Stories tagged Minnesota Department of Health


Disease Detectives
Disease DetectivesCourtesy Disease Detectives
Earlier this year I got the chance to work as the crew of high school staff in the Kitty Andersen Youth Science Center ( at the museum to create a series of web-based videos about infectious diseases for the Disease Detectives exhibit. We worked from January through August learning video production skills, learning about different infectious disease topics, talking to experts and folks on the museum floor. We're just getting the videos online now, and all of our videos will be on the exhibit website soon ( but I wanted to share them here as well.

For this video, titled "Got Beef? The Story Behind Antibiotics and Livestock" the crew to a slaughter house on in South St. Paul, the Minnesota Department of Health, U of M St. Paul (at 7AM to see the cows grazing), Mississippi Market Co-op, and did hours of research, prep, and post production.
Got Beef? The Story Behind Antibiotics and Livestock from Disease Detectives on Vimeo.

You can check out the video here.


The Minnesota Department of Health has confirmed five cases of polio in Amish children in Minnesota. All five cases have been from the same Amish community near Clarissa, Minnesota. The last significant outbreak of polio was in 1979 and occurred primarily in Amish communities in Pennsylvania.

Polio Virus: Illustration of polio virus. Courtsey of CDC/Barbara Rice.

Polio, or Poliomyelitis, is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. Polio mainly infects children, especially those under the age of three. At the peak of the polio epidemic in 1952, nearly 60,000 cases, resulting in 3,000 deaths, were reported in the United States. There are four forms of polio.

  • 95% of polio infections are asymptomatic, meaning they produce no symptoms at all.

The remaining 5% of polio cases result in physical symptoms.

  • Abortive polio is similar to the flu.
  • Nonparalyic polio causes sensitivity to light and sore muscles.
  • Paralytic polio, the most severe form, causes permanent muscle paralysis.

None of the five reported victims are showing symptoms of paralytic polio.

Polio was virtually eliminated from the Western hemisphere in the late 20th century after the polio vaccine became widely available, but the disease continues to cause illness in other parts of the world.

Polio Vaccination Poster: This 1964 poster featured what at that time, was CDC's national symbol of public health, the "Wellbee", who here was reminding the public to get a booster vaccination. Image courtsey of the CDC/ Mary Hilpertshauser.

Most everyone nowadays is vaccinated for Polio. But vaccinations are not common in the Amish community. Still, Amish are not the only group that do not get vaccinations: in Minnesota, about 2% of parents opt out of vaccination programs for school age children. Doctors across the country are using this outbreak to encourage members of the Amish community, and those outside of the Amish community who have opted out of the vaccination programs, to reconsider their decisions and get vaccinated.