Health Notes

What You Should Know about Elizabethkingia

by Dr. Rudolf Kotula on April 19, 2016

A common bacteria is having an uncommon outbreak – making dozens of people deathly ill in three states. And unfortunately, no one knows exactly why or where it’s coming from.

Right now, the greatest outbreak of Elizabethkingia is in Wisconsin, where 59 people have taken ill with the disease. About a third those patients confirmed with the bacteria died. Other cases have been reported in Michigan and Illinois, but those numbers are minimal.

Elizabethkingia anopheles is actually a common organism, often found in the water or in soil, but it rarely causes infections. Unfortunately, in the more than 60 cases noted so far, CDC researchers haven’t found a common source. They’re looked at everything from health care products to different environmental factors and haven’t discovered a link.

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Fighting TB with Every Breath

by Dr. Rudolf Kotula on March 10, 2016

It’s a little poke under the skin, but the results can be life-saving. Tuberculosis (TB) is a deadly disease – one of the deadliest in the world, but most importantly, it’s also treatable and preventable.

World TB Day is March 24th, and it’s a great time to look at the prevention and control of this horrible disease. Here in Nebraska, there were 33 cases of TB last year alone. Sixteen of those cases were right here in Douglas County.

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Zika Virus: What You Need to Know

February 4, 2016
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It’s the virus that’s making headlines internationally and now here locally with the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring Zika virus as a global health emergency. Just this week, there have been two confirmed cases of Zika in Douglas and Sarpy counties here in Nebraska. In both cases, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services […]

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Top 8 Tips for Staying Healthy

February 4, 2016
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It’s that time of year again when it seems like everything is catching. Colds, flu and everything in between is making for misery at home, school and in the workplace. So how can you keep yourself safe from what’s going around? Here are my top eight tips to protect your good health:

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CDC Issues Travel Warning for Pregnant Women

January 15, 2016
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If the cold winter weather has you considering a trip south, you may want to pay close attention to a virus making headlines – especially if you are expecting. The CDC just issued new warnings and guidelines for pregnant women traveling to countries hit by the Zika virus. The agency has received reports of 26 cases […]

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Charlie Sheen Announcement Brings Awareness to HIV

November 18, 2015
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On Tuesday, Hollywood icon Charlie Sheen announced to the world that he is HIV positive. In an interview with Matt Lauer on NBC’s TODAY Show, he said he learned of his diagnosis four years ago. Every time I hear a celebrity talk about their medical challenges – whatever they may be – I believe it’s […]

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Water-Borne Bug Strikes Douglas County Kids

September 14, 2015
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The Douglas County Health Department (DCHD) says it’s investigating 31 cases of a nasty water-borne parasite making kids in the metro sick. The parasite is known as Cryptosporidium, and there have been 25 confirmed cases locally just since August 1st. The median age is 11, but has struck people ages 1 to 38. Several of […]

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Preparing for Your Trip to Cuba

September 8, 2015
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Cuba’s beautiful Cienfuegos Bay. Blog photos courtesy of Dr. Marvin Bittner. For decades, trade and travel to Cuba, our nearest island neighbor, was off limits to Americans. However just a few short months ago, the U.S. lifted its restrictions against this country just 90 miles off the Florida coast. Now, Americans have the opportunity to […]

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Tainted Cilantro Spreads Sickness

August 10, 2015
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Cilantro is a longtime favorite summer garnish. It’s used in salsas and salads to add a fresh lime-like flavor to any dish. But some cilantro has been bringing a little something extra to the family meal: human feces. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a partial ban on some cilantro imported from Mexico […]

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Eight Tips for Keeping Your Summer Foods Safe

July 16, 2015
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In the summer, we talk a lot about the bugs that bite – causing itches and diseases that are less than fun. But have you thought much about the bugs inside your favorite summer feasts? Outdoor picnics and grilling can mean prime time for dangerous food-borne bacteria. The most common ones we see include salmonella, […]

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