Alabama Department of Public Health

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.

     

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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