Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges West Nile precautions

September 11, 2012

With the West Nile Virus outbreak continually growing, the nation’s emergency physicians urge the public to take precautions now to protect from being infected.

The West Nile Virus, a disease spread by mosquitos, causes only mild, flu-like symptoms in 20 percent of cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About four out of five people who are infected show no symptoms at all.

But in rare cases, some will develop severe symptoms that can include high fever, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions and vision loss. It can also cause permanent neurological damage and even death.

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Officials revive Washington State Tobacco Quitline

August 21, 2012

The state revived the Washington State Tobacco Quitline on Aug. 1, due to infusions of funding from state legislators and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Through the hotline, state Department of Health officials can offer adults help to stop using tobacco. Funding cuts last year eliminated the Washington State Tobacco Quitline, affecting many people without health insurance.

The toll-free hotline is available at 1-800-QUIT-NOW, or 1-877-2NO-FUME in Spanish. The hotline provides free counseling, a personal quit plan, a quit kit and referrals to local resources. Eligible callers can also receive a supply of nicotine patches or gum.

Quitting lowers the risk of lung cancer, heart attack, stroke, chronic lung disease and other cancers.

Officials said more than 170,000 people have received help since the hotline started operations in 2000.

Statewide whooping cough epidemic passes 3,000 cases

July 31, 2012

State health officials said vaccination protection from whooping cough does not last as long as initially believed, but added that vaccination remains the best defense.

The number of pertussis, or whooping cough, cases statewide surpassed 3,000 in recent days. The state documented the most cases in vaccinated school-aged children.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published a report about the Washington epidemic. The report highlights more reported cases among 13-14 year olds — a changing trend across the United States. The prevalence of pertussis in the age group indicates a shorter duration for vaccine protection against whooping cough.

“Even so, vaccinated people who get whooping cough have milder symptoms, shorter illnesses and are less likely to spread the disease to others,” state Secretary of Health Mary Selecky said in a statement. “Our biggest concern is keeping babies from getting sick — and vaccination is still the best protection.”

Pertussis is highly contagious and spreads easily from person to person through coughing and sneezing. The disease is most serious for infants, especially children too young to receive the vaccination. Pertussis causes cold-like systems followed by a long, severe cough.

Officials urge vaccinations as whooping cough surpasses 3,000 cases statewide

July 25, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. July 25, 2012

State health officials said vaccination protection from whooping cough does not last as long as initially believed, but said vaccination remains the best defense against the illness.

The number of pertussis, or whooping cough, cases in Washington surpassed 3,000 in recent days. The state documented most cases in school-age children vaccinated against pertussis.

“Whooping cough vaccines work but don’t seem to last as long as was expected,” state Secretary of Health Mary Selecky said in a statement. “Even so, vaccinated people who get whooping cough have milder symptoms, shorter illnesses, and are less likely to spread the disease to others. Our biggest concern is keeping babies from getting sick — and vaccination is still the best protection.”

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King County child injury deaths drop by 62 percent

July 17, 2012

King County public health officials attributed a drop in injury deaths of children and teenagers in recent years to better education, policies, research and law enforcement.

The rate of death from injuries for children and teenagers 19 and younger declined by 62 percent from 2000 to 2009, Public Health – Seattle & King County announced June 18.

Countywide, 22 children died from injuries in 2009, down from 55 in 2000. The improvements in King County surpassed a national trend of fewer child injury deaths. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said child deaths from injuries declined 29 percent from 2000 to 2009.

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Costco, Diamond Pet Foods sued over contaminated dog food

June 26, 2012

Issaquah-based Costco and Diamond Pet Foods face a lawsuit for a salmonella infantis outbreak stemming from contaminated dog food.

The national food safety law firm Pritzker Olsen filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New Jersey.

Diamond issued a recall of dog food manufactured at a South Carolina plant after discovering salmonella at the facility. The outbreak sickened at least 15 people in Alabama, Connecticut, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Many recalled products carried the Kirkland Signature label — Costco’s store brand manufactured by Diamond.

Pritzker Olsen filed the suit on behalf of a New Jersey infant hospitalized after contracting salmonella. The baby developed severe diarrhea, fever and loss of appetite April 11.

The infant’s father purchased Kirkland Signature Super Premium Healthy Weight Dog Formulated with Chicken & Vegetables — a recalled variety — for the family dogs.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said the bacteria spread after people came into contact with the contaminated dog food or with animals that ate the dog food.

Child injury deaths in King County drop by 62 percent

June 20, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. June 20, 2012

King County public health officials attributed a drop in child injury deaths to better education, policies, research and law enforcement.

The rate of death from injuries for children 19 and younger declined by 62 percent from 2000 to 2009, Public Health – Seattle & King County announced Monday.

Countywide, 22 children died from injuries in 2009, down from 55 in 2000. The improvements in King County surpassed a national trend of fewer child injury deaths. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said child deaths from injuries declined 29 percent from 2000 to 2009.

“In King County, child injury rates have fallen twice as fast as national injury rates,” Dr. Beth Ebel, director of the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center, University of Washington, said in a statement. “We led the nation in strong bicycle helmet legislation, passed the first booster seat law in the country and have innovative programs to prevent childhood drowning. These programs make a difference.” Read more

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes local health advocates

April 10, 2012

King County earned some recognition from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for public health efforts related to obesity prevention and tobacco use.

The 18 local honorees included Issaquah resident Christopher “Kit” Ledbetter, municipal parks and recreation director in SeaTac. Ledbetter earned recognition from the CDC as a champion for tobacco-free parks in the South King County city. The effort brings together teenagers, law enforcement officers, maintenance crews and other partners.

King County Executive Dow Constantine, a leader in environmental protection, public transit and government reform, also earned recognition from the CDC.

The recognition based on nominations from peers is part of Communities Putting Prevention to Work — a CDC initiative to bring together community organizations, local governments, schools districts and public health agencies in addressing the leading causes of preventable death.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention honors local health advocates

February 23, 2012

NEW — 5:45 p.m. Feb. 23, 2012

King County earned some recognition from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for public health efforts related to obesity prevention and tobacco use, officials announced Thursday.

The 18 local honorees included Issaquah resident Christopher “Kit” Ledbetter, municipal parks and recreation director in SeaTac. Ledbetter earned recognition from the CDC as a champion for tobacco-free parks in the South King County city. The effort brings together teenagers, law enforcement officers, maintenance crews and other partners.

(Ledbetter is also the sole candidate for a King Conservation District board seat.)

King County Executive Dow Constantine, a leader in environmental protection, public transit and government reform, also earned recognition from the CDC.

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Words have the power to affect the lives of youths

February 21, 2012

By Olivia Spokoiny Skyline High School

In September 2010, 18-year-old college student Tyler Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge after being outed on the Internet without his consent. The tragic event made headlines all across the nation, but was not, unfortunately, a one-time occurrence.

It could happen to anyone, anywhere, and it doesn’t always make the headlines. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among young people from ages 10-24, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

With the rapid increase of teens using social media in just the past few years, there has been a spike in bullying in the most severe form.

Just last month, an anonymous Skyline High School student created a Twitter page called “SHSgossipgurl,” and used it to publicly bash and humiliate his or her peers where everybody could see it. Fortunately, the page was taken down within a few days and the cyberbullying was put to an end before it could get worse. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but sometimes words hurt even more.

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