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Medicines Leading Cause of Allergic Fatalities

Medicines Leading Cause of Allergic Fatalities

Fuse/Thinkstock(HYATTSVILLE, Md.) -- When people find out that someone has died from an allergic reaction, the first thought is often that it was due to food or an insect bite.However, the truth is that almost 60 percent of deaths from anaphylaxis, a life-threatening type of allergic reaction, are from medicines, according to a report in The New York Times.Researchers made this discovery after looking at a total of 2,458 cases of fatal anaphylaxis from 1999 through 2010 as compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics.Furthermore, in cases where the medicine could be identified, half the time it was antibiotics that resulted in death.  Another major culprit: drugs used use in imaging studies known as radiocontrast agents.Meanwhile, allergic reactions to food were responsible for about 15 percent of deaths while insect bites accounted for 6.7 percent of fatalities.It was also learned that older Americans are most susceptible to fatal anaphylaxis and that African-Americans are at greater risk of dying from allergic reactions to medicines and food.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Study: Genes Linked to Slightly Increased Intake of Coffee

Study: Genes Linked to Slightly Increased Intake of Coffee

TongRo Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study indicated that six genes in humans could be associated with increased coffee intake.Previous research had found two human genes that impacted the metabolism of coffee, and the new study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, identified six more. Researchers say that not only do these genes impact the way coffee is processed in the body, but they may also make genetic carriers more attracted to the prospect of drinking coffee.Researchers did note, however, that those with these genes may drink 0.03 to 0.14 more cups of coffee per day -- meaning the impact of these genes on coffee intake is small.Some of the genes researchers say are associated with coffee intake have previously been linked in some way to smoking, obesity, blood pressure, diabetes, lipid profiles, and liver enzyme profiles. None of those factors, however, were linked to coffee intake in the study.

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Sexting Often Precedes Sexual Activity in Teens, Researchers Say

Sexting Often Precedes Sexual Activity in Teens, Researchers Say

ponsulak/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Researchers surveyed over 1,000 students in Houston, Texas, and found that teens who engaged in "sexting" were 1.32 times more likely to be sexually active one year later.Previous research has indicated that at least 15 percent of adolescents sext -- sending sexually explicit pictures or messages electronically using a smart phone. The survey of Houston students involved two questionaires one year apart. The first questionnaire aimed to determine whether they had sent, received, or requested a sext message. The second questionnaire asked whether they had engaged in sexual activity.Sexting, researchers say, may be a gateway to sexual activity. However, sexting was not linked to risky behaviors -- such as unsafe sex or drug use or alcohol use before sex.Further study is needed to determine whether those students who said they had taken part in sexting in the first questionnaire were more interested in sex, resulting in naturally higher numbers of individuals who had engaged in sexual activity one year later.

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New App Helps Breast Cancer Survivors Find Tattoo to Hide Mastectomy Scars

New App Helps Breast Cancer Survivors Find Tattoo to Hide Mastectomy Scars

monkeybusinessimages/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  P.ink, an organization that assists breast cancer survivors, has kicked off Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a new tattoo app designed to help women who are looking to hide scar tissue.Launched in early 2013, P.ink helps breast cancer survivors who have undergone mastectomies and breast reconstruction by connecting them with a tattoo artist that creates designs to cover and hide scar tissue from such operations. Now the organization has released Inkspiration, an app that gives women a preview of how a particular tattoo would look on their bodies."When you've had a mastectomy, whether you've had plastic surgery or not, you're still going to have scar tissue...many survivors who are not 'tattoo people' are suddenly open to it," said Noel Franus, a co-founder of P.ink.With the app, a woman can take a picture of her body, paste a tattoo on to it and see if she likes how it looks. The app also displays body types with common forms of scar tissue that may result from mastectomies. Once they have made a decision, the organization helps connect them with a tattoo artist who has experience in tattooing mastectomy scar tissue.Karen Richards was one of the beta testers for the app and says it's a great device for women who are unsure about or trying to find the right tattoo and is for women who have undergone breast reconstruction or not."I think it's an incredible way for women to experiment with tattoos and designs before they commit to having ink on their body."Richards, a 12-year breast cancer survivor, says the scarring acts as a reminder of the ordeal."Even though my scars have faded, it's still the very first thing I see when I look in the mirror," she said. "For me, it doesn't matter how long has passed. It's still the first thing I see."Franus says the app will soon offer more features, including an option for purchasing temporary tattoos in the mail."The big deal is they have for the first time a very visceral look at what the future looks like on their own terms."Richards has not yet come to a decision. I'm working with my artist," she says, and using the app to experiment with different designs.Inkspiration is only available on the iPhone, but an Android version is expected to be released soon.

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Texas Ebola Patient Now Getting Experimental Drug

Texas Ebola Patient Now Getting Experimental Drug

Will Montgomery(DALLAS) -- The Ebola patient in isolation at a Texas hospital has begun treatment with an experimental drug that was approved by the federal government Monday for experimental use, the hospital said.Thomas Eric Duncan, who is being treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital after being the first person diagnosed with Ebola within the United States, is listed in critical condition but is believed to be stable."He is now receiving an investigational medication, brincidofovir, for Ebola Virus Disease," hospital spokeswoman Candace White said in a tweet.The announcement that he is now being treated with an experimental anti-viral medication called brincidofovir comes the same day that the Food and Drug Administration approved its use in experimental cases.Brincidofovir is produced by Chimerix, a Durham, North Carolina-based company and was approved through an Emergency Investigational New Drug Applications program by the FDA."Based on in vitro data from work conducted by the CDC and the National Institutes of Health, suggesting brincidofovir's activity against Ebola, we are hopeful that brincidofovir may offer a potential treatment for Ebola Virus Disease during this outbreak," M. Michelle Berrey, the president and CEO of Chimerix, said in a statement released Monday.Duncan may not be the only person to receive the experimentation medication. The company reports that they are “working closely with the FDA to finalize a clinical trial protocol,” according to the release.

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Preschool Enterovirus 68 Victim Died in His Sleep

Preschool Enterovirus 68 Victim Died in His Sleep

Courtesy of the Waller family(NEW YORK) -- The New Jersey preschooler who died of the respiratory illness enterovirus 68 went to sleep and never woke up, health officials say.The death of 4-year-old Eli Waller is the first to be blamed on the virus that has swept the country, but health officials say he went to bed with none of its symptoms, which include cold-like symptoms but in some cases can involve wheezing and difficulty breathing."I think Eli's case is the exception to the other cases around the country," said Jeffrey Plunkett, the Hamilton, New Jersey, health officer. "He had no signs of any illness that night, and his passing was sudden and shocking."Eli, of Hamilton, New Jersey, was the youngest of triplets, born "smaller and lighter than his sisters," but he was never one to let that stand in his way, his father Andy Waller said in a letter released Sunday evening. His siblings are "perfectly healthy," Plunkett said, but one of Eli's classmates was being tested for possible infection this morning."Eli was not the type to give up, and even though things never really came easily to him, he would just plug away, day after day, practicing sounds, or movements, or skills, until he would eventually get them," his father said."He did this entirely in an effort to make his Mom and Dad proud, and we can unequivocally say that we were, and will continue to be, so very proud of our little Eli," he said.He compared his son to "a shy little puppy who wants only to make people proud and happy, maybe tripping a bit over his own paws, but truly full of unconditional love."Andy Waller said the family was establishing The First Day of School Foundation, to provide support for students involved in Special Education."Like so many kids his age, Eli was both nervous and excited about starting school, and it is our sincere hope that this Foundation can work to help kids in a way that will make Eli proud of us all, in the same way that we were all so proud of him," he said.Plunkett said Saturday that after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed on Oct. 3 that Eli was infected with the enterovirus 68 when he died on Sept. 24, the Mercer County medical examiner determined the preschooler's death was directly related to the disease.Brain and lymph node swelling in the child was then determined to be a result of the virus.While the virus has appeared to be particularly dangerous for asthmatic children or children with underlying health issues, Plunkett said Eli had no known health issues.At least four other patients who tested positive for the enterovirus 68 have died, and CDC and local medical officials are investigating whether the virus played a role in their deaths.

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Former Ebola Patient Released from Second Hospitalization

Former Ebola Patient Released from Second Hospitalization

iStock/Thinkstock(WORCESTER, Mass.) -- Former Ebola patient Dr. Rick Sacra has been released from his second hospitalization since returning to the United States from Liberia, according to UMass Memorial Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with and treated for an upper respiratory infection over the weekend.Sacra was admitted to the Worcester, Massachusetts, hospital on Saturday, a little more than a week after he was discharged from the Nebraska Medical Center, where he was being treated for Ebola.UMass Memorial officials said they did not believe that Sacra had relapsed, but isolated him and tested him again for the deadline virus. They confirmed Sunday night that his tests came back negative.Sacra was the third of four American health workers who have been brought to the U.S. after being infected with Ebola, since the outbreak started in West Africa in March.

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How to Tell If Your Child Has Enterovirus

How to Tell If Your Child Has Enterovirus

Fuse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A New Jersey preschooler is the first confirmed fatality in the U.S. from the respiratory disease, Enterovirus D68.Four-year-old Eli Walker’s death has stirred concern among parents as the virus continues its spread across at least 43 states and the District of Columbia, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News' chief health and medical editor, reassured parents, saying that as tragic as Walker’s death is, this virus is actually relatively mild.“Parents shouldn’t freak out every time their kid gets a cold,” he said. “Only if your child has a history of asthma or wheezing do you need to make sure they are seen by a doctor if they come down with something.”For parents concerned about enterovirus, here is everything you need to know to keep your child healthy:What are the symptoms?There are hundreds of respiratory viruses, so it is difficult to know when a child develops symptoms whether or not it is Enterovirus D68. The CDC advises parents to focus on severity of symptoms rather than whether a child has a particular virus.Notably, Enterovirus D68 usually presents without a fever. The most common symptoms are a persistent cough and runny nose. Parents should seek medical attention if their child starts wheezing or has trouble breathing, especially if they have a history of asthma or other respiratory problems.Rare symptoms might include weakness or paralysis in the arms, legs or facial muscles, though health authorities have not established a definitive link between these warning signs and the virus. Any child with these symptoms should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible.How can I prevent my child from getting the virus?Hand washing is the first line of defense against any illness, according to the CDC. Children should wash their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time.But Dr. Daniel Feikin, the epidemiology branch chief in the Division of Viral Diseases at the CDC, said there is really no way to contain this or any respiratory virus.“There is no vaccine. There is not really a lot you can do to prevent circulation,” Feikin said. “You can try to prevent at an individual level, but you cannot really stop it at a population level.”How does it spread?Enterovirus is a respiratory illness spread by saliva and mucus. When someone infected by the virus coughs, sneezes or touches a surface, they leave their germs behind, Feikin said.This is why regular hand washing -- and frequently wiping down surfaces with soap or bleach disinfectants -- may help keep the illness from spreading quickly.How worried should parents be?“It is scary when you hear about something like this,” said Feikin of the virus and neurological symptoms. “At this point there are no recommendations to not go about your daily business, similar to the way you would if it is the flu.”Besser added that most children don’t need to be tested for enterovirus infection.“Even if they are positive, the treatment will be the same as for a cold,” he said.

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Centenarians Share Tips for Long-Lasting Love

Centenarians Share Tips for Long-Lasting Love

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Today’s centenarians, those who are 100 years old or older, have seen it all: many wars, 17 presidencies, the Great Depression and the dot-com boom. And though age by no means guarantees wisdom, cultures have long recognized their elders as pillars of sage advice and sound judgment. Today's youth seem to have it all, but for many, love and quality relationships remain difficult.Holiday Retirement recently asked centenarians to share their perspectives on love, marriage and relationships and from that came five important pieces of advice. The takeaway: A return to simplicity may be the best way to make a relationship last. If you don't have an elderly grandma or grandpa to ask for love advice, read on.1. Spend more time with loved ones.Today’s to-do lists may seem never ending: buy groceries, pick up the kids at soccer practice, finish a presentation for work. However, centenarians suggest prioritizing one item over all of the others: spending more time with loved ones. In fact, more than a third said that in hindsight, if they could do one thing differently it would be to spend more time with their friends, family and neighbors.2. Say “I love you” more often.When was the last time you told your loved ones “I love you”? The old adage may be to never go to bed mad, but there is something to be said for not leaving for work without reminding your significant other how much you love and appreciate him or her. In fact, nearly one-quarter of centenarians encourage frequent “I love yous,” according to Holiday Retirement.3. Plan and do things together.The initial butterflies of a first date and spontaneity of the early years quickly give way to rushed take-out dinners and checking in by text message. But individuals with a century or more of “been there, done that” under their belts recognize the importance of making the effort to spend uninterrupted time together and continually learn about their partner.4. Make a stronger effort to communicate.The recipe for a healthy marriage may elude some, but for surveyed centenarians, who had advice to share such as, “do not get divorced; make it work,” it boils down to communication and togetherness. Nearly one-third of centenarians advise today’s young couples to make a stronger effort to communicate; and more than one-fourth encourage married folks to spend more time together.5. Make sure they are the one.As your Facebook feed seems flush with wedding pictures and engagement announcements, it is easy to get caught up in the fantasy of marriage. Yet, sage advice from centenarians reminds us that a marriage is about more than the wedding. Though marriage may be hard work, the right person can make it all worthwhile. After all, a wise 100-year-old woman summed it up best with, “make sure you have picked the right mate.”

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Four Lessons from American Who Survived Ebola-Like Virus

Four Lessons from American Who Survived Ebola-Like Virus

Courtesy Michelle Barnes(NEW YORK) -- Michelle Barnes didn’t have any symptoms of the Ebola-like virus that nearly killed her until she was in the air on a flight home to the United States from her Uganda vacation.She had contracted Marburg virus, a "cousin" of the Ebola virus, but the diagnosis wouldn’t come until about a year after her nightmare plane ride, three trips to the doctor upon returning to the U.S. and a 12-day stay in the hospital as her organs shut down.That was 2008. Today, she watches the coverage of the worst Ebola outbreak in history unfold through different eyes than the rest of us.Here are four things Barnes learned from her own brush with a deadly hemorrhagic fever and unknowingly importing it to the United States.It’s Not the Patient’s FaultBarnes was on vacation, hiking in Uganda on Christmas Day 2007, when her tour guide led her to a cave. She only looked in for a few minutes, observing the fruit bats hanging from the ceiling and pythons on the cave floor.“I was told thousands of people per year peer into this cave,” she said. “I later discovered that the cave was reservoir for Marburg.”She doesn’t know how exactly, but she got it from an interaction with an infected bat, she said.“I had no idea I had caught a hemorrhagic fever,” she said. “I didn’t show symptoms until I was on my way back to the U.S.”She was on a plane home on New Year’s Eve 2007 when she began to feel lightheaded and had a splitting headache. Over the next few days, she became nauseous and developed a fever and a rash.“It was really, truly horrible,” she said, adding that no one deserves the deadly disease.The Patient Can’t Think Clearly -- and Needs Your HelpAs soon as Barnes’s symptoms set in, she said her thoughts became jumbled.“The one symptom that really stood out is I couldn’t think clearly,” she said. “I couldn’t make rational thoughts.”Even worse, her husband went on a business trip as soon as they returned home to Colorado, and she began a new job. There was no one around to notice that she wasn’t acting like herself. There was no one to tell her that her symptoms were life-threatening and she should go to the emergency room.For five days, she went to work, visited her parents, went to meetings at restaurants, went grocery shopping and did other normal things, knowing she was becoming sicker and sicker but not knowing she was walking around with a deadly, contagious virus. During that time, she said, she went to an urgent care clinic and her doctor a few times, but Marburg wasn’t on their radar and they sent her home with antibiotics.As a result, she said, it's important that the people around potential Ebola patients -- loved ones, coworkers, classmates -- to make sure they get medical attention.“That’s something every single person can do,” she said. “People need to be advocates for other people who are showing early signs of Ebola. Getting them to the hospital so they can be put in isolation is critical.”U.S. Hospital Procedures Are Safer Than You ThinkBarnes was rushed to the hospital when she collapsed on her third visit to the doctor’s office. She stayed for 12 days, receiving supportive care, such as an IV and help breathing. When her gallbladder failed, doctors gave her surgery to remove it.The entire time, no one knew she had Marburg.“Nobody was infected,” she said, adding that doctors wore gloves and masks but nowhere near the protective gear mandated to treat a contagious hemorrhagic fever patient. More than 220 health care workers treated her during her hospital stay, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted an investigation into her case and concluded that the virus was not passed to any other person during her period of contagiousness.About six months later, Barnes read that a Dutch woman died of Marburg after visiting a cave in Uganda. She researched it and realized she had gone to the same cave.She asked to be re-tested for Marburg, and the results were positive.Although her diagnosis was delayed, she said the lack of transmission gives her faith in U.S. hospital safety precautions.“My family was with me through all of this,” she said, adding that they stayed in her hospital room around the clock. “This isn’t like the movie 'Outbreak.' We aren’t living in a rural village with no health care infrastructure.”Survivors Won’t Hurt YouUntil this week, Barnes had been one of only five people to have brought a hemorrhagic fever to the United States, which has made her something of a reluctant disease celebrity. As a result, she’s received some unwanted attention.“It’s infuriating,” she said. “It was six years ago and I’m still getting people accusing me of walking around contagious.”She is no longer contagious, and she has antibodies for Marburg, she said. Still, even highly educated people don’t always listen to the facts given the hype around infectious diseases.“It’s really been surprising and almost scary to have people treat me as though I’m a person to be feared,” she said.When she thinks of Ebola patients, she said she worries they’re going to carry a stigma long after they’re contagious. And that is not a burden they should carry in addition to having survived Ebola.

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People Eat Heavy When Dining with Heavy People

People Eat Heavy When Dining with Heavy People

BananaStock/Thinkstock(ITHACA, N.Y.) -- Be careful when dining with overweight people. You may pick up bad habits.A new study points out that when an overweight person eats unhealthy food, the company they keep may also follow suit.In an experiment conducted by Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab and the Mayo Medical Clinic, more than 80 college students were divided into four groups whereby some sat with an actress dressed in a fat suit that ordered more spaghetti than salad while another actress who feigned a weight problem did the opposite.Meanwhile, the third and four groups sat with actresses dressed normally ordering more spaghetti than salad or more salad than spaghetti, respectively.Interestingly, students sitting with the women pretending to be overweight piled more pasta than salad on their plates no matter whether the actress served herself more spaghetti or more salad.Co-study author Brian Wansink contends that people tend to often make bad food choices, depending on who's sitting at their table. He recommends then that it's important to adhere to dietary goals when ordering from a menu or if going to a buffet, decide beforehand to eat healthy and stick with the program.

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Dramatic Lifestyle Changes May Reverse Alzheimer’s Effects

Dramatic Lifestyle Changes May Reverse Alzheimer’s Effects

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- A therapeutic approach to treating Alzheimer's disease that doesn't involve drugs may hold the key to reversing the memory-wasting condition.Dr. Dale E. Bredesen, who headed the small UCLA study, says that sleep, diet and exercise were all factors taken into consideration when researchers altered the lifestyles of the ten patients suffering from Alzheimer's.Among other things, the participants ate more fish and took fish oil, B-12, vitamin D-3 while eschewing carbs and processed foods. They also learned yoga and how to meditate while also sleeping as many hours as possible.With the exception of one patient in the late stages of the disease, nine showed improvement and six, who had stopped working because of their affliction, returned to work.Perhaps even more significantly, when some of the patients were contacted two years after the study, they still exhibited improvements.

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Optimism on the Upswing Among Nation’s Doctors

Optimism on the Upswing Among Nation’s Doctors

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Fifty-six percent of U.S. doctors say their morale is low for a variety of reasons, including problems with the Affordable Care Act.However, The Physicians Foundation survey of 20,000 doctors also found that optimism has also risen from 32 percent in 2012 to 44 percent today.Among the things bugging doctors, particularly those who've practiced for years, is the health care law, which gets a D or F grade from nearly half of the survey respondents.Another problem physicians appear to be having is with electronic medical records that are designed to hasten and improve patient care. Again, almost half say it's more a hindrance than a boon to their practice.However, younger doctors who responded to the poll were more apt to give the Affordable Care Act higher grades and rated EMRs much more favorably than their older counterparts.In fact, it was younger physicians, female doctors and hospital-employed physicians who were far more optimistic about their profession in the survey than middle-aged and elderly docs, males and those with their own practice.

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Second Baby Born at Texas Hospital Tests Positive for Tuberculosis

Second Baby Born at Texas Hospital Tests Positive for Tuberculosis

Photodisc/Thinkstock(EL PASO, Texas) -- A baby born at Providence Memorial Hospital in Texas has tested positive for a latent tuberculosis infection, health officials announced Saturday. The child, born in 2013, is the second to test positive without having been vaccinated with the Bacillus Calmette–Guérin, or BCG, vaccine. The diagnosis comes a week after a total of 853 were identified as potentially exposed to a healthcare worker with an active case of the disease. In addition to Saturday's case, four other babies who have received the BCG vaccine have tested positive for tuberculosis, but it is unknown if these are false positives due to their vaccinations, according to the City of El Paso Department of Public Health. “While we wish no child would test positive for TB, we did anticipate a positive rate of one percent,” said Robert Resendes, Public Health Director. “With two non-BCG vaccinated positive test results, we are still well below that percentage. To the best of our knowledge, there has been no active TB disease discovered in any of the tested babies.”Officials said hundreds of patients and more than 40 employes were exposed in the post-partum and newborn nursery area of the Texas hospital between September 2013 and August 2014.

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Texas Ebola Patient Not Receiving Experimental Medication

Texas Ebola Patient Not Receiving Experimental Medication

iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., is not being treated with experimental medication, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Sunday.Doctors treating Duncan fear that the experimental medication may worsen his condition, CDC Director Tom Frieden said. Duncan is instead only receiving supportive care.David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, also said that Duncan's medical condition had worsened. Doctors downgraded his condition from serious to critical on Saturday.Duncan is being treated in an isolation unit at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.Authorities in Dallas on Sunday located a homeless individual, Michael Lively, believed to be at "low risk" for exposure after possible contact with Duncan. He will be taken to Parkland Hospital.Health officials are also monitoring about 50 people who may have had contact with Duncan, including 9 believed to be at "high risk" for exposure.

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Former Ebola Patient Dr. Rick Sacra Hospitalized

Former Ebola Patient Dr. Rick Sacra Hospitalized

iStock/Thinkstock(WORCESTER, Mass.) -- Dr. Rick Sacra, a family physician from Massachusetts who survived Ebola, was readmitted to a hospital Saturday with what doctors said appears to be an upper respiratory infection.UMass Memorial Medical Center physicians said they believe it is likely Sacra is not suffering a relapse of Ebola, but in the interest of safety they are isolating him until they have confirmation.Sacra, 51, underwent treatment at the Nebraska Medical Center after contracting the deadly virus while treating patients in Liberia. He was released on Sept. 26."Even though the likelihood of Dr. Sacra having a relapse of Ebola is extremely low, doctors will run tests to be 100 percent sure,” Dr. Phil Smith, who treated Sacra in Nebraska, told ABC News affiliate WCVB in Boston. "The symptoms he has are indicative of a respiratory illness and are not those of someone suffering from Ebola.""Dr. Sacra is in stable condition and being monitored carefully. We're waiting for final test results from the CDC which we expect to receive late Monday," said Dr. Robert Finberg, MD, professor and chair of medicine, UMass Memorial Medical Center, an infectious disease expert leading Dr. Sacra's team of doctors."We are isolating Dr. Sacra to be cautious pending final confirmation of his illness," Finberg said. "We think it is highly unlikely that he has Ebola. We suspect he has an upper respiratory tract infection, with symptoms of cough and conjunctivitis."Sacra was the third of four American health workers who have been brought to the U.S. after being infected with Ebola, since the outbreak started in West Africa in March.

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Former Ebola Patient Dr. Rick Sacra Hospitalized

Former Ebola Patient Dr. Rick Sacra Hospitalized

iStock/Thinkstock(WORCESTER, Mass.) -- Dr. Rick Sacra, a family physician from Massachusetts who survived Ebola, was readmitted to a hospital Saturday with what doctors said appears to be an upper respiratory infection.UMass Memorial Medical Center physicians said they believe it is likely Sacra is not suffering a relapse of Ebola, but in the interest of safety they are isolating him until they have confirmation.Sacra, 51, underwent treatment at the Nebraska Medical Center after contracting the deadly virus while treating patients in Liberia. He was released on Sept. 26."Even though the likelihood of Dr. Sacra having a relapse of Ebola is extremely low, doctors will run tests to be 100 percent sure,” Dr. Phil Smith, who treated Sacra in Nebraska, told ABC News affiliate WCVB in Boston. "The symptoms he has are indicative of a respiratory illness and are not those of someone suffering from Ebola.""Dr. Sacra is in stable condition and being monitored carefully. We're waiting for final test results from the CDC which we expect to receive late Monday," said Dr. Robert Finberg, MD, professor and chair of medicine, UMass Memorial Medical Center, an infectious disease expert leading Dr. Sacra's team of doctors."We are isolating Dr. Sacra to be cautious pending final confirmation of his illness," Finberg said. "We think it is highly unlikely that he has Ebola. We suspect he has an upper respiratory tract infection, with symptoms of cough and conjunctivitis."Sacra was the third of four American health workers who have been brought to the U.S. after being infected with Ebola, since the outbreak started in West Africa in March.

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Passenger Who Showed Possible Ebola Symptoms Does Not Have Disease

Passenger Who Showed Possible Ebola Symptoms Does Not Have Disease

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEWARK, N.J.) --A passenger who was taken off a flight from Brussels to Newark, New Jersey, Saturday after his sickness triggered fear that he might have Ebola does not have the deadly disease, officials said.United Airlines Flight 998 was met by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials at Newark Liberty International Airport and the passenger, who was believed to be from Liberia, and his daughter were removed from the plane by a CDC crew in full hazmat gear. They were taken to University Hospital in Newark for testing."After an examination by physicians at University Hospital, the symptoms of one individual were found to be consistent with another, minor treatable condition unrelated to Ebola," University Hospital spokeswoman Donna Leusner said. "The second individual, who was traveling with the patient, was asymptomatic. The two individuals will be released with self-monitoring."A senior federal official said the passenger was exhibiting "flu-like symptoms" on the flight.According to an official briefed on the situation, preliminary information was that the passenger was vomiting on flight but did not display most of the other symptoms.Other passengers remained on the plane while the sick passenger and his daughter were being removed.After they were off the plane and it was determined he was not contagious, the rest of the passengers were allowed off, a source with knowledge of the situation told ABC News.The passengers were required to give information on how to follow up with them if the need arose."Everybody was very calm," said Bob MacRae, who was among the passengers kept at the airport for about two hours. "It's just it dragged out for quite a long time without any real good answers so I think we would have appreciated more information as time went on but we didn't really have any."There were 255 passengers and a crew of three pilots and 11 flight attendants on the Boeing 777-200.United Airlines released a brief statement after the flight arrived."Upon arrival at Newark Airport from Brussels, medical professionals instructed that customers and crew of United flight 998 remain on board until they could assist an ill customer," the statement said. "We are working with authorities and will accommodate our customers as quickly as we can."

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What We Know About the Texas Ebola Case

What We Know About the Texas Ebola Case

iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., was downgraded to critical condition Saturday, the Texas hospital treating him said in a statement.Duncan, who was visiting family in Dallas after arriving from Liberia, was diagnosed with Ebola at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas last Sunday, three days after he initially went to the hospital.Duncan is being treated in an isolation ward.Louise Troh, the woman who traveled back from Liberia with Duncan and is referred to as his wife by relatives, told ABC News today she is frustrated with the lack of information on Duncan’s condition.Troh and her family were removed from their apartment to an undisclosed location on Friday, where they will remain for the duration of their quarantine. While the family remains in quarantine, clean-up crews returned to the apartment Saturday to continue sanitizing.Including Troh and her family, health officials are monitoring about 50 people who may have had contact with Duncan, including 9 of those believed to be at "high risk" for exposure.At least one person is being monitored after traveling in the ambulance used to transport Duncan to the hospital last week, according to officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Here's what we know about the case:Duncan’s Partner Says She’s Being Treated ‘Like a Dog’Troh told ABC News Saturday that no one had updated her on Duncan’s condition for two days.“They are telling me nothing,” she said. "They are treating me like a dog. I have no idea how he is doing."Troh and her family will remain in quarantine for at least 21 days and were moved by Dallas government officials to an undisclosed location on Friday, where they would be able to walk around outside.Hospital officials were not immediately available to comment about her allegations.Patients in Ambulance Used to Transport Duncan to Be MonitoredAt least one of the 50 people being monitored for Ebola symptoms in Dallas had traveled in the ambulance used to transport Duncan to the hospital on September 28, CDC Director Tom Freiden said SaturdayFreiden emphasized that people traveling in the ambulance after Duncan would be monitored “as a precaution” due to their possible contact.Freiden confirmed none of the 50 people being monitored had any symptoms of the virus.Hospital Says Duncan’s Records Were Available to Entire StaffTexas Health Presbyterian Hospital said Friday that its entire staff had access to Duncan's electronic health records, including his travel history, days after blaming a flaw in physician and nursing workflows as the reason he was initially released.Duncan arrived at the emergency room on September 25 with a low-grade fever and complained of abdominal pain. Although he disclosed to a nurse he had traveled from Liberia, he was still released with antibiotics rather than being put into an isolation ward at the hospital, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.On Friday, the hospital issued a statement saying that the entire team treating Duncan had access to the information about his travel history and denied that there was a flaw in the way its physician and nursing workflow interacted."As a standard part of the nursing process, the patient's travel history was documented and available to the full care team in the electronic health record (EHR), including within the physician’s workflow," read the statement. "There was no flaw in the EHR in the way the physician and nursing portions interacted related to this event."Duncan Could Face ChargesThe Dallas County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday it is looking into whether charges should be brought against Duncan, according to ABC News affiliate WFAA-TV in Dallas.Officials will examine if Duncan’s actions could constitute criminal activity by putting public health at risk."We are looking into whether or not Duncan knowingly and intentionally exposed the public to a deadly virus, making this a criminal matter for Dallas County," spokesperson Debbie Denmon told WFAA in an email.Duncan’s nephew Joe Weeks told ABC News that Duncan seemed to be growing weaker in recent days."At first we were able to talk to him on the phone, but now he is just too sick to speak," said Weeks.Relatives of Duncan Moved to Undisclosed LocationRelatives of Duncan were moved to an undisclosed location within the city of limits of Dallas on Friday.Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told reporters the family was moved to a four-bedroom house of which the use was given to them by an anonymous donor in the “faith-based community.”Judge Clay Jenkins and Rawlings told reporters the donor was a friend whom they called for help. The house is in a gated community."They've got room to move," Jenkins said of the family, which is under quarantine and can't leave the property.The family had been in the same apartment where Duncan became ill late last week. It includes two men, a 13-year-old boy named Timothy, and a woman named Louise Troh, who traveled with Duncan from Liberia and has been referred to as Duncan's wife by other family members.Jenkins had ordered the family to stay at the apartment as part of quarantine measures to ensure the virus didn’t spread.On Friday, a team entered the home to decontaminate any surface that Duncan may have contaminated. The family will remain in quarantine for at least 21 days.Ebola Clean Up to Cost $65,000The cost to decontaminate the apartment will cost about $65,000, according to local government officials in Dallas. The state of Texas will cover the cost.On Friday, a special team of cleaners began cleaning and removing infected materials, including mattresses, sheets and towels, from the home. Those linens will be sealed in plastic barrels, placed in a sealed tractor and later incinerated.The U.S. Department of Transportation issued an emergency permit Friday allowing all Ebola-contaminated materials to moved so they can be incinerated.

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CDC Investigates Another Death of Child with Enterovirus 68

CDC Investigates Another Death of Child with Enterovirus 68

Fuse/Thinkstock(HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, N.J.) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed another death linked to the enterovirus 68.A New Jersey preschooler, who died last week, tested positive for the disease, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. The medical examiner listed the 4-year-old's cause of death as enterovirus, Hamilton Township Health Officer Jeff Plunkett said Saturday. At least four other patients, who tested positive for the enterovirus 68, have died, according to the CDC. However, government health officials are still investigating whether the virus played a role in their deaths.Another child in Rhode Island died last week from a combination of bacterial and viral infections. The Rhode Island Department of Health said the 10-year-old girl died of Staphylococcus aureus sepis "associated with" enterovirus 68.The respiratory disease is suspected of sickening children in at least 43 states, according to the CDC. The virus often starts out similar to a common cold with patients usually complaining of coughing or a runny nose. In rare cases the respiratory problems can become severe, particularly for asthmatic patients.In Colorado, CDC and local health officials are investigating whether limb weakness and paralysis reported in nine children was associated with the enterovirus 68.

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