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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.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / Wikimedia Commons

The nation's diabetes problem is getting worse, and health officials say the biggest changes have been in Oklahoma and a number of Southern states.

The diabetes rate in Oklahoma more than tripled over 15 years, and also boomed in Southern states like Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama.

Most cases are the kind of diabetes linked to obesity. Health officials believe extra weight explains the increases in the South and Southwest. They also say the rates overall are up because people with diabetes are living longer.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Flickr

Residents along Alabama's Gulf Coast are being asked to participate in a survey designed to gauge long-term effects of the 2010 Gulf oil spill. Representatives of the state Department of Public Health will go door-to-door this week to conduct the survey, which take about 15 minutes to complete. Residents of Mobile and Baldwin counties were also surveyed in 2010 and 2011. Participants also will be asked about how their community is prepared for an emergency and their access to health care.