<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Health News]]> Copyright 2015 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 Sat, 05 Sep 2015 09:32:49 -0500 Sat, 05 Sep 2015 09:32:49 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Woman Dies From Tainted Cucumber]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 22:24:01 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/052911+cucumbers+ecoli.jpg

A San Diego-based produce company has recalled garden cucumbers believed to be the source of a Salmonella outbreak that killed one woman and sickened people in 27 states.

The cucumbers were imported from Mexico and distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

In a news release Friday, CDPH said it has received reports from 285 people with Salmonella serotype Poona. Of those reports, the agency said more than 50 people from California were reporting symptoms of Salmonella exposure.

San Diego County Health Officials say a 99-year-old San Diego woman died August 17 in the outbreak.

Grown and packed by Rancho Don Juanito in Mexico, the cucumbers were distributed between August 1 and September 3.

State officials could not identify the stores where the cucumbers were sold in San Diego. Anderson & Williamson Fresh Produce would not release the names of the retail stores that sold the cucumbers.

The cucumbers arrived in boxes marked as "Limited Edition" brand pole-grown cucumbers but state officials say it’s unlikely the cucumbers would have any identifying brand information on the shelf.

State officials advise consumers to talk with their local grocer to ask if the cucumbers in their refrigerator may be those involved in the recall.

Seventeen California counties have had reports of illnesses.

The cucumbers were distributed in Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Florida; Idaho; Illinois; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Minnesota; Mississippi; Montana; Nevada; New Jersey; New Mexico; Oklahoma; Oregon; South Carolina; Texas, and Utah.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.



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<![CDATA[Chipotle Linked to Norovirus]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 19:31:35 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/150824-chipotle-restaurant-simi-valley.jpg

Health officials believe a food-borne illness that sickened dozens of customers at a Southern California Chipotle is Norovirus.

About 80 restaurant customers and 18 restaurant employees reported symptoms of a gastrointestinal illness after eating at the restaurant located at 1263 Simi Town Center Way in Simi Valley during the week of August 18, officials said in a press release Friday.

A joint investigation between the Ventura County Environmental Health Division (EHD) and the Ventura County Public Health Division found that seven of out of 18 specimen samples tested positive for Norovirus, a "very contagious virus."

After the reported food poisoning, the restaurant voluntarily closed, threw out all remaining food products and sent home a number of affected employees, officials said. Health officials also inspected the facility.

The EHD said employees who tested positive for the virus will remain off duty until they are cleared to return to work.

"Norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the United States," said Dr. Robert Levin, Ventura County Public Health Officer. A person can contract Norovirus from contaminated food or water, by touching contaminated surfaces or through affected people.

There have been no further reports of illness since the initial reports, according to health officials.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas Co. Reports 14th, 15th Human WNV Cases]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 16:43:22 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_061812mosquito.jpg

Dallas County Health and Human Services is reporting the county's 14th and 15th human cases of West Nile virus this season.

One resident lives in the 75206 ZIP code, which includes the Knox-Henderson area, Lower Greenville and M Streets neighborhoods; the other lives in the 75243 ZIP code, which is farther north, between Royal Lane and Spring Valley Road.

Both people have been diagnosed with West Nile fever, which can include symptoms like headaches and muscle aches.

For medical confidentiality and personal privacy reasons, further information is not expected to be released about the patients.

Last week, an Irving resident from the 75061 ZIP code died from West Nile, becoming the second county resident to die from the disease this season.


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<![CDATA[Still Learning to Stop Ebola, One Year Later]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 17:41:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/generic+ebola+virus.jpg

It’s been almost one year since Michaela Cortes and her fellow Texas Woman’s University nursing students watched Ebola show up and create concern just down the road in Dallas.

“Just seeing it there, with like, seeing the panic and seeing how the city took over and tried to deal with such a case,” Cortes recalled Thursday.

That was the moment the illness truly became real for many, and the same time Cortes stepped up her studies to fight Ebola.

Over the summer she traveled to Bethesda, Maryland where she spent months as an intern at the National Institutes of Health where she specifically studied the medical response to Ebola.

The Dallas native’s focus, like the focus of many in her field still, was protecting healthcare workers who’d come into contact with infected patients by using protective equipment and response tactics to administer care, while protecting themselves.

Like many facets of the response, Cortes said that is an ever-growing and evolving part.

"We need to prepare our healthcare workers early on so we learn good techniques for when we do have to deal with these," said Cortes.

When Ebola arrived in the Metroplex last September, it lead to concern among many, as three healthcare workers did get sick trying to help others with the illness. Fortunately, all three in the end survived.

Another patient died during the crisis.

Though many in the public have moved on, Cortes said medical experts and future nurses like herself have to keep studying and improving for when Ebola, or something like it, inevitably hits somewhere again.

Cortes plans to continue studying the illness at TWU’s Dallas campus and eventually will begin her clinicals at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas, which is the same hospital where the Ebola fight centered last year and where Cortes was born.
 

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<![CDATA[Dallas Co. Reports 13th Human WNV Case]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 16:54:54 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Mosquito-Cropped.jpg

An Irving resident has the 13th human case of West Nile virus in Dallas County this season, health officials say Thursday.

The person lives in the 75038 ZIP code and was diagnosed with West Nile fever, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services.

For medical confidentiality and personal privacy reasons, further information is not expected to be released about the patient.

Last week, an Irving resident from the 75061 ZIP code died from West Nile, becoming the second county resident to die from the disease this season.


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<![CDATA[Many May Not Know They Are Infected with WNV: Officials]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 09:43:13 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/West_Nile_prevention_.jpg

The West Nile virus season isn't over yet.

The number of human cases in North Texas is expected to rise in September, following a rapid increase in the number of mosquito traps that test positive for West Nile.

But most people will never know they even have it, health officials say.

"We could literally be experiencing an outbreak this season, and very few people are actually coming down with symptoms of the illness," said Patrick Prather, with Municipal Mosquito in Richardson.

In fact, few people infected by West Nile show any symptoms, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says no one bitten by the virus should ever get it again.

Without even knowing it, many North Texans may already be immune.

"Eighty percent of the individuals who are bitten show no signs," said Zachary Thompson, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services. "So therefore, we probably have built immunity in Dallas, Texas, and the North Texas area."

A simple blood test can spot the signs of a past infection, and with it, a natural immunity to the virus.

"You determine if the antibody is in the system, whether it's a little amount or a big amount. It will come back with a distinct number," said Jennifer Wallace, with Any Lab Test Now, which offers the West Nile blood test.

But don't put away the mosquito repellent.

Although the CDC thinks the natural immunity could last a lifetime, it could begin to fade after a few years.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[FW Hospital, Patients Fight Childhood Cancer]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 18:11:08 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/childhood+cancer.jpg

Last year, around 14,000 children were diagnosed with cancer, according to the National Institutes of Health. One in eight of those children didn't survive.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, they're on the front lines of trying to treat and beat cancer.

Landon Kimich is like most two-year-olds. He enjoys playing on his iPad, with toy trucks and riding trains, like he did this week at Trinity Park in Fort Worth.

"Very active little two-year-old, very curious," said his grandmother, Patricia Kimich. "At home, he wants to be outside and play."

Playing outside has been difficult, though. Landon was just seven-months-old when he was diagnosed with a form of cancer called Neuroblastoma, which is a kind of cancer that forms in immature nerve cells, according to the Mayo Clinic.

"I can't tell you how many days we've been in the hospital," Kimich said.

Four surgeries, 25 rounds of chemo and Landon's Neuroblastoma has not relented.

"His first Thanksgiving was in the hospital, his first birthday was in the hospital," Kimich said. "Just those things are taken away. In a way, it strips their childhood."

Each year, 750 children are diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, according to Cook Children's. The oncology department diagnoses 170 children each year and also receives transfers from other hospitals.

There is a network of 1,800 cancer survivors, as well and right now, 2,500 patients are taking part in various clinical trials through the hospital, including Landon.

In the last two years, 49 patients have visited a lead-lined room, equipped with an adjoining family room where an intercom allows patient and family to talk and see each other through glass. They've come to Fort Worth for a treatment called the I-131 metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG). MIBG uses radiation to target the cancer cells.

"You’re pumping poisons into them to save their lives. It’s kind of a weird concept, but it's what we have to do to get him cured," Kimich said.

That means Landon is in near total isolation in the lead-lined room. He received the treatment on Tuesday and will be isolated for three to five days as radiation leaves his body. Family members tend to his need for food and entertainment through the glass and in short visits inside the isolation room while wearing full protection gear for their safety.

"They’ll wait a few days for the radiation to clear out of his body," said Dr. Meaghan Granger, director of the Neuroblastoma program at the hospital. "And of course, the radiation will still be left behind in the tumor, hopefully killing all those individual cells off one by one so there’s no more."

Cook Children's is the only hospital in Texas and the southwest region to offer the MIBG treatment, which is what brought the Kimich family from Plantersville and their original hospital in Houston.

While Landon's treatment is being research and tested in these trials, not every treatment possibly available to children is being worked on in the cancer community.

Dr. Granger says funding is an issue for childhood cancers on a national level and the hope is this Childhood Cancer Awareness Month will yield more philanthropy to help find a cure.

"There are actually therapies that are not being pursued because there’s not the money to do so," Dr. Granger said. "And those of us in the pediatric oncology community don’t feel that that’s right. We feel we should look at everything and leave no stone unturned because that one drug sitting on the shelf could be their cure."

While some childhood cancers have a 90-percent survival rate nowadays, more severe forms of Neuroblastoma, like what Landon has, aren't so lucky. It's too early to know how MIBG has benefited Landon. He'll return to Fort Worth in six to eight weeks for follow-up tests. He and his family have seen other Neuroblastoma patients, children just as young as he is, not survive the illness and so they know the reality of what this disease can do.

"It’s our reality, it’s a reality that Landon may not make it, we know that. We’re praying and hoping for the best," Kimich said.

They're hoping MIBG will remove the Neuroblastoma from his body. They know reoccurrence is highly likely with this form of cancer, but they remain optimistic the radiation will work and others will join the fight to erase kid cancer.

"We’ve got to find a cure," Kimich said.

The Kimich family has a Facebook page dedicated to Landon's journey, a battle against cancer. It's a journey they view as one where you have to remain positive. It's called Loving Landon.

For more on Cook Children's Medical Center's MIBG therapy, click here.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Injured By Foul Ball Warns Others]]> Tue, 01 Sep 2015 20:13:57 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Foul-Ball-Warning-090115.jpg

A single mother of two is recovering after a line-drive foul ball hit her in the face.

Dana Mattay frequently attends RoughRider minor league baseball games at Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, Texas, in part because she loves the family atmosphere.

She says she was celebrating starting a new job as a school counselor at Gunstream Elementary in Frisco, as well as celebrating back to school for her children, when she headed out to the ballpark on Aug. 14.

What happened at that game changed everything in an instant.

“I remember hearing, you know, the bat hit the ball. I remember hearing that but then the next thing I remember is just like I said, it was almost like it was in a little tunnel it happened so fast,” Mattay said.

She believes she had just bent over to pick up some popcorn and was coming back upright when she was struck between the eyes by a line-drive foul ball.

“In that split second I was like, 'Ok, I’m alive. I’m going to get through this. I’m going to be positive. God saved me,'" Mattay said. “In my life, I’m going to keep moving forward.”

Later, when the swelling subsided, it revealed the damage was significant. A week after she was hit, Mattay underwent nine hours of reconstructive surgery to prevent internal problems that could affect her breathing.

Mattay tells NBC 5 they removed part of her rib to use in the reconstruction of her face.

Nearly three weeks after the accident, Mattay remains incredibly positive and is overwhelmed by an outpouring of love and support.

“I have been beyond humbled and I don’t have words to express the extreme gratitude that I have for everyone who has stepped in and picked up my kids, [have] taken care of them, stayed with me, stayed with them,” Mattay said.

Her family says her surgery cost $96,000, and while she has health insurance, it may not pay.

Her sister has set up a GoFundMe account for Mattay to help with medical bills and missed work during her recovery.

Mattay wants her story to bring more awareness to what can happen at the ballpark.

She tells NBC 5 she doesn’t fault anybody, and says the Frisco RoughRider organization has been great.

The RoughRiders released the following statement to NBC 5:     

“The RoughRiders have been in regular, direct and personal contact with the family of the fan injured by a foul ball during our August 15 home game. Whenever there are ballpark accidents that result in injury, we try to establish and maintain a close relationship and line of communication with the individual and their family.” 

Mattay says this won’t stop her from attending RoughRider games in the future, but after everything she has endured, she thinks ballparks, not just in Frisco, but everywhere, could use more netting to help keep fans safe.

More: GoFundMe - Dana Mattay's Foul Ball
 



Photo Credit: Mattay Family Photo]]>
<![CDATA[The DMN's Dr. Seema Yasmin: Healthier Kids Meals]]> Tue, 01 Sep 2015 13:45:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Dr.+Yasmin+DMN.jpg The Dallas Morning News' medical expert Dr. Seema Yasmin discusses a movement to make restaurant meals healthier for children.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Getting the Right Backpack]]> Tue, 01 Sep 2015 17:09:58 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cr+backpack.jpg

When choosing a backpack, most important thing is fit. Look for straps that are wide, padded and contoured. The top of the shoulder straps should sit one or two inches below the shoulders.

You want the bottom of the pack to rest in the small of your back –– never more than four inches below the waistline. Also look for a backpack with a good, padded waist belt.

If a backpack has the right features and it fits properly, then a good one will distribute the weight more evenly on your body and take pressure off of your back and shoulders.

Another important step to preventing injury is be careful how much your child carries.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends students carry no more than 10 to 20 percent of their own body weight in a backpack. Reflective trim can also be important, particularly if your child walks to school.

Consumer Reports has tested backpack durability extensively over the years –– lifting, lowering and tumbling them.

If you’re in a store and want an idea of how well made a bag is, take a peek inside. If you see things like loose threads, or sloppy stitching, raw, unfinished edges, it’s usually a sure sign that the bag wasn’t made well.

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[Service Friday for Boy Killed by Brain Infection]]> Tue, 01 Sep 2015 11:30:08 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-2015-08-31-16h58m19s64.jpg

A service will be held at a Houston-area church to remember a 14-year-old swimmer who died after contracting a brain infection linked to a rare amoeba.

Michael Riley Jr. died Sunday. A memorial service was scheduled Friday night at Sugar Creek Baptist Church in Sugar Land.

Relatives said the boy developed a headache and became disoriented after swimming with his cross country team Aug. 13 at a lake north of Houston.

He was diagnosed with a rare type of encephalitis, called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), caused by the Naegleria fowleri amoeba.

Associate Pastor Clif Cummings said Tuesday that Riley was not a Sugar Creek Baptist Church member but earlier attended church camp and made lots of friends.

Cummings said the teen took part in church activities several weeks before the unrelated outing in which he became sick.

More on Naegleria fowleri from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Naegleria fowleri (commonly referred to as the "brain-eating amoeba" or "brain-eating ameba"), is a free-living microscopic ameba*, (single-celled living organism). It can cause a rare** and devastating infection of the brain called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). The amoeba is commonly found in warm freshwater (e.g. lakes, rivers, and hot springs) and soil. Naegleria fowleri usually infects people when contaminated water enters the body through the nose. Once the ameba enters the nose, it travels to the brain where it causes PAM, which is usually fatal. Infection typically occurs when people go swimming or diving in warm freshwater places, like lakes and rivers. In very rare instances, Naegleria infections may also occur when contaminated water from other sources (such as inadequately chlorinated swimming pool water or heated and contaminated tap water) enters the nose. You cannot get infected from drinking water contaminated with Naegleria.



Photo Credit: KPRC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Toddler Once Paralyzed by West Nile Now Recovering]]> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 22:48:27 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/brycen+wnv.JPG

At two-and-a-half years old, Brycen Garnett is an eager and rambunctious toddler.

From toy trucks to soccer balls, the family living room is his domain.

"He's talking up a storm, and he's about to start running! We can feel it," laughs his mom, Jame Garnett.

But less than two years ago, Brycen's parents didn't know if their son would get to this point.

At 11 months old, just when Brycen was learning to walk, he landed in the hospital with seizures and later, in a coma.

A short while later doctors declared Brycen was at least temporarily paralyzed from the neuroinvasive form of the West Nile virus.

"They knew he was alive, but they didn't know if he would ever move again," Jame Garnett said.

The North Texas mother detailed the scariest point during that time period.

"Probably when the doctor came in and said we need to pray. I think we both just lost it and didn't know what to do anymore," she said.

Over time, Brycen began to open his eyes, then move his arms.

His legs proved to be the biggest challenge.

But eventually, Brycen began to move those as well.

"His right leg has progressed so much. That's the one that was affected the most. He had to have a surgery on his Achilles to make his foot flat again," said his father, Steven Garnett.

Now, Brycen can run and keep up with his big sister.

But his parents want what happened to him to be a warning about the all-too real dangers of the West Nile virus.

"I mean, I would say as much as you can, protect yourself. Spray in the community. Getting people on board to start spraying. Even spaying your house, because you can spray inside and outside now," said Jame Garnett.

As for Brycen's future, the virus that once made him so weak has now given him his biggest strength.

"Hey, you went through this. You fought this. You're a lough little kid. If you can go through this, you can go through anything," said Steven Garnett.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Source of Blue Bell Listeria Never Pinpointed]]> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 19:15:58 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/blue-bell-listeria.jpg

As Blue Bell begins its much-anticipated return to store shelves, the company acknowledges the exact source of the listeria that led to the total recall has never been identified.

The Brenham-based creamery said it has focused its efforts on a massive cleanup.

“Because listeria is ubiquitous in the environment, trying to definitively identify a single source of contamination is not necessarily the best approach,” Blue Bell spokeswoman Jenny Van Dorf said in an email. “So we’ve adopted a broadly-focused remediation plan aimed at identifying and addressing any and all possible sources of contamination.”

Blue Bell operates three plants -- in Texas, Oklahoma and Alabama -- and contaminated ice cream was linked to all three locations.

Four years of health department inspections at Blue Bell's Brenham facility, obtained by NBC 5 Investigates, raised questions about cleanliness and freshness before the listeria outbreak.

The health department never gave Blue Bell a warning letter or fined the company, but inspections did find things like "crickets in milk storage rooms, mildew and black mop water."

Another inspection, in 2013, noted, "Rainbow Fruit Freeze is now 120 hours old! Use ASAP."

Blue Bell responded: "Whenever inspections raised any issues at all, we have always taken prompt action to address and correct them."

The only Blue Bell plant now operating is in Alabama, but on Monday the company announced that Oklahoma had given the green light to re-opening.

Under a strict set of guidelines, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture will require that Blue Bell test every batch of ice cream it makes for one year.

It is unclear when the company’s plant will go online again, Van Dorf said.

Blue Bell ice cream should be available in North Texas stores in two to four weeks.
 



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[12th Human WNV Case Reported in Dallas County]]> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 19:27:35 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/212*120/mosquito+sample+west+nile.JPG

Dallas County health officials are reporting the 12th human case of West Nile virus this season.

The latest patient lives in the 75230 ZIP code, which includes parts of Preston Hollow and North Dallas, and was diagnosed with West Nile fever, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services.

Two people have died in Dallas County this year after contracting West Nile virus, the health department has previously reported.

The Texas Department of State Health Services says the state last year had 379 human cases of West Nile virus, including six deaths.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas County Confirms Year's First Mumps Case]]> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 11:20:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/211*120/GettyImages-481681423.jpg

Dallas County health officials confirmed the first mumps case of the year in a health advisory sent out Monday morning.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services said a college student contracted the mumps disease during a recent international trip.

DCHHS spokeswoman Erikka Neroes said the student attends school in Dallas County, but would not specify which college. The student is now being treated with the mumps vaccine.

DCHHS said there does not appear to be any risk to other classmates or faculty within the college.

Neroes said the health advisory is chiefly intended just to inform local doctors and clinicians that there is now a confirmed mumps diagnosis this year and it’s something to be “on the radar” in case symptoms appear in patients.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms most famously include swollen salivary glands that can cause puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw. Other typical symptoms include headache, fever, and lethargy.

The mumps vaccine is 88 percent effective, but the CDC said mumps usually clears up within a few weeks.

Mumps can only be contracted through direct contact with saliva.

Online: DCHHS Advisory: Mumps



Photo Credit: UIG via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[DFW Doctors: Get Your Flu Shots Now!]]> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 00:09:50 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Flu_Vaccines_Shot_Generic.jpg

Don’t let the warm weather fool you – flu season is right around the corner.

Dallas County Health and Human Services will launch a flu awareness campaign Sept. 1 to get people vaccinated and Tarrant County Health is planning an event with Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price the next day.

“If the flu season starts out in October, now you have ample time to come in now and get the flu vaccine and it will help protect you early in in the flu season” said Zachary Thompson, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services.

Dallas County will have 500 adult doses available Tuesday for $20 each, with many more expected later.

During the 2014-2015 flu season, 19 adults in Dallas County died from the flu.

“More individuals in America, more people die of flu complications than any other disease,”  said Thompson.

The flu vaccine is already available at many drugstores and other places.

“We have plenty of flu vaccines in stock right now,” said Walgreen’s Pharmacist Bridgette Lai, “and we have been getting plenty of patients coming in getting flu shots already.”

“The thing is with the flu, it’s very unpredictable,” said Lai, who works at the Walgreen’s at Cedar Springs Road and Oak Lawn Avenue in Dallas. “It’s always great that everyone comes in ahead of time to get the flu vaccine so that they can be prepared.”



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas Organizers Prep for Freedom Run ]]> Sat, 29 Aug 2015 22:41:28 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Freedom_Run_2015_Dallas.jpg

There is still time to register for the Freedom Run 5K in Dallas, which benefits first responders and their families.

The Freedom Run 5K and One Mile Walk first began in the weeks after 9/11. The Dallas Association of Young Lawyers organized the event and has continued the run, raising $290,000 for the Assist the Officer Foundation since 2002.

The Dallas Assist the Officer Foundation provides financial assistance to Dallas police officers facing loss of income due to injuries or  life-threatening illness. The foundation also provides immediate assistance to families following the death of a first responder and counseling to those dealing with mental and emotional trauma experienced in the line of duty.

The run takes place Thursday, September 10th at 6:30 at Dallas City Hall Plaza. For more on race details and registration costs visit www.freedomrun.com.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[First Look at Dallas City Water Parks]]> Sat, 29 Aug 2015 17:30:47 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/167*120/NM_25POOLOPENING_2662488.jpg

Four years ago this month the Dallas City Council got its initial peek at the Park and Recreation Department’s plans to fill in the city’s 17 neighborhood swimmin’ holes and replace them with water parks.

At the time, then-Park and Rec director Paul Dyer told the council: Maintaining the aging pools was getting too expensive to justify, and, besides, “These pools don’t serve the public the way they used to.”

Hence the July 2012 Aquatics Facilities Study that led to the 2013 update that led to the sale of Elgin B. Robertson for $31.8 million that will be poured into the water parks.

Now, finally, we have some idea where the city could sink those water parks.

Click here to read more from our media partners at The Dallas Morning News.



Photo Credit: The Dallas Morning News]]>
<![CDATA[Irving Resident Dies from West Nile Virus]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 22:59:50 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-000054.jpg

An Irving resident has died from West Nile virus, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services, becoming the second county resident to die from the disease this season.

The victim, who lived in the 75061 ZIP code in Irving, was in his or her 80s and had been diagnosed with the more severe West Nile neuroinvasive disease, health officials said Friday.

For medical confidentiality and personal privacy reasons, further information is not expected to be released about the patient.

Two other human West Nile cases were reported Friday, including a resident in the 75206 ZIP code in Dallas who has West Nile fever and a resident in the 75043 ZIP code in Garland who has the neuroinvasive disease.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Diabetes Drugs Can Cause Severe Joint Pain: FDA]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 13:47:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-166272621.jpg

Certain diabetes drugs can cause severe and disabling joint pain, the Food and Drug Administration warned patients on Friday.

"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that the type 2 diabetes medicines sitagliptin, saxagliptin, linagliptin, and alogliptin may cause joint pain that can be severe and disabling," the agency said in a statement.

These are generic names for Januvia, Onglyza, Tradjenta, and Nesina, which are all in the same calss and work by making more insulin for the body.

The drugs are already linked with some potentially severe side-effects. Januvia, for instance, can cause a severe inflammation of the pancreas called pancreatitis that's not only excruciating but that can be deadly. Onglyza has been linked with a higher risk of heart failure.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Caiaimage/FILE]]>
<![CDATA[3 Generations Linked by Single Womb After Transplant]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 11:19:19 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/BoyWombTransplant.jpg

For one family in Sweden, a pioneering procedure has led to a baby being born from the same womb that nurtured his mother, uniting three generations.

The new mother, who lost her own uterus to cancer in her 20s, said it was "unimaginable" that she now had her own child, thanks to her mother's donated womb.

"It can't be described how happy we are," she told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview. "It's everything that I hoped for and a little bit more," said the woman, who asked that she and her mother not be identified in order to protect the privacy of her 9-month-old son.

Dr. Mats Brannstrom, who is behind the revolutionary process, has ushered in four babies, all boys, with transplanted wombs; a fifth is on the way. He said there was something very special about this case: "It's one uterus bridging three generations of a family."

Before his breakthrough, there had been two attempts to transplant a womb, in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, but no live births. Doctors in Britain, France, the United States and elsewhere are planning similar operations with wombs from women who have died recently, not living donors.

Brannstrom, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Sahlgrenska Hospital at the University of Gothenburg and Stockholm IVF, first transplanted wombs into nine women about two years ago as part of an experimental study, including the new mother, who was the first. Complications forced the removal of two of the wombs. The women in the trial were either born without a womb or had it removed due to cancer.

The new mother, in her early 30s, recalled that as hospital staffers wheeled in her mother for the transplant, "I was crying and told her I loved her and thank you for doing this."

The woman's mother (the baby's grandmother) said she immediately agreed when her daughter raised the idea.

The proud grandmother, in her mid-50s, acknowledged she has difficulty understanding the magnitude of the birth, but "at the same time, I sometimes think that I am a part of history."

The new mother underwent in vitro fertilization to make embryos using her eggs and her husband's sperm. Doctors waited a year after the transplant to ensure everything was OK. After four attempts to transfer embryos into the new womb, she got pregnant. There were no complications, and she delivered via cesarean section, as planned.

"Feeling him against my cheek was the most wonderful feeling ever," the mother said. In tribute to Brannstrom, she and her husband gave the baby the middle name of Mats.

She said they will one day tell the boy how he was conceived. "My thought is that he will always know how wanted he was," she said. "Hopefully when he grows up, uterus transplantation (will be) an acknowledged treatment for women like me and he will know that he was part of making that possible."

Brannstrom and his colleagues are planning more groundbreaking womb transplant procedures. One trial will use wombs from recently deceased women and another will employ robotic surgery to shorten the time of the 10- to 12-hour operations. Brannstrom is working with doctors in India, Singapore, Lebanon and Argentina to do womb transplants there.

Experts marvel at Brannstrom's work and described it as the biggest breakthrough in fertility medicine since IVF.

"This was impossible until Brannstrom did it," said Dr. Antonio Gargiulo, an associate reproductive endocrinologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston who has not been involved in the operations. He said removing a womb is unlike any other operation and that the organ must be very delicately grafted onto the recipient's major arteries and veins.

Gargiulo said doctors need to monitor whether babies in the womb get enough nutrients from the placenta and must ensure sufficient blood flow to the arteries.

Brannstrom said the blood flow during pregnancy was normal in all four babies and that all are healthy.

The new mother and her husband are contemplating a second child; the transplanted womb was intended for two pregnancies, before being removed so the mother can stop taking rejection medications.

She said she will be forever grateful to her mother.

"The real unique thing is what me and my mom went through," she said. "It's a big thing and he and his grandmother will have this bond for the rest of their lives."

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<![CDATA[Rubella Case Confirmed in Tarrant County]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 22:47:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/211*120/GettyImages-481681423.jpg

Officials with the Tarrant County Public Health Department confirmed Thursday a student at Texas Christian University has a case of Rubella.

Health officials said the student, whose name is not being released, recently traveled through a region with known Rubella cases and imported the disease.

The infected student, who lives off campus, has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home in isolation through Saturday.

Tarrant County health officials are working with the school to find those the student may have had contact with, assess their immunity status and offer immunization for those who have not yet received their required Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccinations.

“Rubella is a disease that can spread amongst a crowd of non-immunized people. The good news is we have a very safe and effective MMR vaccine to prevent it,” said Tarrant County Health Director Vinny Taneja. “We are supporting TCU by working with all known contacts of this student and the university. We want to assure the TCU student body and our community that they are safe.”

Rubella, sometimes referred to as German or three-day measles, is an infection typically marked by a mild infection with a low fever and rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Symptoms of Rubella typically last up to three days, though about half of the people who are infected with the virus have no symptoms. The virus is spread from an infected person through coughing and sneezing.

"Older children and adults may also have swollen glands and symptoms like a cold before the rash appears. Aching joints occur in many cases, especially among young women," the CDC reports.

"For pregnant women, in particular in their first trimester, if they're infected, it can cause congenital defects and possible baby loss," said Russell Jones, chief epidemiologist at Tarrant County Public Health.

Those birth defects if acquired by a pregnant woman include deafness, cataracts, heart defects, mental retardation, and liver and spleen damage, the CDC reports.

Rubella is a vaccine-preventable disease. For more information on who should be immunized and when, visit the CDC here.

Many universities, including TCU, require students to have the vaccine.

"I'm kind of scared, but I think that TCU has a lot of good health insurance and I'm probably thinking that a lot of students already get a shot for it," said TCU student Minh Nguyen.

NBC 5's Kevin Cokely contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: UIG via Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Clothes Carry Germs Into Newborn ICU: Study]]> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 19:46:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/566440057.jpg

Parents and other people who come to visit babies in the newborn intensive care unit are sometimes carrying a potentially deadly germ on their clothing, researchers report.

They found respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) on 4 percent of samples taken from the clothing of visitors to a neonatal intensive care unit, and, more startling, from 9 percent of frequently touched places such as babies' bed rails, nurses' computers and visitors' chairs right next to cribs, according to NBC News.

The hands of nurses, doctors and visitors were clean, but clean hands can pick up germs from clothing and objects and transfer them to the highly vulnerable babies. While almost everyone gets RSV, which causes common cold symptoms, it sends 75,000 to 125,000 children to the hospital in the U.S. each year and kills as many as 200 of them.



Photo Credit: File - Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Denton Co. Leaders Warn: Guard Against West Nile]]> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 19:00:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/212*120/mosquito+sample+west+nile.JPG

Denton County health leaders are urging residents to not look past West Nile virus season after the county's first human case left a Lewisville man sick.

The Denton County Health Department confirms the case in Lewisville reported on Monday is the more serious form of the illness, the neuroinvasive form.

City leaders in Lewisville also said the adult male sick with the illness is from the northwest side of town near the city line with Flower Mound and was doing better at last check.

Though only one person has come down with the illness so far, Denton County has seen several positive mosquito samples trapped in cities, including in Lewisville and Flower Mound.

Health experts urge residents not to let their guard down as we are currently in what they consider to be the prime season for the illness.

Juan Rodriguez, chief epidemiologist for the Denton County Health Department, said he expects more signs of the virus in the area within the next month or so.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Dallas County Records 8th Human West Nile Case]]> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 17:35:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/alerta-condado-los-angeles-mosquitos-virus-nilo-1.jpg

Dallas County health officials are reporting the county's sixth, seventh and eighth human cases of West Nile virus of the 2015 season Tuesday.

It comes hours after the county reported its first death from West Nile virus this season.

The sixth human case involves a person who lives in 75051 zip code and was diagnosed with the more serious West Nile neuroinvasive disease, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services. The case was previously listed in the city of Grand Prairie, however it has since been reclassified as the resident lives in the city of Dallas.

The seventh and eighth cases are located in the 75248 zip code and also involve West Nile neuroinvasive disease.

Symptoms of West Nile neuroinvasive disease include neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. The neuroinvasive form of the disease can be deadly.

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<![CDATA[FDA: Eggless Spread Doesn't Cut It as Mayo]]> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 15:19:46 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/just-mayo-AP_541645552391.jpg

A vegan spread called Just Mayo isn't actually mayonnaise, according to U.S. regulators, because it doesn't actually have eggs in it.

Hampton Creek, the company behind the spread, was issued a warning letter on Aug. 12 by the Food and Drug Administration, citing several purported violations.

Chief among them is the company's allegedly misleading branding of the product.

"The use of the term 'mayo' in the product names and the image of an egg may be misleading to consumers because it may lead them to believe that the products are the standardized food," wrote William Correll, director of the office of compliance for the FDA, in the letter. It was released publicly on Tuesday.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[West Nile Survivor Has Advice for North Texans]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 23:17:21 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/215*120/Rebekah+Knapp.JPG

A Flower Mound woman who says doctors diagnosed her with West Nile virus has a warning for other North Texans.

"They should just be more informed that it's in their area," said Rebekah Knapp. "Go ahead and use protection if possible and not take for granted that it couldn't happen to them."

The 44-year-old mother of two spent eight days in a Flower Mound hospital, where she said doctors first diagnosed her with viral meningitis and then later West Nile virus.

"I felt very dizzy, so flu-ish, but very dizzy and then just flu-like symptoms," said Knapp.

Knapp suspects she was bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile in her own backyard when she went outside to garden without wearing any repellent.

Health officials advise wearing mosquito repellent all day, every day.

On Monday, three more human cases of the West Nile virus were announced in North Texas, including a Lewisville resident and two people in Dallas County.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Bedford Mosquito Sample Tests Positive for WNV]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 17:01:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/virus-del-nilo-mosquitos-en-piel-de-personas.jpg

A mosquito sample has tested positive for West Nile virus in Bedford, the Tarrant County Public Health Department says Monday.

The sample was collected in the 2000 block of Forest Ridge Drive near L. Don Dodson Drive and was the first West Nile-positive mosquito sample this year in Bedford.

No plans were announced for spraying in the area, but in a statement Monday the city said its public works department has increased surveillance in the area and is proactive to prevent mosquito breeding.

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<![CDATA[Denton Co. Reports 1st Human West Nile Case]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 17:28:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ENMEDIO-mosquito-del-nilo.jpg

Health officials are reporting the first human case of West Nile virus this year in Denton County.

The infected person is an adult male Lewisville resident, according to the Denton County Health Department and city officials.

"It is important for residents to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites by minimizing outdoor exposure during peak mosquito activity, dressing appropriately and using DEET or other EPA-approved repellents," said Denton County Chief Epidemiologist Juan Rodriguez, in an emailed statement.

The county's first mosquito trap to test positive for West Nile virus was collected July 22 at the University of North Texas athletics facility near Highland Park Road.

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<![CDATA[Dallas Co. Health Confirms 2 New West Nile Cases]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 17:17:33 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/shore-mosquito-062013.jpg

Dallas County health leaders confirm two more people have contracted West Nile virus, bringing the total number of human cases in the county this year up to seven.

Although that number is lower than at this point in previous years, health leaders cautioned we're still in the peak season and more human cases are likely.

Zach Thompson, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, was among those who briefed the Dallas City Council Monday and said the number of infected in the county is less than expected but that more cases are possible in the weeks to come.

"Right now we want everybody to understand this is the peak period and we're not ready to declare that West Nile season is over. We want everyone to continue using mosquito repellent," said Thompson.

Health leaders said they have trucks spraying for mosquitoes within 24 hours of a trapped insect testing positive for West Nile virus.

Also Monday, the Denton County Health Department confirmed its first human case of West Nile virus this year involves in Lewisville resident.

NBC 5's Katy Blakey contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Dallas County Prepares for Back to School Immunizations]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 10:12:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/immunization.jpg

While more than 500 kids were immunized before the start of school Friday, Dallas County Health and Human Services is prepared for students who didn't get their shot records updated before the first day of school.

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DCHHS has six immunization clinics ready for children 18 years and younger:

DCHHS Children's Immunization Clinic
2377 N. Stemmons Freeway, Rm. 159 (first floor) in Dallas
8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday
8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Wednesday
214-819-2163 or 214-819-1903

Oak Cliff Branch Immunization Clinic
1113 E. Jefferson Blvd. Suite 200 in Dallas
8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday
214-948-0425

John West Branch Immunization Clinic
3312 N. Buckner Blvd. Suite 200 in Dallas
8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday
214-321-5747

Carrollton Farmers Branch Immunization Clinic
2774 Valwood Pkwy. in Farmers Branch
8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday
972-241-2684

Irving Branch Immunization Clinic
440 S. Nursery Rd. in Irving
8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday
972-721-3661

North Dallas Branch Immunization Clinic
8202 Spring Valley Rd. #200
This clinic location is located at the corner of Waterfall Way and Spring Valley behind the laundromat.
8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday
214-358-0926

For general questions and more information call DCHHA at 214-819-2163.

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Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas Co. Reports 5th West Nile Case of 2015]]> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 17:56:14 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Mosquito-Cropped.jpg

Dallas County health officials are reporting the second case of West Nile fever this week and the fifth overall West Nile case of the 2015 season.

The infected person lives in the 75238 ZIP code, which includes the Lake Highlands area, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services.

Symptoms of West Nile fever can include fever, headache and muscle aches. The more serious neuroinvasive disease can be deadly.


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<![CDATA[New Parkland Hospital Patient Move Completed Early]]> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 17:14:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/New+Parkland+Exterior.jpg

The new state-of-the-art Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas opened to patients Thursday morning and the hospital reports the moving of all patients was completed Friday, one day ahead of schedule.

More than 600 patients were transferred via the sky bridge from the old hospital to the new $1 billion facility across the street.

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While the hospital expected to the move to take three days and be complete by the end of the day  Saturday, Parkland reports the move -- which included intensive care units, the regional burn center and operating suites-- was complete Friday afternoon, a full day ahead of schedule.

"It is our staff who made the early completion of this move possible, and I am proud to be able to say I work with them," said Fred Cerise, MD, MPH, Parkland’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

It appears practice paid off, to ensure the process would go smoothly, hospital staffers practiced the move for nearly six months and even completed a mock move with volunteers acting as patients.

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On Monday the Rees-Jones Trauma Center, Emergency Department, Urgent Care Emergency Department and Labor & Delivery services in the new Parkland Memorial Hospital began accepting patients, at the same time, the old hospital stopped receiving new emergency patients.

The new Parkland, which includes 862 private patient rooms, is located across the street from the current facility at 5200 Harry Hines Boulevard.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Hundreds of Last-Minute Immunizations Expected in DISD]]> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 17:43:12 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/immunization.jpg

More than 500 kids were expected to get their immunizations at the Dallas County Health and Human Services building Friday.

Marisol Sanchez was one of them, she stood in line and then got her shots.

"For a new school I am pretty excited because I am going to meet new friends," Sanchez said.

Her dad was glad they had it all squared away.

"Everything is done, so we got our copy, and the school copy," said Guadalupe Sanchez.

The lines were long outside of the Dallas County Health and Human Services Building.

Director Zach Thompson says DCHHS has been working extra hours to get everyone immunized.

"It is great that they are here today," said Thompson.

Children without current immunization records will not be allowed to attend school Monday. According to state law, there are medical exemptions and waivers.

"We know that on Monday there will probably be students turned away because their immunization records are not up to date, but they had ample opportunity throughout the summer to come in," Thompson added.

Some health care providers will also be open over the weekend to provide shots for kids.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[TX Officials Report 19 Cases of Chikungunya Statewide]]> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 16:23:57 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/248*120/tlmd_chikungunya6201.jpg

State health officials say 19 Texans have now come down with the mosquito-borne illness known as Chikungunya.

Of those, eight cases are in North Texas.

But so far none of the cases have originated in this area. All eight contracted the virus somewhere else and were diagnosed back home.

Chikungunya 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.


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<![CDATA[Mutant Head Lice Surviving Conventional Treatments]]> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 22:48:33 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/head+lice1.JPG

With school about to start across North Texas, many parents are worried about so-called "super lice," a form of drug-resistant head lice that can survive most chemicals normally used to get rid of them.

"We are freaked out," said parent Amy Soliday. "We're thinking this is going to blow up."

After Soliday's daughter discovered a louse in her hair, the Keller mom brought her daughter to a specialist to get the lice removed, worried over-the-counter treatment used by her neighbors didn't work.

"We've had friends that have dealt with it for several months," said Soliday. "And they think they've gotten rid of it, and three weeks later they find out they have it again."

"It is a nightmare. It's a long nightmare," she added. "It's a lot of work. You have to wash sheets, put everything in the dryer, take all the stuffed animals away, take all the pillows away."

In Texas, while the Texas Department of State Health Services does not recommend children with head lice stay home from school, local districts are free to adopt their own policies.

"I had a mother this morning call me, [asking] 'Should I take my kid off the bus? Should I physically drive them to school every day and go part-time?'" said Marietta Klein, who owns The Royal Treatment Center in Hurst, which specializes in removing head lice.

If used correctly, common over-the-counter medications can still work for some people sometimes, and there are products made for the so-called "super lice."

"As a consumer, the thing you want to investigate is if they have been tested for this new mutation," said Klein. "You can use sprays that the lice don't like, but basically being aggressive about combing through your children once a week [will help]."

The Texas Department of State Health Services said head lice do not pose any health threat, and parents should also check with their local school districts to find out their policies.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas Co. Reports New Case of West Nile Fever]]> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 22:46:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/westnilevirus.jpg

Dallas County health officials say another resident is infected with West Nile fever.

It's the fourth West Nile case in Dallas County of the 2015 season, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services.

The infected person lives in the 75225 ZIP code, which is roughly bounded by the Dallas North Tollway on the west, U.S. Highway 75 on the east, Lovers Lane on the south and Walnut Hill Lane on the north.

Symptoms of West Nile fever can include fever, headache and muscle aches. The more serious neuroinvasive disease can be deadly.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
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<![CDATA[Souping: Hollywood's Latest Health Craze]]> Tue, 18 Aug 2015 09:30:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/US-CA-Soup-CR_1200x675_507529283654.jpg Health conscious Californians are abandoning their juice makers for the humble soup, which has been reinvented into the latest wellness trend.]]> <![CDATA[Number of Unvaccinated Kids on the Rise in DFW]]> Mon, 17 Aug 2015 22:36:01 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Vaccines_Back-To-School.jpg

An NBC 5 Investigation finds more and more parents in North Texas are saying “no” to vaccines. New numbers from the Texas Department of State Health Services show the Frisco Independent School District had at least 931 students whose parents opted out of vaccines for personal reasons last year, the largest number at any local school North Texas school district.

Both the Plano Independent School District and Lewisville Independent School District each had more than 800 students who skipped one or more vaccines for personal reasons.

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Both the Plano Independent School District and Lewisville Independent School District each had more than 800 unvaccinated students.

That’s still a small percentage of students in those districts, but some health officials worry unvaccinated kids may end up clustered together in classrooms where an outbreak could happen.

While many students get their back to school shots this summer, Amy Rutzen’s kids will not.

“The school nurses every year give you a guilt trip about why you should vaccinate. They're very good at that,” said Rutzen.

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After her oldest son had a bad reaction to a vaccine, Rutzen said she filled out “conscientious exemption” forms for her younger children as well, concerned that they might have similar reactions. Conscientious exemptions allow students to attend school without all of the required vaccinations.

Rutzen said it’s important that parents have the choice of whether to vaccinate so that they have the can decide what is best for their own children.

New state records obtained by NBC Investigates show the number of parents saying “no” to vaccines is on the rise in Dallas, Collin, Tarrant and Parker counties.

In Tarrant County, the number of conscientious exemptions has quadrupled over the last seven years. Last year, 4,202 skipped one or more vaccine. That’s about 1,000 more than the previous school year, a 42 percent increase in unvaccinated kids in just one year.

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In Dallas County the number of unvaccinated students has tripled in seven years.

“The number of parents choosing not to vaccinate their kids is going up. It's part of an overall trend across the country and it's really concerning,” said Dr. Seema Yasmin, a public health professor and health reporter at The Dallas Morning News.

Statewide, 40,997 students opted out of vaccines -- that’s still less than 1 percent of students in the state.[[321913642, R, 300 , 455]]

But Yasmin, who worked as a disease detective for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the concern is there could be small groups of unvaccinated kids in the same school. A recent study in The Journal of Pediatrics found parents who opt out of vaccinations for their children tend to live in clusters.

“It's much more likely that when kids are unvaccinated they'll be clustered in a school or classroom with other children who just like them are not vaccinated. And that can really increase the risk of an outbreak occurring in a school”, Yasmin said.

Last year in California, a measles outbreak that started at Disneyland sickened more than 100 people. Most were not vaccinated.

Since then, California passed one of the toughest vaccine laws in the nation, eliminating all exemptions for religious or personal reasons.

Terri Andrews a vaccine advocate with Tarrant County’s Immunization Collaboration thinks the new California law is a good thing and was disappointed when the Texas Legislature did not pass a similar proposal this year.

“By not getting the vaccine you are exposing your child to a potentially deadly disease,” Andrews said.

But any attempt to take control away from parents will meet strong resistance from those who want the freedom to decide.

“It's kind of shocking to me to think about having somebody come in and tell me that I would have to do this,” said Rutzen.

State records suggest there are clusters of unvaccinated kids in a number of private schools. Some small private schools in Tarrant and Denton counties have the highest percentages of kids that don’t have shots.

Last year, state data showed Denton County had the third highest rate of students skipping vaccinations in the entire state.

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But, since then Denton ISD has determined it submitted inaccurate numbers to the state. The district said it mistakenly reported the total number of shots students skipped instead of the total number of students who had conscientious exemptions thus making the county’s numbers artificially high.

To see how your child’s school district ranks, see the numbers below.

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Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Coffee Aids Colon Cancer Recovery, Study Finds]]> Mon, 17 Aug 2015 21:45:28 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/coffee-generic-edit.jpg

Colon cancer patients who enjoy a few cups of coffee a day appear to survive their cancer better and are less likely to die early than non-coffee drinkers, researchers reported Monday.

It's the latest in a series of studies showing the benefits of coffee, which can lower the risk of diabetes, Parkinson's and cancer, according to NBC News. This is the first one to show it may help patients recover better, and should come as welcome news to colon cancer patients who worry if they can safely enjoy coffee.

"What we found in this slightly less than 1,000 patients is that those who drank coffee regularly had a better disease-free survival, meaning they had a lower rate of having their cancer recur or of dying," said Dr. Charles Fuchs, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.



Photo Credit: File - Getty Images]]>