<![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 Thu, 18 Sep 2014 13:09:05 -0500 Thu, 18 Sep 2014 13:09:05 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Smoking Ban in Effect Thursday in Waxahachie]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 06:57:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/smoking_ban_de_cig.jpg

Beginning Thursday, smokers can no longer light up in public places in Waxahachie.

The City Council passed a ban on public smoking in August.

Violators caught smoking at work or in public places can be ticketed and faced with a $50 fine.  Business owners who allow people to smoke and violate the ordinance can face stiffer fines.

The ban includes smoking cigarettes, pipes, cigars and e-cigarettes in bars, bingo parlors and any other public space.

Photo Credit: NBC10 Philadelphia]]>
<![CDATA[Doctor Infected With Ebola Expected to Make Full Recovery]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 01:01:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/Sacra+1.jpg

A Massachusetts aid worker who contracted Ebola in West Africa is now expected to make a full recovery, according to the doctors treating him at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

Wednesday night, NECN interviewed Dr. Rick Sacra's brother, Doug Sacra of Wayland. Doug says his brother's appetite is starting to come back, he's mentally sharper and more talkative.

"Oh it's great, we are very pleased," said a smiling Doug Sacra.

Dr. Sacra's wife, Debbie, has been briefing the family from Nebraska, where he's been in isolation since returning from Liberia.

Wednesday, Doug said he spoke with his brother over the phone for a half hour.

"He sounded perfectly normal, Dr. Rick at his best. On the other hand he's just laying there in his bed, so he is totally with it mentally, and now he can talk to you for a while, where a week ago he could talk to you for a minute and a half and then doctor said he has to lay back down."

Just last week, doctors explained how Dr. Sacra has been getting blood transfusions from Dr. Kent Brantley, another Ebola survivor. He's also taking another experimental drug, which doctors refused to identify, saying it's uncharted territory.

Over the past week, Dr. Sacra has done so well that doctors are now working to keep him entertained. They've brought in books, a stationary bike, chess board and Nerf hoop, even Ben and Jerry's chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

Doctors are now awaiting results of a second set of blood samples. There must be two negative blood tests done within 24 hours apart for Dr. Sacra to be released.

Photo Credit: SIM USA]]>
<![CDATA[CDC Confirms Case of Enterovirus in Connecticut]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 08:44:57 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/yale+new+haven+children+hospital+2.jpg

A mysterious respiratory illness that has hospitalized children in several states has surfaced in Connecticut, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed.

The state Department of Public Health received confirmation from the CDC on of a case of Enterovirus D68 infection involving a Connecticut child. The child, a 6-year-old girl, was treated at Yale-New Haven Hospital, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Doctors at Yale-New Haven Hospital's children's emergency department said the girl was treated there last week and discharged.

A statement from the state Department of Health said it is likely the virus is already causing respiratory illnesses in many places across Connecticut because of this confirmed case and reports of suspected cases involving children at four other Connecticut hospitals, and confirmed EV-D68 cases in New York State and New Jersey.

"As per the CDC recommendation, we are testing children who experience severe respiratory symptoms difficulty or fast breathing, who are admitted to the hospital and there has been several cases at our hospital and others that we have sent to the CDC to be tested," said Dr. Paul Aronson, of Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Five Connecticut hospitals are still waiting on results from the CDC, including Danbury Hospital.

Officials from Connecticut Children's Medical Center said last week that they were treating suspected cases of Enterovirus D68.

As of Sept. 17, the CDC was reporting 140 lab-confirmed cases in 17 states since mid-August. The states affected at this point include Connecticut, New York, Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Most people who are infected with non-polio enteroviruses do not get sick, or they only have mild illness, according to the CDC. Symptoms of mild illness may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, skin rash, mouth blisters, and body and muscle aches.

DPH is working with health care providers and local health departments to closely monitor for increases in respiratory illnesses in hospitals across the state.

Laboratory specimens from patients with respiratory illnesses that could be due to EV-D68 at four other Connecticut hospitals are in the process of being sent to the CDC for confirmatory testing.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Cases of Enterovirus Confirmed in NY, NJ, CT: Officials]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 09:30:48 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/CDC-generic.jpg

Officials Wednesday confirmed cases of enterovirus EV-D68 in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut as the unusual and potentially severe respiratory illness continues to sweep across the U.S.

Officials said that at least one of the 12 confirmed cases of the virus previously confirmed in New York state is in New York City, and another case is on Long Island. Cases have been reported in more than a dozen states nationwide.

The CDC also confirmed a case in New Jersey on Wednesday. That case was identified from a specimen sent to the CDC from a Philadelphia hospital, the CDC said. The child was discharged from a hospital after their condition improved.

On Long Island, a girl from North Hempstead was hospitalized earlier in the month and is now recovering at home, according to the Nassau County Health Department. 

Connecticut health officials also said that a child in that state also contracted the virus. The child was being treated at Yale-New Haven Hospital, but it's not clear what town that child was from..

Enteroviruses, which usually cause mild cold-like symptoms that last about a week, are common, afflicting up to 15 million people in the U.S. each year, but the CDC says this particular strain of the virus is unusually severe.

Infants and children are at particular risk, and though most affected people recover on their own and have no future problems, those with weakened immune systems or underlying medical conditions such as asthma may need to be hospitalized.

There is no vaccination. Prevention involves hand-washing, disinfecting surfaces and any usual steps to prevent the spread of flu.

There are more than 100 types of enteroviruses. EV-D68 was first identified in California in 1962.

Health officials urge anyone who has trouble breathing, or notices a child does, to call a doctor immediately.  

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Okla. Becomes Latest State to Report Enterovirus]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 23:05:02 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Enterovirus.jpg

Oklahoma has confirmed it has cases of Enterovirus-68, making it the 12th state in the country with cases of the illness.

So far, Enterovirus-68 has caused 130 children to become sick, and doctors say it's a matter of time before the virus arrives in North Texas.

Dr. Cedric Spak is an infectious disease doctor at Baylor Dallas and has not seen any cases just yet.
He said doctors, however, are prepared to test for the illness and to deal with it.

"Now that we know that it's in Oklahoma, we're going to start testing more to see when's the first case coming to North Texas," said Spak. "There is no vaccine for Enterovirus. There is no treatment for Enterovirus. It's going to be kind of like the common cold. It's going to come. It's going to do it's thing, and it's going to move on."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains the virus is not causing an epidemic and that its monitoring systems have not picked up any national increase in respiratory disease.

No child has ever been reported to have died from the virus.

The CDC reports most children will exhibit flu-like symptoms and get better on their own.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Receipts Tainted With BPA]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 17:36:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/BPA+Receipts.jpg Cash register receipts, ATM receipts, the receipts the gas pump spits out and even baggage claim checks—if they’re printed on thermal paper, they probably contain bisphenol A, known as BPA.

Photo Credit: Consumer Reports]]>
<![CDATA[Black Ground Pepper Recall]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:34:56 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/pepper3.jpg

Check your spice rack - a brand of black ground pepper has been recalled.

Gel Spice Company, Inc. issued a voluntary recall for more than 16,000 cases of Fresh Finds-Ground Pepper because it may be contaminated with salmonella.

Symptoms of salmonella include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

The product was distributed via Big Lots stores nationwide, with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii.

There are 16,443 cases of the recalled product sold in 3.53 ounce plastic jars with best by dates of 06/30/17, 7/01/17, 7/02/17, 7/22/17 and 7/23/17.

Those dates are printed on the next of the bottle above the label.

The product has the Fresh Finds brand label with UPC Code 4 11010 98290 1 and is sold exclusively at Big Lots.

There have been no reported illnesses related to this product to date.

The recall was issued as the result of sampling by the Food and Drug Administration which revealed that the finished products contained the bacteria.

If you have the recalled product, please dispose of it.

No other size container or best by dates of Fresh Finds Ground Black Pepper are affected by this recall.

Photo Credit: FDA]]>
<![CDATA[Beware BPA-Tainted Receipts]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 17:36:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/BPA+Receipts.jpg

Cash register receipts, ATM receipts, the receipts the gas pump spits out and even baggage claim checks—if they’re printed on thermal paper, they probably contain bisphenol A, known as BPA.

It’s a chemical that raises safety concerns because it’s linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease and reproductive abnormalities.

The BPA in thermal-paper receipts readily transfers to the skin, where it can penetrate quickly.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that volunteers who were handling BPA-coated receipts for just 2 hours had significantly higher levels of BPA in their urine.

Fortunately, it’s easy to spot thermal-paper receipts by rubbing the printed side with a coin or paper clip. If a dark mark appears, it is thermal paper. Consumer Reports has this advice for avoiding BPA in receipts:

  • Get e-mail receipts when possible.
  • If you must keep paper receipts, don’t just stuff them into your wallet. Store them in a plastic bag. Not only does BPA rub onto your hands but it also comes off onto anything it comes into contact with, including paper money.
  • For people who handle a lot of thermal paper, cashiers, for instance, wear nitrile gloves—the type you see in doctor’s offices or in the hospital.
  • And everyone should wash his or her hands after handling thermal paper.

Some manufacturers of thermal paper have switched from BPA to a similar chemical, BPS. But a government study shows that BPS may pose the same health hazards and also can transfer easily to the skin.

An important note: Pregnant women and children are especially vulnerable to the health risks from thermal paper.

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

Photo Credit: Consumer Reports]]>
<![CDATA[New Discount RX Program Launched in Wise Co.]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 15:59:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/467675965.jpg

Coast2Coast Rx prescription discount program held a news conference along with the Wise County Commissioners Court to launch a new prescription discount program for residents of the area.

Cards for the program will be distributed to residents free of charge and allow them to save on the cost of their medications. Nationwide, the program has saved cardholders an average of 60 percent on the cost of prescriptions this year.

"With health care costs on the rise, prescription drug discounts will help ease some of the financial burdens individuals and families are facing at a time when they need it the most," said Precinct No. 1 Commissioner of the Wise County Commissioners Court, Danny White, in a news release.

The program comes at no expense to the county and will aid residents in maintaining their health at an affordable cost. Residents of the county will be able to get a card for the program at local government offices, libraries, county health facilities and most participating pharmacies.

"There are no eligibility requirements so the Rx card is expected to have a sizable impact on uninsured residents or residents facing high insurance deductibles. If a particular drug isn't covered under a person's health plan they can use the card to save on those prescriptions," said White.

The card will be accepted at all chain pharmacies as well as most independent pharmacies in the area. It provides discounts on 60,000 drugs in its formulary as well as dental, vision, veterinary and hearing services.

The program also offers discounts on lab and imaging tests and diabetes supplies and equipment for all family members.

Anyone in the state can download and print a card online as well as view a list of participating locations at www.coast2coastrx.com.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Peter & Rebecca Alexander: "Not Fade Away"]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 10:14:28 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Petere+and+Rebecca+Alexander.jpg NBC's Peter Alexander and his sister Rebecca talk about their new book "Not Fade Away" a memoir and a unique look at the obstacles we all face -- whether it's physical, psychological or phiosophical -- as well as the power of memory, love and perseverance.

Click here for more on the book "Not Fade AWay" on Amazon.

Photo Credit: NBC News]]>
<![CDATA[No EV D68 in Texas, But Parents Stay Alert]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:03:08 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/091414+EV+D68+Exam.jpg

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are no cases of the respiratory illness enterovirus, known as EV-D68, currently in Texas.

However, one doctor who practices in Waxahachie said she’s been seeing more patients with similar symptoms — like wheezing, coughing, and asthmatic symptoms.

Dr. Jean Strength, who is also affiliated with Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, said right now, she can only treat the symptoms, given that she doesn’t have the capability of testing her patients for the virus.

According to Strength, most patients only received testing after being admitted to the ICU, which does not happen in every case of the virus.

“I’m wondering how many children in ordinary life right now are going undiagnosed with enterovirus 68,” she said. “Because it is a virus, it is very communicable. So you don’t know how many people are going to get it until some of those end up in the ICU.”

Madelynn James, 13, of Waxahachie, is one of Strength’s patients. Her mother, Dana James, told NBC DFW that the teen started coughing and wheezing late in the week and has been treated with an inhaler.

Madelynn has not been tested for enterovirus, but Strength said she is one of the patients in her practice exhibiting potential symptoms.

Her advice to parents is not to panic, but rather, to make sure to have children exhibiting flu-like symptoms examined by their family doctor.

“Even though we don’t know for sure that’s what it is, or if it wasn’t ...  know she needs to stay down and rest so her lungs can heal,” said Dana James. 

The CDC maintains the virus is not causing an epidemic and that its monitoring systems have not picked up any national increase in respiratory disease.

No child has ever been reported to have died from the virus.

The CDC reports most children will exhibit flu-like symptoms and get better on their own.

Photo Credit: Ivory Taylor, NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Hundreds Receive Free Health Care In Irving]]> Sat, 13 Sep 2014 19:14:12 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/10pm_BAPS_health_fair_1200x675_328947779955.jpg More than 100 physicians and health care providers gave free health care to hundreds of people with little or no health insurance in Irving. South Asians in particular are in need of the help. B.A.P.S. and NBC 5 were the proud sponsors.]]> <![CDATA[Denton Co. Reports West Nile, Chikungunya Cases]]> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 22:45:11 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-0000211.jpg

The Denton County Health Department reported its first two human cases of the West Nile virus in 2014 on Friday, in addition to its first case of Chikungunya.

"It's just a strange coincidence," said Dr. Juan Rodriguez, Denton County chief epidemiologist, about the three diagnoses coming so close together.

The West Nile-positive results come after 39 positive mosquito pools have been trapped throughout Denton County this year, according to statistics provided by the health department.

One of the West Nile infections was the more serious neuroinvasive form of the virus, while the other was the more-common West Nile Fever, according to Rodriguez.

The two infected Denton County residents live in Denton's 76205 zip code and Argyle's 76226 zip code, Rodriguez said, but the county would not release any other information about the patients.

"West Nile season can be in the summer, when it's a bad season like 2012. But often it happens in the late summer or early fall. So, right now is still time for West Nile and mosquitoes," Rodriguez said.

The Chikungunya case is a Lewisville resident who appears to have contracted the virus while traveling abroad in a region where the mosquito-borne disease is prevalent, according to Rodriguez.

Residents should take the proper precautions to reduce their risk of getting the mosquito-borne West Nile virus by remembering the four D’s: drain, dress, DEET and dusk/dawn.

Remember to:

  • 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: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[More Choose to Share Weight Loss with Employers]]> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 22:43:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Treadmill+walking+exercise.jpg

Would you want your boss looking over your shoulder when you stepped on the scale? Or tracking your exercise plan? What if it meant extra cash in your pocket?

Thousands of North Texans are opting to wear devices that track their every step as part of company wellness programs, but some say the idea comes with privacy concerns.

For years, Cari Shannon didn't care to take pictures of herself because of her health condition.

She was hit by a drunk driver 20 ears ago and never fully regained normal walking function.

She says she struggled to walk up a flight of stairs without running out of breath.

"It was basically endurance. I would find myself exhausted at the end of the day. I wasn't able to do the things. I had to go to kids events and it was just like, 'Sigh, let’s get this done. Let's go home. I'm tired,'" says Shannon.

However, today, she's 30 pounds lighter and active on her feet. She says her employer, Lockheed Martin, helped make it happen by offering a pedometer as part of a wellness program.

"It's really, really wonderful. If I hadn't built up the endurance, and I hadn't gotten the flexibility back, which was due to daily walking, I wouldn't be in the shape I am in. And I'm very close to the shape I was in prior to the accident," said Shannon.

She tracks every step on her pedometer and uploads the data each night.

In return, she can receive up to $600 in credit towards medical costs like deductibles.

"The money was definitely a benefit. Like I said, being a single parent, making a little money was great. I just put the pedometer in my pocket and wore it," said Shannon.

Critics, however, say the reward could come with risks. Industry reports indicate more companies are track employees activity data as part of wellness programs.

Consumer advocates warn that as gadgets advance to track more than "steps," employees should be worried about privacy.

Pam Dixon, founder of The World Privacy Forum, warns that "the focus on preventive health at the expense of privacy is dangerous."

At Lockheed Martin, however, employees choose what information to provide and the company says success stories like Shannon's validate the programs.

"What it does for us is that it helps verify and validate that the programs that we are putting through have high value not only to the company but to the employee," Dr. Charles Williams, managing physician for Health and Wellness Region 8.

Shannon's goal is 10,000 steps a day, up from 3,000 when she first started the program three years ago.

Last year, she walked through Stonehenge and toured London on foot.

When asked if she ever expected this kind of life style change to come out of the pedometer program, she said, "No, I wasn't even looking for that. I just wanted to not be in a wheelchair like my mother, to be honest with you, and I didn't even know if that was going to happen. But I knew if I didn't start something, I probably would be."

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Kissing Bug Spreading Parasite in Texas Dogs]]> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 22:32:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Kissing+Bug.jpg

A disease that has infected millions of people in Mexico, Central America and South America is now showing up in greater numbers than had been previously reported in Texas; not in people, but in dogs.

A recently released study by researchers at Texas A&M University showed that nearly one in 10 shelter dogs had been exposed to the parasite that causes Chagas, a disease spread by insects known as kissing bugs.

The dogs were chosen from seven animal shelters across Texas, including two in Dallas-Fort Worth.

“We looked at those areas, because, potentially, they could be areas to look at from a human health standpoint as well, if the bugs are there and if dogs are infected,” said Sarah Hamer, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Texas A&M and one of the lead researchers of the shelter dog study.

Shelter dogs were chosen for the study because they have a higher risk of being exposed to kissing bugs than pet dogs do, given that their lives as strays are more likely to be spent outdoors, according to Hamer.

Chagas can cause fever, swollen lymph nodes and heart problems in people who become infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and can lead to similar problems for animals.

An infected dog, however, cannot spread Chagas to a person.

The Texas Department of State Health Services only began tracking human Chagas cases in 2013, when it noted 19 infections statewide. Of those, eight of the people were believed to have become infected here in the state, according to Christine Mann, a press officer with the state.

During that same time period, 207 Chagas cases were documented in dogs, according to the Department of State Health Services.

Kissing bugs infect people and animals by biting them and depositing parasites into the victim's blood stream.

The insects are becoming more prevalent in North Texas, according to some.

“Absolutely. We’ve actually seen an increase,” said Rodney Beaman, of Fort Worth Pest Control. “I don’t think it’s an increase in bugs. I think it’s more of an increase in awareness.”

It is awareness of Chagas that the Texas A&M researchers are hoping to raise, Hamer said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Ragweed Season Hits North Texans Hard]]> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 18:30:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/early+allergy+season.jpg

It's ragweed season and North Texans are getting hit hard this week, some are even heading to the doctor concerned they've got a virus.

“It’s extremely frustrating when you wake up and say 'today is going to be great,' nope it's not going to be great, because you can't breathe," said Tyler Savage as he shops the medicine aisle looking for relief.

Savage, and many North Texans, suffers from seasonal allergies.

Dr. Richard Honaker of the Family Medicine Associates of Texas, says he sees many patients who think they're suffering from something more serious.

"People come in saying 'boy I've got a sinus infection,' and when I hear that in September, I know nine times out of ten they do not have a sinus infection, they have ragweed allergies," said Honaker.

Honaker says over-the-counter antihistamines work for most people, but some also need cortisone shots. He says he usually administers about one shot a day for allergies, but at the height of ragweed season he's giving out two or three shots a day.

Honaker says a good rain can affect everything, both ways.

"Initially it makes it better because it washes the stuff out of the air, and then the wetness brings more growth to the ragweed plant, which brings more blooms and more ragweed in the air," he said. "So it's a short term good and medium term bad."

For Savage, any relief would be welcome.

"Hopefully it gets over with very quickly," said Savage.

<![CDATA[Concussion Center Opens in Plano]]> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 17:22:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/concussion+center.jpg Texas Health Plano is introducing its new concussion center, focusing on the screening, prevention and treatment of brain injuries.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[New Concussion Center Opens in Plano]]> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 17:23:15 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/concussion+center.jpg

A new concussion center at Texas Health Plano is promoting screenings for all ages.

“Whether you’re the quarterback on the high school football team or you’re the mom of the quarterback on the football team – we want to make sure everyone’s brain gets a chance to heal,” said Dr. Martha Grimm, medical director of the Ben Hogan Concussion Center at the hospital.

The clinic has only been taking patients since the end of August, offering physical and neurological evaluations and treatment plans for patients with concussions or those hoping to avoid brain injury.

A baseline test is offered to a healthy person before injury and post-injury results can help develop a therapy and rehabilitation plan for others.

While much of the attention and research involving concussions stems from the sports medicine field, Dr. Grimm says sports related concussions only make up 10 to 15 percent of the total amount.

“Most concussions are motor vehicle accidents or falls,” she said, adding that as recently as a few years ago, a concussion was only diagnosed if a patient reported losing consciousness or a blow to the head.

Today, however, she says it’s known in the medical field that a concussion can be caused by any blunt trauma to the body that can cause the brain to move around in the skull.

Patient Steve Bergenholtz of Plano says after going through a car accident in August, he didn’t realize he’d suffered a concussion until visiting the emergency room hours later.

“When she hit me, I don’t remember everything for certain, but I know I did not hit my head,” he said.

“I thought it was just a fender bender. I didn’t realize I had a concussion.”

Bergenholtz reports suffering headaches, general “fogginess” in his brain, as well as issues with walking straight lines. He hasn’t driven since his accident.

However, through treatment at the Concussion Center, he’s hoping to speed up his recovery.

The clinic is encouraging baseline assessment testing for people of all ages.

A physician referral isn't necessary.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[2nd Human Case of West Nile Virus Confirmed in Arlington]]> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 18:37:06 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mosquitos.jpg

A second human case of West Nile virus has been confirmed in Arlington. Health officials say this latest victim was diagnosed with the less serious non-neuroinvasive form of the disease, more commonly referred to as West Nile fever.

City and county health officials are not releasing any other information about the victim or which part of the city they live in, citing privacy laws.

The city says additional mosquito traps will be set up within a quarter-mile radius of the victim’s home. If any of those traps test positive for West Nile Virus, additional spraying will take place.

This latest confirmation comes a week after the city reported its first human case of West Nile Virus. Tarrant County Public Health says human cases tend to spike two to three weeks after the number of positive mosquito traps do, which is why they expect there will be additional human cases in the coming weeks.

Tarrant County has had five confirmed human cases of West Nile Virus this season and no deaths. That’s trending down from 2013, when there were nine cases and two deaths – and is way down from 2012, when there were 280 cases and 11 deaths.

Arlington is encouraging residents to take precautions that will help prevent mosquito bites. They include staying indoors at dusk and dawn, wearing pants and long sleeves when outside, using insect repellent that contains DEET, and draining any standing water on your property where mosquitoes can breed.

<![CDATA[What You Need to Know About Enterovirus]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 09:18:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/enterovirus+fear.jpg An outbreak of an uncommon virus, Enterovirus D68, has made children in a dozen states ill and has left some hospitalized, according to NBC News. Children with asthma are particularly affected. Andrew Siff has the story.]]> <![CDATA[Children in Several States Fighting Respiratory Virus]]> Mon, 08 Sep 2014 22:34:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Stethoscope1.jpg An outbreak of an uncommon virus, Enterovirus D68, has made children in a dozen states ill and has left some hospitalized, according to NBC News.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Enteroviruses: What You Need to Know]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 08:10:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Will-Cornejo.jpg

An outbreak of an uncommon virus, Enterovirus D68, has made children in a dozen states ill and has left some hospitalized, according to NBC News. Children with asthma are particularly affected.

Here are 11 things to know about enterovirus 68 from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.

  • Enteroviruses, among them enterovirus D68, cause about 10 to 15 million infections each year in the United States, most often in the summer and fall. Because Enterovirus 68 is uncommon, less is known about it than other of the more than 100 kinds of enteroviruses.
  • Infants, children and teenagers are more likely to become infected.
  • To protect yourself from enteroviruses, wash your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, avoid sharing utensils with people who are sick and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, including toys and door knobs.
  • It appears to be spread the same way other respiratory infections are spread, through saliva and mucus when someone sneezes or touches something. The new school year is likely helping the virus to be transmitted.
  • It can cause from mild to severe respiratory illness; the full spectrum of illness associated with it is not clear.
  • Symptoms can include wheezing and difficulty breathing.
  • Enterovirus D68 can also cause neurologic symptoms, including paralysis, but those not been linked to the current strain.
  • So far there have not been any fatalities.
  • There is no vaccine.
  • Asthma should be well controlled.
  • Enterovirus D68 was first identified in California in 1962 and since then clusters have appeared in Asia, Europe and the United States.

<![CDATA[Mars Issues Chocolate Candy Bar Recall]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 09:44:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/twix-pic.jpg

Mars Chocolate North America has issued a recall of some of its candy bars.

The company announced a voluntary recall of its TWIX Brand Unwrapped Bites Stand Up Pouch with the code date 421BA4GA60.

Approximately 25 cases of the stand-up pouches with that code may contain product containing peanuts and eggs, which are not listed on the ingredient label.

People who have allergies to peanuts and eggs run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

No adverse reactions have been reported at this time.

The specific code date mentioned above was shipped and distributed to warehouses in Texas, as well as Indiana, Oregon, Tennessee and Connecticut.

The TWIX Brand Unwrapped Bites product comes in a seven-ounce, metallized-golden package marked with lot number 421BA4GA60 and with an expiration date of '03/2015' on the back.

Mars Chocolate states it will work with retail customers to ensure that the recalled product is not on store shelves.

Customers who think they have purchased this item and have allergy concerns can return the product to the store where they purchased it for a full refund or call Mars Chocolate at 800-551-0907.


Photo Credit: Flickr]]>
<![CDATA[New Drug Fights Melanoma]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 07:30:40 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/160*120/melanoma_448x336.jpg

The FDA approved a new drug Thursday that could change the way melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is treated.

The drug, Keytruda, was considered a breakthrough and approved after it was tested on more than 600 patients who had melanoma spread throughout their bodies.

"I was on oxygen. I was in a wheel chair. I couldn't walk. I didn't eat. I was thinking, I didn't have much longer to go," said melanoma patient Tom Stutz of Sherman Oaks, who was part of a clinical trial at UCLA.

According to the American Cancer Society, although melanoma only accounts for less than 2 percent of all skin cancer cases, it causes the majority of skin cancer deaths.

Melanoma cells protect themselves with a special protein called PD-1. This protein prevents the immune system from recognizing and killing the cancer cells.

The Keytruda drug is an antibody that targets the proteins. Without being guarded by the protein, the immune system has a greater chance of attacking the cancer cells.

"It's important because it's a new tool that is going to be very powerful in designing future regiments for melanoma," said Dr. John Glaspy of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The drug uses the body’s own immune system which means it likely has fewer side effects and more benefits than some regular chemotherapy.

"We have long believed that harnessing the power of our own immune systems would dramatically alter cancer treatment," said Judith Gasson of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Seventy-two percent of patients involved in the study responded to the drug and experienced tumor shrinkage. More than one-third of the patients had tumors that shrunk more than 30 percent and did not re-grow.

The treatment is given intravenously every three weeks. It is unclear how long patients have to stay on the medicine.

Stutz, who in June 2011 had melanoma that had spread to his lung, liver and other parts of his body, currently experiences no signs of the cancer.

"The bottom line is it saved my life. I would not have been here were it not for that drug," Stutz said.

Statistics show approximately 76,100 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2014 and nearly 10,000 Americans will die from the disease this year.

<![CDATA[West Nile Virus Season Peaks in North Texas]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 23:02:51 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/westnilevirus.jpg

Summer may be winding down, but more and more cities in North Texas are reporting an increase in West Nile virus-positive pools.

Dallas County reported four more on Friday, bringing its total to 102 positive West Nile virus mosquito pools located this season.

Six human cases have been reported in Dallas County as of Friday.

And people in Fort Worth received the following message Friday: "FT WORTH: Number of mosquitoes w/ West Nile Virus continues to rise. Drain standing water in flower pots, pet bowls, toys. Use Insect spray w/ Deet."

Despite the rise, the current rate is relatively low compared to the West Nile virus epidemic that sickened hundreds of Dallas County residents in 2012.

Meanwhile, numerous cities are planning to spray for mosquitoes this weekend.

Health officials urge the public to take protective measures by utilizing the "4Ds" to reduce the risk of West Nile virus:

• DEET All Day, Every Day: Whenever you’re outside, use insect repellants that contain DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
• DRESS: Wear long, loose and light-colored clothing outside.
• DRAIN: Remove all areas of standing water in and around your home.
• DUSK & DAWN: Limit outdoor activities during dusk and dawn hours when mosquitoes are most active.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Kids' Sunglasses Recalled]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 07:36:14 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/kids-glasses-recall2.jpg

A Rhode Island-based sunglasses company on Thursday issued a recall of more than 200,000 sunglasses due to an excessive amount of lead in the paint.

The glasses are made by FGX and feature designs from Disney movies, TV shows and some comic book characters.

CVS and Walgreens stores were among those that sold the sunglasses from December 2013 to March 2014 for between $7 and $13.

According to the company website, the recall includes: 

Style# Brand Colors

  • S00014SVS999 -- Marvel Spider-Man Red, blue
  • S00014SVSBLU -- Marvel Spider-Man Blue
  • S00014SVSRED -- Marvel Spider-Man Red
  • S00021LKC999 -- SK2 Sears /Kmart Private Label Blue
  • S00021SVS999 -- Marvel Spider-Man Red/black, silver/blue
  • S01551SDB999 -- Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Red/white, silver/black
  • S02964SJN440 -- Disney Jake and the Never Land Pirates Blue
  • S02964SJN999 -- Disney Jake and the Never Land Pirates Blue
  • S03683SDC999 -- Disney Cars Blue, black, red
  • S04611SDC001 -- Disney Cars Red/black
  • S04611SDC080 -- Disney Cars Red/Silver
  • S04611SDC400 -- Disney Cars Blue/teal/yellow
  • S04611SDC999 -- Disney Cars Blue/teal/yellow, red/black, red/silver
  • S07786SMS500 -- Disney Doc McStuffins Purple/pink
  • S07786SMS650 -- Disney Doc McStuffins Pink/blue
  • S07786SMS999 -- Disney Doc McStuffins Purple/pink, pink/blue
  • S07840SDC999 -- Disney Cars Red/black
  • S07841SDC001 -- Disney Cars Black/silver
  • S07841SDC440 -- Disney Cars Blue/red
  • S07841SDC999 -- Disney Cars Blue/red, black/silver, black/red

Customers can contact FGX International toll-free at 877-277-0104 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET Monday through Friday to arrange a replacement or refund.

Photo Credit: FGX]]>
<![CDATA[Arlington Reports First Human WNV Case]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 10:43:44 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mosquito+tray.jpg

For the first time this season, the City of Arlington has a confirmed human case of West Nile virus.

Officials won't identify the victim for privacy reasons, but say that person lives in the 76018 ZIP code, which is in the southeast part of the city. They're also revealing that person was diagnosed with the more serious neuroinvasive form of the disease.

"It's very concerning," said Assistant Fire Chief Bill McQuatters, who helps oversee the city’s West Nile virus prevention efforts. "We've tried to take a very proactive approach [to mosquitoes] in Arlington all year."

McQuatters said the city regularly traps and tests mosquitoes in 18 locations across the city and uses larvicide in areas where their eggs are discovered. Since confirming the human case, they and a contractor they use to spray for mosquitoes have set additional traps near the victim’s home.

"We received one result back today from one of the traps and all the mosquitoes trapped were negative," said McQuatters.

They expect to receive more results on Friday. If any come back positive for West Nile virus, they will spray the area early next week.

In the past two weeks, three traps in Arlington have tested positive for West Nile virus — including one in the 76018 ZIP code area.

McQuatters said although the peak of mosquito season is nearly over, he hopes this first human case serves as a reminder to people to take common sense steps to prevent bites:

  • Stay indoors from dusk to dawn when infected mosquitoes are most active
  • Dress in long sleeves and pants when you’re outside, particularly late and early in the day
  • Use insect repellent with DEET
  • Drain any standing water in your yard where mosquitoes can breed

<![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]]> Tue, 02 Sep 2014 08:35:47 -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

<![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.

<![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

<![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]]>