Alabama Department of Public Health

The Alabama Attorney General's Office is seeking an execution date for a death row inmate convicted in the 1992 rape and murder of a Homewood woman. reports the Attorney General submitted a motion to the Alabama Supreme Court last week saying inmate Christopher Brooks has exhausted his direct appeals and should be scheduled to be executed.


Dr. Don Williamson is stepping down next month to take a job as president of the Alabama Hospital Association.

For more than two decades, Williamson has served as Alabama's state health officer.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Williamson said he's proud of the work the state has done to establish a statewide trauma system and to provide health insurance to children. The state's ALL Kids program provides subsidized insurance to more than 80,000 children and has won Alabama praise for reducing rates of un-insurance for children.

A state Senate committee has approved a bill to take Alabama probate judges out of the wedding license business.

APR’s Stan Ingold reports, this comes after many judges refused to follow the U.S Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage.

The Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee approved the bill to do away with state-issued marriage licenses. Instead, spouses would file a signed marriage contract at probate offices.

Several Alabama probate judges have shut down marriage license operations rather than give licenses to same-sex couples.

An inmate at Staton Correctional Facility has tested positive for tuberculosis.

Prison medical staff say the inmate has been quarantined and is being treated in an infirmary.

Alabama Department of Corrections spokesman Bob Horton says the state Department of Public Health is testing all inmates at Staton for tuberculosis, but he says as of now there have been no other cases reported.


Almost two dozen non-profit groups in Alabama’s Black Belt are expected to collect grants totaling sixty thousand dollars. APR’s Pat Duggins has more on where the money is meant to go…

The push to expand legalized gambling in Alabama is gaining some prominent new supporters.

Former Auburn University football coach Pat Dye and former Alabama Power Company CEO Charles McCrary say they will lead a foundation to legalize a state lottery and allow casinos at the state's four dog tracks.

The two attended a news conference in Montgomery yesterday to announce the formation of the new Alabama Jobs Foundation.

The group says a gambling expansion could create as many as 11,000 jobs and add $400 million to the state’s coffers.

Activists are planning protests at what they say is an unlicensed abortion clinic in Selma.

Abortion opponents say they'll hold a rally Friday and march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge Saturday in a demonstration against the Central Alabama Women's Clinic. Organizers say they have evidence that the medical office performs more than nine abortions monthly. That would require it to come under state regulation as an abortion clinic.

  Governor Robert Bentley says there are no easy solutions to the state's budget and prison problems. Bentley, in his second inaugural address, said state leaders face tough decisions as they come into office for the next four years. However, Bentley said state leaders will not shrink away from the challenge.

     A budget shortfall and the state's severely overcrowded prisons are expected to be the biggest problems facing the Legislature when it convenes in March. The governor is expected to give his proposals when he gives his State of the State address in March.

The Alabama Department of health says the current vaccine isn’t designed to stop the flu strain known as A/Switzerland. State Health Officer Don Williamson says this type of flu was identified too late to be put into the vaccine which includes four other strains. Williamson says the A/Switzerland strain will likely be the problem virus this year. A major concern of health officials is an increase in the number of health care workers who get sick.


Alabama Department of Public Health officials say they're investigating cases of a respiratory illness in children in Mobile and north Alabama.

Officials say six specimens have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be tested for enterovirus D68. Health officials say the department sent a message to all primary health physicians Aug. 29 to begin testing children showing symptoms of a severe respiratory illness.

Alabama's infant mortality rate declined in 2013 and the infant mortality rate for black infants fell to its lowest level ever.

The state Department of Public Health said Wednesday that the 2013 rate for all infants was 8.6 deaths per 1,000 live births. That was down from 8.9 recorded in 2012.

The department says the infant mortality rate among black babies was 12.6, which was the lowest since the state began keeping records in 1950. The rate among white infants rose from 6.6 in 2012 to 6.9 in 2013.

The Mercedes-Benz car factory in Alabama says it's working with health officials and contacting employees after a worker was discovered with an active case of tuberculosis.

The Alabama Department of Public Health said Friday a worker at the plant in Vance had tested positive for the infectious pulmonary disease.

The factory has about 3,400 employees, and the company isn't saying where the infected person works. But Mercedes says it's notifying all employees about the discovery.

dr_elling / Flickr

Alabama may have four more cases of the mosquito-borne virus Chikungunya (chik-in-GUHN'-yuh).

Dr. Thomas Miller of the Alabama Department of Public Health says the Centers for Disease Control has sent back preliminary positive findings on four Alabama residents. Final results are not complete. Two are from Colbert County and the others are from Jefferson and Tuscaloosa counties.

Alabama Women's Center

Three of Alabama's five abortion clinics remain open after complying with a new state law that sets stricter building requirements.

The law was passed by the Legislature last year and it goes into effect Tuesday.

The Alabama Department of Public Health says clinics in Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and Mobile have worked to comply with the law's requirements for wider halls and doors and improved fire safety measures. A clinic in Huntsville closed Friday because it couldn't meet the requirements. But it is planning to move to a new location and get a new license.

dr_elling / Flickr

The state Department of Public Health has confirmed the first case of a nasty mosquito-borne virus in Alabama.

Deputy director for medical affairs, Thomas Miller, says a Huntsville woman got chikungunya (chik-in-GUHN'-yuh) while traveling in Haiti. He says she was beyond the transmission stage when she returned to Alabama.

Alabama Women's Center

The only abortion clinic in north Alabama is expected to close by the end of the week.

Officials at the Alabama Women's Center said Tuesday that they'd rather close voluntarily than be faced with a state intervention.

The clinic was faced with a July 1 deadline to bring its facility up to code with a surgical treatment center.

The Javorac / Flickr

Alabama public health officials say they're aware of statistics in a report saying Alabama's prescription drug overdose rate has nearly tripled since 1999 and they are working with other agencies to confront the problem.

The Montgomery Advertiser reported Tuesday that a national report by Trust for America's Health says Alabama's fatal prescription drug overdose rate has jumped from 3.9 per 100,000 people in 1999 to 11.8 per 100,000 people.

Pharmacy Director for the Alabama Department of Public Health, Charles Thomas, says state officials are working to address the issue.

Press-Register/Susanica Tam

The state Department of Public Health is temporarily closing shellfish growing waters in Mobile and Baldwin County.

   In a release Monday, Jeff McCool of the Alabama Department of Public Health said waterways will close because recent heavy rainfall may have led to bacterial contamination of oyster beds.

   Impacted waterways include Cedar Point, Portersville Bay, Grand Bay, Heron Bay, Dauphin Island Bay and Bon Secour Bay.

State health officials say a mysterious respiratory illness has left five people hospitalized and two dead in southeast Alabama.

   In a statement, Alabama Department of Public Health spokeswoman Mary McIntyre says seven people have been admitted to hospitals with a fever, cough and shortness of breath. Two of the seven have died and McIntyre says the department and the Centers for Disease Control Respiratory Laboratory are analyzing lab tests from all seven.

The Alabama Department of Public Health has announced the state's teen birth rate has reached a historic low.

Officials say the teen birth rate in 2011 fell to a low of 20.9 per 1,000 women ages 10 to 19. State health officials say the figure translates to about 6,700 births to teen mothers.

State health officials say babies born to teenage mothers account for about 11.3 percent of all births in the state. The 2011 rate is a 58 percent decline from the state's peak in teen births in 1973, and a 32 percent decrease since 2000.

State Health Officer Don Williamson says Alabama's flu season started earlier than a year ago and there are more cases. But he said it's not out of line with some of the busiest years during the last decade.

A program designed to help Alabamians lose weight is kicking off its seventh year.

The state Department of Public Health is encouraging four-member teams to start forming for Scale Back Alabama. The teams will weigh in the week of Jan. 19-25 and weigh out the week of April 6-12. The winners will be announced April 26.

There is no charge to enter. Teams where each member sheds at least 10 pounds are eligible for a random drawing where the first prize is $4,000, the second prize $2,000 and the third prize $1,000.

Alabama's public school students are taking part in a new physical fitness assessment this year, replacing a series of tests that had not been updated since their parents were in school.

Citing a need to refocus on the fitness of the state's children, the new Alabama Physical Fitness Assessment rolled out this fall in public schools. The tests are required for all students in grades 2 through 12 and replace the old President's Challenge Fitness Test, which was adopted in 1984.

Alabama's top health officer says state Medicaid is facing a major funding shortfall.

The director of the Alabama Department of Public Health, Dr. Don Williamson, says federal changes will add $30 million to the state's Medicaid funding needs for 2014.

The Anniston Star ( ) reports that state officials didn't know about the additional cost when voters approved using $437 million from a state fund to plug the Medicaid budget in September.

The public now has access to some of the information reported by Alabama hospitals about healthcare-associated infections.

The Legislature passed a law in 2009 requiring hospitals to report infection information to the Alabama Department of Public Health. Now, the department has started putting that information online at:

The online reporting is beginning with a few types of infections, including surgical site infections of the colon and abdomen and catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

Alabama health officials have contacted four of the six additional Alabamians who received injections of steroid medicine from a specialty pharmacy linked to a meningitis outbreak. The state's deputy director of medical affairs, Dr. Tom Miller, said Wednesday that two are fine. Two are showing symptoms and will be seen by their physician to see if the symptoms are ordinary or something more serious. The Department of Public Health is trying to reach the other two patients. The six live in Alabama, but were treated in Florida.