Epidemiology - Frequently Asked Questions

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What diseases should I report? 

Under Title 17,California Code of Regulations, Section 2500 (Division1, Chapter4, Article 1), all health care providers knowing of or in attendance on a case or suspected case of any communicable disease or condition must report to the local health officer for the jurisdiction where the patient resides.

To report a communicable disease or condition, please fill out the Confidential Morbidity Report form and fax it to (559) 600-7607.

WEST NILE VIRUS 

What is West Nile Virus? 

West Nile Virus is a virus that is spread by mosquitoes. The virus is transmitted when mosquitoes feed on an infected bird. Infected mosquitoes can then transmit West Nile Virus when biting a human. 

How can I dispose of a dead bird in my yard? 

If you have found a dead bird on your property, please contact the California Department of Health Services by calling toll free 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473) to report the dead bird, or you may submit the information via the web site http://vector.ucdavis.edu/cfm/deadbird.cfm. If the bird has been dead for 24 hours or has not been collected please follow the directions for "Guidelines For Dead Bird Disposal" in the linked document.

SMALLPOX 

What is the current danger of Smallpox? 

At the present time there is no known case of Smallpox in the world. The Federal Government is concerned that in the future Smallpox may be used as a biological weapon and wants to prepare in case that happens. 

When were the last Smallpox vaccines given?

The United States stopped giving routine Smallpox vaccines in 1972 after the disease was eradicated here. 

When will the Smallpox vaccine be available to the public? 

It is estimated that the vaccine will be available to the public possibly sometime in 2004 when a new, safer vaccine should be available. 

If previously vaccinated against Smallpox, should I be vaccinated again? 

Immunity appears to last about 5-10 years. If you were vaccinated long ago, you will need another vaccination.

MENINGITIS 

The schools should follow the policy of their school district Health Office. Usually if 2 or more cases occur at the same site, a letter should be sent

Viral Meningitis: Schools usually ask if the school should notify parents if their children have been exposed to viral meningitis. 

Bacterial Meningitis: What is Bacterial Meningitis and how is it spread? 

What are the signs and symptoms of Bacterial Meningitis 

Sudden onset of fever, intense headache, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck and sometimes a rash. Disease progresses rapidly and patient is very sick. 

HEPATITIS B

What is Hepatitis B and how is it spread?

All Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis B is caused by a virus which is spread by either sexual contact or blood to blood contact 

What are the symptoms of Hepatitis B 

Loss of appetite, vague abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, jaundice, occasionally fever. Sometimes symptoms are so mild that the person does not know he/she has hepatitis. 

Who is at risk for Hepatitis? 

Anyone who has unprotected sexual contact or possible blood to blood exposure. 

What are the prevention measures? 

Hepatitis B vaccine, using condoms, not sharing needles or tattoo equipment. 

HEPATITUS C

What is Hepatitis C and how is it spread? 

All Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis C is caused by a virus which is spread by blood to blood contact and rarely by sexual contact 

What are the symptoms of Hepatitis C? 

Loss of appetite, vague abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, jaundice, occasionally fever. Sometimes symptoms are so mild that the person does not know he/she has hepatitis.

Who is at risk for Hepatitis C?

Anyone who has possible blood to blood exposure. IV drug users are at highest risk.

How can I prevent Hepatitis C transmission?

Not sharing needles or tattoo equipment. Use condoms for sexual activity

CHICKENPOX

Where do I need to go if I am pregnant and have been exposed to Chickenpox?

You should call your Obstetrician/ medical practitioner immediately. If you don't have a medical practitioner, you can go to the Emergency Room. If you had chickenpox as a child, you are less likely to get it again but you should check with your doctor.