Review Category : Health

CDC: Measles Is Back and It’s Spreading

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — High fever, aching eyes, hacking cough and, after a week, every square inch of your body covered by red dots.

It’s measles, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns it’s back, spreading, and some doctors don’t even recognize it.

“Most [medical] residents who are training have never seen measles,” Dr. Mark Sawyer told ABC News.

There have been 129 measles cases this year, 58 of which were in California, compared to only four cases last year, according to the CDC. This is the biggest number of cases of measles since 1996, the agency noted.

The disease is so contagious that Sawyer has prepared “negative pressure” rooms in an emergency room at Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego to isolate incoming measles cases.

Many infections are introduced by unvaccinated travelers bringing measles back home after trips to the Philippines, where there is an outbreak. An increasing number of parents who won’t vaccinate their children or choose to delay vaccines past the recommended ages are also to blame, experts say.

“We’re up to four and a half percent of our children at kindergarten age who have not had all their vaccines,” Sawyer said.

Hilary Chambers, with a baby exposed to measles, has something to say to parents who refuse to vaccinate.

“That’s not fair to everybody else, you know, that’s not fair,” she said. “It’s like you’re relying on everybody else to do it for you.”

For many pediatricians, it’s a hot-button issue because it is a parent’s right to vaccinate their child or not.

“Would you send your teen out to drive a car without wearing a seat belt?” asked Dr. Stuart Cohen, a San Diego pediatrician. “Would you go out on a boating trip with your family and decide who wants to wear life jackets and who doesn’t?”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Heavier Population Means Bigger Horses for Riders

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A weightier population is forcing dude ranches to turn to draft horses that can accommodate heavier tourists.

Some owners say there’s been a “significant change in people getting larger.”

Russ Little of Dry Ridge Outfitters in Idaho has noticed the difference in size, and of his 45 horses, eight are of the sturdier breed.

“I’ve never felt good about having a weight limit,” Little said. “You know I just feel bad to tell someone they’re too big to ride.”

The rides can be physical, and a lot of customers come from the city for vacation. Year-round appeal comes from variation in animals and scenery, including baby moose, elk, and deer.

Still, tourists putting on weight mean changes for the ranches. Where quarter horses were previously used, they have been replaced by stronger draft horses, known for pulling farm machinery at the turn of the century.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Woman Says Gym Kicked Her Out for Baby Bump

moodboard/Thinkstock(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — A pregnant Charleston woman claims she was kicked out of a Planet Fitness gym Monday because her baby bump was showing.

Melissa Mantor, who was working out on a treadmill at the time of the incident, said an employee asked her to leave because her “belly was hanging out,” according to ABC affiliate WCIV.

The employee told Mantor, who is 18 weeks pregnant, that she was unable to continue her workout because she was violating the gym’s dress code, which bans string tank tops.

Mantor said she has previously frequented the Planet Fitness location in the attire, and even had her photo taken for membership in a similar top.

“I was very confused,” she told WCIV. “She continued telling that my belly was hanging out and I need to get it covered up. I told her at that time, ‘Of course my belly is hanging out, I am pregnant.’”

The employee handed her a large T-shirt, Mantor added.

A statement from McCall Gosselin, director of public relations for Planet Fitness, explained the particular location had a “stated policy that prohibited bare midriffs.”

“In this instance, a staff member approached the member to inform her of the policy and offer her a free T-shirt to complete her workout. She was not asked to leave the gym as a result of her attire.”

The company’s policy states that managers can use their discretion when it comes to clothing they believe is “either inappropriate, offensive, or will cause safety concerns.”

Mantor has since cancelled her membership.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Multi-State Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Pet Bearded Dragons

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — An investigation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked a multi-state outbreak of salmonella infections to contact with pet bearded dragons.

A total of 132 people in 31 states have been infected with the strain of Salmonella Cotham since February 2012, according to the CDC. More than half of those ill are children 5 years old or younger, and 42 percent of those affected have been hospitalized.

There have been no deaths reported, though out of three people tested, one was resistant to antibiotics used to treat serious salmonella infections.

The pet bearded dragons were purchased from multiple stores in different states. On January 22, 2014, the CDC was notified by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services of a cluster of infections connected to those exposed to pet reptiles. Twelve people in the state have been sickened by the particular salmonella strain, and 10 of those reported contact with bearded dragons.

As of April 21, California hosts the greatest number of residents infected by the outbreak, with 21 people. The pet industry is working with the CDC to determine the source of the bearded dragons in question, and the investigation is ongoing. The health agency advises pet reptile owners to wash their hands regularly and ensure the animals are kept away from areas where food is prepared or stored.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Multi-State Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Pet Bearded Dragons

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — An investigation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked a multi-state outbreak of salmonella infections to contact with pet bearded dragons.

A total of 132 people in 31 states have been infected with the strain of Salmonella Cotham since February 2012, according to the CDC. More than half of those ill are children 5 years old or younger, and 42 percent of those affected have been hospitalized.

There have been no deaths reported, though out of three people tested, one was resistant to antibiotics used to treat serious salmonella infections.

The pet bearded dragons were purchased from multiple stores in different states. On January 22, 2014, the CDC was notified by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services of a cluster of infections connected to those exposed to pet reptiles. Twelve people in the state have been sickened by the particular salmonella strain, and 10 of those reported contact with bearded dragons.

As of April 21, California hosts the greatest number of residents infected by the outbreak, with 21 people. The pet industry is working with the CDC to determine the source of the bearded dragons in question, and the investigation is ongoing. The health agency advises pet reptile owners to wash their hands regularly and ensure the animals are kept away from areas where food is prepared or stored.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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The Health Effects of GMO Foods

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Vermont is poised to become the first state to require labels on genetically modified food, but will these “frankenfruits” actually hurt the people who eat them?

Probably not, experts say.

Swapping genes in and out in a lab may sound a little different than cross-breeding crops for hundreds of years, but according to Lisa Cimperman, a clinical dietician at University Hospitals in Cleveland, there’s no evidence that people are harmed by eating a bug-proof ear of corn or a non-browning apple.

“As far as having real research to show that it’s harmful, we simply don’t have it,” Cimperman said.

“I think one of the biggest mistakes we can make in talking about this issue is making it ‘good versus evil,’” Cimperman added. “One of the things that bothers me is the fear-mongering.”

Petitions have shown up on Change.org asking for companies to get rid of GMOs — or genetically modified organisms — in foods from apples to Girl Scout Cookies, often citing safety concerns. Even golden rice, a genetically modified crop developed to get extra vitamin A to people lacking it in their diets, has been protested.

Cimperman said the only immediate concern is that people with food allergies may accidentally eat a “safe” food without realizing one of its ingredients has been spliced with the genes of an allergen.

For instance, in the 1990s, an engineered soybean made people with Brazil nut allergies have allergic reactions because they didn’t realize the bean’s genetic material included a gene from the Brazil nut, she said. Once researchers confirmed the allergen was passed on in the genetic engineering process, the company halted production, she said.

“The potential to cause allergies can, in fact, be tested, and it can be limited,” Cimperman said. “That maybe calms fears a little bit.”

For Cimperman, the biggest concern is whether human tampering will have an environmental effect, strengthening weeds and insects that evolve to beat the genetic engineering.

“Everything in the environment is cause and effect. You can’t make a change without seeing that ripple effect,” she said.

When genetically engineered salmon was deemed safe for the environment in late 2012, former Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, told ABC News he had been disappointed with Food and Drug Administration decisions on genetically modified food since 1992, when the federal agency determined it is equivalent to any other food.

He introduced federal legislation related to genetically modified food and labeling in every Congress since 1997, but it has never passed.

Cimperman said she has no problem with the labeling of genetically modified food because “transparency is a good thing.”

“My only concern is that you don’t have to make this an issue that incites fear in the consumer,” she said. “As consumers, we really need to educate ourselves on the topic and make informed decisions.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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The Health Effects of GMO Foods

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Vermont is poised to become the first state to require labels on genetically modified food, but will these “frankenfruits” actually hurt the people who eat them?

Probably not, experts say.

Swapping genes in and out in a lab may sound a little different than cross-breeding crops for hundreds of years, but according to Lisa Cimperman, a clinical dietician at University Hospitals in Cleveland, there’s no evidence that people are harmed by eating a bug-proof ear of corn or a non-browning apple.

“As far as having real research to show that it’s harmful, we simply don’t have it,” Cimperman said.

“I think one of the biggest mistakes we can make in talking about this issue is making it ‘good versus evil,’” Cimperman added. “One of the things that bothers me is the fear-mongering.”

Petitions have shown up on Change.org asking for companies to get rid of GMOs — or genetically modified organisms — in foods from apples to Girl Scout Cookies, often citing safety concerns. Even golden rice, a genetically modified crop developed to get extra vitamin A to people lacking it in their diets, has been protested.

Cimperman said the only immediate concern is that people with food allergies may accidentally eat a “safe” food without realizing one of its ingredients has been spliced with the genes of an allergen.

For instance, in the 1990s, an engineered soybean made people with Brazil nut allergies have allergic reactions because they didn’t realize the bean’s genetic material included a gene from the Brazil nut, she said. Once researchers confirmed the allergen was passed on in the genetic engineering process, the company halted production, she said.

“The potential to cause allergies can, in fact, be tested, and it can be limited,” Cimperman said. “That maybe calms fears a little bit.”

For Cimperman, the biggest concern is whether human tampering will have an environmental effect, strengthening weeds and insects that evolve to beat the genetic engineering.

“Everything in the environment is cause and effect. You can’t make a change without seeing that ripple effect,” she said.

When genetically engineered salmon was deemed safe for the environment in late 2012, former Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, told ABC News he had been disappointed with Food and Drug Administration decisions on genetically modified food since 1992, when the federal agency determined it is equivalent to any other food.

He introduced federal legislation related to genetically modified food and labeling in every Congress since 1997, but it has never passed.

Cimperman said she has no problem with the labeling of genetically modified food because “transparency is a good thing.”

“My only concern is that you don’t have to make this an issue that incites fear in the consumer,” she said. “As consumers, we really need to educate ourselves on the topic and make informed decisions.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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CDC Report: Vaccines Have Spared Millions of Kids from Illnesses

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — In response to a rise in measles cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the Vaccine for Children Program in 1994. And now, 20 years later, the CDC says in a new report that the immunization program has saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of children born since then.

“Vaccination over the course of their lifetimes will prevent 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 730,000 early deaths,” CDC Director Thomas Frieden said on Thursday.

The report comes as measles is once more on the rise in the U.S. — in many cases because parents choose not to vaccinate their children.

“Sixty-eight percent had what we call personal belief exemptions or essentially opted out of being vaccinated,” said Dr. Ann Schuchat, assistant surgeon general of the United States Public Health Service.

According to CDC officials, there are 129 measles cases in the U.S. as of April 18.

The virus — which causes flu-like symptoms, a miserable rash and, in rare cases, death — is very contagious and, therefore, can spread fast among people who aren’t vaccinated.

“When vaccination rates go up we are all safer,” said Frieden.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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World’s First ‘Allergy-Friendly’ Flights Take Off

Swiss International Air Lines(NEW YORK) — Allergy sufferers, you’re in luck. Especially if you’ve got plans to visit Switzerland.

Swiss Airlines is now the world’s first airline to be designated as “allergy friendly,” as determined by the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation (ECARF).

The airline will, beginning in May, offer an “individualized service product for travelers with allergies.” That includes lactose- and gluten-free food and beverage alternatives such as lactose-free coffee cream and a lactose-free version of the popular Swiss chocolate bar.

The airline will also use pillows stuffed with synthetic materials as an alternative to down in the first and business class cabins. The airline will also stop use of decorative flowers and air fresheners “that might cause nose and throat irritations,” and the on-board toilets will now feature soaps that are “gentle” on the skin.

The airline’s website added that its high-efficiency air conditioning system filters out pollen from outdoors and animal hair from pets on board. Swiss cabin crew members are trained to respond to an allergic emergency, the website said, and “histamine tablets are available if needed.”

ECARF, in a joint press release with the airline, said more than 30 percent of Europe’s population is affected by allergies. In the U.S., the Asthma and Allergy Foundation estimated 35 million people suffer from hay fever because they are allergic to pollen.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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CDC Report: Vaccines Have Spared Millions of Kids from Illnesses

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — In response to a rise in measles cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the Vaccine for Children Program in 1994. And now, 20 years later, the CDC says in a new report that the immunization program has saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of children born since then.

“Vaccination over the course of their lifetimes will prevent 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 730,000 early deaths,” CDC Director Thomas Frieden said on Thursday.

The report comes as measles is once more on the rise in the U.S. — in many cases because parents choose not to vaccinate their children.

“Sixty-eight percent had what we call personal belief exemptions or essentially opted out of being vaccinated,” said Dr. Ann Schuchat, assistant surgeon general of the United States Public Health Service.

According to CDC officials, there are 129 measles cases in the U.S. as of April 18.

The virus — which causes flu-like symptoms, a miserable rash and, in rare cases, death — is very contagious and, therefore, can spread fast among people who aren’t vaccinated.

“When vaccination rates go up we are all safer,” said Frieden.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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