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Journalists - particularly those in rural areas - will definitely want to follow the epidemiological investigation of swine flu that struck a nine-year-old Imperial County girl and a 10-year-old boy in adjacent San Diego County.The kids are fine now, but public health officials have never before seen this strain of swine flu in the United States. Here is the AP story.

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's $100 million grant to the International Partnership for Microbicides is big news for HIV prevention researchers frustrated by years of skimpy funding and scientific setbacks. The United Kingdom Department for International Development kicked in another $28.5 million.

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This story, pegged to new research on dual mastectomy rates, examines why some breast cancer patients choose to have both breasts removed even if it may not improve their survival.

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Although some international health indicators have improved substantially in the last decade, poverty, conflict, lack of access to health care and/or education, poor sterilization techniques, evolving human migration patterns, unsafe water, new infectious agents and changing development activities all contribute to what seems a dismal global health climate.

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The Alzheimer's Association estimated in 2009 that as many as 5.3 million Americans suffer from the mind-robbing illness. With that number expected to grow by double-digit percentages through 2025 as the population ages, scientists are working feverishly on strategies for prevention and treatment. But more than 100 years after the disease was discovered, it's still not clear what causes it. The only approved treatments barely dull the symptoms.

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Dr. Wada started work as the director/health officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department in March 2010. Previously, he was the Pasadena's health officer, and oversaw all health issues that affect Pasadena and all medical services provided by the Pasadena Public Health Department. Services include direct clinical services, disease surveillance and epidemiology, communicable disease control, health policy and promotion programs, environmental health (including restaurant inspections) and bioterrorism and emergency preparedness.

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Dr. Susan Fernyak is deputy health officer for San Francisco and director of the Department of Public Health's Communicable Disease Control and Prevention section. Her section is responsible for epidemiology, surveillance and disease control, immunization programs and bioterrorism preparedness and response. As director, she has managed San Francisco's smallpox vaccination program and the city and county's response to SARS.

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Susan D. Harrington is director of the Riverside County Department of Public Health, the agency responsible for protecting the health of county residents. The department's programs include bioterrorism preparedness, disease control, an HIV/AIDS program and a quality of life program.

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