CDPH in the News, January 2015

CDPH in the News

California surgeon disciplined for removing wrong kidney from inmate
from Chicago Tribune

A California surgeon who accidentally removed the wrong kidney from a prison inmate and left the patient’s tumorous kidney in place has been put on probation for three years by a state medical board, records from the agency show. The board also prohibited Dr. Charles Coonan Streit, who performed the 2012 surgery at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, southeast of Los Angeles, from supervising physician assistants during his probation. The botched operation put the 59-year-old federal prison inmate’s renal function in jeopardy and required further surgery, according to records from the Medical Board of California. The board disciplined Streit last week, after the California Department of Public Health last year fined the hospital $100,000 over the surgery.

New Billboards Portray A Fiery Hell In Which We All Have Syphilis

You’ve probably become accustomed to the AIDS Health Foundation’s last syphilis billboard, featuring an embarrassed bear and the statistic that California ranks second when it the country when it comes to most syphilis. Their new billboard, however, is much more dramatic. It kind of looks like it would work better as the cover of a book about people left behind after the Rapture or a SyFy original about a volcanado or something. It’s got some seriously apocalyptic graphic design, spelling out ‘Syphilis Explosion’ over an image of an erupting volcano. he ads are meant to encourage people to check out, which will help you get tested for STDs and, if you have syphilis, get treated. Obviously, getting tested is not a bad idea, and according to the California Department of Public Health, syphilis is, in fact, on the rise?particularly among men.

Worries About Unusual Botulinum Toxin Prove Unfounded
from NPR

Remember that worrisome new form of botulinum toxin we told you about in late 2013, the one that supposedly had to be kept secret out of fear it could be used as a bioweapon that would evade all of our medical defenses? Well, as it turns out, it’s not that scary after all. The antitoxin stored in the government’s emergency stockpile works and would neutralize the toxin just fine. Botulinum toxin is one of the most poisonous substances known, and for a long time scientists knew of seven different types. Then researchers at the California Department of Public Health announced that they’d discovered the first new form of the toxin to turn up in over 40 years. They called it "type H" and described their find in a medical journal. But here’s the unusual and worrying part: The editors of the journal allowed the researchers to withhold key genetic details that would allow others to make or study this toxin. The reason given was that "no antitoxins as yet have been developed to counteract the novel C. botulinum toxin."
When other scientists finally got the strain, they were relieved. "We don’t think it poses a new, novel threat," says Robert Tauxe of the CDC’s division of foodborne, waterborne and environmental diseases. "It appears to be a hybrid, that is a naturally occurring combination of two other existing toxins."

3 cases of wound botulism in O.C.: Here’s what it is
from Los Angeles Times

Three people have been hospitalized in Orange County in the last month with wound botulism after injecting black tar heroin, health officials say. What is wound botulism? It’s a serious illness that can cause paralysis or even death and occurs when the botulism bacteria gets into a wound, multiplies and produces toxin. Heroin can be contaminated with botulism spores. Heroin-related botulism has spiked in California in recent years, according to the California Department of Public Health. The state has an epidemic of wound botulism, the department says. Three-quarters of the reported cases of wound botulism in the United States are in California.

Hispanic infants hit hardest in 2014 pertussis epidemic
from Family Practice News

In the 2014 pertussis epidemic in California, the burden of disease was highest for Hispanic infants and non-Hispanic white teenagers aged 14-16 years, researchers from the California Department of Public Health reported.
Pertussis incidence was 207 per 100,000 population for Hispanic infants less than 12 months old and 166.2 cases per 100,000 in white 14- to 16-year-olds, compared with an overall incidence of 26 cases per 100,000 for the period from Jan. 1 to Nov. 26, 2014. White, non-Hispanic infants and black infants also had rates over 100 per 100,000, noted Kathleen Winter and her associates of the California Department of Public Health.