Illinois Department of Public Health

ILRI vaccines research / Flickr/Creative Commons

As parents vaccinate their children at the start of school, public health officials in Illinois say adults should also check to see if they need booster shots.

Illinois Public Health Department Director, Dr. Nirav Shah, says vaccines don’t last forever.

SHAH: “A lot of vaccines aren’t regularly administered until folks are older, so this is a perfect opportunity to speak to your doctor and check in to make sure your own vaccines are up to date.”

Illinois public health officials say the state has confirmed its first human case of West Nile virus this year.

Illinois residents are being warned to beware of rabid animals after more than two dozen rabid bats have been reported in the state this year.

Illinois Department of Public Health data show opioids contributed to nearly 1,200 overdose deaths in the state in 2016. There were about 3 million Schedule II opioid patients in Illinois annually from 2008 through 2016.

The nursing home industry is fighting legislation that would require them to have higher staffing levels — and greater penalties if they don’t meet them.

Illinois’ long-term care ombudsman tracks complaints and looks out for residents of nursing homes. But the ombudsman has her own complaint. She says state agencies that regulate nursing homes are ignoring her.

New legislation would deal with two problems she keeps hearing about: low staffing levels, and discharging residents to hospitals. That second practice, known as “dumping,” also blocks patients from coming back.

Flickr Creative Commons/tanjila ahmed

Medical marijuana sales reached more than $4.4 million-dollars in November at licensed dispensaries throughout Illinois, marking another month of steady growth for the year-old industry.  The state released new sales figures for November along with a new tally for how many patients qualify to buy marijuana legally. 

New data show that the percentage of Illinois youth diagnosed with concussions grew by 83% between 2010 and 2015.  Diagnosed concussions among Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois members between the ages of 10 and 19 increased from a rate of 7.6 per 1,000 members in 2010 to 14 per 1,000 members in 2015.

A Decatur woman's ambition to become a nurse has led to new legislation allowing some convicted felons to petition the state for a health care worker license.  Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a measure into law that has personal meaning for 43-year-old Lisa Creason.

The Illinois Department of Public Health recently reported the state is aware of 47 cases of Zika virus, including at least three pregnant women. Meanwhile, officials in Florida are trying to contain the first known mosquito-borne outbreak of the disease in the continental U.S.

In an attempt to sort through the facts and fears about Zika, we spoke to Dr. Janak Koirala, division chief of infectious disease and a travel medicine specialist at the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.

The Centers for Disease Control says the Zika virus poses a low risk to the donated blood supply in the country. But one northern Illinois blood bank says the virus is still affecting the overall supply in the area.

Gov. Bruce Rauner says the state's doing everything possible to reduce the risk of further contamination by legionella bacteria at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy.

Rauner visited the home Wednesday, a day after state officials reported two residents have new cases of Legionnaires' disease.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Nirva Shah said at a news conference that both affected residents have been treated and released from a hospital.

DHS.state.Il.us

CARBONDALE - Southern Illinois residents continue to lack easy access to hospitals with trauma centers that offer specialized care for severe injuries.

A judge has ordered Illinois health officials to reconsider their decision not to include migraine headaches on the list of conditions that qualify for use of medical marijuana in the state.
 
A Cook County judge overturned Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Nirav Shah's denial of a petition to add migraines to the list.

The court ruling was in response to a suit filed by an unidentified man who has already been using marijuana to treat his headaches. Attorney Robert Bauerschmidt says the middle-aged man has suffered severe migraines since adolescence.

Hot Hot Hot ... Child Car Safety Reminder

Jun 10, 2016

The East Peoria Fire Department is participating in the Safe Kids Worldwide campaign reminding people to never leave children alone in a hot car and to lock unattended vehicles. 

Wisconsin recently had a large increase in the number of deer ticks throughout the state. But what does that mean for Illinois? 

Deer ticks are the ticks that could carry Lyme disease, and the peak time for reported cases of the disease is usually in June and July. The University of Wisconsin Arboretum saw the number of immature deer ticks increase by more than 1,000 percent from 2014 to 2015, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

AP Photo

Two Peoria Nursing Homes have been cited by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

In January, Sharon Health Care Elms on North Rochelle is cited for failure to follow fall procedure policy resulting in significant patient injuries. The home is being assessed a $25,000 fine.

CDC

A death in Illinois has been linked to the same strain of bacteria that has caused an unprecedented outbreak of infection in Wisconsin and one case in Michigan.  The Illinois Department of Public Health announced that an Illinois resident died after contracting an infection from the bacterium Elizabethkingia.

Summer is coming to Illinois, and with it - the return of mosquitoes. This year it may also bring fear about the Zika virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes and has been linked to birth defects in South America.  

OSF HealthCare has the regulatory approval from the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board to make the former Streator hospital a freestanding emergency center.

Illinois is continuing to approve patients to use medical marijuana, with about 400 more approval letters sent in January.

Health officials say reports of influenza are down this winter in Illinois compared with recent years.  Data from the Illinois Department of Public Health show that that from Dec. 20 to Dec. 26, there were 49 flu-related intensive care unit admissions and two outbreaks. 

The pace of Illinois patients getting state approval to use medical marijuana has increased.  The Illinois Department of Public Health announced it approved 4,000 patients to use medical marijuana in the state's pilot program. 

A Chicago businessman convicted of stealing $2.9 million in state grant funds has been sentenced six years in prison. 

The number of Illinois patients getting state approval to use medical marijuana jumped a bit higher during November, the first month of legal sales of the drug.

David Trawin / Flickr/Creative Commons

CHICAGO (AP) - The number of Illinois patients approved to use medical marijuana continues to climb as dispensaries get ready to sell the drug for the first time.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Wednesday it has approved 3,300 patients to use medical marijuana in the state's pilot program. That includes 20 children.

 The department began mailing official identification cards to registered patients and caregivers Friday. Last week, program director Joseph Wright said sales should begin soon and a date would be announced. 

An advisory board voted to add eight health conditions to the list of illnesses that can be treated by marijuana in Illinois. 

Illinois has notified more than 100 jails, health departments and family planning programs that it no longer will provide free testing for sexually transmitted diseases at state labs.

CHICAGO - The typical patient seeking to use medical marijuana in Illinois is an older woman in Cook County with either severe fibromyalgia or cancer. That's the picture revealed Thursday in a new report to the Legislature from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The report shows more than one-third of 3,300 completed applications submitted through June 30 came from patients in Cook County. Counties with the next highest number of applicants - Will, DuPage, Lake and Kane - also are in northern Illinois.

Blue-green algae could show up in IL

Sep 30, 2015
www.epa.illinois.gov

Visitors to the Ohio River in southern Illinois are being cautioned about potential toxins from blue-green algae. The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency issued the warning Tuesday. The agencies are working with the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission following reports of an algal bloom in the river. A bloom hasn't yet been confirmed near Illinois, but conditions could lead to one. Toxins from the algae can cause rashes, vomiting and coughing.

Illinois will be the first state in the nation with a program to dispense some prescriptions in locking pill bottles. 

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