Health District to implement changes to health card requirements
LAS VEGAS – As of October 1, the Southern Nevada Health District will be streamlining the health card process for most health card applicants and they will no longer be required to receive hepatitis A immunizations. As part of the restructuring of the program the health district will also discontinue providing TB tests for health card applicants as of November 1. Individuals who require a TB test for licensing or other purposes will be referred to other resources for their tests. Information is available on the health district website, www.SNHD.info.
As a result of the changes, the cost of the health card will be reduced by $10, with the exception of the child care card which remains the same at $40. Food handlers and child care staff must complete the online training before they come to the health district to apply for the card. The cost of the online training is $20 and must be paid at registration, the $20 balance must be paid at the health district when applying for the card.
Hepatitis A and B immunizations are still required for body art/tattoo applicants to obtain their health card. They will be able to receive their hepatitis shots at the regular immunization clinic.
The health district implemented the immunization requirement in 1999 as a measure to reduce hepatitis A infections locally. Hepatitis A rates are at historical lows in Clark County and nationwide as a result of the introduction of the vaccine and recommendations to immunize people in high risk groups, including children. Transmission of hepatitis A by a food handler is unlikely, even if a food handler is diagnosed with the disease. Most patrons do not get sick even if a food handler has hepatitis A. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported only five foodborne hepatitis A outbreaks in the entire U.S. in 2010 and 2011. In each of the past five years, the health district has received reports of 10 or fewer cases of hepatitis A in Clark County.
TB tests are required for all health card applicants except food handlers and health club attendants. The health district will phase out TB testing during the month of October. Applicants should present their test results to the health district when they apply for their health card.
TB tests were provided for regulatory purposes for certain professions. Based on internal reviews, it has been determined that health card TB screenings are not an effective means to screen for active tuberculosis cases in the community. Tests are available at locations throughout the community. A list of locations will be available on the health district website.