Big Lake, Alaska and The Susitna Valley News, Weather, Events, And More

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Tuesday, February 20 2018 @ 10:18 AM AKST


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Applegate Chicken Nuggets Recalled for Plastic Fragments

Health and Wellness(JUNEAU, AK) – Perdue has issued a recall for 8 oz. boxes of Applegate naturals fully cooked frozen chicken nuggets that may contain fragments of plastic.

The recalled boxes may be identified by the mark of inspection information including the number “Est. P2617” and the following production and best before date:

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Cavanaugh Smoked Sausage Recalled for Undeclared Soy Allergen

Health and Wellness(JUNEAU, AK) – Zemco Industries Inc. has issued a recall for 2.5-pound packages of Cavanaugh Smoked Sausage because the labels do not state that the product contains soy, a known allergen. People who have an allergy or have a severe sensitivity to soy run the risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product.

The recalled product may be identified by the establishment number “Est. 5222” located inside the mark of inspection and the following production and use by dates:

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Attorney General Michael Geraghty encourages parents to talk to their kids about underage drinking

Health and WellnessAttorney General Michael Geraghty made the following statement regarding underage drinking:

“Alcoholism is a scourge in our state, and with the new school year fast-approaching, we are reminded that it is never too early to talk with our kids about alcohol. According to the Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Behavioral Health, the amount of alcohol dependence and abuse in Alaska is twice the national average. Almost 40 percent of high-school aged youth had at least one drink of alcohol in the last 30 days, and 26 percent had a binge-drinking episode. Although this is an improvement from two decades ago, we still have a ways to go to prevent our youth from falling into the cycle of alcohol abuse.
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Stone Fruit recall expanded due to possible Listeria contamination

Health and Wellness(JUNEAU, AK) - Wawona Packing Co. has expanded its July 19, 2014 recall for fresh, whole white and yellow peaches, white and yellow nectarines, plums and pluots because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, an uncommon but potentially fatal disease. Healthy people rarely contract listeriosis. However, those that do contract it could experience high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and nausea. Listeriosis can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths, as well as serious and sometimes fatal infections in those with weakened immune systems, such as infants, the elderly and persons with HIV infection or undergoing chemotherapy. People experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.

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Healthy Alaskans 2020 releases statewide health assessment and key health indicators

Health and WellnessANCHORAGE—The statewide collaborative initiative Healthy Alaskans 2020 released “Healthy Alaskans 2020 Health Assessment: Understanding the Health of Alaskans” today, along with two documents highlighting the state’s 25 leading health indicators and the process of setting priorities. You can find these documents at

The 2020 Health Assessment presents information about population characteristics, social and economic factors, health outcomes, and health equity issues in Alaska. The assessment, along with a book of health indicators and an indicator scorecard, was created over the past two years during the process of prioritizing 25 Alaska health goals for the decade. A series of teams—including an advisory team of representatives from agencies, organizations and communities from around Alaska with an expertise in health and Alaska—were involved in the process.

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Further analyses confirms Alaska seafood is safe from Fukushima radiation

Health and WellnessJUNEAU—The Alaska departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Health and Social Services (DHSS) have received further results from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the latest radiation testing of Alaska seafood. The results confirm information from federal, state and international agencies that seafood in Alaska waters poses no radiation-related health concerns to those who consume it.

This testing of cod and three species of salmon (chinook, chum, and sockeye) showed no detection of the Fukushima-related radioisotopes iodine-131, cesium-134, or cesium-137. The results indicate no appreciable risk from any tested radionuclide in these fish and support previous radionuclide testing results of sablefish, pollock and halibut from Alaska waters. DEC and DHSS have posted the findings on their websites and will update the web pages with any future sampling results.

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State waives immunization administration fees during National Immunization Awareness Month in August

Health and WellnessState public health centers, the Municipality of Anchorage and Maniilaq Association will waive all immunization administration fees for state-provided vaccine during National Immunization Awareness Month in August. The usual fee is around $28 for a vaccine.

The waiver applies to eligible Alaskans, including any child under the age of 3, and any Alaskan without health insurance. The fee waiver also applies to anyone who has insurance that does not cover vaccines or who doesn’t know if it covers vaccines, who has not met the deductible, or who lives in remote Alaska and has no other access to vaccines except through Public Health Nursing.
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Governor Signs Midwife, FASD Legislation

Health and WellnessIn a move to ensure greater public safety in the field of midwifery, Governor Sean Parnell signed Senate Bill 156 into law. Sponsored by Senator Pete Kelly, the legislation updates the Certified Direct-Entry Midwife Practice Act. Additionally, the bill requires a certified direct-entry midwife to be licensed, practicing for two years, and attend 50 or more births as a primary or assistant midwife before being able to supervise an apprentice direct-entry midwife.

Governor Parnell also signed legislation to help eradicate Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD). Senate Concurrent Resolution 13 urges the governor to increase the capability of rapid screening for FASD within state agencies and to expand residential substance abuse treatment services in Alaska for pregnant women experiencing drug or alcohol addiction challenges. The resolution was sponsored by Senator Kelly.
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Alaska fish consumption guidelines expand species on unrestricted list

Health and WellnessExpanded fish testing data and epidemiological studies have prompted the state to release new fish consumption guidelines that increase the number of fish species on the “unrestricted consumption ” list.

“These guidelines continue to underscore the health benefits associated with eating fish and the cultural importance of fishing,” said Ali Hamade, the Environmental Public Health Program Manager.

"We encourage Alaskans to use these guidelines in addition to the state’s fish monitoring program resources for making healthful fish consumption choices. The guidelines recommend unrestricted consumption of many fish species from Alaska waters, particularly those most frequently consumed by Alaskans".

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Fukushima Radiation Concerns in Alaska

Health and WellnessSince the devastating 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, which damaged the Fukushima nuclear power plant, there have been concerns about radiation impacts to Alaska. The Division of Environmental Health (DEH) has been coordinating with the Department of Health & Social Services (DHSS) Division of Public Health as well as other state and Federal agencies, the Pacific states, and Canada to continuosly assess the situation at the Fukushima nuclear plant and address radiation-related concerns in Alaska.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is the lead agency on food safety. Both FDA-regulated food products imported from Japan and domestic food products, including U.S. seafood, have been tested. FDA has found no evidence that radionuclides of health concern from the Japanese nuclear power plant disaster are present in the U.S. food supply. Additional information regarding response and testing can be found on their website here.

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Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line offers enhanced tools for smokers

Health and WellnessTwo-thirds of Alaska adults who currently smoke say they want to quit. The state Department of Health and Social Services is now offering additional support to help them. Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line has enhanced the free tools it offers to provide even greater support to help tobacco users successfully quit for good.

Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line now offers Text2Quit and Web Coach.

Text2Quit allows those who are quitting to work with a quit coach via their mobile phone. Text2Quit features a series of interactive text messages — including tips on coping skills, games, quizzes, and motivational and educational reminders — that are personalized to a participant's quit plan.

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Governor Signs Health Care Bills

Health and WellnessJune 18, 2014, Anchorage, Alaska – Joined by nurses, nurse practitioners, doctors and other health care professionals, Governor Sean Parnell today signed several health care related bills into law. Legislation signed included Senate Bill 169, establishing a statewide immunization program. SB 169 also creates the State Vaccine Assessment Council within the Department of Health and Social Services. Senator Cathy Giessel sponsored the legislation.

“These bills are key to keeping Alaskans healthy while working to control health care costs,” Governor Parnell said. “I appreciate Senator Giessel and all of the health care professionals who have worked tirelessly to ensure Alaskans’ health care needs are met.”

Governor Parnell also signed two other pieces of legislation, including:
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Paralytic shellfish poisoning: An ever-present risk in Alaska

Health and WellnessANCHORAGE — A probable case of paralytic shellfish poisoning over the weekend has prompted the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Section of Epidemiology, to remind Alaskans and visitors alike of the ever-present risk of paralytic shellfish poisoning, or PSP, in recreationally-harvested Alaska shellfish.

All locally harvested shellfish — including clams, mussels, oysters, geoducks and scallops — can contain paralytic shellfish poison. Crabmeat is not known to contain the PSP toxin, but crab guts can contain unsafe levels of toxin and should be discarded.

The current case involves razor and possibly butter clams harvested from Clam Gulch on June 15, about 1.5 miles down the beach near the big tower. The patient began experiencing typical symptoms of PSP approximately four hours after ingesting the shellfish.

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DHSS completes analysis of Alaska’s health care safety net

Health and WellnessANCHORAGE — A report analyzing Alaska’s health care safety net and identifying where gaps exist for Alaskans who fall between the eligibility lines of Medicaid and subsidized insurance on the Federal Healthcare Marketplace was completed by the Department of Health and Social Services and delivered to Gov. Sean Parnell on Monday, June 9.

The report defines the gap population, provides an overview of the safety net services available in Alaska, gives a brief description of funding that supports these services and describes gaps in services for the identified population. It is available to the public online at:
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A new model of liver regeneration: Switch causes mature liver cells to revert back to stem cell-like state

Health and WellnessSource:
Harvard University

Scientists have new evidence in mice that it may be possible to repair a chronically diseased liver by forcing mature liver cells to revert back to a stem cell-like state. The researchers happened upon this discovery while investigating whether a biochemical cascade called Hippo, which controls how big the liver grows, also affects cell fate. The unexpected answer is that switching off the Hippo-signaling pathway in mature liver cells generates very high rates of dedifferentiation. This means the cells turn back the clock to become stem-cell like again, thus allowing them to give rise to functional progenitor cells that can regenerate a diseased liver.
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