Infection Prevention Program

The mission of the Infection Prevention Program at United Indian Health Services is to promote and maintain a safe and healthy environment for our clients, staff, and community. We are committed to reducing the risk of infections through the implementation of evidence-based practice and the promotion of education and awareness within our community. Through collaboration, communication, and a culture of safety, we aim to prevent infections and promote health for all those we serve.

Hand Hygiene

May 5 is World Hand Hygiene Day! Here are some fun facts about hand hygiene:

  • Some of the dirtiest places with the most germs are on everyday items, like cell phones, tablets, keyboards, grocery carts, and doorknobs.
  • Hand washing and using hand sanitizer can protect you from respiratory viruses and nasty stomach bugs.
  • Only 5% of people wash their hands for the recommended length of time (20 seconds).
  • Using alcohol-based hand sanitizer in classrooms reduced absenteeism due to infection by 20%.
  • A large percentage of food borne disease outbreaks are caused by contaminated hands.

Save lives! Clean your hands!


Protection from prior infections and vaccinations decline over time, so stay up to date on vaccines! The COVID-19 virus is always changing, and new studies indicate that the updated 2023-2024 COVID vaccine has been effective against COVID-19 during September 2023 through January 2024.

The updated vaccines have been available since mid-September 2023, and if you have not yet received your updated COVID-19 vaccine, call your local UIHS clinic for vaccine options!

If you are 65 years or older, or have a weakened immune system, you should receive an additional dose of the updated 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine. Call your local UIHS Medical Department for more information.


Respiratory Virus Guidelines

Even though we are almost done with flu season, COVID-19 and RSV may still linger throughout the year. Stay safe against respiratory viruses!

The CDC has updated guidelines for respiratory viruses:

Seasonal Resources

Respiratory Viruses webpage.

Flu & COVID-19 Vaccines Communications Toolkit.

Respiratory Virus Prevention Communications Toolkit.

RSV Vaccine Communications Toolkit. 

What is HPV?

HPV is a very common virus that can cause cancers later in life. Nearly 42 million people are currently infected with HPV in the united states. About 13 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year.

In the U.S., an estimated 36,000 people are affected by a cancer caused by HPV infection each year. While there is screening for cervical cancer that can detect cancer early, there is no recommended screening for the other cancers caused by HPV infection, like cancers of the back of the throat, anus, penis, vagina, or vulva.


Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease that can be spread through the air if an infected person speaks, coughs, or sneezes. Measles starts with a fever and then leads to a cough, runny nose, and red eyes. Measles can be very serious for young children. Measles outbreaks can occur when unvaccinated people travel out of the country and then bring the disease back into the U.S. and it spreads to others

Measles cases have increased in the United States in recent months. As of March 14, 2024, 58 cases of measles were reported in 17 states, including California. Please make sure that you and your family are vaccinated against measles. Measles vaccines are safe, effective, and available at all UIHS medical departments. Call your clinic today to make sure you and your family are up to date with your measles vaccines, especially if you are planning any international travel.


Cases of tuberculosis (or TB) have increased in California over the last year. Tuberculosis is a disease caused by germs that are spread from person to person through the air. TB usually affects the lungs but can affect other parts of the body as well. Not everyone infected with TB becomes sick.

Quick Facts

  • Anyone can get TB–it is not a disease of the past.
  • Some people have latenet TB infection and TB disease may develop if not treated. Treatment is effective.
  • If you are at hight risk for TB, you should get tested.
  • TB can happen anywhere. Cases have increased recently in California.
  • Risk factors include being around a person with infection TB disease and a weakened immune system.
  • contact your local UIHS Medical Department for more information on getting tested for TB.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

California Department of Public Health
Johns Hopkins Center for Indigenous Health
UCSF – Department of Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control
Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services
County of Del Norte Department of Public Health