Public Health

Tahir Siddeeq

If a drug proven to reduce coronavirus transmission by 50% to 85% existed, would you take it? Masks offer that kind of protection for public health, and yet people still go out in public without them. Why is that?

Senior Airman Ian Beckley

 
As businesses reopen and summer weather lures people into public spaces, health officials in North Carolina worry about the pandemic’s increasing toll on the population. Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state topped 45,000 this week. 

Courtesy of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian

The Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority has been mass testing asymptomatic residents and visitors to territories held by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. In restricting EBCI borders and closing businesses, Principal Chief Richard Sneed preempted most counties and Gov. Roy Cooper.

A large-letter post card of Fayetteville
Steven R. Shook / Schiffer Publishing

He leads in ribbon-cuttings and celebrations of life. Mitch Colvin took over his family’s funeral home before running for office. His day-job provides insight into buileint community in difficult times. 

FLICKR/CC, Ronnie Pittman

In North Carolina and across the nation, black communities are contracting and dying from COVID-19 at disproportionately high rates. But there has been little consensus about why that may be the case. 

Pixabay

Who are we when faced with widespread contagion? Disease and humanity’s varied responses to sickness are on full-display in cinema – from zombie flicks to documentaries that help deepen our understanding of epidemics in the real world.  

Jared Weber / Carolina Connection

How is the coronavirus pandemic changing your life? North Carolinians share their stories of how this outbreak is affecting all facets of their calendar day, from canceled weddings to closed businesses to concerns about elderly relatives and neighbors. 

Credit Alissa Eckert, MS, Dan Higgins, MAM / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In an effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak, North Carolina is now in a state of emergency. Gov. Roy Cooper issued the declaration Tuesday, as increased testing better accounts for the rising number of confirmed cases in the state.

Wikimedia Commons

North Carolina's first case of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)  was confirmed today. Yet the state's manufacturing and agriculture industries were struggling to cope with disturbances in their supply chain weeks ago.

A poster board covered in magazine cut-outs and photos related to health and wellness.
Courtesy of Bahby Banks

When the movie "Outbreak" came out in 1995, Bahby Banks was in high school, good at math and ready to join the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an epidemiologist tracking disease. But the more she learned about the broader contextual issues of public health, the more she wondered about what happens after the numbers are collected.

NIAID

The Wuhan coronavirus epidemic is officially a global public health emergency. The World Health Organization’s declaration frees up resources for nations to contain the virus’ spread outside its origin in central China.

Illustration of someone surrounded by life stressors.
Adhiti Bandlamudi / WUNC

The World Health Organization now officially lists workplace burnout as an occupational syndrome in its International Classification of Diseases manual.

Portrait photo of Wind and her daughter.
Denise Bardsley Photography

Susan Wind’s daughter was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer at 16 years old. Soon after the family shared the news, Wind started hearing from her neighbors and other community members about their own families’ cancer battles.

Bacteria
CDC/ Dr. Francis Chandler

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services continues to investigate an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease believed to be contracted at the Mountain State Fair held in Fletcher, North Carolina last month.

One of the vape juice's packaging looks like a juice box, others have unicorns.
Courtesy of the North Carolina Attorney General's Office

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein announced lawsuits against eight electronic cigarette companies earlier this week. He alleges that their marketing practices and flavor selection specifically target kids and teens.

Sickle Cell Disease, Public Health
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Editor's Note: WUNC Race and Southern Culture Reporter Leoneda Inge shares a personal account of her son, Teemer Barry, and his journey navigating sickle cell disease during his first year of college.

Sickle cell disease afflicts about 100,000 people in the United States, many of them African Americans. It is an inherited blood disorder that can cause frequent infections and chronic pain.

photo of a young person in a mouth-covering mask in front of a closed theater. the sign says 'all theatres closed until further notice at request of mayor.'
Courtesy of UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

2018 marks the one-hundred-year anniversary of a flu pandemic that killed 50 to 100 million people and infected hundreds of millions around the world. Host Frank Stasio talks to James Leloudis, a history professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, about why the 1918 influenza was so deadly, and what impact it had on public health.

Ryan Melaugh/Flickr Creative Commons

A new public health report from ECU shows that the death rate for midlife whites in the state increased 6 percent from 2000 to 2013. Many of these deaths can be attributed to so-called diseases of despair, like suicide, drug overdose and liver disease caused by alcoholism.

Photo of prescription bottle and pils
Eric Norriss / Flickr Creative Commons

Jeffrey Halbstein-Harris had already beat addiction twice by the time he was in his 30s. But a doctor assured him that the opioids he was prescribing for Halbstein-Harris’s diabetic neuropathy were both effective and non-habit forming. Nevertheless, Halbstein-Harris became dependent and went through a painful withdrawal process.

Alex Dornburg scuba diving
Courtesy of Alex Dornburg

By modeling the evolutionary biology of ray-finned fishes, Alex Dornburg is answering an array of cross-disciplinary questions. His research on fish’s “tree of life” has applications for creating public health reporting systems, fighting antibiotic resistance, directing reforestation efforts in Madagascar and overturning understanding of biodiversity in Antarctica. 

Image of Lisa Hightown-Weidman and her family
Courtesy of Lisa Hightow-Weidman

Lisa Hightow-Weidman grew up with her nose always in a book. She majored in English in college and had aspirations of becoming a writer.

Skin of a person after 3 days of measles infection.
Dr. Heinz F. Eichenwald / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

An unvaccinated Wake County teen has survived a case of the measles. He contracted the potentially lethal disease after traveling in Europe, according to health officials.

A picture of a competition swimming pool.
ruurmo / flickr.com/photos/rufino_uribe/178577542/

Wake County is encouraging its 1,600 public pools to shock treat their water to kill a diarrhea-causing parasite.

Twenty cases of cryptosporidiosis have been reported to the county health department. The diarrhea disease is caused by a parasite that can spread if contaminated water gets in a person's mouth. Other symptoms can include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and fever and can last one to two weeks.

photo of a unisex bathroom sign
Tombe / Wikipedia

Supporters of North Carolina's House Bill 2 say it protects public health and safety by requiring people to use public restrooms that correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificates.

But opponents point to research that says restrictions based on sexual orientation or gender identity worsen health outcomes among people in those communities. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Shoshana Goldberg, a doctoral candidate at the UNC-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, about the public health implications of House Bill 2.

Condoms
Inga / Wikipedia

Wake County reported more than 200 syphilis cases last year. Wake County's Public Health Director Sue Lynn Ledford says that's a big up-tick compared to fewer than 40 cases in 2003. A majority of new cases involve African-American men who are HIV positive.

Image of football players
Creative Commons/ stnorbert

The NCAA reports college athletes suffer more than 10,000 concussions a year, but perhaps more alarming is the fact that about three-quarters of these cases are not reported to coaches or team doctors.

Two public health experts at UNC-Greensboro have received grants from the Department of Defense and NCAA to help encourage these players report their injuries and change the culture of concussions. 

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is known as the primary carrier of the Zika virus.
U.S. Department of Agriculture

The Wake County Health Department confirmed another case of the Zika virus this week.

It is the fifth confirmed case in North Carolina since the outbreak in Brazil. But scientists here say differences in mosquito species, climate and lifestyle make it much more difficult for the virus to spread. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Michael Reiskind, entomology professor at North Carolina State University, about why he thinks a Zika outbreak in North Carolina is not likely.

Sarah Razak / Flickr Creative Commons

Water contamination in Flint, Mich., is perhaps the most prominent minority health crisis in America right now. It is affecting a majority African-American city, and raising questions about whether state leaders disproportionately distributed resources.

This type of intersection between public health and social justice is the theme of this year's Minority Health Conference at UNC-Chapel Hill. 

Aedes aegypti mosquito
James Gathany / CDC

Health care professionals and researchers across the state are ramping up to assist in the fight against the mosquito-borne Zika virus. 

Infections in pregnant women in Brazil are thought to be behind a steep increase in cases of microcephaly  in that country.  The condition results in babies having abnormally small brains and heads.

Image of Ken Dodge, professor of public policy at Duke
Duke University

Note: This is a rebroadcast from last year.

There is a common metaphor in the scientific community that uses flowers to describe children’s sensitivity to their environments. A child like a dandelion will turn out fine despite the circumstances she is raised in, while a child like an orchid will flounder without a nourishing environment, but blossom with care and support. 

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