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Ublester Rodriguez could not have anticipated that his life would be profoundly changed by kitchen and bathroom countertops.

He says that he grew up poor, in a small Mexican town, and came to the United States when he was 14. He spoke no English, but he immediately got a job.

"In the beginning I was working in a Chinese restaurant, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. It was all day, so I never had time to go to school," he recalls. "I was a dishwasher."

Daniel Paquet / Creative Commons

Two Connecticut residents infected with the influenza virus have died, the state’s first flu-related deaths of the 2019-20 season, according to state public health officials. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Patricia Banach just wanted her annual flu shot.

As the weather got colder, she and her husband, both in their 70s, knew that the chances of falling ill were higher, so they set out to a local pharmacy near their home in Somers to get vaccinated.

But it didn’t turn out to be that simple.

Sanofi Pasteur / Creative Commons

Last weekend’s cold snap has ended the threat of Eastern equine encephalitis for this year. That’s according to Dr. Theodore Andreadis, director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.

“The weather is certainly cold enough now that the mosquito numbers have declined dramatically, and the risk of anyone being bitten by an infected mosquito is virtually zero at this point,” said Andreadis. “And we haven’t detected any further virus activity, in fact we stopped our surveillance program last week.”

Seth Wenig / Associated Press

A child in Fairfield County has contracted measles, public health officials announced Friday.

This is the fourth reported case of measles in Connecticut this year, and the first in a school-aged child, Department of Public Health officials said. This case is not connected to three previous cases in adults reported between January and April.

SETH WENIG / Associated Press

New state data show that vaccination rates among some of the youngest schoolchildren in Connecticut fall below federally recommended levels.

The Department of Public Health Monday released school-by-school immunization data from the 2018/2019 year, which showed there were 134 schools where less than 95% percent of kindergartners got vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella.

Atascadero High School Hilltop News / Facebook

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal is calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban vaping products that are concealed as everyday items like smart watches, backpacks and phone cases. Blumenthal said these products are aimed at teenagers who are trying to "conceal and camouflage their addiction" from their teachers and parents.

Pan American Health Organization / Creative Commons

The state is expected to release new school-by-school vaccination and exemption data Monday after a Hartford Superior Court judge denied a Bristol couple’s attempt to temporarily block the release.

Attorney Cara Pavalock-D’Amato argued in court on behalf of her clients Brian and Kristen Festa that the release of a second report detailing percentages of religious and medical vaccine exemptions at each Connecticut school would continue to cause “irreparable harm” to the Festas, who have a son with a religious exemption.

Vaping 360 / Creative Commons

Before electronic cigarettes hit the U.S. market about 10 years ago, Connecticut was making progress in decreasing nicotine use among young people.

About one in four teens were smoking cigarettes in 2000, but by 2017, that dropped to only 3.5% of school-aged students statewide, according to state reports.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio


Denise Guillemette sat at a table preparing dozens of flu vaccines that she would eventually give to residents who came to a recent community clinic in Glastonbury.

“Come on down,” she called to the next person in line waiting their turn. “How are you feeling today, good?”

Vaping306 / Creative Commons

A Connecticut resident has died from lung illness related to vaping, state officials announced Thursday. It’s the first fatality of its kind in the state and among a growing number of people who are dying in a nationwide outbreak of cases.

The patient was between 30 and 39 years old and died last week while being hospitalized for multiple medical conditions, according to the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

Chris Fifield-Smith / Creative Commons

A third Connecticut resident has died from EEE, and another person has been diagnosed with the illness, state officials announced Tuesday.

Dr. Matthew Cartter, state epidemiologist of the Department of Public Health, said in a statement that a person from East Haddam between 60 and 69 years old died during the third week of September from the mosquito-borne illness.

RYAN CARON KING / Connecticut Public Radio

A Superior Court judge has dismissed a parents’ lawsuit against the Connecticut Department of Public Health over the release of school-level vaccination data.

Brian and Kristen Festa, of Bristol, challenged DPH’s decision to release school-by-school vaccination data in May. The report also included the percentage of kids with religious and medical exemptions at each school.

There’s no cure for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE, but there is a vaccine for the mosquito-borne illness. It’s just not commercially available.

The United States military developed it in the 1980s as part of a vaccine program to protect military personnel from dangerous pathogens, says Sam Telford, an epidemiologist at Tufts University.

“As a graduate student, I received that vaccine,” he says.

Stephen Ausmus / U.S. Department of Agriculture

A second person in Connecticut has died from Eastern equine encephalitis, a virus passed on from mosquitos, said state officials Tuesday.

According to the state Department of Public Health, the victim was an adult resident of Old Lyme who became ill during the second week of September and later tested positive for the rare mosquito-borne illness.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

A phone conversation between Donald Trump and the president of Ukraine about former Vice President Joe Biden has sparked outrage from some U.S. lawmakers and amplified calls for Trump’s impeachment. This hour, Connecticut U.S. Rep. Jim Himes joins us to weigh in on this unfolding situation. 

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

One person has now died in Connecticut of the mosquito-borne illness Eastern equine encephalitis, and another case has been confirmed. Health officials say with EEE ‘likely to persist in the area,' Connecticut residents should focus on prevention.

The virus can cause brain damage in survivors, and there is currently no cure.

Vaping360 / Creative Commons


The number of people becoming ill with lung injuries possibly linked to vaping continues to climb as states like Connecticut report more hospitalizations.

Two more cases of serious lung illness have been reported in the state, bringing the total to 13 people. That’s according to the Department of Public Health. That news follows an increase in cases nationwide.

In the first three months after getting his Dexcom continuous glucose monitor, Ric Peralta managed to reduce his average blood sugar level by three percentage points.

"It took me from not-very-well-managed blood sugar to something that was incredibly well managed," says Peralta, a 46-year-old optician in Whittier, Calif., who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2008.

Shona Na / Creative Commons

Connecticut has confirmed the first human case of Eastern equine encephalitis in the state since 2013, health officials announced Monday.

State Department of Public Health experts said that an adult from East Lyme tested positive for the virus, which is usually transmitted from infected mosquitoes. The resident became ill during the last week of August and remains hospitalized.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Gov. Ned Lamont and other state leaders promised Monday they would back efforts to eliminate the state’s religious exemption for mandatory childhood vaccinations in order to preserve immunization levels and prevent disease outbreaks.

Naturegirl 78 / Creative Commons

Public health officials are warning Connecticut residents that they should take extra precautions to avoid the risk of contracting the eastern equine encephalitis virus from a mosquito bite.

The state Department of Public Health issued an advisory Wednesday urging people to limit their time outside between sunset and sunrise while the virus, also known as EEE, continues to pose a threat in the Northeast region of the country.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Brian and Kristen Festa, of Bristol, sat beside their attorney in Hartford Superior Court Monday as they fought to advance their lawsuit against the state Department of Public Health over the release of school vaccination data.

Monday’s hearing centered around the state’s motion to dismiss the entire case. 

Vaping360 / Creative Commons

Three more Connecticut residents were hospitalized for severe lung disease that is possibly related to vaping.

The announcement Friday by the state Department of Public Health brings the total number of cases to five people. State officials are working with federal agencies including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate a surge of severe respiratory illnesses across the country.

Some schools in western Massachusetts are changing up their schedules to help protect students from a mosquito-borne virus. 

Roughly 15 minutes away from the seaside town of Fairhaven sprawls one of the state’s widest and wildest wetlands. Acushnet Cedar Swamp, so-named for its slender, faintly blue evergreens, is a national natural landmark, but its still waters also make it an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Nicholas King/SmokeTastic / Creative Commons

State officials are investigating two cases of severe respiratory symptoms that health experts say may be related to vaping or e-cigarette use.

The Department of Public Health said in a statement Wednesday that two Connecticut residents have been hospitalized with respiratory issues including shortness of breath, fever, cough, vomiting and diarrhea.

Officials say both patients admitted to vaping and e-cigarette use with both nicotine and marijuana products.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Marion Bradley always knew that getting breast cancer was a possibility. After all, she had a family history of the disease, so she wasn’t shocked when she was diagnosed with an early stage of the cancer about five years ago.

But that didn’t make it any less scary.

Harriet Jones / Connecticut Public Radio

A potential new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease -- partly based on technology developed in Connecticut -- has proven in an early clinical trial to reverse some of the cognitive decline which is a hallmark of the disease. 

yourgenome / CreativeCommons.org

With the last decade of the twentieth century came the first clinical trials for a biotechnology known as gene therapy. Since then, how far has gene therapy come? And how far has it left to go?

This hour, we consider these and other questions, and we also hear from you. Were you or was someone close to you diagnosed with a genetic disease? What thoughts or questions do you have about gene therapy and its ongoing advancement? 

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