MCPH Urges Additional Precautions as Holiday Gatherings Approach, and COVID-19 and Influenza Circulates Putting Additional Strain on Local Hospitals

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Public Health Emerging Issues – November 29, 2018

Public Health Emerging Issues – November 29, 2018


  • Two major recalls have grabbed the attention of Mesa County residents in the past two months: the Oct. 4 raw beef recall and the Nov. 20 romaine lettuce recall.
  • It’s important to stay up-to-date on food recalls and alerts that may present a serious or significant risk to your health. Recall information provides specific details on the products, dates serial numbers and the reason for the recall.
  • JBS Tolleson, Inc. recalled nearly seven million pounds of raw, non-intact beef products due to possible Salmonella infection.
    • A total of 246 Salmonella infection cases associated with the recall have been reported nationwide with 50 cases reported in Colorado and one reported in Mesa County.
    • Salmonella bacteria can be spread from a variety of foods, from animals-to-people and from people-to-people. Symptoms of Salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. For more information on Salmonella visit www.health.mesacounty.us
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recalled all romaine lettuce due to E. coli infection.
    • Forty-three cases of E. coli infection associated with the recall have been reported nationwide with no cases reported in Colorado.
    • E. coli bacteria are spread via the fecal-to-oral route (when a person eats or drinks something contaminated). Symptoms of E. coli infection include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody) and vomiting. For more information on E.coli visit www.health.mesacounty.us
  • On Nov. 26, the romaine lettuce recall was changed to include only romaine lettuce harvested from the Central Coastal growing regions of northern and central California.
    • Romaine lettuce products will be labeled with a harvest location by region, although it could take some time before the labels are available.
      • If the lettuce is not labeled with a harvest growing region, it should not be bought, sold, served or eaten.
  • It’s important to stay up-to-date on recalls to avoid getting sick. Follow Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) on Facebook and/or sign up for emails to receive recalls at www.recalls.gov.


  • Following reports of botulism in four Texas babies who were given pacifiers containing honey, MCPH is reminding parents and guardians that children younger than one year should not be given honey because it poses a significant risk of botulism.
  • Botulism is a rare, but serious illness caused by a toxin that attacks the body’s nerves and causes difficulty breathing, muscle paralysis and even death.
    • The toxin is made by a type of bacteria known to be found in honey.
    • These bacteria can multiply in a baby’s immature digestive system, causing infant botulism.
  • Parents and guardians should not purchase honey-dipped pacifiers or dip pacifiers in honey for children younger than one year.
  • No cases of botulism have been reported in Mesa County so far in 2018.
Mesa County resident hospitalized due to influenza

Mesa County resident hospitalized due to influenza

A Mesa County resident has been hospitalized due to influenza after spending time on the Front Range. This is the first flu hospitalization in Mesa County during the 2018-2019 flu season.

Residents who haven’t gotten their flu shot should do so as soon as possible, especially as the holiday travel season begins. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) predicts more than 25 million people will be traveling during Thanksgiving – one of the TSA’s busiest Thanksgivings on record.

“Thanksgiving is sort of the kick-off to the holiday season and holiday travel, which is great – but travel is also a great way to be exposed to lots of different germs, including the flu virus,” Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) Epidemiology Program Manager Heidi Dragoo said. “The flu shot is your best bet to prevent getting sick with flu during the holiday and flu season. It also prevents severe flu symptoms and hospitalization due to flu if you do get sick with flu.”

Getting your flu shot reduces your risk of being hospitalized due to flu by 37 percent and reduces your risk of being admitted to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) due to flu by 82 percent.

The MCPH Clinic has plenty of flu vaccine available and accepts all major insurances including Medicaid, Medicare and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan. We serve all patients regardless of ability to pay.

“We do our best to make it as easy as possible to get a flu shot,” MCPH Clinic Program Manager Allison Sanchez said. “You can call to make an appointment, but we also have walk-in availability. Our goal is to vaccinate as many Mesa County residents as possible to prevent the spread of flu in our community, so even if you can’t afford a flu shot you can get one with us.”

Visit health.mesacounty.us to learn more about flu prevention and our Clinic services. Call 970-248-6900 to make an appointment.

Public Health Emerging Issues – November 14, 2018

Public Health Emerging Issues – November 14, 2018


  • One third of Mesa County high school students report using an electronic vapor product in the past 30 days and nearly half report ever having used an electronic vapor product.
    • Fewer Mesa County high school students think these products have a moderate or great risk of harm when compared with the state.
      • Teens that vape are at higher risk for nicotine addiction, which can affect developing brains and lead to cigarette use.
    • Electronic vapor products can look like cigarettes, cigars, tank devices and USB flash drives.
    • Electronic vapor products can contain harmful substances including heavy metals, cancer-causing chemicals and flavoring linked to serious lung disease.
  • One in five Mesa County adults smoke cigarettes and ten percent of Mesa County ninth graders said they had smoked a cigarette on one or more of the past 30 days.
    • Tobacco use increases your risk of many health issues including cancer, heart disease and stroke.
    • Secondhand smoke increases the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SUIDS), respiratory infections, ear infections, asthma attacks, heart disease, stroke and cancer.
  • The Great American Smokeout is November 15, which coincides with Vape-Free November in Colorado.
    • By quitting tobacco on November 15, even if for just one day, you’ll be joining thousands of tobacco users across the country in taking an important step toward a healthier life.
    • Quitting tobacco improves health immediately and long term – at any age.
  • The Tobacco Free Team has local and state resources to help you quit tobacco listed at healthymesacounty.org.
    • Resources include coaching, quitlines, reward groups and help with patches and gum.
    • The resource page also includes information on electronic vapor products and risks, as well as ways to talk to kids about the risks associated with vaping.
  • Mesa County Public Health works with multiple agencies in Mesa County to prevent tobacco and electronic vapor product use.



  • A case of meningococcal disease was reported in a student at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
    • Two cases of meningococcal disease have been reported in Mesa County since 2012 in residents older than sixty.
    • Meningococcal disease is rare in Colorado with just five or six cases reported in the state annually since 2013.
  • Meningococcal disease is a serious and often deadly disease caused by bacteria. The disease spread by sharing saliva – usually it takes close (coughing or kissing) or lengthy contact to spread these bacteria.
    • People do not become infected with meningococcal disease through casual contact or by breathing air where someone with meningococcal disease has been.
    • Those at higher risk of getting sick include people who live with a person sick with meningococcal disease and anyone with direct contact with the person’s saliva – like a significant other.
      • These people should be treated with antibiotics prescribed by a health care provider.
  • Vaccination is key in preventing meningococcal disease.
    • Meningococcal vaccine is recommended for all children between 11 and 12 years, with a booster at 16 years old. Click here for full vaccine schedules for children and adults.
    • Some babies and adults should also receive the vaccine. Click here and talk to your health care provider about vaccination options to learn more.
  • Symptoms of meningococcal disease include fever headache, stiff neck and sometimes nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and confusion.
    • Contact your health care provider immediately if you or a family member has these symptoms.
  • Mesa County Public Health investigates all cases of meningococcal disease.
  • The Mesa County Public Health Clinic offers meningococcal vaccine and accepts all major insurances including Medicaid, Medicare and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan. We serve all patients, regardless of ability to pay.
Public Health Emerging Issues – November 7, 2018

Public Health Emerging Issues – November 7, 2018


  • Fifteen cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, have been reported since September 1 in Mesa County.
    • A total of 46 cases were reported during the 2017-2018 school year, a large increase over the six cases reported during the 2016-2017 school year.
  • Our best defense against pertussis is vaccination.
    • Multiple series of DTaP and Tdap vaccination for children and adults are needed to protect against the illness.
    • Click here to view vaccination schedules for children and adults.
  • Pertussis is a vaccine-preventable and highly contagious respiratory disease that’s spread by breathing in droplets that are made when a person with pertussis coughs or sneezes.
    • Early symptoms of the illness include runny nose, low-grade fever and a mild, occasional cough.
    • Later symptoms of the illness include a high pitched “whoop” sound when coughing, exhaustion, coughing fits and vomiting after coughing.
  • Pertussis can affect people of all ages, but can be very serious, and even deadly, for babies younger than one year old.
    • Parents and guardians with babies younger than one year should:
      • Avoid people with cold symptoms or a cough.
      • Encourage those around your baby to be up-to-date with pertussis vaccination.
  • The Mesa County Public Health Clinic offers DTaP and Tdap vaccination. We accept all major insurances including Medicaid, Medicare and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan. We serve all patients, regardless of ability to pay.



  • Fifteen Colorado residents have been diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) in 2018.
    • Zero cases of AFM have been reported in Mesa County.
  • AFM is a rare, but serious condition that affects the nervous system and causes muscles and reflexes in the body to become weak. Most people with AFM have sudden onset of arm or leg weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes.
    • Parents and guardians should contact a health care provider if they or their children have:
      • Severe symptoms such as sudden weakness in arms and legs, trouble breathing, unsteady walking, severe headache, stiff neck or seizures.
      • Dizziness, wobbliness or abnormal, jerking movements that worsen at night.
    • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and local health care providers work together to investigate cases of AFM.
    • Health care providers who suspect a patient could have AFM should report that information to MCPH officials, who assist in getting samples to CDPHE for testing. For information on specimen collection, please visit Colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/AFM.
      • If a person is diagnosed with AFM, his or her health care provider will determine a follow-up care plan.
MCPH launches Blue Ribbon Award recognition program

MCPH launches Blue Ribbon Award recognition program

Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) is launching a new recognition program, the Blue Ribbon Award, to highlight regulated businesses that work to meet high standards in health, quality and safety for Mesa County residents.

The Blue Ribbon Award applies to retail food establishments, child care facilities, schools, pools body art facilities.

“Our restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, food trucks, care facilities and catering companies have embraced the opportunity to meet higher standards and we want to open that up to all of the regulatory facilities we oversee,” MCPH Executive Director Jeff Kuhr said. “Each program will have a different set of standards to achieve beyond their mandated regulations. We’re in the process of determining those standards for our child care facilities, body art facilities, schools and pools.”

Retail food establishments have to meet the following standards to achieve Blue Ribbon Award status:

  • At least 90% of the facility’s food handlers have a Mesa County Food Handler Card or a ServSafe certificate.
  • A food safety certified manager is available to staff during all hours of operation.
  • The facility has proactive procedures in place, such as documentation of temperature logs, self-inspection forms and pest control contracts.

Kuhr noted he hopes the Blue Ribbon Award will help residents easily identify high-quality businesses. All businesses will be given a sticker for their door or window, a plaque and a certificate from Mesa County Public Health. All qualified businesses are also featured on the MCPH website, here.