Illinois Department of Public Health

The rail at the Illinois capitol
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Illinois lawmakers have agreed to make a change to the state's minor consent law for health care services. The current statute allows children 12 and up access to diagnosis and treatment options for sexually transmitted infections and HIV, but not preventative healthcare or counseling. A proposal, that now heads to Gov. J.B. Pritzker's desk, would ensure youth also have access to preventions options without parental consent.  

a woman being injected with a vaccine
Pan American Health Organization / via flickr.com/pahowho (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Public health officials say they‘ll work to increase vaccination rates across Illinois.

The announcement comes as the the U.S. is expected to have the worst run of measles cases since the disease was deemed eliminated in the year 2000.

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Women in the Illinois Senate want to address a surge in maternal deaths related to childbirth.

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Illinois launched its opioid alternative program on Thursday. The program allows patients immediate access to medical cannabis if they have a current prescription for opioids or would have been prescribed one. 

WUIS/Illinois Issues

It has stumped doctors and it's worrying parents: Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM). A rare condition that affects the nervous system and results in symptoms similar to polio. Illinois has ten clinically diagnosed cases of the virus that has now been confirmed in 22 states across the country so far in 2018. 

flu shot
Senior Airman Areca T. Wilson / U.S. Air Force

Last year brought a lot of flu activity across the state and this year health professionals are urging the public to roll up their sleeves and get flu shots early this year. 

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The Illinois Department of Public Health said they are trying to prevent an outbreak of Hepatitis A after several neighboring states have experienced their own.

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Governor Bruce Rauner signed a measure on Tuesday that will allow medical cannabis to be used as an alternative treatment for conditions often treated with opioids, such as cancer, HIV, Alzheimer’s and more.

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There are both federal and state laws requiring insurance providers cover not only physical health issues, but also mental health. Illinois has strict laws, but some argue they’re not properly enforced and those with mental health or addiction issues don’t always understand what’s covered with insurance. 

http://www.idph.state.il.us

A year ago, lawmakers decided to change school health examination requirements. They added screenings for social and emotional development, but the details are still being worked out.

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Opioid deaths nearly doubled in Sangamon County last year, with heroin as the leading cause in 20 of the 42 opioid-related deaths, according to data retrieved from the county coroner’s office.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

Update: February 7, 2018 - A memo sent out to all Capitol Complex employees detailed Legionella bacteria testing came back positive in four of the 300 preliminary test results. The memo says tests are ongoing and final results are expected to come out in another two weeks.

According to Dave Druker, spokesperson for the Secretary of State's office, two of the positive tests came from the Computer Center at 201 West Adams. A women's bathroom in the Howlett Building also tested positive. Druker says a flushing program has been ongoing there since before these results came out. The fourth positive test came from the Capitol building's south end, where a humidifier has been shut off as a precaution. Another set of 300 test results are expected to come out in about fourteen days. 

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Vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death for children. In 2011, the most recent data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, 11.5% of children ages 1 through 4 died in a car accident.  There are measures parents can take to keep their young children safe. However, a new survey shows that many are not.  

seal of the state of Illinois
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois senators are putting put Governor Bruce Rauner’s agency directors under the magnifying glass.

It’s part of the ongoing fallout from Rauner’s move to block the bipartisan "grand bargain” — meant to end Illinois’ 20-month budget stalemate.

Muhammad Mahdi Karim

As summer comes to the Midwest, it brings mosquitoes with it. This year, it also brings fears of the Zika virus, which has been linked to serious birth defects in South America. 

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Health officials in two western Illinois counties are investigating an illness affecting people who drank apple cider during a recent fall festival.

IDVA

7 people have died from a Legionnaires' Disease outbreak in western Illinois, the state announced Tuesday. 

The cases all involve residents of the Illinois Veterans' Home in Quincy.  The Department of Veteran's Affairs says all had underlying medical conditions.   

Gill campaign

A former Democratic nominee in central Illinois's 13th Congressional District has announced an independent bid for the seat.  

Bloomington doctor David Gill said Tuesday that his ``independent campaign will be highly competitive, in spite of the obstacles built into the system by the two major parties.''  

Gill last ran for the seat in 2012 and lost by 1,002 votes to Republican Rodney Davis, now in his second term.

The (Bloomington) Pantagraph reports (http://bit.ly/1hmbyuE ) no Democrat has announced plans to challenge Davis.  

WUIS

Illinois' director of public health under former Governor Pat Quinn has found a new job.  

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Illinois is reporting widespread flu activity earlier than most years.  Widespread means the flu is showing up statewide.  Illinois tracks people hospitalized for the flu. That number is above 200 with nearly half the cases in the week that ended December 13th. 

Of course, that fails to count those who have the symptoms but are recuperating at home.  

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Illinois'  O'Hare Airport is one of five in the nation where travelers from West Africa must undergo extra screening for Ebola. But now the state has additional guidelines to prevent the virus' potential spread. What to do is the latest disagreement in an already adversarial race for governor.

Even as New Jersey releases a nurse forced into quarantine upon her return from Sierra Leone, Gov. Pat Quinn is standing by a similar policy for Illinois.

 The Illinois Department of Public Health has activated a hotline to answer the public's questions about Ebola.  

Department Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck announced the hotline Thursday. It will be managed by staff from the Illinois Poison Center who will be able to answer questions about the virus and the state's response.  
 The hotline will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Operators will answer questions about how Ebola is spread, who's at risk, when someone should go to a doctor and other topics.  

The hotline number is 800-889-3931.  

A rare respiratory illness continues to spread. The Centers for Disease Control has confirmed the first case in New Jersey. But it's hard to tell the status of the outbreak in Illinois. The state was one of the first to have confirmed cases of the enterovirus strain.

It was in mid-to-late August when a Chicago hospital noticed a surge in patients with respiratory problems. The Centers for Disease Control confirmed that of the 14 specimens submitted, 11 tested positive for what is known as enterovirus D68.

kaiserhealthnews.org

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed two pieces of legislation giving seniors and the disabled greater access to people who can address complaints about their care or their living conditions.  

One of the measures allows people with complaints about nursing homes to submit them electronically to the Illinois Department of Public Health. That takes effect immediately.

Hannah Meisel/WUIS

  With the Illinois State Fair set to begin later this week, officials say they have safety in the forefront of their minds. The event, which attracts nearly 1 million visitors yearly, is set to open Friday morning ... though anyone can get an early preview Thursday evening after the annual opening parade.

Wikimedia Commons

  Babies born in Illinois are already tested for dozens of disorders. Now the state public health department is adding more to that list.

Newborns will be tested for SCID, a rare genetic disorder that makes babies especially susceptible to bacterial and viral infections.

Every baby born in the state of Illinois gets a tiny pinprick on the heel of their foot. The blood drawn is then sent to an Illinois Department of Public Health lab, where it's tested for dozens of genetic disorders.

WUIS/Lee Strubinger

Officials say dispensaries in Illinois could start providing medical marijuana early next year . Prospective patients say that's not soon enough.

At a public hearing in Springfield, those seeking marijuana for medical needs argued the rule making process needs to speed up.   Illinois lawmakers voted last year to allow cannabis for certain health conditions.  Since then, the state has been planning how the program will work.
Robert Morgan, an attorney with the Illinois Department of Public Health, says the agency wants to get it right.

A new study shows cancer rates are higher in downstate Illinois.  Smoking may be the reason.   

A report from the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and the Illinois Department of  Public Health of public health says the southern two thirds of Illinois have higher cancer rates and lower survival rates than those in the northern part.  The study looks at two decades worth of cancer statistics.  SIU Med School's David Steward says the likely culprit is lung cancer, which is especially higher in Men.

Rep Lou Lang speaks at a press conference on his medical marijuana bill.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

After voting to reject medical marijuana legislation three times in previous years, the Illinois House approved a bill in April. Sponsor Rep. Lou Lang, a Skokie Democrat; worked to tighten the bill, which proponents call the most strictly regulated medical marijuana program in the country. “This bill is a very carefully drafted bill,” Gov. Pat Quinn said when he signed the legislation. He did not openly support the bill as it moved through the legislature but said he would keep an open mind if it reached his desk.

WBEZ

The former head of Illinois' Department of Public Health says he ``was not involved in any way'' with alleged illegal activities of his longtime chief of staff.  
In an indictment released this week, authorities accuse Quinshaunta Golden. They say she accepted $433,000 in kickbacks for steering grant and contract money to various groups around the time she worked for Eric E. Whitaker at the agency.  
Prosecutors have never accused Whitaker of wrongdoing.  

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