Review Category : Health

Tracking the Zika Virus Online: How Google Mapped the Start of an Outbreak

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — As the Zika virus outbreak has spread in Central and South America, online searchers for the formerly little-known virus have exploded across the globe since the start of the year. While the virus initially gained headlines late last fall when Brazil connected a Zika outbreak to an increased rate of infants born with the birth defect microcephaly, it was not until early February this year that Americans started to search for information about the virus in large numbers, according to data from Google.

The virus made headlines again this week when the Miami-Date Health Department in Florida announced it was investigating a possible local transmission of the Zika virus after a Miami resident contracted the disease, despite not traveling to a country with ongoing Zika transmission and not reporting sexual contact with someone who was infected. If confirmed, this would be the first time the virus has been transmitted via infected mosquito within the continental U.S.

Data from Google trends reveal how Americans and people across the globe have reacted online to the outbreak. In the U.S., searches for Zika remained relatively low before spiking on specific dates. Online interest in Zika in the U.S. coincided with major news, such as when the World Health Organization called the virus a “global health emergency” and when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded the birth defect microcephaly is linked to the virus.

In the U.S., interest in the virus has varied widely depending on the state. While the most number of Zika cases have been found in Florida and Texas, residents in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Vermont are showing the most interest in Zika, according to Google trends.

In total, more than 1,300 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the Zika virus, according to the CDC. The vast majority of those contracted the disease while in a country with ongoing Zika virus transmission. In rare cases, the virus was transmitted through sexual contact.

While Zika infections usually result in mild symptoms, including fever, rash and pink eye, it’s been found to cause serious birth defects, according to the CDC.

Cities that are most concerned about the virus tend to be in states with some of the highest number of Zika diagnoses, with Miami and Washington, D.C., currently topping the list.

Globally, the highest number of Zika searches online are not surprisingly in the Caribbean and Central America, where the virus has spread rapidly, according to Google. Jamaica and Honduras currently have some of the highest number of Zika searches.

When people did search on the topic of Zika, they were overwhelmingly looking to understand what exactly the virus was, according to Google News. Here are the top three Zika-related searches in the U.S.

1. What are the symptoms of Zika?
2. What is the Zika virus?
3. What is microcephaly?

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Health Officials Used Genetic Testing to Link Cases in 2015 HIV Outbreak in Indiana

Alexander Traksel/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new study on Wednesday revealed the extent and cause of a 2015 HIV outbreak in a small area of Indiana that saw 157 related cases of the disease identified, all linked to intravenous drug use.

According to the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, many of the cases of HIV in Scott County were linked to an opioid drug called oxymorphone. Before last year’s outbreak, only five cases of HIV were diagnosed in Scott County between 2004 and 2013.

Between Nov. 18, 2014 and Nov. 1, 2015, 181 people in Scott County were diagnosed with HIV, and testing proved that 157 of those cases were “highly related.”

Researchers used complicated genetic analysis to prove the link between the cases in Indiana.

As a response to the outbreak, the local health department established a needle-exchange program, free HIV testing and partner services, immediate access to health insurance and general education in an effort to curb the rate of HIV transmission.

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Your Body: Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes

iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

How clean are your makeup brushes?

When you’re getting ready in the morning, that’s probably the last thing on your mind. But keeping your brushes clean can go a long way when it comes to preventing more bacteria from getting on your face.

This can be so important for people who are prone to eye infections, acne or just have sensitive skin.

So how often should you clean your brushes?

Ones that are used for wet or liquid products should be washed a bit more often — maybe once a week. Those used for dry products, like powder, can be washed once a month. Products that are used around the eyes, meanwhile, should be washed every two weeks.

Sometimes, however, it’s just best to toss those old brushes and replace them with new ones.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Tracy Anderson Leads Dance Cardio Workout on “GMA”

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Tracy Anderson is a fitness expert known for her Tracy Anderson Method brand of dance cardio workouts and muscular structure work that everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Jennifer Lopez follow to get in shape.

Anderson appeared Wednesday on ABC News’ Good Morning America to kick off “Workout Wednesday.’ In the new series, top fitness personalities lead workouts that are live-streamed on every Wednesday morning.

Anderson led viewers in a workout from her new TA VA program, a low-impact and high-calorie-burning dance cardio workout influenced by Latin, hip-hop, jazz and cheerleading-inspired choreography.

Here are some of Anderson’s TA VA workout tips:

  • Take full advantage of the summer heat and turn off your air conditioning during your workout. Working out in heat and humidity is healthy for your muscles, joints and engagement.
  • Always remember not to judge yourself or others during your workout. Your emotional self is going to try and get you out of your workout every chance it can get until you work up the self-confidence to actually enjoy the workout. Start slow but show up each day to learn and get better so you can execute a full workout sooner rather than later.
  • Remember that your results are the truth of what you put into your workout, so make each workout a performance. Bring as much energy and emotion to the table as you can. When you look at pro athletes or performers, they are absorbing the adrenaline of hundreds of thousands of fans. You need to be your own physical rock star.

And here are some of her tips to help maximize your workout burn:

  • Take advantage of summer’s farm fresh fruits and vegetables. This is the time to get your palate back to nature so that you can make healthy choices all year. Start with fruits first. They digest faster than anything.
  • Buy organic if you can.
  • It’s great to have a healthy salad with lean proteins ready to enjoy after your workout. Your body likes to be moved, nourished and rested. The more regular you are with that practice the more your body trusts it’s being looked after and it becomes balanced itself.
  • Stay away from sugary drinks during your workout.

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Experimental Cancer Treatment Erases Signs of Newlywed’s Leukemia

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — A newlywed couple from the U.K. is celebrating after learning that an experimental treatment they took a chance on has erased all signs of cancer in the husband.

Mike Brandon was found to have leukemia one month after proposing to Kate Brandon in 2014. A bone marrow transplant put Brandon in remission, but last year the now newlywed couple were devastated to find that the cancer had returned, according to their online fundraising site.

Kate and Mike Brandon came to the U.S. in order to take part in an experimental cancer treatment aimed at reviving the immune system to fight cancer through modifying the body’s own T-cells to attack cancer cells. The couple began the cancer-fighting treatments soon after they were married.

“When my [leukemia] relapsed in March, we were told that it was time to plan our last days together, but Kate point blank refused,” Mike Brandon wrote on the couple’s GoFundMe page. “We would fight on, and we have.”

In an effort to find a new kind of treatment they started raising funds and eventually raised more than 450,000 British pounds or nearly $600,000 to go to the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which confirmed Brandon was a patient there.

In an online update. Kate Brandon said that her husband had suffered severe side effects from the experimental t-cell treatment.

“Mikes has been in intensive care for over a week but I am pleased to say he is finally now back on the wonderful Oncology Unit,” she said. “We were told that paradoxically the sicker that people become during this treatment, the more likely they are to have a good outcome.”

After the severe illness, the couple updated with positive news: new tests showed no sign of cancer.

“Mike’s initial bone marrow biopsy test has come back clear! Prior to starting the therapy Mike’s bone marrow was almost completely made up of [leukemia] cells,” the couple wrote on their page. “28 days later there were none.”

The couple thanked those that helped them get treatment, but said there is still much to be done before Mike Brandon is out of the woods.

“This is a great first step showing that the T-Cell therapy is doing exactly what we hoped it would,” they wrote. “We still have quite some distance to go in our journey, but we are currently filled with huge relief to have cleared such an enormous hurdle.”

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Zika in Florida: Possible Mosquito to Human Infection Eyed as First US Case of Local Transmission

iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) — The Florida Health Department is investigating whether a Zika virus infection in Miami-Dade County could be the first time the virus has been transmitted within the continental U.S. through infected mosquitoes.

The department is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to understand how the infected person could have been exposed to the virus in Miami. If confirmed to be a case of local virus transmission via an infected mosquito, it would be the first such case reported for the continental U.S.

The unnamed patient had not traveled to any country with ongoing-Zika infections, the health department said.

Puerto Rico has already been battling a widespread outbreak of the virus that is being locally transmitted.

There have been more than 1,300 people diagnosed with Zika in the U.S., but virtually all were infections contracted while abroad. A small number of cases were transmitted via sexual contact with partners who were infected abroad, according to health officials.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said if the case is confirmed as a local transmission of the virus through infected mosquitoes, it would not be surprising.

“Everyone has said from the beginning is that there will likely be introductions and then subsequent local spread that is going to be very limited,” of Zika virus, Schaffer said. “This sounds as though this may be the first instance of that.”

Schaffner pointed out that to stop any possible outbreak, the health department will ask the infected patients to remain indoors so that they cannot infect mosquitoes that might bite them — potentially leading to other infections. The CDC and Miami-Dade Department of health are also distributing Zika prevention kits and working with mosquito control to reduce the mosquito population in the area.

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High Fat Diet May Lower Cancer Mortality

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The healthiest diet in the world is high in fat — but it’s the kind of fat found in fish, nuts and healthy choices, such as avocados and olive oil.

The New York Daily News reports that a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests a Mediterranean Diet with no restriction on fat intake may protect against breast cancer, diabetes and heart attacks.

Dr. Hanna Bloomfield, the lead researcher said, “It’s OK to have up to 40 percent of your daily calories from these ‘healthy fats.”

Based on evidence collected over the past 50 years, a high-fat Mediterranean Diet was associated with lower total cancer mortality, including breast, colorectal and lung cancer, compared to other diets.

It was also linked to lower incidents of diabetes and cardiovascular events.

“Cook with olive or canola oil, limit your intake of red meat, refrain from products with added sugar or refined carbohydrates and supplement your diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes,” the doctor says.

Whole dairy products like yogurt and cheese and red wine are a part of the Mediterranean diet provided they are consumed in moderation.

“The emphasis, in the United States at least for the past 30 years, has been it’s important to reduce fat, fat of all kinds, fat’s the bad thing,” she added. “It turns out that the obesity epidemic in this country is probably more due to our increased consumption of refined grains and added sugar.”

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Grieving Mom Pens Advice to Parents After Toddler’s Death: ‘Hold Your Babies Tight’

Courtesy Ashley Grimm(EMMETT, Idaho) — An Idaho mother mourning the loss of her 4-year-old son is sharing a message to parents in hopes they’ll soak in every moment they have with their children.

Ashley Grimm, 31, of Emmett, Idaho, told ABC News Tuesday that her advice to “hold your babies tight” was inspired by the recent car accident that took the life of her toddler, Titus.

The mom of six posted the heartbreaking note onto Facebook on July 15, where it’s since received more than 396,000 shares.

“It was my way of journaling the lessons that I had been learning and pouring my heart out in a raw, transparent way,” Grimm said. “I never dreamed that it would touch so many lives. I’m just a person and I lay in bed and cry. I’m not this superhero mom. People that have lost children, I want them to know that it’s not out of the question, that they can [get through it]. It’s one day at a time.

“My kids, they’re already lost their brother,” she added. “I said [to myself], ‘You have to get up and be strong, or they’re going to lose their mother too.’ That’s what keeps me going.”

Grimm said on June 2, she and her husband Nick were taking their seven children to Garden Valley, Idaho, for a family reunion.

Grimm drove the couple’s truck with five of the kids in the back and Nick took the couple’s motor home with the other two children.

Driving at 45 miles per hour, Grimm said a large rock rolled in her path.

“It’s a place that’s notorious for falling rocks,” she said. “It’s a dangerous highway, but I saw the rock and I thought I could clear it. I was thinking, ‘I’m going to straddle the rock,’ but the rock hit my axle and it spun us straight to the side of the cliff.”

Grimm said the impact left her trapped in the car. Titus’ body was ejected from the vehicle and he was trapped under the van. Grimm would later learn from her son Jude, 8, that Titus had unbuckled his seat belt to switch seats with his brother, she said.

“Everyone was crying and screaming,” she added. “I don’t know how, but [Titus] was out of the vehicle and I can’t even remember what part [of the van] was on him. I just tried to lift it and poor Jude was trying to help me. At this point, people were stopping and calling 911. I just rubbed his tummy. At that time, I was just in denial. I knew in my mind he wasn’t breathing, but I wouldn’t believe it. I was convinced he would be resuscitated. I didn’t know that he had died at the scene.”

Police and paramedics who arrived at the scene informed Grimm that Titus had not survived the crash. The other children were not injured and Grimm suffered from wounds caused by shattered glass. That day, Grimm said the only injury she felt was a “broken heart.”

Today, Grimm, her husband and their children — Jonathan, 12, Hannah, 9, Camille, 9, Jude, 8, Ariel, 6, and Alice, 19 months, are all attending grief counseling. They each have a journal where they write about their feelings on Titus, Grimm said.

“I had bought myself a journal, but one of the kids had lost theirs, so I gave them mine,” she recalled. “It was one of the harder days. I woke up in tears missing him. I was taking the kids to places where I was observing other children with their parents. Any little boy running around would warm my heart. I’d look at other parents and I knew they loved their kids, but they don’t know how precious that gift was and how quickly it can be taken away.”

In an effort to encourage parents to “take in every moment,” Grimm said she took to Facebook to share her story.

She wrote, in part:

“Go hug your babies right now. Soak in their smell, look at the innocent sparkle in their eyes that is lost somewhere between childhood and adulthood. Really feel how they squeeze you. Set down your phone and see them through the lens of your eyes not only the lens of your camera. Remember the feeling of their head on your shoulder, their hand in yours, their sloppy kisses on your cheeks. Nurse them one more time. Sleep is overrated….”

Since sharing her post, Grimm said she’s received upwards of 9,000 Facebook messages from mothers and fathers.

“I suppose that when you go through something like this, all the things that parents fret about sort of seem trivial,” Grimm said. “I’ve gotten so many messages from moms that say they had ice cream for dinner in honor of Titus. Those are my favorites. I do hope that something positive can come out of the loss of my son. The most incredible thing about Titus was his infectious joy and love for life. Even though he’s gone, he’s still touching hearts.”

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10 Organizers for the RNC Hit With Norovirus in Cleveland

iStock/Thinkstock(CLEVELAND) — At least 10 organizers for the Republican National Convention (RNC) have come down with a likely case of norovirus, according to the Erie County Health Department.

Officials confirmed that of the 32 RNC organizers staying at the Kalahari resort in Ohio, at least 10 have symptoms of norovirus.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), norovirus causes inflammation of the stomach, intestines or both. The virus is known for spreading rapidly through a large group of people.

Symptoms of norovirus include vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. Some people may have low-grade fever or headaches.

“If you have norovirus illness, you can feel extremely ill and throw up or have diarrhea many times a day,” the CDC website states. “This can lead to dehydration, especially in young children, older adults, and people with other illnesses.”

Two pregnant women who exhibited symptoms went to a local hospital for care. Others who are infected have been told to remain in their hospital rooms.

Samples have been sent to a lab to confirm the illness is norovirus. Health officials told ABC News they believe that the people were infected in California before they arrived in Ohio.

Five of six people who originally had symptoms were on the same flight and the roommates of the first six people infected were the next to show symptoms.

The virus can be hard to stop since it can stay on objects and surfaces for weeks. Every year an estimated 19 to 21 million people are infected with norovirus in the U.S. every year, according to the CDC.

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Construction Worker Plays Real-Life Game of “Where’s Waldo?” with Kids in Hospital

Heidi Prescott/Beacon Health System(SOUTH BEND, Ind.) — All work and no play is definitely not a motto construction worker Jason Haney is living by.

Haney is helping build a new wing on Memorial Children’s Hospital in South Bend, Indiana, but he’s already giving back so much more to the young patients than a new facility. As he works on the construction site, Haney plays an epic game of Where’s Waldo? with the children who try to spot the 8-foot-tall character from their hospital windows each time he hides it in a new location.

“I’ve been watching the kids run over to the window and look out for Waldo,” Heidi Prescott, the hospital’s media relations specialist, told ABC News. “On a daily basis, our pediatric stations, they look forward to going to the windows in their playrooms in their unit to try to figure out “Where’s Waldo?” It usually only takes a few minutes before they see him peering out of the big scaffolding, but it truly brightens their day.”

Haney built the red and white striped character along with his teenage daughter, who was his inspiration for the game in the first place. His family knew all-too-well what it felt like to have a child cooped up in the hospital for extended periods of time.

“My daughter, she had a stroke when my wife was carrying her in utero,” Haney explained. “When she was about 3, we noticed something wasn’t quite right. They did a CAT scan and they found out there was brain damage and were talking about her in the fact that she wouldn’t learn past the third grade level, and it just devastated us.”

Fortunately, her progress was better than expected.

“She’s 18 now and going to be starting Ball State next year,” he proudly added. “She graduated with honors. There goes that third grade level thing that first doctor told us.”

His life-size version of hide-and-seek with Waldo has breathed fresh air into the children’s hospital.

“This construction foreman is really touching lives,” said Prescott. “He’s really bringing this character to life for them and it’s so recognizable, it just makes them forget all their worries and their pain for a few minutes, which is tremendous.”

It all started this past winter when Haney built a snowman on the construction site with a hard hat and reflector vest for the children to see outside of their windows.

“It was a huge hit,” he said. “After that, it didn’t snow as much so the construction management team got some inflatable snowmen and an inflatable Sponge Bob, so I went over there and put that up. They lit up at night and would wave in the wind. As I was tying it down, one of the electricians was like, ‘It would be kind of funny if there was a ‘Where’s Waldo?’”

The idea stuck with him and Haney immediately went home to cut the plywood into the character, and he’s been hiding him for the kids since April. The Where’s Waldo? game has grown to be so popular Haney even created a Facebook page dedicated to the search, where people can tag the photos once they’ve located him.

“That’s my way of finding out if they’ve found it,” he said.

And how often does he have to find a new location for Waldo?

“It depends on how well on I hide it,” Haney joked. “He is 8-feet-tall so he doesn’t fit in the scaffolding. I put him in elevators and hide him around the hospital, too.”

Unbeknownst to the children, he’s also working on finishing up four smaller Minion characters to start hiding.

“They’re easier to carry,” he said.

When construction on the new wing is finished in March 2017 and there is nowhere left to hide Waldo, Haney and some of his fellow workers are going to sign it for the kids to keep with them inside.

“I just did it so the kids could take their mind off what they’re doing,” he explained. “So they could get out of their room and walk over to the playroom and have a little bit fun. I’m just glad that they’re enjoying it and it’s helping. I’m glad to have the opportunity to do it.”

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