Illinois Department of Public Health

Senior Airman Areca T. Wilson/ U.S. Air Force

Health officials across the country report flu cases are starting to match numbers seen from the H1N1 outbreak nearly a decade ago.

Flickr user CC Chapman

After reporting by the Chicago Tribune uncovered public health officials were failing to test babies for a devastating neurological disease, the Illinois Department of Public Health says the tests will begin today.

Krabbe disease is an inherited disorder that causes neurological deterioration; basically, the body shuts down and children don’t typically live past 10 years of age if it’s not caught in time.

Dr. Doug Carlson, chief of pediatrics at SIU School of Medicine, says there is effective screening and treatment but it’s not always 100%.


Communities across Illinois lacking access to fresh food will soon be tracked. This initiative, which goes into effect mid-2018, will attempt to solve more than one issue in these affected areas. 

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Counties across northern Illinois are part of a state-wide test this week for distributing medical supplies in case of a public health emergency.

The mass dispensing plan required by the state will measure how quickly county public health systems can distribute medicine and medical supplies during a public health emergency. State health officials say it will simulate a bioterrorism attack, but similar tactics also can be applied for large-scale disease outbreaks.

Flickr User Medisave UK / "Littmann Stethoscope" (CC BY 2.0)

At least sixteen of Illinois' 97 public health departments have laid off employees or cut back service hours. More are expected unless the state comes through with funding.

It comes as flu season approaches, after regional outbreaks of Legionnaire's Disease and the mumps, and after the state announced that it will no longer pay for testing STD specimens. This means the local departments have to take on an additional cost.

President of the Illinois Association of Public Health Administrators, Miriam Link-Mullison, says the fiscal situation is increasingly desperate.