Health

Health officials in southwest Idaho say norovirus is what sickened dozens of people at Eagle Island State Park last weekend.

The Central District Health Department says the likely source is a sick person who swam in the water or became sick at the park.

Department spokeswoman Kimberly Link says the virus can spread from one person to another through recreational water, food and direct contact.

She says human waste and vomit are the main sources of norovirus.

yogurt, chobani
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A fungus found in Chobani yogurt produced at its Twin Falls facility last year that led to a voluntary recall was more virulent than first thought.

In August and September 2013 more than 200 people were made sick by the Greek yogurt after a strain of fungus called Mucor circinelloides was detected in the product.

Public health officials in the Northwest say they're seeing gonorrhea infections at levels they haven't seen in years. Three counties in Washington state are now in the midst of an outbreak. Parts of Oregon and Idaho are set to top even last year's high numbers.

Amy Dowd
Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

New Mexico's health insurance exchange is hiring an Idaho official to run the online marketplace as it prepares for the next round of enrollment.

The exchange's board of director voted Friday to select Amy Dowd as its chief executive officer. Dowd has been executive director of Idaho's insurance exchange since last year.

The board is finalizing a contract with Dowd and it's uncertain when she will start her new job.

Interim CEO Mike Nunez has been running New Mexico's exchange since it was created last year.

Sint Smeding / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline (ISPH) is one step closer to being a fulltime crisis line. 

Thursday hotline staff announced they received a $50,000 grant from the United Way of the Treasure Valley. ISPH Executive Director John Reusser says the award will go a long way in helping the hotline become a 24/7 resource. He says the United Way first gave them funds when they started in 2012. 

"The United Way has been very supportive," says Reusser. "This donation will help fund operations as we get through the last leg of expansion."

A $1.5 million state-funded behavioral-health crisis center will be built in Idaho Falls in eastern Idaho

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter made the announcement Thursday morning at the Idaho Falls Regional Airport.

Boise in southwestern Idaho and Coeur d'Alene in northern Idaho had also been in the running for the center.

The center is intended to serve as a safety net to treat at-risk mentally ill people whose symptoms often land them in hospitals or jail.

cigarette, tobacco
SuperFantastic / Flickr Creative Commons

Smokefree Idaho has withdrawn its support of a southwest Idaho city's proposed smoking ban after city leaders adopted a less restrictive version.

Spokeswoman Stacy Satterlee tells the Idaho Statesman in a story on Wednesday that the amendments the Garden City Council adopted Monday mean the ordinance no longer protects all workers from secondhand smoke.

The council moved ahead with a ban on smoking in most indoor public places but not in bars and bingo halls for people age 21 and over.

The Idaho Supreme Court upheld a district court's decision Tuesday ordering a Boise hospital to pay more than $52 million for violating a partnership it had with an MRI company.

The decision is the latest development in the St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center's lawsuit involving one the largest awards to come out of Idaho district courts.

Boise VA Medical Center

In the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' medical scandal that's forced patients to wait for care, a new audit shows Boise’s VA Medical Center scored well in some areas, and not so well in others.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare says a decision about where to build a $1.5 million state-funded behavioral-health crisis center will likely be within a week.

Spokeswoman Niki Forbing-Orr tells the Post Register that a committee is reviewing proposals from three cities.

Medical, Health Care
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A new audit from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs shows that most Idaho veterans receiving care at the Boise VA Medical Center wait less than a month for their first appointment. But the average wait time for those who need to see a specialist is 52 days.

The wide-ranging audit, released Monday, is the first nationwide look at the VA network after an outcry arose over long wait times and cover-ups at the Phoenix VA center.

One of the largest concert venues in the Northwest is in trouble with the Washington State Department of Health. The Gorge Amphitheater turns into a small city during summer music festivals like Sasquatch and Paradiso.

Memorial Day weekend in the Northwest coincides with prime time for ticks. These arthropods can drink your blood for days without you knowing.

Mike Lieberman / Flickr Creative Commons

Health officials say they are investigating an outbreak of illnesses due to E. coli in northern Idaho and eastern Washington state that has sickened 10 people and caused five of them to be hospitalized.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare in a statement Wednesday says an initial investigation found the outbreak might be connected to people eating raw clover sprouts from Evergreen Fresh Sprouts of Idaho.

Officials are recommending people not eat raw clover sprouts from the company until additional information is known.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Many republican governors have taken a stand against Obamacare by refusing to expand Medicaid. Utah, which is one of the most republican states in the nation, remains undecided. But in a state where the majority of the population are Mormons, one bishop from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints says helping the poor is a moral obligation. Andrea Smardon from member station KUER in Salt Lake City has more.

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