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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Prevent the spread of cold and flu germs

December 20, 2011

Ten easy steps to keep you and others healthier this holiday season

Novanhealth.org

Each year, millions of people suffer from a cold or flu, and this year is likely to be no different. Between 15 million and 61 million people in the United States will get the flu this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Temperature taking is a key indicator of flu patterns and should be taken seriously, according to Mary Pappas, the New York-area school nurse credited with first alerting officials about the H1N1 outbreak in 2009.

“The flu usually comes with a fever while the common cold does not, so taking your temperature is the easiest way to tell the difference,” she said.

A high or prolonged fever can be an indicator of when to seek medical attention, so it’s important to monitor your temperature on an ongoing basis when you are sick.

Pappas has been taking temperatures for nearly 30 years and, as a school nurse, takes as many as 50 per day. But whether it’s one temperature or 100, she maintains that the most important consideration is that it be accurate. While there are many types of thermometers available, Pappas favors the Exergen TemporalScanner because of its proven accuracy and ease-of-use; all it requires is a simple swipe across the forehead.

“Whether it’s a student at my school or a parent at home, I know taking a temperature can be a challenge, especially with young children who may be uncomfortable and fussy,” Pappas said. “What I love about the TemporalScanner is that it’s not invasive like an ear, rectal or oral thermometer. No matter what a student comes to see me for, I’m able to get an accurate reading. It’s so easy to use that you can take someone’s temperature even when they are sleeping and not disturb them.”

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Zombie dancers shuffle, step to ‘Thriller’ for record attempt

October 25, 2011

Chandler Osman, 12, an Issaquah Middle School student, strikes a ‘Thriller’ pose Oct. 22 during rehearsal for Green Halloween Festival performances. By Greg Farrar

The undead shuffle across TV and cinema screens. Zombies chomp across bestseller lists. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention created a droll guide to surviving a zombie apocalypse.

The zombie zeitgeist is ceaseless. Just like a horde of the undead on a mindless search for brains.

The pop culture phenomenon reaches Issaquah on Oct. 29 as revelers dressed as the undead shuffle downtown and in the Issaquah Highlands just before Halloween.

The most able-bodied zombies plan to inch to the Green Halloween Festival and the Issaquah Library to duplicate the complicated choreography from the 1983 Michael Jackson epic, “Thriller” — a 14-minute MTV masterpiece from “An American Werewolf in London” director John Landis.

Zombies plan to re-create “Thriller” at 2 p.m. for festivalgoers and at 4 p.m. at the downtown library. Then, zombies around the globe plan to gather for Thrill the World, a simultaneous attempt to dance to “Thriller” and set a world record. In Issaquah, 6 p.m. is the designated hour for the Thrill the World attempt.

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State has poor record for student immunizations, high rate of exemptions

September 20, 2011

A report released not long before students returned to school said that Washington kindergartners do not meet state or national goals for required immunizations when they enter school.

Completed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the study is touted by the federal government as the first of its kind. Besides the lack of compliance with vaccinations, the study also notes Washington has the highest immunization exemption rate in the country.

“This is not necessarily news to us,” said Michele Roberts, program manager for immunizations with the state Department of Health. “It’s a dubious honor.”

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