<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Health News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/health http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Tue, 02 Sep 2014 08:29:04 -0500 Tue, 02 Sep 2014 08:29:04 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[CDC Releases New Flu Recommendations]]> Mon, 01 Sep 2014 22:32:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Nasal+flu+spray.jpg At the unofficial end to the summer, many North Texas doctors are looking ahead to flu season, which is expected to start in early October.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[North Texas Doctors Look Ahead to Flu Season]]> Mon, 01 Sep 2014 22:31:19 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Nasal+flu+spray.jpg

At the unofficial end to the summer, many North Texas doctors are looking ahead to flu season, which is expected to start in early October.

Dr. Cedric Spak works in the emergency department at Baylor University Medical Center and remembers last year's flu season.

"It came earlier, and it came during the holiday season. We really weren't expecting it then," Spak said. "The one thing about the flu is that it always surprises us. Like, it's always there but we never know what kind of flu is going to show up."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released its new recommendations for the flu season, and among them, it suggests children between the age of 2 and 8 get the nasal spray.

"We acquire influenza through our mucosa, or through the lining of our nose and mouth. If you give the vaccine to the children, the thought is that's more protective for the child, and so the immune response will be right there in the face," Spak said.

The CDC and Spak both agree it is important to get the flu shot.

"Soon as possible, soon as possible, soon as it's available," Spak said.

Typically, the shot becomes widely available in early October. While no flu season is the same, doctors say they typically see cases spike in January or February.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Cyclospora Linked to Cilantro]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 18:49:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cilantro1.jpg Some of the Texas cyclosporiasis cases have been traced back to fresh cilantro from Mexico, according to federal health officials.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Boston Marathon Dream Wedding]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:27:12 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/edt-KJWedding1.jpg If something good could come out of the Boston Marathon bombing, James Costello and Krista D'Agostino seem to have found it.

Photo Credit: Prudente Photography]]>
<![CDATA[Cyclospora Cases Traces to Cilantro From Mexico]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 09:48:51 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cilantro1.jpg

Some of the Texas cyclosporiasis cases have been traced back to fresh cilantro from Mexico, according to federal health officials.

The Texas Department of State Health Services said Thursday the its investigation has linked the cases in four restaurants to fresh cilantro from Puebla, Mexico.

Texas DSHS said a total of 21 people got sick and all of them reported eating food containing cilantro within two weeks of becoming ill.

The FDA and DSHS traced the cilantro from all four restaurants to Puebla. While investigators could not find cilantro contaminated with cyclospora they said there's a strong enough "epidemiological link" between the illnesses and the cilantro to draw the conclusion.

Russell Jones, chief epidemiologist for the Tarrant County Health Department, said health officials believe the outbreak is over, but they still don't know exactly how the cilantro was contaminated.

"We don't know if it happened on the farm, processing, somewhere in transit," Jones said. "Cyclospora is usually found in contaminated water. Fecal contaminated water. And it's a human parasite, so it normally doesn't come from an animal, but a person. Maybe it's irrigation water, water used from processing. Somewhere the product came in contact with contaminated water."

State health officials said they are choosing not to release the names of the restaurants, saying it wasn’t their fault the cilantro was bad.

At Roy Pope Grocery in Fort Worth, owner Robert Vega said he's lucky to only buy local produce. However, he said many larger chains and restaurants don't have that option.

"A lot of it has to do with how things are going in California, whether it could be a drought or too much rain or high demand, and that's usually what brings more produce from Mexico," Vega said. "The only thing I can say is, as a consumer, is that you wash everything and that you thoroughly cook everything. Those are the two biggest keys."

In October 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also linked a cyclospora outbreak to cilantro from Puebla.

The Texas DSHS reported a total of 166 confirmed cyclospora cases in the state, but only 126 cases were considered part of the outbreak.

Dallas County reported the majority of this year's cases with 38, 19 cases were confirmed in Tarrant County and 12 in Collin County.

Recent data from the Texas DSHS suggests that the outbreaks have ended.

Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal illness that is caused by the microscopic parasite cyclospora cayetanensis and causes prolonged diarrheal distress. People can become infected with cyclospora by eating or drinking food or water contaminated with the parasite.

NBC 5's Amanda Guerra and Bianca Castro contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[2nd Case of Chikungunya Confirmed in Dallas Co.]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 09:49:06 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_mosquito_fiebre_amarilla_california.jpg

Dallas County Health and Human Services confirmed Wednesday the second case of imported Chikungunya virus in Dallas County.

According to the health department, the person was infected with the virus during recent travel to the Dominican Republic and was diagnosed after returning to Dallas County.

As per usual, identifying information about the person will not be made public.

The first case was confirmed in Dallas County in July. Last week, a Tarrant County resident was diagnosed with the disease after returning from a trip to the Caribbean.

Chikungunya virus is transmitted to people by mosquitoes. The virus causes high fever and severe joint pain that start suddenly. It can also cause headache, muscle pain and rash. Chikungunya does not often result in death, but the symptoms can be disabling, and some people may get severe complications. There is no specific medication available to treat Chikungunya and there is not a vaccine. Avoiding mosquito bites is the key to avoid Chikungunya.

Much like the battle against West Nile virus, the health department advises the public to use the '4Ds' to help reduce the chance of being bitten by a mosquito infected with Chikungunya or West Nile virus.

  • Drain standing water around their homes to reduce mosquito breeding grounds.
  • Dress in pants and long sleeves when outside, but avoid becoming too hot.
  • Apply an insect repellent that contains DEET to exposed skin and to clothing when outdoors.
  • Stay indoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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<![CDATA[Flu Cases Continuing Outside Typical Season]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 07:45:18 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/flu5.jpg

Many doctors in North Texas are seeing something rare for this time of year: the flu. They are cautioning that this could just be the beginning.

Dr. Jane Sadler, of Baylor Medical Center at Garland, said it doesn't feel like the testing for the flu ever ended in her clinic and neither did the positive results.

"We were seeing many flu cases into May and even June," said Sadler. "I suspect that the flu is here year-round, and that's how it's able to perpetuate and come back."

One of those positive tests came from an employee at the doctor's office just weeks ago. For Loli Meadors, it started as a sore throat late last month.

"That night I didn't sleep at all, because I had a really bad sore throat. The next morning I thought I had strep," said Meadors.

She later found out it wasn't strep but the flu.

"I was very surprised, because this was the second time in four months I had had the flu," Meadors said.

Back in April, she was diagnosed with one strain of the virus, and this time around it was a different strain.

Sadler said she's one of a handful of positive tests this summer and calls it a spike because it's highly unusual to get positive flu tests at this point in the year, months away from when the flu season is set to begin.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said flu season starts as early as October in North Texas, and Sadler cautions this could be just the beginning.

"What this tells me about the flu season is get ready, here it comes. School has just begun, the kids are going to be closer together," said Sadler. "I suspect we may see a resurgence of the flu, perhaps in higher numbers than before."

Sadler said she will start giving out the flu shot starting Sept. 1. Studies show the flu shot is usually effective for the length of the flu season, with its effectiveness waning toward the summer.

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<![CDATA[North Texas Woman With ALS Gets Free Treatment]]> Mon, 25 Aug 2014 17:22:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ALS+PATIENT.jpg

The ALS Association just announced it has received more than $70 million in donations this month, compared to just two million for the same time period last year.

It's all because of the summer's biggest viral sensation, the Ice Bucket Challenge. People are challenged by friends to either donate money for ALS Research or dump ice water over their heads. Many people do both.

But a local group of doctors decided to do more than just make a donation. The medical team at Carrick Brain Centers in Irving is donating free treatment to a local woman suffering from ALS.

"What we're trying to do is prolong quality of life. If we can improve swallowing, if we can improve speech, those are significant improvements in quality of life," said Medical Director Dr. Andre Fredieu.

Sherry Lewis, 64, started her ALS treatment on Monday. She was diagnosed with the deadly disease in February. She can no longer speak and has difficulty swallowing and chewing.

"I know there's nothing I can do. I can't help her in any way," said Sherry's husband Tracy. "Just watching her slowly deteriorate, it's really bad."

The goal for her treatment is to get her chewing food and swallowing again, even if it's only for just a few months longer.

"I can't talk to her at dinner. She'll attempt to talk and choke her up. Something as simple as dinner conversation is gone," Tracy Lewis said. "I don't know really how to deal with it. There's nothing I can do to help her. It's really scary."

On Friday, Sherry, her husband and their five grandchildren came to Carrick Brain Centers to watch her new doctors do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in front of them. The doctors are all privately contributing to ALS research, but they decided to offer Lewis free treatment.

As she watched, Sherry couldn't cheer for her family or tell her husband "I love you." But the spark in her eyes told the whole story---a tale of pride and courage.

"You have a very short window to work within. So it's a challenge, but it's a labor of love for us. We want to do everything we possibly can for our patients," said Fredieu.

Fredieu said most people live just three-and-a-half years after they're diagnosed with ALS. The disease slowly eats away at the ability to walk, use their arms, speak, swallow, and breathe. He's treated about 15 people in his career with ALS.

"It gets tough. I'm very faith-filled. So it helps to think that it we can give a patient an additional day, an additional minute, an additional second of an improvement in their quality of life, then we're doing God's work," he said.

The Lewis family said they greatly appreciate the financial help. They are currently converting their house in North Richland Hills to be handicapped accessible so Sherry's husband can work from home more often.

As millions of dollars in donations pour into ALS Research every week, Fredieu said he's happy the viral sensation is making a real impact in social awareness about the deadly disease.

"We've made such amazing strides with cancer, everything from different therapeutic options, different surgical options, that we didn't have 10 years ago. We want to have that same type of enthusiasm and zeal for ALS."

"It is such a devastating disease to have. And the lifespan for patients is so short, we need those dollars, and as many dollars as possible, to give us options to prolong life and hopefully one day get to a cure."


 



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Tasty, Healthy Breakfast Cereals]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:13:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/CR+Cereal+082714.jpg

Cereal is a staple in 91 percent of American households. Most eat it for breakfast, but 11 percent have cereal for dinner, according to the market research company Mintel. Consumer Reports hunted down the most nutritious cereals that are also tasty.

Consumer Reports defines a healthy cereal as one that per serving contains:

  • at least 5 grams of fiber
  • a maximum of 3 grams of fat
  • a maximum of 140 milligrams of sodium
  • under 8 grams of sugar

Consumer Reports' expert sensory panel was asked can a cereal be healthy and not taste like cardboard? The answer is yes! They found 13 cereals to recommend that are both healthy and tasty.

They are:
Bob's Red Mill Old Country Style Muesli
Kind Vanilla Blueberry Clusters with Flax
Regular Cheerios
Cheerios Multigrain
Post Grape-Nuts The Original
Post Shredded Wheat Wheat 'n Bran Spoon Size
Alpen Muesli No Sugar Added
Kellogg's All-Bran Original
Total Whole Grain
Quaker Oatmeal Squares Brown Sugar
Nature’s Path Organic Flax Plus Flakes
Kix Crispy Corn Puffs
Post Shredded Wheat Original Spoon Size

There are plenty of good reasons to eat breakfast. Studies show it may protect you against heart disease, reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, and may even improve your mind. Research on adults and children finds that having breakfast can enhance memory, attention, and verbal abilities by stabilizing your glucose levels. So eat up!


Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website.



Photo Credit: Consumer Reports]]>
<![CDATA[Last Minute Scramble for School Vaccinations]]> Mon, 25 Aug 2014 11:52:35 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Ault+Immunizations+082514.JPG

While many students are half way through their first day back to school other students are still at home.

That is because they did not have their immunizations up-to-date.

There was a long line at the Dallas County Health and Human Services office in downtown Dallas on Monday.

The line was much shorter than it was on Friday, but many parents still waited until the last minute to their children’s vaccines.

"Well to be honest her granny was supposed to be doing it, but she procrastinated,” said parent Nikki Daniel, “So we are stuck out here in this long line.”

Health department officials say they expect to serve everyone in line very quickly.

They say many are in line just to pick up updated records.

Dallas County has four clinics were parents can go to get their children’s immunization records updated.

The DCHHS is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

More: Dallas County Health and Human Services Immunization Information
 



Photo Credit: Josh Ault, NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Number of Texas Parents Saying "No" to Vaccines Rising]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:34:44 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/little+girl+vaccine.jpg

As kids head back to school, NBC 5 Investigates found three times as many parents are saying "no" to vaccines compared to just seven years ago and in some parts of the metroplex, the rate is even higher.

Parents like Tanya Garcia rushed to get their kids the shots Texas schools require. "I always got him vaccinated. I believe in it. I think it works," said Garcia.

But other moms like Jennifer Salas are saying "no" to vaccines.

"As a parent you have a choice and I think most parents don't realize that," said Salas.

Salas filled out a "conscientious exemption" form with the state – saying that she doesn't want her five-year-old son, Charlie, to have vaccines.

It's not that Salas is opposed to medicine because she's actually a nurse, but things she's read make her question if vaccines are safe enough.

Salas said people who work with her in the medical try to talk her out of skipping vaccines.  

“They think I’m out of my mind crazy for doing it”, she said.  “I say it’s my decision.”

And Salas is not alone.

In 2007 10,404 Texas parents opted out of at least one vaccine.  By last year that number more than tripled to 32,616. That's still a fraction of the 27 million people living in Texas. But the rate of change has some doctors concerned especially in counties where the rate has risen even more dramatically.

In Collin County, 642 parents opted out in 2007.  Last school year that number jumped to 2492,  almost four times as many.

In Denton County, 401 parents opted out in 2007. Last school year that rose to 3692, nearly 10 times as many.


"Sadly most doctors, most people in public health, are not surprised the number of people opting out of vaccines is growing," said Dr. Seema Yasmin, a public health professor and health reporter at the Dallas Morning News.

"Sometimes the overall number of people who opt out of vaccines doesn't look big but what's disturbing is we get these hot spots where there's lots of people who've opted out of the vaccine and that's really concerning," said Yasmin.

In Denton County, 3.5 percent of students now skip at least one vaccine according to state stats, which leaves Denton County with the third highest rate of students skipping vaccines in the entire state.

Medical professionals say they're trying to pinpoint the reason more Denton County parents are saying no to vaccines.

Denton County Health Director, Matt Richardson, suspects some parents are persuaded more by things they hear from friends or read online than by doctors.

And then there's also the celebrity factor. Stars like Jenny McCarthy have spoken out raising questions about some vaccines, prompting more buzz among parents

McCarthy says she is not "anti-vaccine," but wants parents to have choices and drug companies to remove some vaccine ingredients.

"She had a great impact, a very large impact. She got my mind thinking about those options," said Salas.

Salas is convinced she's doing the right thing for her son who has a mild form of autism.

Even though The American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC say there is no link between vaccines and autism, many parents still have questions.

Health officials say they need to work harder to persuade people that the benefits of vaccines outweigh the risk of disease.

"In these groups of unvaccinated children they are at risk, and then other children around them are at risk, and we're trying to combat that," said Richardson.

And with kids heading back to class some doctors worry about schools with more students skipping out on a shot in the arm.

"So if you think about a school classroom if one child doesn't have a vaccine it's unlikely other kids are going to get sick, but you start seeing 5 to 10 kids not getting that vaccine, suddenly you have a situation where there could be a deadly outbreak," said Yasmin.

It's not just the suburban counties where the numbers are up.

In Dallas County, twice as many parents are opting out compared to seven years ago and three times as many in Tarrant County.

The state made a few changes to the vaccine schedule during that time, including adding meningitis vaccines for 7th graders so that addition may also contribute to more parents saying no to at least some shots.

*The data in the graphs above are from the Annual Survey of Immunization Status; it is mailed to approximately 1,300 independent school districts (ISD) and 800 accredited private schools in Texas to collect the immunization status of children and the number of conscientious exemption affidavit forms filed at the private school and ISD level.  The data is self reported and although the Annual Report of Immunization Status is mandated by law not all schools participate each year.  The total district conscientious exemption data from the annual report is only reported at the district level so it includes all students from kindergarten through 12th grade. Please note that the total district conscientious exemptions are the number of students that have a conscientious exemption form on file at the school.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Arlington to Spray for West Nile Virus]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 06:12:10 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_mosquito_fiebre_amarilla_california.jpg

The City of Arlington will begin spraying for West Nile virus in several neighborhoods Monday evening after a mosquito sample taken in that area tested positive for the virus.

City officials said they found the virus in a sample take in South Arlington near Yaupon and Bristolcone drives. This is the first positive test in Arlington this season.

Contractors will conduct targeted ground spraying Monday and Tuesday from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., weather permitting.

The spray area is from Bardin Road south to Southeast Green Oaks Boulevard and from Matlock Road east to the Arlington Airport.

City officials urged Arlington residents to remember the Four Ds:

  • Dusk and dawn: This is when infected mosquitoes are most active.
  • Dress in long sleeves, pants when outside: For extra protection, spray thin clothing with repellent.
  • DEET: Make sure this ingredient is in your insect repellent.
  • Drain standing water in your yard and neighborhood: Mosquitoes develop in any water stagnant for more than three days.

For More Information:

West Nile virus, Mosquito Control

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<![CDATA[2 West Nile Cases in Dallas County]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 22:58:19 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_mosquito_pica_pica.jpg

Health officials confirmed two new cases of West Nile virus in Dallas County on Friday, bringing the total number of human cases in 2014 up to five.

A Farmers Branch resident was released from the hospital after fighting the neuroinvasive form of West Nile virus, and a Dallas resident who lives in the 75223 zip code was diagnosed with West Nile fever.

While it is unknown where the patient with the neuroinvasive form of West Nile virus was exposed, health officials said the person had recently traveled to a region outside of Dallas County where there had been confirmed human cases of West Nile neuroinvasive disease.

The best way to combat the spread of West Nile virus is to eliminate standing, stagnant water that promotes mosquito-breeding areas, experts said.

Also, avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus; wear long, loose and light-colored clothing while outside; and limit outdoor activities during dusk and dawn hours when mosquitoes are most active.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Lean Cuisine Frozen Food Recall]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 16:02:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/160*128/lean+cuisine.jpg

Nestlé has issued a voluntary recall of some of its frozen meals that were distributed in Texas.

A limited quantity of Lean Cuisine Culinary Collection Chicken with Peanut Sauce could be hazardous to some people because it may contain undeclared shrimp.

People with an allergy or severe sensitivity to shrimp run the risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

The affected product is marked with a production code of 4165595911U and has a “best before” date of July 2015.

A small quantity of Lean Cuisine Culinary Collection Shrimp Alfredo was inadvertently placed into packaging for Lean Cuisine Culinary Collection Chicken with Peanut Sauce.

Three consumers who purchased the mislabeled product alerted Nestlé to this issue. To date, no illnesses or allergic reactions have been reported.

Consumers who may have purchased Lean Cuisine Culinary Collection Chicken with Peanut Sauce/UPC code 13800 10154 should look for the manufacturing code, located in the grey box, on the right side panel of the package. The manufacturing code of the recalled product is: 4165595911U.

No other Lean Cuisine items were impacted by this recall.

In addition to Texas, the affected product was distributed to retail customers in Washington State, California and Louisiana, and can be found in the frozen food aisle.

Nestlé said consumers can contact them for a full refund by calling Nestlé Consumer Services at 1-800-392-4057 Monday through Friday from 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. CST.



Photo Credit: Food and Drug Administation ]]>
<![CDATA[Whole Foods Pulls Yogurt Over Sugar]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:35:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/whole+foods+yogurt+allegations.JPG

Organic supermarket giant Whole Foods has removed a version of its store-brand yogurt from shelves after lawsuits were filed in local courts over the dairy product's sugar content.

A company spokesperson tells NBC10.com Friday that the Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt is not being sold as they investigate how much sugar is in each serving.

Two class-action lawsuits were filed earlier this month on behalf of Pennsylvania and New Jersey shoppers.

The suits were brought forth after testing by Consumer Reports found yogurt samples to contain six times the sugar content that was displayed on the nutrition label. The label said 2 grams of sugar was in one container of the product, but the group's analysis found 11.4 grams per serving.

The lawsuit alleges the supermarket knew the label was wrong, but continued to sell the product.

Whole Foods has declined to comment on the specifics of the case, but the spokesperson previously said they were working to determine the discrepancy between their test results and what Consumer Reports found.

Attorneys for the lawsuits are seeking $100 per plaintiff and could represent some 35,000 people. Should they win, the supermarket chain could be forced to pay $3.5 million.

The company spokesperson said several other Greek yogurt options remain stocked for customers in the meantime.

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<![CDATA[Chicken Caesar Salad Kits Sold at Sam's Recalled]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:28:39 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/sams_club1.jpg

A California firm is recalling chicken Caesar salad kits sold at Sam's Clubs nationwide for possible listeria contamination.

APPA Fine Foods is recalling more than 92,500 pounds of fully-cooked chicken Caesar salad kit products, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Thursday.

The salad kits were shipped nationwide and sold at Sam's Clubs' in-store cafes according to the USDA.

The following products are subject to recall were in 11oz. clear plastic containers and 6.5-lb. boxes labeled, "APPA Fine Foods/Sam’s Club Daily Chef CHICKEN CAESAR SALAD KIT" with case codes 141851, 141922, 141951, 141991, 142021, 142201 or 142131 with use by dates of 8/14/14, 8/21/14, 8/27/14, 9/1/14, 9/3/14 or 9/17/14. The kits were produced on July 4, July 11, July 14, July 18, July 21, July 25, Aug. 1 and Aug. 8, 2014.

The USDA's FSIS and the company said there have been no reports of illnesses, but anyone concerned about an illness should contact a healthcare provider.

Listeriosis can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. The invasive infection can spread beyond the gastrointestinal tract. In pregnant women, the infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn. In addition, serious and sometimes fatal infections in older adults and persons with weakened immune systems.

Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics.

More: California Firm Recalls Chicken Caesar Salad Kits For Possible Listeria Contamination



Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Final Push to Get Back-to-School Immunizations]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:21:08 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/219*120/060209+vaccine+shot+hmv.jpg

Many students across North Texas will be back in school on Monday, so many parents are rushing to make their students are ready for class.

One mandatory thing students need before they head back is up-to-date immunizations. The Dallas County Health & Human Services was very busy on Friday.

There was a long line of parents and their children outside the health department before it opened Friday morning.

"Well it's pretty typical," said DCHHS spokesperson Erikka Neroes. "We expect we can get these taken care of and get them on their way so they can get back in school."

They tried to move the families inside as quickly as they could once the doors opened, but still some did not like waiting in the heat.

"No, no, no, you see me, fanning myself," said parent Sharon Grant.

Parents are asked to make sure they have the right records, so the lines can move quicker.

"They need to bring their immunization records, so that we make sure they are getting the right vaccines that they need to be caught up on," explained Neroes.

But even though waiting in line was not fun, all the parents we spoke with say it is worth it.

"They are very important because kids get sick and other people get infected," said Grant. "It's just mandatory."

There are six clinics in Dallas County where parents can take their children to get their vaccines.

Friday is the last day for walk-in patients and Dallas County's six health clinics are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tarrant County Public Health Centers are open for immunizations from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

There are nine required immunizations, including measles, whooping cough and hepatitis.

Dallas parents can call (972) 925- 5437 (KIDS) for any questions or concerns about their child's immunization records.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sacramento Patient Tests Negative for Ebola]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 16:32:13 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_ebola.jpg

Health officials said Thursday a patient who was being tested for Ebola in Sacramento has tested negative for the virus.

There are currently no confirmed cases of the Ebola virus in California.

"We are pleased with the negative outcome of the Ebola test and wish the patient a speedy recovery," Dr. Ron Chapman, California Department of Public Health Director and state health officer, said in a statement. "The case in Sacramento County demonstrates that the system is working. This patient was quickly identified, appropriate infection control procedures were implemented, and public health authorities were notified."

State and federal officials earlier in the week said they will not divulge which West African country the patient traveled to or from in order to protect the individual's privacy.

Officials also said they will not be releasing the patient's identity, gender or whether the patient is an adult or minor.

On Tuesday, health officials announced that the patient who was admitted to a South Sacramento hospital may have been exposed to the Ebola virus. The Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center worked with the Sacramento County Division of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to test blood samples from the patient.

For more information about Ebola, please visit the CDPH home page's "Other Hot Topics" and the CDC's page on information and updates.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal Man Shares ALS Reality]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:42:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ALSchallenge.JPG

It starts off hilarious: A jocular guy in a bikini challenging Ellen DeGeneres and Miley Cyrus to the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Then, it gets personal, real and heartbreaking.

Anthony Carbajal, a Murrieta native and owner of a Temecula wedding photography business, shares in a new YouTube video about a family history of ALS and how he was diagnosed with the debilitating disease earlier this year at age 26.

“I hate talking about it. That’s probably why no one talks it. Because it’s so challenging to watch,” Carbajal says in the video. “No one wants to talk about it. They don’t want it to ruin their day.”

His YouTube video has reached more than 4 million views in just three days and has been spotlighted by Time, BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post, among other media outlets.

The video is a challenge to naysayers of the ubiquitous ALS Ice Bucket Challenge — those who express annoyance that the craze is filling up their Facebook newsfeeds.

“I promise your newsfeed will go back to cat videos and ‘Let It Go’ covers,” he says. “But now, for once, the ALS community has the main spotlight. And for once in my entire life, I’ve seen it in the forefront.”

“Eventually I won’t be able to walk, talk and breathe on my own,” he says. “And that’s the real truth of what ALS is.”

Since the Ice Bucket Challenge took over the Internet, the ALS Association has received $41.8 million in donations from July 29 to Thursday. That's compared to $2.1 million in the same time period last year.

You can watch the video here. (Warning: It contains some profanity.)
 

His YouTube video also drew the attention of Ellen DeGeneres, who accepted his challenged and tweeted this morning:



Photo Credit: YouTube]]>
<![CDATA[Safety Alert: Mercury in Fish]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 12:16:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/CR+Mercury+Fish+082114.jpg

Eating fish can be a great choice. It's an excellent, low-fat source of protein and other nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, which may help protect your heart, and if you're pregnant, boost your baby's brain development. But there's a catch. Some seafood contains high levels of a form of mercury called methylmercury. Mercury can damage the brain, and it can damage the nervous system, especially when that exposure occurs in the womb.

The government advises young children, and women who are pregnant, breast-feeding, or might become pregnant, to avoid the four fish with the highest mercury levels: swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico. The Food and Drug Administration is also considering adding marlin and orange roughy to the list.

Consumer Reports' food-safety experts agree but have additional concerns about tuna. Tuna accounts for 40 percent of our mercury exposure. Most of that is from canned tuna. Fresh tuna, popular in sushi, can also be especially high in mercury. To be safe, Consumer Reports recommends that pregnant women not eat any tuna at all. And children and anyone who eats a lot of fish should really limit the amount of tuna they eat.

All of this discussion doesn't mean you should skip eating fish. In fact, for the first time, the FDA has just said how much fish women who are pregnant, breast-feeding, or trying to get pregnant should be eating. The minimum is at least 8 ounces per week of a variety of fish lower in mercury. Some good choices include: Wild and Alaska salmon, canned or fresh; shrimp; sardines; tilapia; scallops; oysters; and squid.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website.
 



Photo Credit: Consumer Reports]]>
<![CDATA[Fort Worth Still Without West Nile Positive Mosquitoes]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 09:29:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_mosquito_virus_nilo_los_angeles.jpg

In Tarrant County, the West Nile virus seems to be targeting areas outside of Fort Worth.

So far in 2014, the Tarrant County Public Health Department's interactive mapping software shows 41 positive mosquito traps. But, not one of those positives has been in the county's largest city.

A vast majority of the positives have been found in northeastern Tarrant County, which those studying and collecting data said is pretty typical.

Dr. Joon Lee is an assistant professor at The University of North Texas Health Science Center. He and his students collect and test mosquito samples for the city each week.

Their findings lately show an average of about 50 culex mosquitoes per trap, which he said is high for August.

"Even though we have high mosquito numbers, we don't seem to have any evidence of West Nile virus transmission at all this year," Lee said.

So far, the 42 to 62 traps they put out each week haven't caught a single positive mosquito. Last year though, the city saw just five such positive mosquito pools.

With only two years of intense, thorough and consistent trapping and testing, it remains hard to say why. The mitigation efforts, removing source pools and mosquito breeding grounds, could play a role, so, too, could the 2012 outbreak of the virus.

"So a lot of local birds might be immunized by the West Nile virus infection," Lee said.

But Lee said he really needs another three to four years of data to figure out the virus' patterns. That means this season is a bit different than previous years.

"It is quite interesting to answer all those questions, but still remains to be answered," Lee said.

One thing Lee knows for sure is that the our rainy days this summer have thrown off the season and is why we're seeing high mosquito numbers once again.

But more mosquitoes doesn't necessarily mean more risk of West Nile virus.

Still, Lee said you should continue to take precautions.

"I would still recommend them to be cautious about that," he said.

Another unique aspect of this year's season, Tarrant County right now has more positive traps than Dallas County. Historically, it's usually been the other way around. 

Lee said just because we haven't seen West Nile virus in Fort Worth so far, doesn't mean it won't show up. He said the summer rains could push the season into September and even early October.

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<![CDATA[Back-to-School Health]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 16:37:12 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/handsanitizer.jpg Texas Healthcare Dr. Mark Hammonds discusses immunizations, preventing sickness and more.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Calif. Patient May Have Ebola Virus]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 20:55:42 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_ebola.jpg

Health officials said Wednesday a patient who was being tested for Ebola in Sacramento is at low risk for the virus.

Speaking to the media during a conference call, state and federal officials said they will not divulge which West African country the patient traveled to or from in order to protect the individual's privacy.

Officials will not be releasing the patient's identity, gender or whether the patient is an adult or minor. Health officials are also contacting those who may have come in contact with the Sacramento patient.

"It is unlikely that Ebola presents a significant risk to Californians," said Dr. Gil Chavez, deputy director for the Center for Infectious Diseases and State Epidemiologist at the California Department of Public Health. Chavez said that the CDPH has not received any reports of high-risk patients being treated in California hospitals.

He said that the results of the testing of the Sacarmento patient would be available in three days.

Health officials announced Tuesday that the patient who was admitted to a South Sacramento hospital may have neem exposed to the Ebola virus. The Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center is working with the Sacramento County Division of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to test blood samples from the patient.

"In order to protect our patients, staff and physicians, even though infection with the virus is unconfirmed, we are taking the actions recommended by the CDC as a precaution, just as we do for other patients with a suspected infectious disease," Dr. Stephen Parodi, director of hospital operations for Kaiser Permanente Northern California, said in a statement. "This includes isolation of the patient in a specially equipped negative pressure room and the use of personal protective equipment by trained staff, coordinated with infectious disease specialists. This enables the medical center to provide care in a setting that safeguards other patients and medical teams."

The Ebola virus got worldwide attention earlier this month when two United States aid workers were infected in Liberia. The aid workers were move to an Atlanta hospital for treatment in a specially equipped plane. Both patients are recovering, officials said.

The Ebola outbreak started in December of last year in West Africa. Since the outbreak, some 2,200 people have been diagnosed with the virus and nearly half o those people died.

Even though the Ebola virus can be deadly, doctors said, survival rates are improving because people are getting checked if they feel they have come in contact with the virus.

Chavez told reporters that any hospital in California should be able to treat Ebola patients. The Sacramento case is the first case in Caifornia linked to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Chavez said.

"We knew it was a matter of time before we had a case in California," he said.

For more information about Ebola, please visit the CDPH home page's "Other Hot Topics" and the CDC's page on information and updates.

NBC Bay Area's Cheryl Hurd and Riya Bhattacharjee contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Football Team Adds Helmet Cushions to Curb Impacts]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 08:48:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Football+practice+helmets.jpg

Football practice for the Richland High School Rebels includes something extra. Soft cushions called Guardian Caps cover the players' helmets and are designed to offer further protection against possible concussions.

"They kind of thought they were funny looking at first," said head coach Ged Kates of his players.

The Birdville Independent School District school in North Richland Hills started using the Guardian Caps during practice a year ago and the results so far have been dramatic.

"What we've seen is probably, I would say, about a 50 percent decrease in the number of concussions," said Richland Rebels athletic trainer Dean Brosterman.

Right now, those players who get the most contact use them during practice.

"I think they're great," said Valerie Lyons, whose son suffered a concussion before he started wearing one. "I think everybody should have to wear them."

Some football programs around the country aren't sold on them, concerned that wearing Guardian Caps may raise complex legal issues if players are injured.

The Colorado High School Activities Association bans their use during games and warns schools that allowing third-party add-on accessories during practice can affect their liability.

In a statement sent to NBC 5, the University Interscholastic League said the decision whether to use Guardian Caps is made locally in Texas.

"The UIL does not have rules for or against guardian caps for football. Different companies have asked the UIL Medical Advisory Committee to approve or encourage schools to wear different caps, but the Medical Advisory Committee has not done so. The decision to use this additional equipment is made at the local level," said UIL spokeswoman Kate Hector in a written statement.

For now, Kates believes the extra protection for his players is worth it.

"Until somebody tells me otherwise," he said, "it seems like something that's helping out kids, and that's what we're all about."

The company that makes Guardian Caps does not claim they reduce or prevent concussions, only that they reduce impact by up to 33 percent.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Peanut, Almond Butter Recalled for Salmonella Risk]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 15:04:50 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/160*120/100308-peanut-butter-attack.jpg

A unit of Hain Celestial Group Inc. is recalling some peanut and almond butter because of possible salmonella contamination.

The company said Tuesday that there have been reports of four illnesses that may be related to the nut butters.

They were sold under the brand names Arrowhead Mills peanut butters and MaraNatha almond butters and peanut butters. Also being recalled were some lots of private label almond butter from grocers Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Kroger and Safeway. A total of 45 production lots are affected.

They were sold in Canada, the Dominican Republic, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates as well as the U.S.

The Lake Success, New York, company said it learned of the contamination risk after routine FDA testing.

The Food and Drug Administration said it did not know how many jars of nut butters were recalled. The company would not comment.

Typical symptoms of salmonella infection are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. These symptoms generally develop within one to three days of exposure to the bacterium and may last for up to a week.  While anyone can become ill from exposure to salmonella, health officials say the risk of infection is particularly high for children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.

There have been several major salmonella outbreaks in recent years, including infected peanuts that sickened more than 700 people in 2008 and 2009 and Foster Farms chicken that is linked to a strain of salmonella that has made more than 500 people sick over the last year and a half.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this Associated Press report incorrectly identified some of the nut butters recalled.  The error has been corrected in the above report.  We regret the error.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Annual Powder-Puff Game Exceeds Fundraising Goal]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 15:02:13 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/BvB-Dallas-Powder-Puff-8.jpg

The first six annual Blondes vs. Brunettes Dallas Powder-Puff Football games raised about $1.3 million for Alzheimer's disease research.

This year, Team Blonde and Team Brunette squared off at the Cotton Bowl and topped their $400,000 goal by $40,000.

Nearly 3,000 fans attended the game, despite early rain, to watch more than 200 players and coaches participate. The final score was 32-27 in favor of Team Blonde.

BvB Chair Greer Fulton and BvB Board of Directors President Jen Bergman presented the check at halftime to Kimber Hartmann and Audette Rackley, Center For BrainHealth, and Carol Hal, Dr. Ann Stowe and Dr. Mark Goldberg, UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Ty Walker, Cash Sirois and Mike Sirois of Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket provided the play-by-play and color commentary. Former Dallas Cowboy Greg Ellis made an appearance as well. Kyle Park and DJ Joe Ramirez provided entertainment at the after party.

Links:



Photo Credit: Eric Garcia Photography]]>
<![CDATA[EPA Takes Issue with Handing Out Mosquito Dunks]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 10:02:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mosquito-dunks.jpg

Don't go to Town Hall in Trophy Club looking for free mosquito dunks.

After two summers of providing free dunks to residents, Trophy Club had to stop giving them out because they weren't in the proper packaging.

"We buy them in bulk, and then we take and put them in individual packages and pass those out to residents with a copy of the instructions," said Trophy Club Development Service Manager Pat Cooke. "And then we got notice that we weren't allowed to do that anymore."

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires that the dunks remain in the manufacturer's original packaging when they are distributed.

"I understand the need for the labeling on the packages to make sure that our citizens are using them as safe and proper way, so we'll do that in the future," said Trophy Club Town Manager Mike Syle.

For now, the town is using up the 100 or so they have left by sending someone to personally put out the dunks for residents who request them.

"If you have a need for dunks, we'll come out and dunk it for you," said Syle.

Many other North Texas municipalities offer free mosquito dunks for residents.

Dallas County provides them in the proper packaging to cities for their residents, as does the city of Burleson.

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<![CDATA[Eleven Chikungunya Cases Reported in Texas]]> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 06:21:46 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP702217698660.jpg

Texas Department of State Health Services reports 11 cases of chikungunya virus in Texas, with two cases in North Texas.

Cases have been confirmed in Bexar, Collin, Dallas, Gonzales, Montgomery,  and Williamson counties. Harris reports three cases and two in Travis County, according to the Texas DSHS.

In all of the cases travelers have acquired the illness, which is transmitted to people by mosquitoes, while visiting areas where the virus is more common.

In Dallas County, the patient was infected during a recent trip to the Caribbean. DCHHS said the person was diagnosed after returning home to Dallas County.

According to the DSHS, the concern is that chikungunya could spread in Texas because the Aedes mosquitoes that transmit it are present in the state.

The virus causes high fever and severe joint pain that start suddenly. Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) does not often result in death but there is no specific medication available to treat CHIKV and there is not a vaccine.

Tips to avoid contracting chikungunya are similar to those used to avoid West Nile virus. Experts advise people take steps to reduce the chance of being bitten by mosquitoes by observing the 4 Ds.

  • Drain standing water around their homes to reduce mosquito breeding grounds.
  • Dress in pants and long sleeves when outside, but avoid becoming too hot.
  • Apply an insect repellent that contains DEET to exposed skin and to clothing when outdoors.
  • Stay indoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Merkerson Shines Spotlight on Diabetes]]> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 12:34:47 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Merkerson+081414.jpg Longtime "Law and Order" actress S. Epatha Merkerson is encouraging people living with Type 2 diabetes to know the importance of their A1C and talking with their doctor about setting A1C goals. Merkerson has teamed up with Merck for the

American Diabetes Challenge

.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Whole Foods Lied About Sugar in Yogurt: Lawsuit]]> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 02:39:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/whole_foods.JPG

Whole Foods Market knowingly sold its store brand yogurt containing a sugar content that was nearly six times the amount stated on the product's nutritional label, according to two class-action lawsuits filed this month.

The Austin, Texas-based supermarket chain advertised its Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Plain Greek Yogurt as having only 2 grams of sugar per serving. But a Consumer Reports analysis published in July revealed the food item had an average of 11.4 grams of sugar per serving.

"No yogurt on the market actually has only [two] grams of sugar per serving," court documents read. "The lowest sugar content of any Greek yogurt for sale is 5 grams per serving."

Even though the specialty supermarket was aware of Consumer Reports' findings, it failed to remove the mislabeled yogurt from store shelves and continued to sell the product in 12 locations in New Jersey and 10 others in Pennsylvania, the lawsuits allege.

Both class-action suits -- filed on behalf of Mark Bilder in New Jersey and Carmine Clemente and Samantha Kilgallen in Pennsylvania -- could represent as many as 35,000 plantiffs who purchased the mislabled product in the Garden State between Aug. 6, 2008 and present and in the Keystone State from Aug. 11, 2008 to present, according to estimates provided in the lawsuit.

The attorney is calling for a $100 penalty per plantiff -- totaling a possible $3.5 million.

A Whole Foods spokeswoman declined to comment on the pending litigation citing company policy. However, she said the supermarket is working to determine why its test results differed from those reported by Consumer Reports.

The suit also alleges Whole Foods officials were fully aware the labels underreported the greek yogurt's sugar content since nutrition labels on all of its store brand products -- sold under the motto "Health Starts Here" -- are evaluated for correctness.

"Whole Foods Market's website brags to consumers about how thoroughly [it] checks the accuracy of the labels of its store brands, telling consumers: 'Our Private Label registered dietician reviews each nutrition label for accuracy and completeness before the label is printed," court records show.

The inaccurate label gave Whole Foods, which specializes in natural and organic food, a competitive advantage and justified the higher prices the specialty market charges consumers, the suit alleges.

The yogurt in-question typically retails for $1.29.

"It was [the] defendant's conscious intent to induce consumers to purchase 'Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Plain Greek Yogurt' by falsely stating that the sugar content per serving was only [two] grams," court documents show



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[MRSA Breaks Out Among Firefighter Trainees in New York]]> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 06:10:37 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/randalls+island+mrsa.jpg

A handful of the more than 300 FDNY probationary firefighters training on Randall's Island have contracted the antibiotic-resistant bacteria MRSA, officials confirm.

A type of staph infection, MRSA can spread quickly in highly populated environments like schools, gyms and hospitals. At medical facilities, MRSA can cause life-threatening bloodstream infections, pneumonia and surgical site infections.

The FDNY would not say exactly how many trainees were infected on Randall's Island, but says those infected are being treated and extra precaution is being taken for them to continue to train.

The department said in a statement, "We take this issue very seriously and we are acting aggressively to combat this problem by increasing our schedule of cleaning and disinfecting of facilities and equipment and educating our Instructors and Probies at the Fire Academy about how to prevent open wounds and the spread of MRSA."

Anyone can get MRSA through direct contact with an infected wound or by sharing items such as towels or razors that have touched infected skin.

Dr. Stephen Morse of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University says while staph is very common and that many people carry it in their nasal passages, MRSA is less common and harder to treat.

The probationary firefighters "should be watchful if their condition changes or if they get worse," he said. "It can be very nasty."

The doctor said infected facilities should be cleaned thoroughly with typical household detergents or disinfectants in case of outbreaks.

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<![CDATA[Georgia Firm Recalls 15K Pounds of Chicken Nuggets]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 14:40:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ApplegateRecall.jpg

A Georgia-based meat company is recalling over 15,000 pounds of frozen chicken nuggets after reports surfaced that consumers found small pieces of plastic in the meat.

Perdue Farms and the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service said they have not received any reports of injury from the consumption of the 8 ounce box of "Applegate Naturals Chicken Nuggets" with the establishment number P2617.

The product was produced on Feb. 5, 2014 with a sell by date of Feb. 5, 2015, according to a press release from the FSIS.

Applegate withdrew the frozen chicken from markets on Aug. 8, 2014, but consumers may still have the product in their possession since it is a frozen item, the statement said.

Consumers with questions about the recall should contact Gerry Clarkson, Applegate Consumer Relations Specialist at (800) 587-5858.



Photo Credit: USDA.gov]]>
<![CDATA[Better-For-You Foods: Consumer Reports]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 10:20:18 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/CR+Mayo+081214.jpg Making smart food choices when you shop can be very confusing. Consumer Reports ShopSmart Magazine tells us how to decode sound-alike food labels.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Better-For-You Foods]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 17:15:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/CR+Mayo+081214.jpg

Making smart food choices when you shop can be very confusing. What's really better for you "Whole grain" or "multi-grain?" How about "low fat" or "light?" "Sugar free" or "no sugar added?" Consumer Reports ShopSmart Magazine tells us how to decode sound-alike food labels.

Look for products labeled “low” instead of "reduced." "Low" has a definite meaning.

For example, "low sodium" means a food can't contain more than 140 milligrams of sodium, per serving. That's much clearer than something labeled "reduced sodium," which only means it has less sodium than the original product.

The same is true for "light" versus "low fat." "Light" only means less than the original. "Low fat" means it must have three grams of fat or less, per serving.

How about "multi grain" or "whole grain?" Multiple grains aren't a bad thing, but they can still be processed, so whole grains are a better choice.

And when it says "no sugar added," that only means sugar wasn't added in the processing. It doesn't mean it’s not in there.

What's the skinny on foods that contain hydrogenated versus partially-hydrogenated oils? Consumer Reports nutrition experts say: Stay away from both. Neither is heart healthy. Rather than hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oils, Consumer Reports says look for olive and canola oils on ingredient lists. They are better for your heart.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas County Confirms Third Case of West Nile Virus]]> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 11:11:40 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/west+nile+jersey+shore+mosquitoes.JPG

Dallas County health officials confirmed Monday the third human case of West Nile virus in the 2014 season.

The case involves a person in Lake Highlands, in ZIP code 75238, who has contracted West Nile fever.

Due to patient privacy, further information on the patient is not expected to be released.

"We want our residents to know the mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus are here and they're active," said Zachary Thompson, DCHHS director. "Our mosquito surveillance program and the county and municipal abatement teams are taking appropriate actions to ensure the safety of our residents. However, it is important for residents to take the necessary precautions."

Last month, Dallas County confirmed two cases of West Nile fever. Last year, the county reported more than a dozen human cases.

Most people bitten by a West Nile virus-infected mosquito will not show any symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, "The easiest and best way to avoid West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites.

When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient. Follow the directions on the package.

Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.

Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.

Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children's wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren't being used."

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<![CDATA[School Lunches Around the World]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 10:54:50 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/LunchPakistan2.jpg Photographers captured the lunch fare for students in several countries earlier this month, showing a range of foods, customs, and nutritional standards.

Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[Ebola Researcher Confident in Drug]]> Sat, 09 Aug 2014 11:26:33 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/inside-Ebola-lab-san-diego.jpg

A La Jolla lab is on the front lines of the fight against the Ebola Virus.

The outbreak in West Africa has killed at least 961 people and prompted the World Health Organization to declare an international public health emergency.

On the other side of the world from ground zero, researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla are looking at how the Ebola virus attaches to parts of the body and how it multiplies and replicates.

Dr. Erica Ollmann Saphire is part of the team spanning 25 labs across the globe that is making images of how the virus works.

Their work that has led to a medicine taken by two Americans infected with Ebola. The Sorrento Valley lab Mapp Bio used the images created at Scripps to come up with the experimental medicine called Z-Mapp.

Saphire works as director with the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Consortium, a global partnership with labs at Tulane University, Harvard and on the ground in Sierra Leone. She spoke to NBC 7 Thursday about the virus she’s worked on for 10 years.

Saphire says the cocktail of antibodies and proteins worked in mice and primates but wasn't supposed to be tested on humans until 2015.

"I know exactly what’s in it, how it works. I would take it myself in a heartbeat," she said.

While ZMapp provides hope, the director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the federal government is looking "very carefully" at experimental Ebola treatments. It's too early to tell whether they are helpful or even safe.

Even so, Mapp Bio is ramping up production, Saphire said, and they’re working with all the regulatory agencies involved.

“The logistics of making more are straightforward and solvable,” Saphire said.

The antibodies are made using tobacco leaves that are then put into a giant juicer. Scientists then strain the antibodies from the juice.

“That whole process would take about two or three months,” she said, adding that researchers need “time and the funds to do it and are expediting the process. You can believe it’s a priority.”

The antibodies in Z-Mapp were developed by Mapp Bio, the U.S. Army and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Mapp Bio has been operating for 11 years. In all, there are nine employees.

ZMapp is not FDA-approved. Its use was granted under the FDA's "compassionate use" clause, only given in extraordinary circumstances, and there are only a handful of doses of it available.

The two American aid workers who were flown to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and received doses of ZMapp – Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol – are said to be getting a little better every day after their treatment.

The current outbreak in West Africa is the largest and longest ever recorded of Ebola, which has a death rate of about 50 percent and has so far killed at least 961 people.

The WHO declared similar emergencies for the swine flu pandemic in 2009 and for polio in May.

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<![CDATA[9 Questions You Should Ask About the Drug "Molly"]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 11:00:47 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_191826866.jpg

Just a week ago, two young men -- a 17-year-old and a college student -- died after attending a music festival in Columbia, Maryland. As friends and families grieved, authorities said the two may have overdosed on a drug called "Molly."

It's one of the most popular party drugs in circulation at the moment, but what is it? Is it a new danger or old news? There's a lot of misinformation out there, so we talked to an expert to find out what you need to know -- especially as the summer music festival season remains in full swing, and students prep to head back to campus.

1. What is Molly? Is it the same thing as ecstasy?

Molly is a slang term for MDMA, an illegal drug that is classified as both hallucinogen and a stimulant. It's generally accepted that the name Molly is derived from "molecule."

MDMA is a synthetic drug with the full title "3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine," but it's also commonly referred to as ecstasy. However, Molly may be a little different than ecstasy -- it depends on whom you ask.

Molly is usually a white powder inside a capsule, whereas ecstasy is usually a pill (tablet). Both drugs contain MDMA, but Molly is considered by some users to be "purer" than ecstasy because it is in powdered form.

2. So is Molly "purer" than ecstasy?

Confusion about the drug's purity is what makes MDMA especially dangerous, said Dr. Joni Rutter, the director of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research at The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

"Even in its purest form, it can cause fatalities," she said. "It's still a drug and we don't know a lot about its effects."

The assumption that Molly is purer is controversial. Both drugs can be mixed with ("cut with") other substances, which can be extremely dangerous. Ecstasy can be harder to tamper with once it is in pill form -- but as a powder, Molly can be mixed with many other substances.

Some experts suggest that due to Molly's popularity, it is now also just as likely to be cut with other substances as ecstasy.

3. What does Molly do?

MDMA is a popular drug at parties because of the euphoric effects it has on the user. It has become an increasingly common concern for concert promoters, campus police and local officials in the last few years.

Dr. Rutter said that party-goers favor MDMA because it will make them feel "energetic and euphoric."

"It wreaks a bit of havoc on the brain," she said.

The effects can be different for different people, but MDMA works by increasing the activity of three neurotransmitters in the brain.

"Users have overall good feelings towards others," Rutter said. "The hormones that are released make people feel more social."

But with the good feelings come some nasty side effects. Rutter said users often report feeling anxious and confused. She also said that some people lose their grip on the passage of time. More information on the effects of MDMA is available from NIDA's website.

The drug is addictive, but different people will experience differing sensitivity to its effects.

4. Is Molly new?

No. Molly appeared as an alternate form of MDMA in the 1990s, but it gained popularity in the last decade.

It was considered an "it" drug about a year ago and The New York Times documented MDMA's popularity with adults in New York, as a supposedly "clean" drug.

5. Then why have I heard about Molly a lot lately?

MDMA has been linked to a spate of recent deaths that may have been caused by the drug.

Two people, ages 17 and 20, recently died in Maryland, after being taken from the Mad Decent Block Party at Merriweather Post Pavilion in early August. Police said they thought both victims had used MDMA, but were awaiting toxicology tests. Twenty other people were also taken to hospital for apparent drug-related problems from the music festival.

These incidents followed several other deaths that may have been linked to MDMA abuse. A man reportedly overdosed on MDMA at the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, and police in Canada are currently investigating whether two deaths at the Veld music festival in Toronto were related to MDMA.

USA Today reported in January that Molly was increasing in popularity among young people. Some celebrities, including Miley Cyrus during her Bangerz tour, have been accused of glamorizing the use of Molly and other drugs in recent months.

There have also been studies this year that suggest MDMA may have some therapeutic uses, such as in the treatment of PTSD.

6. Who uses Molly?

MDMA is popular with many different kinds of people because of its energizing effects, but it is most often found at music festivals and parties.

Molly is especially popular on the EDM (electronic dance music) festival scene due to its reputation as a party drug. Concert organizers for the upcoming Electric Zoo festival in New York are even requiring attendees to watch a brief PSA about the dangers of Molly.

A recent study by the University of Michigan, funded by NIDA, also suggests that the use of MDMA may be on the rise among 10th through 12th graders.

7. How dangerous is Molly?

Molly can be extremely dangerous, especially if it is mixed with other drugs.

NIDA's Dr. Rutter said that the biggest risk to users will be hyperthermia, or extreme overheating, probably caused by blood vessels failing to dilate enough.

Rutter said that this was especially an issue in a club or festival environment, where users are exposed to high temperatures and enclosed environments.

One of the other big dangers with taking Molly is that some do it consider it a safer, purer form of ecstasy, which might not be true -- especially if it's been mixed with other substances, unknown to the user.

"Drug interactions are a big problem," Rutter said. "We're seeing drugs cut with lots of other things, even so-called 'bath salts'."

Another risk with MDMA is that due to the euphoric feelings and reduced anxiety that users might experience, they may make poor choices, such as practicing unsafe sex.

8. What are the long-term effects of Molly?

The effects of using Molly or ecstasy can last for days. The most common include anxiety and depression. But Rutter said there are more insidious effects that people should know about.

"One of the big problems is disrupted sleep," she said. "The long-term effect that this has on the brain can make it even harder to recover from the MDMA's effects. It might even prompt the cycle of drug addiction and cravings."

Rutter said that some other effects on users can be memory loss and a decline in serotonin transporters, which can lead to longer-term depression.

"Basically a little bit of fun now can lead to a lot of trouble down the line," she said.

9. What are the legal implications of using Molly?

MDMA is a schedule 1 illegal drug. Information about federal trafficking penalties is available from the DEA's website.



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