Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Salmonellosis Outbreak Linked to Raw Milk

(Salt Lake City) – Utah public health officials are investigating a cluster of illnesses associated with the consumption of raw or unpasteurized milk.  To date, nine cases of Salmonella Saintpaul infection have been reported in people who reported raw milk consumption before their illness began. Onset dates range from March 20, 2016 to August 14, 2016. The cases range in age from 15 to 78 years and two of the cases were hospitalized, but have recovered.

All of the cases drank raw milk purchased at Heber Valley Milk in Wasatch County. A raw milk sample collected at the dairy by a Utah Department of Agriculture and Food inspector was positive for Salmonella Saintpaul on August 23, 2016. The most recent testing showed no signs of salmonella and the dairy has been allowed to resume sales.

Salmonellosis is a bacterial infection that causes fever, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and headache. Symptoms usually appear from 12 hours to one week after exposure and illness can last for up to a week or more. Most people recover without treatment; however, the infection can be serious, especially for young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those who have weakened or compromised immune systems. According to Dr. Allyn Nakashima, State Epidemiologist with the Utah Department of Health, "In some cases Salmonella bacteria can spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other body sites. These infections are very serious and should be treated with appropriate antibiotics. If you develop severe vomiting or diarrhea after drinking raw milk, you should consult your health care provider.”

Raw milk comes from cows, goats, or sheep and has not been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria. This raw, unpasteurized milk can contain dangerous bacteria such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli, which are responsible for causing foodborne illness.

Raw milk contaminated with disease-causing bacteria does not smell or look any different from uncontaminated raw milk, and there is no easy way for the consumer to know whether raw milk is contaminated.

Since 2009, there have been 30 documented outbreaks associated with raw milk sold at Utah dairies statewide, with more than 400 people becoming ill. Public health officials warn that drinking raw milk may be dangerous, regardless of where it is obtained. Raw milk should not be consumed by young children, pregnant women, the elderly, people with weakened or compromised immune systems, or anyone who does not want to become ill. 
Those who choose to drink raw milk should follow these steps to reduce the risk of illness:
Only buy raw milk from stores or dairies permitted by law to sell it. However, a government permit does not guarantee that raw milk will be free from disease-causing bacteria. 
Keep raw milk and raw milk products refrigerated at or below 40°F.
Transport milk from the store to home in a cooler with ice packs. 
Do not let raw milk sit out at room temperature.

Media Contact
Becky Ward, UDOH

Monday, August 22, 2016

Zika Virus: What to do after Returning from the Olympics

(Salt Lake City) – Utah public health officials are urging Utahns returning from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil and other countries with ongoing Zika virus transmission to take certain precautions to prevent illness. Visit http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/index.html for the most current list of countries affected by Zika virus.

Zika virus is transmitted to humans primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus). And while there is no evidence these mosquitoes are currently in Utah, residents should still take precautions to reduce the potential spread of Zika virus. Unlike the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus, mosquitoes infected with Zika virus can spread the virus to other people through bites. Even if someone doesn’t feel sick, travelers returning to the United States from an area with Zika virus should take steps to prevent mosquito bites for three weeks, such as using insect repellant with DEET and removing breeding areas from around homes.

Zika can also be passed through sex from a person who has Zika virus to his or her sex partners. (Sex includes vaginal, anal, and oral sex.) Only people with sex partners who live in or traveled to an area with Zika virus are at risk for getting Zika virus infection through sex.

Zika virus can be passed through sex, before symptoms start, while a person has symptoms, and after their symptoms end. Though not well documented, the virus may also be passed by a person who carries the virus, but never develops symptoms.

Most people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms
such as fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. But a pregnant woman can pass Zika virus to her
 fetus that can result in severe birth defects, such as microcephaly (small head and brain) and
other severe brain defects that may lead to long-term developmental problems. Infection during pregnancy can also increase the chance for miscarriage, eye defects, hearing loss, and impaired growth. 

It is not yet known how often Zika infected pregnancies will result in problems. There is no vaccine to prevent Zika virus, and no specific medical treatment for those who are infected.
The CDC recommends special precautions for the following groups:
Women who are pregnant:
If you have a partner who lives in or has traveled to Brazil or any other Zika-affected area, either use condoms (or other barriers to prevent infection) or do not have sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) during your pregnancy.
Women who are trying to become pregnant:
o Before you or your partner travel or after returning from a Zika-affected area, talk to your doctor about your plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection.
o Recommendations for people who DO NOT live in an area with Zika virus and had possible exposure through recent travel or unprotected sex with a man infected with Zika virus:
Zika Symptoms - Wait at least 6 months after your symptoms start before trying to get pregnant.
No Zika Symptoms - Wait at least 8 weeks after you may have been exposed to Zika before trying to get pregnant.

For women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant and have questions about Zika virus, please contact the MotherToBaby program at 1-800-822-2229, text 855-999-3525,  chat live or email www.MotherToBaby.org or visit http://health.utah.gov/zika

Media Contact
Charla Haley
 (c) 801-230-5927

Thursday, August 4, 2016

State Agencies to Host Health Fair with Local Tribe

WHAT: The Utah Department of Health and the Utah National Guard will host a first-of-its-kind health fair with the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute at their annual Pow Wow. The fair will be hosted on the Goshute Reservation in Ibapah and will include immunizations, dental screenings, other health screenings, and exercise and nutritional counseling.

This is the first time the Department of Health and National Guard have collaborated on a mission together.

The Utah National Guard Medical Command will also fly one of its Black Hawk helicopters to the event. 

WHY: Utah’s American Indian population often lives in medically underserved areas and suffer a greater burden of disease than the general Utah population. The health fair will help provide critical health screenings, prevention education, outreach and services to this population.

VISUALS: Utah National Guard Black Hawk helicopter (arriving at approximately 1:30)
Tribal members receiving health screenings (all day)
Traditional Pow Wow dancing and drumming (1 p.m. and 7 p.m.)
Honor song for the military and veterans
WHO: Utah Department of Health and Utah National Guard Medical Command

WHEN: Saturday, August 6, 2016
8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

WHERE: Goshute Reservation – Pow Wow Grounds
Ibapah, Utah
Directions: From Wendover, turn south on US-93, proceed south for approximately 25 miles to  Ibapah  Rd., turn left and follow Ibapah Rd. for another 33 miles.  

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Media Contact:
Melissa Zito, Utah Department of Health
(o) 801-273-6644
(m) 801-712-9346