Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A syringe exchange program is being launched to reduce diseases within Cabell County's population of injection-drug users.

State and local officials announced the one-year pilot program on Thursday at a news conference in Huntington.

Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Karen L. Bowling says the state will provide $10,000 to the Cabell-Huntington Health Department to launch the one-year pilot Another $10,000 will be provided for technical support.

Elk River Chemical spill
wikimedia / Wikimedia

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced today that scientific studies conducted by the National Toxicology Program indicate that appropriate public health measures were taken during the 2014 Elk River Chemical Spill.

Dr. John Bucher, Associate Director of the NTP said the findings support the adequacy of the drinking water advisory levels established at the time of the spill.  He says NTP used a comprehensive suite of state-of-the-art toxicology tools to look at the spilled chemicals, and found very little reason for concern about long-term health effects.

At the recommendation of the National Toxicology Program and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DHHR has chosen to launch a birthweight study to perform an analysis of children with low birthweights born during the period of the chemical spill in the nine affected counties.

Dr. Patrick Breysse, the Director of CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health said that it's reassuring that the NTP study results confirm  the determination in the early days of the spill that the levels of MCHM in drinking water were not likely to be associated with adverse health effects.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just took another step in helping the state cope with the threat of Ebola.

The CDC designated WVU Hospitals as one of forty-nine Ebola Treatment Centers in the U.S.

WVU Hospitals says in a news release that theirs is the only medical center in West Virginia to earn the designation. The nearest centers until now were in Washington D.C. and Cleveland.

Freedom Industries
AP

A study says federal officials overlooked risks of inhaling licorice-smelling fumes from a chemical that spilled into West Virginia's biggest water supply.

The Purdue University study says some people became ill after flushing their pipes of the chemical last January. The spill spurred a tap-water ban for 300,000 people for days.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention marked a baseline for how much chemical-laden water people could drink safely. It didn't consider other contact methods, like bathing or breathing.

Cynthia Goldsmith / CDC/ Dr. Terrence Tumpey

  West Virginia public health officials say one strain of influenza is making an early appearance in the state.

As a result, the number of people seeking medical care for flu-like symptoms at West Virginia medical facilities is on the rise.

Shannon McBee is an epidemiologist and the influenza coordinator for the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

No Ebola cases have emerged in West Virginia, but hospitals, state health officials and residents are preparing for the worst.

West Virginia University's public affairs office sent an email this week to the entire campus community - more than 35,000 people - explaining protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those include remembering to frequently wash hands and avoiding touching blood or body fluids of sick people.

On West Virginia Morning, the health officer of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department joins Beth Vorhees to talk about hospital preparations to handle contagious diseases.  And part 2 of Roxy Todd’s report about a special heirloom cornmeal that one chef uses for his Italian polenta.  A report from the kitchen.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

West Virginia has received two national honors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for its efforts to control vaccine-preventable diseases.

The CDC ranks West Virginia among the top three states in the country for having the highest number of adults immunized against the flu. 

Approximately 52% of adults in West Virginia got a flu shot in the 2013-2014 season, compared to 42% nationally.

West Virginia was also cited for being among the top five states for most improved immunization coverage of adolescents, ages 13-17.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  More than 25 percent of pregnant women in West Virginia from 2008 to 2011 said they smoked during their pregnancy.

Federal data and a state health organization say pregnant West Virginia women continue to smoke at the highest recorded rates in the nation.

AP

  A federal report says West Virginia public health officials weren't trained to respond to a January chemical spill along the Elk River.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the state Bureau for Public Health had no epidemiologists trained specifically to deal with chemical or natural disasters. Instead, those who focus on infectious diseases led the bureau's response to the spill Jan. 9 spill at Freedom Industries.

AP

Federal, state, and Kanawha county officials met Wednesday in U.S. Senator Joe  Manchin’s Washington D.C. office to pin down plans for more studies on the January 9 chemical spill at Freedom Industries. The announcement comes as a relief to those who’ve been pressing for this development since almost day one. 

Members of the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Health, and the West Virginia Department and Health and Human Resources were part of the meeting.

Alvesgaspar / wikimedia Commons

State health officials say they've confirmed West Virginia's first case of a nasty mosquito-borne virus.

  The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Public Health says the case involved a person who traveled from western West Virginia to Haiti and became symptomatic when the person returned.

The Bureau for Public Health says it has sent letters to health departments and health care providers advising providers of the confirmed case along with clinical information and prevention messaging.   

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

  Federal officials aren't granting a state request for more animal tests for a chemical that spilled into West Virginia's largest drinking water supply in January.

In February, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin asked for additional tests to determine the long-term health effects of consuming, breathing or coming in contact with the spilled chemical, crude MCHM.

In a March 13 letter made public Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told state health officials it believed long-term effects were unlikely. CDC described plans only to track trends with resources like birth defects surveillance, cancer registries and health systems data.

  The West Virginia Prevention Research Center is getting $750,000 to conduct disease prevention research.

Officials say the funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is for the first year of a five-year funding period.

The center is one of 26 academic institutions nationally and the only one in West Virginia to receive the funding.

Freedom Industries
AP

In a letter to Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, federal health officials say they thought their drinking water standard established after the Elk River chemical spill would have protected West Virginias from other forms of contact. 

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official says drinking the contaminated water was the primary exposure they were concerned with when forming their safety threshold. CDC director Thomas Frieden says consumption was associated with the most significant health effects.

U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is asking federal health officials for more information about skin contact and inhaling a chemical that spilled in January.

Surveys soon to be conducted by local, state, and federal officials will gather data on public health and concerns following the January 9 spill by Freedom Industries into the Elk River.

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department will hold phone survey and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) will conduct a door-to-door questionnaire.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Independent researchers working together on the taxpayer-funded WV TAP project have already released an expert odor analysis for Crude MCHM, and have delivered the findings of their 10 home testing pilot project. However, the public has repeatedly called for an understanding of potential health effects from the January spill of Crude MCHM by Freedom Industries.

Is the Water Safe Yet?

Mar 31, 2014

In this piece from The Atlantic, Marin Cogan details how little was (and still is) known about MCHM, the chemical spilled into the Elk River by Freedom Industries on January 9 and affected the drinking water of West Virginians across nine counties. The story also highlights failures in policy--from state and federal agencies--such as the Department of Environmental Protection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been heavily criticized in their response to the January 9 spill by Freedom Industries and the water crisis that followed. Dr. Tanja Popvic, who represented the CDC in West Virginia at a news briefing in February, has resigned from her post as director of the federal agency's National Center for Environmental Health. Ken Ward of The Charleston Gazette breaks down Popvic's and the CDC's presence here post-spill and the response to her resignation.

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