Vital Signs newsletter: Rare infection claims 2 Maine lives in 6 months

When a rare bacterial infection claimed the life of 18-year-old Benjamin LaMontagne in February, barely six months had passed since a Bangor mother died from the disease just shy of age 30. Both LaMontagne and Heather Nichols were young. Both appeared otherwise healthy. Both developed the rare, sudden infection, necrotizing fasciitis, just days after routine medical procedures.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, healthy individuals are at extremely low risk of contracting necrotizing fasciitis.

LaMontagne and Nichols died from it anyway. These high-profile Maine cases, and others throughout the U.S., have left many wondering how to protect themselves.

‘Flesh-eating’ infection claims 2 Maine lives in 6 months, advocacy group calls treatment ‘tragically inadequate’

How to spot necrotizing fasciitis

Other top health stories this week:

CDC: Maine tops nation in rate of long-term opiate prescriptions

Health care providers in Maine wrote prescriptions for a commonly abused type of painkiller at the highest rate in the nation in 2012, according to a new federal report that found wide variations in prescribing patterns across the U.S.

Maine critics of Supreme Court’s birth control ruling call it a win for bosses over women

A top women’s group advocate was among many in Maine on Monday to decry the Supreme Court’s ruling that some private companies can now claim an exemption from the federal health care law that requires employers who provide health insurance to cover birth control.

From our health bloggers

Diane Atwood, Catching Health

Hunger and Obesity: What’s the Connection?

In America there is an assumption that with girth comes wealth and that people who are food insecure or malnourished are also automatically thin, Kristine Kittridge and  Nicole Nadeau write in a guest post.

Jim LaPierre, Recovery Rocks

Healing is Hard Work

I used to have a right foot, ankle, and calf. Now I am an amputee who must learn to walk and deal with life without some of my parts.

From the source

The U.S. added 288,000 jobs in June. About 21,000 were in health care, according to today’s jobs report.

 

Compiled by BDN Health Editor Jackie Farwell

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Jackie Farwell

About Jackie Farwell

I'm the health editor for the Bangor Daily News, a Bangor native, a UMaine grad, and a weekend crossword warrior. I never get sick of writing about Maine people, geeking out over health care data, and finding new ways to help you stay well. I live in Gorham with my husband Nick and our hound dog Riley.