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A public health coordination center is being activated, after indications that a regional hepatitis A outbreak could spread to other parts of the state. 

Most of the 457 people who have contracted hepatitis A since last summer live in southeast Michigan. But a few recent cases have been reported in counties in the thumb, as well as Ingham County. 370 people have been hospitalized since the outbreak began, and 18 people have died.

The state's Community Health Emergency Coordination Center supports public health groups on the front lines of fighting disease outbreaks, providing expertise, guidance and educational materials. The center was last activated in response to the Flint Water Crisis. It was also activated during the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic.

Hand washing
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Michigan has 14 times more hepatitis A cases than it did last year at this time, say epidemiologists with the state Department of Health and Human Services.

The outbreak, which is mainly in southeast Michigan, has sickened 457 people.  Of those, 370 have been hospitalized and 18 have died. 

The outbreak is complicated.  There's no single source such as food contamination - and many groups of people are at risk, including homeless people, drug users, people who are neither, and now there are more cases among men who have sex with men.  

fruit bar at a school cafeteria
U.S. Department of Agriculture / FLICKR - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Is ketchup a vegetable? How about the tomato paste in pizza sauce? 

For decades, what we feed our children for lunch when they're at school has been as much about politics as it has been about health. 

Promoting consent
Morgan Brenner / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

If you logged on to social media at some point this week, you likely saw dozens of posts about #MeToo. The hashtag took off after an actress posed the question: “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

Wendy Sellers believes education is the best way to prevent sexual harassment and assault. 

Be.Futureproof / Flickr Creative Commons HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

Patients and surgeons can now find free, online recommendations about how much opioid pain medication to prescribe for 11 common operations.

The guidelines were developed by a team of University of Michigan medical researchers, with the goal of curbing opioid addiction. They include suggested information for health care providers to give patients about post-surgical pain expectations and medication use. 

Photo of Gov. Rick Snyder
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder says he’s concerned that President Trump’s decision to end subsidies that help low-income families pay for health insurance could make rates unaffordable.

Snyder says more study is needed to determine the state’s next move, but he hopes Congress will act quickly to settle things.

“I think there are reforms needed to the Affordable Care Act,” he said. “Some parts have worked well, others need more work, and the part that needs more work has been in the insurance markets. This makes it more challenging, but hopefully it gets to the point where Congress could hopefully do some bipartisan actions to improve things.”

About 156,300 Michigan consumers have subsidized health plans. It’s estimated the loss of the subsidies would cause their rates to spike by 28 percent.

The subsidies are already the subject of lawsuits. And there could be more legal action to challenge the presidential order to immediately end the subsidies.

MDEQ

Health officials in Kent County plan to investigate whether there are cancer clusters near waste dump sites once used by  the shoemaker Wolverine World Wide tannery in Rockford.

Brian Hartl, an epidemiologist with the Kent County Health Department, joined Stateside today to explain what the department knows now, and how it plans to move forward.

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Pixabay

Since an outbreak began last August, 376 people in Michigan have contracted the sometimes fatal illness. It's mainly spread person-to-person via contact with feces.

Angela Minicuci is with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

"We haven't found one contaminated food source or exposure at this point," she says, "but we are seeing a lot of relation to people who are using opioids or drugs."

People who are, or have been incarcerated, are also considered at higher risk of getting hepatitis A, as are homeless people. A staggering 86% of those who've gotten hepatitis A in the state since last year have been hospitalized.  Fourteen people have died.

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There is an agony that descends upon a family when a child is diagnosed with a neurological and behavioral disability. Imagine adding to that by realizing this child’s disability is 100% incurable, and 100% preventable.

That is the case with FASD: fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Hundreds of nurses are walking a picket line outside the largest hospital in the Upper Peninsula.

Members of the Michigan Nurses Association launched a 48-hour strike against U.P. Health System Marquette on Thursday. The nurses have been working without a contract since May.

Scott Balko is the president of the local nurses’ union. He says staffing issues have become an increasing problem since an out-of-state hospital company acquired three local hospitals in the U.P. in past few years.

Tracy Samilton

Updated 10/4/17 to reflect comments from Ann Arbor VA

Ann Arbor VA Hospital employees rallied Tuesday to ask Congress for enough money to eliminate what they claim is 49,000 job vacancies at VA hospitals nationwide.  Similar rallies have been held at other VA hospitals nationally in recent weeks.

Ozzie James, Jr. is president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2092.  He says veterans need the expertise of VA doctors, nurses and other staff, because outside health care professionals don't fully understand veterans' needs. 

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When you flush, do you know where the wastewater goes? How about where that sewer line ultimately ends?

It is out of sight, and often out of mind. Yet across Michigan, our decaying and outdated sewers are the source of growing problems.

Hepatitis A outbreak reported in SE Michigan

Sep 20, 2017
Daniel Paquet / Flickr Creative Commons HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

Michigan officials are warning health care providers about an outbreak of hepatitis A in the city of Detroit and nearby Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, and Wayne counties.

According to Michigan's Medicaid Director Chris Priest, hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection that is primarily spread between people through food, water, or oral contact with objects, including hands and eating utensils, contaminated by the feces of a hepatitis A-infected individual.

An older woman and a younger girl laugh.
Mohammad Meenhaj Uddin / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

There’s an old adage that laughter is the best medicine. 

Michigan State University psychiatrist Dr. Farha Abbasi believes there’s some scientific truth to that. 

Enroll Michigan

The Trump administration is cutting funding for Enroll Michigan by 90%.

Enroll Michigan funds 30 subcontractors who help people obtain insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

ACCESS, a social service group in Dearborn that focuses on the Arab American community, also helps people obtain insurance under ACA. It will see its federal funding for those activities cut by 36%. 

Executive Director Dizzy Warren says people could have a lot more trouble getting the right kind of insurance now.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Virginia Tech researchers say their latest tests of Flint tap water are consistent with state tests showing the city’s water is within federal standards for lead.

Dr. Marc Edward’s team has conducted five rounds of testing over the past two years. The team’s original 2015 test revealed high levels of lead in Flint tap water.

Syringe with drip
ZaldyImg / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Physicians are coming out against a bill in Lansing that would make it easier for qualified nurses to administer anesthesia. Currently, a physician has to sign off and supervise while a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist gives anesthesia to a patient. Senate Bill 550 would give hospitals the option to end that mandate.

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

Jeff Edwards is on a mission to go into as many schools as possible to talk to as many kids as possible about mental health, depression and suicide.

Edwards is the board chairman of the Southeast Michigan Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and this issue is very personal for him. 
 

His son Chase was 12 years old when he died by suicide in 2003.

Syringe with drip
ZaldyImg / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

New legislation aims to improve patients' access to anesthesia in Michigan's hospitals.

A current mandate requires physician supervision when anesthesia is administered by certified registered nurse anesthetists — even if that physician has little or no training in anesthesia.

Senate Bill 550 would allow Michigan hospitals to choose the anesthesia model that best meets the needs of their patients and communities, and give them the option to either keep or eliminate that rule.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report calls for more aggressive action to reduce lead exposure, such as that seen in Flint children during the city’s water crisis.

woman smoking a joint
miss.libertine / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A new University of Michigan study finds that marijuana use among college students continues to rise in the U.S.

The latest report from U of M's Monitoring the Future program finds that in 2016, marijuana use among full-time college students was at the highest level since 1987.

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College campuses are filling up with students again, which means all the associated stress is returning to campuses too.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio/

Affordable Care Act health insurance rates may jump in Michigan next year, depending on a decision by the Trump administration.

The Trump administration has threatened to end Cost Sharing Reduction payments.  The federal government offers those subsidies to offset the cost of insurance policies that cover low income residents.  

State insurance officials say Michiganders buying health insurance through the marketplace will see rates rise between 16% and 59% next year.

portrait pictures of dr. kendrick and dr. Eldering
Courtesy of the Michigan History Center / Archives of Michigan

Parents and students are getting ready for school to start next week. That can mean last-minute shopping trips for supplies and clothes, and perhaps a doctor’s appointment to get those vaccines up to date before the school year starts.

Back in the 1930s, pertussis, better known as whooping cough, caused 6,000 deaths a year in the United States. Ninety-five percent of the people who died were children ages five and under.

It was three women in Michigan who helped change those grim statistics.

Da Capo Press, 2017

He was a welcome presence on ESPN and ABC for decades. During his 30 years at ESPN, John Saunders lived every sports fan’s dream job.

But even as this one-time Western Michigan University hockey player rose to become one of the country’s most popular sportscasters, he secretly battled depression – and endured personal traumas that are hard to believe.

A bottle of pills.
Pixabay

Democrats in Lansing want to stop prescription drug price hikes in Michigan.

Prescription drug prices have gone up in Michigan and across the U.S. over the last few years. A recent study by Blue Cross Blue Shield Association showed that the prices its members pay have gone up about 10 percent a year since 2010.

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In December, the state will start accepting applications for medical marijuana shops to get licenses. But meanwhile, there’s a dispute over how to deal with the dispensaries that are already open.

At a meeting today, the state’s medical marijuana licensing board considered whether dispensaries should have to close their doors before they can get a license. At least two board members want dispensaries that are already open to close next month – or risk being denied a license.

How to train your mind to get in "the zone"

Aug 21, 2017
With exercises and effort, anyone can train their brain to be more creative, says Dr. David Fessell.
Flickr/vaXzine

The Next Idea

Is there a “state of mind” that aids innovation and creativity?

Think for a moment about the last time you were totally immersed in a hobby, music, or sport. Things just seemed to flow, time became imperceptible, and everything seemed almost effortless. Might you have experienced this when writing? Running or gardening? Creating poetry, music, or dancing? Or even tinkering?

Are such times rare or non-existent in your life? These experiences of “flow” are rocket fuel for innovation and creativity—and you can have more of them.

FLICKR USER PAHO/WHO / FLICKR

Vaccine education groups are asking parents to get their kids vaccinated before school starts.  

Veronica McNally is with the Franny Strong Foundation. Her baby girl died at age three months from whooping cough.

She says parents are also protecting babies and immune-compromised people when they vaccinate themselves and their children.

"Whooping cough, for example, would require several doses of dTAP (the pertussis vaccine) before an infant would get vaccine-conferred immunity," says McNally. "So it's important to give that infant the circle of protection -- vaccinating everybody around the infant. And the same is true of influenza."

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In 1960, the first oral contraceptive was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as contraception.

That drug, Enovid, changed the course of history for women.

Yet Beverly Strassmann, a professor of anthropology and a researcher at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, has a challenge for the drug companies that make hormonal birth control: don’t rest on your laurels.

Her research indicates it might be past time for pharmaceutical companies to tweak the formulation of the pill.

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