The Food and Drug Administration is recommending blood donations be refused from people who have traveled in the past four weeks to countries where the zika virus has been reported. The mosquito-borne virus is fairly mild when active in adults, but it has been linked in Brazil and other countries to birth defects in babies whose mothers have the virus. Merle Eldridge is with the Mississippi Blood Services. She says although there is no donor screening test for zika, it is still safe for people to give blood. Eldridge spoke with MPB's Maura Moed.
The Department of Marine Resources says it will reopen oyster season as soon as rainfall and river stages are at required levels. That could be as soon as sometime this week. Testing has shown state waters and oysters are clear from the harmful "red tide" algae bloom from earlier this winter. Officials thought it might take months to reopen the season, but Marine Fisheries director Joe Jewell told MPB's Evelina Burnett the red tide dissipated quicker than expected.
The state Department of Health is operating under a harsh new reality. A budget shortfall of more than $18 million has caused layoffs and service reductions in Health Department clinics across the state. With the new legislative session underway, the department is making its appeal to lawmakers for help. MPB's Desare Frazier spoke with Dr. Mary Currier -- State Health Officer -- about the less-than-healthy state of the department's budget.
Although the secretive nature of human trafficking makes statistics almost impossible to come by, this modern form of slavery is a global problem. And it's a problem Mississippi isn't exempt from. Combating human trafficking can be difficult, but a new bill in the state Legislature attempts to do that. Working on getting the bill passed is Sandy Middleton of The Center for Violence Prevention. She told us new thinking is needed in the fight against this crime.