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Current News

First Lab Confirmed Cases of Flu Reported in New Mexico

Department of Health Encourages New Mexicans to Get Vaccinated

September 22, 2015 - Influenza Surveillance - Awareness

Please click on the following link for more information:

NM DOH Investigate Salmonella Cluster

New Mexico Department of Health, City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department, and New Mexico Environment Department Investigate Salmonella Cluster

(Santa Fe) – The New Mexico Department of Health, the City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department, and the New Mexico Environment Department are jointly investigating a cluster of illness caused by Salmonella paratyphi.  There have been six confirmed cases reported in New Mexico residents, with onsets of illness from April 4 to May 1, 2015.  Five individuals reside in Bernalillo County and one resides in Sandoval County.  The cases range in age from 23 to 68 years, and one individual was hospitalized as a result of the illness. 

At this time, the investigation is still ongoing regarding the source of the outbreak.  Five out of the six people reported eating sushi containing raw fish.  The City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department and the New Mexico Environment Department are investigating possible exposures linked to sushi.  Federal agencies including the CDC and other states are also involved in the investigation following additional illnesses associated with the same Salmonella paratyphi strain in their respective jurisdictions.

“People at risk of severe illness associated with Salmonella paratyphi, including the elderly and very young and anyone who is immunocompromised, are urged to not consume any raw seafood product,”advises Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Retta Ward, MPH.  “Anyone with nausea, diarrhea (with or without blood), abdominal cramping and fever, especially after recently eating raw fish, should seek medical attention.  Healthcare providers are advised to get stool cultures from patients presenting with diarrhea and fever.” 

The most common sources of Salmonella infection are undercooked poultry, eggs, and meat. Pet birds and reptiles as well as other pets with diarrhea can transmit Salmonella.  To prevent illness, thorough hand washing with soap and water prior to food preparation or consumption is recommended.  Salmonella can be killed by cooking foods to an internal temperature of 165°F.  Therefore, consumers of raw or undercooked fish and meat products may be at increased risk of illness

Any provider who suspects a patient is ill with Salmonella can contact the New Mexico Department of Health’s on call epidemiologist at 505-827-0006 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 



FDA Issues Notice of Possible Lead Poisoning Risk in Children


Retta Ward, Cabinet Secretary


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                          Media Contact: Kenny Vigil

April 13, 2015                                                                                          Cell: 505-470-2290


FDA Issues Notice of Possible Lead Poisoning Risk in Children


(Santa Fe) – The New Mexico Department of Health received an alert from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding a powdered product called “Bo Ying compound,” which may contain high levels of lead.  The product is labeled in Chinese and English and marketed in retail outlets and online for the treatment of flu, fever, and nasal discharge in infants and children.


Exposure to lead can cause serious harm to the developing brain, kidneys, and other organs. Lead in the body is toxic, especially for children. Ongoing exposure to lead, even at low levels, can result in learning disabilities, reduced IQ, and behavioral problems. 


In an effort to prevent lead poisoning and decrease elevated blood-lead levels in exposed children, the New Mexico Department of Health’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program provides education, home visits, lead risk assessment, and consultation with healthcare providers ( ).


The FDA advises consumers to discontinue use and discard any “Bo Ying compound” they may have purchased. Additionally, parents and caregivers who may have given “Bo Ying compound” to their children should consult with their health care provider for evaluation and potential blood-lead testing.


Consumers and health care professionals are also encouraged to report to the FDA any adverse events related to the “Bo Ying compound” product. This report form can be found on the FDA’s MedWatch Online Voluntary Reporting Form at


For more information about the prevention and management of childhood lead poisoning in New Mexico, please call 505-476-1734 or submit an e-mail to

Powdered Alcohol Now Legal in U.S.

March 24, 2015


Powdered Alcohol Now Legal in U.S.
The product, approved Tuesday by a government agency, yields a drink with the same alcohol content as a standard mixed drink, so some lawmakers are concerned

New Mexico Department of Health Concerned about Increase in Vaccine Exemptions


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                 

January 29, 2015                                                                            

New Mexico Department of Health Concerned about Increase in Vaccine Exemptions

(Santa Fe) – The New Mexico Department of Health is concerned that the number of vaccine exemptions among school-aged children increased again in 2014. An increase in vaccination exemptions can increase the risk for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles.

“We know the majority of the people who get measles are unvaccinated,” said Department of Health Secretary Retta Ward, MPH. “Since measles is still common in many parts of the world and travelers with measles continue to bring the disease into the U.S., we want all New Mexicans to know that it can spread when it reaches communities where groups of people are unvaccinated.”

New Mexico law allows parents to request vaccination exemptions for their children based on medical need or religious beliefs. The exemptions registered with the Immunization Program at the Department of Health are as follows:        

            2012 – 2,845 exemptions

            2013 – 3,195 exemptions

            2014 – 3,335 exemptions

An ongoing measles outbreak linked to Disneyland theme park in Orange County, California is highlighting the importance of vaccinations, and drawing attention to the public health risk associated with declining to get immunized. In 2015, there have been 84 measles cases in 14 states. Most of the cases are linked to the park outbreak.

New Mexico has not identified any cases connected to the California outbreak. New Mexico’s most recent case of measles was confirmed in December 2014 in a baby who did not receive the first measles vaccination. It was not determined where or how the baby was exposed. The baby was hospitalized and recovered. 

Measles is a very contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It is so contagious that if one infected person has it, 9 out of 10 exposed people who are not immune will also become infected. It spreads through the air when infected persons cough and sneeze. It can live for up to two hours in an airspace where the infected person was coughing or sneezing, and on surfaces.

Infected people can spread measles to others who are not protected from 4 days before to 4 days after the measles rash appears. Measles symptoms usually appear about 7 to 14 days after a person is infected with the virus. Measles generally starts with:

  •          High fever
  •          Cough
  •          Runny nose
  •          Red, watery eyes.

The measles rash usually begins 3 to 5 days after symptoms start. When the rash appears, fever can reach 104° Fahrenheit or higher.

Measles can be a serious illness in all age groups. Children younger than 5 years of age and adults older than 20 years of age are more likely to get measles complications which include ear infections and diarrhea. Severe disease can require hospitalization, lead to complications, and in some cases cause death.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New Mexico Department of Health recommend that all children get two doses of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age.

Generally, adults born before 1957 are considered immune and do not need vaccine. Adults born in 1957 or later who are not sure of their immunity against measles should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine. It is important for international travelers to be protected and there are special recommendations for those persons.

To find out if your vaccinations are up to date, see your healthcare provider. The Department of Health offers vaccinations for people without insurance or who are otherwise not able to get immunized. You can find a Public Health Office in your area by logging on to the New Mexico Department of Health website at

CDC Health Alert

U.S. Multi-state Measles Outbreak, December 2014-January 2015

Distributed via the CDC Health Alert Network

January 23, 2015, 14:00 ET (2:00 PM ET)

Please click on link below for more information:

2015 0123_CDC HAN Advisory_Multistate Measles Outbreak.pdf