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National Public Health Week
updated: Apr 07, 2014, 9:55 AM

Source: Public Health Department

Public Health Week, April 7 - 13, is a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight the issues that are important to our nation. Public health is credited with adding 25 years to the life expectancy of people in the United States between 1900 and 1999. In Santa Barbara County, we have a history of great local initiatives and services to protect the health of our community. The goal of these activities is to promote the health of the entire population.

1857: The appointment of the first "County Physician" to provide medical care of indigent sick and the establishment of medical applicants for county relief.

The "Health Officer" provides medical guidance related to communicable diseases and environmental conditions that impact the health of the community (e.g. TB, foodborne illness).

1930: A Division of Child and Maternal Hygiene was established at our local health department.

In the last calendar year, 1658 families with mothers and children received home visits by public health nurses where they were screened, case managed and referred to needed services.

1936: There were 25 diseases and conditions that were mandatory to report to local public health departments.

There are more than 70 conditions that must be reported to the local health department to prevent the spread of these diseases and promote the health of the community.

1948: Approximately 14,000 quarts of milk were sold and consumed daily under milk inspection services of the department (99.62% was pasteurized).

Ocean water testing measures bacteria, inspections of food facilities assure safe food handling and preparation, septic systems and landfills are monitored to assure a safe, healthy environment.

1950: There were 20 cases of polio in our county including one death.

Following the mass vaccination of school children beginning in 1955, the last reported case of polio in our county was June of 1962.

1958: A rabies vaccination clinic was held as the new ordinance requires dog vaccinations.

2342 dogs were vaccinated and 886 of owned dogs and cats were spayed or neutered at county sponsored vaccination clinics to prevent the spread of rabies and decrease the number of unwanted animals.

1961: The public health laboratory examined 14,025 specimens, mostly water or milk.

The laboratory tests for communicable diseases including syphilis, HIV, water bacteriology, rabies and other diseases that guide treatment decision-making.

1984: Local laws establish that non-smokers rights take precedence over smokers if accommodation fails.

Virtually all indoor air is smoke free and 5 of our 9 local communities in Santa Barbara County have outdoor secondhand smoke provisions in their local laws with the recognition of tobacco products as the primary factor underlying many leading causes of death.


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