Current Health Issues
2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Chinese authorities identified the new coronavirus, which has resulted in hundreds of confirmed cases in China, including cases outside Wuhan, with additional cases being identified in a growing number of countries internationally.
The first case in the United States was announced on January 21, 2020. There are ongoing investigations at this time. Health officials recommend taking the same precautions for coronavirus as you would for avoiding colds and the flu:
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough.
- Practice good hand washing..
If you are planning a trip to China, keep an eye on the news and be aware of this evolving situation. If you have recently returned from a trip to China and are feeling sick, call your health care provider and let them know of your travel and symptoms
Learn more about 2019-nCoV:
Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Battle Creek
Elevated levels of Perfluoroalkyl Substances, or PFAS, have been found in foam in Ramsey County’s Battle Creek. Be aware that foam with PFAS looks like any other foam that occurs naturally in a stream. Surface water concentrations tested so far are much lower, indicating the water is safe for recreation.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), PFAS-containing foam on surface water does not pose a risk to human health if skin contact with foam is minor and infrequent. MDH recommends:
- People and pets should avoid contact with foam on surface waters in this area.
- Wash skin that has come into contact with PFAS-containing foam with soap and water.
MDH and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency have conducted additional testing and will be analyzing results to determine the extent of PFAS in the creek and lake, possible sources, and if additional action is needed.
HIV, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis A
A deadly consequence of the opioid crisis is increased incidence of blood-borne infections, including hepatitis B, virus and hepatitis C, and HIV. Using contaminated needles is a primary transmission route for both HIV and hepatitis C. With injection drug use on the rise, new populations, including young people, are at risk.
Ramsey County Public Health is working to stop the spread of infectious diseases among people who inject drugs (PWID). Our syringe services program provides access to prevention and treatment services for HIV and other blood-borne diseases, such as hepatitis C and hepatitis B.
Outbreaks of hepatitis A have been reported among PWIDs; such outbreaks are believed to occur through both percutaneous and fecal-oral routes. There are currently widespread person-to-person outbreaks of hepatitis A affecting PWID across the United States.
Since May 2019, there has been an increase in Hepatitis A diagnoses among people in Minnesota who are living homeless or injecting drugs. Minnesota’s outbreak-associated cases have risk factors that are consistent with other outbreaks nationwide. For up to date case counts go to the Minnesota Department of Health’s Hepatitis A outbreak webpage.
Ramsey County has experienced a significant increase in multidrug-resistant tuberculosis over the last two years. Since 2016, a total of 25 cases have been identified in Ramsey County alone, compared to seven cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis for all of Minnesota between 2011 and 2015.
The majority of cases have impacted Hmong American residents, and Public Health is working directly with community partners, hospitals, and healthcare facilities to prevent future cases through appropriate screening and treatment.
Our clinic provides screening for persons that have been in contact with active TB disease, as well as treatment and case management of persons with either latent TB infection or active TB disease. This clinic is by referral only: You will be notified if it has been determined that you may have come in contact with someone with active TB and you should be seen in our clinic.
- Learn more about TB (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Facts about TB (PDF poster in English and Hmong)
There currently is no outbreak of measles in Minnesota. Hennepin County reported two cases of measles linked to international travel in the summer of 2018.
Mercury poisoning linked to skin products
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning about skin creams, beauty and antiseptic soaps, or lotions that might contain mercury. Skin products containing mercury have been found in Minnesota and at least six other states. They are manufactured in other countries and marketed as skin lighteners and anti-aging treatments that remove age spots, freckles, blemishes and wrinkles.