Health Care

New tick-borne disease causes recurring fever, flu

Jan 22, 2013
Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

There’s a new tick-borne disease in town.

It’s like Lyme disease and has recently been spotted in the Northeastern United States, as well as in a few parts of the Upper Midwest.

The bacteria that causes this new disease is called Borrelia miyamotoi, and, like Lyme, it hitches a ride in ticks. It can cause something like the flu, or a fever that just keeps coming back. Scientists first identified it in Japan. But a couple of years ago, Yale researchers discovered it in deer ticks in New England.

New tick-borne disease discovered in New England

Jan 18, 2013
Photo by: KRISTIN GOURLAY

The bacteria is called Borrelia miyamotoi, and, like Lyme disease, it hitches a ride in ticks. I'll have more on this in the coming days, but here's a heads up on some of the more unique features of this bug.

This bacteria can cause something like the flu, or a fever that just keeps coming back. You might have had it and not known it, or had it along side Lyme. Common antibiotics can cure it. But if your immune system is already weak, it could lead to some neurological damage.

RI Medical Society journal now free, online

Jan 18, 2013

Looking for a little something to read over the long weekend? Try the Rhode Island Medical Society's Rhode Island Medical Journal, now online and totally free.

Some of the articles are for a scholarly audience, but I found lots of interest and think others who aren't physicians or researchers will, too.

No more babies for Westerly hospital

Jan 17, 2013

The Westerly Sun reported earlier this month that the attorney in charge of Westerly Hospital since it entered receivership had declared the struggling hospital’s obstetric services safe. But the paper is now reporting that Westerly Hospital will deliver its last babies by this June. Deliveries at the community hospital have fallen over the years, and the hospital may not be able to sustain a large enough roster of doctors to keep the maternity ward doors open.

Debrief: Do gun background check databases work?

Jan 17, 2013

Rhode Island Public Radio health care reporter joined afternoon host Dave Fallon in the studio to talk about what public health experts and legal scholars have to say about mental health records and the gun background check database. A transcript follows. You can listen to our feature story on Rhode Island's lack of participation in the National Instant Criminal Background Check, or NICS, database here.

No RI records in nat'l gun background check database

Jan 17, 2013

(PROVIDENCE, RI) President Obama has just unveiled a set of 23 actions he’ll take to curb gun violence. Among them: encouraging states to share information with a national background check database. While some states are already contributing a significant amount of information, Rhode Island hasn’t submitted a single record.

American Lung Association scores RI's tobacco efforts

Jan 16, 2013

(PROVIDENCE, RI) Rhode Island’s scores are mixed on a new report card from the American Lung Association.   The grades are based on the state’s efforts to control and prevent tobacco use.

Paying for graduate medical education: what experts say

Jan 15, 2013

This morning, you might have heard the next in our Future Docs series, which looks at a projected doctor shortage and how graduate medical education funding could staunch or deepen that shortage.

Flu in Rhode Island: How bad is it?

Jan 11, 2013

If you've got the flu, it's bad. Awfully bad. But is this season any worse than unusual? Are hospitals really being overwhelmed by "skyrocketing" cases in an unprecedented outbreak?

Another RI compounding pharmacy shuttered

Jan 11, 2013

(PROVIDENCE, RI) Another compounding pharmacy in Rhode Island has been shuttered and the pharmacist in charge barred from practicing. And once again, cleanliness and record-keeping played a part.

RI falls behind on some kids' dental health measures

Jan 8, 2013

(PROVIDENCE, RI) A new report from the Pew Center on the States finds that Rhode Island is falling behind when it comes to meet children’s dental health needs.

ERs see unusual surge in flu patients

Jan 3, 2013

(PROVIDENCE, RI) Rhode Island’s hospital emergency rooms are coping with an unusually high surge of patients suffering from the flu. But what’s driving that increase?

Most people who catch this season’s flu will spend several uncomfortable days shivering in bed. But those who get hit particularly hard can end up in the hospital, needing fluids or suffering from a high fever. And right now, says Dr. Brian Zink, head of emergency medicine for Rhode Island and The Miriam Hospitals, those hit hard by the flu are making for very busy emergency rooms. The reason? The season.

Miller: full agenda for state senate health committee

Jan 3, 2013

(PROVIDENCE, RI) State Sen. Josh Miller has been named chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The senator representing Cranston and Providence is anticipating a full agenda for health-related legislation.

Josh Miller takes the helm of the health and human services committee from former chairwoman Rhoda Perry, who didn’t run for reelection. As the new chair, Miller will wield influence over the senate’s health legislation agenda. He says he hopes to consider, in particular, legislation to address disparities in hospital payments.

Memorial Hospital to join Care New England

Jan 2, 2013

Memorial Hospital is set to join Care New England, one of Rhode Island’s multi-hospital health care systems.

The two institutions signed an affiliation agreement but must receive further state and federal regulatory approvals before their partnership is official.

The organizations said in a statement today that the affiliation would help reduce overall operational costs and improve patient access to a range of health care services across the network.

Memorial joins Care New England’s three other Rhode Island hospitals, including Kent, Butler, and Women and Infants.

Winter weather driving advice

Jan 1, 2013

(PROVIDENCE, RI)
As we dig out from this past weekend’s snow storm, a state official is warning there is still a danger from ice on the roads.  Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency spokesperson Annemarie Beardsworth says this can make driving dangerous.

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