Review Category : Health

CDC Investigates Another Death of Child with Enterovirus 68

Fuse/Thinkstock(HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, N.J.) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed another death linked to the enterovirus 68.

A New Jersey preschooler, who died last week, tested positive for the disease, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. The medical examiner listed the 4-year-old’s cause of death as enterovirus, Hamilton Township Health Officer Jeff Plunkett said Saturday.

At least four other patients, who tested positive for the enterovirus 68, have died, according to the CDC. However, government health officials are still investigating whether the virus played a role in their deaths.

Another child in Rhode Island died last week from a combination of bacterial and viral infections. The Rhode Island Department of Health said the 10-year-old girl died of Staphylococcus aureus sepis “associated with” enterovirus 68.

The respiratory disease is suspected of sickening children in at least 43 states, according to the CDC. The virus often starts out similar to a common cold with patients usually complaining of coughing or a runny nose. In rare cases the respiratory problems can become severe, particularly for asthmatic patients.

In Colorado, CDC and local health officials are investigating whether limb weakness and paralysis reported in nine children was associated with the enterovirus 68.

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Ebola Patient’s Sequestered Relatives Moving to Donated Home in Gated Community

Tom Pennington/Getty Images(DALLAS) — Four relatives of the Texas Ebola patient who have been confined to their Dallas apartment were moved to a home in a gated community, the use of which was given to them by an anonymous donor, according to a Dallas city official.

The city had a difficult time finding a home for the family of Thomas Eric Duncan because no one wanted to take them in, according to Sana Syed, a spokesperson for the city of Dallas.

Cleanup crews discovered Friday that Duncan slept on every mattress in the apartment, said Syed. They previously thought he only slept on one.

All the mattresses, sheets and towels inside the apartment were confiscated and will be incinerated, said Syed. The cleanup will continue for several more days and the car Duncan was in before being taken to the emergency room will be towed.

The family includes two men, a 13-year-old boy named Timothy, and a woman named Louise Troh, who traveled with Duncan from Liberia and has been referred to as Duncan’s wife by other family members.

Timothy’s father Peterson Wayne told ABC News that he had spoken with his son by phone since he was ordered to remain inside the apartment. Wayne said that his son has been occupying his time by playing games on his phone and sounds fine but “he’s the kind of kid who likes to get outside and run around.”

“He said he’s okay … He sounded normal,” Wayne said of his son.

The North Texas Food Bank stopped outside of the apartment on Thursday and left three day’s worth of food, including produce, cereal, rice, pasta, tuna and shelf-stable milk.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Friday that he visited the apartment Thursday night to apologize to the residents for keeping them in the apartment despite Duncan’s diagnosis. He said that he told them that he wanted to make sure that they were treated as well as he would expect his own family to be treated.

Jenkins specifically said that he wanted to make sure that the family would be moved somewhere with a washer and dryer.

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Possible Ebola Patient Tested in Washington

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Days after a person was diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil for the first time, officials are reportedly investigating a possible Ebola infection in Washington, D.C.

At Howard University Hospital, a patient is in stable condition after presenting with symptoms that could be associated with Ebola, according to a statement Friday from the hospital. The patient had recently traveled to Nigeria, where the Ebola outbreak has killed eight people.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with medical providers to monitor the patient’s progress, officials said.

Though the scare has put some on edge, the case is not unique. After issuing an alert to hospitals and medical providers in July, the CDC has looked into approximately 100 Ebola scares in 33 states, as of Oct. 1, the agency said.

Among those, the CDC has tested the blood of 15 possible Ebola patients and found only one patient who tested positive, according to Dr. Beth Bell, director of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. That patient is Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man diagnosed in Dallas.

“We’re striving for perfection, but what we continue to do is redouble our efforts and … use this as learning experience,” Bell said.

Diagnosing the deadly virus can be difficult. The early symptoms of the Ebola virus, including fever chills and abdominal pain, are similar to many other diseases and can be difficult to diagnose correctly.

After a hospital or state lab identifies a possible Ebola case based on both travel history and symptoms, they notify the CDC. CDC officials then talk to someone familiar with the patient’s history to determine whether blood testing for the virus is necessary, CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund told ABC News in an earlier interview.

CDC officials discuss symptoms and determine whether the patient may have been exposed to the virus. A person can be exposed to the virus if they buried the body of an Ebola patient, lived in the same home as an Ebola patient or was a health care worker.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert from Vanderbilt University Department of Medicine, said it is not surprising that only a small percentage of the patients investigated had a blood test to check for Ebola.

There are diseases that can appear similar to Ebola, but are far more common in the West African countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone where the Ebola outbreak started, Schaffner noted. Doctors might end up contacting the CDC before finding out a patient actually has fever due to tuberculosis.

“You have to be mindful this could be malaria or typhoid fever. That’s your job to sort all those things out,” said Schaffner. “Your threshold for getting a blood specimen is dependent on the answers to those questions. You kind of have a decision algorithm in your head.”

Schaffner said he would not be surprised if there are a rash of new calls to the CDC from hospitals or state labs in the next few days and weeks in light of the intense media coverage of the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S.

“Having all those inquiries come into the CDC are very, very indicative of the fact that the medical care community are on the alert and thinking about [Ebola],” Schaffner said. “It keeps all of us on our toes.”

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Possible Ebola Patient Tested in Washington

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Days after a person was diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil for the first time, officials are reportedly investigating a possible Ebola infection in Washington, D.C.

At Howard University Hospital, a patient is in stable condition after presenting with symptoms that could be associated with Ebola, according to a statement Friday from the hospital. The patient had recently traveled to Nigeria, where the Ebola outbreak has killed eight people.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with medical providers to monitor the patient’s progress, officials said.

Though the scare has put some on edge, the case is not unique. After issuing an alert to hospitals and medical providers in July, the CDC has looked into approximately 100 Ebola scares in 33 states, as of Oct. 1, the agency said.

Among those, the CDC has tested the blood of 15 possible Ebola patients and found only one patient who tested positive, according to Dr. Beth Bell, director of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. That patient is Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man diagnosed in Dallas.

“We’re striving for perfection, but what we continue to do is redouble our efforts and … use this as learning experience,” Bell said.

Diagnosing the deadly virus can be difficult. The early symptoms of the Ebola virus, including fever chills and abdominal pain, are similar to many other diseases and can be difficult to diagnose correctly.

After a hospital or state lab identifies a possible Ebola case based on both travel history and symptoms, they notify the CDC. CDC officials then talk to someone familiar with the patient’s history to determine whether blood testing for the virus is necessary, CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund told ABC News in an earlier interview.

CDC officials discuss symptoms and determine whether the patient may have been exposed to the virus. A person can be exposed to the virus if they buried the body of an Ebola patient, lived in the same home as an Ebola patient or was a health care worker.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert from Vanderbilt University Department of Medicine, said it is not surprising that only a small percentage of the patients investigated had a blood test to check for Ebola.

There are diseases that can appear similar to Ebola, but are far more common in the West African countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone where the Ebola outbreak started, Schaffner noted. Doctors might end up contacting the CDC before finding out a patient actually has fever due to tuberculosis.

“You have to be mindful this could be malaria or typhoid fever. That’s your job to sort all those things out,” said Schaffner. “Your threshold for getting a blood specimen is dependent on the answers to those questions. You kind of have a decision algorithm in your head.”

Schaffner said he would not be surprised if there are a rash of new calls to the CDC from hospitals or state labs in the next few days and weeks in light of the intense media coverage of the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S.

“Having all those inquiries come into the CDC are very, very indicative of the fact that the medical care community are on the alert and thinking about [Ebola],” Schaffner said. “It keeps all of us on our toes.”

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Expectant Parents Celebrate ‘One in 70 Million’ Quadruplet Pregnancy

pojoslaw/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SALT LAKE CITY) — A Utah couple is getting ready to welcome two sets of identical twins — a one in 70 million occurrence — after spending years in fertility treatments.

Ashley and Tyson Gardner are having quadruplets, after two implanted embryos split, resulting in two sets of identical twins.

The chances of two identical sets of twins is approximately on in 70 million, according to Dr. Alan Penzias, associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School. There were 276 sets of quadruplets born in the U.S. in 2012, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The news comes after years of fertility treatments for the couple.

Ashley Gardner, 27, was diagnosed with endometriosis in her early twenties. The disorder, which involves tissue growing outside the uterus, meant she and her husband faced years of difficulty conceiving.

Eventually, as a last resort, the couple tried in-vitro fertilization this year. Only two of the nine embryos created were viable for implantation, they said.

“When you finally get there, you feel beaten down and still have a steep hill to climb,” Tyson Gardner told ABC News.

Seven weeks after undergoing IVF, Ashley Gardner went to get an ultrasound to see if the pregnancy was viable. The ultrasound technician initially told them they were having twins. Then took another moment and looked closer at the screen.

“After about a minute of staring at the screen, she said there’s four babies in here,” recalled Tyson Gardner. “Me and Ashley’s faces went pale white.”

A picture of Ashely’s shocked face looking at the ultrasound screen has gone viral on Facebook and other social media sites. Tyson Gardner said both he and his wife came from large families and are ecstatic they will get to have a large family.

“We’ll get our whole entire family here in one shot,” he said.

Though excited, the couple is trying to prepare for any problems they might face when the infants come. Tyson Gardner said they’re already stocking up on diapers and that family and friends have started to put together fundraisers for the expectant parents.

“We try to tackle one day at time. We’re so overwhelmed by what we’ve been blessed with,” said Tyson Gardner.

Dr. David Hackney, a maternal and fetal medicine doctor at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, said Ashley Gardner’s quadruplets were extremely rare.

“She won the lottery I suspect on this one,” he said.

Hackney also pointed out that the couple would have to be careful with the pregnancy. Quadruplets are at high risk for pre-term birth and other complications.

“Almost all patients with quads are going to deliver pre-term. Your average patient with quads is going to deliver around 30 to 32 weeks,” Hackney said.

The baby shower is being held next week, when Ashley Gardner is just 18 weeks pregnant. The couple was worried if they waited, the expectant mom might end up on bed rest before she could enjoy the party.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” said Tyson Gardner, who said the couple’s doctors said she might deliver at 28 weeks. Suddenly they had three months less to prepare.

“The honest answer is I don’t know if you can prepare for this,” said Tyson Gardner. “It’s happening so fast we’re just trying to survive every day. The only thing we really care about at this point is the health of our babies.”

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Researchers Say All Women Should Have the Option to Freeze Their Eggs

tetmc/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LONDON) — All women should have the option to freeze their eggs, researchers say.

According to a study published in the Lancet medical journal, the progress made in the last decade have led to normal pregnancies and healthy children being born from frozen eggs. The technology, they say, has not caused an increase in birth defects.

Researchers say that those facts combined with the growing trend of women waiting until later in life to have children furthers their position.

Egg freezing, ovarian tissue transplant and in-vitro fertilization may be cost-prohibitive, however.

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CDC Says Heroin Overdoses Doubled in Two-Year Span

Photick/Sandro Di Carlo Darsa/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The number of deaths in America caused by heroin overdoses more than doubled between 2010 and 2012, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

According to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Review, the agency reviewed death certificate data from 28 states in that two-year span. The number of heroin overdose deaths jumped from 1,779 in 2010 to 3,635 in 2012 — jumping from one per 100,000 people to 2.1 per 100,000 people.

Comparatively, the CDC notes that opioid overdoses dropped in that same timespan. The number of opioid overdose deaths found dropped from 10,427 in 2010 to 9,869 in 2012 — a downwards shift from 6 deaths per 100,000 people to 5.6 per 100,000 people.

The authors of the study noted that some people may be switching from opioids and using heroin as a replacement. There was no data for that claim, however.

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Meet the Crew in Charge of Cleaning Ebola Patient’s Apartment

Tom Pennington/Getty Images(DALLAS) — A crew of hazardous materials experts called the “Cleaning Guys” are in charge of disinfecting the Dallas apartment where an Ebola victim was staying, they told ABC News Friday.

“It’s not just another day on the job,” company Vice President Brad Smith said.

“Obviously, I think anyone involved would be worried — not necessarily worried, but cautious. We’ve had a lot of discussions and team meetings about how we’re going to attack the situation. But we run into hazardous chemicals and things that could hurt us probably more often than most,” Smith said.

The company specializes in hazmat services as well as industrial and crime scene cleaning and power washing.

Smith has a crew of six to eight people on the scene at the east Dallas apartment complex where Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with the deadly disease in the U.S., had been staying, he said.

They’re wearing Level B protective equipment, including fully encapsulated suits and a full-face respirator with a shield. Duncan’s apartment is a two-bedroom and approximately 1,000 square feet.

“We’re in phase one cleaning at this point,” Smith said. “Taking personal belongings of the patient, and linens, and the bed where he was sleeping. The protocol is to obviously triple bag it and we will prepare it for transportation by another company to its final destination for disposal.”

The Cleaning Guys have been in contact with and are receiving guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dallas County health officials and the Department of Homeland Security.

Friday’s cleaning, which started in the morning, should take about six hours, Smith said, adding that he and his crew have not yet been briefed on what the second phase of cleaning will entail.

“We work closely with cities as hazmat responders and we have contracts with the city,” he added. “We train for this type of thing. Obviously, we haven’t trained for Ebola because there hasn’t been a situation in Texas until now.”

Kasey Bonner, an administrative assistant for the Cleaning Guys, told ABC News that taking the job was a hard decision.

“It took our vice president some time to make a decision,” she said. “Long and hard thinking on that one. But our team is pretty skilled.”

Duncan, who is from Liberia and arrived in Dallas on Sept. 20, is in an isolation unit and his family is also being monitored, authorities said. Health officials are also tracking down about 100 other people who might have come in contact with the patient.

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Dallas Boy Fighting for His Life After Enterovirus Diagnosis

ABC News(DALLAS) — Bryan Sotelo was playing football two months ago.

Now, the 11-year-old is fighting for his life after testing positive for enterovirus. His family is awaiting test results to see if he’s suffering from EV-D68, the particular strain of the virus linked to four deaths.

Sotelo is one of more than two dozen patients in seven states suffering from paralysis after contracting severe respiratory illness. He’s going through intensive physical therapy at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, too weak to speak and unable to lift his right arm.

Yadira Garcilazo, his mother, said her son’s condition continues to worsen.

“When he got sick, I never think that he’s going to be like that,” she said.

The virus has been confirmed in 43 states and Washington, D.C. At one children’s hospital in Michigan — C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital — seven cases of limb weakness and paralysis were reported. Some of the patients are infants and toddlers.

“We do see these problems of limb weakness with viral infections. It’s too early to say whether these kids will be okay in the long run, meaning whether they’ll get all their strength back,” Matthew Davis, a pediatrician at the hospital, said.

Sotelo’s mother remains hopeful that he can rise above his health obstacles.

“He can beat this,” she said. “He has shown me so many things … he can do it.”

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Move Over Hot Yoga, There’s (Several) New Heated Classes in Town

DanceFIT Studio(BOSTON) — The temperature’s falling, but workouts all over the country are heating up — literally.

From Pilates to ballet to spinning to boot camp, there’s more ways than ever to work up a real-deal sweat.

In Brookline, Massachusetts, Gina Fay, owner of Dance Fit Studio, was offering her ballet-inspired barre class at the Church of Our Savior, a space that has no air conditioning and was 90 degrees in the summer months before class even started.

The heat wasn’t a deterrent at all. “The women loved the extra flexibility and the detox of sweating,” she said.

When it came time to expand, she opened a new studio in a former hot yoga studio.

“We start the room at 92 degrees,” she said of her hot barre and hot deep-stretch classes. “Our clients asked that every class we offer be a hot one.” They mostly are, she said, though she thinks she’ll keep Pilates at a normal temperature.

Fay may want to rethink that: the demand for hot Pilates in Los Angeles is so great, a studio dedicated to the practice is planned to open in West Hollywood.

Hot Pilates claims to be the first heated Pilates studio in Los Angeles. And in Las Vegas, Inferno Hot Pilates combines Pilates principles with high-intensity interval training and is performed in a room heated to 95 degrees with 40 percent humidity.

The trend extends beyond major metro areas. In Waunkee and Ankeny, Iowa, Kris Hot Yoga offers hot barre, hot cardio barre, hot ballet barre, a run-barre fusion class and a hot barre boot camp. All classes are in rooms heated to as high as 95 degrees. The hot classes were so popular, founder Morgan Phipps opened a second studio earlier this year.

“The hot classes are what make it different than just going to a gym and working out,” Phipps said. “I think for most clients, the more you sweat equals the harder the workout.”

In North Hollywood, The Sweat Shoppe offers heated, indoor cycling classes, “inspired by heated yoga,” according to its website. Rooms are heated from 80 to 83 degrees, “creating an environment which efficiently warms the body and intensifies an already challenging workout.”

But is that true? It’s hard to say. Experts generally agree that as long as you stay hydrated and stop if you don’t feel well, hot workouts are similar to working out outside on a hot summer day.

Fay, the owner of Dance Fit Studio in Massachusetts, said she wore a heart monitor during a “normal temperature class” and during a hot class to see whether there was a difference: “I burned almost 200 extra calories.”

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