<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Health News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/health http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Sat, 28 Feb 2015 17:15:27 -0600 Sat, 28 Feb 2015 17:15:27 -0600 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA["Biggest Loser" Winner Visits NBC 5]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:22:51 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Toma-Dobrosavljevic.jpg Addison's Toma Dobrosavljevic dishes on the show, the behind-the-scenes drama, relationships he's made and what's next for him.]]> <![CDATA[WATCH: Body Bags Are Getting Bigger]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 14:56:06 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/NC_bigbodybags.jpg With more than one third of U.S. adults overweight, coroners are having problems with standard body bags sizes being too small.]]> <![CDATA[Lake County Warns of Possible Measles Exposure]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 18:33:49 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/doctor-generic1.jpg

One day after public health officials announced a 15th person has been diagnosed with measles in Cook County, the Lake County Health Department warned residents about the potential for exposure.

Officials said the latest person to test positive for the virus visited Lake County at a time when they could have been contagious.

The health department warned that residents who visited or worked at the Menards store at 2700 W. Lake Cook Rd. in Long Grove between 7:55 a.m. and 3:20 p.m. Feb. 15 may have been exposed.

Epidemiologist Victor Plotkin with the Lake County Health Department asks that Menards employees and customers who were in this store during that time take inventory of any unusual symptoms they may be experiencing.

"Measles starts as a cold illness, a non-specific cold illness," Plotkin said. "Because of how contagious it is, it can spread like a fire. Therefore, we are taking no chances."

Clinics offering free measles, mumps, rubella vaccines will be offered for customers and employees of the store who feel they may have been exposed, the department said.

"The measles vaccine is safe, effective and the best protection against this disease," Tony Beltran, the Lake County Health Department's executive director, said in a statement. "Before the U.S. measles vaccination program started in 1963, about 3 to 4 million people in the U.S. got measles each year, 400 to 500 of them died and 48,000 were hospitalized."

Health officials said there have been no confirmed measles cases in Lake County as of Thursday afternoon.

All 15 cases reported statewide are in Cook County and 13 of them are related to the outbreak at the KinderCare Learning Center, including one adult and 12 infants.

Officials say the latest case is an adult, but does not appear to be related to the KinderCare Learning Center at the center of a northwest suburban outbreak.

Illinois health officials are still trying to figure out how the people became infected with the measles virus. No ties have been found to the December outbreak at Disneyland in California, health officials said.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease that can cause severe health complications, including pneumonia, encephalitis and death.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Anthem Breach Affects 215,000 Blue Cross Members in Ill.]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 15:27:01 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/219*120/doctor_generic_health.jpg

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois said around 215,000 members’ personal information was compromised in a data breach at Anthem, Inc. this month.

The company said personal information about current and former members, including addresses, birthdates, social security numbers and telephone numbers may have been exposed in the breach. Medical and credit card information was not affected.

The breach affects members of an Anthem plan dating back to 2004 and includes customers of Amerigroup, Anthem and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield companies, Caremore and Unicare.
Customers who used their Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance in one of fourteen states, including Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, could have also been impacted.

Anthem announced the breach earlier this month, estimating the attack could have affected up to 80 million records.

BCBSIL said it planned to mail notifications to the current and former members in Illinois whose personal information may have been compromised.

“BCBSIL regrets that this may cause our members inconvenience,” the company said in a statement. “The privacy of our members is a top priority. BCBSIL has a robust information security program and has established additional security measures following the Anthem data breach.”

Anthem said it will offer 24 months of credit services to all current and former BCBSIL members affected in the breach.

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<![CDATA[Hand Washing Dishes May Prevent Allergies: Study]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:24:46 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/dishwashingAllergy-529008409.jpg

Washing dishes might be the best chore for a kid.

Doing dishes by hand instead of using a dishwasher might prevent or reduce allergies in children, according to a Swedish study published in the journal Pediatrics yesterday.

The study of more than 1,000 children from Sweden found that those living in homes where dishes were washed by hand were 40 percent less likely to develop allergies compared to those in homes with a dishwasher.

A questionnaire asked parents about their dishwashing practices as well as whether their 7- or 8-year-olds had asthma, eczema or seasonal allergies.

The researchers suggest that allergy development was reduced due to increased microbial exposure from the bacteria left on dishes, and that the exposure is good for children because it may stimulate their immune systems.

The report references a German study from 2004 that compared hand-washing techniques and dishwashers and found that half of the subjects did not clean as well as a dishwasher. That study also found that milk products have the potential to stay on utensils enough to pose health risks.

"People whose immune systems are no longer busy fighting infection become disregulated and allergic,” Susan Wasserman, professor of medicine at McMaster University in Canada, told Live Science. Wasserman referred to the "hygiene hypothesis," a theory that the immune systems of children not exposed to as many microbes do know how to fight off allergens such as pollen.

The new study of Swedish children found that the development of allergies in children was reduced even more once the researchers analyzed other lifestyle factors. Eating fermented foods, living in crowded situations, and being a part of an immigrant family all prevent or reduce the development of allergies.

In the commentary of the study, two physicans at University of California, San Francisco, said that dishwater usage and other lifestyle choices should be researched further.



Photo Credit: Illustration/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Study Finds Obesity, Diabetes Link]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 15:26:17 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/UC-San-Diego-generic_6.jpg

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, believe they have discovered the "root cause" of Type 2 diabetes — a molecular link between obesity and diabetes that may lead to new treatment.

Inflammation that results from obesity leads to insulin resistance, the first step in developing Type 2 diabetes, the study found.

One inflammatory molecule in particular, LTB4, is released by immune cells living in extra fat, called macrophages. Positive feedback then signals for the body to release more macrophages, which then release more LTB4 into the fatty cells in the liver, researchers found.

"This study is important because it reveals a root cause of type 2 diabetes," the study's senior author Dr. Jerrold M. Olefsky, professor of medicine and associate dean for scientific affairs, said in a statement. "And now that we understand that LTB4 is the inflammatory factor causing insulin resistance, we can inhibit it to break the link between obesity and diabetes."

Those LTB4 then bind to nearby cell surfaces, the researchers found. In people who are obese, those cells become inflamed and the body becomes resistant to insulin.

In the UC San Diego study, Olefsky and his team of researchers used genetically engineered mice to look for ways to reverse insulin resistance.

The team created genetically engineered mice that did not have the LTB4 receptor. Without the receptor, the health of obese mice “dramatically improved.”

The study was authored by Pingping Li, Da Young Oh, Gautam Bandyopadhyay, William S. Lagakos, Saswata Talukdar, Olivia Osborn, Andrew Johnson, Heekyung Chung, Rafael Mayoral, Michael Maris, Jachelle M Ofrecio, Sayaka Taguchi, Min Lu. All of the researchers are at UC San Diego.

The research was funded in part by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and Merck Inc.



Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Study Examines Peanut Allergy]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 14:45:57 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/peanut+butter+recall.jpg

A groundbreaking study released Monday argues that the key to preventing peanut allergies in children may lie in early and regular exposure to the food, but some parents aren't quite ready to expose their children.

Researchers at King’s College London found introducing peanut snacks to children at high-risk for the allergy made them less likely to develop it by the time they turned 5 than kids who avoided peanut snacks completely.

"Consumption rather than avoidance seems to protect against developing peanut allergy," said Dr. Gideon Lack, of King’s College.

But the news doesn't provide relief for parents of kids who already have a potentially fatal peanut allergy. 

"We just can’t take a chance. We don’t eat out. We don’t travel on planes. We have to live differently than the normal family," said Debbie Adler, whose 6-year-old son suffers from allergies.

Adler first discovered her son’s allergies when he experienced a severe reaction after eating frozen yogurt.

"He started vomiting profusely. I had never seen anything like this. Nonstop. Nonstop. Went on and on until he turned blue and passed out in my arms," Adler said.

In addition to milk, doctors found Adler’s son also had a peanut allergy. Allergies like his are not only a nuisance, but they can also be deadly. In some cases, just smelling peanuts is enough to cause a child to go into anaphylactic shock.

Adler’s son is not alone: More than 2 percent of kids in the United States are allergic to peanuts and that number is only climbing, according to the Associated Press. However, the King's College study could help reverse this upward trajectory.

Researchers enrolled 640 children under age 1 who were at high risk for peanut allergy. Half were given a peanut snack at least three times a week, while the others were told to avoid all peanuts until five.

Although counterintuitive, the results confirmed avoiding peanuts did not help ward off peanut allergies. In fact, 17 percent of the kids who avoided peanuts developed an allergy by age five. However, only three percent of the kids who ate the peanut snacks developed the same allergy.

"You need to be introduced to these proteins very early in life," Lack continued.

There is also a new patch designed to desensitize peanut allergy patients by exposing them to a small dose of peanut protein. The common thread appears to be that a little bit of exposure and consumption seems to teach the body that peanuts are not an enemy.

Adler hopes this technique will free other families from the debilitating effects of nut allergies.

"It would change our lives significantly is he could eat all of the things he’s allergic too."

Dr. Bruce’s Advice: If your kid has a lot of allergies, speak with a doctor and begin exposing them to tiny amounts of the allergens under supervision. If your child gets a rash or other symptoms, stop.

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<![CDATA[New Rules to Combat "Superbugs"]]> Sat, 21 Feb 2015 01:35:50 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/web_superbug_gordon_5p_1200x675_401693763890.jpg

Doctors and administrators at Ronald Reagan-UCLA Medical Center said Thursday that new procedures for cleaning a medical device used in some exams will prevent the "superbug" that led to two deaths and five other infections from spreading to anyone else.

Officials also faced tough questions as many wondered why it had taken them until yesterday to tell the public about an outbreak that began more than a month ago.

"It takes a little bit of time to identify the patients who are at risk for the procedure," said Dr. Zachary Rubin, the hospital’s medical director of infection prevention.

In mid-December, a UCLA patient received a gallbladder exam using a device called an endoscope.

The patient, whose identity was not disclosed, developed immediate symptoms of the "superbug" bacteria, doctors said. The patient had a fever, chills and then a massive infection.

Doctors tested the scope to make sure it was used and sterilized properly.

The devices are difficult to sterilize completely, and even feature warnings from the manufacturer. Doctors found two of the scopes may have transmitted the bacteria.

Researchers then found seven other cases of the infection stemming from the CRE bacteria, which is fatal in as many as half of those whose bloodstreams are exposed to it.

The bacteria exists naturally in many people’s intestines and will not affect them, but once it enters the bloodstream it can be deadly.

"We do do surveillance on a regular, routine basis for CRE, and we've actually done additional investigation over the past few years," Rubin said.

But the bacteria did not turn up when the first patient was admitted, the one who may have been a "carrier."

While researching any possible exposure, the hospital implemented new and stricter requirements for sterilizing the scopes.

Checking records to find out which endoscopies were performed on which patients with the two contaminated devices took time, said doctors.

They also didn't want to alarm all patients who'd had endoscopies if they weren't exposed to the same contaminated instruments.

Ultimately, they discovered 179 patients total who may have been exposed during procedures between October 2014 and Jan. 28.

Doctors are continuing to reach out to patients who may have been affected. Rubin said they have called and emailed patients out of an “abundance of caution.”

"What we're doing now is trying to identify any patients that have 'carrier state,'" Rubin said.

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<![CDATA[FDA Warning: Traces of Peanuts Found in Cumin]]> Thu, 19 Feb 2015 10:52:15 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/cumin-86069470.jpg

Hundreds of products are being pulled from store shelves after traces of peanut were found in cumin spice — a life-threatening danger to some people with peanut allergies.

The recall has been ongoing since December, as more retailers identify products that contain the cumin. The Food and Drug Administration is now warning all people with peanut allergies to avoid cumin and products that contain cumin.

While such large allergy-related recalls are rare, undeclared allergens like peanuts are the leading cause of food recalls in the United States. That can be very unsettling to people who are keeping a close watch on what they or their children eat, since food allergies can be a matter of life or death.

"You might do all of the things you are supposed to do and read the label, but there could still be undeclared allergens," says Dr. Michael Pistiner, a Boston-based pediatric allergist. "It's challenging to know that and still feel comfortable."

Pistiner says he sees the recalls as low-risk, since often the amount of the undeclared allergen is very small. "But the highest risk is to our comfort," he says.

According to the group Food Allergy Research and Education, or FARE, 15 million Americans have food allergies, including 1 in 13 children. Eight foods account for more than 90 percent of the allergies — peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish.

Since 2006, those allergens are required by law to be listed on food packages if they are ingredients. The law is less clear when it comes to cross- contamination, however — companies aren't required to list on the label if peanuts or another allergen are processed in the same facility or on the same equipment.

Little is known about how many people may have reactions to allergens that accidentally make their way into food. Those reactions are hard to track — much harder than a pathogen like salmonella, for instance, which can be identified in a person's stool and traced directly to the same strains in a food manufacturing facility or on a farm.

The FDA said it had 428 reports of "adverse events" related to undeclared allergens between January 2012 and December 2014, including reports of three deaths. The agency would not release any detailed information on those reports, which are made by consumers and can't always be confirmed by the agency.

The agency said it has had at least seven reports from consumers related to the cumin recall. Hundreds of products have been recalled since December, from spice mixes to black beans to meats with marinades that include cumin. The spice is often used in Tex-Mex and Indian dishes. The FDA declined to provide any further details on how it happened or what company added peanuts or peanut residue to its cumin spice.

The FDA said packaged foods may not have enough of the affected cumin to trigger a reaction — but those who are sensitive should be careful just in case. Some products may not actually list cumin, but list "spices" instead.

Multiple recalls have spanned a two-month period. The first was on Dec. 26, when Texas-based Adams Foods recalled several of its cumin spices. On Feb. 9, the retailer Whole Foods recalled more than 100 products that potentially contained the cumin. Last Friday, Goya Foods recalled some brands of its black beans and black bean soup. Several other foods have been pulled off store shelves as well.

FARE, the allergy group, routinely notifies its members of what recalls are out there so they can keep track. And the group is pushing the FDA to ensure that allergens are treated as importantly as pathogens like salmonella and E. coli when the agency issues final food safety rules later this year.

"Requiring food processors and manufacturers to identify potential allergen hazards and develop plans to avoid those hazards is critical," the group told the FDA in comments on the rule.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Judges Can Boost Sentences for Faked Mental Illness]]> Mon, 16 Feb 2015 07:08:29 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/mental+health+prison.jpg

A Chicago-based appellate court says judges can boost defendants' sentences if they fake mental illness to delay proceedings.

Judge Richard Posner wrote the unanimous opinion for a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. District Court of Appeals. The court posted the ruling on Friday.

Anthony Wilbourn was convicted of a 2000 bank robbery in South Bend, Indiana. He told a psychologist he didn't know what year it was and didn't even know what a bank is. His U.S. judge in northern Indiana determined that wasn't true.

For attempting to obstruct of justice, the judge added months to Wilbourn's prison sentence. He received over 11 years overall.

Posner said he didn't want to dissuade defendants who actually suffer from mental illness from saying so, but he said Wilbourn's exaggerations were clear.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[What to Know for the Obamacare Deadline]]> Sun, 15 Feb 2015 02:19:50 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Obamacare-Signup.jpg

If you're not insured, there's still time to sign up for health coverage this year under Obamacare before the official deadline.

The official deadline to sign up for HealthCare.gov is 2:59 a.m. Eastern time on Monday, which is just before midnight Sunday on the West Coast.

The Obama administration projects that more than 9 million Americans will sign up by Sunday's deadline. That's up from the 7 million it estimates got insurance through the Affordable Care Act last year, cutting the number of uninsured from 17 percent at the end of 2013 to 12.9 percent at the end of 2014.

Here are six things to know about Obamacare enrollment before the Feb. 15 deadline.

Enrollment Is Off Without a Hitch

The 2015 enrollment effort is running more smoothly than it did when the insurance marketplaces first debuted in 2013.

The federal HealthCare.gov website and state-based sites experienced no major meltdowns during the current enrollment period, and wait times at call centers have improved, too.

But there are other concerns and issues to keep in mind when signing up for health care.

You May Have Trouble Getting Covered If You Miss the Deadline

In the first open enrollment period, from late 2013 to early 2014, insurance exchanges extended deadlines for many people, mostly due to technical glitches that slowed the application process.

Since the system is running more smoothly this time around, it may be more difficult to get the deadline extended.

Still, there are some exceptions if you miss the deadline. Certain life events — like getting married, having a child, becoming a legal resident or citizen of the U.S. or being denied Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) — can qualify you for a special enrollment period. 

The next open enrollment period is expected to begin in October and may end in December, rather than extending into 2016.

The Obamacare Law Faces a New Threat

The Affordable Care Act offers subsidized private health insurance to people who don’t have access to coverage at work, but about 8 million people could lose that financial assistance later in the year.

The Supreme Court is set to consider a case, King v. Burwell, in which Obamacare opponents argue that the law's wording lets the federal government pay health care subsidies only in states that have set up their own insurance exchanges, according to The Associated Press — something that most states haven’t done. The people who wrote the law, however, say it provides subsidies to people in every state.

Should the plaintiffs win the case, people in the 37 states where the federal government is running insurance markets could lose their subsidies. The court is expected to rule on the case in late June.

Some Could Face Stiff Premium Hikes

Many consumers who already signed up for Obamacare may experience a sticker shock during this enrollment period. They could see their premiums increase sharply if they automatically re-enroll in their current plans, instead of choosing new, lower-priced versions.

Learn if you qualify for lower costs on health insurance coverage here.

There's a Tax Penalty This Time

This is the first year consumers have to consider their health insurance at tax time. If you don’t have health care coverage in 2015, you’ll have to pay a penalty when you file your 2015 federal income tax return in 2016.

Federal health officials predict that 2 to 4 percent of taxpayers will end up paying a fine, which amounts to $95 per adult ($47.50 per child), up to $285 for a family, for the 2014 tax year. The penalties go up to a minimum of $325 per adult for the 2015 calendar year and $695 per adult for the 2016 calendar year.

There are exemptions from the fee for not having health care coverage — for instance, if you're uninsured for only one or two consecutive months of the year, if you were covered by May 1 of last year, or if the cheapest available coverage would have cost more than 8 percent of your household's income.

You Must Be Able to Prove Your Legal Status

You must be able to prove your legal status to qualify for Obamacare, health officials have warned.

About 200,000 people will be dropped from insurance policies at the end of February because they have been unable to prove they are legally living in the U.S., the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said. That's in addition to 112,000 people were dropped from their plans in September.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Officials Confirm 11th Measles Case in Cook County]]> Wed, 11 Feb 2015 21:34:53 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/224*120/kindercare+generic.jpg

Public health officials have confirmed an 11th measles case in Cook County.

The most recent case involves an infant who officials say they have been monitoring for several days, according to Cook County Department of Public Health spokeswoman Amy Poore.

Ten of the cases are related to the Palatine KinderCare Learning Center at the center of last week’s outbreak.

A spokesperson with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Chicago Department of Public Health confirmed one case is a Chicago infant who is associated with KinderCare. Officials say eight other infants and one adult from the Palatine KinderCare have also been diagnosed, though the adult is not an employee with the facility.

Elgin Community College confirmed Tuesday that one case is an ECC student who is a Cook County resident associated with the KinderCare outbreak.

The one case not linked to the day care center was an adult who last month was the state's first confirmed diagnosis.

Doctors last week said there was no link between the first case and the KinderCare cases, and no link to any of them with the multi-state outbreak associated with Disneyland.

DuPage County issued a warning to residents Tuesday of the potential for exposure in the county. County officials said while there were no cases confirmed in the county as of Tuesday afternoon, it is likely those diagnosed in Cook County "visited locations throughout the northern Illinois region."

"The solution to ending measles is simple – get vaccinated," said Illinois Department of Public Health director Nirav Shah. "The vaccine is 97 percent effective upon receipt of two doses. But the vaccine alone doesn’t provide protection; it is the vaccination that will prevent disease. I urge everyone who is eligible to receive the vaccine to get vaccinated."

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<![CDATA[Whole Foods Recalls Products Due to Undeclared Peanuts]]> Wed, 11 Feb 2015 07:45:46 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/TLMD-whole-foods-generic-shutterstock-166306679.jpg

Whole Foods Markets, Inc. on Tuesday issued a recall of approximately 33,191 pounds of ready-to-eat products due to misbranding and an undeclared allergen.

The product contains peanut, which is not declared on the product label.

The following products are subject to recall:

  • 16 lb bulk containers of “CHILI, TURKEY AND BLACK BEAN” with production dates of 1/14/15 to 2/5/15.
  • 16 lb bulk containers of “CHILI, BRAISED BEEF” with production dates of 1/14/15 to 2/5/15
  • 24 oz packages of “CHICKEN CHILI BURRITO” with production dates of 1/14/15 to 2/5/15.
  • 24 oz packages of “PORK CARNITAS BURRITO” with production dates of 1/14/15 to 2/5/15.
  • 24 oz packages of “GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST QUESADILLA” with production dates of 1/14/15 to 2/5/15.
  • 10 lb bulk containers of “CHICKEN CHILI VERDE” with production dates of 1/14/15 to 2/5/15.
  • 10 lb bulk container of “PORK CARNITAS” with production dates of 1/14/15 to 2/5/15.
  • 1.5 lb packages of “CHILI, TURKEY & BLACK BEAN” with production dates of 1/14/15 to 2/5/15.
  • 1.5 lb packages of “CHILI, BRAISED BEEF” with production dates of 1/14/15 to 2/5/15.
  • 23 oz packages of “BLAZIN’ BEEF CHILI” with production dates of 1/14/15 to 2/5/15.
  • 10 lb bulk containers of “Beef for Barbacoa (Beef and Onions in Spicy Sauce)” with production dates of 1/14/15 to 2/5/15

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has posted a document showing the product labels to USDA.gov.

The items were produced on various dates from January 14, 2015 through February 5, 2015. The products bear the establishment number "20234" and "18768" inside the USDA mark of inspection and have the sell by date printed on the product label.

The products were shipped to retail outlets in Connecticut, Kentucky, Ohio, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

The problem was discovered when a Whole Foods manufacturing plant was notified by its spice supplier that cumin used in the chili may have been contaminated with peanut allergens.

FSIS and the company have received no reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about a reaction should contact a healthcare provider.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[DuPage County Warns of Potential Measles Exposure]]> Tue, 10 Feb 2015 16:13:50 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/N5P+DISNEYLAND+MEASLES+VO+-+00001526.jpg

Another Illinois county has warned residents of the possibility for exposure to measles after 10 cases were confirmed in Cook County.

DuPage County said while there were no cases confirmed in the county as of Tuesday afternoon, it is likely those diagnosed in Cook County "visited locations throughout the northern Illinois region."

The DuPage County Health Department said there are currently three locations where potential exposures may have occurred.

  • Patients and visitors at Advanced Pediatrics Neonatal Medicine (473 W. Army Trail Road, Suite 103, Bloomingdale) on January 26 from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., January 30 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., or January 31 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Customers and visitors at Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa (792 W. Army Trail Road, Carol Stream) on February 6 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or February 7 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Customers at Jewel Osco (750 Army Trail Road, Carol Stream) on February 6 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The three locations are working with the health department to identify potential contacts and prevent further exposure.

“Since infected people are contagious even before the rash develops, it is important to protect yourself and your family by making sure everyone is up-to-date on their immunizations,” the health department said in a statement.

The warning comes on the same day Cook County confirmed its tenth measles case.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, nine of the cases are associated with the KinderCare in Palatine that is at the center of last week's outbreak.

A spokesperson with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Chicago Department of Public Health confirmed one case is a Chicago infant who is associated with KinderCare. Officials say seven other infants and one adult from the Palatine KinderCare have also been diagnosed, though the adult is not an employee with the facility.

The one case not linked to the day care center was an adult who last month was the state's first confirmed diagnosis.

Doctors last week said there was no link between the first case and the KinderCare cases, and no link to any of them with the multi-state outbreak associated with Disneyland.

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<![CDATA[Another Measles Case Confirmed in Cook County]]> Tue, 10 Feb 2015 23:13:47 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/Measles_Generic_722x406_19018080101.jpg

Health officials have confirmed another measles case in Cook County, bringing the county's total number of diagnoses to 10.

This is the fourth case announced this week after officials confirmed three cases in suburban Cook County on Monday.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, nine of the cases are associated with the KinderCare in Palatine that is at the center of last week's outbreak.

A spokesperson with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Chicago Department of Public Health confirmed one case is a Chicago infant who is associated with KinderCare. Officials say seven other infants and one adult from the Palatine KinderCare have also been diagnosed, though the adult is not an employee with the facility.

Elgin Community College confirmed Tuesday that one case is an ECC student.

School officials said the student attended classes on Feb. 3, Feb. 5, and visited the library on Feb. 3 before being diagnosed.

"The school is working closely with the Kane County and Cook County Health Departments to ensure the health and safety of those who may have had contact with the student," ECC said in a statement Tuesday.

The one case not linked to the day care center was an adult who last month was the state's first confirmed diagnosis.

Doctors last week said there was no link between the first case and the KinderCare cases, and no link to any of them with the multi-state outbreak associated with Disneyland.

"The solution to ending measles is simple – get vaccinated," said Illinois Department of Public Health director Nirav Shah. "The vaccine is 97 percent effective upon receipt of two doses. But the vaccine alone doesn’t provide protection; it is the vaccination that will prevent disease. I urge everyone who is eligible to receive the vaccine to get vaccinated."

KinderCare Learning Centers said it would require measles vaccinations for staff members who work with infants too young to be vaccinated starting Monday.

A KinderCare spokesman said the vaccination was not previously a requirement, but officials are in the process of notifying parents and staff at facilities in 39 states that it will be required for those working with children under the age of 15 months.

The company said it will also encourage teachers to get vaccinated as well. They also plan to limit access to the infant rooms, and rooms with unvaccinated children, to parents or other adults dropping off or picking up an infant and immunized caregivers and field management personnel.

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<![CDATA[3 More Measles Cases Confirmed in Cook County]]> Tue, 10 Feb 2015 08:18:24 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/Measles_Generic_722x406_19018080101.jpg

Public health officials on Monday said three more cases of measles were confirmed in suburban Cook County.

That diagnosis brings the total number of confirmed cases in Cook County to nine. All but one are associated with the KinderCare in Palatine that is at the center of last week's outbreak.

A spokesperson with the Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed one case is a Chicago infant who is associated with KinderCare. The eight other cases involve suburban residents -- two adults and six children -- all of whom were unvaccinated, according to Amy Poore with the Cook County Department of Public Health.

The one case not linked to the day care center was an adult who last month was the state's first confirmed diagnosis.

Doctors last week said there was no link between the first case and the KinderCare cases, and no link to any of them with the multi-state outbreak associated with Disneyland.

"The solution to ending measles is simple – get vaccinated," said Illinois Department of Public Health director Nirav Shah. "The vaccine is 97 percent effective upon receipt of two doses. But the vaccine alone doesn’t provide protection; it is the vaccination that will prevent disease. I urge everyone who is eligible to receive the vaccine to get vaccinated."

KinderCare Learning Centers said it would require measles vaccinations for staff members who work with infants too young to be vaccinated starting Monday.

A KinderCare spokesman said the vaccination was not previously a requirement, but officials are in the process of notifying parents and staff at facilities in 39 states that it will be required for those working with children under the age of 15 months.

The company said it will also encourage teachers to get vaccinated as well. They also plan to limit access to the infant rooms, and rooms with unvaccinated children, to parents or other adults dropping off or picking up an infant and immunized caregivers and field management personnel.

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<![CDATA[Deaf Teen Hears For The First Time]]> Mon, 09 Feb 2015 14:37:25 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/hearing-first-time.jpg New implant allows profoundly deaf teen to hear for the first time. Monica Robins from NBC station WKYC in Cleveland reports.]]> <![CDATA[Vaccination Rates Low For Area School Kids]]> Fri, 06 Feb 2015 14:10:59 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NBC5INV-vaccinations1.jpg

Tens of thousands of school children across the Chicago area may not be vaccinated for a variety of serious diseases, posing a potential health risk to their immunized classmates, NBC 5 Investigates has found.

What's more, hundreds of public and private schools in Chicago and suburbs have high levels of students with no records of vaccinations - sometimes more than a third of the students in a single school. And hundreds of other schools have not reported any vaccination information to the state in years - even though it's required, annually, by law.

Any parent with a school-aged child knows the drill -- submit proof at the beginning of the school year that your child is up-to-date on immunizations, or risk a stern letter or repeated phone calls from the school until you finally submit the records.

At least that's the way it's supposed to work. Illinois school children are required to be vaccinated for a variety of dangerous diseases ranging from measles and mumps to diphtheria, pertussis, and chicken pox. Although some national organizations continue to insist that immunizations can be harmful, the science is settled: Vaccines are considered safe, and - as a rule - about 90 to 95 percent effective.

But it's that slight chance of ineffectiveness that can put immunized students at risk if they're sitting in classrooms with children who are unprotected from disease. Recent outbreaks of measles in New York and Los Angeles - along with a 2012 outbreak of whooping cough in the Chicago suburbs - prove that no one is completely safe from these diseases. So -- by law -- a school can refuse to admit any student whose immunization records are not on file. Those parents who insist on not vaccinating their children must provide a valid and approved letter of exemption, explaining why they can't get immunizations - for either medical or religious reasons.

Everyone else needs to get up-to-date on their shots.

But NBC 5 Investigates found 369 public and private schools across the Chicago area where more than 10 percent - and as many as 76 percent -- of students are not vaccinated for one or more serious illnesses. That's more than one in 10 local schools where the rate of unprotected kids exceeds state and national maximum standards.

An additional 638 local schools didn't submit their most recent information to the state - an apparent violation of state law. And most of those schools - 538 total - have not submitted the required information for the past five years in a row. That's more than one in every seven Chicago-area public and private school where parents are supposed to be able to get information about immunization rates, but can't - because the school doesn't follow the law in supplying the numbers.

But NBC 5 also found that there's little - if any - enforcement on the state or local level, either for those schools reporting high rates of non-immunized kids -- or for those schools that don't bother to report at all.

"We mostly try to work with them to get them in compliance," said Mary Fergus, spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Education. She pointed out that on the district level, ninety-seven percent of Illinois' public school districts are officially in compliance - meaning they report fewer than 10 percent non-immunized students district-wide. Fergus said it's up to each district to make sure its individual schools are complying.

But for those schools that don't comply, the Illinois School Code states that the ISBE can temporarily withhold funding from any public school district with more than 10 percent of non-immunized kids, until the school gets in compliance. However, Fergus admits that's never been done.

There appears to be even less oversight for Illinois' private schools - even though they're subject to the same rules as public schools in keeping non-immunized children to less than 10 percent.

That's what Debra Benson found when she took over six months ago as superintendent of Park View Christian Academy in Yorkville. State records show that more than three-quarters of Park View's students did not submit immunization records for the 2012-2013 school year - the second year in a row that the school's immunization rates did not meet state and local standards.

Benson said there was little emphasis on vaccination compliance when she took over at Park View, and that she has spent a lot of time getting parents to understand the importance of these shots - and the need to submit records.

"I don't really know who has an exemption and who doesn't - who's immunized and who isn't," she said. "And [if] someone comes to school with meningitis tomorrow or some other disease, how can I protect anybody? Because I don't know for sure."

Even as Benson tried to follow up, it doesn't appear that the state does the same. The ISBE's Fergus admits no one on the state level checks - beyond the yearly reports - to see if the non-immunized students eventually got their shots, submitted proof of immunizations, and possibly lowered their school's rate of non-vaccinated children. She suggested that parents should contact a school directly for that information.

You can search for your school's information on our database, or go to the Illinois State Board of Education's web site for data analysis and accountability, and look at the Immunization School Survey Results for each year.

 

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<![CDATA[Search Immunization Rates In Chicago-Area Schools]]> Fri, 06 Feb 2015 14:49:21 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/immunizations_kids.jpg

Are you on a mobile device? This database functionality works best on a desktop computer.

View this page on our full website.

 



Photo Credit: Christine Lee, NBC 5 Grand Prairie Reporter]]>
<![CDATA[Measles Outbreak: What You Need to Know]]> Thu, 05 Feb 2015 23:07:07 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Measles_Generic_722x406_1901808010.jpg

Public health officials say they're investigating a "cluster of measles" at a suburban daycare center.

Two children at a KinderCare Learning Center in Palatine have been confirmed to have the virus while test results for three others are pending, though they have been diagnosed by clinical and epidemiological criteria, officials said.

Another 10 children are at-risk of contracting measles, said Dr. Terry Mason, the CEO of the Cook County Department of Public Health. A majority of those who may have been exposed are too young for a vaccination, Mason said.

Officials expect even more cases to be diagnosed.

Here are a few things you should know about measles.

What is measles?

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease that causes fever, red and sore eyes, runny nose, cough and a characteristic rash. The disease can cause severe health complications, including pneumonia, encephalitis and death.

How is it spread?

Measles is transmitted by contact with an infected person through coughing or sneezing and can remain in the air and on surfaces for up to two hours. Infected people are contagious from four days before their rash starts through four days afterwards.

How can you prevent it?

The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Cook County Department of Public Health say vaccinations are the safest, most effective way to protect individuals from measles and other potentially dangerous communicable diseases. Children who are under the age of one or with certain clinical conditions cannot be vaccinated and are therefore at highest risk for measles.

"Residents are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated to protect themselves and the most vulnerable members of the community," IDPH said in a statement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said one dose of measles vaccine is about 93 percent effective at preventing measles if exposed to the virus, and two doses is about 97 percent effective.

How many people are affected?

There has been at least one other confirmed case of measles in suburban Cook County in 2015, according to the Cook County Department of Public Health.

The CDC said 102 cases were reported in the U.S. in January alone. States affected include Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington. An outbreak at Disneyland was said to be responsible for 92 percent of those reported cases.

Is measles widespread?

Each year there are 20 million cases around the world, and 145,000 people die, according to the CDC.

Last year, the United States experienced a record number of measles cases, with 23 outbreaks reported, including one large outbreak of 383 cases occurring primarily among unvaccinated Amish communities in Ohio, the CDC said.

Many of the cases in the U.S. in 2014 were associated with cases brought in from the Philippines, which experienced a large measles outbreak.

Hasn’t measles been eliminated in the U.S.?

In 2000, the United States declared measles was eliminated, meaning it is no longer native to the country. Health officials say, however, that unvaccinated travelers who get measles in other countries can bring it back into the U.S.

Since 2000, the annual number of people reported to have measles ranged from a low of 37 people in 2004 to a high of 644 people in 2014, according to the CDC.

Before the measles vaccination program started in 1963, health officials estimate that about 3 to 4 million people got measles each year in the United States. Of those people, 400 to 500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 4,000 developed encephalitis (brain swelling) from measles.

Is there cause for concern?

It is possible that measles could become endemic in the U.S. again, particularly if vaccine coverage levels drop, according to the CDC.

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<![CDATA[Medical Group Digs Up 50-Year-Old Measles PSA]]> Fri, 06 Feb 2015 22:38:10 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/1965-Measles-PSA.jpg

The Illinois State Medical Society on Thursday posted to YouTube a public service announcement that was created 50 years ago to urge parents to vaccinate their children for measles.

The video "Measles Message from the ISMS Vault is Spot On Today" was uploaded the same day that several children were confirmed to have contracted the virus at a suburban day care facility.

Just 10 cases of measles have been reported in Illinois over the last five years, IDPH Director Nirav Shah said recently. As of Thursday, diagnoses for two children were confirmed and three other cases were likely, based on symptoms. Another 10 children at the facility were at risk of contracting measles.

Those cases come on top of an adult case that was confirmed last week.

There so far is no link between the child and adult cases, and there is no link to the multi-state outbreak associated with Disneyland, which as of Thursday had grown to 87 patients. 



Photo Credit: Illinois State Medical Society
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<![CDATA[KinderCare to Require Measles Vaccines for Infant Caregivers]]> Fri, 06 Feb 2015 21:50:01 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/224*120/kindercare+generic.jpg

KinderCare Learning Centers said that starting next week it will require measles vaccinations for staff members who work with infants too young to be vaccinated.

The national day care provider posted a notice about the vaccination requirement to its website on the same day that health officials announced measles diagnoses for several infants at a suburban Chicago location.

Two infants tested positive for the virus and test results for three others were pending, but those children had been diagnosed based on symptoms. At least 10 other children are at-risk of contracting measles.

"We want you to know about the actions we are taking in our centers and sites in response to the recent measles outbreak to help ensure the health and safety of our children, our families and our center communities," the noticed on the website read. "We are always working to create the healthiest and safest environment possible in our centers and sites."

A KinderCare spokesman said the vaccination was not previously a requirement, but officials are in the process of notifying parents and staff at facilities in 39 states that it will be required for those working with children under the age of 15 months.

The company said it will also encourage teachers to get vaccinated as well. They also plan to limit access to the infant rooms, and rooms with unvaccinated children, to parents or other adults dropping off or picking up an infant and immunized caregivers and field management personnel.


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Lake County Patient Tests Negative for Measles]]> Fri, 06 Feb 2015 12:53:08 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/measles-vaccine-0123.jpg

A Lake County Health Department spokesperson told NBC Chicago a patient suspected of having measles in the northern Illinois county has tested negative for the virus.

Confirmation of a test result came just before 5:30 p.m.

No other information about thesuspected case was released, but it comes one day after several children who attend a day care facility in Palatine were confirmed to have the virus

Those cases come on top of an adult case that was confirmed last week.

There so far is no link between the child and adult cases, and there is no link to the multi-state outbreak associated with Disneyland, which as of Thursday had grown to 87 patients.



Photo Credit: NBC 7
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<![CDATA[Suspected Measles in NJ]]> Fri, 06 Feb 2015 19:36:11 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/Measles_Generic_722x406_19018080101.jpg

The Jersey City Department of Health and the state Department of Health are investigating a suspected case of measles in a 1-year-old baby who has not yet been vaccinated.

The baby has recovered, but out of an abundance of caution, residents in the building where the baby lives have been notified of the potential exposure. 

The latest time a person could become ill due to exposure in this case would be Feb. 7.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus and is spread by contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people. Measles can lead to serious side effects and, in rare cases, death. Measles symptoms usually appear in 10 to 12 days, but can occur as late as 18 days after exposure. Symptoms generally appear in two stages.

Anyone who's not vaccinated and may have been exposed to measles should contact their doctor if they show symptoms like rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red watery eyes. They should call ahead in order to limit exposure to anyone else in a doctor's office or hospital. 

The first measles vaccine is not given until a child is between 12 and 15 months old.

This would mark the first case of measles in New Jersey this year. 

New York state has had three cases of measles this year. Last week, a college student who took an international flight into New York City and then an Amtrak train out of Penn Station was diagnosed with measles at Bard College in Dutchess County. 

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<![CDATA[Infants Diagnosed With Measles at Suburban Daycare]]> Thu, 05 Feb 2015 20:02:23 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Measles_Generic_722x406_1901808010.jpg

Public health officials on Thursday said they're investigating a "cluster of measles" at a KinderCare Learning Center in northwest suburban Chicago.

Diagnoses for two children were confirmed and test results for three remaining cases were pending, though they have been diagnosed by clinical and epidemiological criteria, Dr. Terry Mason, the CEO of the Cook County Department of Public Health, said during an early afternoon press conference.

Another 10 children are at-risk of contracting measles, he said. A majority of those who may have been exposed are too young for a vaccination, Mason said.

There so far is no link between these cases and the adult case confirmed a little more than a week ago, Mason said. Additionally, there is no link to the multi-state outbreak associated with Disneyland.

"There will be more cases. This is a highly contagious disease," Mason told reporters. "We will do everything we can to identify if there is a point-source to this ... but at some point the cat's out of the bag."

All students, staff and faculty at the Palatine daycare were notified of the diagnoses and anyone who has not received a measles vaccination has been told to stay at home and away from unvaccinated people for the next 21 days.

"We are following Public Health officials' guidance and excluding unvaccinated children and staff who may have been exposed to the virus from our center until February 24," KinderCare Learning Center said in a statement. "We also gave the center a deep clean last night. We will continue to closely monitor the situation here and elsewhere and to keep our center families apprised of our response."

The measles outbreak that originated at Disneyland in December has grown to 87 cases, health officials in California said last month. Seventy-three of the cases are in California, with the rest in Arizona, Utah, Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Nebraska and Mexico.

Last month, officials said a case of measles was confirmed in suburban Chicago, though it was not clear if it was related to the Disneyland outbreak. 

Just 10 cases of measles have been reported in Illinois over the last five years, IDPH Director Nirav Shah said following the first diagnosis.

Public health officials said in a statement “this situation continues to underscore the importance of getting vaccinated.”

The diagnoses come just one day after the director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned against believing myths about vaccines.

"I've talked to many people who are reluctant about vaccines and one thing that I find repeatedly is that people may not realize that these diseases are still around and that keeping them at bay requires us to continue to get vaccinated," CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden told NBC News.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease that causes fever, red and sore eyes, runny nose, cough and a characteristic rash. The disease can cause severe health complications, including pneumonia, encephalitis and death. Measles is transmitted by contact with an infected person through coughing or sneezing and can remain in the air and on surfaces for up to two hours. Infected people are contagious from four days before their rash starts through four days afterwards.

While officials say the measles cases seem to be focused in the northwest suburban Cook County region, any resident who is unvaccinated and experiences symptoms of a high fever and a rash should call their local health department as well as their healthcare provider.

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<![CDATA[Rauner Issued MediPot Licenses Before FBI Background Checks]]> Thu, 05 Feb 2015 18:48:03 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/medical-marijuana1.jpg

The State of Illinois issued first-ever licenses to medical marijuana growers and sellers this week, without performing out of state background checks on any of the applicants.

A state police spokesman confirms the applicants were only checked for crimes which may have been committed inside the State of Illinois.

“The original medical marijuana legislation did not meet FBI requirements to access interstate criminal history information,” ISP spokesman Matt Boerwinkle told NBC5. “Recent amendatory language to medical marijuana statute to allow out of state criminal history checks has been submitted to the FBI for compliance with their policies.”

Outgoing governor Pat Quinn signed the amended language into law January 12th. But licenses were issued Monday, without completion of that process.

“If approved, the FBI and ISP will issued revised programming protocols to licensing agencies and Livescan vendors,” he said. “Once revised programming is in place, licensing agencies will be able to access out of state criminal history record information on medical marijuana program applicants.”

Asked about the possibility that skeletons might still be found in the closets of individuals who were handed licenses this week, a spokesman for Rauner said the administration is not worried.

“Those background checks were never intended to have been done as part of the selection process,” spokesman Lance Trover said. “They were only approved with the legislation that Quinn signed on his last day in office. They allow the agencies to conduct background checks going forward, which will happen, and which can be a basis for licensing action in the future.”

The state had one notable experience with after-the-fact vetting, which ended up costing a lot of people a lot of money. A company called Emerald Casino was awarded an Illinois gaming license in Rosemont, only to have it revoked amid questions about the background of some of the company’s investors. The casino was already under construction, and was eventually demolished. Six former officials were hit with a combined $272 million judgment last year.

Trover expressed confidence that once the machinery for background checks is approved, the program can address any potential pitfalls.

“We do not believe it poses any risk to the integrity of the program,” he said. “As soon as the FBI grants approval, these checks can be run, and licensing actions still can be taken.”

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<![CDATA[Smartphone Attachment Tests for HIV in 15 Minutes]]> Fri, 06 Feb 2015 02:34:22 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/Samiksha+Nayak+1+copy.jpg

Want to test yourself for HIV? You may soon be able to do that with your smartphone.

A team at Columbia University has created a smartphone attachment that is capable of testing blood for HIV and syphilis, relaying those results through an app.

The $34 “dongle” attachment, which delivers results in only 15 minutes, replicates finger-prick blood testing performed by devices that typically cost over $18,000, according to Science Daily

The attachment is able to analyze the blood sample and report the presence of HIV and syphilis antibodies. You can see it in action in the video above.

“The results that we have gotten with dongles are comparable to results that you can get in the lab,” Samuel K. Sia, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering and the leader of the team, told NBC. 

It also receives power and information through a smartphone’s audio jack, making it compatible with many different brands of smartphones. 

Sia said the device could mean preventing millions in impoverished countries from being infected by sexually transmitted diseases.

“A technology like this is useful around the world,” Sia told NBC. “A lot of patients don’t have access to these tests at all. It could make a huge impact in developing countries and that was our motivation.” 

The Columbia University team obtained funding from a Saving Lives at Birth transition grant (USAID, Gates Foundation, Government of Norway, Grand Challenges Canada, and the World Bank) and Wallace H. Coulter Foundation.

Sia said the team hopes to take the device to the market for both global health and for consumer health back in the U.S.


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<![CDATA[Report Names "Healthiest" Cities in the U.S.]]> Wed, 04 Feb 2015 17:30:27 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chicago+skyline+generic.jpg

Out of the largest metropolitan cities in the country, Chicago ranks among the healthiest, according to a new study by BetterDoctor.com.

The healthcare website analyzed the nation's 50 biggest cities and ranked them based on residents' exercise, eating habits, disease rates and health problems in combination with their access to parks, recreational activities, highly-ranked doctors and health coverage.

When the data was analyzed, they found Chicago rounded out the top 25 healthiest cities, coming in at no. 23.

According to their report, approximately 86 percent of the city’s residents are covered by health insurance. There are about 1.61 physicians per 1,000 residents – more than 13 percent of them being highly-rated ones in the top of their field, the study said.

As for the absolute healthiest cities in the country, those rankings were awarded to Boston, Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Hartford, Connecticut.

Southern cities' residents did not rank as well.

Memphis, Tennessee, was named the least healthy big city in the country, according to the data, with Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Louisville, Kentucky; San Antonio, Texas; and Nashville, Tennessee, as runner-ups.

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<![CDATA[Stress in U.S. Proportional to Income: Study]]> Thu, 05 Feb 2015 01:39:16 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/donated+money.jpg

Money can’t buy you happiness, but the lack of it can buy you stress.

Americans living in lower-income households have a higher level of stress compared to Americans overall, according to a new study released by the American Psychological Association. 

The study conducted in August 2014 found that 72 percent of Americans reported feeling stressed about money at some point in the last month, while 22 percent said they experienced extreme stress about financial matters. 

But the study reflected an income gap, with those earning less than $50,000 per year reporting higher overall stress than those earning more. In 2007, a similar study found that income had no direct impact on stress levels. 

Age is also a factor into stress levels, as 77 percent of parents feel high levels of stress about money compared to 75 percent of millennials (ages 18 to 35 years old) and 76 percent of Gen Xers (ages 36 to 49-years-old).

“All Americans and particularly those groups that are most affected by stress — which include women, younger adults and those with lower incomes — need to address this issue sooner than later in order to better their health and well being,” APA CEO and Executive Vice President Norman B. Anderson, PhD, said in a statement.

But, the good news is that overall stress is spiraling down since the APA first started gathering their research in 2007. The average person reported stress level is 4.9 on a 10-point scale, lowered from 2007 when it was at 6.2.

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<![CDATA[Preventing Winter Allergies]]> Mon, 02 Feb 2015 10:18:28 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NC_winterallergies0130001_1500x845.jpg Winter season offers a break from pollen, but there are other allergens that can still cause suffering.]]> <![CDATA[Amtrak Traveler Has Measles: DOH]]> Sun, 01 Feb 2015 09:26:14 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/measles+vaccination.jpg

A college student who took an international flight into New York City and an Amtrak train out of Penn Station last week has been diagnosed with highly contagious measles.

The student was diagnosed at Bard College in Dutchess County, officials said, but had traveled into and out of New York City last Sunday, potentially exposing people beyond the campus. 

The student contracted the illness in Germany, then flew in to a New York City airport, before taking the train to Rhinebeck on the same day, officials said. They did not identify which airport the student passed through, but noted the student was in the early stages of infection, when there is less danger of contagion.

Anyone who traveled on Amtrak train no. 283 departing Penn Station at 1:20 p.m. on Jan. 25 is urged to contact their doctor if they're not immune to measles and they develop a fever. The train was headed to Albany and Niagara. 

People who may have been exposed and have symptoms consistent with measles should call their doctor or local emergency room before going for care so that others at the facilities aren't exposed. 

New York state has had three cases of measles this year, one in Dutchess County and two in New York City. 

A measles outbreak in New York City in early 2014 affected dozens of residents, initially in upper Manhattan and the Bronx, and then in Brooklyn and the Lower East Side. Officials had been looking at whether that outbreak may have spread because workers in medical facilities didn't recognize the symptoms quickly enough to isolate patients and prevent them from spreading it to others. 

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus and is spread by contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected people. Measles can lead to serious side effects and, in rare cases, death. Measles symptoms usually appear in 10 to 12 days, but can occur as late as 18 days after exposure. Symptoms generally appear in two stages.

Learn more about measles at health.ny.gov.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[What Does the Disneyland Measles Outbreak Mean?]]> Wed, 11 Feb 2015 11:02:27 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/215*120/MEASLES1.JPG

The outbreak of measles at Disneyland in Orange County, California, has reignited the debate over the anti-vaccination movement, driven by parents who question whether vaccines are safe and and whether there is a connection to autism in particular.

Medical experts say the study showing such a link has been repeatedly discredited and other parents counter their children are being endangered by irresponsible behavior.

Here’s what you should know.

How many people are affected?

One hundred and three people in California and and other states have reported contracting measles as a result of the outbreak that began at Disneyland in December, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The majority of the children and adults who became ill either had not been inoculated or did not know if they had been, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general and director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

“This is not a problem of the measles vaccine not working,” she told reporters this week. “This is a problem of the measles vaccine not being used.”

Since 2000, measles has been eliminated in the United States, meaning it is no longer native to the country. But it can still be spread by someone infected elsewhere and the CDC is assuming that is what happened at Disneyland. 


How widespread is measles?

Each year there are 20 million cases around the world, and 145,000 people die, according to the CDC. Other complications: encephalitis and pneumonia.

Last year, there were a record number of measles in the United States, 644 cases, up from a median of 60 a year over the previous decade. And this year a total of 121 cases in 17 states and the District of Columbia have reported. The Disneyland outbreak represents 85 percent of the cases.

Those numbers pale compared to the average number of cases reported each year before the vaccine became available: 549,000.


Is there reason to worry?

The CDC's Schuchat said the numbers for January were concerning.

"I want to do everything possible to prevent measles from getting a foothold in the United States and becoming endemic again," she said.

Dr. Stephen Morse, professor of epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, said he thought the country was a long way from returning to the high number of measles cases and other diseases.

"If enough people are not taking these vaccines, we will see a resurgence, but right now these are fairly small events," he said. "So I think the reason everyone pays attention to it in medical and public health communities is simply because this is not a trend you would like to see really going up."


How high are vaccination rates?

Immunization rates remain high despite the attention the measles outbreak is receiving. Among kindergartners enrolled in the 2013-2014 school year, the median vaccination coverage was 93 percent and higher for measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and chicken pox.

To provide what is called herd immunity -- to protect people who cannot be immunization and those for whom the vaccines are not effective -- experts recommend that between 90 and 95 percent of a community be fully inoculated. Health officials are worried about pockets of parents who are rejecting inoculation.

Morse said the control of a disease such as measles was hard won.

"When we actually had these diseases among us people feared them or at least really wanted a vaccine," he said. "Now of course we’re much more blasé, which is a mistake."

President Barack Obama weighs in

President Barack Obama, in a “Today” interview on Sunday, said parents had every reason to immunize their children.

"I understand that there are families that in some cases are concerned about the effect of vaccinations,” Obama said. “The science is, you know, pretty indisputable. We've looked at this again and again.”

What is the reaction from parents worried about vaccines?

Barbara Loe Fisher, the president of the National Vaccine Information Center, a Virginia-based nonprofit that advocates allowing parents to choose whether to vaccinate their children, said that it was premature to point fingers at those who decided to forgo vaccines.

"There is no question that there is a tremendous amount of pressure being placed on parents who are making informed vaccine decisions for their children," she said. "I think this has gone way too far. The discussion has gotten very ugly, it has gotten extremely polarized and it's caused a lot of parents to be very afraid of doctors and public health officials."

What about other diseases?

Mumps, rubella, pertussis or whooping cough and chickenpox are among others that could also spike if parents continue to forgo vaccinations, experts say.

“This isn’t just a measles problem,” said Dr. Gregory A. Poland, the director of the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group in Rochester, Minnesota. “This is a problem for any transmissible disease for which we have safe and effective vaccines that aren’t unfortunately used.”

Measles is especially contagious, but there have been other outbreaks. Mumps, for example, is no longer common in the United States, with only 229 cases reported in 2012 compared to 186,000 cases each year before the mumps vaccination program began in 1967. But in 2009-2010, there were two large outbreaks, according to the CDC: one among mostly Hasidic Jewish children in New York who were delaying immunization, and another among mostly school aged children in Guam. 


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<![CDATA[Police Hunt For Man Who Prompted Hospital Lockdown]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 21:17:12 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/delnor-justin-patzer.jpg

Police were searching Tuesday for a man they say walked into a hospital in Chicago's western suburbs and threatened a visitor with a weapon.

Justin B. Patzer threatened someone with "a non-firearm type weapon" at Delnor Community Hospital in Geneva, police said. Extra security measures were put in place afterward, the hospital said.

Patzer, of Campton Hills, left the facility before 10 a.m. in a red 2004 Dodge Caravan with license plate P769405. The minivan has damage to the front passenger side, police said.

Authorities believe Patzer is armed with a knife and is to be considered dangerous.

He was described as standing 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighing about 250 pounds. He has closely-shaved brown hair and blue eyes — both of them blacked, apparently from a recent fight, police said. He was wearing a gray or green shirt with blue jeans.

Patzer is wanted on warrants for disorderly conduct, battery, aggravated assault and leaving the scene of an accident, all of which are related to Tuesday's incident at the hospital, police said.

The hard lockdown at Delnor Community Hospital, at 300 Randall Road, was lifted shortly after 11 a.m., but city officials said lockdowns at Williamsburg and Heartland elementary schools would remain in place until police finished their investigation.

There were no injuries to employees or patients, hospital spokesman Chris King said, adding that he didn't know if Patzer knew the person he threatened.

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