health

Washington state agriculture officials have just finished up the grim task of euthanizing nearly 5,000 birds in Okanogan County.

Heather Weinert Owain Weinert cancer vaccines
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Owain Weinert, at age 8, hadn’t been eating breakfast and was sleeping 12 to 14 hours a night. For months, mysterious fevers came and went.

His mother took him to the pediatrician, who in turn sent them to a lab for a blood test. They then went to lunch, which Owain didn’t eat.

Idaho lawmakers are considering a proposal to make more room for Idaho students in a University of Washington med school program.

Idaho lawmakers introduced a bill Thursday that would establish requirements for doctors who prescribe abortion drugs like RU-486.

File photo of a flu shot.
Flickr Photo/Fort Meade (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks to Washington state Rep. June Robinson, D-Everett, about her new bill that would take away the option to opt out of vaccinations for "personal beliefs."

If you walk the streets of China today, you'll quickly notice that most young people wear glasses. In Shanghai, for instance, 86 percent of high school students suffer from myopia, or nearsightedness, according to the government's Xinhua News Agency.

Myopia has risen quickly in much of East Asia and Southeast Asia. And researchers are still trying to pin down exactly what's driving the epidemic.

The clock is ticking for those who haven’t bought health coverage for 2015.

The deadline for open enrollment is Feb. 15th. So far, Washington state is falling short on its enrollment goals. To date, more than 40,000 residents have bought health plans through Washington Healthplanfinder, the state’s health exchange. The state’s goal was more than twice that.  

State lawmakers in California introduced legislation Wednesday that would require children to be fully vaccinated before going to school, a response to a measles outbreak that started in Southern California and has reached 107 cases in 14 states.

The medical histories of radioactive cleanup workers should be examined more closely at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Dr. Bob Sears, a pediatrician in Capistrano Beach, Calif., says that he strongly believes in the protective power of vaccines to save lives. But he's also well-known in Southern California as a doctor who won't pressure parents who refuse to vaccinate their children, or who refuse some vaccines, or who want to stray from the recommended schedule of vaccinations.

"They all come to me because, I guess, I'm more respectful of their decisions, more willing to listen to them," Sears says, "[and to] discuss pros and cons and acknowledge that there are some side effects to vaccines."

Amy Radil

In coming months, all patients in the University of Washington health system and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance will be asked for their permission to have medical records and leftover blood or tissue made available for future research.

Mental health advocates in Washington are assailing a proposal to allow psychiatric boarding in limited cases.

The ongoing measles outbreak linked to Disneyland has led to some harsh comments about parents who don't vaccinate their kids. But Juniper Russo, a writer in Chattanooga, Tenn., says she understands those parents because she used to be one of them.

"I know what it's like to be scared and just want to protect your children, and make the wrong decisions," Russo says.

Senator Mike Padden
Courtesy Photo

A bill introduced in Olympia last week would require health providers to notify parents 48 hours in advance if their child is getting an abortion. Critics say this will make it harder for an underage girl to get an abortion. Republican State Senator Mike Padden is the bill's sponsor. He represents Washington's 4th District in the Spokane Valley.

Another new case of bird flu has popped up in northern Washington state. This one is a hobby and 4-H program flock in Oroville, Washington, not far from the Canadian border.

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