disease

Medical Costs
12:35 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Effective But Costly: Prison Officials Debate New Hepatitis Drug

Inmates at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton receive certificates after a seminar with Rich Feffer of the Hepatitis Education Project.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

About 3.2 million people in the U.S. have hepatitis C, a highly contagious virus that can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Dr. Jody Rich, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at The Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University in Rhode Island, said prisons carry a heavy load of the disease, but they also have built in health care.

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Medication Cost
12:25 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Medicare Won't Always Pay For Boomers' Pricey Hepatitis C Drugs

New hepatitis C drugs can cost as much as $1,000 per pill.
Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 9:02 am

Walter Bianco has had hepatitis C for decades. He's known about it for 20 years. And now he's reaching the end of the road.

"The liver is at the stage next to becoming cirrhotic," the 65-year-old Arizona man says.

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Fungal Infection
2:27 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

An Update On The Valley Fever Investigation In Eastern Washington

Coccidioidomycosis, a fungus that can lead to valley fever, often lives in dry, arrid areas. It has recently been discovered in soil samples from eastern Washington.
Credit Flickr Photo/Eddie McHugh (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks to Dr. Tom Chiller, a fungal expert at the CDC, about the discovery of Coccidioides in eastern Washington. The fungus causes Valley Fever, and so far three cases have been confirmed. Chiller is assisting the state of Washington in its investigation of Valley Fever.

Valley Fever
8:19 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Source Of Fungal Illness Discovered In Eastern Washington Soil

Coccidioides’ tube-shaped cells living in the soil can break into spores and go airborne.

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 8:57 am

A disease-causing fungus thought to be confined to the deserts of the U.S. Southwest has been discovered in soil samples from eastern Washington.

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Gates Foundation
12:38 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Why Bill Gates Fights Diseases Abroad, Not At Home

By ensuring vaccines are invented and distributed, Bill Gates says, his foundation is dramatically reducing the number of childhood deaths in poor countries.
Marie McGrory NPR

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 10:18 am

This week in Seattle, Bill and Melinda Gates are attending a meeting of the minds.

Five hundred of the world's top innovators in global health have gathered for the Global Health Product Development Forum, an annual event in which scientists, engineers, policymakers and activists work to develop new tools for fighting diseases.

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Seattle Outbreak
1:53 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Measles At A Rock Concert Goes Viral In A Bad Way

This one's virus-free: Matthew Followill, Nathan Followill and Caleb Followill of Kings of Leon performed in Los Angeles in December.
Kevin Winter Getty Images for Radio.com

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 8:54 am

If you went to see the Kings of Leon concert on March 28 in Seattle, let's hope you came home with nothing but great memories.

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UW Researcher
3:01 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

How Being Ignored Helped A Woman Discover The Breast Cancer Gene

Mary-Claire King says obscurity gave her the freedom to spend years looking for breast cancer genes.
Mary Levin/University of Washington

Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 6:17 am

Back in the 1970s, a geneticist named Mary-Claire King decided she needed to figure out why women in some families were much more likely to get breast cancer.

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World TB Day
11:16 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Former TB Patient On Time In Local Sanatorium: 'I Look Back On It Very Sweetly'

Alice Brannman was diagnosed with bone TB in 1947. She spent two years at Firland Sanatorium in Shoreline.
Credit Courtesy of TB Voices Project

Some people may think tuberculosis has been wiped out, but the disease still infects one third of the world’s population.

Closer to home, tuberculosis is on the rise in Washington state, after years of decline. There were 209 tuberculosis cases reported last year.  

These days the disease is treated with oral medication.

But there was time, not too long ago, when TB patients were quarantined in sanatoriums, sometimes for years.   

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Treatment Costs
10:04 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Screening Immigrants For TB Pays Dividends In U.S.

People who test positive for infection with bacteria that cause tuberculosis can be treated before they enter the U.S.
Janice Haney Carr CDC

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 11:39 am

Hundreds of people with tuberculosis wishing to come to the U.S. have been stopped before they reached U.S. borders, says a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Physicians overseas picked up more than 1,100 cases in prospective immigrants and refugees prior to their arrival in the U.S. The cases include 14 people with multidrug-resistant TB, the CDC says.

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Health
2:50 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Feeling Sick? Flu Season Is In Full Swing

Flickr Photo/cassie_jean

Marcie Sillman hears from Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, chief of communicable disease epidemiology and immunization for Public Health in Seattle and King County, about this year's flu season.

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Environment And Health
12:24 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Why Ending Malaria May Be More About Backhoes Than Bed Nets

Yonta, 6, rests with her brother Leakhena, 4 months, under a mosquito bed net in the Pailin province of Cambodia, where deaths from malaria have decreased sharply in the past two decades.
Paula Bronstein Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 5:16 am

Wiping out malaria is a top goal for many leaders in global health.

Fewer people are dying now from the mosquito-borne disease than at any other time in history. "And there's a very, very strong belief now that malaria can be eliminated," says Joy Phumaphi, who chairs the African Leaders Malaria Alliance.

But when you look at the overall numbers on malaria, eradication almost seems like a pipe dream.

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Public Health
11:06 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Meet The Woman Who Tells Your Exes They May Have An STD

Anna Halloran handles partner notification for gonorrhea cases at the Spokane Regional Health District. Most public health departments now have people on staff that notify partners of exposure to an STD.
Northwest News Network/Jessica Robinson

Public health officials are trying to stop a series of gonorrhea outbreaks in the Northwest. And they’re offering a service to infected patients: anonymous notification of former sexual partners.

That's right. There is a government worker out there whose job it is to call, text, Facebook or track down your exes to let them know they might have an STD. And the job has become a key part of controlling disease outbreaks.

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Stalled Research
12:58 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Antibiotics Can't Keep Up With 'Nightmare' Superbugs

On Tuesday night, PBS' Frontline will investigate how decades of antibiotic overuse has led to the emergence of drug-resistant superbugs.
Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 3:15 pm

We're used to relying on antibiotics to cure bacterial infections. But there are now strains of bacteria that are resistant to even the strongest antibiotics, and are causing deadly infections. According to the CDC, "more than 2 million people in the United States every year get infected with a resistant bacteria, and about 23,000 people die from it," journalist David Hoffman tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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