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18 months, 25 deaths, and 615 hospitalizations later, state officials are beginning to express hope that a large hepatitis A outbreak is on the cusp of a decline.

Jay Fiedler is with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.  He says he can definitely see a plateau -- 10 to 15 new cases a week -- and no signs of another uptick.  

The progression of a cleanup of a room of someone with hoarding disorder.
Hoarding Task Force of Washtenaw County

For a while, the show Hoarders was popular on cable.

A show about people who just can’t stop hoarding things in their homes. Bathrooms, kitchens, living rooms are piled high with paper, dishes, clothes, food. Doors can’t open. Sometimes there are too many animals in the house. People with hoarding disorder put themselves – and sometimes others – in danger.

The TV show resolves the issue with a lot of drama and tears, and the problem, at least what the viewer sees, is all taken care of in one or two episodes.

But life doesn’t work that way, and for a long time, there just wasn’t a lot of help available for people with hoarding disorder.

An employee at three southeast Michigan health care facilities may have unwittingly exposed more than 600 people to tuberculosis.

Those health care facilities are Saint Joseph-Mercy Ann Arbor and Livingston hospitals, and the South Lyon Senior Care and Rehab Center.

It’s believed the infected worker may have exposed patients and staff at all three places between May of last year and January of this year.

Tuberculosis is a potentially serious bacterial disease that usually attacks the lungs.

erocsid / Flickr Creative Commons HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

Last May, Michigan health officials authorized a way for people at risk of opioid overdose to get Naloxone directly from a registered pharmacy without a doctor's prescription.  The authorization also allows family members, friends and other people who may be able to help a person at risk of overdose to obtain Naloxone directly from a registered pharmacy.

Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, is a medication designed to reverse overdoses.

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

Mass shootings, like the one last week in Florida, can leave some people feeling nervous.

While mass shootings don’t happen every day, car accidents and industrial accidents do. With all that in mind, hospitals around the country are putting on free workshops to teach people how to prevent someone from bleeding to death.

A nurse administers a vaccine.
Rhoda Baer / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state is looking to pharmacists to help combat elevated cases of hepatitis A in Michigan.

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services sent a letter to pharmacies across the state. It outlines how the virus is transmitted and lists symptoms associated with the disease. 

The letter also reminds pharmacists that there are preventative services they can provide that are covered under Michigan Medicaid, including prevention counseling and vaccinations.

MDHHS
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

The state says it’s taking new steps to fix Michigan’s serious lack of inpatient psychiatric care, in hopes of jump-starting a more comprehensive fix.

Michigan largely shut down its inpatient psychiatric facilities in the 1990s. Rather than picking up the slack, community hospitals cut back too.

That means there’s now a serious shortage of beds for people who need care for an acute psychiatric crisis.

GABRIELLE EMANUEL / Michigan Radio

New tests show lead is still a concern in the water in Flint schools.

Two-thirds of the more than 700 recent water samples taken at Flint’s 13 school buildings came back with no detectable levels of lead. But about 3% of the samples tested at or above the federal action level of 15 parts per billion. The highest spikes were recorded at Doyle Ryder Elementary.

MEDDYGARNET / FLICKR - HTTP://BIT.LY/1XMSZCG

There is a continuing debate in Michigan, and nationally, about nursing staffing levels in hospitals and whether there's a shortage of nurses.

Here in Michigan, nurse advocates and some lawmakers are pushing for the Safe Patient Care Act.

Stateside 2.8.2018

Feb 8, 2018

Today on Stateside, we hear how the vicious flu season has scientists looking for a better way to produce vaccines. And, we talk to a Suttons Bay man who celebrated face-to-face communication by walking 3,200 miles across the United States.

VCU CNS

The winter of our discontent drags on. That discontent has a name: the flu. Our nation is in the middle of an especially bad – and deadly – flu season. And, even as we are told we should get a flu shot, we're hearing that this year's flu vaccine isn't very effective.

Let's talk about why this is, and whether it's time to re-think our approach to preventing the flu.

Dr. Arnold Monto is a professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan and an internationally-recognized influenza expert. He joined Stateside today.

Listen to the conversation above, or read highlights below.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Some popular gay bars in Detroit, Ferndale and Pontiac will have on-site hepatitis A vaccination clinics this month.

It's the state's latest effort to slow the hep A outbreak in Southeast Michigan.

About 14% of the 727 cases identified so far are men who have sex with men -- hence the clinics.

Many hep A cases are also occurring among drug users, jail inmates, restaurant workers, people with no permanent home, and people who live with an infected person.  590 people have been hospitalized, and 24 people have died from infections from the virus.

MEDDYGARNET / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 

Does Michigan have a shortage of nurses?

That question is at the heart of a push by nurse advocates and some lawmakers for a state law that would set up mandatory nurse-to-patient ratios and prohibit hospitals from ordering nurses to work overtime.

Governor Rick Snyder
Flickr user Michigan Municipal League / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Gov. Rick Snyder wants to improve the state's water infrastructure by investing $110 million annually to help ensure access to safe drinking water.

Snyder's office says Thursday the money would come from a new state fee on water customers. It would be used for priority projects such as water main and lead service line replacement, upgrades for failing infrastructure and collection of information on water infrastructure.

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

A pharmacist at a Massachusetts facility responsible for the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

The outbreak killed 76 people, including 19 from Michigan. Hundreds of others were sickened.

Thomas Hawk / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

When President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency, he offered some ideas for tackling this national emergency. He didn't offer specific plans or funding for implementation, however.

One of those ideas was telemedicine, which might be especially helpful where America's opioid crisis is at its worst: rural areas.

Jamey Lister, an assistant professor of social work at Wayne State University, joined Stateside to discuss the future of telemedicine and its potential to serve rural populations.

Listen to the full conversation above, or read highlights below.

Global Panorama / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Recent reports show that the number of organ transplants is rising. While this may be good news to those on an organ waitlist, the reason for the rise — opioid overdose deaths — is troubling.

Dr. Michael Englesbe is a transplant surgeon and an associate professor of transplant surgery at the University of Michigan. He joined Stateside to share his perspective on the opioid crisis.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio/NPR

Michigan State University and Flint officials are kicking off a campaign to get people exposed to the city’s lead-tainted water to sign up for a special registry.

Tens of thousands of people who drank Flint tap water since 2014 have likely been exposed to lead.

The Flint Registry being launched this week is a way to connect people with resources aimed at minimizing the negative health effects of lead, as well as programs promoting wellness.

Detroit Medical Center / Detroit Medical Center

The Detroit Medical Center is still trying to reach a new contract with some unionized workers at its five Detroit hospitals, after service and maintenance workers overwhelmingly rejected a tentative contract agreement earlier this month.

Those workers, who range from janitorial staff to equipment technicians, say the first deal offered by the DMC’s for-profit owner, Tenet Health Care, was simply “inadequate.”

U.S. Air Force

A new website lets people check on their hospital's track record, and compare it with the track record of other hospitals.

VerifyMICare.org includes rates of hospital-acquired infections, deaths, readmission rates, C-sections, post-op pulmonary embolisms, and other indicators of care quality.

Ruthann Sudderth is with the Michigan Health and Hospital Association. She says a pregnant patient might use the website to raise concerns with her doctor, for example.

kate wells / Michigan Radio

Beginning Friday, victims of a former Michigan State University doctor convicted of sexually assaulting young gymnasts can begin accessing help through a fund set up by the university.

MSU has selected Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation Inc. (CMCI) and the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MNCASA) to help the victims of former MSU physician Larry Nassar to get counseling and mental health services.

GAGE SKIDMORE / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

The recent publication of Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury focused our attention on President Trump's fitness to hold office.

Wolff claims White House aides harbor deep concerns about the president's mental health, although those same aides publicly deny that.

Cigarette packaging with surgeon general warning
Melania Tata / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 

The TV series "Mad Men" was set in the 1960s, and its creators went to great pains to make it look as authentic to the era as possible.

That means just about every character smoked. Everywhere. All the time.

number of hepatitis A case in Michigan by year
Data from MDHHS / Michigan Radio

As of last week, Michigan officially has the deadliest of several hepatitis A outbreaks going on nationwide.

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, at least 22 people have died from outbreak-related cases since August 2016.

Brain Imaging Research Division / Wayne State University School of Medicine

Talking about mental illness goes hand in hand with talking about stigma, that fear of being judged or having one’s symptoms blamed on bad behavior rather than a disease. Stigma keeps people from seeking the help they need for their mental illness, but what if patients and families could see their mental illness?

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

All the snow and cold and even a bum wrist from a recent fall didn’t stop Otis Lee from his mission to get vaccinated. Using a cane, Lee hobbled into the student center at the University of Detroit Mercy, where the Detroit Health Department has set up a vaccination clinic specifically for restaurant workers and food handlers.

Bob Doran / Flickr Creative Commons HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

The state is advising Michigan residents to beware of  third parties if they are seeking a medical marijuana registry card.

According to a recent announcement from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Michiganders who want to register as medical marijuana patients should apply directly to the state.

The Department warned that using third parties can delay applications and increase the possibility of fraudulent submissions and misuse of documents.

Richy! / Flickr

A lot more Michigan residents are going to be told they need to bring down their blood pressure under new national hypertension guidelines.

In fact, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, an additional one million Michiganders -- or about 10% of the state population -- are now considered to have high blood pressure. 

That's because the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have redefined high blood pressure as starting at a reading of 130 systolic over 80 diastolic. The previous definition was 140/90.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report finds Michigan is falling short of being prepared to respond to a health emergency.

John Auerbach is the president and CEO of Trust for America's Health. 

He says the Trust’s latest “Ready or Not” report finds Michigan meeting only three of ten main recommendations on public health preparedness.

Auerbach says it’s important that states like Michigan prepare now for future health threats.

Detroit is trying to fight a hepatitis A outbreak in the face of limited resources and low national vaccine supplies.

Detroit health department director Dr. Joneigh Khaldun talked about the city’s efforts to fight an outbreak of the viral liver disease on a conference call with other local and national health leaders Tuesday.

Michigan is one of a handful of states experiencing hepatitis A outbreaks right now. Michigan’s is one of the largest, with 610 cases and 20 deaths reported since August 2016.

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