form.
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Media Contact:
Charla Haley
(o) 801-273-4178
(m) 801-230-5927

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Utah Named 5th Healthiest State in the Nation

(SALT LAKE CITY) —Utah continued its steady climb toward becoming the healthiest state in the nation with the release of the annual United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings™ report. The report named Utah the 5th healthiest state in the nation, improving on its rank of 6th in 2013 and 7th in 2012.

The report highlighted several strengths that lead to Utah’s ranking, including the lowest rates in the nation for tobacco use (10.3%) and cancer deaths (145.7 deaths per 100,000 residents), and the second-lowest rate in the nation of adult diabetes (7.1%).

“One of our strategic goals is to become the healthiest state in the nation, and I’m pleased that we are continuing to work in that direction,” said David Patton, executive director of the Utah Department of Health. “Utah should be proud of this ranking, it’s evidence that our strong public health and health care systems are doing right by the people of our state.”

Utah was ranked as one of the top five states for several key health indicators, including:
The lowest adult smoking rate in the U.S. at 10.3%;

The lowest prevalence of adult diabetes at 7.1%;

The lowest rate of children living in poverty at 9.2%;

The 2nd lowest rate of preventable hospitalizations;

The 4th lowest rate of obese adults at 24.1%;

The 4th lowest rates of binge drinking, Chlamydia cases, and Salmonella cases; and

The 5th lowest rate of adults reporting “poor physical health” days in the past month.

The report also highlighted several challenges Utah must overcome to achieve its goal of becoming the healthiest state.

“Unfortunately, even in our strengths we find challenges,” Patton said. “Compared to other states our obesity and physical inactivity rates are low, but both rates are trending upward. Obesity can lead to several chronic, deadly diseases; it’s entirely preventable and remains one of the top public health challenges of our time.” 

Other challenges the report highlighted were Utah’s high rate of prescription drug deaths, low immunization rates among teens, and the limited availability of primary care providers.

The state’s lowest rankings were:
46th for prescription drug overdose deaths;

45th for cases of Pertussis, or whooping cough;

44th for teen immunization rates;

44th for the number of primary care physicians;

39th for air pollution.

The entire report is available online at

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Tom Hudachko | Public Information Officer
Utah Department of Health
(o) 801-538-6232
(m) 801-560-4649