A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Gov. Beshear announces more actions aimed at protecting Kentucky families in COVID-19 pandemic

Gov. Andy Beshear Wednesday announced more actions he is taking to help combat the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and protect Kentuckians. “This is our duty. This is the challenge that we face in our lifetimes,” Gov. Beshear said of people doing their part to stop the coronavirus. “None of us have seen anything like this before, but I believe we are up to it. I believe we can do this,...

Gov. Beshear acts to limit spread of COVID-19; includes guidance for closure of government offices

Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced additional steps to contain and limit the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). “It’s my job to protect my family and friends, but I believe it’s all of our civic duty to protect our communities,” Beshear said. “I will use every resource in this state, every dollar at my disposal, every personnel that we have, to do everything we can to protect everyone’s...

New influenza cases in Kentucky dropped slightly in last week of February; vaccine remains best defense

In the last week of February, Kentucky reported fewer new cases of influenza and fewer deaths from it than it did the week before. The latest weekly report from the state Department for Public Health shows that in the week ending Feb. 29, Kentucky counted 1,591 new cases, down from 1,943 new cases the previous week. Five flu deaths were reported in the state, down from 14 the previous week and 16...

First case of 2019 novel coronavirus in Kentucky reported, Gov. Beshear declares state of emergency

KyForward staff The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is reporting Kentucky’s first case of COVID-19 (2019 novel coronavirus). While the risk to the general public is low, health officials are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) to identify and contact all those who may have come in contact with the person. Gov....

Number of new flu cases in Kentucky drops slightly; 66 adults have died from flu complications this year

The number of new cases of influenza dropped slightly in Kentucky during the second week of February, but 16 more adults in the state were reported to have died from the flu. So far, 66 Kentuckians have died from it this season, four under the age of 18, according to the state Department for Public Health. The latest weekly report shows that in the week ending Feb. 15, Kentucky counted 1,854 new cases,...

KHIP survey reveals vast majority of Kentucky adults favor medical marijuana legalization

Marijuana remains the most widely used illicit drug in the United States, with more than 22 million users each month nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Marijuana policies are being debated throughout the U.S. and in Kentucky. To help understand attitudes about marijuana in the commonwealth, the 2019 Kentucky Health Issues Poll asked Kentucky adults whether they...

Constance Alexander: Exploring the power of Alzheimer’s through metaphor and medicine

The official description is bleak: Alzheimer’s is a progressive disorder that causes brain cells to waste away and die. But Eugenia Zuckerman, who has been diagnosed with the disorder, sees it another way. In her memoir about coping with the dreaded condition, she compares the experience to falling through a cloud. Internationally known as a flutist and a writer, Ms. Zuckerman is also known to...

FDA finalizes enforcement of unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes that appeal to children

Amid the epidemic levels of youth use of e-cigarettes and the popularity of certain products among children, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Thursday issued a policy prioritizing enforcement against certain unauthorized flavored e-cigarette products that appeal to kids, including fruit and mint flavors. Under this policy, companies that do not cease manufacture, distribution and sale of unauthorized...

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides recap of 2019 health threats and responses (Part 2)

From an outbreak of mysterious lung-injury deaths to America’s near loss of measles elimination status, the beginning of the end of the U.S. HIV epidemic to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), CDC worked around the clock – and around the globe – to protect Americans from domestic and global health threats in 2019. Here’s a closer look at some of the biggest health...

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides recap of 2019 health threats and responses

From an outbreak of mysterious lung-injury deaths to America’s near loss of measles elimination status, the beginning of the end of the U.S. HIV epidemic to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), CDC worked around the clock – and around the globe – to protect Americans from domestic and global health threats in 2019. Here’s a closer look at some of the biggest health...

Flu cases among Kentuckians being reported at increasing rate; Six deaths already this season

Kentuckians are getting the flu at an increasing rate, and more are dying from it. In the week ended Dec. 14, there were two deaths, bringing the statewide total for the current flu season to six, according to the state Department for Public Health. During that week, 814 new cases of the flu were reported. Five of the deaths were people 18 or older and one was under 18. Twelve of the state’s...

Officials warn outbreak of drug-resistant bacteria likely coming from petting pet stores puppies

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Getting a puppy for Christmas? Keep clean and take it to a vet. At least 30 people in 13 states have been sickened by a drug-resistant bacteria that federal health officials say was likely picked up from puppies in pet stores, three of them in Kentucky. The infection is from a multi-drug-resistant strain of the bacterium Campylobacter jejuni. The outbreak has...

New CDC report indicates rural Americans dying more frequently from preventable causes

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service More than 46 million American s live in rural areas, and a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says these residents tend to be older and sicker compared with people living in urban areas. In Kentucky, the report says excess deaths from preventable causes jumped by more than five percentage points in all counties. Rural Americans report...

E-cigarette users need to watch for symptoms of lung injury, seek medical care immediately if detected

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News If you use electronic cigarettes, contrary to current warnings, it’s important to watch for symptoms of lung injury, and to immediately seek medical care if you have any of them: cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, fever or abdominal pain. That was one of the main messages on a Nov. 1 “Lung Injury with Vaping”...

With rates of depression rising in U.S., mental health experts say online screenings are an important tool

More Americans are using online screening tests to gauge whether depression is playing a role in their health, and mental health experts say that’s a good thing. Just as people might screen for diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure, a depression screening provides a quick way to spot the first signs of what might be a serious mental health issue. Marcie Timmerman, executive director...

Kentucky Poison Control Center launches new 24/7 hotline to help combat state’s opioid crisis

Kentucky has a new resource to battle the Commonwealth’s opioid epidemic. The Kentucky Poison Control Center of Norton Children’s Hospital has launched a 24/7 support hotline for health care providers, patients and first responders on opioid-related issues. The Kentucky Opioid Assistance & Resource (OAR) Hotline — (800) 854-6813 — is staffed by toxicology-certified nurses and pharmacists...

Youths using e-cigarettes more likely to try marijuana; connection increased with refillable e-cig pods

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Young people who use electronic cigarettes are more likely to use marijuana, and the odds are even greater for those who start using e-cigarettes early, according to newly published research. The analysis of 21 separate studies, published in JAMA Pediatrics, found that the odds of marijuana use were 3½ times higher among youth who used electronic cigarettes,...

Skin-cancer rates have spiked among young women; experts advise limiting sun exposure, tanning beds

New research shows that skin-cancer rates have surged among young women, likely because they use tanning beds, but health experts warn that exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays puts us all at risk, so it’s important to always take precautions when out in the sun. The research, presented at the summer meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, found that between 1970...

CDC reports significant annual increase in Crypto cases; many are linked to treated swimming water

Outbreaks of Cryptosporidium (Crypto) in the United States increased an average 13 percent each year from 2009-2017, according to a report published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Photo courtesy of the CDC Crypto, a parasite, is spread through the feces of infected humans or animals. People can get sick after they swallow the parasite in contaminated water or food or after contact...

Hepatitis outbreak on the decline in Ky; 57 have died across the Commonwealth as result of the disease

The good news about hepatitis in Kentucky is that the number of hepatitis A cases is dropping. The bad news is that there are still as many cases each week as were once seen in a year’s time, and the state is by the far the leader in deaths from the liver disease. According to the state’s weekly report, the number of hepatitis A cases in Kentucky has dropped to around 20 per week for several...