Photo via Flickr// FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute /

  Residents along the Escambia County coastline are being advised to protect themselves against exposure to Florida Red Tide.

At last check, moderate to high levels of the Red Tide organism are predicted to be present from Friday through Sunday, according to the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County.

Photo via Flickr//James Jordan

The Florida Department of Health in Escambia County is out with another mosquito-borne illness alert, after confirmation of two additional cases of West Nile virus.

That brings the total West Nile cases for this calendar year to four in Escambia County, and nine overall in Florida.

Dr. John Lanza is Director of FDOH in Escambia says this is the fourth consecutive year that West Nile has been located here, through the bite of an infected mosquito. West Nile impacts different people differently, and can be mistaken for other ailments.

James Gathany (PHIL #7815) - Obtained from the CDC Public Health Image Library. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

An Escambia County resident has died after reportedly contracting Vibrio vulnificus – a bacteria found in warm, brackish saltwater.

The victim’s identity is not being released by the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County, and circumstances surrounding the death are also unavailable. DOH reports 19 such cases in Florida this year, with ten deaths. One of those cases – non-fatal – was reported in Santa Rosa County.

Texas Department of State Health Services

Escambia County residents and visitors are being advised to protect themselves from the risk of rabies exposure. This after a fox recently attacked a resident of Century in broad daylight.

Dr. John Lanza, Director of the Department of Health in Escambia County, says in this case the red flags going up were the fox’s behavior and the fact it was not provoked before attacking.

Photo via Flickr// Apotek Hjartat

Despite the attention given to the recent measles outbreak in California, the disease remains uncommon through the rest of the nation – including Florida.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 102 cases of measles in 14 different states since last month. Florida is not among them, but four people passing through the state, two of them international travelers, were confirmed to have the disease. Ninety-one measles cases were reported in California, most of them linked to an outbreak at Disneyland, and possibly thousands of others have been exposed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports influenza is now an epidemic, with varying amounts of activity in 36 states. Flu season normally peaks in January or February.

Twenty-two states and Puerto Rico are reporting moderate to high levels of flu activity, according to the CDC. Fifteen children in nine states – including Florida – have died. Escambia County Health Director Dr. John Lanza says seniors and children are the most vulnerable.

Lance McCord

  Hello, and welcome to flu season.   

Usually starting in early October and lasting until May, influenza season peaks in January and February in the Panhandle. The Florida Department of Health in Escambia County is encouraging residents to get vaccinated.

“The information that we most recently got from the Florida Department of Health indicates the “A” strain – the H3 specifically, probably H3N2 – is more prevalent,” said Dr. John Lanza, Escambia County’s Health Director. “There’s at least one “B” strain out there also.”

Florida DOH-Escambia

A respiratory virus that has sent more than 1,000 children to emergency rooms since mid-August has parents in Florida worried their child could be next, if the disease makes its way to the Sunshine State.

Out of that total – mostly in the Midwest -- the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed more than 130 pediatric cases of Enterovirus D68 in 17 states, including Alabama.

Dr. John Lanza, Director of the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County, says no official cases have been confirmed in Florida, but that may change soon.

Photo via Flickr//Alexei & Verne Stakhanov

Summer returns this weekend, and brings with it the built-in threats of hot weather to older residents. The Council on Aging of West Florida is seeking donations to help clients stay cool.

Those donations can take the form of new fans and air conditioners for seniors’ homes. Council Vice President Jeff Nall is hoping this call will equal or better those from previous summers. Nall asks those wishing to provide such equipment to follow a few simple ground rules, such as not offering used fans and A/C units – new equipment only.

H1N1 Appearing In Young Patients

Jan 15, 2014

Normally the scourge of the very young and very old, complications from influenza are starting to attack those in between. For now, the main concern is over the H1N1 strain.

That particular strain has claimed two lives in Santa Rosa County: a 47-year-old man in Gulf Breeze and a 32-year-old woman in Pace. They normally would be exceptions to the rule but this year, H1N1 – also known as Swine Flu -- is showing up more in the young and healthy.