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Grant County child hospitalized with possible enterovirus

Grant County child hospitalized with possible enterovirus

A Grant County child has been hospitalized with a severe respiratory that may be enterovirus D68. A test returned positive for enterovirus/rhinovirus, but was unable to distinguish between the two. Additional testing is being done at the Centers for Disease Control that will determine which it is, with results expected next week.

Grant County Health Officer Dr. Alexander Brezny issued a public health advisory to local healthcare providers and schools. The CDC has said this is a rapidly evolving situation. Previously EV-D68 has been rare in the U.S, but in other states the outbreaks are resulting in many children requiring ER visits and hospitalizations, mostly for breathing problems and severe asthma.

The virus spreads from person to person like a cold and has been causing mild to severe breathing illnesses (runny nose, cough, difficulty breathing) both with and without fever. Children with per-existing asthma may suffer worse infections. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for enteroviruses.

Grant County adopts ordinance regulating e-cigarettes

Grant County adopts ordinance regulating e-cigarettes

The Grant County Board of Health has unanimously adopted an ordinance regulating the sale, marketing, use and availability of electronic vapor devices (ex: e-cigarettes) and e-liquid.

The board studied the issue and received public testimony for several months before voting. Specific concerns were bystander exposure to second hand vapors and access to children. E-cigarettes and similar products are mostly unregulated and pose a concern to public health.

In fact, this year alone the Washington Poison Center has seen a 600 percent increase in the number of calls regarding e-cigarette exposure.

The devices are battery powered and can resemble cigarettes. People who use the devices inhale vaporized liquid nicotine, or other liquids, created by heat and exhale the vapor in a way that looks like smoking. Bystanders are exposed to potentially unhealthy second hand vapors and their use makes it difficult to enforce state and local smoking laws.

Human West Nile case linked to Grant County mosquitoes

Human West Nile case linked to Grant County mosquitoes

A warning for anyone spending time outdoors in Grant County – a 30-year-old woman from Pierce County has been confirmed as having West Nile virus after spending time there. The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has investigated the case and determined that the woman was likely exposed to infected mosquitoes while in Grant County.

So far this year there have been four other human cases in Washington; two of those cases were exposed in Walla Walla and Benton Counties, the two other cases were exposed while traveling out of the state. The virus causing West Nile disease has been detected in 26 mosquito samples from Grant County so far this year.

West Nile virus is a bird illness that can spread to people and other animals through mosquito bites and the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being bitten.

The Grant County Health District advises residents take the following steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes:

Check your child's vaccinations before heading back to school

Check your child's vaccinations before heading back to school

Getting ready for back to school means getting school supplies and backpacks, but it's also the perfect time to make sure children are up-to-date on their shots. Getting all of the recommended shots is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their kids' health.

A new survey from the Washington State Department of Health shows vaccination rates are on the rise (71 percent in 2013 versus 65 percent the year before) but are still below the Healthy People 2020 goal of 80 percent, leaving many kids unprotected.

Below is a summary of shots children need:

First West Nile infection of 2014 reported

First West Nile infection of 2014 reported

The Washington Department of Health has confirmed the first case of in-state West Nile virus since 2012.

A Walla Walla man in his 20's was exposed somewhere near his home and hospitalized. The infection was confirmed by testing at the Washington State Public Health Laboratories in Shoreline.

Two other Washington residents have been diagnosed with the infection this year, both both contracted the disease while traveling out of state. Additional reports of possible infections are currently under investigation.

“The mosquito samples that have tested positive for West Nile virus in eastern Washington this season are a reminder that the virus is here and we should protect ourselves,” said State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy. “The best prevention is to avoid mosquito bites – at home and while traveling.”

So far 34 mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus in 2014, including:

Washington fourth in nation for reducing uninsured adults

Washington fourth in nation for reducing uninsured adults

A new Gallup poll puts Washington state fourth in the nation for reducing the number of uninsured adults since the new healthcare law took effect at the beginning of the year.

Washington dropped from 16.8 percent in 2013 to just 10.7 percent in the first half of 2014.

Governor Jay Inslee released a statement about today's report saying, “Gallup has confirmed what we know from our experience here in Washington: expanding coverage for working people in Washington by effectively implementing needed reforms makes a huge difference in getting people insured so they can get the health care they need. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act we enrolled more than 600,000 people in health coverage through our exchange, the Washington Healthplanfinder. We have a lot to be proud of, and will continue doing everything we can to make the ACA work for the people and businesses of Washington.”

Working 4 you: Just how good for you is running?

Working 4 you: Just how good for you is running?

Good news for runners.

A new study shows the benefits of running for your health, but this study says it doesn't matter if you're a 15-minute miler, or an elite marathoner. The benefits are still the same.

According to the study running, even for a few minutes a day, can reduce your risk of death from heart disease compared to those who don't run at all. That study was published this week in the journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Researchers studied some 55,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 100 over a 15 year period. They noted their overall health, if they ran and how long they lived.

Compared to non-runners, investigators found those who ran had a 30% lower risk of death from all causes, and a 45% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

In fact, runners on average lived three years longer compared to those who did not hit the pavement.

When data was broken down by age, sex, body mass index, smoking and alcohol use, the benefits were still the same. And the speed at which runners ran made little difference.