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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Some folks are missing the point of vaccines

We’re No. 1. Measles will be overjoyed. A new report shows that more parents in Washington refused to have their children vaccinated than any other state in the nation. I’d have thought Mississippi would have taken that flag, but no – it’s apparently a different kind of counterculture that drives this particular paranoia, and we’ve got a big dose of it.

Sacred Heart eliminates bacteria, lifts water restrictions

Water restrictions were lifted Wednesday afternoon at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center after successful efforts to eradicate bacteria that can cause Legionnaires’ disease from the hospital’s water supply. Three patients out of thousands treated so far this year tested positive for the bacteria – two in January and another in April.

Precautions at Sacred Heart

 Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center is restricting showers, serving bottled water and replacing parts of its water system after three patients tested positive for the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease. The first patient, an elderly man with a weakened immune system, died. Dr. Jeff Collins, chief medical officer of Sacred Heart, said the bacterial infection has not been blamed for his death.

Fungus infection spreads in West

ATLANTA – A fungus usually found in the tropics has taken root in the Pacific Northwest and has been blamed in the deaths of 15 people over the last six years, health officials said Thursday. At least 60 people have been sickened in four states by the fungus, cryptococcus gattii, which grows on or around trees. Illness occurs months after people breathe in its microscopic spores, and it can be treated with anti-fungal medications.

Idaho teen meth use drops 52% from 2007 to 2009

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest youth risk survey shows methamphetamine use among Idaho teens dropped 52 percent between 2007 and 2009.

Study shows rhythm method gaining popularity with teens

ATLANTA – A growing number of teen girls say they use the rhythm method for birth control, and more teens also think it’s OK for an unmarried female to have a baby, according to a government survey released Wednesday. The report may help explain why the teen pregnancy rate is no longer dropping like it was.

CDC reports signs of flu in 1 in 5 kids

ATLANTA – About 1 in 5 U.S. children had a flu-like illness earlier this month – and most of those cases likely were swine flu, according to a new government health survey. About 7 percent of surveyed adults said they’d had a flu-like illness, the survey found.

Scientists call for new approach to swine flu

MILWAUKEE – An international team of scientists led by a University of Wisconsin-Madison virologist has produced a highly detailed portrait of the swine flu virus that has killed 211 people in the U.S., suggesting it is more virulent than previously thought and contradicting assertions the virus appears similar to seasonal flu. What makes the H1N1 virus different and more deadly than common seasonal influenza is its ability to infect cells deep in the lungs where it can cause scarring and pneumonia, according to a report Monday in the journal Nature.

Private insurance at 50-year low, CDC says

ATLANTA – The percentage of Americans with private health insurance has hit its lowest mark in 50 years, according to two new government reports. About 65 percent of non-elderly Americans had private insurance in 2008, down from 67 percent the year before, according to preliminary data released Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Obama taps NYC health commissioner to head CDC

President Barack Obama on Friday appointed Dr. Thomas Frieden as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, turning to a health commissioner who led the campaign to ban smoking and trans-fats from New York City restaurants.

Developments on swine flu worldwide

Key developments on swine flu outbreaks, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization and government officials.

Gregoire: No known cases still in Washington

OLYMPIA – There are no known cases of swine flu in Washington, Gov. Chris Gregoire said Wednesday, as health officials elsewhere confirmed dozens of cases – including one toddler death – in 10 states.