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Putting An End To Polio

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Health workers in India go door to door to deliverthe oral polio vaccine to children who need to be immunized.

(NAPSI)—According to the World Health Organization, vaccine hesitancy—the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines—is one of the top ten global health threats of 2019.


Acknowledging this challenge, Rotary clubs in the U.S. and around the world remain laser-focused on the global fight to end polio, a paralyzing but vaccine-preventable disease. With success, polio will become only the second human disease, after smallpox, to be wiped out.


For more than 30 years, Rotary has been the driving force in the worldwide polio eradication effort. Alongside its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary has achieved a 99.9 percent reduction in polio cases and has contributed $2 billion to protect more than 2.5 billion children from this paralyzing disease. Today, only Afghanistan and Pakistan continue to report cases of wild polio virus and eradication is within grasp.


So, on October 24th, World Polio Day, more than a million Rotary club members around the world will recognize the progress to date and double down on efforts to end polio for good.


From fashion shows in Nebraska and wine tastings in Idaho, to walks in Kenya and benefit concerts in Switzerland, Rotary clubs are hosting awareness and fundraising events to put an end to the disease once and for all.


You don’t have to be a global health expert or Rotary member to support efforts to end polio. Visit www.endpolio.org to find out how you can help end a disease and make history on World Polio Day and beyond.



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First Human Case of West Nile Virus Infection in Merced County in 2019

Merced County Department of Public Health has confirmed the first human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) infection in Merced County this year. The affected individual is expected to fully recover.


WNV is transmitted to humans and animals by the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people who become infected with West Nile virus do not get sick at all and the risk of serious illness to most people is low. However, approximately one percent of individuals can develop the neuro-invasive form of the illness (encephalitis or meningitis), which is more serious. Symptoms of serious infection include severe headaches, a stiff neck, disorientation or confusion. If you experience these symptoms, seek medical attention right away. Individuals more likely to develop serious illness or complications from WNV include people aged 50 years or older and those with diabetes or hypertension. At this point in time there is no cure or vaccine for West Nile Virus.


In Merced County in 2018, there were two confirmed human cases of West Nile virus infection with one case of West Nile Virus neuro-invasive disease. So far in 2019, there have been 62 confirmed human causes of WNV infection in California.


WNV infections occur during mosquito season which starts in the summer and continues through fall. The most effective way to prevent West Nile virus infection is to avoid being bitten by an infected mosquito. To reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes or contracting WNV infection, the Merced County Department of Public Health recommends the following actions:


DRAIN: all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding. Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flower pots, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls. Ensure that swimming pools and spas are properly maintained. Consider including Mosquito fish in ornamental ponds and fountains.

Kaiser Permanente Gets High Rating For Medicare Plan

Written by Fresno Business Journal

Kaiser Permanente has received high praise for its Medicare plan from a major nonprofit.


The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) rated Kaiser Permanente Northern California’s Medicare health plan a 5 out of 5 — the highest in Northern California, and among the highest rated in the country, according to their Health Insurance Plan Ratings 2019-20, published Tuesday. Kaiser’s commercial health plan also received a 4.5 rating. Their Southern California region received the same ratings.


“This national recognition reflects our commitment to providing high-quality care and service to our members and patients we lead them on the path toward healthier and more productive lives,” said Janet Liang, president of Kaiser Permanente Northern California.


NCQA is a national, private nonprofit organization that surveys health plans for performance in a wide range of clinical service measures, including consumer experience, prevention and treatment. The national group analyzed over 1,000 health plans in the nation — private, Medicare and Medicaid — for quality and service. The ratings are based on combined scores for plans in the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS), the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare providers and Systems (CAHPS) and NCQA Accreditations standards scores.

Valley Children’s introduces partner for new behavioral health hospital

Written by The Business Journal Staff

Valley Children’s Healthcare has launched a new partnership to address psychiatric wellness in the region.


Todd Suntrapak, president and CEO of Valley Children’s, announced on Wednesday morning that Universal Health Services will be partnering to construct and operate a new behavioral health facility on the flagship campus in Madera.


This 81,600-square-foot, 128-bed behavioral health hospital will include a unit of 24 beds dedicated specifically to pediatric psychiatric care, treatment, services and educational needs, assisting Valley Children’s in addressing the needs of patients presenting to the emergency department. Additional units will serve adults and seniors.


The new hospital is expected to employ more than 250 clinicians, nurses, mental health technicians, support staff and administrators.


“There is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t get a question from a parent, a health care provider, or a community member in search of behavioral health care for their kids — and in particular— behavioral health care that is right here in the Valley,” Suntrapak said. “The behavioral health care needs of our children and families are significant and this new facility will provide our Valley with new resources closer to home.”



Construction of the new hospital is expected to begin next year, with an opening estimated for 2022.


“We are proud to celebrate this new partnership with Valley Children’s,” said Bob Deney, senior vice president for Universal Health Services’ Behavioral Health Division. “Our mutual goal is to always provide patients and their loved ones with high-quality, compassionate services and support.”


Valley Children’s and UHS will also begin work on a psychiatry residency program, as well as telepsychology services for children served by the Valley Children’s network of care.



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