Health Headlines
Subscribe To This Feed

ABCNews.com(CHICAGO) -- More than a dozen Chicago elementary school students were hospitalized on Wednesday after consuming candy that may have been laced with an unknown substance, police said.

The Chicago Police Department said 14 students in the city’s Humboldt Park area were transported to local hospitals as a precaution after eating the candy on Wednesday morning.

It did not disclose any information on the student’s identities or ages.

The Chicago Public School system confirmed that the children may have ingested an unknown substance in a statement.

"School officials contacted 911 in response to concerns that a group of students may have ingested an unknown substance earlier this morning,” a spokesperson for Chicago Public Schools told ABC News. “Emergency services providers responded promptly, and a review of the situation is underway."

The school system did not say which schools were affected, but a student at the James Russell Lowell Elementary School, located on the city's west side, told ABC affiliate WLS that a classmate had handed out gummies and chocolates on Tuesday and Wednesday before students reported feeling sick.

"I felt dizzy and tired," the 13-year-old student to WLS on Wednesday after he was released from the hospital.

The police department said it was unaware of the student’s conditions and it was not clear if they had been released yet.

Both the Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Police Department said their investigations were ongoing.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Fouque Michaël/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A deadly flu epidemic sweeping the nation has triggered one Texas school district to cancel classes for the week and one California hospital has set up a triage tent outside an emergency room to handle flu patients.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified a particular strain of influenza A, H3N2, as the culprit affecting thousands from coast to coast.

"I think this is the first time we've had 49 of 50 states reporting widespread activity at the same time, at least in the last 13 years," Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist with with the CDC's influenza division, told ABC News on Wednesday. Hawaii is the only state where the flu is not widespread.

Brammer said this flu season is on par with the 2014-2015 season, when more than 700,000 people were hospitalized with the flu and nearly 130 died.

California has been the hardest hit state with at least 42 people under the age of 65 dying from flu-related symptoms, according the the state's Public Health Department. At least 3,269 people in the state have tested positive for the flu, the agency reported.

Even otherwise healthy people, across age groups, have succumbed to this year's flu.

Katie Oxley Thomas, a 40-year-old mother of three and a marathon runner from San Jose, California, died 15 hours after being admitted to an emergency room with influenza, her family told ABC station KGO in the San Francisco Bay Area.

"I know that she could hear us and we're saying, 'Katie you can fight this, you can beat it,'" said Thomas' stepmother, Adrienne Oxley.

She said the family had a hard time accepting that she died from the illness.

"We just didn't believe it," Oxley said. "We were in total shock. It's still hard to believe."

Nico Mallozzi, 10, of New Canaan, Connecticut, died Sunday after his family took him to a hospital to be treated for flu symptoms while he was at a hockey tournament in Buffalo, New York.

"Nico was a very lively, vibrant, spirited kid," Bryan Luizzi, superintendent of the New Canaan Public School District, told ABC News.

At Loma Linda Medical Center in San Bernardino Count, California, the medical staff has erected a triage tent outside the emergency room to handle the influx of flu patients.

"This seems to be the worst flu season we've had here in the last 10 to 15 years," Dr. Adrian Cotton, chief of medical operations at the Southern California hospital, told ABC's Good Morning America. "We're seeing a lot more patients for the flu and the patients we're seeing are a lot sicker than usual."

In Texas, the influenza outbreak is so severe that the Bonham Independent School District, which has about 2,000 students, canceled classes through Tuesday.

"As the number of confirmed cases of influenza grows, it is important to increase health and safety protocols for each campus, including disinfection of all buses and spaces," the school district wrote in a letter to parents. "Local health officials have recommended a full seven days to stop the cycle of spreading influenza."

The flu epidemic is also taking a toll on the nation's blood supply.

Jodi Sheedy, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross blood services, told ABC News that nearly 500 blood drives have been canceled in the past week, due to bad weather and the flu outbreak. The Red Cross supplies about 40 percent of the blood used in hospitals across the nation.

"If you're not feeling well, you should not be giving blood," Sheedy said.

"Right now we're doing everything we can to make sure hospitals have enough blood on their shelves," she added. "We haven't had any indication that surgeries have been postponed."

She encourage healthy people, especially those who have gotten flu shots, to donate blood, and particularly platelets.

"We're asking people to go out and donate blood as soon as possible," Sheedy said. "All blood types are needed."

Brammer said it's not too late for people to get flu shots and the CDC continues to recommend them.

"The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated, even if we are at the peak of flu season," she said. "There's still weeks to go."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

gpointstudio/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Iced, hot, sweetened or with milk, it seems like there's plenty of options for tea drinkers already. But one trendy addition to the menu is stirring things up.

Cheese tea is the latest beverage trend overflowing on social media news feeds. The drink, which originated in Taiwan and spread throughout Asia, has become the latest popular beverage at bubble tea shops.

While cheese and tea may not sound like an obvious pairing, people on social media are hailing the concoction and drinking it up, sharing their experiences with #CheeseTea.

Jenny Zheng, owner of Little Fluffy Head Cafe in Los Angeles, told ABC News she first heard of the drink and tasted it while living in China in 2016. She decided to bring the concept back with her to California.

"At first it was surprising. But when I tried it, it was refreshingly good and well-balanced with the tea flavor," Zheng said. "I wanted to have my own tea shop in the states and not many people here knew about cheese tea, so it was a very new concept."

Zheng said many shops throughout the U.S. have created their own versions of the drink with a smooth and creamy whipped cheese topping.

"The concept of cheese tea started in Taiwan and then they played around with making it a creamy texture using a cheese powder," she explained. "When I got the recipe it was pretty popular to make it with real cream cheese to make the creamy flavor."

The drink starts with any variety of tea from matcha to herbal and is topped with a whipped cheese foam, which has a similar flavor profile to a cannoli filling.

"We put milk, whipping cream, pink salt and sugar, which makes it more subtle and can be paired with any kind of tea," Zheng said.

Zheng said it is "an aquired taste, but the more you try it the more you get used to the taste. People do like it a lot."

One Instagram user's "pro tip" for people who want to try the drink for the first time: "Don't drink it with a straw."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

WPLG(MIAMI) -- A kind Miami Police Department officer helped a homeless man get a new wheelchair.

Officer Anna Lazcano had regularly checked on Rafael Alvarez and noticed his previous wheelchair was broken and hard to use.

"I went and got him the one he's sitting on right now," Lazcano told ABC Miami affiliate WPLG-TV.

Alvarez emigrated from Cuba in 1980 and worked as a roofer until quitting for health reasons, including a leg amputation from diabetes, the station reported.

He and his wife became homeless when Medicare didn't cover all of their bills and his landlord evicted them, Alvarez told WPLG.

Officer Lazcano said, "Regardless of where they are from, where they ended up and what they're doing with their life, it's just helping the community. It is what we're all about."

 

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

WABC(NEW YORK) -- Two NYPD officers helped deliver a baby on the West Side of Manhattan Tuesday morning.

Officers Tiffany Phillips and Carlos Guadalupe, both 12-year veterans, assisted after they were flagged down by a man who was driving near 41st Street and 10th Avenue.

Cellphone video captured the officers in action, and Phillips delivered the baby boy inside the car.

"They are very grateful for us being there at that spot, at that time," Phillips told ABC New York station WABC-TV.

Phillips and Guadalupe had just started their day when a man jumped out of the car and said his wife was going into labor. The couple's 18-month old daughter also was in the backseat.

"He was very frantic and scared," Phillips said.

The couple, who live in Jersey City, had been rushing to Lenox Hill Hospital. Phillips called for an ambulance and leaned into the car, but by then the baby was crowning.

Guadalupe ran into a hotel to get towels. When he came back Phillips was holding the little boy, who wasn't breathing.

"I began to pat his back and to massage him," she said. "Once I did that I heard him begin to cry. His eyes were blinking and he was breathing. That was a great sound!"

The mother and newborn were taken to Bellevue Hospital and were said to be doing fine.

"I got to thank my partner -- A-plus-plus," Guadalupe said. "She held it down and she did her job. She held her composure. She was fantastic."
 
Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- An 85-year-old New Hampshire man may have accidentally been exposed to HIV after a hospital mistakenly injected him with an insulin pen previously used on an HIV-positive patient.

Eugene Devoyd, 85, was at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center due to a medical emergency relating to his diabetes, among other ailments, when he was inadvertently injected with an insulin pen previously used on a patient with HIV, according to medical records from the hospital, which were shared with New Hampshire ABC-affiliate WMUR-TV.

The nurse removed the needle from the pen, and used a new needle to inject Devoyd, according to the documents. The doctor informed the family of the mistake, and put Devoyd on antiviral medication later that day in an attempt to prevent an HIV infection.

"The same insulin pen that was used on an HIV-positive patient was used to inject Eugene, but with a different needle," the document says.

Devoyd's son, Chris Devoyd, told WMUR that he unintentionally pricked himself with a needle after checking his father’s blood sugar. He is now concerned for his own well-being, as well as his father's.

"I haven't heard anything from the hospital since he got out," Chris Devoyd told WMUR. "I thought maybe they would say sorry or maybe call and see how he was doing, but nothing. Not one thing."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Brenda Lee(DALLAS) -- Sweet video captured the first time a young boy heard live music.

According to his parents, Brenda and Cody Lee, Jace Lee, 4, lost his hearing as a toddler and was classified as having severe to profound deafness by doctors. It's unclear what has caused his deafness, according to medical records provided to ABC News by doctors treating Jace.

He previously wore hearing aids in both ears, but a cochlear implant surgery in September in his left ear, where he suffers from auditory neuropathy, opened up all kinds of possibilities for him. He still wears an aid on his right ear.

On Jan. 9, he was attending his first Dallas Mavericks NBA game when he heard the beating of drums.

"We were walking out of the suite and he was just like, 'Oh, what's that?'" Cody Lee said.

"He tapped his processor and signed, 'Where's the sound?'" Brenda Lee said.

The family followed Jace as he made his way down the hallway to find the source of the heart-stirring percussion played by the Mavericks' drumline. It was the very first time that Jace heard live music.

Excited by the scene and the new sounds bouncing through his implant, Jace started dancing, which was captured on video.

"It's just really great to see something that normally everybody else gets to experience with their kids," Brenda Lee said.

Jace's implant will be gradually turned up over the course of this year so he can adjust to the new sounds around him.

And, the Mavericks have invited him to a game next week, so he can continue communicating with the universal language of music.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Tide / Procter & Gamble(NEW YORK) -- Spring cleaning may be several months away, but laundry detergent is making big headlines this week as a dangerous stunt called the “Tide Pod Challenge” is going viral on YouTube and other social media platforms.

The challenge is for participants –- primarily teens and young adults, in the videos making the rounds –- to put the pods into their mouths, sometimes even chew them, and then post videos of what happens. Some of these individuals experience foaming at the mouth and severe coughing spells after consuming a pod.

It’s more than just a strange behavior, it's potentially deadly. Here are some facts about the craze to help friends and family protect teens from the hazardous experiment.

What are Tide pods?

Tide pods, the brand's version of the popular laundry detergent pods, are small packets of detergent designed to dissolve while washing clothes. Each pod contains pre-measured, concentrated detergent levels.

The outside wrapping of a tide pod is made of polyvinylalcohol (PVA), a water soluble plastic compound. For the same reason that this packet dissolves in the machine washing laundry, it can also dissolve in a person's mouth -- leading to the immediate release and absorption of the contents.

Why are detergent pods dangerous?

Tide pods are not meant for human consumption –- and for good reason. They contain dangerous chemicals that, if ingested, can lead to life threatening breathing problems, damage to the esophagus from the corrosive ingredients, burns, blood pressure changes, gastrointestinal problems and neurological symptoms, including loss of consciousness.

What ingredients in laundry detergent are dangerous?

Laundry detergent pods contain numerous chemicals that are potentially harmful if they are swallowed or otherwise ingested. Chief among these concerns is a chemical known as 1,4 Dioxane. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, exposure to this compound can cause eye and nose irritation, kidney problems and possible long-term lung damage. These effects are unlikely to occur if the product is used appropriately.

How many people have died because of this stunt?

The exact number of deaths related to the Tide pod challenge is difficult to estimate. But a growing number of injuries have been linked to ingestion of these products, for any reason, as they have grown in popularity. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were 10,570 cases of detergent exposure reported to poison centers in 2017, for children 5 and younger.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported eight deaths related to laundry detergent pod ingestion since these products hit the market in 2012, through mid-2017.

Anyone who suspects someone they know has ingested chemicals from a detergent pod should call the poison control center hotline at 1-800-222-1222 and take the exposed person to the emergency room immediately.

This article was written by Sarang Koushik M.D. for ABC News.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- The father of a 6-year-old Florida boy who died after trying to save a rabid bat said he's "never loved anyone or anything more."

The sick bat scratched Ryker Roque after his father, Henry Roque, discovered it in a bucket a few weeks ago, the father told ABC affiliate WFTV.

Ryker, who did not initially exhibit symptoms, began hallucinating and was rushed to a local hospital where a revolutionary treatment called "the Milwaukee protocol" proved unsuccessful. Ryker died on Sunday.

The method, developed by Rodney Willoughby of the Wisconsin Children's Hospital, requires antiviral drugs be administered during a chemically induced coma. The technique has saved at least two U.S. children and 18 people worldwide since Willoughby created it in 2004, said Evan Solochek, a spokesman for the hospital.

Officials could not confirm what happened to the bat.

Once rabies symptoms appear, survival is extremely rare.

The Florida Department of Health declined to provide specific details on Ryker's death but said in a statement that it "confirmed a single human case of rabies that was likely transmitted when an individual was bitten by a bat and did not receive post-exposure prophylaxis. Unfortunately, the individual did pass away."

"It is important to avoid direct contact with wildlife," the statement continued. "If you believe you may have been exposed to rabies, contact your health care provider and your county health department immediately. If an exposure occurred, it is important to administer treatment right away."

The region experienced a similar case in October 2017, said Kent Donahue, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Health. That person, a resident of Highlands County, also died after being bitten by a bat and not immediately seeking medical attention.

"I am only aware of these two cases," Donahue said in an email.

Preventative medicine has "has proven nearly 100 percent successful" in eradicating U.S. rabies deaths, which declined to one or two annually in the 1990s from about 100 in 1900, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An estimated 40,000 to 50,000 people are treated every year for rabies.

In 2015, wild animals accounted for more than 92 percent of reported rabies cases, mostly bats and raccoons, according to the CDC.

Rabies occurs in more than 150 countries and territories, according to the World Health Organization.

"In the Americas, bats are now the major source of human rabies deaths as dog-mediated transmission has mostly been broken in this region," according to the WHO's website.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office in Florida does not intend to pursue any charges linked to Ryker's death.

"At this point, we have not looked into any of that -- it's awful enough," Maj. Chris DeLibro told ABC News. "The way I understood it was, the boy found the bat and thought they were going to help it."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Felicia York’s said her life turned upside down when her husband was placed in a medically induced coma after falling ill with the flu.

Her nightmare began in Alabama on Christmas night, she told ABC News, when Adam York said he “felt terrible” and was “coming down with what the kids had.”

The couple’s three children had just gotten over the flu and things seemed to be getting back to normal around the house, she said.

“Since we had been through it with the kids, we just figured we’ll make some chicken soup like we did before and we’ll just ride it out,” York added.

But riding it out, she said, turned out to be a critical mistake.

By New Year’s Day, her husband’s symptoms began to worsen and “you could hear the flu in his lungs,” York said of her 38-year-old husband. “He hadn’t slept because he couldn’t get comfortable and he couldn't breathe.”

With over-the-counter medications failing, York said, they went to an emergency room. Instead of being in and out like she’d expected, however, doctors told her he tested positive for the flu and would have to be admitted, she said.

Within 24 hours of getting admitted, his condition took a turn for the worse. He was moved to intensive care and eventually placed in a medically induced coma, York said, which doctors said was a “last resort.”

“It was a 24-hour period; hours went from talking to me on the phone, to being in the bed, on these machines, struggling,” she said. “How fast it went from being just sick and feeling bad to struggling to live.

“We don’t know of a reason why because he didn’t have any prior medical history or sicknesses. I mean, there’s nothing underlying we could think of, so it’s really, really strange,” she added.

Now, as she struggles to take care of her family and pay her husband’s hospital bills, York said, she wants other people to avoid making the same mistakes they did.

“We never took it serious. We never had the flu and we never had the flu shot either,” she said. “I’m not necessarily an advocate of the flu shot because I know that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

“But if you are sick and if you are feeling bad, call your doctor or go to your doctor. Don’t go to … [the drugstore for medication] unless you really have to.”

Felicia York said her husband is self-employed: He owns a popcorn-making business and does not have health insurance. She launched a Gofundme campaign Friday to help with the family’s mounting medical expenses.

“They have said that it all depends on Adam, but it could take anywhere from one to three weeks for him to be taken off of the ECMO bypass [life support] and ventilator,” she wrote on the campaign page. “If you feel led, please consider helping us to get our lives back to normal after this terrible flu season.”

The campaign had raised a little less than half of its $10,000 goal as of early this morning.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Dr. Ronny Jackson, the presidential physician, is expected to brief reporters at the White House Tuesday on the results of President Donald Trump’s first physical exam since taking office after deeming the 71-year-old president to be “in excellent health” in a brief statement released soon after the check-up’s completion on Friday.

Jackson said he will discuss “some of the details” of the exam's results when he takes the unusual step of answering reporters questions directly at Tuesday's daily briefing.

“It is not unprecedented. It is also not considered routine,” said former ABC News correspondent Ann Compton, who covered every White House from President Gerald Ford through President Barack Obama.

Back when he served as Obama’s chief physician in 2016, Jackson released a detailed summary of Obama’s periodic check-up that included information about his vitals, an extensive list of results from the many types physical examinations conducted and laboratory results.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said a "written readout similar to those past" will be released after the briefing.

While the president is under no requirement to release details of his health information, each president must decide for himself how much information he believes the American people are entitled to know about their commander-in-chief’s physical fitness.

“A president is a very special case and each president has an obligation to decide for himself what should be made public,” Compton said, “and what conditions there may be that could affect or limit the way the president does his job.”

In her early days covering the White House, Compton recalled her surprise at the level of detail Ford revealed following one of his periodic check-ups.

"I recall a pretty detailed summary that included a reference to minor rectal bleeding, something you don’t expect to see from the White House, so certainly for a generation we’ve expected some level of candor on the physicals."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Faxon Law Group(WEST HAVEN, Conn.) -- An Army veteran from Connecticut is suing the VA in U.S. District Court after a scalpel was found inside him from a surgery four years earlier, the law firm representing the vet said on Monday.

Glenford Turner, 61, went to a West Haven hospital on March 29 of last year because he was suffering from dizziness as well as long-term abdominal pain, the Faxon Law Group said in a press release.

Doctors attempted to perform an MRI, which uses a strong magnetic field to produce an image from inside the body, on Turner, but it was "abruptly halted" after he complained of severe abdominal pain, according to the press release. A subsequent X-ray showed the scalpel inside Turner's body, the press release states.

Doctors confirmed it was an instrument left during a radical prostatectomy performed on Turner at the West Haven VA hospital in 2013, according to the law firm.

In April 2017, Turner underwent another surgery to successfully have the scalpel removed from near his stomach and intestines, the law firm said.

"Mr. Turner served our country proudly for decades," Turner's attorney, Joel Faxon, said in a statement. "It is shocking that in return for that service the VA thanked him by deploying a rookie surgical trainee to perform the surgery who showed an incomprehensible level of incompetence by losing the scalpel in Mr. Turner's abdomen and not bothering to find it."

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Ct., who is on the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs, released a statement on Monday saying he was "appalled and stunned by allegations of this egregious medical malpractice case."

"While the court determines liability, I have asked for a detailed explanation from VA of this deeply troubling report," Blumenthal said. "I am demanding also full accountability so this kind of horrific negligence never happens again. America owes our veterans the world's best medical care, nothing less."

The VA said it does not typically comment on pending litigation.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

@the_eggshibit/Instagram(NEW YORK) -- One Instagram user is taking a crack at a new art medium.

Michele Baldini, 20, whose handle is @the_eggshibit, creates works of art in a frying pan with one humble ingredient, an egg.

From Vincent Van Gough's elaborate Starry Night scene to Pac-Man and the New York City skyline, Baldini has cooked up some beautiful and edible works of art.

The egg whites make up the bulk of an object or scene in the artist's signature look, with the yolk as a focal point for the piece.

"I saw a ying-yang [symbol] made out of an egg and I thought it was so cool that I wanted to recreate it," Baldini told ABC News of his art. "After that, I never stopped getting ideas."

Baldini said a work of egg art can take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes but it depends on the complexity of the image.

"The simple ones [take] 20 minutes or less. But the Starry Night, Starbucks and [the] spider web [took] like two hours."

Check out some more of his "egg-cellent" artwork here.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- A measles alert was issued Monday, four days after an air passenger who was diagnosed with the highly contagious virus passed through two terminals at Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

Somewhere between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Jan. 10, according to a statement obtained by ABC News and released by the Illinois Department of Public Health, "a passenger on an international flight with a confirmed case of measles arrived in Terminal 5" of the airport and the person "departed on a domestic flight from Terminal 1."

The statement warned that this passenger "was infectious that day" and "may have traveled to other parts of the airport."

This marks at least the second potential measles exposure case this year involving U.S. aiports.

Last week, a female college student traveling from Mumbai, India, traveling to Indianapolis International Airport by way of Newark Liberty International Airport, was confirmed to have been diagnosed with measles.

In that alert, the State of New Jersey Department of Health warned passengers who may have been at the airport on Jan. 2 that "an international traveler" who was alone had been stricken with "a confirmed case of measles" and subsequently went into "self-isolation."

The virus can be contracted through the air and symptoms such as rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and watery eyes may not surface until days or weeks later.

The Illinois Department of Public Health said it's possible that symptoms may not show, for those who may have been affected by the passenger at Chicago O'Hare, until as late as Jan. 31.

The agency did not divulge which flights or airline carriers the measles-infected passenger flew, or the treatment the passenger may be receiving.

A spokesperson for the agency told ABC News that, "Those who were considered most at risk are being contacted directly by health officials."

In the statement, the agency said anyone else concerned about possible measles infection should "call a health care provider before going to a medical office or emergency department."

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, anyone traveling internationally "is at risk of getting infected" and should make sure they are up-to-date with measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccinations to protect themselves and the larger community.

The agency added that the "majority of people who get the measles were unvaccinated."

Last year, 120 people from 15 states reported contracting measles, according to the CDC. The agency said that the majority of people who contract the disease are unvaccinated.

In 2014, a record 667 cases of measles were reported to the CDC -- the greatest number since measles was declared eradicated in the U.S. in 2000.

There have been multiple outbreaks infecting hundreds in states such as Ohio and California, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN JUAN) -- Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico nearly five months ago, but its devastating impact continues to be felt, including in a national shortage of critically important, small medical fluid-filled bags for delivering nutrients or medicines to patients intravenously.

Medical-supply giant Baxter International, one of the leading manufacturers of IV bags, has three factories in Puerto Rico. After Maria hit the island on September 20, bringing down its power grid, Baxter's three factories there were temporarily shut down. Only recently has the company been able to fully restore operations in the last of the three.

Daily, hospitals go through hundreds or thousands of IV bags filled with a solution of nutrients, antibiotics or painkillers and which are typically fastened to a pole and connected intravenously to a patient. Medical centers for cancer treatment and dialysis as well as homebound patients also need IV bags.

Concern spread when shortages of the small bags meant that orders by various health facilities and hospital weren't always being completely fulfilled.

"Some facilities are getting virtually zero," David Chen, a pharmacy director with Promedica which operates 13 hospitals in Ohio and Michigan said. "Others are having them trickle in. You never know what you're going to get."

Because of the limited number of the drip bags, some hospital staffs instituted workarounds such as giving pills instead of drips or using syringes to inject critical fluids; but that has threatened to cause a shortage in syringes.

"I have never seen anything quite this bad," Connie Sullivan, head of research and innovation at the National Home Infusion Association said.

"I see it as a crisis,” Deborah Pasko, director of medication safety and quality at the American Society of Health System Pharmacists said.

With the arrival of a powerful strain of the flu there is even more demand for critical hydrating fluids, Pasko said.

"If we can't support patients coming in emergency rooms who have the flu, more people are going to die," she said.

The FDA admitted the "production situation in Puerto Rico remains fragile" and has attempted to boost the supply of IV by allowing two additional companies beyond Baxter to start selling saline bags over the next few months.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



LOCAL NEWS

WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 17, 2018

The regional air carrier that's been providing commercial air service at the Chautauqua County Airport near Jamestown has packed up and left the airport after it's federal subsidy was pulle...

Read More