Health

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A nationwide investigation into contaminated drugs is expanding. The outbreak has already killed 15 and sickened 231, including one man in Idaho, with fungal meningitis.

Two health facilities in Idaho, Walter Knox Memorial Hospital in Emmett and Pain Specialists of Idaho in Idaho Falls, were identified originally in the outbreak.

Now the Food and Drug Administration has expanded its investigation of possibly contaminated drugs produced by a Massachusetts pharmacy. That means as many as nine more medical facilities in Idaho may have received suspect drugs.

prashant_zi / Flickr

An Eastern Idaho man has come down with fungal meningitis that has sickened 138 people across the country. 

Not much is known about the man.  He’s over sixty and he's being treated for his illness.  State Epidemiologist Doctor Christine Hahn says the man is the first in Idaho to get sick from the drug outbreak.  People in 11 states have become ill and 12 have died.  The injectable steroid comes from a company in Massachusetts which has recalled the drug. 

National Institutes of Health

We’ve been reporting on “spice” for months, as the popularity of the synthetic marijuana has continued to rise.  Now public health officials in the Northwest are raising concerns that spice has been linked to a series of kidney failure cases in the region.

The synthetic marijuana is sold under several street names including "spice" and "K2." It's made of a variety of plant material that's sprayed with a chemical meant to mimic the active substance in marijuana. Synthetic marijuana is banned under state and federal law.

prashant_zi / Flickr

Two Idaho medical facilities received the steroid injections believed to be responsible for a deadly meningitis outbreak.  Nationally, 47 people have been diagnosed with the illness and five people have died.  No one in Idaho has reported getting sick. 

IMAGEngineforAutism / Flickr

Between 97,000 and 111,000 additional Idahoans would be eligible for Medicaid if the state chooses to expand eligibility.  But where would those people come from?  Close to half would migrate from four other state programs already in place to help low-income residents with medical needs.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

In the 1960’s, America began to take the mentally ill out of institutions. This led to consequences, especially for those who weren't ready or able to be de-institutionalized. 

nooccar / Flickr

Who will be eligible for Medicaid if Idaho expands its program under the Affordable Care Act?  That’s the question lawmakers asked Monday of state Health & Welfare Director Dick Armstrong.  He’s part of a 15 member panel studying the option. 

Armstrong says the panel has gathered a lot of information so far.  But he says the federal government has not set some of the guidelines that will determine who would get to sign up for the expanded plan.  That means officials are left to guess how many residents would eligible.  

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s largest hospital is teaming up with a Utah company to provide in-house insurance. St. Luke’s Health System and SelectHealth are forming what the companies call a strategic partnership. The hope is that by having the provider and insurer work together they can reduce costs and improve health outcomes.

jon.hayes / Flickr

West Nile cases are on the rise in Idaho.  The state now has eight human cases of West Nile and five additional reports of the mosquito-borne illness are under investigation. 

Niki Forbing-Orr with Idaho’s Health and Welfare Department says the state is doing better than other states, like Texas. “So far the CDC is reporting 888 human cases there.  All 48 states of the mainland United States have reported west nile activity and nationally 87 people have died," she says.  "We’ve not had any deaths in Idaho yet, so we’re crossing our fingers that we don’t.”

Northwest News Network

As Democrats gather in North Carolina for their convention, there’s new research from the Northwest on the power of partisan rhetoric. Turns out, your core political beliefs can trump your education level when it comes to understanding the basic facts of a high contentious issue.

The Affordable Care Act. ObamaCare. Whatever you call it, it’s provided countless hours of fodder to the cable television networks.

From Glen Beck on Fox News: “You don’t play ball with them now. If you don’t get into their government health care there will be jail time.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

Most public school students in the Northwest head back to class next week. And that has public health officials on alert. They're afraid that classrooms could be fertile ground for the spread of whooping cough, an infectious disease that's already being called an epidemic in some states.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Central District Health Department reports 21 cases of cryptosporidiosis in southwest Idaho in the past month. That’s what you get when you take in the parasite cryptosporidium, known as crypto for short.

It’s found in feces and it's often picked up by swimming in contaminated water. A few weeks ago we reported that crypto had returned to the Treasure Valley. Central District Health wouldn't reveal the swimming pools that were connected to the outbreak.

Jessica Murri / Boise State Public Radio

It’s the height of fire season in Idaho and hundreds of seasonal firefighters are busy.

For the first time, they’re eligible for federal health insurance. President Obama made the change in July.

Many of these firefighters have gone without insurance because of the cost. While the new benefits have been welcomed, one Boise-based firefighter finds that the new health insurance won’t help her.

Emma Kaage lifts a 95 pound barbell above her head, and lets it drop to the floor, before she picks it up again. The 25-year-old does CrossFit training twice a day.

More Adults Are Walking Nowadays

Aug 13, 2012
Jer / Flickr

People are walking more -- especially in the West -- according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2005, 56 percent of adults reported walking for at least 10 minutes a week. Five years later, that percentage was up to 62 percent.

microbewiki.kenyon.edu

Just when you thought it was safe to stay in the water, cryptosporidiosis is back.

Idaho’s Central District Health Department reports there are 19 cases of the perennial parasite known as crypto for short. Crypto is transmitted by fecal matter through water. People who have it get sick with fever, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and other digestive symptoms.

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