<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Health News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/health http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Tue, 21 Oct 2014 06:00:13 -0500 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 06:00:13 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Photos Show Hospitals Unprepared for Ebola]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 18:40:17 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/kwan+photo+investigate+edit.jpg

On any given day in America’s acute care hospitals, about one in 25 patients contracts a healthcare-related infection, according to research from the Centers for Disease Control.

Put another way, in 2011 alone well over 700,000 patients acquired an infection after going to the hospital.

It’s the job of health and safety auditors – the secret shoppers of the hospital world – to inspect and document errors like leaving containers unsealed or not disposing of surgical gloves properly that may lead to some of these infections.

One such inspector, whose identity will remain anonymous because of the nature of his job, told NBC 5 that some of the nation’s hospitals may not be prepared for Ebola.

The inspector sent us these photos, taken at five hospitals in the U.S. (none of the hospitals represented in the photos is located in Texas) that show egregious errors.

Among the images, are hair nets and pieces of body protection gloves just sitting out; surgical gloves that have fallen out of their containers, and in one image: work table gloves that are sitting next to a beverage.

The photos were taken on hospital floors where infection controls were required and, in some cases, where patients were in isolation, the inspector said. Some of the images also depicted public areas where virtually anyone in the hospital would have access.

“We think we’re in the US and so we’re 100 percent prepared,” he said. “We are sadly mistaken.”

It’s just one man’s experience, but after two decades as a health safety inspector, he says he’s seen a long list of potentially dangerous gaps in hospital procedure. The lapses worried him before Ebola, but now he says those lapses are potentially life-threatening.

“We cannot afford a baptism by fire,” he said. “That would mean because of a lapse in judgment, someone has been infected.”

<![CDATA[Rahm: City Prepared to Handle Ebola If It Comes Here]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 18:20:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/tlmd_alcalde_rahm_emanuel1.JPG

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the city of Chicago is prepared to handle the Ebola virus, should it surface in the city.

Emanuel convened cabinet members, public health officials and hospital leaders Friday to discuss the city’s preparedness and coordination strategies.

“This meeting solidifies our city’s readiness during a time of heightened awareness of Ebola,” Emanuel said in a statement. “The City of Chicago has long-established and successful procedures in place when preparing and executing emergency health services.”

Officials maintain the risk to Chicago residents remains low and there have been no confirmed cases of the virus in Illinois, however, the city’s health officials continue to take extra precautions.

“Out of an abundance of caution, CDPH has set in place coordinated efforts with all of the city’s public safety and transportation departments to handle any potential threats this virus may present to our residents,” he said.

Since the first U.S. Ebola case was detected, officials have been preparing for any potential spread to the city, particularly at O’Hare International Airport.

O’Hare was among five airports nationwide to begin an Ebola screening process that takes the temperatures of travelers from three West African countries.

Officials also began training first responders on necessary precautions, including requiring 911 dispatchers to inquire about a caller’s recent travels if they are experiencing Ebola-like symptoms.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has also said that two Chicago hospitals are being considered for Ebola treatment centers, should someone test positive for the virus in Illinois.

“While any hospital in Illinois that follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s infections control recommendations and can isolate a patient in a private room can care for a patient, a designated hospital will have staff with Ebola-specific training,” the IDPH said in a statement.

IDPH said previously that Rush University Medical Center and Presence Resurrection Medical Center are among those considered.

Rush has already been training volunteers on how to handle any potential cases and has even begun expanding its intensive care unit to have biocontainment capacity similar to what to the CDC possesses.

The state has also been designated as one of the few states able to perform Ebola testing, the IDPH said.

"While our health department and private hospitals are well- prepared and equipped for the spread of any infectious disease that may pose a threat to our city, it is important to remember how unlikely the risk of Ebola is to Chicago’s residents,” said Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Bechara Choucair. “We will continue to proceed with the upmost precaution in all potential cases that may enter our city.”

The IDPH on Thursday activated an Ebola hotline for residents with concerns or questions about the virus. The phone number for the hotline is (800)-889-3931.

Those answering calls at the Illinois Poison Control Center say the hotline is already being used by several residents.

“Most them are pretty reasonable questions,” said Michael Long with the Illinois Poison Control Center. “What are the symptoms, what are the risk factors of getting Ebola. I wouldn’t say there is a lot of panic, but there is a lot of curiosity.”

The department also said they are forming an Ebola task force made up of medical, health care, emergency response and state officials “to further strengthen our ability to respond to Ebola.”

Photo Credit: Archivo Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ebola Hotline Activated in Illinois]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 18:12:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/telephone+generic.jpg

Illinois residents with questions about Ebola will now have access to answers.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director, Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, announced Thursday that an Ebola hotline has been activated in Illinois to answer residents’ questions.

The hotline will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to a release from the IDPH.

Managed by staff from the Illinois Poison Center, hotline operators will be able to answer questions like how Ebola is spread, who is at risk of being infected, as well as how the state is responding to recent reports.

The hotline number is (800) 889-3931.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Hospital Prepares for Potential Ebola Patients]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 07:04:24 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/217*120/rush+ebola+drill.jpg

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may designate Chicago hospitals for treatment of potential patients with the Ebola virus, should any arrive in the city.

Two hospitals in the Chicago area are considered the hospitals designated to handle Ebola patients, should someone with Ebola-like symptoms arrive at O'Hare Airport, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Those hospitals include Presence Resurrection Medical Center and Rush University Medical Center.

Rush has already formed an Ebola task force, comprised of doctors, nurses and support staff that have volunteered to take care of any Ebola patients arriving at the hospital.

“I got into this to help take care of people and I think in this situation, I don’t have children, I’m pretty young,” said Registered Nurse Keene Roadman. “I can take care of people some people might not want to.”

The volunteers are first being trained on how to use the designated protective equipment, most of which exceeds CDC recommendations.

“Waterproof gowns, leggings that are waterproof, a waterproof hood that covers the entire head, a visor that covers the opening of the face and a procedure mask,” Infectious disease expert Dr. John Segreti said.

On Thursday, infection control experts watched as volunteers were drilled on how to put on the protective equipment, and, arguably the most hazardous part of the process, how to get of that gear.

The hospital is also building out a portion of their ICU so it will have biocontainment capacity similar to what the CDC possesses.

Though there haven’t been any cases of Ebola in Chicago so far, the city’s health officials say they’re taking extra precautions.

Chief Medical Officer Julie Morita maintains the risk of infection is extremely low, but the virus is persistent. The recent cases of Ebola in the United States have prompted first responders to receive new training and pressed officials to create “fact sheets” on handling the virus.

Morita said part of the new training includes having 911 dispatchers inquire about a caller’s recent travels if they are experiencing Ebola-like symptoms.

On Thursday, officials announced that the first Dallas nurse to test positive for Ebola would be transferred to a hospital in Maryland.

The second nurse diagnosed with the virus has been taken to Atlanta for treatment.

Segreti emphasized that while the public faces little risk of contracting the virus, healthcare workers are far more likely.

“The sicker the patient gets, the more virus they have and even after the patient dies the number of virus particles continues to increase,” Segreti said.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director, Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, announced Thursday that an Ebola hotline has been activated in Illinois to answer residents’ questions 24 hours a day.

Managed by staff from the Illinois Poison Center, hotline operators will be able to answer questions like how Ebola is spread, who is at risk of being infected, as well as how the state is responding to recent reports.

The hotline number is (800) 889-3931.

<![CDATA[Plainclothes Man by Ebola Nurse ID]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 15:24:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/No-PPE-Man.jpg

As a team boarded Dallas Ebola patient Amber Vinson onto an airplane bound for an Atlanta treatment center Wednesday, a man wearing slacks, a button-down shirt and sunglasses stood out on the tarmac.

While three people in hazmat suits helped the nurse out of an ambulance, off a stretcher and up the stairs to a specially equipped jet taking her to treatment at Emory University Hospital, a man in street clothes stood nearby holding a yellow envelope.

The sight led viewers to question why the mystery man was unprotected while everyone else, including Vinson, was covered from head to toe. Two of the workers who helped her from the stretcher even wore respirators

Those questions were answered Thursday morning, when officials confirmed the man was indeed following protocol and supposed to be there.

"His role is to oversee the process of transport including on the tarmac," Randy Davis, vice president at Phoenix Air, told NBC News. "Part of our protocol is to have 1 person NOT in a bio-Hazard suit. "

Davis said the man, who he did not name, is the team's medical safety coordinator. Standard protocol is for him to wear street clothes, Davis said, because the suits can block field of vision and hearing. Davis said the man has been trained on keeping safe distance from patients and is ready to "suit up" if needed.

Coverage on Wednesday showed the unidentified man standing very near another hazmat-suited worker and then taking what appeared to be a container from one of the suited workers. He placed it on the steps to the jet and walked out of view.

He then reappeared as one of the PPE-suited workers came off the plane with red hazmat bags. He took what appeared to be a not-yet-used red bag from the worker in protective gear, then handed it to the workers as they bagged up items from the ambulance ride.

Then he conversed with two workers wearing respirators while the red hazmat bags were loaded onto the plane. He then grabbed the container from the stairs and got on the plane which departed Love Field en route to Atlanta. He got on the plane and is not in the Dallas area.

Photo Credit: Chopper 5
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<![CDATA[Health Officials Detail Ebola Prevention in Chicago]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 18:21:33 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Ebola-training-san-diego-10.jpg

News of a second Dallas health care worker testing positive for Ebola has prompted officials in Chicago to take extra precautions.

Chief Medical Officer Julie Morita maintains the risk of infection is extremely low, but the virus is persistent. The recent cases of Ebola in the United States have prompted first responders to receive new training and pressed officials to create “fact sheets” for those concerned about the virus.

“We want everyone to be able to access this information,” Morita said.

Meanwhile, officials at Rush University Medical Center are holding “Ebola planning meetings.” The hospital is one of two designated to handle any potential Ebola cases in Chicago.

Infectious disease expert Dr. John Segreti emphasized that while the public faces little risk of contracting the virus, healthcare workers are far more likely.

“The sicker the patient gets, the more virus they have and even after the patient dies the number of virus particles continues to increase,” Segreti said.

A special team of doctors, nurses and support staff have volunteered to take care of any Ebola patients arriving at Rush and they’ll be the first trained on how to use protective equipment that exceeds CDC recommendations.

“Waterproof gowns, leggings that are waterproof, a waterproof hood that covers the entire head, a visor that covers the opening of the face and a procedure mask,” Segreti said.

Gov. Pat Quinn reiterated his confidence in the Illinois Department of Public Health Wednesday as did Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Emanuel added that the healthcare system is a backup and said the work really needs to be done at airports.

“The main goal is to make sure that our airports and our screening procces are in place,” Emanuel said.

Health officials say an Ebola hotline is being setup in Illinois to assist residents with any questions surrounding the virus.

<![CDATA[Nurses Express Concerns Over Ebola Preparedness]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 20:12:05 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP968232748518.jpg

With so many questions still unanswered after a Dallas nurse, who treated Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, tested positive for the virus, nurses across the country are concerned over hospital preparedness.

While Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate the nurse was infected because of a “breach in protocol,” perhaps when taking off her personal protective equipment, many are cautioning the rush to judgement.

“Oftentimes the first reaction is to blame the nurse,” said Alice Johnson with the Illinois Nurses Association.

Meanwhile, several officials are questioning hospital protocols and training for handling Ebola.

In a recent survey by National Nurses United, more than three quarters of nurses surveyed questioned how prepared their hospitals were.

Out of more than 1,900 nurses in 46 states and Washington D.C. who responded, 76 percent said their hospital still hadn't handed them an official policy on admitting potential patients with Ebola, the survey found.

In Chicago, Resurrection and Rush University Medical Center have been designated by the CDC to handle any potential Ebola cases in the city. This gives them time to extensively train designated medical teams.

But experts say facts about Ebola are still emerging.

Northwestern Infectious Disease Expert Michael Angarone said recent studies about disease symptoms and transmission aren’t conclusive, because places live Western Africa lack the necessary scientific equipment.

“They don’t have resources to check temperatures and blood pressure multiple times,” said Dr. Angarone. “If you’re not exposed to body fluids, the likelihood of getting infected is small, we’re still learning that.”

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Liberian Woman Detained, Isolated at Kenosha County Jail]]> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 14:47:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/file-ebola-cdc.jpg

A woman from Liberia, detained Wednesday morning by authorities at O'Hare International Airport, was put in isolation at the Kenosha County Jail.

The woman was not showing any signs of Ebola, according to a report by WITI-TV in Milwaukee, but was isolated out of an abundance of caution because Liberia is among the African countries hardest hit by the virus.

Medical staff at the jail, which routinely houses those detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, was monitoring the woman since she arrived at about 1 a.m. Wednesday.

It wasn't immediately clear why immigration officials detained the woman, but O'Hare is among five airports around the country ramping up screening efforts of travelers from West African countries.

The woman left the jail after several hours and was transported to O'Hare International Airport where she was turned back over to the custody of Immigration Customs Enforcement.

"The detainee remained in good health and still showed no signs or symptoms of the Ebola virus when the detainee left the custody of the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department," according to a release from Sgt. Bill Beth with the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department.

Illinois state public health officials said Wednesday the state was in the clear but in a connected world, an out-of-control virus is a serious problem anywhere on the globe. Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said state officials were prepared to deal with the Ebola virus should it arrive in the state.

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<![CDATA[120 Students Out Sick At Indiana Elementary School]]> Wed, 08 Oct 2014 22:47:20 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/205*120/Peifer_elementary.jpg

More than 100 students at an Indiana elementary school were out sick Wednesday because of what health officials believe is a viral infection.

Nearly 30 percent of the population, or 120 kids, at Peifer Elementary School, in the 1800 block of Cline Street in Schererville, were sick, a school district official said.

"We checked out food and milk in the cafeteria and checked to see if any of those kids ate those items in the cafeteria," said Al Gandolfi, assistant superintendent at Lake Central School Corporation. "No problems there."

Gandolfi said the Lake County Department of Public Health suspects an infection likely was spread through a child or staff member who could have returned to school before the illness was completely out of their system.

Parents say their kids were vomiting, nauseous and suffering from diarrhea.

Custodial staff fitted with hospital masks were working through the night Wednesday to spray down every desk and chair in the school, along with disinfecting the soap and paper towel dispensers.

"Our goal is to disinfect today everything a child touches, from a doorknob, to a desk to a computer keyboard, to all of our cafeteria tables," Gandolfi said.

The school is expected to be open on Thursday morning.

"If you have flu-like symptoms, or if you have a fever, we ask that people keep their children home until they're fever-free for 24 hours and those flu-like symptoms are gone," principal Doug DeLaughter said.

No other kids were sick at any of the other schools in the district.

<![CDATA[Chicago Marathon Organizers Prepared for Ebola ]]> Wed, 08 Oct 2014 01:27:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000009143099_1200x675_338815555959.jpg

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is only a few days away, but race organizers have been forced to address another safety issue -- the threat of the Ebola virus.

EMS acting district chief Mary Sheridan says medical personnel have a plan in place to deal with all communicable diseases, and Ebola is no different.

"We practice something called BSI -- body substance isolation," Sheridan said.

"All of our ambulances, all of our fire engines and trucks are equipped with isolation packs to protect our members and patients."

While race organizers say they are prepared, they also say there is no direct threat.

"As far as runners that are coming from areas where Ebola has struck, our runners are all coming from east Africa," marathon medical director Dr. George Chiampas said.

Organizers also say there have been no credible terror threats related to the Chicago Marathon.

<![CDATA[Ebola in America]]> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 16:14:27 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/456608446.jpg

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Enterovirus-D68 Outbreak]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 17:13:42 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/x-ray-ENTEROVIRUS-VO---00002324.jpg

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Patient at Christ Medical Center Doesn't Have Ebola]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 08:41:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Ebola+Virus+10714.jpg

A patient who checked into Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn with flu-like symptoms and who claimed to have recently traveled to Africa does not have Ebola, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Kate Eller said Monday night that someone went to the hospital's emergency room on Sunday feeling ill.

"This patient self-reported having recently traveled to Africa," Eller said. "Out of an abundance of caution, we notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Cook County Department of Public Health and the Illinois Department of Public Health."

She said an investigation revealed the patient hadn't traveled to Africa and that there "are no indications that point towards an Ebola infection."

The virus has infected more than 7,000 people, mostly in western Africa, and has killed more than 3,400, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on its website Tuesday.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Illinois Researchers Seek Ebola Vaccine]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 02:00:19 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/205*120/UIC_researchers_ebola.jpg

Unprecedented measures are being taken to try and create an Ebola vaccine.

University of Illinois Hospital's Dr. Rick Novak has worked on HIV vaccines for years, but now his attention is turned toward trying to find an Ebola vaccine.

Novak says the world has never worked so hard on a vaccine. It's fast-tracked, meaning it could be rolled out before Thanksgiving and immediately used.

"It would go directly to West Africa, and give to about 10,000 at-risk individuals in West Africa," Novak said.

Researchers hope that what they come up with will help keep West Africans from getting sick, but there's no guarantee. Novak says what's worked in animals won't necessarily be effective for humans.

"There's a lot of unknowns here and the world is waiting with bated breath to get these results," Novak said.

Despite the growing number of people infected with the Ebola virus, there's still a lot of unknowns about exactly how the disease is spread.

Rachael Jones studies disease transmission at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She says in order to be infected with Ebola, there needs to be extremely close contact. Animal studies now suggest that could include infection through the air.

"In pigs and in non-human primates, you can get Ebola infections in animals without physical contact between the animals," Jones said.

The Centers for Disease Control emphasizes that close contact with bodily fluids is what's most dangerous. Jones says even if there is evidence to suggest Ebola can be spread through the air, it's not as dire as it sounds.

"There's not a lot of evidence to suggest that these particles can float through the air for hours and travel to different parts of a building," Jones said.

Part of the reason Ebola is so mysterious and hard to study is because it kills its victims so quickly.

<![CDATA[Journalist With Ebola Optimistic]]> Mon, 06 Oct 2014 23:01:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Ashoka+Mukpo+Raw.jpg

There's been encouraging news for the Providence, Rhode Island, man flown back to the U.S. Monday to be treated for the Ebola virus.

The mother of NBC News freelance photojournalist Ashoka Mukpo says her son and his doctors are optimistic about his chances of recovering from the deadly virus.

"They say that compared to all the other patients that have been evacuated to the United States, Ashoka is actually in the best shape," Diana Mukpo told NECN over the phone.

His parents Diana Mukpo and Dr. Mitchel Levy say they were relieved to not only watch their son walk off the plane and wave to them as he entered the hospital, but they were grateful to be able to see him and speak with him through a video system at Nebraska Medical Center's Bio-Containment Unit.

"His spirits are good, he's tired, it's been quite a frightening experience but he's also a fighter and he said 'I'm going to get through this,' so he's really determined to get better, and I think he will," Diana Mukpo said.

Mukpo's parents say he spent two years working in Liberia, and after a short stint at home, returned about a month ago despite their urging to not go back. They say he's unsure exactly where and how he caught Ebola.

"He was filming inside the clinic and around the clinic so they had a lot of opportunity to be exposed. He does remember one instance where he was helping spray wash a vehicle with chlorine and he thinks he might have been splashed, but honestly he's not exactly sure," Dr. Levy said.

Mukpo is at the same hospital that successfully treated Holden, Massachusetts Dr. Richard Sacra, but he will be receiving a different experimental anti-viral medication.

"As far as I understand from the physicians, this is a drug that in a laboratory setting has shown to be very, very effective against the Ebola virus and also has very low incidence of side effects," Diana Mukpo said. 

<![CDATA[Naperville Hospital Formulates Ebola Virus Plan]]> Fri, 03 Oct 2014 22:35:52 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/205*120/Nesita_ebola.jpg

Naperville's Edward Hospital has been preparing for nearly two months for the possibility of receiving an Ebola patient.

Nurses are trained to ask anyone who walks into the hospital complaining of fever and nausea symptoms to find out if they've recently traveled outside of the U.S. or had contact with anyone who's traveled to West Africa. If the person says yes, they're immediately put into isolation.

Dr. Tom Scaletta, who heads up the emergency room at the hospital, says there are two corner rooms reserved to isolate a possible Ebola patient.

"The patient will have their own room and you can easily block off this area," Scaletta said. "The patient has his own bathroom, which is really important because a lot of these patients have the stomach flu sort of symptoms."

Chief medical officer Dr. Brent Smith says even before test results come back from the CDC, the patient would likely be placed in intensive care and straight into negative pressure rooms.

"That means it's pulling air from the hallway into the room, and then up through a filter and outside, so it never recirculates," Smith said.

Nobody will be allowed to go into the room without being fitted with shoe and head covers, a special mask and face shields, a full body suit and a special apron impermeable to all body fluids. Protective equipment at the hospital includes disposable stethoscopes.

"Everything that we have chosen to use is single-use and disposable," said infection control manager Mary Anderson.

Hospital officials said it was necessary to formulate a plan with the proximity to O'Hare International Airport.

<![CDATA[Skokie Group Operates Mission School in Ebola-Ravaged Liberia]]> Fri, 03 Oct 2014 06:58:46 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/205*120/Ebola_orphans.jpg

A Skokie-based organization with a mission school and orphanage in Liberia finds itself in a helpless situation as the Ebola virus spreads at an alarming rate.

Franciscan Works operates Liberia Mission in the African country. When NBC 5 first spoke with the group in early August, nobody connected to the school had died. But that has since change.

"Now they're even as close as right down the bridge from us where a lady died last week," mission director Joe Sehnert said via phone.

The 45 children and teens and staff at the mission school are safe, healthy and under strict quarantine, but Ebola has claimed the lives of many of their close relatives.

Franciscan Works staff director John Dewan says the orphanage faces a challenging dilemma as entire families die and leave children behind.

"These Ebola orphans are children whose parents have died, whose sisters and brothers have died of Ebola and they're not showing any signs of Ebola themselves, but they're being ostracized by their communities. People don't want them near them," Dewan said.

Liberian health authorities are looking for places to take the stranded children in.

"We've got to do our part, try to figure out how we can handle it, but right now we don't know how to handle it," Dewan said. "It's a delicate balance between keeping the healthy kids safe, and trying to help those outside the compound."

"We can't even let our own kids back in, much less the kids who are orphaned," Dean said.

A teen who attended a summer program at the school went home to be with his sick mother and later died of the disease himself.

Dewan said they've started an Ebola emergency fund, but have only raised a few thousand dollars.

Click here to learn how to help Franciscan Works' cause.

<![CDATA[University of Illinois Hospital Nurses Authorize Strike]]> Fri, 03 Oct 2014 14:15:09 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/205*120/U_Illinois_hospital.jpg

Nurses at University of Illinois Hospital voted overwhelmingly Thursday in favor of authorizing a strike.

The vote passed 608 to 38, meaning the strike could go into effect on Oct. 21 when the contract extension expires.

The Illinois Nurse's Association says they're concerned the hospital intends to cut the number of experienced nurses providing direct patient care.

The nurses also oppose a proposal that would allow the hospital to change their schedules with 24 hours notice, and force nurses to work additional weekends if they call in sick for a weekend shift.

University of Illinois Hospital CEO Avijit Ghosh issued a statement Friday saying the hospital is "committed to providing high quality clinical care to the residents of this state."

Ghosh says there have been 15 meetings with the INA -- including several involving a federal mediator -- and more meetings are scheduled in the coming weeks.

"We are disappointed that despite progress in the discussions the INA leadership has chosen to call a strike vote. We value the critical role nurses play in providing patient care and are committed to working to reach a mutually acceptable agreement," Ghosh said.

Gosh says UI nurses earn 27 percent over the Chicago market average salary, and that the INA is asking for a 19.7 percent wage increase over three years. He says the hospital will take steps to prepare for a potential work stoppage.

<![CDATA[W. Africa Travelers Warned on Ebola]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 14:05:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP645337997349.jpg

All people traveling to the United States from countries with Ebola are being warned as of Wednesday about the potentially deadly virus' symptoms, and how it is spread.

The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol will hand out a flyer with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to all U.S.-bound travelers from those countries. 

That flyer also contains a card that any passenger who starts showing symptoms in the following days can hand their doctors, to alert them of the risk.

The first case of Ebola in the United States has been diagnosed in Dallas, in a patient who had arrived days earlier from Liberia, one of the West African nations at the center of a massive outbreak.

The announcement Tuesday by officials sparked immediate concerns about who may have been exposed and helped shed light on how the potentially deadly virus is, and isn't, spread.

Ebola can only be spread by infected people who have a fever and other Ebola symptoms, the CDC says.

Symptoms appear between two and 21 days of exposure to the virus. If an exposed person does not develop symptoms within 21 days of exposure, the person will not become sick with Ebola, according to the CDC. 

The virus can be spread to other people through direct contact with an infected person's bodily fluids, contaminated objects or infected animals, including by eating infected meat.

See the flyer that customs officials are giving travelers below.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[CDC Confirms 1st U.S. Ebola Case]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 17:03:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ebola-dallas.jpg

A person who arrived in Dallas from Liberia a week ago tested positive for Ebola Tuesday, becoming the first person diagnosed in the U.S. with the potentially deadly virus, the City of Dallas confirmed.

The patient was hospitalized and placed in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Sunday after symptoms appeared four days earlier, on Sept. 24. Hospital officials listed him in serious condition Wednesday after previously being listed in critical condition.

Because the patient showed no symptoms of the virus when he arrived in the U.S. Sept. 20, there was no risk to fellow airline passengers, according to CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden.

"We’ve stopped every Ebola outbreak that’s ever occurred in Africa expect for this one," he said. And this one could have been stopped  if we had gotten in there earlier.

The CDC will ensure that the patient will be treated in a way that minimizes the risk of spreading infection, Frieden said. He also said a team is in Dallas to identify anyone the patient might have infected and monitor them for 21 days.

"We will stop Ebola in its tracks in the U.S.," he said.

Dallas County Health Director Zachary Thompson told NBC 5 that they are focused on 12 to 18 people who had close, physical contact with the patient while symptomatic in Dallas. He said about 10 epidemiologists from the county and CDC are investigating the patient's friends and family.

"The number that is on the ground right now to do the contact investigation is adequate," Thompson said. "If that number was to expand, we'd ask for additional resources."

Thompson said medical professionals have tested one of the patient's relatives, but did not say whether it was a "suspected case."

"I wouldn't be surprised if there was a second confirmed case," he said. "We know that several family members had very close physical contact with this patient."

The Dallas Fire-Rescue ambulance crew who transported the infected man to the hospital tested negative for Ebola, but they will be monitored for symptoms as the incubation period passes, Dallas city officials said. If symptoms develop, they too will be isolated and investigators will determine who they came into contact with and monitor those people for symptoms.

"I have no doubt that we will control this importation or this case of the Ebola so that it does not spread widely in this country," Frieden said. "It is certainly possible that someone who had contact with this individual, a family member, or other individual, could develop Ebola in the coming weeks, but there is no doubt in my mind that we will stop it here."

Officials also pulled the ambulance used to transport the man from service. The number of people in the DFR crew being monitored is not known, but a traditional ambulance crew complement is two. Firetrucks can carry an additional five first responders.

The Ebola diagnosis was confirmed Tuesday after specimens were sent from Presbyterian Hospital to the Texas public health laboratory in Austin, the Texas Department of State Health Services said Tuesday. The Austin lab, which was certified last month to test for Ebola, tested the specimen and sent the sample to the CDC in Atlanta for further confirmation.

The Dallas patient will continue to be treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, according to Dr. Edward Goodman, hospital epidemiologist at Presbyterian. On Wednesday morning, the hospital listed the patient's condition as serious.

After receiving the Ebola diagnosis, the city activated its Emergency Operations Center and is on Level 2: High Readiness. State and federal health officials said Tuesday there are no other confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola virus in the state, though.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is expected to hold a news conference at noon Wednesday to discuss the Ebola diagnosis.

According to the City of Dallas, the patient moved to Dallas a week ago, but health officials with the CDC said the patient only came to Dallas to visit family. The unidentified man's nationality is not yet known, but NBC 5 confirmed the man is a father who previously lived in the United States. His last known residence was in the Liberian capital city of Monrovia.

President Barack Obama was briefed about the diagnosis in a call from Frieden, the White House said.

Word of the infection alarmed the local Liberian community.

"People have been calling, trying to find out if anybody knows the family," said Stanley Gaye, president of the Liberian Community Association of Dallas-Fort Worth. "We've been telling people to try to stay away from social gatherings."

Dallas Patient the Fifth Ebola Patient Treated in U.S. This Year

The patient is the fifth person treated for Ebola in the country this year after missionaries Dr. Kent Brantly, Nancy Writebol and Dr. Rick Sacra all contracted the virus while working in West Africa.

Brantly and Writebol have fully recovered after they were given experimental drugs and treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta in August.  Sacra was treated at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and was released Sept. 25. He had been working in Liberia on behalf of SIM. The identity and condition of the fourth patient has not been released. It is believed that they are still being treated at Emory Hospital.

Writebol issued a statement Tuesday after learning of the new diagnosis in Dallas on Tuesday.

"We are sad for the family of the patient and pray for recovery to good health," she said. "It is a mercy that the best medical care is available. We also pray for the safety of the medical staff attending to the patient."

How is Ebola Spread?

Ebola is a severe, often fatal disease spread through close, direct contact with blood or other bodily fluids of a living or dead person who had contracted Ebola. The virus is only contagious when symptoms are present, and it is not spread through the air, through food or water.

Symptoms for Ebola virus involve a fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and unexplained hemorrhage. Symptoms appear anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure but the average is eight to 10 days.

If someone exposed to Ebola has not shown symptoms for 21 days they are not expected to develop Ebola.

According to the CDC, recovery from Ebola depends on the patient's immune response. People who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for about 10 years.

The CDC said the United States is well-equipped to manage and treat Ebola and that the chances of an outbreak like the one in West Africa is extremely low.

NBC 5's Ben Russell, Scott Gordon Jeff Smith and Todd L. Davis contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Dallas Ambulance Crew Who Brought Ebola Patient to Hospital Is Quarantined]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 17:03:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Dallas-Fire-Rescue-Vehicle.jpg

The Dallas Fire-Rescue ambulance crew who transported the man infected with Ebola to the hospital have tested negative for the Ebola virus, according to the City of Dallas.

The City of Dallas said Tuesday that the crew took all safety precautions and was isolated and tested following the discovery.

The three members of the ambulance crew are restricted to their homes while their conditions are observed and while the virus' incubation period passes.

The patient was vomiting when the ambulance got to the hospital, Dallas city spokeswoman Sana Syed said. 

The ambulance crew is among 12 to 18 people being monitored after exposure to the man. Some are members of his family, but not all, Syed said.

Should the ambulance crew members develop symptoms, investigators will then determine with whom they came into contact and monitor those people for symptoms as well.

The ambulance used to transport the man has been pulled from service at Station 37 in 6700 block of Greenville Avenue.

Chopper 5 showed Dallas Fire-Rescue ambulance 37 parked away from all other vehicles at the training center in the 5000 block of Dolphin Road. The ambulance was wrapped in red caution tape and blocked in.

The City of Dallas said it has activated the city's Emergency Operations Center and is on Level 2: High Readiness after receiving confirmation that Dallas has the first diagnosed Ebola case in the nation. The person moved to Dallas from Liberia a week ago.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[How Is Ebola Spread?]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 23:30:52 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/456202288.jpg

The first confirmed case of Ebola in the United States sparked immediate concerns about who may have been exposed and helped shed light on how the potentially deadly virus is, and isn't, spread.

Ebola can only be spread by infected people who show symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. If an exposed person does not develop symptoms within 21 days of exposure, the person will not become sick with Ebola, according to the CDC.

"There is no risk to people who have been in contact with those who have been sick with Ebola and recovered, or people who have been exposed and have not yet shown symptoms," the CDC's director Dr. Thomas Frieden explained Tuesday, after confirming that a patient in Dallas had tested positive.

That patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, recently flew to the United States from Liberia, one of the West African countries now grappling with a deadly Ebola outbreak. Because he showed no signs of sickness until four days after landing in the U.S., however, officials are not worried about travelers who were on the plane with him. Duncan died on Oct. 8 in a Dallas hospital.

The initial spread of the Ebola virus to humans is unknown, although researchers believe that "patient zero" in the recent West Africa outbreak became infected through contact with an infected animal, possibly a bat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How Ebola Is Spread:

Once a person is infected, the CDC said there are several ways Ebola can spread to other people:

  • Touching the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola, including but not limited to urine, saliva, feces, vomit and semen. To become infected with the virus, you would need to get some of the ill person’s bodily fluids into your mouth, nose, or eyes, or into your body via a cut or a needle stick. Doctors say that there is no evidence anyone has ever been infected via sweat.
  • Touching objects contaminated with the virus, like syringes or other medical equipment
  • Touching infected animals, by contact with blood or fluids or infected meat
  • A cough from a sick patient could infect someone close enough to be sprayed with droplets of mucus or saliva. People dealing with anyone who may be ill are told to stand at least three feet away, preferably six. Being within three feet of a patient for a prolonged time, without wearing protective gear, is considered direct contact, according to Frieden.

Direct contact through broken skin or mucus membranes is key, as the CDC said Ebola cannot be spread through the air (the virus doesn't drift through the air like germs that cause measles or tuberculosis) or by water or food. However, that may not have been the case in some cases in Africa, where Ebola may have been spread through the handling of wild animals hunted for food and contact with infected bats, according to the CDC.

What Are the Symptoms of Ebola:

The following symptoms can appear from two to 21 days after exposure:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising
  • Muscle pain

Generally, after 21 days, if an exposed person has not developed symptoms, he or she will not become sick, the CDC said.

However, the Ebola virus has been found in semen for up to three months after exposure, so those who have recovered from the virus are advised not to have sex, or else only to have sex using condoms, during that time, according to the CDC.

Are Patients Who Recover From Ebola Immune for Life?

Evidence shows that people who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years, or longer, according to the CDC. But it's not known if people who recover are immune for life or if they can become infected with a different species of Ebola.

Can Ebola Mutate to Become Aiborne?

According to experts, it is very unlikely that the virus would mutate to become airborne. The Ebola virus has not previously mutated in this way, and experts say there is no other virus that has changed from non-airborne to airborne in humans.

Can Mosquitoes Spread Ebola?

There is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects can transmit the virus, according to the CDC. Only mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys and apes) have shown the ability to spread and become infected with Ebola virus.

How Long Does the Ebola Virus Live:

The virus can survive for a few hours on dry surfaces like doorknobs and countertops, according to the C.D.C. It can, however, survive for several days in puddles or collections of body fluid at room temperature. It is not clear how long it may survive in soiled linens and clothing.

A thorough cleaning with hospital-grade disinfectants (such as household bleach) will kill Ebola.

How Can Travelers Protect Themselves:

The CDC said travelers can do several things to protect themselves when visiting the area where the outbreak is occurring, including:

  • Wash your hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Do not touch the blood and body fluids of an ill person or the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
  • Do not touch bats and nonhuman primates or their blood and fluids and do not touch or eat raw meat prepared from these animals.
  • Avoid hospitals where Ebola patients are being treated. The U.S. Embassy or consulate is often able to provide advice on facilities.
  • Seek medical care immediately if you develop fever (temperature of 101.5oF/ 38.6oC) and any of the other following symptoms: headache, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding.

There is no vaccine for the Ebola virus, but researchers are currently testing two.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Boy Losing His Sight Travels to See Northern Lights]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 03:26:18 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NC_northernlightsboy0930_1500x845.jpg Young boy travels to Alaska to view Northern Lights and nature before he goes blind. Blake Essig reports.]]> <![CDATA[Enterovirus Confirmed in N. Texas ]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 00:26:19 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Enterovirus1.jpg

Several cases of Enterovirus-D68 have been confirmed in North Texas after test results came back positive from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services.

Thirty-five samples were sent to the CDC from North Texas, including some from Children's Health System of Texas, and 10 came back positive.

The unusual and potentially severe respiratory illness has appeared in more than a dozen states nationwide.

Enteroviruses, which usually cause mild cold-like symptoms that last about a week, are common, afflicting up to 15 million people in the U.S. each year, but the CDC says this particular strain of the virus is unusually severe.

Michelle Palomino said her 11-year-old daughter was admitted to Children's Health with similar symptoms.

"It started off with, 'Mom, I have an itchy throat. It feels like it's burning,'" Palomino recalled.

Her symptoms started days ago and began to worsen. Her mother grew concerned when the sixth grader was staying up at night coughing.

"I don't want to be that parent here, my baby getting admitted and seeing those machines on her," said Palomino.

The latest information from the CDC and Dallas County Health Department is even more reason to be alarmed for Palomino.

Doctors say there is some positive news in the finding of Enterovirus-D68 in North Texas. It's not showing up in masses like the other communities are seeing it.

"We are very fortunate that we haven't seen a surge of infected patients," said Dr. Michael Sebert, an infectious disease doctor at Children's Health in Dallas.

The Dallas County health director said it is concerning that the results come as the flu season nears, and he urges parents and school districts to be vigilant.

"The next step is to encourage our medical providers who are doing a great job, to again do the testing for it, get the samples to us, the specimens, so we can send it out," said Dallas County Health Director Zachary Thompson.

Infants and children are at particular risk of Enterovirus, and though most affected people recover on their own and have no future problems, those with weakened immune systems or underlying medical conditions such as asthma may need to be hospitalized.

There is no vaccination. Prevention involves hand-washing, disinfecting surfaces and any usual steps to prevent the spread of flu.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Graham Elliot Provides Meal Tips for Marathoners]]> Tue, 23 Sep 2014 20:05:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Graham_Elliot_new.jpg

Celebrity chef Graham Elliot isn't only running in this year's Bank of America Chicago Marathon, he's also cooking for it. 

Well, sort of. 

This purveyor of tasty creations who recently lost a bunch of weight, will show runners how to cook on Wednesday evening. 

Graham and Allie Elliot will provide a cooking demonstration and discussion at the Mariano's in Chicago's West Loop Wednesday themed around Marathon Training Dishes. 

The event costs $25 to attend and tickets are still available. Register here.


<![CDATA[Illinois Records First West Nile Virus Deaths of 2014]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:51:03 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/210*120/bb82f013a5e54a7cbed54729d2487f36.jpg

Two northern Illinois residents have become the first individuals in the state to die from West Nile virus this year.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the victims were diagnosed with the virus in late-August and early September. Their names were not released.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck says a cooler and wetter summer has resulted in less West Nile virus activity, but the threat is still there.

"Even with the cooler temperatures we're seeing now, until the first hard freeze, you still need to protect yourself against mosquito bites and possible West Nile virus infection," Hasbrouck said.

Fifteen human cases have been reported in Illinois this year, compared to a total of 117 people in all of 2013.

West Nile virus is transmitted through a bite from a mosquito that has been feeding on an infected bird.

The IDPH web site offers a list of common West Nile virus symptoms and ways to prevent contracting it.

<![CDATA[Crestwood Seeks to Settle Contaminated Water Suits]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 10:01:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/crestwood+water+2.jpg

The Crestwood Village Board was set to vote Thursday night on a settlement with the state over accusations of tainted drinking water, officials said.

Both Crestwood Mayor Lou Presta and a representative for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan confirmed an agreement has been reached. Presta said the village will pay a $50,000 fine but admit no guilt.

Madigan's office sued the village in 2009, saying it provided contaminated well water to residents for about two decades. Crestwood's drinking water supply was a mix of the contaminated well water with water from Lake Michigan, despite an order from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency not to use the well water for that purpose, the Southtown Star reported.

The state department ordered the shutdown of the well in 2007 after it discovered the village had been filing fraudulent paperwork to hide its use of the bad well. Two former Crestwood village officials were charged in the case.

Longtime water department supervisor Theresa Neubauer was convicted of making false statements to environmental regulators. Frank Scaccia was Crestwood's certified water operator. He pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements. A federal judge sentenced them both to probation and gave Neubauer community service and put Scaccia under home confinement.

"I'm very happy we're starting to put that part of our history behind us so we can move forward," Presta said.

Village officials plan to meet with lawyers early next month to discuss terms of a possible settlement regarding dozens of lawsuits filed by current and former residents who say they were injured by drinking the polluted water, according to Presta.

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<![CDATA[Doctor Infected With Ebola Expected to Make Full Recovery]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 17:03:13 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/Sacra+1.jpg

A Massachusetts aid worker who contracted Ebola in West Africa is now expected to make a full recovery, according to the doctors treating him at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

Wednesday night, NECN interviewed Dr. Rick Sacra's brother, Doug Sacra of Wayland. Doug says his brother's appetite is starting to come back, he's mentally sharper and more talkative.

"Oh it's great, we are very pleased," said a smiling Doug Sacra.

Dr. Sacra's wife, Debbie, has been briefing the family from Nebraska, where he's been in isolation since returning from Liberia.

Wednesday, Doug said he spoke with his brother over the phone for a half hour.

"He sounded perfectly normal, Dr. Rick at his best. On the other hand he's just laying there in his bed, so he is totally with it mentally, and now he can talk to you for a while, where a week ago he could talk to you for a minute and a half and then doctor said he has to lay back down."

Just last week, doctors explained how Dr. Sacra has been getting blood transfusions from Dr. Kent Brantley, another Ebola survivor. He's also taking another experimental drug, which doctors refused to identify, saying it's uncharted territory.

Over the past week, Dr. Sacra has done so well that doctors are now working to keep him entertained. They've brought in books, a stationary bike, chess board and Nerf hoop, even Ben and Jerry's chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

Doctors are now awaiting results of a second set of blood samples. There must be two negative blood tests done within 24 hours apart for Dr. Sacra to be released.

Photo Credit: SIM USA]]>
<![CDATA[CDC Confirms Case of Enterovirus in Connecticut]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 08:44:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/yale+new+haven+children+hospital+2.jpg

A mysterious respiratory illness that has hospitalized children in several states has surfaced in Connecticut, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed.

The state Department of Public Health received confirmation from the CDC on of a case of Enterovirus D68 infection involving a Connecticut child. The child, a 6-year-old girl, was treated at Yale-New Haven Hospital, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Doctors at Yale-New Haven Hospital's children's emergency department said the girl was treated there last week and discharged.

A statement from the state Department of Health said it is likely the virus is already causing respiratory illnesses in many places across Connecticut because of this confirmed case and reports of suspected cases involving children at four other Connecticut hospitals, and confirmed EV-D68 cases in New York State and New Jersey.

"As per the CDC recommendation, we are testing children who experience severe respiratory symptoms difficulty or fast breathing, who are admitted to the hospital and there has been several cases at our hospital and others that we have sent to the CDC to be tested," said Dr. Paul Aronson, of Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Five Connecticut hospitals are still waiting on results from the CDC, including Danbury Hospital.

Officials from Connecticut Children's Medical Center said last week that they were treating suspected cases of Enterovirus D68.

As of Sept. 17, the CDC was reporting 140 lab-confirmed cases in 17 states since mid-August. The states affected at this point include Connecticut, New York, Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Most people who are infected with non-polio enteroviruses do not get sick, or they only have mild illness, according to the CDC. Symptoms of mild illness may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, skin rash, mouth blisters, and body and muscle aches.

DPH is working with health care providers and local health departments to closely monitor for increases in respiratory illnesses in hospitals across the state.

Laboratory specimens from patients with respiratory illnesses that could be due to EV-D68 at four other Connecticut hospitals are in the process of being sent to the CDC for confirmatory testing.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Cases of Enterovirus Confirmed in NY, NJ, CT: Officials]]> Wed, 24 Sep 2014 14:50:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/CDC-generic.jpg

Officials Wednesday confirmed cases of enterovirus EV-D68 in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut as the unusual and potentially severe respiratory illness continues to sweep across the U.S.

Officials said that at least one of the 12 confirmed cases of the virus previously confirmed in New York state is in New York City, another case is on Long Island and one is in Westchester. Cases have been reported in more than a dozen states nationwide.

The CDC also confirmed a case in New Jersey on Wednesday. That case was identified from a specimen sent to the CDC from a Philadelphia hospital, the CDC said. The child was discharged from a hospital after their condition improved.

On Long Island, a girl from North Hempstead was hospitalized earlier in the month and is now recovering at home, according to the Nassau County Health Department. 

Connecticut health officials also said that a child in that state also contracted the virus. The child was being treated at Yale-New Haven Hospital, but it's not clear what town that child was from..

Enteroviruses, which usually cause mild cold-like symptoms that last about a week, are common, afflicting up to 15 million people in the U.S. each year, but the CDC says this particular strain of the virus is unusually severe.

Infants and children are at particular risk, and though most affected people recover on their own and have no future problems, those with weakened immune systems or underlying medical conditions such as asthma may need to be hospitalized.

There is no vaccination. Prevention involves hand-washing, disinfecting surfaces and any usual steps to prevent the spread of flu.

There are more than 100 types of enteroviruses. EV-D68 was first identified in California in 1962.

Health officials urge anyone who has trouble breathing, or notices a child does, to call a doctor immediately.  

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Scientists Develop First Blood Test to Diagnose Adult Depression]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 18:31:59 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/northwestern+scientist+depression.jpg

Northwestern Medicine scientists in Chicago have developed a blood test to diagnose major depression in adults, marking the first such test to objectively and scientifically diagnose the disorder.

The test measures the levels of nine blood markers to both identify depression and predict whether the patient will benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy. Doctors hope the test will provide more effective, individualized therapy.

“This test brings mental health diagnosis into the 21st century and offers the first personalized medicine approach to people suffering from depression,” said Eva Redei, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine who developed the test.

Redei, a co-lead author of the study being published Tuesday in Translational Psychiatry, said this marks a breakthrough, indicating that a blood-based laboratory test, similar to diagnosing high blood pressure, can diagnose depression.

Northwestern said scientists have worked for decades to find a biological diagnostic test for major depression and noted the current method of diagnosis is subjective and based on symptoms such as poor mood, fatigue and change in appetite.

The current diagnosis, Redei said, relies on patients reporting those subjective symptoms and the physician’s ability to interpret them. "But depressed patients frequently underreport or inadequately describe their symptoms," the hospital said.

“Mental health has been where medicine was 100 years ago when physicians diagnosed illnesses or disorders based on symptoms,” co-lead author David Mohr said. “This study brings us much closer to having laboratory tests that can be used in diagnosis and treatment selection.”

Mohr said scientists know drug therapy and psychotherapy aren't effective for everyone, and this test helps determine whom those options fit best.

“We know combined therapies are more effective than either alone, but maybe by combining therapies we are using a scattershot approach," he said. "Having a blood test would allow us to better target treatment to individuals.”

Northwestern says major depressive disorder affects 6.7 percent of U.S. adults in a year and is on the rise. An estimated 12.5 percent of patients in primary care have major depression, according to the hospital, but only about half of those cases are diagnosed. And with the current methods, diagnosis takes between two and 40 months.

Redei said they plan to test the study's results in a larger population and find out if it can differentiate between major depression and bipolar depression.

Photo Credit: Northwestern Medicine]]>