<![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 Wed, 23 Jul 2014 19:30:46 -0500 Wed, 23 Jul 2014 19:30:46 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Babies Get Herpes After Ritual: DOH]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 16:47:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NC_Circumcision0906_722x406_2119014932.jpg

Two more infants were diagnosed with herpes in New York this month after undergoing ritual Jewish circumcisions, the Health Department says.

In both cases, the infant boys were born to mothers with full-term pregnancies and normal deliveries. They were circumcised using the direct oral suction technique practiced by some Orthodox Jews eight days after their birth, and developed lesions on their genitals shortly thereafter, the Health Department said.

Their conditions Wednesday weren't immediately clear.

NYC to Require Consent for Oral Suction Ritual

There have been 16 confirmed cases of herpes since 2000 in newborn boys after circumcisions that likely involved direct oral suction, including three in 2014, according to the Health Department. 

Two of the infants died and at least two others suffered brain damage.

During the ancient ritual, the person performing the circumcision attempts to cleanse the wound by sucking blood from the cut and spitting it aside. Authorities say the saliva contact could give the infant herpes, which is harmless in adults but could kill newborns.

In 2012, the Board of Health voted unanimously to require anyone performing circumcisions that involve oral suction to obtain written consent from a parent or guardian. The consent form delineates the potential health risks outlined by the Health Department. 

A group of Orthodox rabbis sued in an attempt to block the regulation, but a judge sided with the city.

The parents have to sign a form acknowledging that the city Health Department advises against the practice because of risks of herpes and other infections.

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<![CDATA[Fruit Sold at Trader Joe's, Costco Recalled]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 15:02:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/07-21-2014-peaches-recall.jpg

If you love stone fruits, there's a new recall you should know about.

Wawona Packing Company, based in California's Central Valley, is recalling white and yellow peaches, white and yellow nectarines, and plum varieties.

The whole fruits were all packed between June 1 and July 12, and shipped to Trader Joe’s and Costco stores.

The concern is the fruit could be contaminated with listeria. The bacteria can cause dangerous, flu-like symptoms. Children, pregnant women and the elderly are especially susceptible.

More information – including a list of the specific products recalled – is available on the FDA website.
 



Photo Credit: FDA]]>
<![CDATA[Indiana Residents Test Positive for Painful Mosquito Virus]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 10:29:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP702217698660.jpg

A painful virus passed on by mosquitoes typically found in the Caribbean and Central America has made its way to Indiana.

Seven Indiana residents have tested positive for the Chikungunya virus, according to the Indiana State Department of Health.

The first case in the state was reported last month after a resident in Allen County tested positive for the virus.

Officials announced Thursday that six more cases have since been discovered.

The majority of those infected have traveled to the Caribbean, including four teens who were recently on mission trips to the area.

“Unfortunately, we did expect more cases in Indiana this summer with more Hoosiers traveling to the Caribbean for vacation, business or mission trips,” Jennifer Brown, DVM, State Public Health Veterinarian at the Indiana State Department of Health said in a statement.

Chikungunya has infected some 350,000 people and killed 21, and has been spreading throughout the Caribbean since December 2013. It is also found in Africa, Asia and islands in the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific areas.

Though there have been cases seen in the U.S. before, the virus has recently been spreading to those who did not travel to the affected regions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Chikungunya does not often cause death, but the symptoms can be severe, officials said. The most common symptoms are high fever, severe joint pain, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or a rash.

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for the virus, the ISDH reports.

State officials are telling residents to take the following precautions to protect against the mosquito-borne virus:

  • Avoid places where mosquitoes are biting, especially from late afternoon and dusk and dawn and early morning.
  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus to clothes and exposed skin and reapply as directed;
  • Use mosquito netting if you have exposure to the outdoors while sleeping in high-risk areas;
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home; and,
  • When possible, wear pants and long sleeves, especially if walking in wooded or marshy areas.


Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Double Fatal Stabbing Prompts Hospital Lockdown]]> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 19:11:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/methodist-hospital.jpg

Methodist Hospital in Merrillville, Indiana, was placed on lockdown early Friday morning after an elderly patient was fatally stabbed there and another body was discovered at a nearby home in Gary, officials said.

The hospital patient, 80-year-old Margarine Haywood, was stabbed in an assault at about 12:30 a.m. Officials conducting a well-being check later found her husband, 88-year-old James Haywood,
slain at the couple's home on the 1500 block of Hovey Street in Gary shortly after 3 a.m., police said.

One man, described only as a man in his 40s, was located on the 3800 block of Carolina Street, was arrested, and was being questioned at the Gary Police Department. Authorities said the suspect knew both of the victims but did not elaborate.

"This is completely out of the ordinary and we do want to stress that although it seems as if this is some random act of violence. It is not," said Robert Wiley, the chief of detectives for the Merrillville Police Department.

It wasn't immediately known which victim was slain first. Gary Police Chief Wade Ingram said officials from the Lake County Coroner's Office were trying to make that determination.

The hospital facility, on the 8700 block of Broadway, in Merrillville, was put on lockdown immediately after the stabbing. That lockdown was lifted shortly after 5 a.m.

"I can assure you that the hospital is secure. Everyone is safe. Staff and patients are safe, and that the hospital is operating as usual, business as usual," said Wright Alcorn, the hospital's vice president of operations.

The hospital lockdown is the second in as many days in the Chicago area. Mount Sinai Hospital, on Chicago's west side, was locked down Thursday morning after what a hospital spokesperson said was a "possible threat."



Photo Credit: Sky 5 / NBC Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Hospital Lockdown Lifted Following "Possible Threat"]]> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 06:05:26 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/mt.-sinai-hospital-chi-2.jpg

Police lifted a lockdown at Mount Sinai Hospital on Chicago's west side Thursday afternoon.

Police responded to the facility shortly before 11 a.m. after it received a threatening phone call, and kept the lockdown in effect for more than 3 hours.

A Chicago police spokesperson said the lockdown was precautionary measure while police investigate.

"We received a possible threat and are taking all necessary precautions to protect the safety of our patients, employees and visitors," hospital spokeswoman Dianne Hunter told NBC Chicago at around 11:30 a.m. "It is at the recommendation of the Chicago Police Department that we are taking heightened precautions."

Police officers -- some wielding automatic weapons -- blocked the entrance to the emergency room and took up positions around the building. Police ordered pedestrians not to use the sidewalk in front of the hospital.

"I haven't seen this many machine guns since I was in the military," said Elijah Washington, who was visiting the hospital.

Some reports -- which were not confirmed by NBC Chicago -- indicated a man threatened to bring a gun to the facility.

"They said someone was inside the hospital threatening to shoot a lot of people up inside the hospital," said hospital visitor Doreatha Schaefer.

The facility, at 1500 S. California Ave., in the city's North Lawndale neighborhood, is a Level 1 trauma center with more than 300 beds.

 



Photo Credit: Charlie Wojciechowski]]>
<![CDATA[Long Lines at Pot Farmers Market]]> Sat, 05 Jul 2014 05:56:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/mm+farmers+market+noon.jpg

A large number of people were spending their Fourth of July in line to a unique kind of farmers market in Boyle Heights. The featured product: medical marijuana.

The lines were outside the door to the 20 to 30 medical marijuana growers inside the Boyle Heights California Heritage Market on Friday. Some people reported waiting up to an hour-and-a-half to get in.

Paizely Bradbury, the executive director of the farmers market, said she has been monitoring the line all morning long.

"I've been walking up and down the line. It's insane,” Bradbury said. “You are dealing with the growers themselves and you are going to get pretty much 70 percent off than a dispensary."

A grower, identifying himself only as Keith, said the response to the market has been tremendous so far on the first of a three-day event.

“So far this is crazy because nobody has seen the likes of this,” he said. “Neither farmers or people buying."

Membership and access to the market is free only to medical marijuana license holders, and organizers said ID’s were being checked before anyone entered.

Organizers said there is a possibility that the farmers market will be a weekly fixture if all goes well with the opening.

 

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<![CDATA[LA Pot Dispensary Farmers Market]]> Sat, 28 Jun 2014 21:09:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/medical+marijuana+stock+cannabis.jpg

For some Los Angeles residents, the 4th of July weekend will be a chance to stock up on marijuana.

Patients eligible to use medical marijuana will be able to buy the drug directly from growers at a pot-centric farmers market. The California Heritage Market, which will feature 50 vendors, is open to any card-carrying medical marijuana patient in California.

“It will provide patients access to growers face to face,” said executive director Paizley Bradbury.

The market will be held in an enclosed outdoor area at West Coast Collective, a medical marijuana dispensary in Boyle Heights. Bradbury said organizers will check ID to verify that shoppers can buy marijuana before allowing them to enter.

The vendors have also been screened to ensure the market doesn’t “just let anybody come off the street.”

“A lot of people have been contacting me and saying, how are you doing this?” Bradbury said. “This is the legal way. This is what the laws are allowing us to do.”

Bradbury said the West Coast Collective decided to host the market out of frustration that the medical marijuana industry, especially in Los Angeles, has strayed from its original purpose of providing medicine to patients.

“Dispensary owners purchase medicine from growers and have created this market where their patients have no idea where their medicine is coming from,” she said.

She added that the city needs to do more to regulate growers and dispensaries, which she said often raise prices and give false information to patients. The farmers market, she said, will bring medical marijuana “back to its roots.”

A website for the event says the market "virtually guarantees that fresh medicine will be abundant and affordable."affordable.

The market, which also features food and games, will be held on July 4, 5 and 6 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the West Coast Collective. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[3D Mammograms Offer Sharper Results]]> Tue, 24 Jun 2014 21:34:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/obamacare-mammograms.jpg New technologies could help resolve some of the controversy around breast-cancer screening — potentially improving the accuracy of scans that detect the cancer. NBC 5's Nesita Kwan reports.]]> <![CDATA[Whooping Cough Epidemic in Calif.]]> Mon, 16 Jun 2014 12:42:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/whooping+cough+vaccine.jpg

The number of whooping cough cases in California has officially reached epidemic proportions, the California Department of Public Health reported.

Whooping cough, known to doctors as pertussis, has experienced a resurgence this year with more than 3,400 new cases reported between Jan. 1 and June 10, according a statement released by the department.

The department said whooping cough is cyclical, peaking every three to five years. The last big spike in cases was in 2010.

Los Angeles County has experienced about 350 new cases so far this year with Long Beach being hit especially hard. The city has seen more than 90 new infections, making up nearly 20 cases per 100,000 people.

Pertussis is a highly infectious bacterial disease that can be spread by coughing. Symptoms of the disease vary by age group.

Adults can find themselves beset with respiratory problems that can last for weeks, while infants who are too young to be vaccinated are in danger of serious illness or death. The common name for the disease comes from the “whooping” sound children can make when experiencing the violent coughing attacks associated with the disease.

Infants may not have typical pertussis symptoms and may have no apparent cough. Parents describe episodes in which the infant’s face turns red or purple.

The organization said two-thirds of pertussis hospitalizations have been in children aged 4 months or younger. Two infant deaths have been reported.

“Preventing severe disease and death in infants is our highest priority,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the department, in the statement. “We urge all pregnant women to get vaccinated. We also urge parents to vaccinate infants as soon as possible.”

The Tdap vaccine, which also guards against tetanus and diphtheria, can be administered to pregnant women to protect infants who are too young to be vaccinated.

In addition, the department said infants should be vaccinated as soon as possible, which can be as early as 6 weeks of age.

Older children and adults are also recommended to be vaccinated especially if they are regularly around newborn babies.

While Chapman said vaccination does not offer lifetime immunity, he stressed that it was still the best defense against the potentially fatal disease.



Photo Credit: NBCNewYork]]>
<![CDATA[The Health Benefits of Drinking Wine Explained]]> Fri, 13 Jun 2014 11:48:31 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/edtAP1011180117961.jpg After a long day, a glass of wine may help ease some tension. But did you know it could also help your health? One glass of red wine could actually improve your memory.

Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[Medical Pot Bill Inspired by Girl]]> Sun, 08 Jun 2014 19:57:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP204780883216.jpg

On good days when her epileptic seizures aren't severe, RayAnn Moseley laughs, sings, dances, swims and practices with the children's choir at her church. She easily brings smiles to the people around her.

On bad days, the 11-year-old wakes up in bloody sheets or lies down on the school floor and says nothing all day. When her seizures become particularly intense, she is rushed to the hospital.

The images of those extremes collected in a collage helped persuade Florida lawmakers to support a bill that will soon allow parents to treat their epileptic children with marijuana that has a low amount of THC, the chemical that causes intoxication. What seemed improbable a few months ago is now about to become a law with the help of a severely epileptic girl whose story melted hearts.

"When we first started this, people were like, 'Are you crazy? It's never going to pass,'" said RayAnn's father, Peyton Moseley, who along with his wife, Holley, met with dozens of lawmakers showing them the photos of RayAnn. "They could see the difference when she's having good days as opposed to when she's having bad days. It helped to really put a face on it."

Even Gov. Rick Scott, who has firmly opposed medical marijuana, welcomed RayAnn into his office, hugged her and assured her parents he would sign the bill.

Once Scott signs the bill, which passed the Legislature overwhelmingly on the last day of this year's legislative session, strains of marijuana with low amounts of THC and high amounts of cannabidiol, or CBD, which is used to treat seizures, will be legal in Florida for certain medical conditions.

Still, a handful of House members raised concerns, including a lack of U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for the drug's use and the possibility that the bill will open the door for wider spread use of marijuana.

"This could be the rifle shot that starts a massive avalanche," Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, said after the vote. "When I look at that I simply can't pull the trigger."

The journey to passage began late last year when the Moseleys traveled from the Pensacola area to Colorado and talked to parents of epileptic children whose seizures have been reduced or eliminated after treating them with oil from a marijuana strain known as "Charlotte's Web," named for the epileptic girl it originally helped in 2012. They also talked to the Stanley brothers, marijuana growers who developed the strain, which is legal in Colorado.

That's when they decided to seek the treatment's legalization in Florida, teaming up with two lobbyists and a publicist who donated their time. Simultaneously, conservative Panhandle Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz was being pressured by a Democratic colleague to support the idea of legalizing Charlotte's Web. He was skeptical, but willing to listen. He set up a phone call with the Stanley brothers, who told him about the Moseleys.

"I was not on fire for the issue until I got to meet the Moseleys," Gaetz said. "Sharing the Moseleys' story lit a fire in me that I couldn't find a way to put out until passing this bill."

Part of that story is how RayAnn came into the Moseleys' lives. RayAnn's birth mother was a prostitute and drug user. She often didn't get the medication doctors prescribed to treat the seizures that have tormented her since birth. The state took custody of RayAnn when she was 2, but it's not easy finding foster parents for a child with cerebral palsy and intractable epilepsy. They placed her at a hospital where Holly Moseley, a pediatric nurse, saw her in a crib covered with netting.

"We just connected. You just can't help but fall in love with those blue eyes," Moseley said. "You could just see inside of her that need for love."

Three days later, Moseley was off but couldn't help thinking about RayAnn stuck in a crib that looked like a cage. Christmas was approaching and she got permission to have RayAnn join her family for the holidays.

"She laughed the whole night - there was just a big smile on her face," Moseley said. Right after Christmas, the Moseleys hired a lawyer and started a three-year fight to adopt RayAnn, whose birth mother resisted giving her up. The same month Moseley gave birth to her first of two biological children, RayAnn became the couple's adoptive daughter.

"On the good days, it's fabulous," said her teacher, Angela Pettus. "She is just so much fun, she is such a joy. She keeps us laughing, she keeps us entertained."

But on the bad days she can be angry and frustrated either by the side effects of her medications or when her seizures increase in intensity.

"She will go through spurts of extreme growth where she's getting things, things are starting to click. She's doing great, she's reading, she's comprehending, she's doing math," Pettus said. "Then she'll go through a period of seizures and she'll lose a lot of it and we're back to square one again. It's hard to watch that in a child."

"There's just a lot of intelligence in there, that if they could get her seizures under control and they could get her leveled out, her doors could be wide open," Pettus said.

RayAnn's cerebral palsy affects her ability to speak and, while her parents understand her, most people have a difficult time communicating with her. The Moseleys hope that could change with help from Charlotte's Web.

"In the state of Colorado we do know that 85 percent of children who are using non-euphoric marijuana to control seizures and spasms have seen a 50 to 100 percent reduction in those seizures," Gaetz said.

"I imagine that there's this whole other inner being in RayAnn that hasn't come out yet that wants to come out, that just hasn't physically been able to come out. I just look really look forward to meeting her for the first time pharmaceutical free," Peyton Moseley said. "I don't think God has brought us this far for it not to work."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Formerly Conjoined Twins to Go Home]]> Sun, 08 Jun 2014 05:56:50 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Ezell+Twins+06.JPG

The formerly-conjoined Ezell twins are sharing an exciting milestone -- they'll soon be headed home for good.

Mom Jenni Ezell said Emmett and Owen are going home on Wednesday.

The babies were once conjoined breast bone to belly button, but a Dallas doctor was able to surgically separate them at Medical City Children's Hospital last August.

The boys are currently at Our Children's House at Baylor for rehab, but mom said the twins are strong and even breathing on their own.

The twins left Medical City in April for the inpatient rehabilitation center.



Photo Credit: Ezell Family/Medical City Children's Hospital]]>
<![CDATA[Interfaith House Heals Homeless Community]]> Thu, 05 Jun 2014 20:12:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/INTERFAITH+HOUSE.png Interfaith House provides a healing environment for the homeless of Chicago. They have been Making A Difference since 1994 by changing over 7,000 lives. NBC 5's Art Norman reports.]]> <![CDATA[Quinn Signs Law Requiring Students Learn CPR]]> Thu, 05 Jun 2014 12:18:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/CPR+demo.jpg

Gov. Pat Quinn on Thursday signed legislation requiring that Illinois high school students learn how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation and other safety skills.

"It is not often our high school students are faced with the opportunity to save a life," Quinn said in a statement after the bill-signing ceremony in Normal. "Should an emergency arise, we want our students ready to step in and take action."

The new law also requires students to get trained on automated external defibrillators.

"This common-sense law will make sure they are better prepared to help their classmates, teachers, family and friends in case of an emergency," he said.

The bill -- HB3724 -- was prompted by paramedic George Laman. His daughter, who had a heart condition, collapsed and died in 2008 during drill team practice at a suburban Chicago high school. Quinn's office said an AED was available at the school, but not used until paramedics arrived. Her family believes her life could've been saved had someone known how to use it.

The legislation was sponsored by sponsored by State Representative Daniel Burke (D-Chicago) and State Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago).

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<![CDATA[NJ Baby Latest to Die in Nap Nanny]]> Mon, 02 Jun 2014 03:54:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/edt-AP31966872310.jpg

An 8-month-old baby girl in New Jersey is the latest child to die in the recalled infant recliner known as the Nap Nanny. 

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said the Hopatcong baby was secured into the chair by a belt but was found hanging over its side, trapped between the chair and a crib bumper.

The agency is warning parents, again, not to use the chairs. Several children have died in them, the CPSC says.

The Nap Nanny was designed to mimic the curves of a baby car seat, elevating an infant slightly to help reduce reflux, gas, stuffiness or other problems.

The commission says the chairs are not being sold in stores any longer but are still a popular product at yard sales, online auctions or as hand-me-down gifts.

"The products are hazardous and it is illegal to sell or resell them," CPSC says.

The agency did not say when the New Jersey girl died.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Ranks 15 in Annual List of Fittest Cities]]> Wed, 28 May 2014 11:51:33 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Gym-workout-weights-generic.jpg

The Chicago area knows how to work it.

The metropolitan area ranked 15th in the annual American Fitness Index, identifying the healthiest and fittest areas in the United States.

“The AFI data report is a snapshot of the state of health in the community," Dr. Walter Thompson, chair of the AFI Advisory Board, said in a statement, "and an evaluation of the infrastructure, community assets and policies that encourage healthy and fit lifestyles. These measures directly affect quality of life in our country’s urban areas.”

The American College of Sports Medicine unveiled the list Wednesday with the top five spots going to Washington D.C.; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Portland, Oregon; Denver; and San Francisco.

Memphis, Tennessee, ranked last, topped by Louisville, Kentucky, at No. 49, Oklahoma City at No. 48 and Indianapolis at No. 47.

The Chicago area received a score of 56.6 out of 100 possible points. Washington, D.C., scored the highest at 77.3, and Memphis scored the lowest with 24.8.

Researchers, with help from the Indiana University School of Family Medicine and 26 health and physical activity experts, analyzed data from the U.S. Census, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System among other data to award points and give a snapshot of the health and fitness of each area.

“Health advocates and community leaders have come to expect the arrival of the American Fitness Index as an annual check-up regarding their community’s health and fitness levels,” Thompson said.

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<![CDATA[T-Shirt Company Keeps Disabled Veterans On The Move]]> Mon, 26 May 2014 10:48:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000007341207_1200x675_266201667763.jpg The Oscar Mike T-shirt company was founded by Noah Currier, a Marine veteran who was left paralyzed from the waist down after a car accident. He is making a difference by helping disabled veterans get to adaptive sporting events. NBC Chicago's Art Norman reports]]> <![CDATA[LA Residents Show No Signs of MERS After Exposure: Officials]]> Wed, 28 May 2014 14:51:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP13061817965.jpg

Note: The CDC said on May 28 it was incorrect in reporting that an Illinois man caught MERS from another person. See the updated story here.

At least 16 people in Los Angeles County exposed to MERS on a flight from Florida showed no signs of having contracted the virus, health officials said Thursday.

The group shared an airplane with a Florida man who worked in Saudi Arabia and was the second confirmed case in the US to have contracted the mysterious virus, according to the LA County Department of Public Health.

Health officials interviewed and tested all 16 people and said no one in the group showed any signs of having MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, officials said.

"This information should alleviate any fears," a health department spokesperson said.

MERS has been confirmed in more than 500 people globally, including three recent cases in the US. At least 171 people have died, according to the World Health Organization.

MERS is a new virus, but it is not yet a global emergency or epidemic. Two of the American cases were health workers in Saudi Arabia, and the third case caught it from the first man who contracted it.

The virus spreads from one person to another, but not very well, and usually only with close and prolonged contact.

The symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. There is no specific treatment yet, but early intervention can improve chances of recovering.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Target, Trader Joe's Hummus Recalled Over Listeria Concerns]]> Thu, 22 May 2014 16:46:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP517020972850.jpg

Lansal, Inc. issued a voluntary recall Thursday of more than seven tons of hummus sold at Target and Trader Joe's stores across the country because of concerns about a possible listeria contamination.

Though no illness has been reported, Lansal said the potential for contamination was discovered during a routine test of Target Archer Farms Traditional Hummus.

Beyond the national recall of certain items, Illinois was specifically included in the recall of two Trader Joe's dips: 24-ounce 5 Layered Dip Large and 11.5 ounce 5 Layered Dip Small.

Tryst Yellow Lentil Hummus with Sunflower Seeds & Apricots was recalled in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest regions of the country.

The national recall included the following Target products: 10-ounce Target Archer Farms Traditional Hummus, 17-ounce Target Archer Farms Roasted Garlic with Roasted Garlic Tapenade and 17-ounce Target Archer Farms Roasted Red Pepper with Roasted Red Pepper Topping.

Stores and distributors were told to remove all affected products from sale, and Lansal said it's working with state Departments of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and local authorities to get the word out.

The organism Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems, according to a statement from the FDA. 

Symptoms may include headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. A listeria infection can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women, according to the FDA.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Illinois Resident Tests Positive for MERS]]> Mon, 19 May 2014 05:56:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP13061817965.jpg

An Illinois resident who had contact with an Indiana MERS patient has tested positive for the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Local health officials said the Illinois resident did not seek or require medical care, showing no signs of the virus, but his health has been monitored and he is said to be feeling well, the CDC reports.

This marks the third confirmed case of the virus in the United States, after a second case was reported in Florida earlier this week.

The first reported case of the deadly respiratory virus known as MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus) in the United States was discovered earlier this month after an American working as a health care worker in Saudi Arabia flew into the U.S. through Chicago.

The patient, who was treated at Community Hospital in Munster, Ind., has since been released from the hospital and is said to be doing well, officials said.

Officials are now investigating after evidence shows a MERS infection in an Illinois man who had close contact with the Indiana patient.

The Illinois resident does not have any recent history of travel outside of the United States, but met with the Indiana patient on two occasions shortly before the patient was identified as having MERS.

Officials said the patient shook hands with the Indiana man and later reported having minor cold-like symptoms.

As part of their follow-up investigation, a local health department contacted the Illinois resident, who tested negative for the virus on May 5. On Friday, however, the test result came back positive.

“The risk to the general public still remains low,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “It was out of an abundance of caution that we conducted rigorous follow-up with this individual and have identified this person to have been infected with MERS-CoV at one time. Previous MERS-CoV illnesses have not shown to be spread easily from person-to-person in communities. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), working with our local health departments, will remain vigilant for any new MERS-CoV infections and we are prepared with surveillance, guidance and testing to handle any additional infections.”

Public health officials are still working to collect blood samples from people who were identified as close contacts of the Indiana patient, according to the CDC, and efforts are under way to identify, notify, test, and monitor close contacts of the Illinois resident.

CDC officials explained that these laboratory test results are preliminary and suggest that the Illinois resident probably got the virus from the Indiana patient and the person's body developed antibodies to fight the virus.

"This latest development does not change CDC's current recommendations to prevent the spread of MERS," said David Swerdlow, M.D., who is leading the CDC's MERS-CoV response. "It's possible that as the investigation continues others may also test positive for MERS-CoV infection but not get sick. Along with state and local health experts, CDC will investigate those initial cases and if new information is learned that requires us to change our prevention recommendations, we can do so."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Loyola Performs Five Lung Transplants In One Day]]> Fri, 16 May 2014 05:56:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Loyola_lung_transplants.jpg

On any given day, five lung transplant surgeries are performed in hospitals across the country, but last week Loyola University Medical Center performed five of the surgeries in one day.

It's the first time this has ever happened in Illinois, and the procedures -- performed in a 24 hour period between May 8 and 9 -- required around-the-clock work from a huge team of doctors and nurses with four of the surgeries occurring at the same time in two operating rooms.

Julie D'Agostino was one of the recipients of a new lung. She needed the surgery after a 2011 transplant failed when she was a teenager.

"Julie and I are now related. We share a set of lungs together," said 68-year-old Robert Senander, a judge who received the other lung from one of the donors.

"He's my brother from another mother," D'Agostino said.

The lungs for the surgeries came from a total of three donors.

"Our goal when we woke up was not to do five transplants in 24 hours, but when the offers come ... some patients can't walk across the room, can't talk without becoming conversationally short of breath," Dr. Jeffery Schwartz said.

A week later, the patients are already surprised at how things they could barely do before are now easy, which will become the new normal.

"We are all blessed. Some more than others, but we are all blessed," patient Roderick Beck said.

Around 1,800 lung transplants are performed in the U.S. every year.

 

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<![CDATA[Airports Post MERS Warning Signs]]> Thu, 15 May 2014 00:45:26 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/MERS_sign.jpg MERS health warning signs are popping up at airports across the country to alert travelers about the threat of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. NBC5’s Nesita Kwan reports.]]> <![CDATA[2nd U.S. MERS Case Reported]]> Tue, 13 May 2014 06:30:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP13061817965.jpg

A second case of the deadly respiratory illness known as MERS has been discovered in the United States, health officials confirmed Monday.

The new case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, reported in Florida, comes 10 days after the first case of the virus was reported in the country. The first patient, a man who lived in Saudi Arabia and traveled to Chicago on a planned trip to visit family, recovered from the illness and was released from the hospital over the weekend.

The Florida patient is a healthcare provider who lives and works in Saudi Arabia and began feeling sick on a flight to London, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Florida Department of Health said at a news conference Monday.

The patient traveled on to Boston and Atlanta before arriving in Orlando on May 1, the CDC said. The patient was visiting family and didn't go to any of the area theme parks, officials said.

On May 8, the patient was hospitalized. Tests by the CDC confirmed the MERS Sunday night. The patient remains isolated in the hospital and is doing well, the CDC said.

MERS belongs to the coronavirus family that includes the common cold and a syndrome known as SARS, which caused some 800 deaths globally in 2003. Saudi Arabia has been at the center of a Middle East outbreak of MERS that began two years ago. The virus has spread among health care workers, most notably at four facilities in that country last spring.

Overall, at least 400 people have had the respiratory illness, and more than 100 people have died. All had ties to the Middle East region or to people who traveled there.

Officials said the disease isn't highly contagious, but there is no cure.

The MERS virus has been found in camels, but officials don't know how it is spreading to humans. It can spread from person to person, but officials believe that happens only after close contact. Not all those exposed to the virus become ill.

Officials said the risk is relatively low for the Florida case but they are doing everything possible to find people who may have had contact with the patient. They are tracking down the 500 or so passengers who may have been on the three flights in the U.S. out of an abundance of caution.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[MERS Patient Released from Indiana Hospital]]> Mon, 12 May 2014 10:56:20 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*122/5-31-MERS.jpg

A patient who was battling the first confirmed U.S. case of a deadly new respiratory illness has been released from the hospital, officials said Friday.

“The patient has tested negative for MERS, is no longer symptomatic and poses no threat to the community,” said Dr. Alan Kumar, chief medical information officer, Community Hospital in Munster. “Community Hospital finalized its discharge plan with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Indiana State Department of Health, and the patient was discharged from the hospital. We are proud of our medical staff for recognizing and responding quickly to this incident, and we wish to thank the CDC and the ISDH for their assistance and collaboration.”

The hospital and state confirmed that the patient, who lives in Saudi Arabia and came to the United States on a planned trip to visit family, was the first confirmed case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus in the United States.

The first tests on those who came in close contact with the patient, including his family members and about 50 hospital employees, have yielded no new cases. Indiana Health Commissioner William VanNess attributed that fact to the swift response by hospital staff and the cooperation of local, state and federal authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"At this point, it appears that MERS picked the wrong hospital, the wrong state and the wrong country to try to get a foothold," VanNess said at a Monday morning press briefing.

The patient checked himself into Community Hospital on April 28 after feeling ill. Dr. Daniel Feikin, an epidemiologist with the CDC, said the patient works in a hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Ariabia. He flew from Riyadh through London to Chicago on April 24 before boarding a bus to Indiana.

The man's symptoms appeared after he was in the United States, Feikin said.

"Although we didn't know where it would happen, we're not surprised that MERS-CoV has come to the United States," said Feikin. "We know that infectious diseases do not respect international boundaries. In this day and age of global travel and trade, infectious diseases can spread almost anywhere."

Feikin said CDC officials were using the flight manifest to contact about 100 other passengers who were on the plane with the patient. About 75 of them had been reached by Monday morning and none were exhibiting symptoms, he said. Additionally, none of the "about 10" people who were on the bus were symptomic.

MERS belongs to the coronavirus family that includes the common cold and SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which caused some 800 deaths globally in 2003. Saudi Arabia has been at the center of a Middle East outbreak of MERS that began two years ago. The virus has spread among health care workers, most notably at four facilities in that country last spring.

Officials said Monday the patient did not recall working directly with a MERS patient in Riyadh but said the hospital where he worked did have some MERS cases.

Overall, at least 400 people have had the respiratory illness, and more than 100 people have died. All had ties to the Middle East region or to people who traveled there.

Officials said the disease isn't highly contagious, but there is no cure.
The MERS virus has been found in camels, but officials don't know how it is spreading to humans. It can spread from person to person, but officials believe that happens only after close contact. Not all those exposed to the virus become ill.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Doctors Warn of Measles Outbreak in U.S.]]> Wed, 07 May 2014 22:45:23 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/measles+outbreak+nyc.jpg

A resurgence of measles in the U.S. has put Illinois doctors on alert for possible cases in this state.

While there isn't an outbreak in Illinois, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the U.S. is experiencing the largest outbreak of measles in decades.

“We are seeing a rise in children in the U.S. with measles because international travel has become so common," Loyola University Health System Dr. Nadia Qureshi said. "People bring it back from endemic areas and because it’s highly contagious. If your child is not vaccinated, they are at-risk.”

Travel, coupled with a trend against vaccinating children, has led to the resurgence, doctors said.

There are some cases in Illinois, and though it isn't as bad as in other states, Qureshi and other Illinois doctors said parents should be prepared by knowing the signs and symptoms of this highly contagious viral infection.

The infection is spread through airborne droplets and can live in the air for up to two hours.

"Most infected people don’t know they are already contagious since the characteristic rash doesn’t appear until four days after a person has already been spreading the disease."

Initial symptoms include cough, fever, runny nose, watery eyes and feeling run-down. Tiny white spots may appear in the patient's mouth after a few days and a rash may break out on their face that runs down the body. Patients may also experience an extremely high fever.

“Many people think it’s just a virus and my child will get better," Qureshi said. "Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. This virus can make your child miserable and can lead to serious complications and even death."



Photo Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images]]>
<![CDATA[Doctor Accused Of Implanting Faulty Pacemakers]]> Wed, 07 May 2014 07:10:31 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/pacemaker_plaintiffs.jpg Two patients file a lawsuit against a Northwest Indiana doctor accusing him of botching their care. NBC 5's Rob Elgas reports.]]> <![CDATA[Evanston Township High Parents Warned of Mumps]]> Tue, 06 May 2014 16:33:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/meningitis+vaccine+princeton.jpg

Parents of students at Evanston Township High School were warned Monday to ensure their child's vaccinations are up to date.

In a notice posted to the school's website, officials said someone in the school "may have contracted a case of mumps." The notice did not identify if the person was a student or staffer at the school.

Through the end of April, 82 cases of the viral infection were reported in Illinois. That's more than triple what was reported in all of last year. The Illinois Department of Public Health said this year's total is already the highest since 2008 when 91 cases were reported.

Authorities don't know what's behind the spike.

Last month, health officials reported an increase in cases of the viral infection in Morgan and Sangamon counties in central Illinois.

Mumps can cause swelling of the salivary glands, along with fever, headaches, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite.

Eight students at a college campus in New Jersey were diagnosed last month with the disease. Some of the Stevens Institute of Technology students lived in the same fraternity house and some were members of the lacrosse team, according to other students on campus.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[No New MERS Cases Appear as Indiana Patient Improves]]> Mon, 12 May 2014 10:57:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP13061817965.jpg

A patient battling the first confirmed U.S. case of a deadly new respiratory illness was said to be improving rapidly, and initial testing has revealed no additional infections, officials said Monday.

"He has been improving every day," said Dr. Alan Kumar, the chief medical information officer for Community Hospital in Munster, Indiana. "He no longer has any oxygen requirements. He's in good spirits. He's eating well, and we have begun the discharge planning process at this point. We expect him to be going home soon."

The hospital and state confirmed Friday that the patient, who lives in Saudi Arabia and came to the United States on a planned trip to visit family, was the first confirmed case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus in the United States.

The first tests on those who came in close contact with the patient, including his family members and about 50 hospital employees, have yielded no new cases. Indiana Health Commissioner William VanNess attributed that fact to the swift response by hospital staff and the cooperation of local, state and federal authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"At this point, it appears that MERS picked the wrong hospital, the wrong state and the wrong country to try to get a foothold," VanNess said at a Monday morning press briefing.

Still, the hospital staffers who had direct contact with the patient have been ordered to stay home for two weeks. Health officials said the incubation period -- the time from exposure to exhibited symptoms -- has been as few as two days and as many as 14 days. Most cases are confirmed within five days.

The patient checked himself into Community Hospital on April 28 after feeling ill. Dr. Daniel Feikin, an epidemiologist with the CDC, said the patient works in a hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Ariabia. He flew from Riyadh through London to Chicago on April 24 before boarding a bus to Indiana.

The man's symptoms appeared after he was in the United States, Feikin said.

"Although we didn't know where it would happen, we're not surprised that MERS-CoV has come to the United States," said Feikin. "We know that infectious diseases do not respect international boundaries. In this day and age of global travel and trade, infectious diseases can spread almost anywhere."

Feikin said CDC officials were using the flight manifest to contact about 100 other passengers who were on the plane with the patient. About 75 of them had been reached by Monday morning and none were exhibiting symptoms, he said. Additionally, none of the "about 10" people who were on the bus were symptomic.

MERS belongs to the coronavirus family that includes the common cold and SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which caused some 800 deaths globally in 2003. Saudi Arabia has been at the center of a Middle East outbreak of MERS that began two years ago. The virus has spread among health care workers, most notably at four facilities in that country last spring.

Officials said Monday the patient did not recall working directly with a MERS patient in Riyadh but said the hospital where he worked did have some MERS cases.

Overall, at least 400 people have had the respiratory illness, and more than 100 people have died. All had ties to the Middle East region or to people who traveled there.

Officials said the disease isn't highly contagious, but there is no cure.

The MERS virus has been found in camels, but officials don't know how it is spreading to humans. It can spread from person to person, but officials believe that happens only after close contact. Not all those exposed to the virus become ill.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This report was originally published May 5, 2014.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[New Surgery Removes Tumor Through Man's Nose]]> Fri, 02 May 2014 11:52:29 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Lenin+Cuevas.jpg

Six months ago, a perfectly healthy 39-year-old Lenin Cuevas started struggling to read, and even to walk.

"I felt something odd," Cuevas said. "I never fall, but I fell twice."

Before long, the father of two couldn't drive. Cuevas went to the doctor and discovered he had a tumor pressing on his optic nerve. He was nearly blind in his right eye.

Northwestern neurosurgeon Dr. James Chandler offered him ground-breaking brain surgery. Done entirely through the nose, the tumor would be removed with no visible incisions.

"The only incision is in the back of the nose, and it's not visible to the patient," Chandler said. "The recovery time can be 24 to 36 hours."

Dr. Chandler said the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute is the first in the world to use a 3-D mini-microscope for the surgery. Video of a surgery similar to the one Cuevas underwent shows the surgeons wearing what looks like sunglasses.

Those glasses are just like the ones you get at an IMAX movie or Universal Studios. In an operating room, Chandler says, they give the surgeon an incredibly clear, 3-D picture inside the patient's head.

"It's a dramatic view in through the nose to the base of the skull," he said. "When you put on glasses just like if you're at a movie, you go from a blurred image to an image where you have a sense of depth perception."

Cuevas says the day after surgery, he was walking around the hospital lobby. A week later he was back at work, amazing even himself.

"He had 3-D glasses! That was kind of cool," Cuevas said. "I didn't know til later on. I was like, 'really? That's cool. I like that.'" 

There was just one problem.

"Nobody believes it," Cuevas says. "I told the story at work and everyone looks at me and asks, 'Where's the scar?' [I said,] 'It went through the nose.' Even my own boss is kind of skeptical."

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<![CDATA[Cook, Lake Counties Receive Failing Pollution Grades]]> Wed, 30 Apr 2014 14:07:20 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/177*120/Chicago+Traffic.jpg

Two Chicago-area counties received failing grades in the American Lung Association's annual State of the Air report.

Cook and Lake counties were both given an "F" for short-term particle pollution, a pollutant the association noted was recently determined to cause lung cancer, and DuPage and McHenry counties received "C" grades. Will County came in highest with a "B."

Grades are calculated based on the American Lung Association's analysis of ozone and short-term levels of particle pollution which calculates the average number of days of high-range air pollution levels.

In a list of the most polluted cities in the country, metropolitan Chicago ranked 20 in ozone pollution, and 14 for short-term particle pollution, worse rankings than last year. California towns made up the top five, with Los Angeles coming in at most-polluted.

"We must set stronger health standards for pollutants and clean up sources of pollution in Chicago to protect the health of our citizens,” Mike Kolleng, manager of the Healthy Air Campaign, said in a statement.

In all, 147 million people in the U.S. -- almost half the country -- are breathing in unhealthy air.

"We have seen that the Clean Air Act delivers significant health benefits,” Kolleng said. “However, the past 15 years have also confirmed that air pollution is a more serious threat to our health than we’d previously known and is further complicated by climate change.”

Polluted air can lead to more asthma, heart attacks and stroke. The American Lung Association says particle pollution can penetrate deep into the lungs and even into the bloodstream, leading to premature deaths as well as lung cancer..

The association called for the clean-up of power plants, strengthening outdated ozone standards, clean-up of new wood-burning devices such as new wood stoves, protecting the Clean Air Act and funding the work to provide healthy air.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>