Health

Antibiotics are ubiquitous in modern human life. Along with their well-known medical applications, they also are routinely used in agriculture, including our increasingly industrial production of meat.

But as resistant strains of bacteria continue to emerge, health authorities around the world are growing alarmed at the increasing impotence of antibiotics to fight disease. In fact, they worry we are on the verge of a total breakdown in the overall usefulness of these drugs. It’s a scenario of horrifying scope to those who understand the implications for human health.

school lunch, cafeteria, students
Lance Cheung / USDA | Flickr Creative Commons

Most Idaho kids went back to school this week, meaning for many, a return to school lunches. Food in public schools has changed significantly since new federal nutrition guidelines were passed in 2010.

Becky diVittorio, Optum
Idaho Statesman

A federal agency is investigating whether the company Idaho hired to manage part of its Medicaid program has violated patient-privacy laws.

Optum Idaho, a unit of United Behavioral Health, took over insurance management for Idaho Medicaid's mental-health and substance-abuse patients last fall.

Local health-care providers who treat those patients say Optum has erroneously sent them reports meant for other providers. The reports show patient names and mental-health or substance-abuse services the patients received or were authorized by Optum to receive.

Federal Officials Order Medicaid To Cover Autism Services

Aug 26, 2014

When Yuri Maldonado's 6-year-old son was diagnosed with autism four years ago, she learned that getting him the therapy he needed from California's Medicaid plan for low-income children was going to be tough.

Public health officials across the U.S. say the number of cesarean sections being performed has gotten way out of hand. It's a life-saving surgery for complicated births, but today nearly a third of pregnancies end up as a C-section.

medical stock, scale, healthcare
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's employee health insurance plans are comparable to the federal government's most expensive option offered under the Affordable Care Act and better than what most private companies provide.

According to a report from the Pew Charitable Trusts released Tuesday, Idaho covers 93 percent of all medical costs for state employees.

That compares to private Idaho employers, where plans generally cover 80 percent of medical costs.

Authorities in central Idaho are testing a bat for rabies after it bit a 6-year-old girl.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports the bite occurred Friday while the girl played in her grandmother's yard.

Blaine County Sheriff Gene Ramsey says the grandmother captured the bat and took the girl for treatment at an area hospital.Ramsey says the girl received antibiotics but he's not sure if rabies shots have been started.

He tells the newspaper that medical officials usually wait until they test the animal that made the bite to see if it has rabies.

mosquito, bug, West Nile
Enrique Dans / Flickr Creative Commons

West Nile virus has now been reported in seven Idaho counties. The mosquito-borne virus has shown up in Adams, Ada, Bingham, Boundary, Canyon, Gem and Payette counties.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare says all instances of the virus have been discovered in mosquito pools, no human cases of the disease have been reported.

Last year, West Nile was found in 16 Idaho counties. Forty people were infected with the virus and two Idahoans died. One of the worst West Nile years on record was 2006 when nearly 1,000 Idahoans were infected and 23 people died.

Officials with the Elks Rehab System in Boise have sent letters to local mayors announcing layoffs associated with St. Luke’s takeover of Elks facilities. Elks officials say significant financial and operational challenges are forcing it to hand over its operations to the Idaho healthcare giant. 

Federal dollars meant to restore toxic areas like old factories, mines and gas stations are now going to clean up after another long-time industry: methamphetamine.

Oregon could become the first West Coast state to ban smoking on all of its beaches. The Oregon State Parks Department is seeking public input on the proposal.

Ben Rauch / Flickr

West Nile virus is in Ada County. A mosquito trap near Star, Idaho tested positive for West Nile this week. It the first instance of the disease in Ada County this year.

There she is, Miss Idaho. And there it is, the insulin pump attached to her bikini bottom during the swimsuit competition. Since posting the photo on social media on Monday, Sierra Sandison has become a new hero to the Type 1 diabetes community.

As Boise Is Surrounded By Wildfires, Smoke Could Be Here For Weeks

Jul 17, 2014
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Smoke is settling in the Treasure Valley from wildfires burning in Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Canada. The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality is forecasting moderate to unhealthy air conditions for the next couple of days. 

"We’ll see higher levels in the early morning hours and before lunch," says DEQ's Michael Toole, "and hopefully if that pattern continues, we’ll see clearing in the afternoons which will give us some relief."

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.

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