public health | KUOW News and Information

public health

The Univeristy of Washington Medical Center in South Lake Union.
Angela Nhi Nguyen/KUOW Photo

Three patients at the University of Washington Medical Center have been diagnosed with Legionnaire’s disease this week. One of them died Friday and now officials are investigating the hospital.

Registered nurse Sammy Mullally holds a tray of supplies to be used by a drug addict at the Insite safe injection clinic in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday May 11, 2011.
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck

Safe injection sites in King County will be located only cities that welcome them. That's the upshot of a vote by the King County Council this week.


Registered nurse Sammy Mullally holds a tray of supplies to be used by a drug addict at the Insite safe injection clinic in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday May 11, 2011.
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck

It's official: Seattle plans to be the first city in the United States to open a site for users to inject illegal drugs – without police intervention.

The 12-seat injection room in InSite in Vancouver, B.C. Participants at the clinic inject drugs under the supervision of trained staff and nurses.
Courtesy InSite

Seattle and King County could open the nation's first supervised drug use site. The idea doesn't have formal approval, but King County's Board of Health and a separate heroin task force have both endorsed the sites.

Registered nurse Sammy Mullally holds a tray of supplies to be used by a drug addict at the Insite safe injection clinic in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday May 11, 2011.
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck

Supervised drug consumption sites have the approval of King County's Board of Health. On Thursday, the board unanimously endorsed the idea, after a task force on heroin recommended it last year.

King County executive Dow Constantine presents West Seattle Fish House with an 'excellent' food safety rating.
Courtesy of King County

People eating out in King County now have a new way to compare restaurants. King County Public Health began phasing in new food safety rating signs Tuesday.

Instead of a pass/fail system or traditional letter grades, you'll start to see emojis hanging in restaurant windows.

SHARE Tent Camp 3
Paige Browning / KUOW

The University of Washington is marking some firsts in its involvement with the homeless community.

The Seattle campus is hosting a tent camp for the next three months. On top of that, UW is offering a class on homelessness for health science students.


A Winchester Safes representative sets the lock on one of several gun safes on display at the 35th annual SHOT Show, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, in Las Vegas.
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

Kim Malcolm talks with Dr. Joseph Simonetti about the public health implications of safe firearm storage. His research finds that adolescents with risk factors for suicide are often easily able to access guns in their homes. Simonetti is Instructor of Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver.

For residents in a tiny town in Pierce County, it's been bottled or boiled water since Wednesday afternoon. The 650 person town of Carbonado is under a boil water advisory because the water line was damaged Wednesday morning.

But for the residents, no water for a couple days is no problem.

Epi-pen
Flickr Photo/Vu Nguyen (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/bF1Rjy

One solution to the soaring price of EpiPens: Build a replacement that costs a fraction as much.

Jim Duren of King County Emergency Medical Services told KUOW’s Kim Malcolm that his agency did just that in 2013, building its own injection kit.


King County's Board of Health is pushing for better enforcement of gun confiscation laws.

In Washington, people subject to restraining orders can be required to surrender their guns. Those cases often involve domestic violence. Law enforcement agencies are supposed to have a process to collect the firearms.

But the Board of Health says that in King County it's not always done effectively, and that causes a public health risk.

Alfonoso Adinolfi at his office in Kent. Like many Americans with hepatitis C, Adinolfi didn't know he carried the virus until he was diagnosed in 1996.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Ask Alfonso Adinolfi how he got hepatitis C and he’ll point to his upper right arm. “Right there,” he says, “that tattoo.”

He’s lived with the blood-borne virus for decades since being infected, possibly with a dirty tattoo needle. He's one of about 10,000 baby boomers in King County who are thought to have hep C, though many may not know it. So if you were born between 1945 and 1965, Seattle-King County Public Health wants you to get tested.

Some Northwest lawmakers want to make it harder for parents to opt out of vaccinating their children.

Flickr Photo/CDC Global (CC_BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Dr. Scott Lindquist about Ebola preparedness in Washington state. Lindquist is Washington state's communicable disease epidemiologist.

Flickr Photo/Steve Johnson (CC BY 2.0)

There’s E. coli in the water again on Mercer Island. The island's 62 restaurants  have been ordered to close and people are being told to boil their water for the second time in a week. Schools say they’ll remain open.

Ebola Dallas
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

A Liberian man is being treated for Ebola in Dallas, the first confirmed case of the disease in the US. Doctors in Dallas initially failed to recognize the virus when the man came in for treatment and released him with antibiotics.

KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Fifteen children, ages 6 months to 14 years, are being treated at Seattle Children's Hospital for a severe respiratory illness known as entero virus.

Flickr Photo/Wheeler Cowperthwaite (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Dr. Matthew Golden about HIV infection rates in King County. Golden directs the HIV/STD control program at King County Public Health.

A bill in the state Legislature would prevent people under age 18 from buying vaping products
Flickr Photo/Joseph Morris (CC-BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde talks with Dr. David Fleming, director of King County Public Health, about the Food and Drug Administration's decision to regulate electronic cigarettes.

Flickr Photo/Eric E Johnson (CC-BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde finds our more about a plan by Seattle & King County Public Health to make restaurant health inspection results more visible with Becky Elias, who runs the food protection program.

Flickr Photo/Jon Rawlinson (Cc-BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde talks with Mitchell Warren about the breakthroughs and challenges of HIV prevention over the last 30 years. Warren is the executive director of AVAC, an international non-governmental organization that works on HIV prevention.

Warren said that one of the greatest breakthroughs in HIV-AIDS prevention was the rise of the citizen activism that pushed for funding, creativity and urgency in research. "AIDS really changed how research happened," he said. "Science changed because communities ‘acted up.’"

Feeling Sick? Flu Season Is In Full Swing

Jan 6, 2014
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.

Public health officials say recent measles cases in the Northwest highlight the need to be vaccinated against the infection.

Health officials across the Northwest are trying to figure out why they’re seeing a big upswing in the number of people with gonorrhea this year.

Washington announced Thursday five counties are in the midst of an outbreak of the infection.

For years, researchers have been connecting the dots between socioeconomic status and obesity rates. A new study from the University of Washington makes those connections even stronger.

The study, published in the International Journal of Obesity looked at nearly 60,000 men and women in King County. It found that people in South and Southeast King County were much more likely to be obese. The biggest factors were education levels and home values.

Adam Drewnowski is the study’s lead author. He’s a professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington and the director of the UW’s Center for Public Health Nutrition. He talks with Marcie Sillman.

Flickr Photo/Anthony D'Onofrio

UPDATE: 9/25/13, 5:10 p.m. PT

In a release today, the Washington State Department of Health has lifted the boil water advisory for residents of southwest King County, specifically Des Moines and Normandy Park, saying, "Lab tests show the water now meets safe drinking water standards."

The statement also says that there have been no reported illnesses linked to the water system, which was found to have potentially harmful E. coli bacteria during a routine water quality test earlier this week.

Customers with questions about their water quality can call the water district at 206.878.7210.

City Responds To Need For Potty In Pioneer Square

Jul 11, 2013
Flickr Photo/Ian Fisher

Earlier this week we heard from a Pioneer Square businesswoman Joanna Urrego, who built her own portapotty in an effort to keep people from doing their business in the alley. Well the city has its own plan for public restrooms in Pioneer Square using a what’s called the Portland Loo. Ross Reynolds gets the details from Gary Johnson from Seattle's Department of Planning and Development. 

Merchant Installs Outhouse In Pioneer Square

Jul 10, 2013
The Portland Loo, an example of a public restroom from our neighbors in Oregon.
Flickr Photo/Kevin Christopher Burke

They can arrest her — but she’s not going to put up with the stink.

A Pioneer Square business owner built her own outhouses and put them up last week to cut down on restaurant goers, sports fans and homeless people urinating in the alleys.

Hep C Test Recommended For Baby Boomers

Jun 28, 2013

  All baby boomers should get screened at least once for hepatitis C, regardless of risk factors. That’s the recommendation from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, an influential group of independent experts who are appointed by the federal government. Many people who carry the blood infection show no symptoms for many years. As one ages hepatitis C can cause a variety of serious liver problems, including cancer. Dr. Jeff Duchin, chief of epidemiology at Seattle-King County Public Health, tells Ross Reynolds why it’s important for baby boomers to get tested.

AP Photo/Luis Romero

Every person between the ages of 15 and 65, regardless of risk factors, should get routinely tested for HIV. That’s the recommendation from the US Preventative Services Task Force, an independent panel of doctors and researchers.

Pages