<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - Health News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/health http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.com en-us Fri, 09 Oct 2015 21:37:21 -0400 Fri, 09 Oct 2015 21:37:21 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[CVS Offers Heroin Overdose Antidote Over the Counter]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 10:47:50 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/NC_narcan1008.jpg CVS Pharmacies will now offer the overdose antidote Naloxone over the counter without a prescription. The drug reverses the symptoms of a heroin or a prescription painkiller overdose.]]> <![CDATA[Fattier Foods Sold at Costco, Walmart: Study]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 22:14:28 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-477000903.jpg

Shoppers who opt for warehouse clubs like Costco and Walmart over traditional grocery stores are buying food with more fat, sugar and sodium, according to a new study.

People are turning to mass-merchandise retailers to buy their food along with other essentially bulk items like a 30-pack of toilet paper and clothes, according to the American Journal of Preventative Medicine study published this week.

Packaged foods at these wholesale retailers are usually filled with more calories, sugar, sodium and saturated fats than packaged foods from grocery stores, the study found. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Why Women Should Shop Around for Health Services]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 14:42:37 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-53402395.jpg

Thinking about getting a mammogram in the Dallas-Fort Worth area? You might check carefully because the cost can vary from $50 to as much as $1,045.

How about an initial routine gynecological exam? Around Phoenix, those prices can range from $72 to $388.

Health care costs are not created equal. And a new study makes those discrepancies incredibly apparent, NBC News reported.

Researchers at Castlight Health, a company that helps businesses analyze health care prices, found that consumers across the country continue to pay wildly different prices for women health services.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Toddler's Head Reattached After Internal Decapitation]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 11:46:26 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Australia_toddler.jpg

An Australian toddler seriously injured in a car accident got a second chance at life following a “miracle” surgical procedure.

The 16-month-old Jaxon Taylor was riding in the car along with his mother and older sister last month when they were engaged in a head-on collision that pulled the boy’s head and neck apart, an internal decapitation, 7 News Melbourne reported. 

“The second I pulled him out, I knew that his neck was broken,” Jackson's mother, Rylea Taylor, told the station. Her daughter received abdominal injuries in the accident. 

The boy was airlifted to a hospital in Brisbane and ended up under the care of Dr. Geoff Askin.

"A lot of children wouldn't survive that injury in the first place," Askin said. "And if they did and they were resuscitated they may never move or breathe again."

Jaxon underwent six hours of surgery, which consisted of attaching a halo to his skull, then holding him completely still as his vertebrae were reattached using a tiny piece of wire and finally grafting together the vertebrae with a piece of his rib, according to 7 News Melbourne. 

"It is a miracle," Rylea Taylor said of the surgery.

A video shared by the station on Sept. 29 shows Jaxon laughing and hugging his parents. Doctors said he will have to wear the halo device for a few weeks.

<![CDATA[Nurse Reuses Syringe: Officials]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 00:20:01 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Syringes-Reused-at-Clinic.jpg

Alerts were sent to dozens of employees of a pharmaceutical company after officials say a nurse reused a syringe while giving them flu shots at a New Jersey clinic.

Officials with TotalWellness told NBC10 a nurse they contracted to administer flu vaccinations to 67 employees of Otsuka Pharmaceutical “failed to follow proper medical procedures and safeguards.” They released the following statement:

On September 30, 2015, TotalWellness was alerted that a nurse it had contracted to administer flu vaccinations to 67 employees for an employer group in New Jersey failed to follow proper medical procedures and safeguards to properly administer vaccinations to potentially all 67 participants.

TotalWellness, the employer group, and the New Jersey Department of Health are proactively working together to inform all participants and provide them the necessary resources and a plan to mitigate any potential medical concerns and exposure risks.

TotalWellness is dedicated to ensuring all participants receive any and all appropriate screenings, care and counseling until this matter is resolved.

The flu shots were given to employees at the Otsuka Pharmaceutical offices on the 500 block of Carnegie Center in West Windsor, New Jersey, back on Sept. 30. In a letter to an Otsuka employee obtained by NBC10, an NJ Department of Health official states the nurse who administered the flu shots reused the syringe.

“The needles were changed between each patient but the syringe was reused multiple times,” the official wrote. “Syringe reuse may have exposed you to infected blood. At this time NJDOH is not aware of any disease transmission, but you may be at risk for developing an infection as a result of this improper practice.”

Officials say that the risk for infection is “low;” however, they are still recommending that the employees undergo testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

The Health Department, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and TotalWellness offered free blood tests to all of the employees. The tests took place Monday and Tuesday at the West Windsor Township Senior Center on 271 Clarksville Road in West Windsor, NJ. Officials also say the employees will need to be re-tested in four to six months since viruses can take time to show up in blood tests.

In addition to reusing the syringes, officials also say the nurse gave a dose of the flu vaccine that was less than recommended. As a result, they advised that the employees get another flu shot.

“Receiving less than the recommended amount is not harmful, but you might not be fully protected against the flu,” the officials wrote. “We are recommending that you get another flu shot this season to ensure that you are completely protected.  There will be flu shots available to you at the testing and vaccination clinic in West Windsor, should you decide to get revaccinated.”

Officials also set up a phone line for the employees to call with questions.

Officials have not revealed the nurse's identity but say he or she was licensed by the New Jersey Board of Nursing. A spokesperson for the Board of Nursing told NBC10 no disciplinary action has been taken yet but the incident is still under investigation.

<![CDATA[Ancient Virus May Cause ALS: Study]]> Fri, 02 Oct 2015 12:49:15 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-548553939.jpg

A virus that has been in our DNA for millions of years may be resurfacing in the form of ALS, scientists reported Thursday.

The discovery may lead scientists to finding a treatment for the incurable disease.


The virus is called HERV-K, and it incorporated itself — permanently — into the human genome between 2 and 5 million years ago. It's a human endogenous retrovirus — an example of nature's own genetic engineering.

Because they're part of the DNA, they are passed down from generation to generation in the same way as genes for eye color or height. Experts estimate that these viruses make up as much as 8 percent of the human genome.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Cultura RF]]>
<![CDATA[How Search for Kidney Went Viral]]> Thu, 01 Oct 2015 11:12:50 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/209*120/kidney.PNG

A Pasadena woman has been searching for three years with no luck in finding a kidney donor, but after a simple idea - painting a sign on the family car - her search has gone viral.

Jenna Franks’ family painted a sign reading, "Daughter needs kidney type O" along with her email address, which started gaining traction on social media.

KNBC4 interviewed Franks two years ago. As of Wednesday, the Southern California woman has not found a match.

Franks was diagnosed when she was 14 years old with kidney failure. She's 29 now and uses dialysis daily.

"My life pretty much revolves around my illness," Franks said.

After Franks' mother suggested they paint a sign on the car, Franks said she didn't think anything would come of it.

Tatum Bateman saw the sign painted on the family car and tweeted it. 

"This honestly needs to go viral!" the message said. 

After the tweet was posted, Karol Franks, Jenna's mother, was shocked at what happened. 

"My phone kept going - bing! Bing! Bing!" Karla said. 

The tweet started getting noticed.

"I posted the picture and it got like 8,000 retweets!" Bateman, who posted the photo, said. 

Almost 7,000 views later, 25 people have stepped forward willing to be tested to see if they are a donor match. 

"It just feels like it's meant to be," Jenna said. "There is something really powerful here."

To help, contact the family at: Kidney4Jenna@gmail.com.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Cancer-Stricken Goalie's Mom Wants Artificial Turf Answers]]> Thu, 01 Oct 2015 08:12:36 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/150928-austen-everett-cancer-turf-mbm_713006b65cf4de66ca10582b1e2f5e87.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000.jpg

University of Miami athlete Austen Everett died from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2012. Her mother said it was soon after that, as she found out about even more sick players, that she came to believe that artificial turf used on soccer fields was the culprit.

"I realized, 'Oh my God, the thing that she loved most probably killed her,'" June Leahy told NBC News. "And that was hard." Leahy says since her daughter's death, she still hasn't gotten enough answers — or action from lawmakers and regulators.

Crumb rubber turf, which is used in thousands of U.S. schools, parks and professional stadiums, is made from pulverized tires — which can contain carcinogens — and green nylon blades of fake grass. No research has linked crumb or shredded rubber to cancer, and the turf industry says dozens of studies have shown the surface poses no health risk. Some parents and activists, however, say there should be more testing and that federal regulators should take a position on its safety.

Photo Credit: Courtesy June Leahy
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<![CDATA[Flavored Tobacco Lures Kids, CDC Says]]> Wed, 30 Sep 2015 14:51:32 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/GettyImages-487318591.jpg

Kids who smoke, vape or chew tobacco are flocking to the flavored varieties, a new government report shows.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly a quarter of high school students and 7 percent of middle-schoolers have used some kind of tobacco product, and nearly 70 percent of middle and high school students who say they've used tobacco are going for the flavor. 

"Flavored tobacco products are enticing a new generation of America's youth into nicotine addiction, condemning many of them to tobacco-related disease and early death," said CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden.

The Food and Drug Administration has outlawed the use of candy and other flavorings, except menthol, in cigarettes, but hasn't extended this ban to other tobacco products - including e-cigarettes. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Walgreens Prescriptions Delayed Across U.S.]]> Fri, 25 Sep 2015 07:50:15 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/walgreens+sign+edit.jpg

Walgreens customers across the U.S. may find it difficult to get prescriptions in the company’s stores this week.

The company’s pharmacists have been filling each prescription manually since their system crashed Tuesday morning, affecting all 8,200 drugstores in America, The Chicago Tribune reported.

A Walgreens spokesman told NBC Chicago they have experienced "technical issues" following a “recent maintenance procedure.” 

“Our pharmacies are still able to fill prescriptions and process most insurance claims, however some patients may experience longer wait times until certain functionalities are fully restored,” company spokesman James W. Graham said in an email.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused, and our IT and pharmacy operations teams are working diligently to correct the issue,” Graham said.

The company is based in Deerfield, Illinois.

<![CDATA[Scientists Find New Virus in Blood]]> Wed, 23 Sep 2015 01:23:46 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/209*120/AP_070525034503.jpg

Scientists have found a new virus that can be transmitted by blood transfusions and other blood-based products, NBC News reported.

They’re calling the new virus human hepegivirus-1 (HHpgV-1).

The virus bears a slight resemblance to the hepatitis C virus, which can cause permanent liver damage, and the human pegivirus, the team reported in the journal mBio.

"It is the first transfusion-associated virus that's been described in a long time. We don't know if it is going to be a significant cause of human hepatitis," infectious disease expert Dr. Ian Lipkin told NBC News.

Researchers say there’s no need for concern.

"We really don't know if there is ongoing transmission of this virus. It may be good for you,” said Amit Kapoor, an assistant professor at Columbia University who led the study.

Researchers sampled banked blood from 46 volunteers between 1974 and 1980. The virus was found in two samples and both patients appear to have “cleared” the virus, with no evidence that it caused any disease.

<![CDATA[Clinton Proposes $250 Monthly Cap on Prescriptions]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2015 22:31:05 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP_684583625361.jpg

To stop measures of what she called "price gouging" by pharmaceutical companies, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton proposed a $250 monthly cap on out-of-pocket prescription drug costs.

Clinton rolled out the plan in Iowa as a way to encourage the use of generic drugs and to end pharmaceutical companies' ability to write off consumer-directed advertising as a business expense. 

"We need to protect hard-working Americans here at home from excessive costs. Too often these drugs cost a fortune," she said in Des Moines, adding drug companies keep the profits for themselves while "shifting the cost to families."

The presidential candidate's comments come after the news of a pharmaceutical CEO raised the price of Daraprim to $750 from $13.50. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Drug CEO Who Hiked Pill Price Has History of Serious 'Harassment']]> Tue, 22 Sep 2015 21:27:03 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-120822891.jpg

The pharmaceutical company boss who jacked up the price of the drug Daraprim 5,500 percent overnight allegedly has a history of "harassment" to a former employee, according to court documents. 

Martin Shkreli, 32, said on Friday that he would be lowering the new price but did not clarify what the new price would be, NBC News reported.

Shkreli allegedly gained access to social media accounts of an ex-employee and contacted his relatives, including his teenage son and wife, accusing him of stealing money from Shrkeli's then pharmaceutical company, Retrophin. 

"Your husband had stolen $1.6 million from me and I will get it back. I will go to any length necessary to get it back," Shkreli allegedly wrote the wife of former Retrophin employee Timothy Pierotti in a January 2013 letter, according to court documents.

"Your pathetic excuse of a husband needs to get a real job that does not depend on fraud to succeed. ... I hope to see you and your four children homeless and will do whatever I can to assure this," Shkreli allegedly wrote.

Retrophin's board later moved to replace Shkreli as CEO, and he resigned his positions. Retrophin is now suing him for $65 million in a case where he is accused of acting against the interests of the company.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Medical Study Exposes Number of Incorrect or Late Diagnosis]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2015 14:03:10 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-495314721.jpg

Most Americans will get a wrong or late diagnosis in their lifetimes, a new report finds — often with devastating effects, NBC News reports.

It's almost impossible to quantify, but the problem is serious, and the lack of a coherent medical system helps keep it under the radar, the National Academy of Medicine finds in a new report.

"Everyone will experience one meaningful diagnostic error in their lifetime," Dr. John Ball, chairman of the Committee on Diagnostic Error in Medicine, which wrote the report, told NBC News. 

"We simply don't know what the incidence of it is. We need to study it more to be able to do anything about it. It's an under-represented, understudied area in medicine and we need to shine a light on it."

The solution involves getting pathologists and radiologists more actively involved in a patient's diagnosis, the Academy, formerly the Institute of Medicine, recommends. It's also calling for changes to medical malpractice laws so professionals aren't afraid to own up to mistakes, and going back to doing autopsies, culture changes at hospitals, clinics and institutions and better use of technology.

According to the report:

1. At least 5 percent of U.S. adults who seek outpatient care each year experience a diagnostic error.
2. Postmortem exams suggest diagnostic errors contribute to 10 percent of patient deaths.
3. Medical records suggest diagnostic errors account for 6 to 17 percent of adverse events in hospitals.

Photo Credit: File--Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Drug That Fights Complications of AIDS and Cancer Goes From $13.50 to $750]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2015 14:06:59 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/martin-GettyImages-120822895.jpg

The price of a popular drug that treats life-threatening parasitic infections has increased 5,000 percent, bringing the annual cost of treatment to hundreds of thousands of dollars for some patients.

Daraprim fights toxoplasmosis, which infects people whose immune systems have been weakened by AIDS, chemotherapy and pregnancy, according to the Center of Disease Control. 

Turing Pharmaceuticals of New York bought the drug from Impax Laboratories in August for $55 million and raised the price from $13.50 a tablet to $750.

Daraprim isn't the only drug to increase their price in recent months. The average cost of brand-name medications rose 13 percent in 2013, according to a report from the Prime Institute at the University of Minnesota. 

"This isn't the greedy drug company trying to gouge patients, it is us trying to stay in business," Martin Shkreli, the founder and CEO of Turing, told the New York Times.

Photo Credit: File Photo/Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sex Doesn't Cause Heart Attacks: Researchers]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2015 01:30:01 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP_262391987828+%281%29.jpg

German researchers say there’s nothing that links sexual activity with triggering heart attacks, NBC News reported.

Researchers at Ulm University in Germany led a small study and said the data they’ve collected shows it’s very unlikely “that sexual activity is a relevant trigger of heart attack.”

The study involved 536 heart disease patients between 30 and 70 years of age. They were asked about their sexual activity both before and after heart attacks, strokes and other kinds of cardiovascular events. 15 percent said they abstained from sex in the 12 months leading up to a heart attack, while 25 percent said they had sex about once a week.

The American Heart Association says sex after a heart attack is OK.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[3-D Printed Implant Supports Damaged Chest]]> Thu, 17 Sep 2015 20:41:50 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/3d-printed-sternum-illustration.jpg

A cancer patient recovered well from a surgery involving a 3-D printed titanium sternum and rib cage placed in his chest, according to a research organization in Australia. 

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) reported earlier this month that a 54-year-old patient in Spain suffering from a chest wall sarcoma—type of cancerous growing tumor—had undergone a successful surgery where doctors added the titanium rib cage.

"We thought, maybe we could create a new type of implant that we could fully customize the intricate structures of the sternum and ribs," Doctor José Aranda, a surgeon who helped implant the ribcage, is quoted saying.

Doctors Aranda, Marcelo Jimene and Gonzalo Varela are part of the surgery team at Salamanca University Hospital located in west of Madrid, Spain. The team wanted to provide a safer option for the patient and improve his post-surgery recovery, according to a press release from the implant's manufacturer. 

The rib and sternum implant placed in the man's chest was developed by Anatomics an Australian-owned medical device company in Melbourne. Anatomics, specializes in manufacturing specific implants for surgeons around the world.

The customized implant included a pieces to go over the bone and pieces that could be screwed into the bone. According to Andrew Batty, Anatomics chief executive officer, previously used designs did not consider long term fixation, or that the implants could loosen over time.

A video showing the development and use of the implant on CSIRO's YouTube page said the customization would be impossible to manufacture traditionally. Anatomics used a $1.3 million Arcam printer to make the implant.

Details of the procedure can be found in the European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery. 

Photo Credit: Anatomics
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<![CDATA[FDA Fast Tracks Trial Anti-Ebola Drug ZMapp]]> Thu, 17 Sep 2015 12:52:26 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-453480600.jpg

ZMapp, an experimental drug being tested against Ebola, has won fast-track status to get quicker Food and Drug Administration approval, NBC News reported.

The drug, which made headlines when some high-profile American Ebola patients tried it out, is still being tested in Liberia, where there haven't been any new cases of Ebola reported in months.

ZMapp is best known as the drug given to the first U.S. Ebola patient, Dr. Kent Brantly — the medical missionary air-evacuated from Liberia for treatment in the U.S.

Brantly survived, but doctors say they don't know whether ZMapp helped.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Study Reveals the Germiest Spots on Airplanes, Airports]]> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:04:59 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-138789588.jpg

A new study finds airports and commercial airliners are breeding grounds for germs and bacteria, NBC News reported.

Website Travelmath.com sent microbiologists to five airports and onto four airplanes and asked them to determine which surfaces were the dirtiest.

Researchers found tray tables are the germiest surface air travelers will encounter on their trip, with an average of 2,155 bacteria colony-forming units per square inch. They were followed in descending order by the overhead air vent, the lavatory flush button and the seat belt buckle.

In airports, the microbiologists identified drinking fountain buttons and bathroom stall locks as the dirtiest places.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[2nd Person Dies From Cucumbers]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2015 18:59:47 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/052911+cucumbers+ecoli.jpg

One person in Texas has died after eating a cucumber contaminated with salmonella, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

This is the second reported case of a person dying from tainted cucumbers sold by a San Diego-based produce company. 

The Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and state and local officials continue to investigate a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Poona linked to “slicer” cucumbers, supplied by Andrew and Williamson Fresh Produce and grown in Baja, Mexico.

This type of cucumber can also be called “American” cucumbers.

Medical records indicate that the Texas victim had serious underlying health conditions, but that salmonella was a contributing factor to her death.

The victim, who will not be identified, died late last month.

According to the CDC, as of September 8, 2015, 341 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Poona have been reported from 30 states.

The number of ill people reported from each state is as follows: Alaska (9), Arizona (66), Arkansas (6), California (72), Colorado (14), Hawaii (1), Idaho (8), Illinois (6), Kansas (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (4), Minnesota (12), Missouri (8), Montana (10), Nebraska (2), Nevada (7), New Mexico (18), New York (4), North Dakota (1), Ohio (2), Oklahoma (8), Oregon (8), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (7), Texas (18), Utah (30), Virginia (1), Washington (10), Wisconsin (2) and Wyoming (3).

Illnesses started on dates ranging from July 3, 2015 to August 30, 2015. Seventy people have been hospitalized, and two deaths have been reported from California (1) and Texas (1).

What are the Symptoms of Salmonella?

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment.

How Soon do Symptoms Appear After Exposure?

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection.

What are the Complications of Salmonella Infections?

In some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that they need to be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

Who is at Risk?

Children are the most likely to get salmonellosis. The rate of diagnosed infections in children less than five years old is higher than the rate in all other people. Children younger than five years of age, the elderly and those people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe infections. It is estimated that approximately 400 persons in the United States die each year with acute salmonellosis.

What Do Consumers Need To Do?

Consumers may return Andrews and Williamson cucumbers to the place of purchase or throw them out. If in doubt about your cucumbers, do not eat them.

The FDA encourages consumers with questions to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Central, or to consult the FDA's website.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tainted Cucumbers Recalled]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 23:24:01 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.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 Southern California woman and sickened 285 people from 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 53 people have been hospitalized 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 shipped to 22 states: 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.

Photo Credit: File - Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chipotle Linked to Norovirus]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 20:31:35 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.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[Diabetes Drugs Can Cause Severe Joint Pain: FDA]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 14:47:30 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.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 12:19:19 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.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."

<![CDATA[Clothes Carry Germs Into Newborn ICU: Study]]> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 20:46:16 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.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[FDA: Eggless Spread Doesn't Cut It as Mayo]]> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 16:19:46 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.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[Souping: Hollywood's Latest Health Craze]]> Tue, 18 Aug 2015 10:30:25 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.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[Coffee Aids Colon Cancer Recovery, Study Finds]]> Mon, 17 Aug 2015 22:45:28 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.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]]>
<![CDATA[7 Dead in Legionnaires' Outbreak]]> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 09:30:41 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/meeting+overlay+legionnaires.jpg

Three more people have died of Legionnaires' disease in the Bronx in an outbreak that has claimed seven lives in total and hospitalized more than 60 people, the New York City Health Department said Monday as hundreds of residents met with health experts and state and city officials at a town hall meeting to get answers.

Eighty-one cases of the disease, a severe, often lethal, form of pneumonia spread through the air, have been reported in the south Bronx since July 10, city officials said. That's 23 new cases since Wednesday, when 46 cases were announced as health officials first discussed the outbreak. The seven patients who died had underlying health conditions, authorities said.

As word of new deaths spread Monday, Bronx residents packed a town hall meeting at the Bronx Museum of the Arts to hear what state, city and local officials, as well as health experts, had to say about the deadly outbreak.

"We are not at a level of panic, but anxiety is really high," Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said at the meeting.

Lines were out the door and at least 75 people had to stand outside because there was no room inside. Many were concerned about the growing number of dead. They also wanted to know what's being done to stop the spread of the disease.

"There's more questions than answers to this disease that's going around," South Bronx resident Renita Henry said. "I'm scared, yes, because it's right in my backyard."

Three people were released from the hospital Monday, bringing the total number of people discharged up to 28, according to the Health Department.

Officials announced the death of a fourth person on Saturday. The news came as two more Bronx buildings tested positive for the Legionella bacteria.

A Verizon office building at 117 E. 167th St. was the fourth location to test positive, according to Verizon spokesman John Bonomo. Streamline Plastic Co. at 2590 Park Ave. was the fifth location to test positive. Since the announcement, remediation and removal of the contaminants have been completed at both locations, officials said Monday. Verizon said that it would perform checks on all cooling systems at all its facilities in the Bronx.

"Over the weekend we did remediation, we decontaminated and everything got cleaned up today," Streamline Plastic Co. President Joe Bartner said, adding that the company looks to be back in operation on Tuesday.

The cases have been reported primarily in High Bridge, Morrisania, Hunts Point and Mott Haven since July 10, the Health Department said.

Legionnaires' disease is caused by exposure to the bacteria Legionella; in most cases, people are exposed to the bacteria by inhaling contaminated aerosols from cooling towers, hot tubs, showers and faucets or drinking water.

Twenty-two buildings have been visited as "disease detectives" hunt for the source of the outbreak, the city said Friday. Seventeen of those buildings have cooling towers -- five of those tested positive for Legionella, including one at Lincoln Hospital; one at Concourse Plaza, a shopping plaza; and one at the Opera House Hotel.

"Whatever's in the atmosphere gets pulled into the cooling tower, so there's a lot more dirt and debris and areas that organisms can grow in," Pete Stempkowski, of Clarity Water Technologies, said.

In addition to the Verizon location and plastic company, remediation has also been completed at the other three locations that tested positive: Lincoln Hospital, Concourse Plaza and the Opera House Hotel. The Department of Health said it resampled all sites Monday and would sample them again on Tuesday to make sure that the remediation was successful.

"The reason we sampled those towers is because those are the ones closest to where the people are getting sick," Dr. Jay Varma, of the Health Department, said. "We know with this disease it's not going to be from a cooling tower that's 10 miles away." 

Mayor de Blasio and Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said at a briefing Thursday there was no evidence of contamination within Lincoln Hospital, and though the hospital confirmed it is treating patients with the disease, Bassett said no one -- neither patients nor employees -- contracted it at the facility.

Since the cases are widely dispersed — as in they're not clustered in one or two buildings —authorities do not believe the outbreak is connected to any contaminated drinking water, Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said at a news briefing Thursday.

"The water supply in the south Bronx remains entirely safe. We don't know the source of this outbreak, but in recent months we have seen outbreaks associated with cooling towers and that's why we're focusing on them," Bassett said. "We're testing every cooling tower we can find in the area."

Both de Blasio and Bassett stressed there was no concern for alarm.

"People have to understand that this is a disease that can be treated -- and can be treated well if caught early," de Blasio said Thursday. "The exception can be with folks who are already unfortunately suffering from health challenges, particularly immune system challenges. But for the vast majority of New Yorkers, if they were even exposed, this can be addressed very well and very quickly so long as they seek medical treatment."

Legionnaires' disease usually sets in two to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria and has symptoms similar to pneumonia, including shortness of breath, high fever, chills and chest pains. People with Legionnaires' also experience appetite loss, confusion, fatigue and muscle aches.

It cannot be spread person-to-person and those at highest risk for contracting the illness include the elderly, cigarette smokers, people with chronic lung or immune system disease and those receiving immunosuppressive drugs. Most cases can be treated successfully with antibiotics.

The Health Department urges anyone with symptoms to seek immediate medical attention.

An outbreak last hit the Bronx in December. Between then and January, 12 people in Co-op City contracted the potentially deadly disease. Officials said a contaminated cooling tower was likely linked to at least 75 percent of those cases. No one died in that outbreak.

<![CDATA[2 Dead, 31 Sick Amid 'Unusual' Legionnaires' Outbreak in NYC]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 13:41:09 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/legionnaires+outbreak.jpg

Nearly three dozen cases of Legionnaires' disease, a severe, often lethal, form of pneumonia spread through the air, have been reported in the Bronx over the last two weeks in what the Health Department is calling a concerning "unusual increase" in cases.

Thirty-one cases have been reported in south Bronx neighborhoods, primarily in High Bridge, Morrisania, Hunts Point and Mott Haven, since July 10, the Health Department said. Two of the people stricken with the condition died.

Legionnaires' disease is caused by exposure to the bacteria Legionella; in most cases, people are exposed to the bacteria by inhaling contaminated aerosols from cooling towers, hot tubs, showers and faucets or drinking water.

Officials are testing water from cooling towers and other potential sources in the area to determine the source of the outbreak.

Legionnaires' disease usually sets in two to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria and has symptoms similar to pneumonia, including shortness of breath, high fever, chills and chest pains. People with Legionnaires' also experience appetite loss, confusion, fatigue and muscle aches.

It cannot be spread person-to-person and those at highest risk for contracting the illness include the elderly, cigarette smokers, people with chronic lung or immune system disease and those receiving immunosuppressive drugs. Most cases can be treated successfully with antibiotics.

The Health Department urges anyone with symptoms to seek immediate medical attention.

"We are concerned about this unusual increase in Legionnaires' disease cases in the south Bronx," Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said in a statement. "We are conducting a swift investigation to determine the source of the outbreak and prevent future cases."

At a news briefing on hot weather Wednesday afternoon, Bassett said the investigation was in its early stages, and reiterated early treatment was crucial.

"We have our disease detectives out in the field, scanning the environment and looking for places to take samples," Bassett said.

"We know a lot about Legionnaires', we know a lot about outbreaks -- this particular outbreak is still under investigation. We have an evolving situation," she added. "This is a common and readily treated pneumonia and we want to make sure people get care."

Lincoln Medical Center in the Bronx confirmed it had received Legionnaires' patients, but declined to say how many and referred questions to the Health Department.


John Dudley, district manager of Bronx Community Board 3, said the Health Department hadn't notified him about the outbreak and he wanted more information to spread to residents in his neighborhoods.

"I'm shocked," Dudley said, adding he was at least glad to know the disease couldn't be spread through person-to-person contact.

James Rouse, 42, died of Legionnaires' three months ago; he's not one of the two deaths linked to the more recent Bronx outbreak, but his family wonders if it's connected. He lived in Manhattan but taught music to children in the South Bronx. On April 30, he went to the hospital with a 104-degree fever, was diagnosed with Legionnaires' and then died 10 days later. 

"If it turns out those two people died and it's related to my brother's death, and something could have been done about it -- that kind of tragedy, I couldn't put into words," said brother John Rouse of Coram.

An outbreak last hit the Bronx in December. Between then and January, 12 people in Co-op City contracted the potentially deadly disease. Officials said a contaminated cooling tower was likely linked to at least 75 percent of those cases. No one died in that outbreak.

Photo Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health Image Library]]>
<![CDATA[The Health Benefits of Having a Pet]]> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 14:49:28 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Dog-exercise-generic-park-outside.jpg

For centuries, humans have taken animal companions into their homes. But the utility of the animals goes beyond simple companionship. The evidence is increasingly clear that having a pet can lead to a longer, healthier life. Here are some of the ways a pet can help your health:

Pets encourage healthy habits.

Getting a furry, scaly or feathered friend can prompt lifestyle changes for the owner. While many associate getting a pet with waking up earlier to let the cat outside or extra trips to the store for dog food, studies show that pets can cause a tangible, positive impact on owners’ choices.

Own a dog? It should come as no surprise that walking your pooch has proven health benefits, and a People Pets Exercising Together study supports this. The study, conducted by the Wellness Institute at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital, concluded that people who exercised with their pets were more likely to stick their workout routines than people who exercised alone. Pets, the study said, should be considered companions that are part of one’s social support network when losing weight, just as people are.

Walking the dog also has additional health benefits besides weight loss. Regular physical activity strengthens your bones and can help fend off osteoporosis. Being outside exposes you to the sun, which is a good source of vitamin D (just don’t forget to protect your skin from the sun). If you’re a cat person, consider stretching alongside your cat, which is good for alleviating arthritis pain, according to veterinarian Amy Flowers.

One study published by the journal Tobacco Control even found that more than a quarter of pet-owning smokers tried to quit smoking once they learned about the negative health effects of secondhand smoke on their animals. Secondhand smoke exposure is associated with certain cancers in cats and dogs; allergies in dogs; and eye, skin and respiratory diseases in birds.

Pets are friends who help us feel better.

Anyone with a good friend knows that just being there for someone can make all the difference when we’re going through a difficult time. This is just as true with our animal friends as with our human ones.

If you’re in a really bad mood, consider calmly petting your cat or dog. As Prevention magazine reported, the simple act of petting or other simple interaction with your pet causes your brain to release the calming hormone oxytocin, as the stress hormone cortisol goes down. One study found that dogs’ behavior toward humans was similarly influenced by the oxytocin system, so when you and your dog spend some quality time together, you’re actually engaging in a mutually beneficial, and healthy, social interaction.

Another study focusing on cat owners found that cat ownership lowered people’s risk of cardiovascular diseases. The research, conducted by the Zeenat Qureshi Stroke Research Center at the University of Minnesota, showed that people who owned or had owned a cat at one point were at lower risk for a fatal heart attack or stroke. The study suggested cat ownership as a “novel strategy” for reducing these health risks.

If you’re trying to think of a gift to give grandma or grandpa, consider a dog: A study in the Medical Journal of Australia found that senior citizens who regularly walked or interacted with dogs boosted the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps calm and rest the body. The researchers found that even just patting and talking to a dog has this effect.

Animals have more uses to assist humans than ever before.

Although not pets in the traditional sense, service animals have been a boon to people with disabilities and other special needs for decades. Guide dogs for the blind are not uncommon, but dogs can also help those who are deaf, those with diabetes, those prone to seizures and even children with autism.

What’s more, comfort animals provide that special companionship all of our pets do for us every day, but for people who need it the most. They console mourners at funeral homes and children traumatized by the death of a classmate by suicide. 

Oscar is a therapy cat famously known for his unique ability to predict when hospital patients are about to die. Oscar has a perfect streak in correctly selecting terminally ill patients with mere hours to live, then curling up next to them to comfort them in their final moments on Earth, NBC News reported. One theory is that Oscar can detect the release of ketones, biochemicals given off by dying cells.

It’s not just cats and dogs getting in on the act, though. Therapy animals run the gamut from birds to horses. There is even at least one therapy tortoise at a Florida nursing home that the residents call a friend. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Some Cilantro Banned Over Feces, Toilet Paper in Fields: FDA]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 11:26:14 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/tlmd_cyclospora_cilantro.jpg

It appears that cilantro contaminated by human waste is to blame for several years of intestinal illnesses among Americans, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA announced on Monday that it has identified the cause of hundreds of U.S. cases of cyclosporiasis after health officials found human feces and toilet paper in growing fields in the state of Puebla, Mexico. The administration will detain Mexican cilantro at the border from April to August and forbid products from Puebla from entering into the U.S. without inspections and certification, according to a partial import ban dated Monday by the agency.

Last August, the FDA and Texas authorities linked suppliers in Puebla to infected cilantro at four Texas restaurants. Monday’s announcement, however, confirms that the central Mexican state is the source of many more cases of the disease.

Several major U.S. restaurant companies confirmed to Bloomberg Business that the cilantro they use will not be affected by the ban. A spokesman for Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. said that all of its cilantro comes from California. Yum! Brands Inc., which owns Taco Bell, is also reportedly not affected.

As NBC reported last month, cyclosporiasis is not spread through human-to-human contact, but rather, through a host, such as contaminated food. Cyclosporiasis is caused by cyclospora, a single-celled, microscopic parasite that attacks the small intestine. According to the CDC, a cyclosporiasis infection can last from a few days to more than a month. Symptoms may go away, only to return later, and it is common to feel very tired. Cyclospora usually causes diarrhea and frequent bowel movements.

Other common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps, bloating, increased gas and nausea. Other symptoms include vomiting, body aches, headache, fever and other flu-like symptoms. Some people who are infected do not show any symptoms.

<![CDATA[Rise in Autism May Be Due to Semantics: Study]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 11:51:24 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-142090923_Autism-generic.jpg

A new study out of Penn State University suggests that the increase in autism diagnosis is due to kids being classified and diagnosed differently, not because something catastrophic has happened to U.S. children, NBC News reported. 

Special education enrollment figures suggest 97 percent of the increase in autism between 2000 and 2010. The study, published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics, found that the figures could simply be accounted for by reclassification — at least among older kids. 

The researchers' conclusions won't end the debate on what caused the spike, but may offer some solace to worried parents and help explain such a huge jump in cases. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>