Public Health

Human-Animal Health
5:01 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Treating the Cow to Save the Kid: Where Human and Animal Health Intersect

Dr. Peter Rabinowitz will study how livestock and children affect each other's health.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Peter Rabinowitz speaks with KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer

People fighting hunger in the developing world have noticed a troubling mystery: malnourished children sometimes fail to get healthier even when given a lot of extra nutrients.

The key to helping them may be to focus not on the kids, but on their cows, according to a team led by a University of Washington professor.

The researchers from UW, Washington State University and CDC-Kenya just received a Gates Foundation grant to examine the values of a holistic approach—one that focuses on the intersection of human, animal and environmental health.

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Affordable Care Act
4:38 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Volunteers Plaster King County with Obamacare Sales Pitch

Stu Jennings got the manager of Malo's Auto Body in White Center to post a flier about Wahington HealhtPlanFinder.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

On the same day House Republicans voted to defund the Affordable Care Act, King County is making a big push to implement it. Volunteers went door-to-door and business-to-business across the county Friday.

Public health officials are trying to get uninsured King County residents to buy insurance on the state’s new exchange. Many of them have never had coverage before.

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Youth Suicide
3:47 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Alarming Jump in Youth Suicide Prompts Call to Action

King County saw an unexpected spike in youth suicides last year, prompting a group of experts to push for much wider awareness of how to prevent suicide.

Eleven kids took their own lives in King County last year – almost triple the average year, and the highest total since at least 1999.

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Public Health
5:01 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Washington's Tobacco Quitline Cuts Off the Uninsured

Julio Cortez Associated Press

If you’re trying to quit smoking and you don’t have health insurance, it’s going to be harder to find help as of August 1. The state’s free tobacco quitline will be cutting services to the uninsured, due to budget cuts.

Those without insurance can get a little bullet-point advice from the quit counselor, but after that, they’re on their own. State Health Department spokesman Tim Church said the cutbacks will harm some of the most vulnerable.

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health alert
2:21 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Health Alert Issued after Rabid Bat Found on Madison Park Beach

FILE
rutlo Flickr

Health officials have issued a warning for anyone who may have been exposed to a sick, rabid bat found on the south side of Seattle's Madison Park Beach on Thursday.

Anyone who has had contact with the bat or its saliva is at risk of developing rabies. While rabies is contracted through a bite, bat bites can be small, indistinguishable and painless, so anyone who has had contact with a bat should consult Public Health.

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Water pollution
5:00 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Human fecal bacteria confirmed in Seattle’s Thornton Creek

Fecal coliform bacteria has been found at several locations in the Thornton Creek watershed. A new study confirms the source is in large part human sewage.
courtesy Seattle Public Utilities

Scientists with the city of Seattle are narrowing in on the source of polluted water that flows through the city’s largest watershed. With a new study, they’ve confirmed human fecal bacteria are likely entering Thornton Creek at multiple locations near Northgate and Lake City Way.

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public health
12:04 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Changing of guardian for health as smoking reaches crossroads

Retiring Washington state Secretary of Health Mary Selecky is seen in this photo.
Department of Health

For the first time since 1998, Washington is getting a new secretary of health. Mary Selecky is retiring, and her replacement starts today.

Selecky has been a familiar face during health emergencies, such as the pandemic flu. She made tobacco her top health priority, and saw smoking rates drop year after year. But, as she steps down, the anti-smoking crusade is at a crossroads.

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Marijuana Legalization
5:33 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

ACLU, public health groups cautioning marijuana rulemakers

Backers of Washington's marijuana legalization law want public health concerns addressed in rules that will govern the new industry. One challenge is growing just the right amount to meet but not increase market demand.
Alexodus via Compfight Flickr via Compfight

How do you build a whole new industry – and undermine a black market -- without increasing its customer base?  

That’s the challenge state regulators are facing as they write the rules that will govern recreational marijuana in Washington. The American Civil Liberties Union is urging caution.

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Teen Drivers
4:31 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Washington bucks national trend with fewer teen driver deaths

State Farm Flickr

A new report finds more teen drivers are dying around the country, but not in Washington. So while nationwide there’s been a 19 percent increase in 16- and 17-year old drivers dying in the first half of last year, deaths dropped sharply in Washington

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Gun Control
4:52 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Public health at forefront of King County's gun initiative

A King County public health effort might put pressure on gun retailers.
Divine Harvester Flickr

The debate over gun control may be focused on the nation’s capital, but one local official says King County will soon take measures of its own.

About 125 people die each year of gun violence in King County. Executive Dow Constantine says the way a county government can chip away at that number is through a public health approach. He announced in his state of the county address that he is directing the health department to collect new data on gun deaths and injuries.

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Science
5:04 am
Mon January 21, 2013

How to prove the tree-huggers hunch? Study a deadly beetle

An emerald ash borer. Tracing the effects of this invasive tree killer is one way to show a link between trees and human health.
Benimoto photo Flickr

If you live in the Evergreen State, chances are, you like trees. Cities around the Pacific Northwest do a lot to protect them. 

But, do they really make us healthier? An economist with the US forest service in Portland is working on that question.

Geoffrey Donovan  loves trees. He’s already shown they make home prices go up, energy use go down and they tend to keep crime rates down as well. So what about public health?

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Public Health
4:55 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Not as many Wash. children opting out of vaccines

This map from the CDC shows how the Northwest remains a bastion of vaccine exemptions.
MMWR Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Fewer Washington parents are opting their children out of vaccinations, giving the state one of the biggest drops in vaccine exemptions in the country. Two years ago Washington had the highest rate of vaccine exemptions in the nation, with 6.2 percent of kindergartners taking a medical, religious or philosophical pass on getting one or more immunizations.

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Consumer Safety
5:00 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Tacoma man not alone with grill brush horror story

Images from CT scans and an X-ray show grill bristles lodged in people's digestive tract.
Centers for Disease Control

Federal regulators are looking into a health hazard that sent a Tacoma man to the hospital over the weekend.

Adam Wojtanowicz ate a grilled steak, and ended up in surgery. It had nothing to do with the meat, or even cooking with fire – no, Wojtanowicz actually ingested a metal bristle from the wire brush used to clean the grill. That little whisker of steel can wreak havoc on the digestive system, puncturing intestines or other organs. 

It turns out to be a rare but not unique injury.

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is it the flu?
3:14 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

Wintertime vomiting disease strikes Seattle

In the United States, the CDC estimates that more than 21 million cases of acute gastroenteritis are due to norovirus infections each year. The process is described in the attached video, of which this photo is a screen grab.
CDC

Don’t be surprised if you notice a few co-workers are out sick, or if a stomach bug seems to be hitting your family. Winter is peak time for sharing germs – and right now, at least, most of those are NOT the flu bug.

For Lisa Steinbrueck of Seattle, it seemed at first like food poisoning:

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Healthy living
11:17 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Follow-up: $800,000 ad campaign designed to help us choose healthy

Public health leaders have concluded that we struggle most when the healthier choices take more effort than the unhealthy ones.
Public Health Seattle & King County

Why spend $800,000 to advertise what seems like common knowledge?  That smoking is bad for you, that eating nutritious foods is better than a diet of fast-food and physical activity is a good idea?

Because too many of us have trouble following those golden rules.

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