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March 4, 2014 | By Abby Sewell and Eryn Brown
Los Angeles County supervisors ordered an audit Tuesday of the way the county's public health department investigates complaints about health and safety issues at nursing homes. The officials sharply criticized public health officials over a report that complaints about health and safety issues at nursing homes are not always thoroughly investigated. An investigation by Kaiser Health News found that public health officials told inspectors to close certain cases without fully investigating them in an effort to reduce a backlog.
March 3, 2014 | By Tony Barboza
Wait three days after it rains before going into the ocean. It's a warning that public health officials issued to beachgoers this week, as they do after any significant storm in California. But a study released Monday is raising questions about whether that three-day waiting period is enough to protect people who swim, surf and play in the ocean from pathogens in storm runoff that can make them ill. "To err on the side of caution, stay out of the water for five days after rainfall," said Amanda Griesbach, a water quality scientist at Heal the Bay , an environmental group that provided data and other support for the research by undergraduate students at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.
February 27, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
The state of California issued an advisory on measles last week. Though only about a dozen cases have been reported so far, many more people have been exposed to the virus. In the Bay Area, thousands were warned to watch for signs of the disease after a man who'd been infected on a trip to Asia rode a BART train. In Los Angeles, far more people than necessary were exposed to measles because doctors failed to report two patients' cases immediately. One had traveled to Asia; the other had been exposed to a recently infected traveler.
February 19, 2014 | Michael Hiltzik
UPDATE: This post has been updated as explained below. In yet another sign of the perils and irresponsibility of the anti-vaccination movement, thousands of riders of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system are being warned that they may have been exposed to measles -- a disease that was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000 but has since returned.  The latest threat comes from an unnamed and unvaccinated UC Berkeley student who apparently contracted...
February 12, 2014 | By Mary MacVean, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
The executive director of the Eating Recovery Center of California, Jennifer Lombardi, says it was no surprise to her that a contestant on “The Biggest Loser” lost a shocking amount of weight - in this case, Rachel Frederickson dieting to less than half her weight. “I have been waiting anxiously for this moment to arrive,” she said a few days later. Lombardi says the NBC reality show “puts people in the bubble” of constant supervision and grueling workouts to win a prize; Frederickson won $250,000 on Feb. 5, setting off a social media firestorm.
January 31, 2014 | By Eryn Brown
Influenza-related illness has killed 147 Californians under age 65 this season, including 17 people in Los Angeles County and one in Long Beach, state health officials have confirmed. The toll is unusually high: At the same point last year, only 14 people in that age group had died of the flu, Dr. James Watt of the California Department of Public Health told reporters Friday. Throughout the entire 2012-2013 flu season, the state logged just 106 confirmed deaths. The new fatalities are a sign that this year's flu season continues to be especially severe, even as some indicators of influenza activity, such as hospitalizations for flu-related illness, seem to be plateauing in L.A. County, California and elsewhere across the U.S. "Unfortunately, one of the things we always say about influenza is that it's unpredictable," said Watt, chief of the public health department's Division of Communicable Disease Control.
January 12, 2014
Re "L.A. sues to keep oil field near USC closed," Jan. 8 The South Coast Air Quality Management District is not at odds with the city of Los Angeles or any other agency over the Allenco Energy Inc. oil facility. Rather, we are on the same path, working to ensure that Allenco does not reopen until it meets all applicable environmental regulations and no longer poses any potential hazard or nuisance to nearby residents. It was the SCAQMD staff that originally brought this matter to the attention of the L.A. city attorney's office.
January 10, 2014 | By Eryn Brown
It may be no surprise to snifflers stuck in doctor's office waiting rooms: The 2013-2014 influenza season appears to be picking up steam earlier than most flu seasons. On Friday, state and Los Angeles County health officials reported "sharp increases" in influenza activity, including illnesses and deaths. "The number of confirmed fatalities is rising rapidly and exceeds what is expected this time of year," said state epidemiologist Dr. Gil Chavez, of the California Department of Public Health in Sacramento.
January 3, 2014 | By Emily Alpert Reyes
The California Department of Public Health has taken steps to decertify three centers for the developmentally disabled from receiving Medicaid funding for some of their programs after discovering “situations involving immediate jeopardy” to patients, the agency said late Friday. The Porterville, Lanterman and Fairview Developmental Centers had been under review throughout the last year due to “deficient practices” and “chronic systems failures in providing patient care,” the department said in a statement.
November 30, 2013 | By Frank Shyong
Politicians and businessmen mingled amid mint-green tablecloths as cups of locally sourced red butter lettuce salad circulated. The night's keynote speaker, a county public health official, spoke warmly of the restaurant's offerings. It was an unusual restaurant opening for Monterey Park's Garvey Avenue, a largely Chinese immigrant neighborhood populated mostly by ginseng shops and cheap restaurants and bakeries - most of which have B letter grades from the county health inspector.
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