<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Health News]]>Copyright 2018 https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/health http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago https://www.nbcchicago.com en-usMon, 12 Nov 2018 23:36:39 -0600Mon, 12 Nov 2018 23:36:39 -0600NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[These Are the 43 Ill. Hospitals Ranked Among Safest in US]]> Thu, 08 Nov 2018 12:23:37 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/hospital+report+University+of+Chicago+Medical+Center+Chicago.png

Illinois is home to 43 of the safest hospitals in the nation, according to a new report from a national nonprofit healthcare ratings organization.

The Leapfrog Group, founded in 2000, produces a report twice a year that lists the safest hospitals in the country by analyzing 27 different "measures" of approximately 2,600 hospitals across the United States.

Those measures include number of infections in patients, problems in surgery, practices like computerized medication ordering, hospital leadership and more.

Based on those metrics, the group assigns each hospital an "A" through "F" letter grade for how safe they are for patients. The most recent report, released Thursday, gave 43 of Illinois' hospitals an "A" grade (see the list below).

Of the 50 states, Illinois ranked 13th in the nation, moving up from 15th in the spring ranking, for percentage of hospitals receiving that highest "A" mark: 39.09 percent.

Leapfrog assessed a total of 110 hospitals in Illinois, giving only two and "F" grade.

Mount Sinai Hospital and South Shore Hospital in Chicago received an "F" grade, though both told the Chicago Tribune the rating was related to their decision to not submit data to the ranking group.

You can read the entire study and find detailed scores of each individual hospital on Leapfrog's website here.


  1. University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago
  2. Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago 
  3. Presence Saint Joseph Hospital, Chicago
  4. Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center, Chicago
  5. NorthShore University HealthSystem- Evanston Hospital
  6. NorthShore University HealthSystem- Skokie Hospital
  7. MacNeal Hospital, Berwyn
  8. Rush Oak Park Hospital, Oak Park
  9. Presence Resurrection Medical Center, Chicago
  10. NorthShore University HealthSystem- Highland Park Hospital
  11. Loyola Gottlieb Memorial Hospital
  12. Presence St. Mary's Hospital
  13. Riverside Medical Center
  14. NorthShore University HealthSystem- Glenbrook Hospital
  15. AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center Hinsdale
  16. Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, Elmhurst
  17. Silver Cross Hospital, New Lenox
  18. AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center Glen Oaks, Glendale Heights
  19. AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center Bolingbrook
  20. AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center La Grange
  21. Edward Hospital, Naperville
  22. Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, Winfield
  23. Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana
  24. OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center, Urbana
  25. Rush Copley Medical Center, Aurora
  26. Centegra Hospital, McHenry
  27. Presence Mercy Medical Center, Aurora
  28. Presence Saint Joseph Hospital- Elgin
  29. Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital, Geneva
  30. Centegra Hospital Huntley
  31. Morris Hospital, Morris
  32. SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital- Mount Vernon
  33. St. Mary's Hospital of Decatur
  34. OSF St. Joseph Medical Center
  35. SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital-Centralia
  36. Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital, Dixon
  37. HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital, Breese
  38. HSHS St. John's Hospital, Springfield
  39. HSHS St. Elizabeth's Hospital, O'Fallon
  40. Graham Hospital, Canton
  41. OSF Saint Anthony's Health Center
  42. OSF St. Mary Medical Center
  43. McDonough District Hospital

Photo Credit: Google]]>
<![CDATA[2 Facilities Emit Same Cancer-Causing Gas as Sterigenics]]> Fri, 02 Nov 2018 21:09:32 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/4P+TSE+VANTAGE+AND+MEDLINE+-+00002308_34305487.jpg

Following outrage that a Willowbrook sterilization plant has been pumping a cancer-causing gas into the air, a new report indicates two other production facilities in Chicago suburbs have also been emitting the toxic gas – unbeknownst to residents.

According to EPA data, at least two facilities in Lake County are releasing the same carcinogenic emission, ethylene oxide, also known as EO, into the air.

One facility includes Medline Industries in Waukegan and the other is Vantage Specialties Chemicals in Gurnee. The latter is located just two miles from Six Flags Great America and potentially puts more than 22,000 nearby residents at risk.

“We abide by all federal standards as we serve health care providers,” Lara Simmons, president of Medline's quality division, said in an email to the Chicago Tribune.

Two years ago, the EPA increased the cancer risk value from EO exposure by 30 times, based on new research. The Illinois agency said Friday it investigating the outputs at both Vantage and Medline.

"Again, Illinois EPA, in conjunction with the Attorney General’s Office, has been meeting with both sources to gather and analyze additional data to determine the appropriate course of action," the agency said in a statement.

The newest EPA report on National Air Toxics Assessments, which screens for emissions and cancer risks around production facilities like the suburban locations, indicates that in 2014, Sterigenics emitted 5,214 pounds of the toxic gas. 

During that same time, Vantage put out 6,412 pounds. In 2016, that number went up to 11,541 pounds.

The EPA noted, however, that the source is "within the applicable permitting and regulatory standards, as is Medline." 

Vantage said it is looking at ways to reduce its EO emissions.

“We are working with the EPA, preparing to conduct ‘fence line’ testing in the area around our property line,” the company said in a statement.

Gurnee said it is in contact with the U.S. EPA about the Vantage emissions and is closely monitoring the risk to the village.

On Tuesday, Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the DuPage County State’s Attorney filed a lawsuit against Sterigenics, calling for the plant to be shut down or emissions greatly reduced.

The suit includes one count of "causing, threatening or allowing air pollution" and one count of public nuisance carrying a health risk at its Willowbrook plant.

Sterigenics said it was disappointed the attorney general "has chosen to assert 'air pollution' and 'public nuisance' claims against the company's Willowbrook facility."

Sterigenics has for decades used the potent ethylene oxide gas to sterilize instruments and pharmaceutical drugs near populated neighborhoods.

It remains unclear what, if any, action might be taken against the additional facilities.

<![CDATA[Some Homes With Water Meters Had Higher Lead Levels: Study]]> Thu, 01 Nov 2018 17:22:57 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/4P+PKG+CHICAGO+LEAD+WATER+-+00003621_34288943.jpg

A number of Chicago homes with smart water meters have tested positive for higher levels of lead, according to a recent sampling by the Chicago Department of Water Management, officials revealed Thursday.

The surprise announcement was made as part of a press conference touting plans to commission a study on replacing the city’s lead service lines - the pipes that connect water mains to single-family and two-flat homes across the city.

Buried in the announcement was news that an ongoing study examining the possible impact of water meter installation indicated the meters could raise lead levels in some homes.

“A portion of a relatively small sample of homes that have water meters installed reported increases in lead levels,” said Chicago Department of Water Management Commissioner Randy Conner.

According to the study, 51 of 296 homes tested showed lead levels above the EPA action level after meters were installed. 

City spokesman Adam Collins said the city "immediately notified" the 51 homes and sent "a team of experts" to look at possible causes and offer up a solution.

“We have initiated this meter study proactively to look at this problem – to define the problem so we can do something thoughtfully and appropriately,” said Jury Morita, commissioner with the Chicago Department of Public Health.

According to officials, more study is needed “to analyze the relationship between water meter installation and lead levels, as the increase may not be related to the meter.”

Still, out of what the city said was an “abundance of caution,” residents getting a meter going forward will be given a free water filter set and those who have had a meter installed will have the option to request a water filter set. Any household previously tested that had higher lead levels will also receive a free water filter set.

Experts also recommend running water continuously for at least five minutes after not using water for six hours or more.

But for some Chicago aldermen, many of whom learned of the problem during the Thursday morning news conference, it is too little too late.

“If you know of a problem and the city has known of this problem since June and you fail to act, you are being very irresponsible,” said 29th Ward Ald. Chris Taliaferro.

Environmental groups have also called on the city to be more transparent.

“I was very concerned about the information that I learned this morning,” said Jen Wallig with the Illinois Environmental Council. “I hope we can start working together going forward for a better solution to this problem that is affecting so many of our children.”

The city also announced Thursday that it is commissioning a report to determine “the feasibility and framework of what would be a multi-billion dollar program to potentially replace lead service lines” in the city, said to be “one of the only remaining sources of lead.”

“The safety of Chicago’s water is our top priority,” Conner said in a statement. “Not only will this report ensure that Chicago remains a leader in water quality efforts, the report will help Chicagoans continue to have a high degree of confidence in their water.”

But replacing the lead pipes that feed many Chicago homes could prove to be an expensive proposition.

“The potential there for tens of thousands of homes is going to cost a couple of billion dollars at least,” 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack said.

<![CDATA[Residents Raise Concerns About Sterigenics at Hearing]]> Fri, 26 Oct 2018 15:58:41 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/STERIGENICS+PETITIONS+-+04095716_34212167.jpg

Hundreds of Willowbrook residents voiced their concerns Friday at an Illinois Senate committee hearing about what they said are dangerous emissions produced by the Sterigenics facility in their community. 

A woman who lives less than a mile from the company described persistent issues her oldest daughter has experienced for years, insisting it's all because of the emission of ethylene oxide, a gas used by Sterigenics to sterilize medical devices.

"Since she was in second grade, she started to experience coughing fits," said Gabriela Rios, a Willowbrook resident. "Fits so violent and uncontrollable that it would end up with her vomiting. This would happen every day, in the daytime, at night when she was sleeping, in school."

The Illinois Senate Environment and Conservation Committee hearing in downtown Chicago was the first of many to allow members of the public to share their concerns about the facility in Willowbrook.

The committee's website listed more than 1,700 witness slips against Sterigenics and about 13 in support of the company, though not everyone will get the chance to speak. 

After the meeting, Willowbrook residents detailed plans to deliver a petition to Gov. Bruce Rauner, asking him to shut down the facility. 

"I had breast cancer," said Jeanne Hochhalter, who grew up and lived in Burr Ridge. "Unknown reasons, no genetic history, no bracket genes and a myriad of other health effects. It all clicked in August, when this all came out."

"My home is located the closest to this facility, and my family has been plagued with several health problems," Gabriela Tejeda-Rios said. 

Backlash against the company has been brewing for months with concerns about the emission of ethylene oxide, but the company maintains these emissions have been within legal limits.

"It is important to note that EO occurs naturally. There is far more EO produced within our own bodies than the EPA characterizes as a 'risk level' in its IRIS risk assessment," read a joint statement from the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois, iBio and the American Chemistry Council. "Indeed, the risk value used is far below levels found in nature and is 19,000 times lower than the normal, naturally-created levels of EO in the human body."

The companies called an Aug. 22 report about ethylene oxide "scientifically flawed," noting the agency that wrote the initial report clarified it to say it "is based on assumptions that are unrealistic and worst-case measurements that are not appropriate for regulatory decision-making purposes." 

"We firmly believe that Willowbrook residents have a right to live and work in a safe and healthy environment," the statement read. "Unfortunately, an array of inaccurate and misleading information about ethylene oxide (EO) sterilization and the Sterigenics facility has raised understandable yet unfounded fears among the public that may quickly lead to real harm for patients in Illinois and throughout the country." 

Tejeda-Rios said she thinks there are too many similar stories from local residents for the findings not to be true. 

"There are just far too many stories, far too many instances that are the same to ignore," she said. "It cannot be a coincidence."

"Please help us shut them down," Hochhalter said, "and thank you for your continued support."

The Senate committee will have another hearing on Nov. 14 in Springfield.

<![CDATA[Health Care Prices Vary Widely Across US, Study Finds]]> Thu, 25 Oct 2018 12:15:17 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/emergency2.jpg

A patient receiving health care services in one part of the United States could pay twice as much as a patient living elsewhere, according to a new study.

Prices were highest in San Jose and lowest in Baltimore in 2016 for privately insured patients, the Health Care Cost Institute found.

The Washington-based nonprofit group analyzed nearly 1.8 billion health insurance claims filed between 2012 and 2016. It then calculated a nationwide average for health care prices and ranked 112 metros against that average.

Although prices generally were well above average on the West Coast and the Northeast, regional patterns broke down elsewhere.

Across the Midwest, prices were below the national average in most cities, including Chicago, Indianapolis and Cleveland. But Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wis., were the fourth and fifth most expensive areas nationwide, just behind San Francisco and ahead of San Diego.

“It reinforces this idea that all health care is local,” said Bill Johnson, a senior health researcher with the institute.

There is little logic to health care prices within regions. Metros with professional fees near the national average sometimes have very high hospital prices and vice versa.

In Los Angeles, professional fees are 5 percent below the national average while prices for inpatient (hospital) stays and outpatient services (emergency room and procedures such as colonoscopies) are 28 percent and 30 percent above the national average respectively.

Green Bay has the fifth highest health costs in the nation — 14 percent above the national average. But it’s too simple to say that health care is expensive in Green Bay. Inpatient and outpatient costs are below the national average there while professional fees are 43 percent above the national average.

Kevin Kennedy, a researcher at the institute, said that examples like this “help direct attention to what the right question is to ask.”

For example, in Dayton, Ohio (health care costs 11 percent below the national average), inpatient charges are 18 percent above average. In Boston (health care costs 3 percent above the national average), professional fees are 22 percent above average. In San Jose (health care costs 65 percent above the national average), outpatient charges are a whopping 117 percent above average.

“It seems like there’s a different reason (for high costs) for every area,” Kennedy said.

“Health care isn’t one big problem,” Johnson said. “It’s a series of little problems.”

The institute plans additional reports to see how usage and competition affect the price of health care.

The group analyzed health claims data from four major insurers — Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealthcare and Kaiser Permanente — representing more than 50 million individuals.

Photo Credit: jdoms - stock.adobe.com]]>
<![CDATA[6 Kids Dead, 12 Sick in 'Severe' Viral Outbreak at NJ Center]]> Tue, 23 Oct 2018 22:45:08 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/adenovirus+nj.png

Six children at a long-term care medical facility in New Jersey have died after a “severe outbreak” of adenovirus, a family of viruses that can cause mild illness, while 12 others have been infected, according to the state's Department of Health.

New Jersey Department of Health officials said children were recently infected with adenovirus at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, Passaic County. The medical institution houses the Pediatric Center.

The facility has been instructed not to admit any new patients until the outbreak ends and they are in full compliance, the DOH says.

Adenoviruses are common viruses that can cause a range of illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The viruses cause cold-like symptoms, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, and pink eye. Adenoviruses can pose serious complications to certain people, particularly those with weakened immune systems, respiratory issues and cardiac disease.

That is the case at the Wanaque Center, health officials said. 

"Unfortunately, the particular strain of adenovirus (#7) in this outbreak is affecting medically fragile children with severely compromised immune systems," the New Jersey Department of Health in a statement. "This strain has been particularly associated with disease in communal living facilities."

According to the CDC, adenoviruses are typically spread from an infected person to others through: close personal contact such touching or shaking hands; through the air by coughing and sneezing; or by touching an object or surface with adenoviruses on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.

Health investigators visited the facility over the weekend as part of their probe, officials said.

The state Department of Health further said that it is monitoring the situation “very closely” and has been in contact with the staff at the center “providing guidance on infection control and cleaning procedures.”

The Wanaque Center is a for-profit facility that, according to its website, works with "with medically fragile children" from newborn to 22 years of age. The center also serves as an adult nursing home and rehabilitation center for short- and long-term care.

A spokesperson for the Wanaque Center did not respond to repeated request for comment.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy issued a statement on the adenovirus outbreak saying that he is "heartbroken by the news that several children have lost their lives."

"I have been briefed by [Commissioner of Health] Dr. [Shereef] Elnahal, who has assured me that the Department of Health has recommended vital measures to enhance protections against the further spread of infection and will continue its active on-site surveillance," Murphy says in his statement. "I am confident that the steps being taken by state and local officials will minimize the impact to all those who remain at the facility, including patients and employees.”

The cause of the outbreak remains unclear.

Photo Credit: News 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[CDC Probes More Cases of Polio-Like Syndrome AFM]]> Tue, 23 Oct 2018 05:56:02 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-460492806+%281%29+edited.jpg

Federal health officials now have reports of 155 possible cases of acute flaccid myelitis, a polio-like syndrome that mostly affects children and that causes muscle weakness and paralysis, federal health officials said on Monday.

The latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows no change in the number of confirmed cases — 62 cases in 22 states, NBC News reported. But state health departments have reported another 28 suspected cases.

The CDC urges parents to get kids to an emergency room quickly if a child has the following symptoms: difficulty moving the eyes or drooping eyelids, facial droop or weakness, difficulty with swallowing or slurred speech, or sudden arm or leg weakness.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[2.4M Pounds of Taquitos Recalled Over Salmonella Concern]]> Sun, 21 Oct 2018 15:46:23 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1005726022.jpg

More than 2.4 million pounds of ready-to-eat taquitos have been recalled due to possible contamination with salmonella and listeria, the Food Safety and Inspection Service announced.

The recall includes meat and poultry taquitos produced between July 1 and Oct. 10, 2018, by Ruiz Food Products, according to a Friday press release from the FSIS. The affected products are 4.5-pound cases of Go-Go Taquitos in “Beef Taco & Cheese Taquitos," “Buffalo Style Cooked Glazed Chicken Taquitos" and “Chipotle Chicken Wrapped in A Battered Flour Tortilla." The items were shipped nationwide.

There have been no confirmed reports of illness from customers eating the food. But the FSIS said people should not eat taquitos already purchased and to throw them away. The agency encouraged people to contact their healthcare providers if they are concerned.

Ruiz Food was notified on Oct. 16, 2018, that the diced onions used in the taquitos were being recalled by their supplier because of possible contamination.

Salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Diagnosing the illness requires a blood or stool sample, as other illnesses cause similar symptoms.

Listeria can cause diarrhea, fever and other similar foodborne illness symptoms.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Despite the Science, Cities Are Removing Fluoride From Water]]> Wed, 17 Oct 2018 05:36:50 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/140806786-Faucet-bathroom.jpg

Fluoride prevents cavities and tooth decay, something confirmed by numerous studies, yet a small but vocal minority has gotten dozens of cities to remove the naturally occurring compound from the water supply, NBC News reported.

"Anti-fluoridationists" blame fluoride for lower IQs and diseases, despite long-established science. The American Dental Association says that 74 cities have voted to remove fluoride from their drinking water in the last five years, and proposed bans are on the ballot in two more cities this November.

"You cannot tailor public health to the whims of a small group of people," said Dr. Johnny Johnson, a retired pediatric dentist who leads the nonprofit American Fluoridation Society. "If you are doing that, you are harming a large group of people."

While nearly 75 percent of the United States gets fluoridated water, more than 80 percent of New Jersey residents do not, and the Texas Republican Party now opposes water fluoridation as well.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto, File]]>
<![CDATA[Virtual Reality Simulation Shows What It's Like to Die]]> Sat, 13 Oct 2018 02:36:05 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/BOST_000000018887814.JPG

A new virtual reality simulation is helping hospice workers and medical students see what it's like to die.

An end-of-life simulation by Embodied Labs is now educating staff and students at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough, Maine. It's also a required experience for medical students at the University of New England. Grant money awarded to UNE paid for the simulation technology.

"It was amazing," said Hospice of Southern Maine CEO Daryl Cady. "I was pretty skeptical in the beginning. It's very unique and very emotional as it's happening."

The simulation lasts about 30 minutes and follows a cancer patient named Clay. The participant sees how Clay is struggling to have conversations with his family, suffers a fall and ends up in the E.R., and eventually transitions into hospice care. The experience shows how his skin changes and senses dull.

"His eye sight gets really dim as the end of life process is coming to a close," said hospice nurse Kate Henderson. "That was a little bit surreal."

Second-year UNE medical student Victoria Nguyen thought the simulation was very moving.

"Just seeing the family hit hard," she said. "It's definitely really emotional." She now wants to study old age with gerontology and thinks she may want to work in the hospice field.

"Everyone dies," she said. "I think making it easier is what is going to help the most."

Cady said the module will help staff empathize with their patients, and provide emotional support for their family members. When they build a new facility, Hospice of Southern Maine plans to have a simulation center where more staff and members of the community can experience the virtual reality.

"It's difficult to have conversations about end of life," Cady said. "This is an opportunity to learn about it before they really need us."

Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[Texas Child Hospitalized After Venomous Caterpillar Sting]]> Sat, 13 Oct 2018 01:22:52 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/caterpiller-kid-new.jpg

Lauren Chambers didn’t know what to think when she received a call from her daughters’ daycare that 5-year-old Adrie couldn’t move her arm after getting stung by a caterpillar.

“They said that she had been stung by the most poisonous caterpillar in the United States,” said Chambers.

Daycare workers believe the woolly looking caterpillar fell from a tree above Adrie as she was playing outside.

“It was burning,” said Adrie.

After she told them it felt like it was stuck in her arm, they did a quick search to learn it was a Southern Flannel Moth Caterpillar or an asp with venomous spines buried beneath its hair.

“How does that happen? We have those here in Texas? I mean I never even heard of those before yesterday,” said Chambers.

Michael Merchant, an entomologist with Texas A&M University says they’ve received more calls about the bugs this year though they don’t know why.

“They’re common on a lot of trees and plants we have in North Texas… on oaks, yaupons, even rose bushes,” said Michael Merchant.

He said it’s a series of spines hidden below the caterpillar’s distinctive hair that are filled with venom and responsible for the painful sting that can last up to 12 hours.

“Different people react in different ways, feeling pain in different parts of the body. I had one friend who actually felt like he was having some heart trouble or something after he got stung. So it’s not a pleasant experience,” said Merchant.

Adrie’s bite led to pain, swelling and an upset stomach. But had her teachers not thought to quickly remove the spines from her arm with tape, doctors tell Chambers it could’ve been much worse.

“They said if that had not happened it could actually cause her whole body to go numb and start shutting down,” said Chambers.

According to Merchant, the caterpillars should start to disappear in the next couple of weeks as they prepare their cocoons for winter. Once they hatch as moths in the spring, he says they’re no longer have their harmful spines.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Acute Flaccid Myelitis: Symptoms and Prevention Tips]]> Fri, 12 Oct 2018 12:54:20 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/T5P+Iris+PKG+afm+polio+-+00004103_33991340.jpg

At least 10 Illinois children have been infected with Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM), a condition similar to the polio virus.

The virus, which can cause partial paralysis, among other symptoms, is rare, but is impacting a number of children throughout the country, according to reports issued by the Centers for Disease Control and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Here are the symptoms of the disease, according to the CDC:

-Sudden onset of arm or leg weakness

-Loss of muscle tone and reflexes

-Facial droop/weakness

-Difficulty moving the eyes

-Drooping eyelids

-Difficulty swallowing and slurred speech

Doctors can diagnose the disease using an MRI or by looking at images of the patient’s spine, and can also check nerve conduction and response to stimulus.

There are several potential causes for the disease, including viruses, environmental toxins and genetic disorders.

West Nile virus, polio virus and adenoviruses can also cause the disease to develop.

Here are steps parents can take to help prevent the disease:

-Vaccines against poliovirus

-Taking measures to prevent mosquito bites, including staying indoors and dawn and dusk and using mosquito repellent.

For more information, residents are encouraged to visit the CDC’s website.

<![CDATA[10th Case of Acute Flaccid Myelitis Reported in Illinois]]> Fri, 12 Oct 2018 12:42:23 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AFM+FAMILY+TALKS.jpg

Another case of Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM), which closely resembles polio and causes partial paralysis in children, has been reported in Illinois, the state's Department of Public Health confirmed.

The latest case brings the number of suspected cases in Illinois to 10, the department said Friday. All of the cases are among children in northern Illinois. 

"The underlying cause(s) of AFM is not known," the department said in a statement. "CDC has been actively investigating AFM and continues to receive information about suspected AFM cases."

AFM is a puzzling condition that causes partial paralysis in children. It is on the uptick in parts of the U.S., with six cases under investigation in Minnesota and 14 reported in Colorado, health officials said this week.

It was first widely recognized in 2014, when 120 children were diagnosed, NBC News reported.

So far this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there have been 38 confirmed cases of the polio-like condition across 16 states.

Symptoms of the disease can include a sudden onset of limb weakness and loss of muscle tone and reflexes, as well as facial droop/weakness, difficulty moving the eyes, drooping eyelids and difficulty with swallowing or slurred speech. 

Various viruses can cause AFM, including West Nile virus and enteroviruses. The disease can be transmitted via mosquitoes, the DPH says.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[NYC Hospital Creates Life-Saving Spotify Playlist ]]> Thu, 11 Oct 2018 11:09:30 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/CPR+training.jpg

Perhaps you’re familiar with the rumor that humming “Stayin’ Alive” while doing chest compressions is the best way to perform CPR on someone. Some of you might even remember when Michael Scott memorably sang the Bee Gees’ hit when learning CPR with his co-workers on "The Office."

While chaos ensued in the rest of that episode, this CPR secret can still be beneficial to incorporate in everyday life, and New York-Presbyterian Hospital is here to help you do that.

The top-ranked NYPH created a Spotify playlist and shared it via Twitter to help raise awareness about effective CPR, and help everyday individuals easily remember how to time chest compressions.

"Only about 46 percent of cardiac arrest victims receive bystander intervention before EMS arrives and women are even less likely to receive intervention," Lauren Browdy, a spokesperson from NYPH, says. "But for every minute without CPR, the survival rate decreases by 10 percent."

Although released last March as part of a #HandsOnlyCPR campaign, the playlist has recently gained traction and has been increasingly shared throughout Twitter within the last few days. The NYPH staff, and specifically Dr. Holly Andersen, a cardiologist, have worked hard to raise more awareness on bystander CPR, and believe this playlist helps make situations like that less scary so that bystanders are more likely, and able to jump in and help.

"Dr. Holly Anderson has been advocating for everyone to learn Hands Only CPR with three easy steps: Check, Call, Compress," Browdy says. "Her goal is to teach everyone to not be afraid to jump in.'

Comprised of 40 songs at 100 BPM, each track consists of the optimum beat to time CPR compressions, so that 100 chest compressions are done per minute.

With songs like “Dancing Queen” by ABBA and “Spirit In The Sky” by Norman Greenbaum, to current hits like “Sorry” by Justin Bieber and “Closer” by The Chainsmokers, there’s a song for everyone to learn how to effectively and simply save a life in a time of need.

Check out the rest of the tracks here, and check out more about the Hands Only CPR campaign here, which has instructional videos so you can learn at home.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[When Pumpkin Spice is Not So Nice]]> Wed, 10 Oct 2018 12:44:34 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/When_Pumpkin_Spice_is_Not_So_Nice_OUT-153919065893900002.jpg

An expert warns that pumpkin spice flavoring is nowhere near as healthy as pumpkin itself.

<![CDATA[Texas Baby Who Underwent Surgery While in Womb Is Doing 'Great': Mom]]> Wed, 10 Oct 2018 16:37:54 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Fetal+Surgery+100818.jpg

At 19 weeks pregnant, Sarah Prowell learned her unborn son had spina bifida. 

Spina bifida is a birth defect caused when the spine and spinal cord do not form properly, in many cases leaving a portion of the spine exposed. 

Without medical intervention, the condition causes differing levels of disability, which can include paralysis and lifelong bladder issues.

The Terrell mom was referred to Dr. Timothy Crombleholme, director of the newly opened Fetal Care Center at Medical City Children's Hospital in Dallas.

"The open fetal surgery opens up the opportunity for us to intervene at a time when things are not irreparable. We can intervene and save the baby's life or prevent unknown injury to the baby's organs," Crombleholme said.

Prior to Crombleholme's arrival to North Texas earlier this year, families of babies diagnosed with the most common and severe form of spina bifida, called myelomeningocele, had to travel elsewhere for open fetal surgery.

Because spinal cord damage is progressive during gestation, prenatal repair of myelomeningocele may prevent further damage.

"A few years ago, if they came to our practice with this spina bifida problem, they would have had to travel to the east coast, Houston or the west coast to have this surgery," said Dr. Kevin Magee, maternal and fetal medicine at Medical City Children's Hospital.

Crombleholme is one of only a handful of surgeons nationwide qualified to perform open fetal surgery and he is widely recognized for his skill and successful surgical outcomes. 

Baby Uriah became his first North Texas patient on June 25, 2018. Now, at almost two months old, Uriah is kicking his legs, signaling early success from leading-edge surgery for spina bifida. 

"He will have lifelong difficulties, but it's not going to slow him down," Uriah's father, Sean Kirby, said.

"He's doing so good, better than we thought he'd be," Sarah Prowell said. "I think he'll be very determined. I think he will impress us and everyone else, like he has so far."

You can follow his progress here.

Fetal surgery for spina bifida is not a cure, but studies show that it repair can lead to better results than traditional repair surgery after a child is born. 

The surgery greatly reduces the need to divert fluid from the brain, improves mobility and improves the chances that a child will be able to walk independently, doctors said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Rare, Polio-Like Condition Appears in US Again]]> Tue, 09 Oct 2018 17:20:10 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-685025333.jpg

A puzzling condition that causes partial paralysis in children is back on the uptick in parts of the U.S., with six cases under investigation in Minnesota and 14 reported in Colorado, health officials said Monday.

The children have acute flaccid myelitis or AFM, a weakening of the nerves that resembles polio. It was first widely recognized in 2014, when 120 children were diagnosed, NBC News reported.

So far this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there have been 38 confirmed cases of the polio-like condition across 16 states.

Photo Credit: Kateryna Kon/Getty Images/Science Photo Libra]]>