According to CDC data released show measles cases in U.S. has nearly quadrupled over the past 15 years; EPA issues national standards on natural gas fracking; report shows nearly a quarter of U.S. adults went without health insurance last year. Those stories and more topping public health news today, Friday, April 20, 2012.
Ghana Web – 13th World Congress on Public Health opens in Addis Ababa
The 13th World Congress on Public Health on the theme: “Towards Global Health Equity: Opportunities and Threats,” is scheduled for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from April 23- April 27. Dr Luis Sambo, World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, would deliver the keynote address at the Congress which would offer unique opportunities to discuss global, continental and national public health issues among the global public health community and other key stakeholders.
Associated Press – Pa. health official clarifies new gas drilling law
Pennsylvania’s top health official has assured doctors that a new gas-drilling law will allow them to talk to their patients about proprietary chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process — and share the information with public health agencies and regulatory bodies as they see fit.
Associated Press via Journal and Courier – 2011 was worst measles year in U.S. in 15 years, CDC reports
Last year was the worst year for measles in the U.S. in 15 years, health officials said Thursday. There were 222 cases of measles, a large jump from the 60 or so seen in a typical year. Most of the cases last year were imported — either by foreign visitors or by U.S. residents who picked up the virus overseas. U.S. children have been getting vaccinated against the measles for about 50 years. But low vaccination rates in Europe and other places resulted in large outbreaks overseas last year.
Washington Post – Veterans Affairs department plans to add about 1,900 mental health staff as more seek care
The Department of Veterans Affairs said Thursday it was increasing its staff of mental health workers by roughly 1,900, part of an effort to address a shortage of specialists and to better prepare for the medical needs of veterans returning home from war. The department plans to add about 1,600 clinicians, including psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, social workers and professional counselors, and about 300 support staff to an existing mental health staff of roughly 20,590.
HealthDay – EPA to Cut Air Pollution from Natural Gas ‘Fracking’
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday issued the first national standards to curb air pollution linked with the controversial practice of “fracking.” Fracking refers to hydraulic fracturing, a way to obtain natural gas by forcing fluid into a well to fracture rocks and thus release gas. Natural gas is being touted by the Obama Administration as a clean energy source and one that does not rely on foreign suppliers.
LATimes – Survey shows holes in health insurance coverage
With the future of the healthcare law emerging as a major campaign issue this fall, a new survey has found that more than a quarter of adults ages 19 to 64 in the United States lacked health insurance for at least some time in 2011. And the vast majority of those people – nearly 70 percent – had been without coverage for more than a year, according to the study by the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund, a leading authority on health policy.