Illinois Department of Public Health

Illinois Issues - Leadership
4:20 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Ousted State Public Health Director Off To Washington

Former Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health LaMar Hasbrouck has a new job, upon his being replaced by new Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Credit WUIS

Illinois' director of public health under former Governor Pat Quinn has found a new job.  

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Health Desk
3:35 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Flu Cases Are Ahead Of Schedule In Illinois

Washing your hands is a good way to help prevent the spread of the flu.
Credit Peapod Labs/flickr

Illinois is reporting widespread flu activity earlier than most years.  Widespread means the flu is showing up statewide.  Illinois tracks people hospitalized for the flu. That number is above 200 with nearly half the cases in the week that ended December 13th. 

Of course, that fails to count those who have the symptoms but are recuperating at home.  

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Election 2014
5:44 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Ebola Strikes Race For Governor

Credit Brett Levin / Flickr at

Illinois'  O'Hare Airport is one of five in the nation where travelers from West Africa must undergo extra screening for Ebola. But now the state has additional guidelines to prevent the virus' potential spread. What to do is the latest disagreement in an already adversarial race for governor.

Even as New Jersey releases a nurse forced into quarantine upon her return from Sierra Leone, Gov. Pat Quinn is standing by a similar policy for Illinois.

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Health Desk
7:55 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Illinois Activates Ebola Hotline

 The Illinois Department of Public Health has activated a hotline to answer the public's questions about Ebola.  

Department Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck announced the hotline Thursday. It will be managed by staff from the Illinois Poison Center who will be able to answer questions about the virus and the state's response.  
 The hotline will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Operators will answer questions about how Ebola is spread, who's at risk, when someone should go to a doctor and other topics.  

The hotline number is 800-889-3931.  

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Health Desk
10:11 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Despite Outbreak, Illinois Virus Cases Remain Low - Why?

A rare respiratory illness continues to spread. The Centers for Disease Control has confirmed the first case in New Jersey. But it's hard to tell the status of the outbreak in Illinois. The state was one of the first to have confirmed cases of the enterovirus strain.

It was in mid-to-late August when a Chicago hospital noticed a surge in patients with respiratory problems. The Centers for Disease Control confirmed that of the 14 specimens submitted, 11 tested positive for what is known as enterovirus D68.

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Health Desk
7:27 am
Tue August 19, 2014

Making It Easier To Complain About Nursing Homes


Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed two pieces of legislation giving seniors and the disabled greater access to people who can address complaints about their care or their living conditions.  

One of the measures allows people with complaints about nursing homes to submit them electronically to the Illinois Department of Public Health. That takes effect immediately.

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Illinois State Fair
7:08 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Officials Urge Caution At State Fair

An inspector from the Illinois Department of Labor checks a carnival ride on the Illinois State Fairgrounds Wednesday.
Credit Hannah Meisel/WUIS

  With the Illinois State Fair set to begin later this week, officials say they have safety in the forefront of their minds. The event, which attracts nearly 1 million visitors yearly, is set to open Friday morning ... though anyone can get an early preview Thursday evening after the annual opening parade.

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Illinois Department of Public Health
4:50 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Department Of Public Health To Test For New Genetic Disorder In Newborns

Credit Wikimedia Commons

  Babies born in Illinois are already tested for dozens of disorders. Now the state public health department is adding more to that list.

Newborns will be tested for SCID, a rare genetic disorder that makes babies especially susceptible to bacterial and viral infections.

Every baby born in the state of Illinois gets a tiny pinprick on the heel of their foot. The blood drawn is then sent to an Illinois Department of Public Health lab, where it's tested for dozens of genetic disorders.

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3:22 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Medical Marijuana In Illinois Could Be Available By Beginning Of 2015

A panel from the Illinois Department of Public Health takes questions.
Credit WUIS/Lee Strubinger

Officials say dispensaries in Illinois could start providing medical marijuana early next year . Prospective patients say that's not soon enough.

At a public hearing in Springfield, those seeking marijuana for medical needs argued the rule making process needs to speed up.   Illinois lawmakers voted last year to allow cannabis for certain health conditions.  Since then, the state has been planning how the program will work.
Robert Morgan, an attorney with the Illinois Department of Public Health, says the agency wants to get it right.

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Health Desk
7:18 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Downstate Cancer Rates Higher

A new study shows cancer rates are higher in downstate Illinois.  Smoking may be the reason.   

A report from the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and the Illinois Department of  Public Health of public health says the southern two thirds of Illinois have higher cancer rates and lower survival rates than those in the northern part.  The study looks at two decades worth of cancer statistics.  SIU Med School's David Steward says the likely culprit is lung cancer, which is especially higher in Men.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Sun December 1, 2013

Medical Marijuana Bill Touted as Country's Tightest: Illinois to Legalize Medical Marijuana

Rep Lou Lang speaks at a press conference on his medical marijuana bill.
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

After voting to reject medical marijuana legislation three times in previous years, the Illinois House approved a bill in April. Sponsor Rep. Lou Lang, a Skokie Democrat; worked to tighten the bill, which proponents call the most strictly regulated medical marijuana program in the country. “This bill is a very carefully drafted bill,” Gov. Pat Quinn said when he signed the legislation. He did not openly support the bill as it moved through the legislature but said he would keep an open mind if it reached his desk.

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4:58 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Whitaker Denies Involvement In Kickback Scheme

Dr. Eric Whitaker
Credit WBEZ

The former head of Illinois' Department of Public Health says he ``was not involved in any way'' with alleged illegal activities of his longtime chief of staff.  
In an indictment released this week, authorities accuse Quinshaunta Golden. They say she accepted $433,000 in kickbacks for steering grant and contract money to various groups around the time she worked for Eric E. Whitaker at the agency.  
Prosecutors have never accused Whitaker of wrongdoing.  

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4:44 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

New Case Of Rare Stomach Illness In Ill.

Illinois is reporting one new case of a rare stomach illness, bringing the total number in the state to five. The Illinois Department of Public Health says officials are still investigating the source of the illness caused by a parasite, but have been unable to link it to any food source.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Editor's Note: Federal Act Could Help Quality of Beach Waters

Dana Heupel
Credit WUIS/Illinois Issues

New data on beach closures and health advisories demonstrate a need to end the dumping of raw or partially treated sewage into the Great Lakes and waterways that feed them, say U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk and Illinois Congressmen Randy Hultgren and Daniel Lipinski.

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Illinois Issues
12:00 am
Tue November 1, 2011

State of the State: Closing Hundreds of Pools in Illinois May Save Lives

Jamey Dunn
Credit 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Hundreds of public swimming pools across the state were closed this fall when the Illinois Department of Public Health cracked down on pools that didn’t comply with state and federal regulations. 

According to the department about 85 percent of public pools comply with the 2007 Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. However, about 500 pools were shut down October 1 for noncompliance. 

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