Health

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Six infants may have been exposed to the measles in a recent outbreak in the Spokane area.

It’s the first measles outbreak in Spokane in two decades. Both cases are in unvaccinated adults. Both are recovering.

But the potential infection of infants before the cases were discovered is especially worrisome, says Dorothy MacEachern . She’s an epidemiologist with the Spokane Regional Health District. The infants were too young to be vaccinated -- the measles vaccine is usually done at 12 months -- and MacEachern says measles in babies can lead to ear infections, pneumonia …

ILR / Flickr

More students are complying with state law in the Spokane School District when it comes to immunizations.

Washington state law says before a child can attend school, parents need to provide proof of immunization status or have signed a certificate of exemption form.

The Spokane School District started enforcing that rule in earnest this week.

District spokesman Kevin Morrison said a number of students were sent home on Monday, for at least one classroom period.

Northwest lawmakers are considering whether to make it harder for parents to opt out of immunizing their children.

Legislative moves to limit school immunization exemptions are drawing vocal opposition from some parents. Opponents of mandatory vaccination crowded a public hearing at the state capitol in Olympia Tuesday, and the scene could repeat itself in Salem Wednesday.

The Centers for Disease Control says a measles outbreak that spread from California's Disneyland has now reached 14 states and infected 102 people. No cases have been confirmed in Idaho, but many neighboring states are on the list including Utah, Washington and Oregon.

"We worry that it’s only a matter of time before we do see measles cases in Idaho," says Dr. Christine Hahn, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare's medical director for the division of public health.

North Idaho College / http://www.nic.edu/about/

A community college in Idaho today received a major grant to train people in rural areas for hard-to-fill jobs in the health care industry. The $6.4 million dollar grant is the largest in the school’s history. It’s part of a job training program set up in the 2009 stimulus package.

Lita Burns is the vice president of instruction at North Idaho College (NIC) in Coeur d’Alene, the school that got the grant. She says hospitals have told them it’s hard to get people trained as technicians and assistants to relocate from another state. This includes EMTs and dental assistants.

Army Medicine / flickr

Public health authorities in Washington and Idaho are now investigating at least 79 cases of a serious respiratory illness that affects children. The widening disease outbreak is suspected - but not confirmed - to be a rare strain of enterovirus. 


The State Of Obesity / http://stateofobesity.org/adult-obesity/

New figures on weight show Idaho stands out among Western states - but not in the way public health officials would like. 

Idaho was the most obese state west of the Dakotas and one of only six states nationwide where adult obesity rose between 2012 and 2013, jumping nine places on the list. It's an annual ranking by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The report shows nearly 30 percent of adults in Idaho are obese.

Northwest Meth Houses To Get Scrubbed Under EPA Program

Jul 25, 2014
Tacoma Housing Authority

Federal dollars meant to restore toxic areas like old factories, mines and gas stations are now going to another long-time industry: meth. For the first time, the EPA’s Brownfields program is covering the clean-up of former meth houses. And the inaugural sites are right here in the Northwest.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Hanford workers who are worried about getting sick turned out by the dozens for a public meeting in Richland Wednesday. Some of the nuclear site employees say the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractors aren’t doing enough to protect them from hazardous and smelly chemical vapors. Correspondent Anna King was there.

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