Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Since it came onto the scene in 1943, penicillin has made syphilis a thing of the past — almost. Now, the sexually transmitted disease is making a comeback in the U.S. and there's a shortage of the medication used to treat it.

Pfizer, the company that supplies it, says it's experiencing "an unanticipated manufacturing delay," and in a letter to consumers wrote that it would be providing just one-third of the usual monthly demand until July.

While Congress fidgets over whether and how to pay for the fight against the Zika virus, state and local health departments are scrambling and slimming down.

That's because these front-line public health agencies have already seen their budgets chopped because of the debate.

House Passes $622 Million Bill To Fight Zika

May 19, 2016

House Republicans on Wednesday pushed through a $622 million bill to battle the Zika virus, setting up challenging negotiations with the Senate and the White House.

Too many preschoolers with ADHD still are being put on drugs right away, before behavior therapy is tried, health officials say.

Opioid Epidemic Fueling Hospitalizations, Hospital Costs

May 3, 2016
Associated Press

Every day, headlines detail the casualties of the nation’s surge in heroin and prescription painkiller abuse: the funerals, the broken families and the patients cycling in and out of treatment. Now, a new study sheds light on another repercussion — how this public health problem is adding to the nation’s ballooning health care costs and who’s shouldering that burden.

White women are dying at a slightly younger age than in the past. That's according to a report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

The more researchers learn about the Zika virus, the scarier it appears, federal health officials say, as they urge more money for mosquito control and development of vaccines and treatments.

Officials: Zika-Infected Couples Should Postpone Pregnancy

Mar 28, 2016

Federal health officials on Friday issued first-time guidance for couples planning a pregnancy if either partner may have been exposed to Zika, the tropical disease linked to birth defects.

By Pitcherman via Wikimedia Commons

A Pennsylvania dairy that supplies raw milk around the country has been linked to two cases of listeriosis, one of them fatal, according to health authorities.

CDC Guidelines Aim To Curb Painkiller Prescribing

Mar 16, 2016
Toby Talbot / Associated Press

Prescription painkillers should not be a first choice for treating common ailments like back pain and arthritis, according to new federal guidelines designed to reshape how doctors prescribe drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin.

CDC: Zika Infections Confirmed In 9 Pregnant Women In US

Feb 29, 2016
James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Zika infections have been confirmed in nine pregnant women in the United States, including one who gave birth to a baby with a rare birth defect, health officials said Friday.

Battle Rages Over Florida Law Limiting Doctors' Gun Speech

Feb 29, 2016
Alan Diaz/Associated Press

As a pediatrician, Dr. Judith Schaechter can ask parents of her patients all sorts of questions regarding their safety and well-being: what the child eats, whether there's a backyard pool and whether the child gets enough sleep.

Fewer than one-fifth of middle schools — and half of high schools — are teaching all of the sex education topics recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a new study reveals.

The CDC report found that, for every age group, the least likely topics to be taught were how to get and use condoms.

Mass shootings and police shootings have spurred calls for authorities to take action to reduce the violence. But policymakers may be stymied by the dearth of public health research into both gun violence and deaths that involve the police. One big obstacle: congressional restrictions on funding of such research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Right now, the CDC studies all kinds of violence. There's a program on child abuse and youth violence, and the public health agency collects data on suicides and sexual assaults.

Gov't Survey: Fewer Struggle to Pay Med Bills

Dec 8, 2015
Albuminarium

The government says that for the fourth year in a row fewer Americans are struggling to pay medical bills.

Data released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that most of the progress has come among low-income people and those with government coverage.

The number of people in households that faced problems paying medical bills decreased by 12 million from the first half of 2011 through the first six months of this year.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a nasty disease.

"It's super, super scary," says F. Scott Dahlgren, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"If you don't treat for Rocky Mountain spotted fever by the fifth day of illness, there's a really good chance you're going to die," says Dahlgren. "And it's an ugly, ugly death, too," he adds. "It's a horrific thing to go through and to see a loved one go through."

The nation’s biggest pharmacy benefits manager has decided to cover two new drugs that lower artery-clogging cholesterol but raise concern over prices that can top $14,000 a year.

Wikimedia Commons

Three cases of salmonella in Louisiana may be part of the outbreak that sickened 285 people in 27 states, killing a 99-year-old California woman, according to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

There's growing concern about the risks of concussions in young athletes. For years, high school coaches have had to take courses on the dangers of head injuries. This year, for the first time, all high school athletes in Florida are required to educate themselves about concussions before they can compete.

Gerbils are a beloved classroom pet, but they might also be deadly killers. A study now claims that gerbils helped bring bubonic plague to Medieval Europe and contributed to the deaths of millions.

Plague is caused by bacteria (Yersinia pestis) found in rodents, and the fleas that live on rodents. The rodent that's usually Suspect Zero is the rat.

U.S. Patent Office

Orlando on Monday approved its part of two tax packages to bring 100 jobs to Orlando.

And one seeks to solve an age-old problem: Patients not taking their pills.

  – pronounced Smart X Inc. – could move its headquarters from New York to Orlando. The company is testing a smart pill bottle to tell doctors in real-time if patients have stopped taking a prescription.

SMRxT is pilot testing with Florida Hospital. In total, it’s seeking a $330,000 incentive package from the state to create 55 high-paying jobs.

Flu.gov

Some new evidence this is a particularly bad flu season: Flu-related hospitalizations of the elderly are the highest since the government started tracking that statistic nine years ago.

  CDC officials released the new flu season numbers on Friday.About 198 out of every 100,000 people 65 and older have been hospitalized with flu-related illness this flu season. That's roughly 86,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Preven­tion.

Marc Averette / Wikimedia Commons

 The Florida Department of Health is giving $10,000 grants for the study of “health effects related to weather events,” or in the words of many scientists: global warming, the Tampa Bay Times reports. 

Getty Images

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. It can also cause cancer.

The Associated Press

In the midst of a worrisome flu season, health officials are pushing doctors to prescribe antiviral medicines.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday sent a new alert to doctors, advising prompt use of Tamiflu and other antivirals for hospitalized flu patients and those at higher risk for complications like pneumonia.CDC research suggests doctors prescribe antivirals to one in five high-risk flu patients. CDC officials say the number should be higher.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Florida is a major player in widespread influenza reported in 43 states so far this season.

Levels of transmission have reached epidemic proportions, according to the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials say that a mutation in the flu virus may be to blame for the rising number of flu cases this year.

A slight change in the flu virus may be partially responsible for the increased flu activity this season, said Dr. David Berman, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at All Children's Hospital in St Petersburg.

The flu vaccine may not be very effective this winter, according to U.S. health officials, who worry this may lead to more serious illnesses and deaths.

Flu season has begun to ramp up, and officials say the vaccine does not protect well against the dominant strain seen most commonly so far this year. That strain tends to cause more deaths and hospitalizations, especially in the elderly.

Top medical experts studying the spread of Ebola say the public should expect more cases to emerge in the United States by year's end as infected people arrive here from West Africa, including American doctors and nurses returning from the hot zone and people fleeing from the deadly disease.

But how many cases?

Florida Highway Patrol

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading causes of injury and death in the United States. And while wrong-way crashes account for a small percentage of the accidents, more than a dozen people have died in an outbreak of wrong-way driving on Tampa-area roads.

"Unfortunately 2014 has been a very tragic year, especially dealing with the wrong way crashes, and we can't really say why this year we've seen such the number we have,” said Sgt. Steve Gaskins with Florida Highway Patrol.

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

For Americans wondering why President Barack Obama hasn’t forced all states to follow a single, national rule for isolating potential Ebola patients, the White House has a quick retort: Talk to the Founding Fathers.

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