Ohio to gain big once Medicaid expansion rolls out, new hidden risk for women with migraine trouble, Colorado takes the cake on ensuring safe food. Those stories and more topping public health headlines today, Wednesday, January 16, 2013.

NPR – Colleges Try To Curtail Flu Risk For Students
As college students return to class from winter break this week, campuses around the nation are bracing for the possibility of a flu outbreak. Colleges in Boston are especially worried after the mayor’s declaration last week of a public health emergency in the city. The city’s student population is large — around 150,000. And though 20-year-olds might not seem like as vulnerable as the elderly or babies, dorm life doesn’t make it easy to avoid a highly transmissible disease. College health officials say it can be a perfect storm for a flu outbreak, when you also consider that young people are among the least likely to worry about getting the flu, or getting the vaccine.

Columbus Dispatch – Study backs expanding Medicaid in Ohio
Expanding Medicaid is a good deal for both Ohio taxpayers and the uninsured, according to a nonpartisan report released yesterday. While the state will pay to enroll more uninsured in the tax-funded health-care program, those costs will be more than offset by savings on prisoner care, mental-health services and other expenses and through increased tax revenue. In 2014, Ohio’s net gain would be $104 million, the report found. By 2022, the state would have saved an estimated $1.4 billion. In addition, expanding Medicaid would reduce the number of uninsured Ohioans by about 450,000.

LiveScience – ‘Aura Migraines’ May Increase Women’s Heart Attack Risk
Women whose migraine headaches are accompanied by flashes of light or other changes in vision, called aura, may be at increased risk for a heart attack, a new study suggests. Among women in the study who said they experienced migraines with aura, the rate of cardiovascular events — including heart attack and stroke — was 7.9 events per 1,000 women per year. That’s higher than the rate of these events in the overall study population, which was 2.4 per 1,000 women per year.

Denver Post – Colorado takes lead on food safety efforts
In a single week in August 2011, public health officials learned of six Coloradans seriously ill from listeria, a deadly and typically rare infection. Alerted to the outbreak, they began an intense race to find and address the source, knowing that with each additional day more people would be exposed and sickened.

The 2011 listeria outbreak — eventually linked to cantaloupes grown here in Colorado — became the deadliest in our nation’s history, sickening at least 147 people in 28 states and killing 31.

In the aftermath of this tragedy, leading national authorities recognized that quick and effective action by responders at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment saved lives. Fast and effective outbreak investigations are critical to keeping our food safe. Not only can they find and remove unsafe food from the marketplace, but they also provide vital information on what went wrong so that changes can be made to prevent future illnesses.