<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Health News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/health http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.comen-usSat, 27 Aug 2016 21:47:22 -0500Sat, 27 Aug 2016 21:47:22 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Obama: Americans at Risk Because of Zika Funding Delay]]> Sat, 27 Aug 2016 08:47:05 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-594886094-news.jpg

President Barack Obama urged Congress to make Zika funding its first priority after members return from a seven-week summer break, saying the delay is putting Americans at risk.

"[E]very day that Republican leaders in Congress wait to do their job, every day our experts have to wait to get the resources they need. That has real-life consequences," Obama said in his weekly radio address. "Weaker mosquito-control efforts. Longer wait times to get accurate diagnostic results. Delayed vaccines. It puts more Americans at risk."

Zika virus has caused two outbreaks in Florida and infected 42 people bitten by local mosquitoes. It's been brought to the continental U.S. by more than 2,000 people — probably many more than that — and infected more than 580 pregnant women in U.S. states.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['They Know She Cares': Michelle Obama's School Nutrition Legacy]]> Fri, 26 Aug 2016 07:28:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-491569906.jpg

Fried chicken nuggets, chicken fingers, and patties are the thing of the past at Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia. Healthier options have been on the menu thanks to Michelle Obama's healthy school lunch initiative. 

When Rodney K. Taylor, director of food and nutrition services at the schools, received a directive to make lunch food healthier, by adding fruits, veggies and whole grains, he decided to take it a step further and eliminate the fried options. 

He begun serving grilled spice-rubbed chicken to students instead.  

“No-one made a peep,” Taylor said of the reaction among students.

The new nutritional standards in schools were spurred by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, one of the central policies at the heart of Obama’s effort to address childhood obesity. It was signed in 2010 and took effect in 2014. The legislation required schools to increase the servings of fruits and vegetables, increase the amount of whole grains, and reduce the amount of sodium and sugar in meals provided to students.

As Obama prepares to leave the White House at the end of 2016, it's not clear yet whether the changes are helping reduce childhood obesity. But supporters say the program is already a win because kids are eating whole grains and lower-sodium options.

“It was revolutionary, it took away the focus from the bottom line and moved it to nutrition,” said Taylor, who has over a decade of experience as food director. “When I first started no-one was talking about nutrition so we really contributed to the obesity epidemic. It’s a good thing the legislators stepped in.”

The act encountered heavy pushback from conservatives who viewed it as executive overreach. Obama, however, has never relented, exerting pressure on the GOP, including in a 2014 New York Times op-ed piece.

“Remember a few years ago when Congress declared that the sauce on a slice of pizza should count as a vegetable in school lunches? You don’t have to be a nutritionist to know that this doesn’t make much sense,” she wrote.

Later that year, at a White House event, she said, “I’m going to fight until the bitter end to make sure that every kid in this country continues to have the best nutrition that they can have in our schools.”

The first lady’s strategy paid off because in late January the Senate Agriculture Committee released a statement in favor of reauthorizing the program.

“Folks said we couldn’t come to an agreement on child nutrition reauthorization – let alone a bipartisan agreement – but we did,” chairman Pat Roberts said. “This bipartisan legislation is a true compromise. Not everyone got everything they wanted, but a lot of folks have a lot to be happy about.”

The School Nutrition Association, a nonprofit professional organization that advocates for healthful school meals, is one such party. The group previously criticized the new standards as financially prohibitive, too strict, and unfeasible for schools to adopt so quickly. HHFKA originally required 100 percent of all grains served at schools be whole grain rich and that sodium levels be cut in half by 2017. Those standards have been loosened—the whole grain requirement to 80 percent of all grains served and the sodium deadline extended to 2019.

“The SNA was pleased to work with the USDA and the White House to reach an agreement,” said Diane Pratt-Heavner, director of media relations at the SNA.
Kevin Concannon, USDA undersecretary for Food Nutrition and Consumer Services, said “we didn’t want to punish schools who were struggling to meet the standards.” Concannon went on to say, though, that more than 98 percent of schools are meeting the guidelines.

Sept. 30, 2015, marked the deadline for Congress to reauthorize the HHFKA but lawmakers blew past it. While the lack of reauthorization didn't impact existing programs, advocates pushing for reauthorization look at it as an opportunity to increase funding for school lunches. 

HHFKA is relatively new and measurable public health outcomes will take years if not decades.

Margot Wootan, director of of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, though, expects a positive effect. Wootan called the act “enormously important” and explained that her expectations are not unreasonable because children get a third to half their daily calories from school meals. With the calories now coming from more nutritionally dense foods, positive outcomes are likely. Jessica Donze Black, director of Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods at The Pew Charitable Trusts, said with all the sound science behind the policy she expects that HHFKA will "significantly impact the health outcomes of children."     

Schools across the country have been reporting other positive outcomes. Since the widespread acceptance of the standards independent studies have shown that plate waste, where uneaten food ends up in the trash, is actually down while fruit and vegetable consumption has gone up.

Lynette Dodson, director of school nutrition of Carrolton City schools in Carrolton, Georgia, said that the children are eating the fruits and vegetables, going through three times as many bananas alone compared to before the act. Schools in Carrolton track the amount of fruit and vegetable consumption using production records. She also said that teachers in her district saw almost immediate positive impacts on student attentiveness and behavior.

Because of this Dodson said the district has adopted a new mantra. “Whole food is good food.”

Undersecretary Concannon, said he hears similar stories during his visits to schools all over the country. He called a lot of the early criticisms of the first lady’s initiative “more noise than anything else.” Concannon said families are on board, given that the school lunch program now serves close to 31 million children and the school breakfast program serves almost 15 million children, about 5 million more than before HHFKA was enacted. Statistics from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation support Concannon’s claim, with the number of parents who support the new standards outnumbering parents who do not 3 to 1.

“For kids, Michelle Obama has become a symbol," Concannon said. "They know she cares.” 

The first lady has vowed to continue to work on issues of childhood obesity even after her time in the White House is up.

“It's not like I have a one-year or two-year time frame on this issue. For me, this issue is the rest-of-my-life kind of time frame," she said at the White House earlier this year. "Because I know that's what it's going to take to truly solve this problem."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Newborn Affected by Zika Stayed Infected for 2 Months ]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 19:07:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ZikaBaby-AP_272141986039.jpg

Doctors said a Brazilian baby with brain damage caused by the Zika virus stayed infected for more than two months after his birth, NBC News reported. 

The baby already had brain damage from the virus, which can infect a growing fetus. But the virus continued to actively infect him after he was born, Danielle Oliveira of the University of Sao Paulo and colleagues wrote in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine. 

"When the infant was examined on day 54, he had no obvious illness or evidence of any immunocompromising condition," they wrote. An immune condition might explain a prolonged infection. The baby was developmentally delayed and had cerebral palsy. 

This suggests that newborns may still be at risk from the virus while their brains are growing and developing — another unpleasant surprise about the virus.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's Recalls 29M Wristband Toys Following Burns]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 10:33:26 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/StepIt.jpg

That's a lot of unhappy meals.

McDonald's is recalling approximately 29 million "Step-It" activity wristbands distributed across the country in their "Happy Meals" following more than 70 reports that children suffered skin irritation, blisters and burns after wearing the toy.

The bands were distributed exclusively by McDonald's restaurants nationwide from Aug. 9 to Aug. 17 with "Happy Meals" and "Mighty Kids Meals."

The "Step-iT" activity wristbands come in two styles — "Activity Counter" and a motion-activated "Light-up Band." The "Activity Counter" comes in translucent plastic orange, blue or green and features a digital screen that tracks a child’s steps or other movement. The "Light-up Band" comes in translucent plastic red, purple, or orange and blinks light with the child’s movement.

Both styles of activity wristbands have a square face with the words "STEP-iT" printed on them and a button to depress and activate the wristband. The back of the square face contains the etched words "Made for McDonald’s." 

If you believe you purchased one of the toys you can contact McDonald’s at 800-244-6227 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT daily, or online at www.mcdonalds.com and click on “Safety Recall” for more information.

Photo Credit: Consumer Product Safety Commission ]]>
<![CDATA[Parasite Found in Arizona Swimming Pools]]> Sat, 20 Aug 2016 12:19:31 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/459418465.jpg

More than 100 people in Maricopa County, Arizona, have become infected with a parasite officials believe was in at least 20 pools in the community, NBC News reported. 

Cryptosporidium, or “Crypto,” causes problems from stomach cramps to vomiting to fever. Those with healthy immune systems don’t need treatment and usually recover after a week or two. 

The highly contagious parasite is hard to get rid of because chlorine doesn’t always kill it, according to the Mayo Clinic. 

Officials didn’t say which pools were identified. The parasite was first discovered in Maricopa County on Aug. 4 after 19 cases were reported in July.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Fentanyl Deaths Jump 636% in Philly]]> Sat, 20 Aug 2016 13:27:52 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Girl+Overdose+Kensington+Street.jpg

A disturbing 636 percent increase in overdoses from the medical-grade opioid fentanyl in Philadelphia has city health officials warning medical professionals and the public about the increased pervasiveness of the dangerously strong drug.

City health officials said Friday that 184 people died last year as a result of a fentanyl overdose, whether by using the drug alone or in combination with another, like heroin. Two years prior, in 2013, the drug killed 25 people. The change equates to a seven fold increase.

"Clearly, we have an epidemic,” Philadelphia’s Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said at a news conference in City Hall.

This year’s data shows there’s no expectation the epidemic will slow down. In the first four months of 2016, 99 of the overdose deaths involved fentanyl, city data shows.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid in the same family as heroin, oxycontin and morphine. But it is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. A small dose can prove fatal by causing a person to stop breathing. Often the drug is used to cut another, like heroin, for a stronger high. Sometimes, it’s sold by itself.

“People are buying this drug in the same way as others,” Farley said.

Those suffering from opioid drug addiction quickly grow tolerant to the highs prescription painkillers and heroin provide. The result forces them into increasingly painful withdrawal. So they seek stronger highs, putting themselves at further risk with each hit and each new drug they try.

Heroin users explained the vicious cycle to NBC10 earlier this year as part of our special investigation Generation Addicted. The project, which debuted in March, explored the tragic world of opioid addiction in Philadelphia and beyond. It also looked at its effects on the addicted, their families and society.

Drug overdoses continue to rise despite frantic efforts by local, state and federal health and law enforcement officials to stem a tidal wave of deaths nationwide. More people died of a drug overdose than in a car wreck for the past three years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Opioid overdose deaths accounted for more than 28,000 of the lives claimed in 2014 — the highest on record.

A recently released Drug Enforcement Administration report showed similar trends involving fentanyl across Pennsylvania. Agents saw a 93 percent jump in deaths involving the drug from 2014 to 2015. Further troubling is the fact that “fentanyl was the most commonly reported drug” among people who overdosed from heroin, the agency wrote.

The overdose reversal medicine naloxone — commonly known as Narcan — has helped to bring countless people back to life, but doses may not be large enough to overcome fentanyl’s effects.

Deputy Fire Commissioner Jeremiah Laster said while naloxone typically will coax a person back to consciousness and allow them to breathe on their own following a heroin overdose, the same isn’t true for fentanyl. Medics often try to keep a person’s airway open as they rush them to the closest emergency room, he said.

“The goal is to get somebody to the hospital to get them help,” he said.

Laster, who oversees emergency medical services, said the department is conducting a time-consuming review of patient records to determine whether an increase in naloxone dosage could make a difference in reversing fentanyl overdoses.

Increased dosage will undoubtedly result in higher costs — an issue that’s already becoming a problem for the city and other naloxone providers. Three years ago, the city paid $13.74 for a dose of the medicine. Today, that same dose costs $37.52. Laster said that’s still at a deep discount since the city gets government pricing. Some providers pay upwards of $100 a dose.

Everyone sees the medicine as a stopgap, preventing a person from ending up at the morgue. “Prevention is key to solving this problem,” Laster said.

Dr. Arthur Evans, Philadelphia’s behavioral health commissioner, said the city is taking a number of steps to address the crisis.

Evans said the city is “significantly expanding” access to services and medicine-assisted treatment. These medicine therapies help stabilize a person as they work to wean themselves off of drugs over a long-period of time.

The city is adding 500 extra slots for methadone treatment, 500 additional detox opportunities and doubling access to buprenorphine, widely known as Suboxone, to offer people help when they are asking for it, Evans said.

Behavioral health staff are doing outreach in communities with the highest concentrations of drug addicted people, like hard-hit Kensington, to let people how they can get help.

An assessment center at the North Philadelphia Health System (801 W. Girard Ave.) operates 24 hours a day helping to connect people to treatment offerings. A phone hotline (888-545-2600) does the same, Evans said.

Three state-sponsored Centers for Excellence will begin offering expanded treatment for Medicaid patients starting in the fall. Evans is hoping new money appropriated through the recently-passed federal Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act will makes it way to the city through grants.

Outreach is also taking place among the medical community. For years, doctors freely prescribed prescription opioids, in the form of pills like Oxycontin, Percocet and Vicodin, and benzodiazepines like Xanax contributing to the epidemic’s wide scope. Now officials are trying to help physicians balance managing a patient’s pain and preventing addition from taking hold.

The Pennsylvania Medical Society and Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration issued new prescribing guidelines in July issuing a number of recommendations to doctors including putting a limit of seven days on opioid prescriptions doled out in the emergency room.

Addiction experts say many times patients are given too many pills to treat a minor issue leaving the door open for dependence or abuse by another person in their home.

Farley couldn’t say whether the city’s emergency rooms were following the guidelines (they are not required), but said his office plans to conduct outreach with doctors to keep them abreast of the epidemic.

And as the city works to address this latest facet of the complex crisis, there are new concerns from law enforcement about even stronger opioids hitting Philly’s streets.

Narcotics officers and DEA agents believe the synthetic opioid W-18 has begun to seep into the the local drug market. Designed in China, the drug can be up to 10,000 times stronger than morphine. Large amounts of the drug were seized in Miami and Alberta, Canada. Police drug labs have begun testing for it.

But as addiction specialist Dr. Brian Work told NBC10 earlier this year, with the heroin and fentanyl problem as pervasive as it is, “it's hard worrying about the next thing down the pipe."

Explore NBC10's digital exclusive investigation Generation Addicted by visiting our special section here.

Wednesday, August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day. NBC10 will be re-airing our 30 minute documentary from Generation Addicted at 7 p.m. that night.

Photo Credit: NBC10
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<![CDATA[EpiPen's 400 Percent Price Hike Has Parents Scrambling]]> Thu, 18 Aug 2016 09:10:20 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NC_epipens0617_1920x1080.jpg

Doctors and patients say the pharmaceutical company Mylan has increased the prices for an EpiPen — the portable device that can stop a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction — from around $100 in 2008 to $500 or more today, NBC News reports.

Following a recall by Mylan's chief competitor last year, the company now enjoys a near monopoly.

EpiPens have a stated expiration date of one year, meaning there is an additional co-pay to refill them annually.

In a statement, Mylan said that the prices have "changed over time to better reflect important product features and the value the product provides."

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said "there's no reason an EpiPen, which costs Mylan just a few dollars to make, should cost families more than $600. The only explanation for Mylan raising the price by six times since 2009 is that the company values profits more than the lives of millions of Americans."

Photo Credit: KARE]]>
<![CDATA[4 New Zika Cases in Florida]]> Tue, 09 Aug 2016 23:42:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ZikaMosquitoes-AP_16189023693858.jpg

The number of cases of Zika has risen in Miami-Dade County a day after a suspected case of non-travel related Zika was reported in Palm Beach County.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced Tuesday four new locally transmitted cases in the Miami area.

This brings the total number of people with locally transmitted Zika to 21.

"All four cases are located in the same, small area of Wynwood that is less than one square mile," Governor Scott said at a news conference in Live Oak, Florida.

The Florida Department of Health believes active transmissions are only taking place within the identified Zika zone in Wynwood.

During the news conference, Governor Scott also called on Congress and President Obama to come to an agreement on Zika funding.

Congress is currently in recess. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who visited Zika-stricken Wynwood Tuesday, has urged Congress to reconvene to push through a Zika bill.

"This is not only an issue affecting us here in Florida -- this is a national issue," Scott said.

More than $26 million in state funds have been allocated to fight Zika in Florida.

Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton visited a medical clinic in Wynwood Tuesday, where she pushed for emergency funding in the Zika fight.

Photo Credit: AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Md. Hospital Clearing Out NICU]]> Wed, 10 Aug 2016 10:20:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/080916+prince+georges+hospital+center.jpg

Prince George's Hospital Center in Maryland is clearing babies from its neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) after three babies tested positive for a bacteria that can cause a potentially deadly infection.

Two babies recently died in the NICU, a hospital spokeswoman said. But Chief Medical Officer Dr. Carnell Cooper said those deaths are unrelated to the infection. 

"There has been no clear relationship that we found between the deaths and the bacteria," he said. 

Babies in the NICU "often have a multitude of conditions that put them at risk for dying," Cooper said.

Hospital officials say three infants tested positive for the bacteria pseudomonas but were found to be "clinically asymptomatic for any active infection with the bacterium." The bacteria was found on nasal swabs during routine screening, officials said. 

A total of nine infants are being moved to other hospitals.

"While the investigation into the positive bacterium cultures is ongoing by qualified experts, our top immediate priority is the safe and efficient transfer of patients and providing support to our NICU families and staff," the Cheverly, Maryland, hospital said in a statement.

Pseudomonas infections can cause ear infections, skin rashes and mild illnesses in healthy people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But the infections can cause severe illness or death in people with weakened immune systems, the CDC says. About 400 deaths per year are attributed to drug-resistant pseudomonas infections, the CDC said in a 2013 report

The hospital spokeswoman did not say when the the pseudomonas bacteria was detected or when the two babies died. 

Prince George's Hospital Center is working with the state and county health departments and the University of Maryland School of Medicine to determine the source of the bacteria, hospital officials said.

A company is taking and analyzing water samples to determine if the bacteria was spread in the NICU's water supply, said Joan Hebden, an infection prevention expert at University of Maryland School of Medicine. 

Pseudomonas bacteria often can be transmitted through water, hospital officials said. 

A Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) representative said the water agency had not been contacted regarding any potential contamination in water pipes at the hospital. 

WSSC does not test for the presence of pseudomonas, the agency said in a statement. Water at sampling location "a few minutes away" in Cheverly tested negative on Aug. 3 for coliform and was found to have the correct level of chlorine, WSSC said.

The hospital stopped using water in the unit last week, hospital officials said. 

Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker will monitor the situation, he said in a statement. 

"I am confident that the healthcare professionals who are handling this matter, which I understand is fairly common in hospitals, will ensure that the health and welfare of the hospital’s patients is not compromised," he said.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Zika Baby Death in Houston-Area]]> Tue, 09 Aug 2016 17:48:38 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Anuncian_vacunas_contra_el_Zika.jpg

Texas health officials confirmed Tuesday that an infant who passed away shortly after birth in Harris County had microcephaly linked to the Zika virus.

The mother was infected with Zika while traveling in Latin America, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. The child acquired the infection in the womb, officials said.

At least 99 cases of Zika have been reported in Texas, including two infants with microcephaly in Harris County. All Texas cases are related to travel in countries where Zika is prevalent, and no cases have been transmitted by mosquitoes in Texas.

DSHS is coordinating with officials in Harris County and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to follow Zika cases.

“Zika’s impact on unborn babies can be tragic, and our hearts are with this family,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, Texas Department of State Health Services commissioner. “Our central mission from the beginning has been to do everything we can to protect unborn babies from the devastating effects of Zika.”

The CDC has advised pregnant women not to travel to Zika-affected parts of Latin America and the Caribbean and the Wynwood neighborhood in Miami.

DSHS has been emphasizing precautions, specifically for travelers and pregnant women, through an ongoing public education campaign and via www.TexasZika.org.

<![CDATA['Success Kid' Meme Helps Raise $100K for Dad's New Kidney]]> Fri, 05 Aug 2016 10:38:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/success+kid.jpg A photo of 9-year-old Sammy Griner may very well have saved his father's life. When Sammy was a baby, his mom snapped a photo of him looking adorably determined, spawning the wildly popular "Success Kid" meme. The family resurrected the photo last year when Sammy's dad needed a kidney transplant, posting it on GoFundMe and raising a whopping $100,000.

Photo Credit: WTLV]]>
<![CDATA[Zika Fight Progress in Miami: Gov.]]> Fri, 05 Aug 2016 10:57:08 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/080416+rick+scott+wynwood+zika.jpg

Florida Gov. Rick Scott and top officials with the Centers for Disease Control made a stop in South Florida Thursday to visit the epicenter of Miami-Dade's fight against the Zika virus, which they said is going well.

Aerial spraying of an insecticide to kill adult mosquitoes was underway just before sunrise Thursday morning, the first aerial attack since the Zika virus hit Miami. Health officials had issued travel advisory for pregnant women in a one-square mile where Zika infections were believed to be occurring.

"We feel comfortable now in that one-mile radius, we can take 10 blocks in the northwest corner and say we don't believe there's any active transmission of Zika," Scott said at a news conference.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, joined Scott in the Wynwood neighborhood for an up-close look at eradication efforts.

"I am very impressed with how intensive the control activities are. They have got over 100 teams in the field," Frieden said. "The key message ... is get rid of anywhere this mosquito can breed."

There have been 15 locally acquired non-travel related cases of Zika, including 12 in Wynwood. One case is still being investigated, and two others were isolated incidents. The Department of Health has no ongoing cases in Broward and there are no active non-travel related cases.

The area being sprayed was about 10 square miles, from 38th Street south to 20th Street and from Northwest 5th Avenue east to Biscayne Boulevard. The area includes trendy Wynwood, home to most of South Florida's Zika cases.

"You really have to understand how this particular mosquito spreads. It's very local and focal, it is a particular area, a particular mosquito. It does not travel more than about 150 meters, 500 feet in its life," Frieden said.

Crews on the ground are continuing their spraying efforts, and community centers are stressing basics like mosquito spray and proper attire.

"We've tested over 2,400 people in the state, we've tested 340 people in the Wynwood area for active Zika or Zika antibodies," Scott said.

Frieden siad the insecticide being sprayed is safe and kills mosquitoes that pesticides on the ground can't reach.

While the CDC represents federal involvement in the fight to prevent Zika from spreading, President Barack Obama on Thursday urged Congress to come back from summer recess to pass funding dedicated to protecting Americans from the virus.

"Without sufficient funding, (National Institutes of Health) clinical trials and the possibilities of a vaccine, which is well within reach, could be delayed," Obama told reporters.

Meanwhile, elected leaders converged on Wynwood. Members of Congress, the governor and the county's mayor are confident in the efforts to rid the area of mosquitos, and Zika.

"This is like a moving target every day and I am watching every day because for the epicenter to be in District 24 has caused me much pause," Rep. Frederica Wilson said.

The investigation also expanded into a neighborhood in southwest Miami-Dade, where there was a possible Zika case reported.

"Yesterday we announced that there was another case unrelated to this area that we are investigating, so that is separate from the current one-mile area," Florida Surgeon General Dr. Celeste Philip said at Thursday's news conference. " We'll go through the same process where we'll talk to a lot of people, get samples from that area before we have enough data to make any additional conclusions from that area."

Officials with the Department of Health wouldn't say exactly where the case was reported but residents of one neighborhood said they received letters from health officials.

The letters said officials "are trying to determine if mosquitoes in the area may be causing some people to get Zika. We are hoping to talk to people in about 100 houses in this area."

It added: "If you agree, we will ask you questions about your exposures to mosquitoes and your health. We would also like to collect a urine sample."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mom Donates 131 Gallons of Breast Milk After Baby Dies]]> Thu, 04 Aug 2016 16:00:52 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NC_breastmilk0804_1500x845.jpg An Omaha mother donates a record amount of breast milk to other mothers in need to honor her late son. ]]> <![CDATA[46 Cases of Zika Virus Reported in Illinois: Officials]]> Thu, 04 Aug 2016 22:39:09 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Anuncian_vacunas_contra_el_Zika.jpg

Pregnant women are among nearly four dozen cases of the Zika virus reported in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Public Health said Thursday.

The department reported 46 total cases of the virus statewide, with eight women listed in the Zika Virus Pregnancy Registry.

A spokesperson for the department initially said the eight women were confirmed to have Zika virus, but later said five cases remained unclear. 

According to Divya Little with the IDPH, those five cases tested positive for a flavivirus, but Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials could not determine whether the women had Zika virus or Dengue fever. 

The updated numbers come amid a spike in cases in part of Miami, Florida.

Health officials in Illinois and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned pregnant women to avoid visiting the Wynwood District of Miami. Officials there say at least 15 non-travel related Zika infections have been discovered in and around that area.

Health authorities are testing mosquitoes and have not yet confirmed that anyone has been infected by a bite in the mainland U.S.

More than 1,300 Zika infections have been reported in the U.S. — none involving bites from local mosquitoes — 14 of these were sexually transmitted, and one lab worker was infected by a needle stick.

The virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. Common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week, according to IDPH. 

<![CDATA[33 US Service Members Contracted Zika Overseas: Pentagon]]> Wed, 03 Aug 2016 14:26:13 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ZikaMosquitoes-AP_16189023693858.jpg

The Pentagon says 33 U.S. service members, including one who is pregnant, have contracted the Zika virus overseas, NBC News reported. 

Officials would not say where the service members were posted, but a defense official said all recently traveled to areas where Zika is prevalent. No details about the pregnant service member were provided. Six dependents of military personnel have also been infected, a Pentagon source told NBC News.

The Military Times reported that the Department of Defense started tracking the mosquito-horne illness earlier this year. 

"(We are actively testing mosquitoes) as part of our ongoing integrated vector control and surveillance programs at bases and installations," Pentagon spokesman Air Force Maj. Benjamin Sakrisson told The Military Times.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Airlines' Zika Refund Policies]]> Tue, 02 Aug 2016 20:54:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/080216+reagan+airport+dca.jpg

As federal officials warn pregnant women to avoid travel to a part of Miami because of the spread of the Zika virus, some airlines are offering Zika-related refunds.

The CDC says pregnant women should avoid Miami's Wynwood area, where health officials are investigating at least 15 infections believed to have originated in the area; they would be the first transmitted in the continental United States.

American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines and Spirit Airlines all have guidelines on how passengers can change their reservations amid warnings about the virus.

JetBlue, for example, says passengers may be eligible for refunds or exchanges if they booked travel on or before August 1 to travel to areas the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports are affected by the virus.

American Airlines says pregnant women planning travel to Latin American or the Caribbean can request refunds if they provide doctor's notes confirming the pregnancy.

Spirit Airlines simply asks travelers to contact them about possible changes to their itineraries if they have concerns about the risk of the virus. Delta has the same policy.

Southwest's standard reservation change policy applies.

Sarasota, Florida, resident Carrie Collins said at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Tuesday that her concerns about the Zika virus were growing.

"My community is stay-at-home moms, pregnant moms, lots of small kids, lots of animals, so you pretty much have to live in a screened-in environment," she said.

Travelers are advised to check with their air carriers for specific policies.

Additionally, officials with the D.C. Metro system also are responding to the virus. Crews are treating low-lying wet areas and fence lines to control the mosquito population.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Starbucks Recalls Stainless Steel Straw]]> Wed, 03 Aug 2016 06:28:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/recalled-starbucks-straw.jpg

Starbucks announced that it is recalling a stainless steel beverage straw for being too rigid and posing a risk of injury.

The company received four reports of children getting cuts in their mouths while drinking from the straws.

The recall involves about 2.5 million reusable straws in the United States, as well as around 301,000 sold in Canada.

The straws, which come in two sizes, were sold in sets of three and were included with the purchase of Starbucks 16-ounce Grande and 24-ounce Venti stainless steel beverage cups.

The company is warning consumers to avoid allowing children to use the straws.

Consumers can contact Starbucks at 800-782-7282 from 3 a.m. to Midnight PT daily or online on the Starbucks website. Click on “stainless steel straw warnings” for more information.

<![CDATA['Xtreme Eating' Awards: Unhealthiest Chain Meals in US]]> Tue, 02 Aug 2016 09:42:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-564988703.jpg

A Whole Hog Burger at Uno Pizzeria & Grill is no diet food. Loaded with hamburger, sausage, bacon, prosciutto, pepperoni, four types of cheese, garlic mayo, and pickles and a side of fries, it will set you back a day's worth of calories (2,850), three days’ worth of saturated fat (62 grams) and six days’ worth of sodium (9,790 milligrams). 

The burger tops this year's "Xtreme Eating Awards" list, published annually by Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit. The list includes nine of the most calorie-packed entrees, appetizers, drinks and desserts from restaurant chains across the U.S.

"Far from doing their part to reverse the obesity epidemic, America’s chain restaurants are pouring gasoline on the fire, crossing fried chicken and waffles with Eggs Benedict, merging cheeseburgers and egg rolls, and repurposing macaroni and cheese as a sandwich filling," the health-advocacy group said in a press release. 

UNO PIzzeria & Grill said in a statement, that the Whole Hog Burger was created "to be an over-the-top eating experience that would capture the attention of our customers, taste great and be a fun challenge to conquer. We are not surprised that the Whole Hog Burger has been recognized on the Xtreme Eating list in 2016 - it was designed for this very kind of thing."

The restaurant chain added that there are over 100 menu options, "from indulgent treats to more healthful choices, so our guests can have whatever they're in the mood for."  

More than one-third of U.S. adults and about 17 percent of children are considered obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many restaurant chains include the calorie count on their menus, but the counts will become mandatory, beginning in May of 2017, with other nutrition information available, too. 

CSPI's 2016 list also includes the Fried Chicken & Waffles Benedict (2,580 calories) from The Cheesecake Factory, Short Rib & Cheesy Mac Stack (1,910 calories) from Dave & Buster’s, Dessert Nachos (2,100 calories) from Buffalo Wild Wings and RT 44 Grape Slush with Rainbow Candy (970 calories) from Sonic.

“Unfortunately, these extreme meals are more like the rule, not the exception,” said CSPI dietitian Lindsay Moyer. “America’s restaurant chains are serving up meals that seem engineered to promote diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and strokes. The 3,000-calorie burger platters of today make McDonald’s Quarter Pounders look like sliders.”

Alethea Rowe, senior director of public relations at The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated, said the restaurant lists 250 items on its menu, giving patrons choices.

"Many of our guests come in and want to celebrate and not be concerned with calories," she said. "Others want to share their dish …and a large percentage of our guests take home leftovers for lunch the next day."

Christin Fernandez, director of media relations for the National Restaurant Association, which supports over 500,000 restaurant businesses, slammed CSPI's list, too, saying the "cherry-picked examples paint an inaccurate picture of the great strides the industry has made in the area of nutrition. America’s one million restaurants provide numerous options to accommodate all types of tastes and diets—diners looking for an occasional indulgence or those that are keeping things light."

Fernandez added that the restaurant industry has worked with the FDA to "advocate for a federal nutrition standard so that anyone dining out can have clear, access to nutritional information."

CSPI offered tips on how to avoid meals that are calorie-bombs, suggesting options on the “light” menu: Cheesecake Factory’s “SkinnyLicious,” Applebee’s “Lighter Fare,” or Dave & Buster’s “600 or under” dishes. CSPI said you should skip appetizers, which can add up to 1,000 calories and choose grilled chicken or veggie burger instead of beef. Try splitting the meal and eating the second half for lunch the next day, CSPI said. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Puppy Swallows Rubber Duckies]]> Tue, 02 Aug 2016 08:49:59 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NC_duckdog0729_1920x1080.jpg An Oklahoma puppy undergoes emergency surgery after swallowing several rubber duckies. [warning: graphic footage]

Photo Credit: KFOR]]>
<![CDATA[Girl, 1, to Get Life-Saving Surgery]]> Tue, 02 Aug 2016 04:18:15 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/sandy+diaz+hospital.jpg

A 1-year-old Queens girl born with a giant life-threatening tumor on her face will undergo surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital this week to remove the huge mass, which, if left untreated, could cause the child to suffocate. 

Sandy Diaz, of Corona, has a lymphatic malformation, an accumulation of defective lymph vessels and lymph fluids, enveloping her right cheek and chin. If not treated, the malformations continue to grow. 

In the case of Diaz, who is already fed through tubes because she can't eat through her mouth and has a tracheostomy to help her breathe, the tumor could eventually completely shut off her airway. 

(Watch Telemundo-47's exclusive interview with Diaz's mother in Spanish in the video below.)

Doctors first noticed the mass on a sonogram when Diaz's mother, Maricella, was five months pregnant. They determined the tumor was non-cancerous but advised Maricella Diaz to terminate the pregnancy. Maricella Diaz, who has four other children, decided to keep the baby. 

Sandy Diaz was born on June 17, 2015, and when she was just 19 days old, the doctors tried to treat the growing mass by administering special medication through tubes. They tried this three times, but it made the problem worse, according to Lenox Hill Hospital. 

While the doctors wanted to try the treatment once more, Maricella Diaz refused. She took her daughter to see Dr. Milton Waner, a world-renowned expert in the treatment of pediatric facial malformations, when the child was 4 months old. After examining the little girl, Waner determined that surgery to remove the entire mass would be the optimal treatment, but he wanted to wait until she was a bit older to perform the procedure. 

Waner, whose Vascular Birthmark Institute now operates out of Lenox Hill Hospital, will perform the life-saving surgery on Sandy Diaz Wednesday. A special computer program that maps facial nerves will be used to minimize the chance of facial paralysis, the hospital said. 

According to the hospital, the procedure will allow Sandy Diaz to live a normal life. 

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[New Mobile Unit Saves Lives of Stroke Patients ]]> Thu, 28 Jul 2016 10:49:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/MobileStroke0727_MP4-146971814986100001.jpg A new mobile stroke unit in ambulances in Colorado is saving stroke patients' lives, allowing them to get treatment before arriving at the hospital. ]]> <![CDATA[Man Donates Kidney to Friend: Video]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 23:48:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/graham+kidney.jpg

Born with a rare disease and just days away from kidney failure, Fort Worth nurse Danny Kolzow is getting a lifeline from a longtime friend. 

Graham McMillan is donating one of his kidneys to Kolzow. 

The operation took place Wednesday at Baylor All Saints Medical Center in Fort Worth – the same hospital where Kolzow works.

Wednesday afternoon, Mary Kolzow, mother of Danny Kolzow, and Claire McMillan, wife of Graham McMillan, shared a joint statement: Danny and Graham are recovering, doing well and praising Jesus. We have felt loved, encouraged and cared for by the hospital staff. Praise God for his faithfulness through this process. Thank you for the many prayers that have been answered."

McMillan said he wanted to break the news to Kolzow in a special way, so he made arrangements with other nurses to give him the news at work. The moment, posted on Vimeo, has now been viewed more than 800,000 times. 

He showed up with a sign that read, "Heard urine need of a kidney. Want mine?" 

"Pretty funny, right?" McMillan said. "Let's do this." 

He walked down a hallway and delivered the news to his shocked friend. 

The two hugged as other nurses wept. 

"My kidney's going inside that body right there," McMillan said as the two embraced. 

The two met while they were students at Texas Christian University and kept in touch. 

McMillan, a youth pastor, agreed to get tested to see if one of his kidneys would be compatible. 

It was a match. 

"Just to get the news, something I've been waiting for for so long," Kolzow said. "And it's incredible news, that I get to not have to worry, I am going to get this lifesaving organ that I need. It's incredible." 

The two men credit their faith with making it happen. 

"I'm getting a transplant literally the week before I would have to start dialysis," Kolzow said. "It's just perfect timing."

Photo Credit: Graham McMillan/NBC 5
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<![CDATA[FDA Reconsiders Gay Blood Ban]]> Wed, 27 Jul 2016 03:25:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Blood+donation-539869134.jpg

Facing increased pressure from Democrats in Congress, the Food and Drug Administration began to officially reconsider its policy limiting blood donations from gay and bisexual men on Tuesday, NBC News reported.

The current policy forbids blood donations from men who have had sex with other men within the past year.

The ban was originally put in place with the intention of limiting the risk of getting the AIDS virus in blood, but activists say it's unfair and discriminatory.

The issue came to greater prominence after a June shooting killed 49 people at an Orlando, Florida, club favored by the LGBT community in June. LGBT groups complained that the restrictions made it difficult for friends and loved ones to give their blood.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ice Bucket Challenge Leads to Disease Discovery: Paper]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 21:11:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/today-ice-bucket-challenge-140715-06.blocks_desktop_medium.jpg

The ice bucket challenge became a phenomenon in the of summer 2014, and the boost in funding it brought about helped lead to a significant discovery in the study of the ALS disease, according to a paper published Monday in Nature Genetics.

The donations flooded in as people across the world doused themselves in buckets of ice water, then challenged others to do the same. The videos of the challenge went so viral with Oprah, LeBron James, Bill Gates and many more celebrities taking part.

Though some dismissed the viral challenge as "slacktivism," the ALS Association notes on its website that the challenge raised $115 million for research in just eight weeks.

Apparently, it's had an effect: Researchers with Project MinE's global gene sequencing effort, which is funded by the ALS Association, conducted a large study of the inherited disease, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease and ALS, and were able to identify a new gene that contributes to it, according to the new paper.

More than 80 researchers from 11 countries contributing to the discovery, which may help scientists develop targeted therapy for ALS, according to a news release.

The researchers behind Project MinE attribute much of the project's funding to the ice bucket challenge, which helped the project secure funding from new places and parts of the world.

"The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge enabled The ALS Association to invest in Project MinE's work to create large biorepositories of ALS biosamples that are designed to allow exactly this kind of research and to produce exactly this kind of result," researcher Lucie Bruijn said in the news release.

ALS causes damage to nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The progressive neurodegenerative disease, acquired by genetics in only 10 percent of ALS cases, affects muscle movement and eventually causes paralysis and death, usually within two to five years of diagnosis.

Photo Credit: Samantha Okazaki/Today, File
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<![CDATA[FDA Strengthens Warning on Powerful Antibiotics]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 15:46:46 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/GettyImages-1170747.jpg

The Food and Drug Administration strengthened warnings on a class of antibiotics, calling it too strong to be used for sinus infections, bronchitis and simple urinary tract infections.

Fluoroquinolones, which include levofloxacin (as known as Levaquin) and ciprofloxacin (Cipro), can cause serious and sometimes permanent side-effects, NBC News reported.

"While these drugs are effective in treating serious bacterial infections, an FDA safety review found that both oral and injectable fluoroquinolones are associated with disabling side effects involving tendons, muscles, joints, nerves and the central nervous system," the agency said in a statement.

The drugs are worthwhile to use for potentially fatal infections such as plague, anthrax and some types of bacterial pneumonia but not for the more minor stuff, FDA added.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[5 Myths About Leaving Kids in Cars]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 11:38:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/211*120/Generic+Sun+Generic+Sunset+Generic+Hot+Generic+Heat+Wave.JPG

Heatstroke is one of the leading causes of death among children. And no matter how impossible it may seem, even the best of parents can forget a child in the backseat of their car.

This summer's unrelenting heat proved tragic for a family in Dallas, Texas, after their toddler died in a car parked outside of a church on July 24.

Twenty-five children died in hot cars in 2015, according to KidsandCars.org. And unfortunately, it can happen to anyone, anywhere. 

Here are some myths and the truth about kids in cars, and some ways to keep yourself from making a fatal mistake.

Myth 1: This could never happen to me. That's an understandable reaction. But take a moment to read some of the reporting on cases of children left in cars, including this excellent examination by Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post. As the story points out, habit, which occurs in an ancient part of the brain, can hijack conscious thought. That's especially true if you are under stress or have a small change in routine -- such as being asked to drop off the child when you usually drive straight to work.

And that's true no matter how good a parent you are. "The quality of prior parental care seems to be irrelevant," says a memory expert quoted in the article, who has consulted on a number of cases of kids left in cars.

As unimaginable as forgetting a child is, it's happened to a notable businessman, a hospital CEO, a postal clerk, a social worker, a police officer. It's happened to a soldier, a mental health counselor, even a NASA rocket scientist.

Myth 2: There is a recent spike in the number of child heatstroke deaths. Not exactly. The number has grown since the 1980s and early 1990s, when pediatricians began to recommend that children in car seats ride in the back, where they are less likely to be injured by an inflating air bag. Since that change was made, the number of children killed by air bags has plummeted, but the number of children who die by heatstroke in cars each year has risen and remained between 30 and 50 each year since 1997 (See this chart by KidsandCars.org.) Heatstroke deaths do tend to occur in the spring and summer, because of the temperatures.

Myth 3: It's OK to leave your children in an unattended car, just for a minute. Our parents did it when we were kids. It is not OK -- not even for a minute. It doesn't take long for a car to heat up, and younger children are more sensitive to heat than older children and adults. In 80-degree weather, it takes about 10 minutes for a car to reach deadly temperatures; in an hour your car can reach 123 degrees. Tests show that cracking the window had little effect and the biggest factor was probably the vehicle's interior color. 

Myth 4: Heatstroke is only a concern during the summer. While most deaths occur in June, July or August, records show each month except January has had at least one recorded child death since 2008. Even in 60-degree weather cars can heat up to well above 110 degrees and be fatal for kids. Heatstrokes become fatal for children once a child's temperature reaches 107 degrees.

Myth 5: Heatstroke only happens when parents forget children in vehicles. More than half the time, deaths occur when a child was forgotten by the caregiver, but almost 30 percent of deaths occurred while children were playing in unattended vehicles. Another 17 percent of deaths occurred when a caregiver intentionally left a child in the vehicle. 

Tips for prevention

Here are some ways to keep your kids safe and avoid a lifetime of regret.

1. Create routines. Every day, whether the baby is with you or not, open the back door and look in the back seat before locking the door and walking away. 

2. Give yourself visual reminders. Place your bag, briefcase, or even your shoe in the backseat with your child -- anything that you must take with you before going to your next destination will remind you not to leave your child in the car.

3. Give yourself audible reminders. Sometimes it can be as simple as telling yourself out loud, “remember to get the kids,” or “don’t forget the kids.”

4. Don’t ever let your kids play in the car. Keep keys out of your child's reach, and make sure the doors and trunk are locked when it’s not being used.

5. If you see a child left in a car, call the police immediately.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Girl Takes Cancer Fight to DC]]> Tue, 26 Jul 2016 06:27:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Sadie+Keller.jpg

A North Texas girl is taking her cancer fight to Washington, D.C.

Nine-year-old Sadie Keller is battling leukemia. For the last year NBC 5 has covered how she video-blogged her cancer treatment and raised more than 1,000 toys for sick kids at Christmas.

In a new video, Sadie is calling on Vice President Joe Biden to help make childhood cancer research a national priority.

Through an organization called The Truth 365, which documents children fighting cancer, Keller is sharing the video and urging the vice president to attend an upcoming event called CureFest in Washington, D.C. The event is aimed at uniting the childhood cancer community.

"I hope you don't forget about all those kids like me," Keller said in the video.

In January, President Barack Obama announced the creation of a new government initiative aimed at accelerating cancer research.

Sadie wants to make sure children's cancer research is on the mind of lawmakers.

"I don't think any parent should outlive their child," she said.

Sadie hopes the video is shared across social media so the vice president may see it and join her at the event.

Watch Sadie's video here on Facebook.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA['Drunkorexia' Common Among College Students: Study]]> Sat, 23 Jul 2016 17:07:20 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/BeerDrinking-GettyImages-144235968.jpg

Almost a third of college students say they’ve taken part in practices dubbed “drunkorexia,” according to a recent study, NBC News reported. 

That’s the name for behaviors such as skipping meals or heavy exercising to offset calories from binge drinking, or to pump up alcohol’s buzz. The study, conducted by a research assistant at the University of Houston, found that the behaviors were just as common in men as they were in women. 

The survey found that 80 percent of students engaged in at least one of the following behaviors: cutting back on food and increasing exercise; engaging in bulimic-type behaviors such as vomiting after eating or taking laxatives; boosting exercise or eating less to offset calories from drinking. 

Previous research showed that 40 percent of college students drink heavily at least once a month. The researcher said a cultural shift in men being more worried about their appearance may have led to the rise in the behavior. 

Photo Credit: The Washington Post/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Surgery Successfully Cures Epileptic Patients]]> Thu, 21 Jul 2016 09:59:38 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NC_epilepsy0720_1920x1080.jpg Doctors in Houston, Texas, are using a new procedure to eliminate seizures in many epilepsy patients. KPRC's Haley Hernandez reports.]]> <![CDATA[Helping Teens With Autism Learn to Drive]]> Tue, 19 Jul 2016 09:42:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NC_driveautism0718_1920x1080.jpg Researchers are working on ways to help autistic teens learn to drive. NBC's Erika Edwards reports.]]>