Public Health

bus ads
5:00 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Why Metro Transit refuses to run a public health message

This healthy living campaign is okay for billboards, but not for buses.
Public Health Seattle & King County

A major ad campaign launches this week to promote healthy living, with advertisements featured on Seattle-area television, radio and billboards. Just about the only place you won’t find the ads is on Metro buses.

The transit agency says the advertisements violate its new policy regarding public service announcements. The policy, adopted April 8th, prohibits ads that express a viewpoint on “matters of public debate about economic, political, religious or social issues.”

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dying too young
1:10 pm
Wed June 15, 2011

Longevity: Is your community more like Albania or like Sweden?

Female life expectancies in Washington vary a lot by county.
IHME

If you live in certain counties in Washington, your life probably won’t be much longer than someone's in Albania or Mexico. On the other hand, the healthiest counties have life expectancies similar to Switzerland and Sweden.

This comes from new research showing life expectancy in many American communities is failing to keep up with the rest of the world. And the growing health gap is affecting women more than men.

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Science
12:01 am
Fri June 3, 2011

Thirty years of AIDS in Washington, USA

Thirty years ago this month, the first cases of AIDS were identified by the medical community. It was still a mystery disease. A strange form of pneumonia was striking young men in Los Angeles. Since then, the epidemic has been a dramatic roller-coaster of death, disease, politics and what some people call the greatest medical success story of the past half century. 

(This interactive timeline is from the federal AIDS.gov website. Click and scroll for dates and highlights.)

I sat down with Dr. Bob Wood, one of the most prominent local faces of AIDS and the fight to contain it, to discuss the highlights and low points. You can listen to the interview by clicking on "Audio."

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Health and nutrition
10:32 am
Mon May 9, 2011

Kids and seniors get a taste of local produce in King County programs

Preschool students in Beacon Hill cut up local, organic red potatoes on May 4, 2011. The potatoes are part of an effort to get more fresh produce into childcare and senior sites.
Charla Bear KPLU

Over the past few years, a lot of people have pushed to get local, fresh produce into meals at public schools. Far less attention has been focused on kids in childcare programs. That effort is finally underway.  

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Public health
7:35 am
Thu March 31, 2011

Northwest states move to counter rise in child immunization waivers

Child immunization rates in the Northwest lag behind national rates. Some say it's too easy to opt out of vaccinations, creating a public health threat. Many parents disagree. This 4-year old is ready to get a shot in Littleton, Colorado.
AP

Record numbers of parents in the Northwest are seeking waivers from mandatory child immunization requirements. The trend alarms public health officials. They say it creates increased risk for disease outbreaks. Washington, Oregon, and Idaho are all moving to sway vaccine skeptics.

All U.S. states require parents to immunize their children before sending them to school.

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Humanosphere
11:19 am
Thu March 24, 2011

One of every three of us on planet has TB; Seattle rates remain twice national average

In this 2003 file photo, Dr. Masa Narita, TB Control Officer for Public Health - Seattle & King County, looks at x-rays of tuberculosis patient lungs. There were 116 cases of TB in King County in 2010.
John Froschauer AP

My friends always tend to disbelieve me (in general, but also specifically) when I tell them that one out of every three people on the planet has been infected with tuberculosis.

So where are all these consumptive folks, they might say? — This is assuming they know that TB used to be called consumption because of the way it “consumed” and withered the body as the infection progressed.

They’re everywhere, I’d reply, including right here in wealthy and smug Seattle.

Seattle, in fact, has one of the worst problems with TB in the nation. But it’s always here, managed by the public health folks, so it’s hardly news.

The news is that it’s World TB Day.

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Japan Quake & Tsunami
3:19 pm
Wed March 16, 2011

Despite scary headlines, local radiation danger is negligible

Pharmacist Donna Barsky measures potassium iodide for a prescription at the Texas Star Pharmacy on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 in Plano, Texas. The pharmacy has been receiving an unusually high number of calls about KI since the Japan quake.
AP Photo

From Chehalis to Chicago, local health food stores are seeing their stock of potassium iodide pills sell out, as public fear over radiation fallout from Japan's damaged nuclear plants continues.

The trouble is the fear doesn't match the risk, say numerous scientists and government officials, both here and across the nation, according to The News Tribune and other reports.

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Health Care
5:08 pm
Wed February 9, 2011

Obama’s chief defender of health care law in Seattle

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius was in Seattle this week, to hear about local efforts to make the medical system more efficient.

Sebelius is in charge of implementing the new national health care law – and defending it. The Affordable Care Act has been under fierce attack by Republicans and their allies. Democrats and their supporters recently hired political strategists to launch a campaign in defense of the law.

At the same time, Sebelius has been trying to sell it across the country, alongside sympathetic mayors and governors. 

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Public Health
1:41 pm
Thu January 13, 2011

State budget cuts fall on nurses, moms and infants

More than one-third of pregnant women get pre-natal and maternity care through a program facing cutbacks.
Photo by derekb/Flickr

If those cuts don't sound harsh enough, you can add "low-income" and "people of color" to the headline. 

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Public Health
10:28 am
Fri December 3, 2010

MRSA study of fire station shows the deadly bacteria is everywhere

Firefighters and medics may be at higher risk for carrying methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) than the average person, according to results from a UW study.
UW / Marc Beaudreau

The drug-resistant strain of staph infection MRSA is known to be a problem for many hospitals.  A pioneering study from the University of Washington shows that it's also resilient enough to spread from medic units all the way into the living quarters of firefighters. 

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Public Health
12:42 pm
Wed December 1, 2010

Cigarette campaign draws fire from Washington leaders

A big tobacco company is using images of Seattle to convince people to light up.  It’s one of 10 cities featured in an ad campaign that follows the Camel cigarettes mascot to “hip” locations.  This month, the company plans to start selling limited edition packs with Seattle icons on it.

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