Our Hot Topics page gives specific information concerning health issues in our area. These are generally events or areas of concern that are occurring in Santa Rosa County that may affect the health of our communities. Our goal in the Hot Topics portion of our website is to give you information that you can use to better protect your health and welfare and thereby improve the quality of health in our county.
Fungal Meningitis Outbreak Due to Recalled Steroid
The Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County is working with Escambia County to contact Santa Rosa residents who may have received injections of contaminated pain medication from Pain Consultants of West Florida (PCWF). The facility is one of eight in Florida that has been identified as having received shipments of methylprednisolone acetate, a steroid medication distributed by New England Compounding Center (NECC). These shipments have been identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as having been contaminated with multiple types of fungus that can cause a non-contagious form of meningitis. Fungal meningitis is not transmitted from person to person; only those who received injections from one of the contaminated lots are at risk.
Patients of Pain Consultants of West Florida who received spinal or joint injections of the steroid medication between May 21 and September 28, 2012 should first contact contact their primary care physician for follow-up.
Persons who have received these injections and are experiencing symptoms should seek immediate medical attention by their physician or local hospital emergency department. Symptoms include:
new or worsening headache
sensitivity to light
new weakness or numbness in any part of the body
increased pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site
For more information about the fungal meningitis outbreak, please visit the CDC's Frequently Asked Questions For Patients.
The CDC also has Guidance for Clinicians concerning this outbreak.
Mosquito-borne Illness Precautions
West Nile Virus (WNV) is a potentially serious disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Since January of this year, many confirmed cases of WNV have been reported throughout the state of Florida. Santa Rosa County and neighboring counties are seeing cases and sentinel monitoring indicates a rise in the number of mosquitoes carrying the virus.
To reduce the chance of becoming infected with the virus, the Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County (FDOH-SRC) encourages residents to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes that may be carrying WNV as well as other illnesses.
Remove standing water. Removing standing water sources is one of the easiest ways to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. Outdoor yard items such as pets' water dishes, bird baths and flower pots can collect water and provide ideal places for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Empty items that hold water at least once a week, clean rain gutters so that water drains freely, and remove discarded trash items, such as car tires, to discourage mosquitoes from laying eggs.
Avoid going outside between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
If you must be outside, dress in clothing that covers most of your skin.
Use mosquito repellents. Products containing DEET are both safe and effective when used as directed.
Use screens on all open windows. Repair any torn or broken screens.
Click here for a West Nile Virus Fact Sheet (.PDF - 49KB)
For more information on insect repellents, visit the Centers for Disease Control website:
For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses and how to help prevent them, visit these websites:
Reports of Shigellosis on the Rise
Shigellosis cases are on the rise in Santa Rosa County. The FDOH-SRC has been receiving reports of one or two cases almost on a daily basis and most are in small family clusters and in-home daycare facilities.
The disease can be spread when an individual comes into contact with the stools of a person who is sick and fails to properly wash his or her hands before handling or preparing food. Swimmers may also come into contact with Shigella when entering water that has been contaminated by sewage. Cases are often seen in daycare settings among children who are not toilet trained.
The best way to prevent Shigellosis is to keep your hands clean. Beware of restroom surfaces, doorknobs, faucet handles, toilet handles and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the restroom and after exposure to sick individuals. Call your doctor if you begin to experience symptoms and exclude yourself from school or work if symptomatic..
Download our Shigellosis Fact Sheet to get more information.
"One Call - Lots of Help" for People with Hepatitis C
A new national helpline for people affected by Hepatitis C is launching February 1st. Specially trained peer counselors help callers navigate screening, diagnosis, medical evaluation, and treatment. Follow-up contacts keep callers engaged throughout their journey to help them follow through with Hepatitis C related decisions.
Phone number: 877-HELP-4-HEP (877-435-7443)