CDC Reports West Nile Cases Up, Especially Along the Gulf Coast

CDC Reports

(AP) – Health officials say aggressive action after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita helped limit the impact of mosquito-borne illnesses.

Officials had worried that water left by the storms would offer
more breeding grounds and cause mosquito populations to explode.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says human cases of West Nile virus jumped 24 percent this year in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas.

But health officials are more concerned about West Nile cases that result in serious diseases like encephalitis and meningitis.

Those cases actually grew only 17 percent, more slowly than the national average.

A CDC epidemiologist says large-scale evacuation, pesticide
spraying and other efforts may have helped limit the hurricane
effect.

Overall, health officials say West Nile cases grew more than 16 percent in the U.S. this year.

Police Thought Seized Video Gambling Machines Were Legal

Video Gambling Machines

(AP) – The State Law Enforcement Division says four people have been arrested after 19 illegal gaming machines were found in businesses in Port Royal and Beaufort.

Port Royal Police Chief James Cadien says he knew a shop in town had video gambling machines for years, but didn’t realize the business might be breaking the law until state investigators visited the store last week.

Payouts for video gambling machines that are based on skill, not chance, have been banned in South Carolina since 2000.

SLED Inspector Stacy Drakeford says owners can easily change a
legal machine into an illegal video gambling machine.

Public Data Shows Hundreds of Chemicals in Tap Water

Hundreds of Chemicals in Tap Water

(AP) – Thirsty? Your tap water might be coming with
some extra chemicals.

An environmental group says its analysis of records in 42 states found 141 unregulated chemicals and an additional 119 for which the Environmental Protection Agency has set health-based limits.

Most common among the chemicals found are disinfection byproducts, nitrates, chloroform, barium, arsenic and copper.

The Environmental Working Group compiled data from nearly 40,000 water utilities in states that agreed to provide data they collected from 1998 to 2003.

An EPA spokeswoman says the agency gathers its own water
monitoring data, reviews the latest research and looks at treatment
methods and technology.