The first case of local transmission of the Zika virus outside of Florida has been reported in Brownsville, Texas.

Concerns related to the Zika virus are growing as the virus spreads to new areas of the globe and as the virus is linked to an increasing number of health problems. Could a genetically engineered mosquito help fight the virus? Some Florida voters will have a chance to weigh in on November 8th.

Some states are implementing policies to increase the use of long-acting reversible contraception, known as LARCs, among Medicaid enrollees. LARCs--intrauterine devices, or IUDs, and subdermal contraceptive implants--are highly effective forms of birth control, with pregnancy rates of less than 1 percent within the first year. A five-year Colorado pilot program documented a 48 percent reduction in the state's teen birth and abortion rates.

CSG Midwest
Before the night she suffered a severe allergic reaction that took her life nine days later, 13-year-old Annie LeGere had grown up with only minor allergy symptoms. There was no reason for her, her family or her health providers to believe she should have a prescription to an epinephrine autoinjector, the emergency treatment that can save lives in cases of anaphylaxis (a serious allergic reaction, most commonly to food).
But what if the first people often to respond to a medical emergency (including in Annie’s case) — local police officers — could carry these autoinjectors and be trained on how to administer them? The minutes saved by administering the drug on-site rather than in an emergency room could be the difference between life and death.
In Illinois, these officers now will have the opportunity, thanks to a bill passed this year (HB 4462) known as Annie’s Law. One of the leading proponents of HB 4462, Illinois Sen. Chris Nybo, worked closely on the measure with Annie’s family, which has created a foundation in her name with the goal of preventing future tragedies.

Acting on the growing scare over Zika, Delaware and Texas will allow Medicaid coverage for insect repellent as a Zika infection prevention strategy. Such policies are in line with a June 1 guidance from federal Medicaid officials.  

The CDC issued a travel warning advising pregnant women against travel to the Wynwood Arts District of Miami after 14 persons have been infected with Zika by local mosquitoes. The first four cases were traced to a 150 square meter area and the 10 new cases were identified by door-to-door surveys and subsequent testing, CNN reported.

In the wake of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, cities, states and the federal government are taking a closer look at the status of water infrastructure in the United States and its ability to deliver healthy and safe drinking water to residents. A recent USA Today report analyzing data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that over the past four years, close to 2,000 water systems in all 50 states showed excessive levels of lead in water testing results. Some of the highest levels of lead were found at schools and day cares. In order to prevent lead contained in these pipes and fixtures from leaching into drinking water, water system operators are required by the EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule to treat the finished water to ensure that when the water leaves a treatment plant it is not corrosive.

Today, Gov. Scott confirmed that four cases of Zika virus have been linked to local transmission by mosquitoes in Miami, according to the Miami Herald. Although the local health departments in the area are testing mosquitoes, no Zika infected mosquitoes have been foundyet. The health departments are doing voluntary testing of residents of the local area, about one square mile just north of downtown Miami.

Florida officials, according to the...

Pregnant women were warned about Zika virus after an outbreak in Brazil because it was determined that the virus could cause birth defects such as microcephaly, a condition that results in babies born with undersized heads and underdeveloped brains. State and local health departments with limited resources have scrambled to prepare for the virus’ arrival. Zika virus could spread locally if a mosquito bit an infected person, possibly someone who got the virus while traveling, then lived long enough to bite another person.

When Hurricane Ike hit Harris County, Texas, in 2008, the damage was substantial. The second costliest hurricane in America’s history destroyed a vast stretch of housing in the area, leaving thousands of people homeless and devastating local infrastructure. This created a host of challenges for public officials, not least of which was restoring access to water and electricity and rebuilding homes. Using funding from a Community Development Block Grant and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Harris County began its recovery process. Unfortunately, the county quickly encountered difficulties with contractors regarding code review and safety standards.

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