Male human head louse
Flickr Photo/Gilles San Martin (CC BY SA 2.0)

When kids in Seattle eventually go to school after the strike, they could find an unfriendly welcoming party: tougher lice.

Washington is among at least 25 states where lice have become highly resistant to conventional treatments, according to a recent study.

The good news: Lice aren’t really much of a health problem and schools are being urged not to ban kids from class just because of a stray nit (the louse’s egg). But there’s still that feeling you get when you talk about them …

This month, three new cases of polio, all caused by a strain derived from the vaccine itself, have struck two children in Ukraine and an infant in Mali, the World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed. Both countries had previously been polio-free, which leads to questions about how and why these outbreaks occurred, and how concerned we should be.

To help sort through the issues, we consulted Oliver Rosenbauer, communications officer from WHO's Global Polio Eradication Initiative; Leilia Dore, communications officer for polio at WHO; and other resources available from WHO.

A three-year-old Washington state law that allows whistleblowers to bring Medicaid fraud lawsuits is working. That’s according to a review by legislative auditors that urges lawmakers to renew the law before it expires next year.

It's one of those good news/bad news stories. A study in the medical journal The Lancet found that people around the world — in countries rich, poor and in the middle — are living longer. But here's the rub. You can't count on living those extra years in good health.

As children get ready to head back to the classroom, many school nurses are preparing for lice. But some of these small parasites – more of a nuisance than they are harmful – have been mutating and are now resistant to many over-the-counter medications.

That’s raising concerns and creating an unexpected hurdle to fighting the outbreak. Here & Now’s Lisa Mullins speaks with lice researcher John Clark about what he believes is behind the new breed of “super lice” and what it means for the future of treatment.

A recent outbreak of Salmonella in frozen tuna might have sushi lovers wondering if it's safe to eat that raw fish.

The outbreak in question began in California in March. All told, it sickened 65 people in 11 states. There were 35 cases in California, with another 18 in Arizona and New Mexico. The rest of the cases were scattered across the country, including four in Minnesota.

More adults across the country are strapping on helmets and hopping on bikes to get to work. That's good news for people's hearts and waistlines, but it also means more visits to the emergency room.

Hospital admissions because of bike injuries more than doubled between 1998 and 2013, doctors reported Tuesday in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association. And the rise was the biggest with bikers ages 45 and over.

Neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks at the 2009 Brooklyn Book Festival. Sacks died this weekend. He was 82.
Luigi Novi / Wikimedia Commons

Oliver Sacks didn’t just look at the brain. He looked at the whole person, he told KUOW in a 1987 interview. 

"One should never just look at diseases or disorders, but how it is for the whole person,” he said. “The person is always struggling to survive and to manage some way or another.”

Myriam Marquez at her apartment with her cocker spaniel, Joe Cocker.
KUOW Photo/Jeannie Yandel

Jeannie Yandel talks with Myriam Marquez, former Skagit County public defender and Alzheimer's Association of Washington board member, about how being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease changed her life. 

Efforts to ban “personal exemptions” to vaccine requirements failed in Northwest states this past session. But under a new Oregon law, parents who want to keep their kids vaccine-free will have a tougher time.

Marcie Sillman speaks with Jeffrey Duchin, health officer at Public Health – Seattle & King County, who offers some reassurance to parents about possible contamination of surgical gear at Seattle Children's Bellevue campus.  The satellite surgery center discovered a pattern of improper equipment cleaning, which could have exposed as many as 12,000 people to diseases like hepatitis or HIV.

Polio is almost gone from the face of the earth. The virus is actively circulating in only two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan. But now there's a worrisome new development in the polio end-game.

In Thursday's edition of the journal PLoS Pathogens, scientists report on a man in the United Kingdom who was immunized with oral polio vaccine as a child and whose stool samples continued to contain live polio virus for 28 years.

The incident command for Washington’s biggest wildfire requested a mental health team to help people in Okanogan County. A national nonprofit called Green Cross has responded to the call.

It's time for consumers to wake up to the risks of sleep disorders, scientists say.

Imagine a town crier walking down the street outside shouting through his bullhorn: "All of the young people should go get the new meningitis A vaccine." And adding that it's free.

That's one of the ways that health practitioners are combating what they call "vaccine hesitancy" — refusing a vaccine when it is offered or available.

It's a topic that has made headlines this year, when an outbreak of measles focused attention on U.S. parents who'd not vaccinated their kids, fearing unproven side effects.