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Health briefs

Learn about health care reform

Lawrence-Bombach Insurance Agency will hold a workshop for employers to learn about health care changes in the Affordable Care Act 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. July 23 at the St. James Hotel.

The workshop will include hands-on instruction and several health care professionals to answer questions. Lunch will be provided.

To register, call 651-388-6716.

Support for Alzheimer's available

Two Alzheimer's support groups meet Thursday July 18 in Red Wing.

One will meet at 1:30 p.m. at Red Wing Senior Center. The second will meet at 6 p.m. at St. Brigid's at Hi-Park. The evening group will serve pizza.

Baby boomers urged to get hepatitis C test

Health officials are calling on baby boomers to get a hepatitis C test in observance of Hepatitis Awareness Month. As many as 39,000 Minnesotans live with the virus, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

"To identify undetected cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending a one-time blood test for hepatitis C for everyone between the ages of 48 and 68," said Dr. Edward Ehlinger, Minnesota Commissioner of Health.

Hepatitis C, which causes liver diseases like cirrhosis and cancer, is the leading cause of liver transplants in the U.S., according to the MDH. Nationally 15,000 Americans - most of them baby boomers - die from hepatitis C-related illnesses annually.

If discovered early, hepatitis C can be cured in as many as 75 percent of cases using new therapies, the CDC says.

For more information on hepatitis C and when to get tested, visit

Youth homicide rates dropping

'The homicide rate for those 10 to 24 years old in the United States reached a 30-year low in 2010, according to data published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The decline was seen across all age and racial/ethnic groups.

CDC investigated youth homicide trends among U.S. youth, ages 10 to 24, by sex, age, race/ethnicity, and mechanism of injury from 1981 to 2010 using data available through CDC'sWeb-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). Youth homicide rates varied substantially over this period with a sharp rise from 1985 to 1993 followed by a decline that has slowed since 1999. Even with the slower downward trend in recent years, the youth homicide rate in 2010 was 7.5 per 100,000, the lowest in the 30-year period examined.

The findings show declines in youth homicide rates from 2000 to 2010 have been slower for groups at high risk for homicide, including males and non-Hispanic black youth. Recent declines have also been slower for firearm homicides than for homicides by other means. These findings indicate the need for increased use of youth violence prevention strategies, especially approaches that engage high-risk youths, CDC officials said.

"We are encouraged to see a decline in the homicide rate among our youth but, unfortunately, homicide continues to rank in the top three leading causes of death for our young people," said Linda C. Degutis, director of the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.