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Two people have fallen seriously ill as a botulism outbreak that could affect as many as 25 people in communities in the Bristol Bay region is monitored by health officials. The contamination appears to be linked to seal oil.

Dave Bendinger | KDLG News
Chris Ashenbrenner, a longtime state employee, has come out of retirement and assumed a newly created position in hopes of helping to guide Alaska through its expected Medicaid expansion process.Tegan Hanlon
Gov. Bill Walker made Medicaid expansion a major talking point in his campaign, but it could take until July to implement, according to Walker's new health commissioner.Becky Bohrer | Associated Press
The University of Alaska Board of Regents voted Thursday to ban the use of tobacco and tobacco-related products across all campuses, including trails and outdoor recreational areas.Tegan Hanlon
Alaska dropped one spot this year to 26th in nationwide state health rankings -- losing ground for smoking and binge drinking while gaining ground for low rates of diabetes, preventable hospitalizations and underweight infants, according to data gathered by United Health Foundation. Tegan Hanlon
Before the state can move forward with Medicaid expansion, issues with the existing system must be fixed, and those problems are worse than initially thought, new Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Valerie Davidson said Friday. Laurel Andrews
Michael George Patterson, a 59-year-old Alaska Native who began smoking at age 9, spoke to group of Juneau high school students  about his impending death. Research into adolescent psychology and public speaking projects like Patterson’s support a powerful new insight about preventing nicotine addiction before it starts: Stories work better than nagging, statistics-laden charts or guilt.Kirk Johnson

Reyes Avila often seems to be an average toddler -- active, chaotic and playful. But inside the tiny, shaggy-haired boy, a war is raging against his nervous system. His muscles are weak, his development is slow and sometimes when he cries, he loses consciousness.


Tegan Hanlon
While the Alaska Department of Corrections was "moderately effective" at confining inmates and supervising them upon release, the agency also has systemic problems, including with inmate health care and reviews of in-custody deaths, a new audit reports.Michelle Theriault Boots
Reported cases of avian flu in Washington and Oregon have caused Alaska officials to warn waterfowl hunters to exercise caution when handling game, and to report any sick animals. No reports have emerged yet in the state.Megan Edge