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Alaska 87 articles

Increase in flu cases prompts CDC health advisory

Significant increases in flu cases – predominantly the A(H3N2) strain – has prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue a health advisory. The CDC is recommending to health care providers, in addition to administering the flu shot for prevention, to increase use of neuraminidase inhibitor (NAI) antivirals for treatment. This treatment blocks the function of viral neuraminidases of the influenza virus, preventing its reproduction. The CDC is urging that treatment be initiated promptly and “should not be delayed even for a few hours to wait for the results of testing.” Treatment is most effective when it ... Read More

U.S. Airlines Are Barring Smart Bags With Lithium Batteries

Major U.S. airlines say they will stop accepting “smart bags” powered by lithium batteries next year unless the batteries can be removed. The impending ban, which is expected to reduce the risk of fire in the cargo hold, will go into effect on all American Airlines flights starting Jan. 15, with additional U.S. carriers following suit. A number of luggage manufacturers have introduced bags equipped with lithium battery-powered features that many travelers will find convenient. According to the Chicago Tribune, one bag made by Away can charge a drained iPhone five times, while one made by G-RO features charging capabilities ... Read More

Produce packer’s recall spurs chain reaction of recalls

Dozens of vegetable products are being pulled from grocery store shelves across the country after California-based Mann Packing announced it was recalling several of its products due to concerns that the vegetables had been contaminated with listeria, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and people with compromised immune systems. It can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women. Mann Packaging’s recall spurred a chain of recalls from other companies who carry or use Mann Packaging’s produce products. Meijer, a Midwestern chain similar to Walmart, recalled nearly 20 different ... Read More

NTSB Warns Pilots of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning From Airplane Exhaust

Federal officials issued safety alerts to pilots and aircraft mechanics last week warning them about the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from engine exhaust. The National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) alerts warn that the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is generally overlooked and underestimated in the aviation industry – a dangerous prospect considering that many airplanes with internal combustion engines are warmed by exhaust systems using a heater shroud. Compounding the danger is the colorless, odorless, and tasteless nature of carbon monoxide fumes, which can fill the cockpit and go undetected until it’s too late. The NTSB’s safety alerts offer some ... Read More

Alaska Settles False Claims Allegations With U.S. Over SNAP Funds

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (ADHSS) has agreed to pay the U.S. government nearly $2.5 million to settle False Claims Act allegations that it cheated the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by submitting claims for performance bonuses it did not earn. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, ADHSS contracted with Julie Osnes Consulting LLC (Osnes Consulting) to provide advice and recommendations on how to lower its SNAP quality control error rate. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which administers the SNAP program, pays performance bonuses to states that report the lowest and the most improved error ... Read More

48-State Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Backyard Chickens

Do you fondle your chickens? Federal and state health authorities are warning owners of backyard chicken flocks and others who may come in contact with them to take precautions around live poultry as they could be infected with Salmonella. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Aug. 21 that it continues to investigate 10 separate multi-state outbreaks of Salmonella infection linked to backyard chicken flocks. The outbreaks encompass 48 states and the District of Columbia and have sickened 961 people as of Aug. 21. Only Alaska and Delaware have managed to escape the outbreak. Keep in mind ... Read More

Walrus Meat Source of Two Trichinellosis Outbreaks

Trichinellosis or trichinosis is often associated with consuming undercooked pork, but a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report shows that two outbreaks of the infection in Alaska over the last 12 months was tied to walrus meat. The report explains that the outbreaks demonstrate how more trichinosis cases in the U.S. have been linked to non-porcine (pig family) wild game species since the late 1990s. The two outbreaks occurred in August 2016 and May 2017 and each included five confirmed cases. Although undercooked walrus meat has been the cause of most trichinosis cases in Alaska since 1975, ... Read More

Whistleblowers Ask 9th Circuit To Reinstate FCA Lawsuit Against Honeywell

Plaintiffs in a whistleblower lawsuit against military contractor Honeywell International have turned to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals a third time in an effort to have their False Claims Act complaint revived. The False Claims Act lawsuit seeks a $45 million recovery for the United States government, alleging that Honeywell falsely inflated its energy savings calculations for work performed under an Army contract. Honeywell’s contract stipulated that the company was not eligible for payment if the energy cost savings on an Alabama-based Army Engineering and Support Center was not shown to reduce actual energy costs. The project involved converting ... Read More

Distracted Driver Numbers ‘Overwhelming,’ Idaho Deputy Says

Sheriff’s deputies in Kootenai County, Idaho, told a local paper that the number of distracted drivers on the road is “overwhelming” and expressed their frustration over the difficulties of nabbing drivers who text, apply makeup, look at maps, and do other things that steal their attention from the road. Like other law enforcement authorities throughout the U.S., Kootenai Sheriff’s deputies use an unmarked car to patrol for distracted drivers. When a suspected violator is spotted, the deputy radios the information to deputies in marked cruisers to make a traffic stop. Using this method, the deputies pulled over more than 25 ... Read More

NTSB Reports on Plane Crash That Killed Alaska Cruise Ship Passengers

Federal investigators said the safety culture of an Alaskan flight tour company and one of its pilots were directly responsible for the crash of a sightseeing floatplane near Ketchikan in June 2015. The plane crash killed the pilot and eight cruise-ship passengers taking a shore excursion. On April 25, a panel of four National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators unanimously found that Promech Air pilot Bryan Krill’s decision to continue flying the de Havilland Otter plane visually into poor weather instead of flying instrumentally was one cause of the plane crash. But Robert Sumwalt, the NTSB’s acting chair, told the ... Read More