Mary Meehan

Creative Commons

Kentucky is investigating one potential case of a mysterious vaping-related lung illness that’s linked to a nationwide outbreak, the state’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services announced Friday. 

Mary Meehan

The doctor associated with vaccines that caused a rash of infections across three states has been sanctioned by the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure.

According to an order posted to the board’s website, Dr. Paul E. McLaughlin of Location Vaccination in Mount Sterling has been put on probation for five years. The order states that McLaughlin did not respond appropriately when contacted by state health officials or by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when it became apparent that vaccines provided by his company were causing infections.

Sober Living Apartments Offer Residents New Hope

Aug 22, 2019
Mary Meehan / WEKU.Fm

Hundreds attended the grand opening of the housing units on the Hope Center campus in Lexington, filling one of the new community rooms to capacity.

But for Mike Evans and the other tenants, it was a long-awaited chance to find a home

Like each apartment, Evans has a bed, a couch, a small kitchen area, and a private bathroom. In the month since he’s moved in, he’s added some personal touches, a pristine UK cap on a counter, a Wildcat throw on the couch. Even cooking is a pleasure, he said.

Mary Meehan / WEKU.Fm and The Ohio Valley ReSource

Health advocates are helping reinforce the idea of smoke-free schools, with a particular focus on E-cigarettes. Legislation was passed last year to require schools to be smoke free by the 2020-2021 school year. President and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky Ben Chandler explains, there needs to be a concrete next step.

“It provided however, no funding for that signage. I know everybody's shocked by that. The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and the Kentucky Medical Association and its foundation for medical care are about to remedy that.”

American Society of Microbiology

The measles outbreak continues across the country with Ohio becoming the latest state with a confirmed case of the disease.

Ohio State Epidemiologist Sietske de Fijter said Friday that a new case has been confirmed in Stark County. People who are unvaccinated are at risk, she says.

Measles is extremely contagious said de Fijter. “Over 90 percent of individuals who are unprotected are unvaccinated, and who get exposed to the measles virus will come down with the disease.”

She said vaccination is the best form of prevention.

Stu Johnson

A Lexington council committee is endorsing existing standard operating procedures for the cleaning up of homeless camps on public property.  A representative from Louisville appeared before the General Government and Social Services Committee Tuesday to explain that city’s 21-day notice policy. 

Kentucky Hospital Association

WKMS

Many older Americans face an issue that’s often kept behind closed doors: hunger.

A new report called The State of Senior Hunger in America shows that eight percent of Kentucky residents age 60 and older are food insecure. Community organizations in Russellville and Bardstown are among many groups helping older adults get enough healthy food.

Kentucky lawmakers have advanced a bill that would ask the state’s health cabinet to review its response to a deadly hepatitis A outbreak in Kentucky.

The outbreak began in 2017 and has led to more than 4,100 confirmed cases and 43 deaths.

Sen. Morgan McGarvey, a Democrat from Louisville and sponsor of the bill, said that he is not assigning blame for the outbreak “because we don’t have any answers.”

 

Mary Meehan

Gillette, Wyoming, isn’t the kind of place you just happen to come across.

“It’s about a four hour drive through vast, unimpacted, wide, sweeping plains,” said Matt Gray, a professor at University of Wyoming in Laramie, explaining the trek from his office to his clients.

Plains, he said, “and lots and lots of antelope.”

By Mary Meehan

CEO Mike Halligan pushed open the door to a huge warehouse serving 50 Kentucky counties. Pallets of beans, pineapple, bottled water, and rice wrapped in a clear plastic stretch to the top tier of the scaffolding, which warehouse workers call “the sky”.

Similar pantries serve 2.5 million people receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, of SNAP, benefits across the Ohio Valley.

Mary Meehan

  A slender, black, rectangle, the Juul fits easily in the palm of your hand. You don’t light it, you trigger it with a click of a finger. The mist that is exhaled is so fine it’s hard to see. The nicotine is delivered via a pod the size of a AAA battery, with each pod containing the equivalent of 20 cigarettes.

That combination of small size and potent power have made the Juul the vaping device of choice for many teen users. A group students from Casey County, Kentucky, affirms those features make “Juul-ing” – yes it has become a verb – rampant in class.

Courtesy Merritt Family

I’m not usually one to name-drop but my brother Pat Meehan is Santa Claus. A real, professional Santa.

Sitting in his home office fresh from work, he’s wearing black suspenders and a red T-shirt. There at least six other Santa outfits in his closet including beach Santa. His thick, white beard (yes, a real one) shimmers faintly with glitter.

It goes without saying that Pat is really into being Santa. He’s been doing it for 40 years.

But even Pat understands how the 

Lexington Herald-Leader

A Fayette County Health Department representative says hepatitis A cases in Lexington won’t level off until community immunity is built up through additional vaccinations.  

HealthCare.Gov

The time for procrastination is over. Federal officials will be closing the enrollment for health insurance on Saturday.

Emily Beauregard is Executive Director of Kentucky Voices for Health. She said there is an indication  the federal website is pushing people to consider some short-term plans that may not be a good choice.

“They are actually directing people in some subtle ways to short-term plans which are really nothing more than junk coverage,” she said.

Richmond Register

A representative of the Madison County Health Department says hepatitis A cases in the central Kentucky community have likely not peaked.  The staff at the health facility are investigating a case of hep A in a food handler who worked while infectious at Sonny’s BBQ in Richmond.

Mary Meehan

The hepatitis A vaccine is being recommended for anyone who recently ate at a Pulaski County fast food restaurant. An employee of Zaxby’s in Somerset was diagnosed with the viral liver infection over the weekend.

The Lake Cumberland District Health Department is urging those who ate there between November 9th and 30th to get the vaccine as a precaution. The health department’s Preparedness Manager, Amy Tomlinson, says the employee was likely exposed in the community.

Mary Meehan

The political ads in the Ohio Valley are playing on what seems like a constant loop. That’s not unusual for election season. But what is unusual this year is how many ads focus on health care. Consider this one from Kentucky Republican Andy Barr, who’s facing a tough challenge in the 6th Congressional District from Democrat Amy McGrath.

kyfmc.org

Health officials are urging the community to get a hepatitis A vaccine.

Chris Pontus is an officer with the Massachusetts Nurses Association and she participated in last week’s Health Watch USA conference in Lexington.  

 

 

 

 

 

Health Officials Bracing For Tough Flu Season

Sep 17, 2018
Kentucky.com

Public health officials in Kentucky are preparing for what they expect to be a difficult flu season. 

Health officials make predictions on what will happen in Kentucky by watching the flu season in the southern hemisphere. Public Health Commissioner Dr. Jeffery Howard said it looks the commonwealth is in for a tough year.

Mary Meehan

Health officials are urging everyone in Fayette County to get vaccinated against Hepatitis A.

At a press conference Tuesday, Health Commissioner Dr. Kraig Humbaugh said Fayette County has only 9 cases confirmed so far, but that the vaccine has “an excellent track record” of preventing the spread of the disease.

Hep A Cases Continue To Spread Across Kentucky

Aug 28, 2018
By Mary Meehan

 

The number of cases of Hepatitis A is still rising with nearly 1,500 cases in the commonwealth. Close to 900 people have been hospitalized and 12 people have died.

In a typical year Kentucky has fewer than 20 cases of Hepatitis A.

According the state department of public health, the outbreak is also spreading geographically. Originally centered in Jefferson County, the infectious disease is now found in 84 Kentucky counties.

Anthony Scott Lockard/Kentucky River Health District

In a room at the Letcher County Health Department in Whitesburg, Kentucky, about 20 people are learning how to use naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal medication.

Among them is 18-year-old Morgan Hopkins. An aspiring therapist, Hopkins said she wants to be ready with naloxone if someone overdoses around her.

 

“You never know what you’re going to see,” she said. “If anything goes wrong, you have it, rather than you don’t have it.”

The American Cancer Society Action Network is pushing prevention to lower Kentucky's historically high rates of cancer. 

Pam Pilgrim is cancer survivor and a network volunteer in eastern Kentucky. She said that a report released Thursday showed that more than 25,000 Kentuckians are diagnosed with cancer each year. One way of shrinking that number is increasing the cigarette tax and creating a statewide smoking ordinance.

Jim Thacker is frustrated.

The spokesperson for the Madison County, Kentucky, Health Department said there is a real threat of a Hepatitis A outbreak at the detention center right down the road in Richmond.

Built to house about 240 inmates, it holds more than 400.  

“It’s like a petri dish, they are packed so close together,” he said.

Mary Meehan/Ohio Valley ReSource

The low rumble of industrial fans fills the Catholic Action Center in Lexington, a shelter that provides meals and other services for homeless people.

It’s mid-morning on a hot July day and dozens of people sit camped on couches in the entryway, or slouch at tables nearby. Despite the fans the air is stale from too many bodies too close together — ideal conditions for the spread of disease.

 

Syringe Exchanges Set To Open In Northern Kentucky

Jun 27, 2018
Mary Meehan

A mobile syringe exchange and treatment referral service will begin in Campbell and Kenton counties July 23.The mobile unit will be parked on the campuses of St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Newport and Covington. The Kentucky Fire Commission is providing a mobile command center to assist with the program.

Wikimedia Commons

A Hepatitis A outbreak growing in the Louisville area since last summer reached a new peak recently with a travel advisory from Indiana health officials. They told Hoosiers heading to Kentucky to get a Hep A vaccine.

Soon, Kentucky’s Acting Commissioner for Public Health Dr. Jeffrey Howard was pushing back.

Mary Meehan

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams visited Florence, Kentucky today [Monday] to urge all Americans who are in contact with someone abusing opioids to learn how to administer the overdose drug, Naloxone.  

Mary Meehan

President Donald Trump says Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will take the lead in handling current trade disputes with China. But Perdue, who is visiting Kentucky, is keeping his plan vague.

Perdue toured Lexington’s Keeneland racetrack followed by a gaggle of reporters. When asked whether crop insurance could be a way to help support farmers Perdue had this to say.

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