Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Alabama’s legislative session gets underway tomorrow and the focus, is expected to be on the budget.

The state’s two spending plans were center stage during last year’s session, and lawmakers are expecting another tight year this time around. Many General Fund agencies like the one that handles Medicaid are now asking for more money.

State House member Bill Poole says the General Fund budget will be a challenge for legislators, but he believes agreements will be reached.

The Alabama Department of Public Health is contesting reports that two Alabama counties rank among the nation’s top three for lead levels in children.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from 2014 compiled by Vox shows Houston County, Alabama having the highest rate of child lead poisoning in the country. The data shows seven in twelve Houston County children having lead levels high enough to qualify as lead poisoning. Dallas County ranked third in the country in CDC lead data, with seven in twenty children qualifying for lead poisoning.

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.

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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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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.

University of Alabama Birmingham Hospital officials say another patient has tested positive for a bacteria that can lead to a type of pneumonia.

UAB Hospital officials said Thursday that a ninth patient tested positive for legionella bacteria. The Jefferson County Department of Health has also said a hospital visitor tested positive for the bacteria.

Two of the eight patients who initially tested positive for legionella later died. Their causes of death are unclear.

Mobile County Public Works

Health officials in Mobile say there's been an alarming recent rise in the number of whooping cough cases in the area.

Whooping cough, the common name for pertussis, is highly contagious. Those infected experience uncontrollable violent coughing that can make it hard to breathe.

Local media reports say the Mobile County Health Department has recorded 18 cases, 10 of which have been confirmed, between May 25 and June 11. Multiple other possible cases were being investigated.

There were just eight confirmed and probable cases in the county last year.

al.com

Alabama health officials investigating a cluster of respiratory illnesses say the total has increased to 10, but they are closing the investigation.

   State Health Officer Don Williamson said Thursday the cases are unrelated and all have reasonable explanations. He said health officials took extraordinary caution because of two new viruses - one in China and another in the Middle East. But they found no evidence of new or unexpected viruses or bacteria in the cluster of cases in southeast Alabama.

gawker.com

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.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / Wikimedia Commons

Health officials say flu season is off to its earliest start in nearly 10 years — and it could be a bad one.

The primary strain circulating is one that tends to cause more severe illness, especially in the elderly.

But officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the nation seems to be fairly well prepared. More than a third of Americans have been vaccinated, and the vaccine is well matched to the strains of flu so far.

Ala. Ranks 4th Nationally For Obesity

Aug 13, 2012
Paul H. / Flickr

A new study says Alabama is the nation's fourth-fattest state. The report released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 32 percent of Alabama's adults are obese. That's slightly better than the obesity rates in Mississippi, Louisiana and West Virginia. The state obesity rate for 2011 is a little less than the number from 2010, but the CDC says the two numbers can't be compared because it changed statistical methods. So it's hard to gauge whether there's been any real improvement in fighting obesity. Alabama health officials are trying to get people to slim down.