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Measles almost gone in U.S.

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review

Atlanta The U.S. had just 37 cases of measles in 2004, the smallest number in more than 90 years of record-keeping, the government said Thursday.

Nearly all of the cases originated abroad, with 14 occurring in U.S. residents who traveled to other nations, 13 in foreigners who brought the disease to the United States, and six in people infected by those two groups.

“It’s the success of the vaccination program,” said Dr. Gustavo Dayan, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the decade before a measles vaccine became available in 1963, more than 500,000 measles cases and about 450 measles deaths occurred in the United States each year.

Managed care part of Medicaid in Florida

Tallahassee, Fla. Medicaid recipients in some Florida counties will be shifted into private managed care plans under a bill approved Thursday by the Legislature.

Gov. Jeb Bush pushed for the change, saying it would rein in costs while improving the quality of care for people who rely on the joint federal-state program for the poor.

More than half of Floridians covered by Medicaid are already in some type of managed care plan or health network. The difference is that the state currently controls their treatment, while under the new program, the state will still mandate coverage for certain illnesses, but HMOs will decide the amount, duration and scope of the treatment.

Flu outbreak could put economy into recession

Washington A severe avian flu outbreak would cost the U.S. economy $625 billion – about 5 percent of the gross domestic product – as employers struggled with absenteeism, lost production and a sharp decline in consumer spending, a new government report has found.

The economic impact, driven in part by fear and confusion, would be equivalent to a recession, according to the Congressional Budget Office report. The estimates are based on a pandemic that would sicken 90 million people in the United States and kill about 2 million.

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