iStock/Thinkstock(YUMEN, China) — Parts of a city in northwestern China are in quarantine after a man died from bubonic plague last week, state media reported.

The 38-year-old victim had been in contact with a dead marmot, a type of rodent, according to the Xinhua news agency. Health officials and disease prevention specialists are in Yumen, in China’s Gansu Province, to prevent the plague from spreading.

Several parts of the city of more than 100,000 people are reportedly in quarantine, and 151 people who recently had contact with the victim are under isolation, the news agency said. No one has any symptoms of the plague, Xinhua reported.

Some reports claim the victim had chopped the squirrel-like rodent up to feed it to his dog, and later developed a fever. He died in a hospital on July 16.

Bubonic plague usually comes from an infected flea bite, which can live on rodents and other animals, according to the World Health Organization. Without immediate treatment, it is fatal in more than half of cases.

The plague is very rare but still present in mostly rural areas.

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iStock/Thinkstock(YUMEN, China) — Parts of a city in northwestern China are in quarantine after a man died from bubonic plague last week, state media reported.

The 38-year-old victim had been in contact with a dead marmot, a type of rodent, according to the Xinhua news agency. Health officials and disease prevention specialists are in Yumen, in China’s Gansu Province, to prevent the plague from spreading.

Several parts of the city of more than 100,000 people are reportedly in quarantine, and 151 people who recently had contact with the victim are under isolation, the news agency said. No one has any symptoms of the plague, Xinhua reported.

Some reports claim the victim had chopped the squirrel-like rodent up to feed it to his dog, and later developed a fever. He died in a hospital on July 16.

Bubonic plague usually comes from an infected flea bite, which can live on rodents and other animals, according to the World Health Organization. Without immediate treatment, it is fatal in more than half of cases.

The plague is very rare but still present in mostly rural areas.

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) — A deaf toddler who underwent surgery to have a radical auditory device implanted into his brainstem to help him hear is showing vast improvement after undergoing the surgery a second time, his doctors said, giving new hope that the device could one day be a common treatment option for deaf children.

Alex Frederick, a 2-year-old boy from Washington Township, Mich., was just 17 months old when Dr. Daniel Lee from Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and a team of specialists from Massachusetts General Hospital, implanted an Auditory Brainstem Implant or ABI, into Alex’s brain last year.

Alex was born with little to no hearing and the ABI acts as a kind of “digital ear.” It’s made up of a small antenna that is implanted on the brainstem so that it can pick up signals from a tiny microphone worn on the ear and relay them back inside as electrical signals that reach the area of the brain associated with interpreting sound.

An Italian surgeon named Dr. Vittorio Colletti pioneered the use of the device and implanting procedure in children — previously the device had been used as a common approach for treating adults with brain tumors. The device is currently not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but is undergoing a series of clinical trials to win approval. Alex was selected as a participant in one of these trials last year and Nightline has followed him and his parents on their journey.

Alex’s first surgery was a success, but a few weeks ago, the toddler fell and hit his head on a table. The impact broke the speech processor and damaged the surgically implanted plate in his skull that holds the device in place, doctors said.

On July 2, Alex underwent a five-hour “revision” surgery at Massachusetts General to have the entire device re-implanted. His team of doctors successfully replaced the broken ABI with a new one, in the same location on the left side of his brainstem, and Alex seems to be improving quickly.

“The responses looked encouraging. That could be associated with stimulation of the first brainstem implant,” Dr. Lee told Nightline on Monday. “In order for brain development to continue it needs to be stimulated whether it is through sight or through hearing, through sound. In the case of the ABI, the device is electrically stimulating the path of sound in the brain, which means that the neural network can continue to mature. A mature network of the auditory pathway is associated with better responses.”

Alex returned home just four days after the second surgery and his parents remain optimistic.

He is “alert and playing with toys less than 48 hours after surgery completion,” Alex’s father Phil Frederick told Nightline over email. “Not trying to jinx things but he is healing faster than last time.”

“We are just so happy right now and excited things are looking up,” he added.

At the time of Alex’s first surgery in November 2013, he was the youngest person in the U.S. to receive the ABI device and is one of a very few pediatric patients in the world to undergo ABI revision surgery. Worldwide, about 10 children are known to have had the device re-implanted.

Since the procedure on children is still new, Dr. Lee said he and the rest of Alex’s surgical team discussed whether to re-implant Alex’s device in the same location, or try to place it around his other ear.

“The decision was not so clear, as far as whether you implant the same ear and encounter scarring, which would make the surgery difficult, or consider doing an ABI on the other ear, which has not been implanted yet,” Dr. Lee said. “In the end we decided to attempt replacing the first ABI because it was working well and because the experience of one particular ABI surgeon, Dr. Colletti, was that revising these ABI’s is possible if done carefully. We went ahead after much deliberation to do the ABI on the same side.”

Alex was born two months prematurely, weighing just four pounds and four ounces at birth. He spent the first month of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit of St. John Hospital in Detroit. Scans later showed that Alex had a heart condition, his vision was compromised and he was deaf.

When Alex was 1, his parents tried for a cochlear implant, a 40-year-old technology that uses electrodes to stimulate auditory nerves. The surgery commenced, but was halted mid-operation when it became evident it would not work due to the irregular structure of Alex’s inner ear. The scar from that failure is still evident behind his right ear.

Alex’s parents kept looking for an answer, for some other technology that would help their son hear. In the course his research, Phil Frederick learned about Dr. Colletti’s approach for placing ABIs in children, and that the device was about to undergo a series of clinical trials in the U.S. to win FDA approval.

After finding out about the ABI surgery, Frederick looked up which U.S. hospitals where hosting the clinical trials and emailed them all individually to get Alex on the list. In August 2013, the family got word there was an opening in a trial being conducted at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston, under the direction of Dr. Lee.

“ABI surgery in the child … who cannot get a cochlear implant can result in meaningful sound awareness and speech perception with time, but it takes work,” Dr. Lee told Nightline in a previous interview.

On Oct. 5, 2013, the Fredericks traveled from Michigan to Boston for Alex to undergo the initial surgery, for which Dr. Colletti flew in from Italy to observe. Alex’s surgery cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, but was paid for by the family’s insurance company.

Several weeks after the first surgery, Alex and his family returned to Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in November 2013 to have his ABI switched on for the first time. Wires connected the device inside his head to a sound generator controlled from a computer, where a doctor could manipulate the sound level on the device. Nightline was there when the device was first switched on.

Alex’s parents decided that they wanted the first sound their son to hear to be his older sisters’ voices, so after the device was turned on, Evelyn, 6, and Izabella, 3, started talking, but it didn’t elicit a reaction from Alex. Others in the room tried raising the sound level, but still nothing at first.

Then, to everyone’s surprise, a doctor in the room slammed her keys into the side of a desk, and Alex turned towards the sound. With that little turn of his head, Alex had made the connection to sound for the first time.

Alex and his parents are eager to get back to the long process of Alex learning what sound actually is and how it has meaning, even meaning as words. They will return to Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary next month, where an audiologist will activate the newly implanted device, and the family will continue to travel back and forth to Boston every month, so that doctors can test Alex’s hearing response as they fine-tune the software that interacts with the electronics inside his skull.

Since Alex’s surgery, Dr. Lee has implanted the device in an 11-month-old girl from Austin, Texas, and on Wednesday, the teams at Massachusetts General and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary will meet again to perform the same surgery on a 15-month-old girl from Oregon.

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iStock/Thinkstock(MCMECHAN, W.Va.) — Medical officials in Ohio and West Virginia are warning patients from a pain management clinic in West Virginia that they need to be tested after the clinic was allegedly caught reusing needles.

Ohio Deputy Health Commissioner Rob Sproul says patients at Valley Pain Management could have been exposed to HIV as well as Hepatitis B and C.

“They need to get in contact with their primary physician,” Sproul said. “If they have insurance, go see the doctor and get tested.”

The clinic is located in McMechan, West Virginia, near the Ohio border.

Some residents are considering legal action while some are urging a criminal investigation.

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iStock/Thinkstock(MCMECHAN, W.Va.) — Medical officials in Ohio and West Virginia are warning patients from a pain management clinic in West Virginia that they need to be tested after the clinic was allegedly caught reusing needles.

Ohio Deputy Health Commissioner Rob Sproul says patients at Valley Pain Management could have been exposed to HIV as well as Hepatitis B and C.

“They need to get in contact with their primary physician,” Sproul said. “If they have insurance, go see the doctor and get tested.”

The clinic is located in McMechan, West Virginia, near the Ohio border.

Some residents are considering legal action while some are urging a criminal investigation.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new study says beef production is much more harmful to the earth than the production of other animal proteins.

According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, compared to pork, poultry, eggs, and dairy, the production of beef is responsible for six times more nitrogen, which pollutes water and comes from the fertilizer used to grow the corn fed to cows.

The author of the study suggests eating other proteins instead.

The beef industry says this a “gross oversimplification” of the beef production process.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new study says beef production is much more harmful to the earth than the production of other animal proteins.

According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, compared to pork, poultry, eggs, and dairy, the production of beef is responsible for six times more nitrogen, which pollutes water and comes from the fertilizer used to grow the corn fed to cows.

The author of the study suggests eating other proteins instead.

The beef industry says this a “gross oversimplification” of the beef production process.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — While many people worry about deadly headline diseases like MERS and Ebola, Americans are ignoring an everyday threat that could be far more deadly.

Overusing antibiotics may make fixable problems incurable, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Antibiotics are being used for a “quick fix” to cure everything from a cold to an earache, says CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden.

Frieden is urging the government to invest in better antibiotic monitoring and control to make sure the drugs work when patients really need them.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — While many people worry about deadly headline diseases like MERS and Ebola, Americans are ignoring an everyday threat that could be far more deadly.

Overusing antibiotics may make fixable problems incurable, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Antibiotics are being used for a “quick fix” to cure everything from a cold to an earache, says CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden.

Frieden is urging the government to invest in better antibiotic monitoring and control to make sure the drugs work when patients really need them.

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iStock/Thinkstock(FORTH WORTH, Texas) — After the last piece of cake has been eaten and the last remnants of a tan have faded away from the honeymoon, one wedding element is often left hanging in limbo or, at least, in the back of a closet — the bride’s dress.

For those who don’t plan to preserve their garment, options for “What to do with it?” can range from resale to recycling. But a Texas nonprofit now offers a dress donation alternative with a higher purpose: “angel gowns,” beautiful white burial clothing for stillborn children.

NICU Helping Hands, in Fort Worth, Texas, is an organization offering support to families with premature newborns and stillborns. Their Angel Gowns program, founded by Lisa Stubbs in 2013, collects donated bridal gowns from across the country to be transformed by volunteer seamstresses into tiny precious designs.

“I watched so many families who had lost a baby sorting through donated clothing at the hospital, some of which was appropriate for final burial and pictures, some of it not,” said Stubbs. “But what really bothered me was watching them dig through those bins. It just seemed so disrespectful. So I thought we should provide something to families that is respectful, and that would fit their child.”

Stubbs’ mother and mother-in-law became the first two volunteer seamstresses for NICU Helping Hands, turning a wedding dress into multiple dressing gowns in several sizes.

“Each wedding gown, depending upon the size and the style, will make between 12 and 20 angel gowns,” a spokeswoman for NICU Helping Hands told ABC News.

As of March, more than 12,000 angel gowns could be created after the donation of roughly 3,000 wedding dresses from across the nation.

“And the gowns are still coming in,” said the spokeswoman. “Thankfully we have a pretty big warehouse space in Fort Worth. Local volunteers can come by to pick up gowns and start sewing, and that’s also where volunteer seamstresses around the country get shipped dresses from.”

The need is great. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 11 percent of babies are born preterm each year, putting them at higher risk for infant mortality. And the most recent CDC figures indicate that more than 24,000 infant deaths occurred in 2010.

“People don’t like to talk about this. There’s nothing normal about a child dying,” said Stubbs. “But what’s also heartwarming about this program is what it has done in bringing a voice to families who have lost a baby across generations. Many of them lost them in the NICU, many in stillbirths, many were early miscarriages, and it’s given so many of them an opportunity to express their grief.”

It has also given brides a way to imbue an ephemeral investment with new value.

“After I got married in 2010, I knew I wanted to donate my wedding gown to a worthwhile cause,” said Aimee Dars Ellis. “It’s taken me almost four years to find a meaningful charity. Right now, I am cleaning my gown and getting ready to send it to NICU Helping Hands.”

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