<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Health News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/health http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Fri, 31 Oct 2014 21:51:46 -0700 Fri, 31 Oct 2014 21:51:46 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Importance of Evaluating Breast Cancer Gene]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 20:51:35 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/N6PKG_DR_BRUCE_BREAST_CANCER_2_1200x675_350779459838.jpg With the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, many people are wondering about the value in evaluating the breast cancer gene with a family history of the disease. Dr. Bruce looks into the topic on the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 31, 2014.]]> <![CDATA[Dr. Bruce on Ebola Quarantine Debate]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 06:36:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/N6_PKG_DR_BRUCE_1200x675_350293059993.jpg Dr. Bruce weighs in on whether healthcare professionals who worked with Ebola patients should self-quarantine on the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Thursday Oct. 30, 2014.]]> <![CDATA[Nurse Steps Out, Slams Quarantine]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 04:01:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kaci-Hickox.jpg

Nurse Kaci Hickox, who recently returned from treating Ebola victims in West Africa and has challenged the legality of a quarantine, spoke outside of her Maine home after health officials announced they are seeking a court order to force her to stay home in quarantine for three weeks over public health concerns.

Hickox walked out of her Fort Kent home Wednesday night, defying the Maine CDC's protocol for health care workers who have treated Ebola patients.

"We have to make decisions based on science," she told reporters while standing outside with her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur. "You could hug me. You could shake my hand and not get Ebola."

The state wants people who have had direct contact with Ebola patients to remain home and avoid public contact until the virus' 21-day incubation period had passed, and it will seek court orders to force them to if they don't of their own accord, officials said at a Wednesday press conference in Augusta.

"Our true desire is for a voluntary separation from the public. We do not want to legally enforce an in-home quarantine unless absolutely necessary," Maine Commissioner of Health and Human Services Mary Mayhew said. "However, we will pursue legal authority if necessary to ensure risk is minimized for all Mainers."

Mayhew defended the state's effort to enforce what it continued to call a "voluntary" quarantine, saying it reflected a "common-sense approach" that would "guard against a public health crisis in Maine."

The court order seeking to force Hickox to remain home will ideally be filed Wednesday, Mayhew said.

Officials also said state troopers are outside of her door waiting to tail her and see who she comes into contact with if she leaves home.

Earlier on Wednesday, Hickox, a nurse who had first been quarantined in New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport over the weekend and was released after showing no symptoms, told Matt Lauer on "Today" that she wasn't abiding by Maine CDC's recommendation; the state's CDC recommendation is more strict than federal guidelines.

"I truly believe this policy is not scientifically nor constitutionally just, and so I’m not going to sit around and be bullied around by politicians and be forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public," Hickox said. 

Gov. Paul LePage said in a statement earlier on Wednesday that while he's concerned with the safety and health of Hickox and the community of Fort Kent, the state is "exploring all of our options for protecting the health and well-being" of Hickox and the community.

"While we certainly respect the rights of one individual, we must be vigilant in protecting 1.3 million Mainers, as well as anyone who visits," LePage's statement said.

<![CDATA[Nurses Claim UC Hospitals Unprepared for Ebola]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 06:17:13 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/Ronald+Reagan+UCLA+Medical+Center.jpg

Registered nurses at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center are expected to hold a "speak out" Wednesday to voice concerns that the hospital is not properly equipped to deal with Ebola. 

The nurses believes that the UC hospitals that are now being promoted as priority hospitals for treating any potential Ebola patients in California are "far from prepared." A speak out is scheduled for 7 a.m. Wednesday at UCLA Medical Center.

The events have been organized by the California Nurses Association union and National Nurses United (NNU), which represent approximately 12,000 nurses. Similar speak outs were held at UC San Diego and UC San Francisco Tuesday.

Despite what nurses say, an official from the UC system went on the record Tuesday and said they are "far along" in their preparations, and measures are in place to deal with any cases.

Last week, officials said all five University of California medical centers are positioned to provide care for Californians with confirmed Ebola.

UCLA Registered Nurse Fong Chuu, who is a California Nurses Association board member, spoke out ahead of the event.

"Weeks after registered nurse, Nina Pham, was infected in Texas, the preparedness at our hospitals is still a work in progress. This is unacceptable," Chuu said.

The unions are calling for full-body hazmat suits that meet required standards for blood penetration, viral penetration and which leaves no skin exposed or unprotected, powered air purifying respirators with an assigned protection factor of at least 50 or higher, and at least two direct-care registered nurses caring for each Ebola patient.

They are also calling for extensive and continuous training for nursing personnel.

University of California health sciences and services head Dr. John Stobo insisted preparations were well under way. 

"We welcome constructive input from nurses, physicians and other staff as to how we might improve our preparedness," Stobo said.

NNU is demanding all hospitals implement the optimal standards in personal protective equipment and training protocols.

It is also calling on federal and state officials to mandate hospitals comply with the optimal protections for nurses, other frontline health workers, patients, and the general public.

"It is unconscionable that the hospitals do not have the optimal standards and protocols already in place to protect our caregivers," said RoseAnn DeMoro, NNU and CNA executive director.

Photo Credit: Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center]]>
<![CDATA[Local Doc Defends NY Ebola Patient's Actions ]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:19:18 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/craig+spencer+bellevue.jpg

A San Diego doctor is defending the actions of Dr. Craig Spencer, the man hospitalized for Ebola in New York City.

Spencer, who tested positive for Ebola on Thursday, has been criticized by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for not obeying a 21-day voluntary quarantine.

In her first on camera interview, one of Spencer’s friends defended his actions.

Dr. Liz Edelstein described Spencer as someone who is selfless, inspiring and always willing to make sacrifices.

“My heart ached and it still does and it just it hit very close to home,” says Dr. Edelstein. “It's definitely scary.”

She met Spencer at a Wilderness Medicine Retreat where students learned to prevent, diagnose and treat disease in the back country without access to modern technology.

Edelstein defends Spencer saying he followed Ebola monitoring protocols.

“He is a careful doctor he's conscientious in his job he's out there because he knows better than most doctors how to deal with this,” says Edelstein. ”What happened is a risk of his job.”

A risk, she prays he can overcome.

“A lot of us went into medicine because we want to do things like that there's a calling,” says Edelstein. “And Craig is one of the few who actually does it."

Spencer has been hospitalized and was said to be in serious but stable condition Monday. He has received a plasma transplant from Ebola survivor Nancy Writebol.

Spencer had returned to New York City from treating Ebola victims in Guinea for Doctors Without Borders. In the week after his return, he rode the subway, went bowling and ate at a restaurant.

<![CDATA[Nurses Union: UC Hospitals Not Ready for Ebola Patients]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:18:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/nurse-PPE-ebola-uc-san-dieg.jpg

Members of a large nurses union claim the hospitals recently identified as "priority hospitals" in potential Ebola cases are far from ready to treat such cases.

Thousands of nurses at the five University of California medical centers across the state are now demanding that all hospitals step up in personal protective equipment (PPE) and training.

California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, which represents 12,000 RNs at the five UC medical center, organized "speak out" events in San Francisco and San Diego Tuesday. Nurses in Los Angeles were planning to organize a similar event Wednesday.

Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, two Texas health care workers who were infected while caring for Ebola patient Thomas Clark Duncan, underwent treatment and have been declared virus free.

At UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest, nurses warned that if the potentially deadly virus makes its way to San Diego, residents may be at risk.

"They said the equipment is going to be updated.. as of last week, the PPE equipment that my co-worker shared with me, it left the side of your face and your neck exposed, so they said that equipment is going to be changing," said Michael D Jackson, VP of National Nurses United.

Despite the claims made by nurses, officials at UCSD Medical Center told NBC 7 they are confident with their plan of action in the face of an Ebola patient.

They said the facility is "fully prepared to care for any adult patient who is confirmed to have the Ebola virus, if needed.”

Their statement goes on to say, “The hospital has invested in the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to achieve the highest standard of safety for a select team of personnel who are designated to care for patients with the Ebola virus. These customized PPE kits are available to care teams at UC San Diego Health System and are based on the latest, scientifically driven information from the Centers for Disease Control, with additional advice from Emory and Nebraska medical centers.”  

<![CDATA[Breakthrough Technology Treats Heart Failure]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 11:33:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tlmd_doctor_paciente.jpg

A potentially life-saving medical breakthrough could treat heart failure without the patient ever having to go to a doctor’s office.

A new implantable device monitors the condition of a patient’s heart wirelessly and sends data from the patient’s bedroom to the patient’s doctor.

This new technology is being used by Dr. David Shavelle at the Keck Hospital of USC. Alfredo Delatorre is one of the first recipients of the new device.

"This will significantly improve his quality of life. It will keep him out of the hospital and it will potentially reduce visits to the clinic so he can spend more time at home with his family " Shavelle said.

Delatorre uses a special pillow that is connected to a wireless transmitter. The pillow communicates with a tiny sensor implanted inside one of his arteries, sending information about his heart health directly to a secure website. Shavelle says he simply logs in and checks on Delatorre’s condition.

"We can potentially adjust medications and intervene so they don’t have to come to the hospital," Shavelle said.

According to NBC4’s Dr. Bruce, this new technology is just one example of portable care. There are also home scales and blood pressure monitors that send information to the doctor’s office.

The new technology doesn’t replace in-person exams, but for chronic problems, it could save time, money and lives.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Beverly Hills Mom Drives Marijuana Venture]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 06:44:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/6086cece1b1849ee9e44a75c6187d8ae.jpg

Beverly Hills mom Cheryl Shuman may not look like the stereotypical stoner, but she’s hoping her new crowdfunding website will be a driving force to help bring medical marijuana to the masses.

Diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007, Shuman was given just months to live. She refused hospice and started smoking marijuana. Now, she’s known as an advocate of the drug.

"My name is Cheryl Shuman and they call me the Martha Stewart of Marijuana," Shuman, founder of the Beverly Hills Cannabis Club, said.

Shuman, who has been on TV shows and in magazines promoting her business, said she frequently hears that she doesn’t fit what people think a pot smoker should look like.

"Well you don't look like a pot smoker, you don't look like a marijuana person," is what she said people tell her. "I always say, 'What were you expecting me to look like?'"

She doesn’t have a stereotypical business model either.

She credits cannabis for saving her life, and her passion for its benefits has led to her business and a 68-acre marijuana farm in Northern California.

And now she's hoping her newest venture, crowdfunding website Canna-dabba-doo, will help other potential medical marijuana entrepreneurs.

"Medical marijuana is as close to being a miracle drug and if it were discovered in the Amazon jungle today it would be heralded around the world as a miracle drug," Shuman said.

So far, the website only has three business ideas posted and no money has been pledged. But Shuman says it's just beginning.

"It allows anyone with a small business idea and a dream to post their project on the website and all the people we generate through social media can help fund it," she said.

"This is like the 90s and the dot-com boom. This is the pot-com boom!"

But the pot business comes with critics.

"The 'green rush' is nothing more than a revitalization of drug dealing in California and the U.S.," a spokesman for the group Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana said in a statement. "With fraudulent labeling of pot as medicine, we have seen increases in drug use particularly among teens and young adults."

Spokesman Scott Chipman said in a written statement that as a society "we must beat back big marijuana just like big tobacco of 20 years ago.

"It has the potential to be much more harmful and deadly," he said.

While cannabis has been shown to alleviate side effects of cancer treatments and other effects of the disease, no clinical trials on humans have shown it to be an effective treatment for cancer, according to the National Institutes of Health. The FDA has not approved the drug for cancer treatment.

Still, Shuman points to her clientele's need for the various strains of the marijuana for medicinal purposes.

"This is a legitimate medicine, that legitimately helps people," Shuman said.

<![CDATA[Race and Breast Cancer Mortality]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 22:15:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/10-27-14_Breast_Cancer.JPG

A new study finds in Los Angeles a black woman with breast cancer is about 70 percent more likely to die from the disease than a white woman, according to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

"If we don’t wake up and become involved we [black women] are going to be an endangered species," said Dr. Robina Smith, a breast cancer surgeon.

Smith attributes the disparity in breast cancer mortality rates to the fact that black women are less likely to discuss the issue with their doctors. As a result, they tend to be diagnosed with the disease at a later stage.

Smith summed up her advice in six words: "We need to talk about it."

Lajuana Brown, a breast cancer survivor, hands out cards to women to remind them to get their mammograms.

"Yes, a lot of black women will say, ‘I don’t want a mammogram because I’m afraid,' and I tell them, 'You should be afraid that you have cancer and you’re missing it,'" Brown said.

Another recent study revealed 20 percent of black women, as opposed to 12 percent of white women, will wait an entire month before returning for the necessary imaging to determine if they have breast cancer, according to Smith.

Paula Gardener, who lost her aunt to breast cancer, has committed herself to raising breast cancer awareness, especially among the black community.

"Some battles get lost, but there are so many we can win," Gardener said.

<![CDATA[More than 31,000 Pounds of Chicken Products Recalled]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 07:55:42 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/bell-evans-chicken.jpg

A Pennsylvania food company over the weekend issued a recall of more than 31,000 pounds of chicken products that may contain a toxin.

The recalled products are Bell & Evans gluten free chicken breast nuggets (12 ounces) and Bell & Evans gluten free chicken breast (10.5 ounces), according to a press release from the Department of Agriculture.

The chicken products have Aug. 9, 2015, expiration dates. They were shipped to stores across the U.S.

The food may be contaminated with Staphylococcal bacteria, which may cause stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

The reported contamination was discovered by the Colorado Department of Agriculture during a retail surveillance and sampling program.

Photo Credit: BellandEvans.com]]>
<![CDATA[NYC Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 23:37:35 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/11p_kovacik_ebola_1200x675_347225155712.jpg A doctor who recently returned from West Africa on an Ebola for Doctors Without Borders tested positive for the virus at a New York City hospital after reporting fever and gastrointestinal symptoms, health officials said. Robert Kovacik and Dr. Bruce report for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014.]]> <![CDATA["Miracle Oil" Cures Girl's Seizures]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 21:03:38 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Glut+1+medicinal+oil.jpg

A North Texas family is touting a "miracle oil" and praising researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas for healing their little girl, who was having chronic seizures.

Spend a day with 6-year-old Chloe Olivarez and it is hard to keep up with her. Chloe's mother, Brandi Olivarez, says she never thought she would see this day.

"I don't even know that a year ago she would have been able to," Olivarez said.

Just two years ago, Brandi Olivarez had no idea what was wrong with her daughter. Video from Children's Health in Dallas shows doctors monitoring Chloe to figure out why she was having hundreds of seizures a day.

"We were looking at buying a wheelchair and diapers, because she wasn't able to be potty trained at that point," Brandi Olivarez said.

A helmet protected Chloe's head because she fell often.

"We were watching her go down this progressive slope, and she was just continually declining," Brandi Olivarez said.

Tests revealed Chloe had Glut 1 deficiency. That is a metabolic disease that depletes the brain of needed glucose, which makes most people unresponsive and slow to develop.

"It was kind of bittersweet. Finally understanding what she actually had, what we were fighting and the next step. It doesn't have a cure," Brandi Olivarez said.

But their timing was impeccable. Dr. Juan Pascual, a professor of pediatric neurology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, had just wrapped a groundbreaking study on mice with Glut 1, using an edible oil.

Pascual enrolled Chloe in his first human clinical trial, and within hours of ingesting the oil, her seizures started to subside.

"I had never seen anything like it," Pascual said.

"Speech was the first, other than seeing the seizure activity on the EEG, you could tell. She wasn't having seizures where she was hitting the floor anymore, and then speech was the next thing. Her speech, she immediately started using sentences," Brandi Olivarez said. "So then. with prolonged use, we have increased muscle tone. She's about to run a mile without stopping now."

The medicinal oil is derived from castor beans called Triheptanoin, which is used in many cosmetics in the United States. It has no smell and no taste.

All 14 participants in the study drank the oil four times a day in varying doses, and 70 percent of them saw a significant decline in seizures and improved neuropsychological performance.

The study is published in JAMA Neurology.

"Some days are very rough and some days are very happy, and I have to say that this was one of the happiest days of my life," Pascual said.

Chloe's family says watching her progress has been remarkable.

"We owe him everything. Now, we have a very vibrant, sassy little girl and I can't express my gratitude for everything they've done for us because it's been amazing to watch her," Brandi Olivarez said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Breast Density Screenings Urged for Cancer Prevention]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:58:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/224*120/10-21-14-breast+density+screening.JPG

Many doctors and patients alike will say that diagnosing breast cancer early saves lives, and part of that is knowing enough to make informed decisions, including when a person has dense breast tissue.

Breast density refers to the amount of fat and tissue in the breast as seen on a mammogram, according to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The organization says women with dense breast have an increased risk of breast cancer.

"When you have dense breast tissue it turns up as white, but cancer turns up as white," Eydith Kaufman said referring to mammogram images. Kaufman lost her partner Janina Hurtado, 45, to an aggressive cancer that she says began as breast cancer. She says Hurtado had a mammogram two months before her diagnosis.

"She knew had some cysts but she was never told that she had dense breast tissue," Kaufman said.

A new law in California now makes talking about dense breast tissue mandatory and a push to have a similar law is going national.

Dense breast tissue laws are now popping up across the country, in 19 states including California according to areyoudenseadvocacy.org, and 40 percent of women have dense breast tissue.

The law in California passed in 2012 and went into effect April 2013. It requires a facility performing a mammogram to tell a patient she or he has the condition and suggest speaking about further screening options.

"I think most women, if they are educated and they are aware of what the options are, at least they can have a meaningful dialogue with their physician and come up with a plan," Kaufman said.

Plans can include automated whole breast ultrasound screenings, innovative technology called Sonocine. Developed by Dr. Kevin Kelly from the Breast Ultrasound Center in Pasadena, the software takes precise, equally spaced images and can find masses as small as 5 mm.

"It's a computer hand on the technologist hand getting the right speed and coverage of the entire breast," Kelly said.

The cost of this screening runs from $250 to $350, Kelly said, and is covered by some insurance companies.

Density laws in general have been criticized for their potential for malpractice cases and false positive diagnosis.

A patient or Kelly who works with him, Chiqueeta Jameson, carries the memory of a misdiagnosed lump around the country.

"Two gynecologists and one breast surgeon, not one of them did an ultrasound," she said.

She and two other women run the non-profit group called The Dangerous Boobs Tour.

“We want to educate every women in this country,” Jameson said.

And that education can be empowering. Kaufman says it can also save lives.

"Everybody agrees that the best thing for cancer is early detection," Kaufman said. "Nobody disagrees with that and Janina didn't have that gift."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, is a co-sponsor of federal legislation that would create a national dense breast tissue standard and make reporting mandatory across the country. A Feinstein spokesperson says the bill will be reviewed after the elections in November.

<![CDATA[Flu Vaccine Urged Over Ebola Worries]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 07:24:02 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/LAgenerics+health+medical+doctor+01.jpg

With all the news and worry about Ebola, doctors say many people are ignoring a much greater health threat in the U.S. - the flu.

Flu season has arrived in Southern California, and it kills far more Americans each year than Ebola. It's also preventable.

Many local emergency rooms are testing for the flu because of the Ebola fears, and the hospitals are seeing more cases of flu than expected.

But unlike the deadly virus, the simple fact is that the flu can be prevented by vaccine, which can be given by shot or by the inhaled mist. The treatment can prevent 60 to 90 percent of flu cases.

There are only eight known Ebola cases in the U.S., and most of those cases were contracted in West Africa.

Those eight cases have spurred fears across the country, yet 5 to 20 percent of all Americans get the flu every year, or 15 million to 6o million people.

And although reporting is not mandatory, the CDC estimates that between 3,000 and 49,000 flu deaths in America each year are preventable. Yet less than 50 percent of Americans get the flu vaccine.

People choose to avoid the vaccine, arguing that it causes aches and pains, isn’t worth it, they never get the flu or that they already got it last year.

The vaccine only lasts one year, however. It prevents the flu 60 percent of the time and it may cause a few aches and pains, but it never causes the flu itself.

The CDC suggests everyone get the vaccine unless they have an egg vaccine, due to the vaccine’s egg base.

It is most important for pregnant women and young children, the elderly, people with medicla problems and health workers.

The shot contains dead virus, so it can be given to everyone who is not allergic to eggs

The mist contains live virus it is only for people aged 2 to 49 years old

This years vaccine contains protection against h1n1 and a number of influenza viruses, and health professionals are encouraging everyone to take advantage of the vaccination.

<![CDATA[Dallas Nurses Speak Out on Ebola Care]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:38:14 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/N6P_SOTVO_DALLAS_EBOLA_SOUND_web_1200x675_345540163525.jpg Initially criticized for their handling of the first Ebola case on U.S. soil, a group of nurses at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas spoke out in solidarity on Monday, asking for a restoration of trust in the hospital. Randy Mac reports from Dallas for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 20, 2014.]]> <![CDATA[Dallas Community Overcoming Fears of Spread of Ebola]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 00:08:33 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/141019-9pm-randy-mac-ebola_1200x675_345074243751.jpg There have been no new infections reported among those who worked directly with the three Ebola patients treated at a Dallas hospital. While no one is saying they're completely out of the woods, there's a sense that the community is turning the corner on their fears as the first quarantines are lifted. Randy Mac reports from Dallas for the NBC4 News at 9 on Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014.]]> <![CDATA[Helicopter Lands For Blood Sample in Ebola Cruise Scare]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 00:16:11 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/141018-11pm-ebola_1200x675_344767555894.jpg A helicopter landed aboard a Carnival Magic cruise ship Saturday to pick up a blood sample of a health care worker who may have handled fluids from Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan. Randy Mac reports form Dallas for the NBC4 News at 11 on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014.]]> <![CDATA["Unnecessary Panic": Some Dallas Residents Not Giving In to Ebola Fears]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 00:15:19 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/141018-6pm-randy-mac-ebola_1200x675_344755267998.jpg Some residents in Dallas say there’s an “unnecessary panic” over Ebola in their city after the latest scare that prompted the closure of a train station. Randy Mac reports from Dallas for the NBC4 News at 6 on Sunday, Oct. 2014.]]> <![CDATA[Voluntary Quarantines Requested of Dallas Hospital Workers]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 21:59:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/N5PPKGDALLASEBOLAforweb_1200x675_344415811508.jpg Health officials are asking about 75 people who were in close contact with Eric Duncan at the Dallas hospital where he was treated to voluntarily quarantine themselves just days before friends of the Ebola victim are end their mandatory 21-day quarantine. Randy Mac reports for NBC4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. from Dallas Friday, Oct. 17, 2014.]]> <![CDATA[Just the Facts: Meningitis]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 20:00:55 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/N5PSOTPIXELMENINGITISforweb_1200x675_344404035957.jpg NBC4's Chuck Henry has the facts on bacterial meningitis for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17, 2014.]]> <![CDATA["Liana's Looms of Love" Raises Money for Cancer Therapy]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 22:03:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Capture7.JPG

Liana Clayton is watching her mother fight to survive cancer first-hand.

She wanted to help her mother, Che Clayton, who's received rounds of painful treatment for breast cancer, but ended up helping many more people. Liana sells her colorful, handmade bracelets to raise awareness and give back to the doctors who helped her family cope with the disease.

"They ask how money much is it and I just go, it's just a donation, you can give me whatever you want," said Liana, 10.

Liana's business, Liana's Looms of Love, has earned over $2,000 so far, all of which has gone back to the treatment center where Liana, Che and the rest of the Claytons have have received therapy and support.

Clayton is now undergoing more than 35 rounds of radiation. She has been through multiple surgeries and chemotherapy, and continues to tackle an aggressive form of the disease.

"I have enjoyed my life, very much so, and so for me it's a fight to get it back," said Clayton, 43.

Though her family stays at home in Murrieta, Liana's colorful masterpieces guide her along the way.

Liana said she started the business because she knew how hard breast cancer was on her mother.

"I don't think it feels very good," she said of her mother's disease.

Liana's Looms of Love is a family affair, involving the Claytons and their new family, gained at the Simms/Mann-UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology, part of UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The Simms/Mann Center offers physical and psychological therapy to cancer patients and the people close to them, to empower them as they try to manage cancer and get well.

"What Liana has done is taken that empowerment sort of place," said Dr. Anne Coscarelli, director of the Simms/Mann-UCLA Center.

Coscarelli said providing free therapeutic services for a patient and one family member costs about $1,000 a year, so Liana's donations have more than covered what she and her mother have received.

Photo Credit: Pete Garrow]]>
<![CDATA[HIV Investigation Halts Porn Production]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 16:26:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/WEB_CONDOMS_BY_MAIL.png

Production on adult films has been suspended through Monday as a trade group investigates a possible exposure to HIV.

The Free Speech Coalition, an adult-industry trade group that calls for the moratoriums on porn production, has halted filming since Wednesday. On Friday it extended the moratorium through Monday to wait for conclusive test results on the performers who may have been exposed.

"We need to err on the side of caution" for the sake of the performers, said Diane Duke, president of the coalition, in a statement.

The coalition didn't say where the possible HIV exposure was, or when, only noting in the statement that it will continue to work with "producers, performers and the health department" during its investigation.

Porn actors are routinely tested for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, which is done to keep the pool of performers safe.

When an actor tests positive, retesting is ordered for all the other actors he or she has worked or had sex up to 14 days before their last negative HIV test, according to the Free Speech Coalition. Performers who've had sexual contact with the positive actor have to wait 14 more days before acting in another adult film.

The last time the coalition called a moratorium was in late August, when a test on an actor came back with a false positive, according to the coalition.

The Free Speech Coalition says that HIV hasn't been transmitted on a porn set in over 10 years -- meaning actors may have been infected on their own time, but haven't given it to other actors during filming.

Photo Credit: File photo]]>
<![CDATA[SDSU "Deeply Saddened" by Student's Meningitis Death]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 20:54:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Sara+Stelzer+1017.jpg

San Diego State University officials issued a warning for students who might have been exposed to a meningococcal infection after the death of an 18-year-old classmate from Moorpark hospitalized earlier this week due to flu-like symptoms.

The student, who previously was healthy, was admitted to a hospital Tuesday. Hundreds of San Diego State University students were told to get antibiotics after the student was hospitalized in critical condition with meningococcal disease, school officials confirmed Thursday.

School officials confirmed Friday the death of 18-year-old Sara Stelzer, a Moorpark High School graduate.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our students to this terrible illness," said Eric Rivera, vice president for student affairs. "After speaking with her family, we know that Sara was a vibrant young woman who loved San Diego State, her friends and the time she spent at our university.  It is always difficult when a young life is lost, especially when that person is part of our SDSU family. 

"We will do all we can to support Sara's family and our campus community during this difficult time."

The university said later Friday the teen was on life support for a short time while the hospital looked for organ recipients. SDSU released the following statement:

"The university has been supporting and in ongoing communication with Sara's family to monitor her condition. The family informed us last night that they had decided to say farewell to their daughter and they gave us permission to put out a statement this morning to that end.

"There was a possibility that Sara would be kept on life support for a short time while the hospital looked for recipients of some of her vital organs. Our message this morning was acting in accordance with the family's wishes to offer condolences to our university community and provide information to our grieving students."

Several Facebook and Twitter posts from people identifying themselves as friends and classmates, including several from Moorpark High School in Ventura County, expressed condolences. Stelzer was identified in SDSU's statement as a freshman studying pre-communiciations.

The county Health and Human Services Agency and SDSU health officials  were working to notify anyone who may have been exposed to the meningococcal bacteria. Officials at Moorpark High School confirmed she was at her Ventura County home last weekend, and that county health officials have identified at least 10 people who had contact with her during that time.

All have been examined by doctors and were provided antibiotics, according to high school officials. Stelzer was helping friends with their hair and makeup before a high school dance, which she did not attend, during her hometown visit, said Carrie Pentis, Moorpark High School principal.

The school district confirmed that Stelzer attended the Moorpark High School homecoming football game last Friday night.

Approximately 300 to 400 people are being notified including all members of the Kappa Delta sorority and anyone who attended two specific fraternity parties on Oct. 8 and 9. The university sent a campus-wide notification to alert students of the health threat.

Meningococcal disease refers to any illness caused by the type of bacteria called Neisseria meningitis, also known as meningococcus, according to the CDC.

These illnesses can be life-threatening infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord as well as bloodstream infections.

The disease can be spread by sharing cigarettes or pipes, drinking out of the same water bottles or beverage containers or through other intimate contact like kissing.

"While meningococcal disease can be serious and deadly, it is not spread through casual contact. Therefore, the risk to those who were not in close, direct contact is minimal," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County public health officer. "Meningococcal disease is spread through close contact with the infected individual. We are working to notify all who may have been exposed to the disease."

Because it takes one to 10 days for someone exposed to the disease to see symptoms, others may have it and not know it.

<![CDATA[Facts vs Myths: Ebola]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 20:00:46 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/N5PPKGDRBEBOLAwebHENSEL_1200x675_343852099524.jpg NBC4's medical expert Dr. Bruce Hensel discusses the information and misinformation out there about Ebola for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014.]]> <![CDATA[Flaw in Dallas Hospital's Handling of Ebola Patient: Officials]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 19:54:26 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/N6PPKGEBOLATEXASLATESTwebMAC_1200x675_343859267767.jpg Health care workers from the Dallas hospital where an Ebola patient died and infected two nurses with the deadly disease say they weren't given proper training or gear to deal with such a high-risk case. Randy Mac reports for NBC4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. from Dallas Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014.]]> <![CDATA[LA County Prepared to Handle Ebola Cases]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 19:53:42 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lacountyebola.JPG

As the CDC and Texas health officials are being criticized for their handling of the three Ebola cases in America, Southern California officials are trying to reassure the public they are prepared should Ebola arrive.

Health officials say urgent care clinics in South Los Angeles would be the front-line defense against Ebola.

If someone were infected, they would likely walk into one of these clinics first. And the county says it will be ready.

Ebola is not here.

That was the most important message from LA County health officials Thursday. Health care workers said if Ebola arrives, they'll be ready.

"We are much better prepared today than we were yesterday and in working with our other partners we will be even more prepared tomorrow," said Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, LA County's interim health officer.

They say three key measures have been put in place in ERs and urgent care clinics.

First, checking if patients coming in with flu-like symptoms have traveled to West Africa.

Those who have it would be isolated and quarantined.

Also, if there's an Ebola case, making sure health care workers have proper protective gear.

"We have gowns that are thinner and paper-based but those are permeable," said Fred Huicochea, a registered nurse at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. "We can't use those. They have to be impermeable."

That means full body protective suits, the kind that nurses complain weren't available at the Texas hospital where two nurses contracted Ebola from a man who was being treated there.

LA County officials say they have those suits and are getting more.

Dr. Christina Ghaly, the deputy director of the LA County Health Services department, said that while cases are somewhat less likely to occur here, "we do recognize that it is indeed a very real possibility that there could be a case here in LA County."

Officials say protocols for cleaning, decontamination, and waste disposal are also being put in place.

Much of it is already in effect for other infectious diseases. But everyone here acknowledges Ebola is new and different.

<![CDATA[Up to 400 Exposed to Meningococcal Disease at SDSU]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 07:03:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Aztec-Student-Union-Unveile.jpg

Hundreds of San Diego State University students have been told to get antibiotics after a fellow student was hospitalized in critical condition with meningococcal disease, school officials confirmed Thursday. 

The 18-year-old female undergraduate student was hospitalized Tuesday, Oct. 14 and is said to be gravely ill. School and hospital officials are not identifying her at this time.

School officials who are in direct contact with the parents, the county and the hospital could not confirm a local television report of the student's death.

SDSU was aware of the student’s condition as of Tuesday evening and began working with San Diego County Health and Human Services to identify others who may have been exposed.

Approximately 300 to 400 people are being notified including all members of the Kappa Delta sorority and anyone who attended two specific fraternity parties on Oct. 8 and 9.

Those who may have been exposed should receive preventative medication, officials said.

The university sent a campus-wide notification to alert students of the health threat.

Meningococcal disease refers to any illness caused by the type of bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis, also known as meningococcus, according to the CDC.

These illnesses can be life-threatening infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord as well as bloodstream infections.

The disease can be spread by sharing cigarettes or pipes, drinking out of the same water bottles or beverage containers or through other intimate contact like kissing.

Because it takes one to 10 days for someone exposed to the disease to see symptoms, others may have it and not know it.

Symptoms include fever, intense headache, neck stiffness and rashes.

Anyone experiencing symptoms should go directly to a hospital emergency room and explain the possible exposure, school officials said.

San Diego State University is providing some free preventative antibiotics and extended hours at its on-campus clinic.

Any student can be seen without an appointment at Student Health Services on the first floor of Calpulli Center, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Hours have been extended to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

For more information on meningococcal meningitis and the vaccine, call SDSU Student Health Services at (619) 594-4325.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 News]]>
<![CDATA[Concerns After 2nd Healthcare Worker Tests Positive for Ebola]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 22:17:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/N5PPKGTXEBOLA2NDCASEnewforweb_1200x675_343202371572.jpg Anxiety over the spread of Ebola has intensified in the U.S. with the discovery of a second Texas healthcare worker testing positive for the deadly virus and flying on a commercial airline while possibly contagious. Randy McIlwain reports for NBC4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. from Dallas Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014.]]> <![CDATA[SoCal Nurses Fear Lack of Ebola Prep]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 22:08:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP968232748518.jpg

With the news that a second American nurse has contracted Ebola, Los Angeles-area nurses are concerned that Southern California hospitals aren't ready.

Some nurses at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica say they've never seen a threat like Ebola and they're not prepared to handle it.

"We aren't prepared to deal with Ebola," nurse Lizabeth Wade said.

As labor and delivery nurses, Wade and Deborah Breetwor Peters are exposed to a lot of bodily fluids. And while they're trained to handle many different types of infections, they say Ebola is different.

"I really don't know if these are going to be the only two nurses that ever get infected," Wade said.

They were stunned to hear that two nurses have Ebola after helping treat a Liberian man who died at a Dallas hospital.

Their worries have only increased since a rally in Las Vegas, where nurses argued America was being caught off guard.

"Now, it's here, and we're completely unprepared," Wade said. "Every hospital in America should have policies and procedures and standards of care in place."

The California Nurses Union says it's sending a letter to President Obama with a list of demand, including that nurses have full hazmat suits when treating Ebola patients; that there be two nurses for each patient; and that there be interactive training.

The nurses say what they wear puts them at risk.

"There's lots of areas that would be exposed to body fluids, Breetwor-peters said." around the neck donning the gown and taking it off .. we don't know how to do it properly for this particular kind of virus

Nurses say they're not trying to cause panic, but simply protect those who are on the front lines.

"I don't know that the next person that comes through my emergency room is gonna be somebody that was on one of those airplanes and been infected," Wade said.

Both Kaiser and St. John's hospitals say they are providing enhance training, but it was not clear whether there will be a change in protective gear.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[LAX Travelers Express Concerns Over Ebola]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 21:34:04 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/N5PPKGEBOLAAIRLINEPROTOCOLforweb_1200x675_343198787994.jpg Travelers at LAX expressed their concerns over Ebola spreading in flight the same day it was confirmed that a healthcare worker from Texas flew from Cleveland to Dallas-Fort Worth on a commercial airline while infected with the deadly virus. John Cádiz Klemack reports for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. from the Los Angeles International Airport Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014.]]> <![CDATA[Manure Used to Protest Health Insurance Rate "BS"]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 19:28:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/10-14-14-prop45manure.png

Supporters of Proposition 45, the ballot initiative that would require health insurance companies to publicly disclose rate changes, brought a truckload of steer manure outside the El Segundo offices of Blue Shield on Tuesday to protest the insurance company’s stance against the ballot measure.

Supporters say the company has given $9.5 million to campaign against Proposition 45, and they wanted to "return to Blue Shield the B.S. that it has been spreading around California."

"The voters need to know that they’re being deceived by fraudulent advertising," said Jamie Court, a campaigner for the ballot measure.

A message left for Blue Shield spokespeople was not immediately returned.

In addition to requiring public disclosure of rate changes, Proposition 45 would allow California’s insurance commissioner to control rates for health insurance. Supporters say this initiative will stem skyrocketing healthcare costs.

Opponents of Proposition 45 say Covered California has already helped keep rates under control.

"We’ve already solved the problem. Let’s not add another layer of bureaucracy which really gives power to one person and enriches trial attorneys," said Dr. Sam Fink, an opponent of Proposition 45.

Proposition 45 is sponsored by Consumer Watchdog, which has spent $3 million on the campaign compared with the $38 million spent by insurance companies and medical groups opposed to the measure.

Photo Credit: Consumer Watchdog]]>
<![CDATA[Cutting-Edge Breast Cancer Treatments Yield Positive Results]]> Wed, 08 Oct 2014 10:39:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/N5P_BREAST_CANCER_MARGIN_PROBE_FIXED_WEB_1200x675_339074115693.jpg

When Melanie Humbree learned she had breast cancer, she had no doubt she was going to survive.

“I know there’s been so many advances in surgery for breast cancer that I felt confident,” said Humbree.

Melanie’s diagnosis came only a few months after her daughter, Michelle Kahn, completed her surgery and chemotherapy for the very same disease. But while both women shared the same diagnosis, their treatment would be very different.

Michelle and her physician opted for a complete mastectomy. Michelle was worried about not getting all the cancer, disfigurement to her breast, and possibly needing another surgery if her doctor failed to remove the entire tumor. And while she is happy to be in remission, it wasn’t an easy process.

"I didn’t want my mom to go through what I went through," explained Michelle.

She didn’t. Melanie was able to undergo a less invasive lumpectomy. That’s because her surgeon, Dr. Michele Carpenter, program director of the Breast Program at St.Joseph Hospital in Orange, used a device called the MarginProbe. It’s a new technology that can help a surgeon remove a tumor without leaving any cancer behind. After Carpenter removes the tumor, she uses the probe to test the sides of the tissue.

"The MarginProbe sends a signal into the tissue and it takes the signal back. The cells that are cancerous give a different signal than the cells that are normal," Carpenter said.

One beep means there is still some cancer. Two beeps means she got it all. If there is some left on the tumor, there may be some left inside Melanie so Dr. Carpeneter removes a little more tissue to be safe.

"By using this probe, we’re able to get all of the tumor and not take too much breast tissue and to hopefully avoid another operation," Carpeneter said.

That’s a big benefit for many women, including Melanie, who can keep their breast and hopefully avoid any more surgeries.

“I’d be very happy if I didn’t have to go for another surgery,” explained Melanie.

<![CDATA[Enterovirus-D68 Outbreak]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 15:13:42 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/x-ray-ENTEROVIRUS-VO---00002324.jpg

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Journalist With Ebola Optimistic]]> Mon, 06 Oct 2014 21:01:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Ashoka+Mukpo+Raw.jpg

There's been encouraging news for the Providence, Rhode Island, man flown back to the U.S. Monday to be treated for the Ebola virus.

The mother of NBC News freelance photojournalist Ashoka Mukpo says her son and his doctors are optimistic about his chances of recovering from the deadly virus.

"They say that compared to all the other patients that have been evacuated to the United States, Ashoka is actually in the best shape," Diana Mukpo told NECN over the phone.

His parents Diana Mukpo and Dr. Mitchel Levy say they were relieved to not only watch their son walk off the plane and wave to them as he entered the hospital, but they were grateful to be able to see him and speak with him through a video system at Nebraska Medical Center's Bio-Containment Unit.

"His spirits are good, he's tired, it's been quite a frightening experience but he's also a fighter and he said 'I'm going to get through this,' so he's really determined to get better, and I think he will," Diana Mukpo said.

Mukpo's parents say he spent two years working in Liberia, and after a short stint at home, returned about a month ago despite their urging to not go back. They say he's unsure exactly where and how he caught Ebola.

"He was filming inside the clinic and around the clinic so they had a lot of opportunity to be exposed. He does remember one instance where he was helping spray wash a vehicle with chlorine and he thinks he might have been splashed, but honestly he's not exactly sure," Dr. Levy said.

Mukpo is at the same hospital that successfully treated Holden, Massachusetts Dr. Richard Sacra, but he will be receiving a different experimental anti-viral medication.

"As far as I understand from the physicians, this is a drug that in a laboratory setting has shown to be very, very effective against the Ebola virus and also has very low incidence of side effects," Diana Mukpo said. 

<![CDATA[Ebola Cases Stoke Air Travel Fears]]> Fri, 03 Oct 2014 04:31:35 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/N6P_PKG_EBOLA_TRAVEL_web_1200x675_337208899854.jpg Anger over revelations that the patient diagnosed with Ebola in Texas was allowed to fly from Liberia has prompted worry about air travel. Dr. Bruce Hensel explains why the chances of catching the feared Ebola virus are so low for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014.]]> <![CDATA[Ebola in America]]> Sat, 25 Oct 2014 17:54:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/456608446.jpg

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dr. Bruce Hensel: About Enterovirus]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:32:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/10-01-2014-hensel-bruce.jpg A look at what parents need to know about enteroviruses. Dr. Bruce Hensel reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Wednesday Oct. 1, 2014.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[W. Africa Travelers Warned on Ebola]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 12:05:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP645337997349.jpg

All people traveling to the United States from countries with Ebola are being warned as of Wednesday about the potentially deadly virus' symptoms, and how it is spread.

The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol will hand out a flyer with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to all U.S.-bound travelers from those countries. 

That flyer also contains a card that any passenger who starts showing symptoms in the following days can hand their doctors, to alert them of the risk.

The first case of Ebola in the United States has been diagnosed in Dallas, in a patient who had arrived days earlier from Liberia, one of the West African nations at the center of a massive outbreak.

The announcement Tuesday by officials sparked immediate concerns about who may have been exposed and helped shed light on how the potentially deadly virus is, and isn't, spread.

Ebola can only be spread by infected people who have a fever and other Ebola symptoms, the CDC says.

Symptoms appear between two and 21 days of exposure to the virus. If an exposed person does not develop symptoms within 21 days of exposure, the person will not become sick with Ebola, according to the CDC. 

The virus can be spread to other people through direct contact with an infected person's bodily fluids, contaminated objects or infected animals, including by eating infected meat.

See the flyer that customs officials are giving travelers below.

Photo Credit: AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Two Cases of Enterovirus Confirmed in LA County]]> Thu, 02 Oct 2014 05:27:11 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/10-01-2014-health-enterovirus-doctor-medical.jpg

Two cases of enterovirus D68 have been confirmed in Los Angeles County and both involve children, one of whom suffered limb weakness that made it difficult to move, doctors said.

"The child appeared to have normal respiratory fever, runny nose and then after almost a week having those symptoms woke up unable to move a limb," said Dr. Grace Aldrovandi,
infectious disease chief at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.

It has not been determined whether the enterovirus infection caused the weakness, and doctors are hopeful the child will regain full movement in all limbs, she added.

On Wednesday, an official with Children's Hospital confirmed the second case of infection in Los Angeles County. The child, who is between the age of five and 10, was admitted in August about a week after suffering an upper respiratory infection, doctors said.

The first confirmed case of the respiratory illness in Los Angeles County involves a child younger than 5 years old, who was treated at Miller Children's Hospital in Long Beach. David Michalik, a pediatric infectious disease specialist, said the child, who was hospitalized for a week and is now fine at home, needed one-on-one care, the Associated Press reported.

"This child had wet cough, had trouble breathing was breathing fast had a fast heart rate, and had a high fever," Michalik said.

Enterovirus 68 can cause mild to severe illness, with the worst cases needing life support for breathing difficulties. Children with asthma have been especially vulnerable.

The virus has been reported in more than 40 states.

Symptoms of D68 infection are similar to those of a cold and include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough and body and muscle aches. More severe symptoms include wheezing and difficulty breathing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The virus spreads through an infected individual's saliva, nasal mucus or sputum, according to the CDC. Infants, children and teens are most likely to be infected and become ill, the CDC reported.

"It is important to note that while enteroviruses are very common, especially among children, most cases of enterovirus will not lead to serious illness," Gunzenhauser said. "Acute limb weakness and other neurological symptoms are uncommon with any enterovirus, including EV-D68.

"The best way to prevent the spread of this illness is through simple hand washing, and other basic hygiene. We recommend that all residents, especially children, wash their hands frequently with soap and water; avoid touching their face with their hands; and stay home when sick."

Parents who are just now hearing of the virus are taking heed to the warnings.

"Wash your hands, keep washing your hands, sanitizers keep clean," said Erma Sandoval.
"And not too much contact with other kids."

Fact Sheet: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

NBC4's Hetty Chang contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[CDC Confirms 1st U.S. Ebola Case]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 15:03:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ebola-dallas.jpg

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

The patient was hospitalized and placed in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Sunday after symptoms appeared four days earlier, on Sept. 24. Hospital officials listed him in serious condition Wednesday after previously being listed in critical condition.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thompson said medical professionals have tested one of the patient's relatives, but did not say whether it was a "suspected case."

"I wouldn't be surprised if there was a second confirmed case," he said. "We know that several family members had very close physical contact with this patient."

The Dallas Fire-Rescue ambulance crew who transported the infected man to the hospital tested negative for Ebola, but they will be monitored for symptoms as the incubation period passes, Dallas city officials said. If symptoms develop, they too will be isolated and investigators will determine who they came into contact with and monitor those people for symptoms.

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

Officials also pulled the ambulance used to transport the man from service. The number of people in the DFR crew being monitored is not known, but a traditional ambulance crew complement is two. Firetrucks can carry an additional five first responders.

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

The Dallas patient will continue to be treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, according to Dr. Edward Goodman, hospital epidemiologist at Presbyterian. On Wednesday morning, the hospital listed the patient's condition as serious.

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

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is expected to hold a news conference at noon Wednesday to discuss the Ebola diagnosis.

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

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

Word of the infection alarmed the local Liberian community.

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

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

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

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

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

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

How is Ebola Spread?

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

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

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

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

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

NBC 5's Ben Russell, Scott Gordon Jeff Smith and Todd L. Davis contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas Ambulance Crew Who Brought Ebola Patient to Hospital Is Quarantined]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 15:03:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Dallas-Fire-Rescue-Vehicle.jpg

The Dallas Fire-Rescue ambulance crew who transported the man infected with Ebola to the hospital have tested negative for the Ebola virus, according to the City of Dallas.

The City of Dallas said Tuesday that the crew took all safety precautions and was isolated and tested following the discovery.

The three members of the ambulance crew are restricted to their homes while their conditions are observed and while the virus' incubation period passes.

The patient was vomiting when the ambulance got to the hospital, Dallas city spokeswoman Sana Syed said. 

The ambulance crew is among 12 to 18 people being monitored after exposure to the man. Some are members of his family, but not all, Syed said.

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>