<![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, 01 Oct 2014 07:33:32 -0500 Wed, 01 Oct 2014 07:33:32 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[CDC Confirms 1st U.S. Ebola Case]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 07:24:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Screen+shot+2014-09-30+at+6.01.14+PM.jpg

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

The patient was hospitalized and placed in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Sunday after symptoms appeared four days earlier, on Sept. 24.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Dallas Fire-Rescue ambulance crew who transported the infected man to the hospital has been quarantined and will be monitored for Ebola symptoms, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told NBC 5. If symptoms develop, they too will be isolated and investigators will determine who they came into contact with and monitor those people for symptoms.

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

Officials also pulled the ambulance used to transport the man from service. The number of people in the DFR crew being monitored is not known.

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

The Dallas patient will continue to be treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, according to Dr. Edward Goodman, hospital epidemiologist at Presbyterian.

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

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

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

Word of the infection alarmed the local Liberian community.

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

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

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

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

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

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

How is Ebola Spread?

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

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

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

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

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

NBC 5's Ben Russell and Scott Gordon contributed to this report.


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<![CDATA[Dallas Ambulance Crew Who Brought Ebola Patient to Hospital Is Quarantined]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 04:35:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Dallas-Fire-Rescue-Vehicle.jpg

The Dallas Fire-Rescue ambulance crew who transported the man infected with Ebola to the hospital has been quarantined, according to the City of Dallas.

The City of Dallas said Tuesday that the crew took all safety precautions and has been quarantined according to Centers for Disease Control and Dallas County Health guidelines.

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

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

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

The number of people in the DFR crew being monitored is not known.

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



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[How Is Ebola Spread?]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 06:30:27 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/456202288.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola, including but not limited to urine, saliva, feces, vomit and semen
  • Objects contaminated with the virus, like syringes or other medical equipment
  • Infected animals, by contact with blood or fluids or infected meat

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

Well, sort of. 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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<![CDATA[Doctor Infected With Ebola Expected to Make Full Recovery]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 01:01:20 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/Sacra+1.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Photo Credit: Northwestern Medicine]]>
<![CDATA[Officials: Washing Hands Best Way to Fight Enterovirus]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 09:51:16 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/236*120/tlmd_virus_respiratorio_ninos_illinoisjpg.png

As children across the Midwest continue to arrive at hospitals with similar symptoms, many suspected to be caused by a rare virus spreading throughout the area, health officials say basic hygiene is the best form of prevention.

Illinois is one of several states with confirmed cases of the uncommon virus, Enterovirus D68, and both Chicago and state health departments have been mobilized.

With the respiratory virus making its way through the Chicago area, city officials at a news conference Thursday couldn’t emphasize handwashing enough.

“We’re working with families and network offices to ensure that all schools and offices across the district have an abundant supply of soap,” said Stephanie Whyte, chief medical officer for Chicago Public Schools.

Whyte said an informational bulletin, detailing the virus symptoms and basic hygiene prevention tips, is being distributed around Chicago schools, though there have been no confirmed cases at CPS schools.

The reminder includes frequent cleaning of toys and doorknobs, keeping cleaning supplies handle, and warning that even healthy children are at risk.

“It’s not just children with asthma but any signs of difficulty breathing are important to acknowledge and contact your healthcare provider about,” said Dr. Julie Morita, the Chicago Department of Public Health’s chief medical officer.

Several area hospitals have implemented visitor restrictions amid the virus outbreak, including Edward Hospital in Naperville, Emhurst Memorial, Advocate Chidlren’s hospitals in Oak Lawn and Park Ridge and Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood have said no visitors under the age of 18 are allowed as that population is most at-risk for the virus.

Experts say they still have a lot to learn about this particularly aggressive strain of the enterovirus.

"This is a relatively unusual enterovirus," said Dr. Stephanie Black, medical director of the communicable disease program of the Chicago Department of Public Health. "We don't know a lot about it, so I can't give you numbers, like what percent of kids who get Enterovirus D68 will develop severe respiratory disease."

The city and state are funneling specimens from the sickest patients in pediatric ICUs to the Centers for Disease Control.

But scientists say it won’t be easy to determine how widespread the virus truly is.
 

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<![CDATA[Illinois Among Worst States to Have a Baby, Study Says]]> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 05:22:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/baby_feet_generic.jpg

A new report claims Illinois is one of the worst states to have a baby.

According to a recent ranking of the “Best and Worst States to Have a Baby,” released by financial services website WalletHub, Illinois is the worst state in the Midwest and the 11th worst state in the nation.

Vermont was ranked no. 1 on the list and Alabama was dubbed the worst state to have a baby.

Several Midwestern states far outranked Illinois, with Iowa listed at no. 7, Indiana at no. 23, Missouri is no. 25, and Wisconsin at no.28.

The rankings are based on three categories including state budget elements like delivery charges, infant care costs, cost of living, sales tax and milk costs; health care for new moms and babies, including the number of midwives, obstetricians and gynecologists per capita, access to pediatric service, maternity practices, infant death rates, preterm births and the number of fertility clinics per capita; and baby-friendly environments, which looked at air pollution, moms groups, the number of child centers per capita, parental leave policies and superfund sites per capita.

“With our findings, we hope to enlighten expectant parents on the costs and conditions they can anticipate where they live with a bundle of joy on the way,” the site said in the report.

See the full list on WalletHub.com.

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<![CDATA[More Chicago-Area Hospitals Restrict Visitors After Outbreak]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 18:49:22 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/236*120/tlmd_virus_respiratorio_ninos_illinoisjpg.png

Three more Chicago-area hospitals are restricting visitors in the wake of a respiratory virus infecting children across the Midwest.

Edward Hospital in Naperville, Elmhurst Memorial Hospital and Loyola University Medical Center say no visitors under 18 years old are allowed within in-patient areas until further notice.

Illinois is one of several states with confirmed cases of the uncommon virus, Enterovirus D68, and both Chicago and state health departments have been mobilized.
Experts say they still have a lot to learn about this particularly aggressive strain of the enterovirus.

"This is a relatively unusual enterovirus," said Dr. Stephanie Black, medical director of the communicable disease program of the Chicago Department of Public Health. "We don't know a lot about it, so I can't give you numbers, like what percent of kids who get Enterovirus D68 will develop sever respiratory disease."

The Chicago Department of Public Health says every school in Chicago is getting a fact sheet about the virus, and doctors are warning parents to be especially alert to breathing problems.

"If they develop symptoms like wheezing, uncontrollable coughing, shortness of breath, blue lips of course, [it] needs to be evaluated urgently," Black said.

The city and state are funneling specimens from the sickest patients in pediatric ICUs to the Centers for Disease Control.

With no anti-virals and no vaccine, messages that are shared so often we barely hear them suddenly have a new urgency.

"It's really more important than ever that people wash their hands and stay home when they're sick," Black said.
 

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<![CDATA[Enteroviruses: What You Need to Know]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 09:12:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Will-Cornejo.jpg

An outbreak of an uncommon virus, enterovirus-D68, has made children in 22 states ill and has left some hospitalized, according to NBC News. Children with asthma are particularly affected.

Here are key things to know about enterovirus-D68 from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.

  • From mid-August through mid-September, there have been more than 150 confirmed cases of respiratory illness caused by enterovirus-D68. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not know how many cases occur each year in the United States because health-care officials are not required to report them.
     
  • Enterovirus-D68 is thought to be uncommon, and less is known about it than other of the more than 100 kinds of enteroviruses. In all, enteroviruses cause about 10 to 15 million infections each year in the United States.
     
  • Enterovirus infections occur more often in the summer and fall. Enterovirus-D68 infections will probably decline later in the fall.
     
  • Infants, children and teenagers are more likely to become infected. That is probably because they do not have immunity from previous exposures to the virus.
     
  • Among the cases in Missouri and Illinois, children with asthma seemed to have a higher risk for severe respiratory illness.
     
  • To protect yourself from enteroviruses, wash your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, do not share cups or utensils with people who are sick, avoid kissing or hugging those who are sick and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, including toys and door knobs.
     
  • Enterovirus-D68 appears to be spread the same way other respiratory infections are spread, through saliva and mucus when someone sneezes or touches something. The new school year is likely helping the virus to be transmitted.
     
  • It can cause from mild to severe respiratory illness.
     
  • Symptoms include fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing and body and muscle aches. Most of the children who got very ill had wheezing and difficulty breathing.
     
  • There is no vaccine.
     
  • There is also no specific treatment and no antiviral medications. For mild respiratory illness, you can take over-the-counter medications to help allieve pain and fever. Children should not take aspirin.
     
  • If you have asthma, make sure to take your prescribed medications. If you develop new or worsened symptoms and they do not go away, call your doctor.
     
  • Enterovirus-D68 was first identified in California in 1962 and since then clusters have appeared in Asia, Europe and the United States.

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<![CDATA[New Drug Fights Melanoma]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 07:30:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/melanoma_448x336.jpg

The FDA approved a new drug Thursday that could change the way melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is treated.

The drug, Keytruda, was considered a breakthrough and approved after it was tested on more than 600 patients who had melanoma spread throughout their bodies.

"I was on oxygen. I was in a wheel chair. I couldn't walk. I didn't eat. I was thinking, I didn't have much longer to go," said melanoma patient Tom Stutz of Sherman Oaks, who was part of a clinical trial at UCLA.

According to the American Cancer Society, although melanoma only accounts for less than 2 percent of all skin cancer cases, it causes the majority of skin cancer deaths.

Melanoma cells protect themselves with a special protein called PD-1. This protein prevents the immune system from recognizing and killing the cancer cells.

The Keytruda drug is an antibody that targets the proteins. Without being guarded by the protein, the immune system has a greater chance of attacking the cancer cells.

"It's important because it's a new tool that is going to be very powerful in designing future regiments for melanoma," said Dr. John Glaspy of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The drug uses the body’s own immune system which means it likely has fewer side effects and more benefits than some regular chemotherapy.

"We have long believed that harnessing the power of our own immune systems would dramatically alter cancer treatment," said Judith Gasson of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Seventy-two percent of patients involved in the study responded to the drug and experienced tumor shrinkage. More than one-third of the patients had tumors that shrunk more than 30 percent and did not re-grow.

The treatment is given intravenously every three weeks. It is unclear how long patients have to stay on the medicine.

Stutz, who in June 2011 had melanoma that had spread to his lung, liver and other parts of his body, currently experiences no signs of the cancer.

"The bottom line is it saved my life. I would not have been here were it not for that drug," Stutz said.

Statistics show approximately 76,100 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2014 and nearly 10,000 Americans will die from the disease this year.

]]>
<![CDATA[Sunglasses Recalled for Excessive Lead Content]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 07:36:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/kids-glasses-recall2.jpg

A Rhode Island-based sunglasses company on Thursday issued a recall of more than 200,000 sunglasses due to an excessive amount of lead in the paint.

The glasses are made by FGX and feature designs from Disney movies, TV shows and some comic book characters.

CVS and Walgreens stores were among those that sold the sunglasses from December 2013 to March 2014 for between $7 and $13.

According to the company website, the recall includes: 

Style# Brand Colors

  • S00014SVS999 -- Marvel Spider-Man Red, blue
  • S00014SVSBLU -- Marvel Spider-Man Blue
  • S00014SVSRED -- Marvel Spider-Man Red
  • S00021LKC999 -- SK2 Sears /Kmart Private Label Blue
  • S00021SVS999 -- Marvel Spider-Man Red/black, silver/blue
  • S01551SDB999 -- Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Red/white, silver/black
  • S02964SJN440 -- Disney Jake and the Never Land Pirates Blue
  • S02964SJN999 -- Disney Jake and the Never Land Pirates Blue
  • S03683SDC999 -- Disney Cars Blue, black, red
  • S04611SDC001 -- Disney Cars Red/black
  • S04611SDC080 -- Disney Cars Red/Silver
  • S04611SDC400 -- Disney Cars Blue/teal/yellow
  • S04611SDC999 -- Disney Cars Blue/teal/yellow, red/black, red/silver
  • S07786SMS500 -- Disney Doc McStuffins Purple/pink
  • S07786SMS650 -- Disney Doc McStuffins Pink/blue
  • S07786SMS999 -- Disney Doc McStuffins Purple/pink, pink/blue
  • S07840SDC999 -- Disney Cars Red/black
  • S07841SDC001 -- Disney Cars Black/silver
  • S07841SDC440 -- Disney Cars Blue/red
  • S07841SDC999 -- Disney Cars Blue/red, black/silver, black/red

Customers can contact FGX International toll-free at 877-277-0104 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET Monday through Friday to arrange a replacement or refund.



Photo Credit: FGX]]>
<![CDATA[Planning Underway to Separate Conjoined Twins]]> Wed, 03 Sep 2014 12:07:38 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/conjoined-twins1.jpg 09/03/14: Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith share a liver, diaphragm, pericardial sac (the lining of the heart) and intestines.]]> <![CDATA[Doc Cured of Ebola Thought He'd Die]]> Wed, 03 Sep 2014 17:57:52 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Lauer+Brantly+Interview+090214.jpg

Dr. Kent Brantly, the American doctor who contracted Ebola while working with relief organization Samaritan's Purse in Liberia, told NBC in an exclusive interview that he felt like he was about to die when he was isolated in a Liberian hospital.

"I said to the nurse who was taking care of me, 'I'm sick. I have no reserve. And I don't know how long I can keep this up,'" the Fort Worth doctor told Matt Lauer in Asheville, North Carolina, where his family has been living in seclusion since he left an Atlanta hospital almost two weeks ago.

A portion of the interview, Brantly's first ever, was airing Tuesday on "Nightly News," and another portion will air Wednesday morning on the "Today" show. The full report will air in an hour-long NBC News primetime special on Friday.

"I said, 'I don't know how you're going to breathe for me when I quit breathing,'" Brantly recalled telling the nurse in Liberia. "'Cause that was the reality. I thought, 'I— I'm not gonna be able to continue breathing this way.' And they had no way to breathe for me if I had to quit breathing."

Brantly's wife Amber, who lived with her husband and children in Liberia, and the doctors who treated him at Emory University Hospital have also spoken with Lauer, and NBC News cameras had exclusive access to the isolation room where Brantly was treated.

Amber described to Lauer how scared she had felt when she found out her husband had contracted Ebola.

"I knew what was coming," she said. "I knew how it ends. I knew how everyone had ended up so far."

Brantly was flown out of Liberia a month ago after contracting Ebola in July. He was isolated and spent three weeks being treated at Emory University Hospital before he was declared cured and discharged on what he called "a miraculous day."

Aid worker Nancy Writebol, 59, was also flown to Emory Hospital for treatment in early August and was quietly released several days before Brantly, also cured of the potentially deadly disease.

On Tuesday, NBC News reported another American missionary doctor has tested positive for Ebola, the aid group SIM USA said. The doctor was treating obstetric patients at ELWA hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, though not in the hospital’s isolation unit, NBC News reported.



Photo Credit: TODAY Show]]>
<![CDATA[Kraft Recalls Some American Singles Cheese]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 10:57:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP091109173400.jpg

Kraft is voluntarily recalling 7,691 cases of four varieties of its regular American Singles cheese product.

The recalled products have a "Best if Used By" date of Feb. 20, 2015, and Feb. 21, 2015.

Kraft traced the recall back to one of the company's suppliers. Kraft Foods Group Inc., which is based in Northfield, Illinois, said the supplier did not store an ingredient used in the cheese product at the company's standards.

Kraft said it's unlikely but the product could spoil prematurely, and it could lead to food-borne illness. However, Kraft said no one has reported getting sick.

Kraft spokesman Russ Dyer said the company issued a nationwide recall, but he can't specifically cite a city or state that received the potentially problematic cheese.

"We can tell you that very little product was shipped, so there is a limited amount of product, if any, on shelf," Dyer said.

Kraft said you can return the cheese to the store you purchased it at for a refund. Customers can also call Kraft at 800-396-5512.

Below is a list of package codes associated with the recall.

  • 0 21000 60464 7
  • 0 21000 61526 1
  • 0 21000 61526 1
  • 0 21000 63360 9



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Evergreen Park Mayor Tells of West Nile Virus Survival]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 20:35:33 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/mayor+sexton.jpg

Two years ago, Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton got flu-like systems that wouldn't go away. He continued to get weaker and his fever kept going up.

It turned out to be a severe case of West Nile virus that landed him in intensive care for two weeks.

"Severe weakness, a lot of confusion and fever," Sexton said. "The swelling of the brain was mid-week, and it didn't look good at that point, but the hospital did a wonderful job and got it under control." 

Sexton survived and now he and his family tell the story in two videos produced by the Cook County Health Department.

As Labor Day approaches, Sexton's story serves as a reminder to be on the lookout for symptoms.

In the Chicago area, most infections happen around this time of year. There's a two-week incubation period, and most people don't know when or where they were bitten.

"It lets people know this is real," he said, "that it happened to somebody. It could happen to you."

Sexton said it was a slow road to recovery, but he's glad to be back, to his family and his constituents.

"I can't believe that you could lose all those functions that quickly," he said, "because I needed help out of the bed, to the bathroom, into the wheelchair." 

Dr. Terry Mason at the Cook County Department of Public Health warns that little tubs of water, like bird baths and plastic swimming pools, are a feeding ground for mosquitoes.

Mason encourages residents to repair screen doors to make certain bugs can't get through holes.

And the big thing: "Make certain you put on a repellant that contains DEET."



Photo Credit: NBCChicago.com]]>
<![CDATA[Why Did Ice Bucket Challenge Take Off?]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:54:16 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP908350358790.jpg 08/28/14: Maryilene Blondell from the Greater Chicago Chapter of the ALS Association talks about why donations have been pouring in.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Boston Marathon Dream Wedding]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:27:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/edt-KJWedding1.jpg If something good could come out of the Boston Marathon bombing, James Costello and Krista D'Agostino seem to have found it.

Photo Credit: Prudente Photography]]>
<![CDATA[Oak Lawn Woman is Cook County's First Case of West Nile]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 11:46:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/West-Nile-Virus-P4.jpg

The season’s first human case of West Nile virus in Cook County is a woman in her 40s from the southwest suburbs, health officials announced Wednesday.

The Oak Lawn resident became ill earlier this month but did not require hospitalization, according to the Cook County Department of Public Health. She is recovering at home.

"I can’t stress enough the importance of prevention during West Nile virus season," Cook County Department of Public Health COO Dr. Terry Mason said in a statement. "Every year, the virus circulates throughout suburban Cook County and while we can’t eliminate those mosquitoes, we all have the ability to take basic prevention measures to protect against human transmission."

Department officials said mosquito pools in 61 communities, as well as three dead birds, have tested positive for the virus.

Health officials said most people infected by the virus show no symptoms, but people over 50 or suffering a chronic disease are "at-risk for serious complications," according to CCDPH.

The most effective way to prevent against becoming infected with WNV is to follow the 3 Rs, officials said. They are: 

  • Remove standing water around your home in pet bowls, flower pots, old tires, baby pools and toys. Water that is allowed to stagnate for three or four days become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
  • Repel mosquitoes when outdoors between dusk and dawn by applying insect repellent with DEET and wear light, lose fitting clothing.
  • Repair or replace torn screens on doors and windows



Photo Credit: AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Sam's Club Caesar Salads Recalled]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:28:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/sams_club1.jpg

A California firm is recalling chicken Caesar salad kits sold at Sam's Clubs nationwide for possible listeria contamination.

APPA Fine Foods is recalling more than 92,500 pounds of fully-cooked chicken Caesar salad kit products, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Thursday.

The salad kits were shipped nationwide and sold at Sam's Clubs' in-store cafes according to the USDA.

The following products are subject to recall were in 11oz. clear plastic containers and 6.5-lb. boxes labeled, "APPA Fine Foods/Sam’s Club Daily Chef CHICKEN CAESAR SALAD KIT" with case codes 141851, 141922, 141951, 141991, 142021, 142201 or 142131 with use by dates of 8/14/14, 8/21/14, 8/27/14, 9/1/14, 9/3/14 or 9/17/14. The kits were produced on July 4, July 11, July 14, July 18, July 21, July 25, Aug. 1 and Aug. 8, 2014.

The USDA's FSIS and the company said there have been no reports of illnesses, but anyone concerned about an illness should contact a healthcare provider.

Listeriosis can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. The invasive infection can spread beyond the gastrointestinal tract. In pregnant women, the infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn. In addition, serious and sometimes fatal infections in older adults and persons with weakened immune systems.

Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics.

More: California Firm Recalls Chicken Caesar Salad Kits For Possible Listeria Contamination



Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Whole Foods Pulls Yogurt Over Sugar]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:35:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/whole+foods+yogurt+allegations.JPG

Organic supermarket giant Whole Foods has removed a version of its store-brand yogurt from shelves after lawsuits were filed in local courts over the dairy product's sugar content.

A company spokesperson tells NBC10.com Friday that the Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt is not being sold as they investigate how much sugar is in each serving.

Two class-action lawsuits were filed earlier this month on behalf of Pennsylvania and New Jersey shoppers.

The suits were brought forth after testing by Consumer Reports found yogurt samples to contain six times the sugar content that was displayed on the nutrition label. The label said 2 grams of sugar was in one container of the product, but the group's analysis found 11.4 grams per serving.

The lawsuit alleges the supermarket knew the label was wrong, but continued to sell the product.

Whole Foods has declined to comment on the specifics of the case, but the spokesperson previously said they were working to determine the discrepancy between their test results and what Consumer Reports found.

Attorneys for the lawsuits are seeking $100 per plaintiff and could represent some 35,000 people. Should they win, the supermarket chain could be forced to pay $3.5 million.

The company spokesperson said several other Greek yogurt options remain stocked for customers in the meantime.

]]>
<![CDATA[Sacramento Patient Tests Negative for Ebola]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 16:32:13 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tlmd_ebola.jpg

Health officials said Thursday a patient who was being tested for Ebola in Sacramento has tested negative for the virus.

There are currently no confirmed cases of the Ebola virus in California.

"We are pleased with the negative outcome of the Ebola test and wish the patient a speedy recovery," Dr. Ron Chapman, California Department of Public Health Director and state health officer, said in a statement. "The case in Sacramento County demonstrates that the system is working. This patient was quickly identified, appropriate infection control procedures were implemented, and public health authorities were notified."

State and federal officials earlier in the week said they will not divulge which West African country the patient traveled to or from in order to protect the individual's privacy.

Officials also said they will not be releasing the patient's identity, gender or whether the patient is an adult or minor.

On Tuesday, health officials announced that the patient who was admitted to a South Sacramento hospital may have been exposed to the Ebola virus. The Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center worked with the Sacramento County Division of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to test blood samples from the patient.

For more information about Ebola, please visit the CDPH home page's "Other Hot Topics" and the CDC's page on information and updates.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal Man Shares ALS Reality]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:42:07 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/ALSchallenge.JPG

It starts off hilarious: A jocular guy in a bikini challenging Ellen DeGeneres and Miley Cyrus to the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Then, it gets personal, real and heartbreaking.

Anthony Carbajal, a Murrieta native and owner of a Temecula wedding photography business, shares in a new YouTube video about a family history of ALS and how he was diagnosed with the debilitating disease earlier this year at age 26.

“I hate talking about it. That’s probably why no one talks it. Because it’s so challenging to watch,” Carbajal says in the video. “No one wants to talk about it. They don’t want it to ruin their day.”

His YouTube video has reached more than 4 million views in just three days and has been spotlighted by Time, BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post, among other media outlets.

The video is a challenge to naysayers of the ubiquitous ALS Ice Bucket Challenge — those who express annoyance that the craze is filling up their Facebook newsfeeds.

“I promise your newsfeed will go back to cat videos and ‘Let It Go’ covers,” he says. “But now, for once, the ALS community has the main spotlight. And for once in my entire life, I’ve seen it in the forefront.”

“Eventually I won’t be able to walk, talk and breathe on my own,” he says. “And that’s the real truth of what ALS is.”

Since the Ice Bucket Challenge took over the Internet, the ALS Association has received $41.8 million in donations from July 29 to Thursday. That's compared to $2.1 million in the same time period last year.

You can watch the video here. (Warning: It contains some profanity.)
 

His YouTube video also drew the attention of Ellen DeGeneres, who accepted his challenged and tweeted this morning:



Photo Credit: YouTube
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Groups Team Up to Help Fight Hunger]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 15:56:31 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000008452368_1200x675_319342659506.jpg The Greater Chicago Food Depository and The Growing Initiative are Making a Difference. They are growing fresh produce that will feed families that are battling going hungry at night. NBC 5's Allison Rosati reports.]]> <![CDATA[Almond, Peanut Butter Recalled]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 15:04:50 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/100308-peanut-butter-attack.jpg

A unit of Hain Celestial Group Inc. is recalling some peanut and almond butter because of possible salmonella contamination.

The company said Tuesday that there have been reports of four illnesses that may be related to the nut butters.

They were sold under the brand names Arrowhead Mills peanut butters and MaraNatha almond butters and peanut butters. Also being recalled were some lots of private label almond butter from grocers Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Kroger and Safeway. A total of 45 production lots are affected.

They were sold in Canada, the Dominican Republic, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates as well as the U.S.

The Lake Success, New York, company said it learned of the contamination risk after routine FDA testing.

The Food and Drug Administration said it did not know how many jars of nut butters were recalled. The company would not comment.

Typical symptoms of salmonella infection are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. These symptoms generally develop within one to three days of exposure to the bacterium and may last for up to a week.  While anyone can become ill from exposure to salmonella, health officials say the risk of infection is particularly high for children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.

There have been several major salmonella outbreaks in recent years, including infected peanuts that sickened more than 700 people in 2008 and 2009 and Foster Farms chicken that is linked to a strain of salmonella that has made more than 500 people sick over the last year and a half.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this Associated Press report incorrectly identified some of the nut butters recalled.  The error has been corrected in the above report.  We regret the error.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>