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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.

Grant County investigates pertussis outbreak

Grant County investigates pertussis outbreak

The Grant County Health District is investigating three confirmed cases of whooping cough (pertussis) and another 210 who may have been exposed to infected individuals.

The outbreak has been contained to migrant farm workers near Mattawa and Quincy, and so far no one has been hospitalized.

“Because a large number of exposed and ill individuals in a very well-defined area, we are considering this a local outbreak,” said Grant County Health Officer Alexander Brzezny.

In an effort to control the spread of the disease, GCHD distributed antibiotics for all 210 individuals who came in close contact with the ill individuals. The pertussis (Tdap) shot is also being offered to all the workers to reduce a chance of future infection.

Washington sees spike in pesticide related illnesses

Washington sees spike in pesticide related illnesses

From the Washington State Department of Health:


There have been 15 potential pesticide drift events resulting in about 60 people getting ill reported to the Washington State Department of Health in the past two months– that’s as many the agency normally sees in a year.

Thousands enrolled for insurance through Washington, Idaho health exchanges

Thousands enrolled for insurance through Washington, Idaho health exchanges

President Obama announced Thursday eight million people have signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, while enrollment numbers in Washington and Idaho have been relatively high so far,

According to Washington's insurance commissioner, 146,000 people signed up for private insurance in the first six months. In Idaho, 44,000 people signed up, making the Gem State second in the nation per capita. So why has it been so successful in our two states? Washington and Idaho created their own state-run exchanges, while many states didn't and rely on the federal government.

Washington and Idaho have their own online marketplaces for families to shop for insurance and, despite some challenges like website issues, they've proven to be effective in enrolling people for health care.

Deanna Davis with Better Health Together said sign-up numbers in eastern Washington were higher than expected.

"We did triple enrollments than what we projected to do in our 14 country region," Davis said.

Flu outbreak kills 2 in Grant County assisted living home

The Grant County Health District is working closely with Garden Oasis Assisted Living staff to control a flu outbreak that has killed two residents.


“We are deeply saddened to learn about the deaths of the two residents,” states Dr. Alexander Brzezny, Grant County Health Officer. He adds, “The staff and hospital administration have been extremely cooperative and have put measures in place to contain the outbreak.”