<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - Health News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/health http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Thu, 02 Oct 2014 01:49:06 -0700 Thu, 02 Oct 2014 01:49:06 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Two Cases of Enterovirus Confirmed in LA County]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 20:32:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/215*120/10-01-2014-health-enterovirus-doctor-medical.jpg

Two cases of enterovirus D68 have been confirmed in Los Angeles County and both involve children, one of whom suffered limb weakness that made it difficult to move, doctors said.

"The child appeared to have normal respiratory fever, runny nose and then after almost a week having those symptoms woke up unable to move a limb," said Dr. Grace Aldrovandi,
infectious disease chief at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.

It has not been determined whether the enterovirus infection caused the weakness, and doctors are hopeful the child will regain full movement in all limbs, she added.

On Wednesday, an official with Children's Hospital confirmed the second case of infection in Los Angeles County. The child, 6, was admitted in August about a week after suffering an upper respiratory infection, doctors said.

The first confirmed case of the respiratory illness in Los Angeles County involves a child younger than 5 years old, who was treated at Miller Children's Hospital in Long Beach. David Michalik, a pediatric infectious disease specialist, said the child, who was hospitalized for a week and is now fine at home, needed one-on-one care, the Associated Press reported.

"This child had wet cough, had trouble breathing was breathing fast had a fast heart rate, and had a high fever," Michalik said.

Enterovirus 68 can cause mild to severe illness, with the worst cases needing life support for breathing difficulties. Children with asthma have been especially vulnerable.

The virus has been reported in more than 40 states.

Symptoms of D68 infection are similar to those of a cold and include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough and body and muscle aches. More severe symptoms include wheezing and difficulty breathing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The virus spreads through an infected individual's saliva, nasal mucus or sputum, according to the CDC. Infants, children and teens are most likely to be infected and become ill, the CDC reported.

"It is important to note that while enteroviruses are very common, especially among children, most cases of enterovirus will not lead to serious illness," Gunzenhauser said. "Acute limb weakness and other neurological symptoms are uncommon with any enterovirus, including EV-D68.

"The best way to prevent the spread of this illness is through simple hand washing, and other basic hygiene. We recommend that all residents, especially children, wash their hands frequently with soap and water; avoid touching their face with their hands; and stay home when sick."

Parents who are just now hearing of the virus are taking heed to the warnings.

"Wash your hands, keep washing your hands, sanitizers keep clean," said Erma Sandoval.
"And not too much contact with other kids."

Fact Sheet: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

NBC4's Hetty Chang contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[What are Those Red Bugs in San Diego?]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 17:52:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/RedBug1001.jpg

They may look menacing, but the good news is that those peculiar red bugs spotted in San Diego County are harmless.

Scantius aegyptius, or “red bug,” have been spotted and identified for the first time in a San Diego County lab this fall, county health officials said Wednesday.

Hailing from the Mediterranean region, these bugs are 8 millimeters long and have a vibrant red color. They were first discovered by a Ramona resident in the resident’s yard.

The good news for us is that they’re benign. And health officials said residents shouldn’t expect them to have an impact on gardening and viable plants; they appear to feast on weeds.

“They are not harmful to people. They are not harmful to pets,” Tracy Ellis, a San Diego County entomologist, said in an informational YouTube video. “And they can’t bite.”

The bugs were first identified in Southern California in Orange County in June 2009.

Since the bugs are new to our area, San Diego County’s Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures is seeking the public’s help. If you find a red bug in your yard, bring a sample to either the San Diego or San Marcos lab for testing.

Photo Credit: San Diego County]]>
<![CDATA[W. Africa Travelers Warned on Ebola]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 12:05:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP645337997349.jpg

All people traveling to the United States from countries with Ebola are being warned as of Wednesday about the potentially deadly virus' symptoms, and how it is spread.

The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol will hand out a flyer with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to all U.S.-bound travelers from those countries. 

That flyer also contains a card that any passenger who starts showing symptoms in the following days can hand their doctors, to alert them of the risk.

The first case of Ebola in the United States has been diagnosed in Dallas, in a patient who had arrived days earlier from Liberia, one of the West African nations at the center of a massive outbreak.

The announcement Tuesday by officials sparked immediate concerns about who may have been exposed and helped shed light on how the potentially deadly virus is, and isn't, spread.

Ebola can only be spread by infected people who have a fever and other Ebola symptoms, the CDC says.

Symptoms appear between two and 21 days of exposure to the virus. If an exposed person does not develop symptoms within 21 days of exposure, the person will not become sick with Ebola, according to the CDC. 

The virus can be spread to other people through direct contact with an infected person's bodily fluids, contaminated objects or infected animals, including by eating infected meat.

See the flyer that customs officials are giving travelers below.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[CDC Confirms 1st U.S. Ebola Case]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 09:08:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ebola-dallas.jpg

A person who arrived in Dallas from Liberia a week ago tested positive for Ebola Tuesday, becoming the first person diagnosed in the U.S. with the potentially deadly virus, the City of Dallas confirmed.

The patient was hospitalized and placed in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Sunday after symptoms appeared four days earlier, on Sept. 24. Hospital officials listed him in serious condition Wednesday after previously being listed in critical condition.

Because the patient showed no symptoms of the virus when he arrived in the U.S. Sept. 20, there was no risk to fellow airline passengers, according to CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden.

"We’ve stopped every Ebola outbreak that’s ever occurred in Africa expect for this one," he said. And this one could have been stopped  if we had gotten in there earlier.

The CDC will ensure that the patient will be treated in a way that minimizes the risk of spreading infection, Frieden said. He also said a team is in Dallas to identify anyone the patient might have infected and monitor them for 21 days.

"We will stop Ebola in its tracks in the U.S.," he said.

Dallas County Health Director Zachary Thompson told NBC 5 that they are focused on 12 to 18 people who had close, physical contact with the patient while symptomatic in Dallas. He said about 10 epidemiologists from the county and CDC are investigating the patient's friends and family.

"The number that is on the ground right now to do the contact investigation is adequate," Thompson said. "If that number was to expand, we'd ask for additional resources."

Thompson said medical professionals have tested one of the patient's relatives, but did not say whether it was a "suspected case."

"I wouldn't be surprised if there was a second confirmed case," he said. "We know that several family members had very close physical contact with this patient."

The Dallas Fire-Rescue ambulance crew who transported the infected man to the hospital tested negative for Ebola, but they will be monitored for symptoms as the incubation period passes, Dallas city officials said. If symptoms develop, they too will be isolated and investigators will determine who they came into contact with and monitor those people for symptoms.

"I have no doubt that we will control this importation or this case of the Ebola so that it does not spread widely in this country," Frieden said. "It is certainly possible that someone who had contact with this individual, a family member, or other individual, could develop Ebola in the coming weeks, but there is no doubt in my mind that we will stop it here."

Officials also pulled the ambulance used to transport the man from service. The number of people in the DFR crew being monitored is not known, but a traditional ambulance crew complement is two. Firetrucks can carry an additional five first responders.

The Ebola diagnosis was confirmed Tuesday after specimens were sent from Presbyterian Hospital to the Texas public health laboratory in Austin, the Texas Department of State Health Services said Tuesday. The Austin lab, which was certified last month to test for Ebola, tested the specimen and sent the sample to the CDC in Atlanta for further confirmation.

The Dallas patient will continue to be treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, according to Dr. Edward Goodman, hospital epidemiologist at Presbyterian. On Wednesday morning, the hospital listed the patient's condition as serious.

After receiving the Ebola diagnosis, the city activated its Emergency Operations Center and is on Level 2: High Readiness. State and federal health officials said Tuesday there are no other confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola virus in the state, though.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is expected to hold a news conference at noon Wednesday to discuss the Ebola diagnosis.

According to the City of Dallas, the patient moved to Dallas a week ago, but health officials with the CDC said the patient only came to Dallas to visit family. The unidentified man's nationality is not yet known, but NBC 5 confirmed the man is a father who previously lived in the United States. His last known residence was in the Liberian capital city of Monrovia.

President Barack Obama was briefed about the diagnosis in a call from Frieden, the White House said.

Word of the infection alarmed the local Liberian community.

"People have been calling, trying to find out if anybody knows the family," said Stanley Gaye, president of the Liberian Community Association of Dallas-Fort Worth. "We've been telling people to try to stay away from social gatherings."

Dallas Patient the Fifth Ebola Patient Treated in U.S. This Year

The patient is the fifth person treated for Ebola in the country this year after missionaries Dr. Kent Brantly, Nancy Writebol and Dr. Rick Sacra all contracted the virus while working in West Africa.

Brantly and Writebol have fully recovered after they were given experimental drugs and treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta in August.  Sacra was treated at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and was released Sept. 25. He had been working in Liberia on behalf of SIM. The identity and condition of the fourth patient has not been released. It is believed that they are still being treated at Emory Hospital.

Writebol issued a statement Tuesday after learning of the new diagnosis in Dallas on Tuesday.

"We are sad for the family of the patient and pray for recovery to good health," she said. "It is a mercy that the best medical care is available. We also pray for the safety of the medical staff attending to the patient."

How is Ebola Spread?

Ebola is a severe, often fatal disease spread through close, direct contact with blood or other bodily fluids of a living or dead person who had contracted Ebola. The virus is only contagious when symptoms are present, and it is not spread through the air, through food or water.

Symptoms for Ebola virus involve a fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and unexplained hemorrhage. Symptoms appear anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure but the average is eight to 10 days.

If someone exposed to Ebola has not shown symptoms for 21 days they are not expected to develop Ebola.

According to the CDC, recovery from Ebola depends on the patient's immune response. People who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for about 10 years.

The CDC said the United States is well-equipped to manage and treat Ebola and that the chances of an outbreak like the one in West Africa is extremely low.

NBC 5's Ben Russell, Scott Gordon Jeff Smith and Todd L. Davis contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Dallas Ambulance Crew Who Brought Ebola Patient to Hospital Is Quarantined]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 09:44:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Dallas-Fire-Rescue-Vehicle.jpg

The Dallas Fire-Rescue ambulance crew who transported the man infected with Ebola to the hospital have tested negative for the Ebola virus, according to the City of Dallas.

The City of Dallas said Tuesday that the crew took all safety precautions and was isolated and tested following the discovery.

The three members of the ambulance crew are restricted to their homes while their conditions are observed and while the virus' incubation period passes.

The patient was vomiting when the ambulance got to the hospital, Dallas city spokeswoman Sana Syed said. 

The ambulance crew is among 12 to 18 people being monitored after exposure to the man. Some are members of his family, but not all, Syed said.

Should the ambulance crew members develop symptoms, investigators will then determine with whom they came into contact and monitor those people for symptoms as well.

The ambulance used to transport the man has been pulled from service at Station 37 in 6700 block of Greenville Avenue.

Chopper 5 showed Dallas Fire-Rescue ambulance 37 parked away from all other vehicles at the training center in the 5000 block of Dolphin Road. The ambulance was wrapped in red caution tape and blocked in.

The City of Dallas said it has activated the city's Emergency Operations Center and is on Level 2: High Readiness after receiving confirmation that Dallas has the first diagnosed Ebola case in the nation. The person moved to Dallas from Liberia a week ago.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[How Is Ebola Spread?]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 17:29:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/456202288.jpg

The first confirmed case of Ebola in the United States sparked immediate concerns about who may have been exposed and helped shed light on how the potentially deadly virus is, and isn't, spread.

Ebola can only be spread by infected people who show symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. If an exposed person does not develop symptoms within 21 days of exposure, the person will not become sick with Ebola, according to the CDC.

"There is no risk to people who have been in contact with those who have been sick with Ebola and recovered, or people who have been exposed and have not yet shown symptoms," the CDC's director Dr. Thomas Frieden explained Tuesday, after confirming that a patient in Dallas had tested positive.

That patient recently flew to the United States from Liberia, one of the West African countries now grappling with a deadly Ebola outbreak. Because he showed no signs of sickness until four days after landing in the U.S., however, officials are not worried about travelers who were on the plane with him.

The initial spread of the Ebola virus to humans is unknown, although researchers believe that "patient zero" in the recent West Africa outbreak became infected through contact with an infected animal, possibly a bat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Once a person is infected, the CDC said there are several ways Ebola can spread to other people via direct contact with:

  • Blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola, including but not limited to urine, saliva, feces, vomit and semen
  • Objects contaminated with the virus, like syringes or other medical equipment
  • Infected animals, by contact with blood or fluids or infected meat

Direct contact through broken skin or mucus membranes is key, as the CDC said Ebola cannot be spread through the air or by water or food. However, that may not have been the case in some cases in Africa, where Ebola may have been spread through the handling of wild animals hunted for food and contact with infected bats, according to the CDC.

The following symptoms can appear from two to 21 days after exposure:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising
  • Muscle pain

Generally, after 21 days, if an exposed person has not developed symptoms, he or she will not become sick, the CDC said.

However, the Ebola virus has been found in semen for up to three months after exposure, so those who have recovered from the virus are advised not to have sex, or else only to have sex using condoms, during that time, according to the CDC.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Boy Losing His Sight Travels to See Northern Lights]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 01:26:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NC_northernlightsboy0930_1500x845.jpg Young boy travels to Alaska to view Northern Lights and nature before he goes blind. Blake Essig reports.]]> <![CDATA[Enterovirus May Have Caused SD Child's Paralysis]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:38:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/will+baker+arm+paralysis+enterovirus.JPG

A strain of enterovirus could be to blame for a mysterious paralysis taking over a San Diego boy’s arm.

Will Baker, 8, was hospitalized late last month for what doctors initially thought was pneumonia, though one big symptom suggested it was not just a respiratory illness.

He developed pain in the back of his neck, head and arm, his father Christopher told NBC 7 in an exclusive interview.

When a regimen of antibiotics did nothing, Will’s parent took him back to the emergency room as paralysis set in to his right arm.

“After some time, he lost all the ability to move his arm. He's still in the hospital at that time, and they suspected it was a polio-like virus,” said Christopher.

Tests revealed Will had contracted enterovirus, but doctors say the disease left his body before they could confirm if it was the strain D68, which has sickened children across 22 states.

Christopher said San Diego County health officials are investigating whether enterovirus caused the polio-like symptoms that have left Will unable to move more than his right hand.

Will’s case is similar to ten others reported in Colorado, where patients have either weakness or paralysis in arms or legs. Four of them have tested positive for EV-68.

While doctors prescribed physical therapy as a possible cure, the recovery rate for Will’s paralysis is very low, according to Christopher.

"The long term prognosis is not great. It's not encouraging. But at the same time, I am hopeful, and we're going to do all we can as far as physical therapy and whatever else we can think of,” he said. The family has opened a support fund to raise money for Will's treatment.

Will’s mother told NBC 7 she hopes other cases will be diagnosed much quicker. She thinks doctors should run tests right away when a child complains of stiffness in the neck or headaches.

Will, a baseball and piano player, is remaining positive and has begun homeschooling while he recovers.

"And he's determined to use his left hand, his left arm, writing with his hand, throwing with his left hand,” Christopher said.

The father said he wants other parents to be aware of head and neck pain in their own children, as do public health officials. They are asking emergency rooms and pediatricians across the U.S. to watch for paralysis or weakness in patients and report it to local health departments.

In the past, EV-71 was the strain known to cause paralysis, not EV-68. Doctors explained to Christopher that like polio, many people are infected with enterovirus without ever developing symptoms. Only random cases could progress into severe respiratory problems or paralysis.

Three children from San Diego County and one visiting from Ventura tested positive for EV-68, the first cases reported in California this year.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Identifying CTE Before Death]]> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 10:43:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/brain_injuries_fiber_tracking.jpg

San Diego-based Aethlon Medical Inc. and its diagnostic subsidiary, Exosome Sciences Inc., announced that a clinical collaboration with the Boston University CTE Center has been established to advance a blood-based diagnostic test that could identify chronic traumatic encephalopathy in living individuals – a disorder previously only detected upon autopsy.

CTE is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that has been found at autopsy in some former National Football League players. The Boston University CTE Center has been a heading CTE research center since the disease was first defined.

The ultimate goal of the study is to develop methods, including blood-based tests, that could diagnose CTE during life. The study has enrolled former NFL players and same-age "control" athletes who played noncontact sports.

"Our colleagues at the CTE Center are premier thought leaders in the CTE field and have been instrumental in changing how the NFL and other high-risk sports respond to head trauma," stated Aethlon Medical CEO Jim Joyce, who also serves as executive chairman of ESI. "We are truly grateful for the opportunity to establish a blood-based test that could identify CTE in living individuals."

Aethlon Medical develops targeted therapeutic devices to address infectious disease, cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. ESI develops exosome-based solutions to diagnose and monitor cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Earlier this year, Aethlon disclosed that ESI researchers had successfully isolated exosome-based biomarkers transporting tau protein across the blood-brain barrier and into the circulatory system. The hallmark of CTE is an excess of accumulation of tau in the brain.

In the study, ESI researchers are evaluating and defining exosome and exosomal tau populations in blood samples collected from participants enrolled in the clinical tests.

The Business Journal is the premier business publication in San Diego. Every day online and each Monday in print, the Business Journal reports on how local business operate and why businesses leaders make the decisions they do. Every story is a dose of insight into how to run a better, more efficient, more profitable business.

<![CDATA[Locals Turn in Prescription Drugs]]> Sat, 27 Sep 2014 18:03:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/RXTakeback.jpg

San Diego residents got a chance to get rid of their unused prescription drugs Saturday as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) held its 9th annual National Prescription Takeback event.

Locally, the four-hour event was held across 41 locations in the county, including Mission Beach, the Alpine Sheriff’s Station, Scripps Encinitas Hospital, Castle Park High School in Chula Vista and the Coronado Police Station, among many participating locations.

The service was free and anonymous, and gave residents the opportunity to dispose of their unused, unwanted or expired prescription drugs, no questions asked.

Resident Carol Knott showed up to one of the takeback locations with a bag of prescriptions to turn in. She said the pills were from a period when her husband was ill and was being prescribed numerous different medications.

Knott was relieved to know they would be disposed of properly by officials.

Thomas Lenox, Special Agent with the DEA, said the event was designed to provide a helpful service to the public and prevent the drugs from getting into the wrong hands or winding up in our landfills.

“It’s important that people get their prescription drugs to us so we can properly dispose of them and destroy them in a safe, environmental manner,” Lenox told NBC 7.

He said flushing prescription drugs down the toilet isn’t recommended, as they can get into the water supply this way. Also, he said dumping the drugs in landfills is discouraged because they can disintegrate and get into environment.

Lenox said San Diegans have been very responsive to the DEA’s Prescription Takeback events year after year. Typically, he said 10,000 pounds of drugs are turned in per event in San Diego alone.

Lenox said Saturday’s event may be the last one sponsored by the DEA.

"There are new federal regulations that have just recently come out to provide retail pharmacies the chance to give this service to their customers,” Lenox explained.

He said clinics, hospitals and other facilities will also provide collection bins in the future for unwanted prescription drugs.

In the past eight years, the DEA’s Prescription Takeback event has collected more than 2,000 tons of drugs across the United States.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[County Encourages Flu Shots With Free Event]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 16:48:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Fluvaccinepic0926.jpg

Believe it or not, it’s the beginning of flu season, and on Friday, local health officials kicked off the season with a free-immunization event.

Residents were encouraged to come to the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center to get their flu shot, which was free to 500 people, thanks to the San Diego Black Nurses Association in conjunction with San Diego County.

And many San Diegans took advantage of the event, such as Nathaniel Panes who showed up bright and early.

“It was really quick,” he said. “We came really early, assuming there would be a huge line.”

During the campaign, health officials pointed out the devastating effects of influenza and the importance that everyone be immunized.

Last season, 70 San Diegans died due to complications from influenza, five more than the previous year. Many of those deaths were among adults between the ages of 40 and 65, contrary to the belief that mostly the elderly are susceptible to the flu.

Health leaders also reiterated that the flu vaccine is safe and effective.

“One of the myths is that the flu vaccine doesn’t work,” said Dr. Mark Sawyer. “But people need to realize: the flu that those people get is much milder than it would have been had they not been immunized.”

About 151 to 159 million doses of flu vaccine are projected to be available this season.

The flu vaccine is already available at doctors' offices and retail pharmacies as well as one of the county public health center (for those with no insurance).

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It is marked by fever, cough, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, muscle and body aches, headache, fatigue and, in some cases, vomiting, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

<![CDATA[Astronaut Embarks on Milky Mission]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 13:08:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GuestMid0926_1200x675_333971011945.jpg The folks behind the “Got Milk?” adverstisements have partnered with astronaut Jose Hernandez to get the message out about the health and nutrition benefits of milk. NBC 7’s Whitney Southwick speaks with Hernandez about his new milk mission.]]> <![CDATA[Enterovirus Confirmed in N. Texas ]]> Thu, 25 Sep 2014 22:26:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Enterovirus1.jpg

Several cases of Enterovirus-D68 have been confirmed in North Texas after test results came back positive from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services.

Thirty-five samples were sent to the CDC from North Texas, including some from Children's Health System of Texas, and 10 came back positive.

The unusual and potentially severe respiratory illness has appeared in more than a dozen states nationwide.

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.

Michelle Palomino said her 11-year-old daughter was admitted to Children's Health with similar symptoms.

"It started off with, 'Mom, I have an itchy throat. It feels like it's burning,'" Palomino recalled.

Her symptoms started days ago and began to worsen. Her mother grew concerned when the sixth grader was staying up at night coughing.

"I don't want to be that parent here, my baby getting admitted and seeing those machines on her," said Palomino.

The latest information from the CDC and Dallas County Health Department is even more reason to be alarmed for Palomino.

Doctors say there is some positive news in the finding of Enterovirus-D68 in North Texas. It's not showing up in masses like the other communities are seeing it.

"We are very fortunate that we haven't seen a surge of infected patients," said Dr. Michael Sebert, an infectious disease doctor at Children's Health in Dallas.

The Dallas County health director said it is concerning that the results come as the flu season nears, and he urges parents and school districts to be vigilant.

"The next step is to encourage our medical providers who are doing a great job, to again do the testing for it, get the samples to us, the specimens, so we can send it out," said Dallas County Health Director Zachary Thompson.

Infants and children are at particular risk of Enterovirus, 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.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Plague Detected in Squirrels at Palomar Mtn.]]> Tue, 23 Sep 2014 17:41:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Squirrel-Thumb-052714.jpg

Plague-ridden squirrels prompted a classic hiker’s reminder from health officials: Don’t feed the animals.

During routine monitoring, county officials discovered two squirrels that tested positive for plague in the Palomar Mountain area. The little creatures were trapped last week in the Doane Valley Campground.

County Environmental Health Director Liz Pozzebon has some tips on how to keep yourself and pets safe from the disease while hiking and camping.

“People need to remember not to feed or play with squirrels when you come across them outdoors,” she said.

She recommends avoiding squirrel burrows when you play or set up your tent, and report dead squirrels to camp rangers when you find them. Never touch a sick or dead animal.

As for your pets, keep them on a leash, use flea controls or just leave them at home.

Warning signs in the area help hikers keep that in mind.

The bacteria that causes plague, Yersinia pestis, is not as rare as you may expect in San Diego’s higher elevations, county officials say. While it mainly affects wild rodents, it can spread to humans if fleas feed on infected animals and then bite people.

Plague can also be transmitted if people like hunters touch an infected animal’s tissue or body fluid.

Environmental Health Vector Control crews have dusted the animals’ burrows to kill fleas that transmit plague from rodents to people.

Symptoms of the disease include sudden onset fever, chills and tender lymph nodes. If a person contracts plague, he or she can become seriously ill and possibly die unless treated quickly with antibiotics.

Health officials say you should immediately call your doctor if you become sick within a week of visiting an area with plague.

<![CDATA[Enterovirus Reported in San Diego]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:55:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/flu_generic.jpg

A rare virus that has sickened dozens of children across the country has been reported in San Diego, health officials confirmed Thursday.

Three children from San Diego County and one child visiting from Ventura were hospitalized for a respiratory illness, which turned out to be Enterovirus D68, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA.)

The children, who ranged in age from 2 to 13, were treated earlier this month at Rady Children's Hospital and have since been released, health officials said.

These are the first Enterovirus D68 cases reported in California. More cases are expected in the coming weeks.

Symptoms of enterovirus are similar to the common cold, including fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing and body aches. In severe cases, children could be wheezing and have difficulty breathing. This is when parents should take their children to the emergency room.

Otherwise, health officials said parents have no reason to panic.

“This is for all intents and purposes the common cold,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County Public Health Officer. “The majority of people who get this -- children, infants, teens, even adults -- will not have any severe symptoms, will not need to be seen by their doctor.”

Rady Children's Hospital has seen a 20 percent increase in emergency room visits from kids with respiratory issues, according to Dr. John Bradley, Director of Infectious Diseases. However, Bradley said there is an influx of enterovirus cases every late summer and early fall. There are more than 100 types of enterovirus.

“This particular enterovirus (EV-D68), which causes respiratory track symptoms, is not one that we usually see. So why are we seeing this this year? We don’t know,” he said.

“This virus has probably been here for a month or two already,” he added.

Health officials said kids with asthma are most at-risk for complications from Enterovirus D68. Three of the four California children who contracted the virus suffered from asthma.

To put parents' minds at ease, Bradley said Enterovirus D68 is not life-threatening. Also, the cases in San Diego were not as severe as cases reported in other states.

“In the Midwest, there were kids who couldn’t breathe, who needed to go on breathing machines, ventilators,” he said. “None of our cases in San Diego have even made it to a ventilator. They’ve all been managed successfully with a little extra oxygen and bronchodialation.”

How To Avoid Transmission of Enterovirus:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces.
  • Stay home when you’re sick.

(Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/California Department of Health)

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Flickr RF]]>
<![CDATA[Doctor Infected With Ebola Expected to Make Full Recovery]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 23:01:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.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 06:44:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.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]]> Wed, 24 Sep 2014 12:50:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.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, another case is on Long Island and one is in Westchester. 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 7 San Diego

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[30 Cases of Flu Already Reported]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 15:16:03 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/flugeneric.jpg

There have been 30 cases of influenza already in San Diego County health officials reported Monday.

At the 10th annual meeting of healthcare professionals dubbed the "Flu Summit," experts take a look at the past flu season and look at predictions for the upcoming one.

The fact that there have been dozens of influenza cases including two intensive care cases could be a predictor of what's to come. 

Deputy Public Health Officer for the County of San Diego Dr. Eric McDonald said the county has had two moderately severe flu seasons in a row.

Medical professionals expect the same types of viruses to be circulating this flu season.

McDonald advises San Diegans to get vaccinated, pay attention to their personal hygiene and stay home if they're sick.

Anyone over 6 months old can get vaccinated. More information about vaccinations is available here.

In addition to getting vaccinated, the HHSA says frequent, thorough hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer can prevent the flu from spreading.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Where to See The Race for Rady]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 12:27:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/RadyMID0915_1200x675_329407555878.jpg The Race for Rady, a regatta for San Diego's Rady Children's Hospital will take place on San Diego Bay this weekend. VP of Development at Rady Children's Hospital Carol Damon-Scherer and San Diego Yacht Club Commodore Chuck Sinks talk about the event with NBC 7's Whitney Southwick. ]]> <![CDATA[Enterovirus Puts Bay Area Health Officials on Alert]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 12:03:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Will-Cornejo.jpg

A respiratory infection that has sent more than a thousand children pouring into emergency rooms across the country may soon be spreading to California.

The Enterovirus D68 is described by doctors as starting out like a common cold, but can quickly land children in the intensive care unit.

Bay Area health officials are looking at cases around the country, especially in Denver. Doctors there have reported 900 cases of Enterovirus in the last month.

"In the Bay Area we haven't had any cases of Enterovirus 68 identified yet," said Samantha Johnson, an infectious disease specialist at Children's Hospital Oakland. "If we start to see children with similar symptoms such as severe respiratory comprised with what seems like a common cold, we will be sending samples for specialized testing."

Health officials said symptoms of the virus include extreme trouble breathing, severe cough, wheezing, fever and rash. Infants, children and teenagers are most vulnerable to catching the virus.

Doctors who are dealing with the outbreak said the have never seen anything like it, which is why Johnson said parents in the Bay Area should be on the lookout.

"It can shed in respiratory secretion and in stool," Johnson said. "So parents changing diapers should wash their hands at least 20 seconds."

<![CDATA[What You Need to Know About Enterovirus]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 07:52:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.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[Enteroviruses: What You Need to Know]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 07:12:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Will-Cornejo.jpg

An outbreak of an uncommon virus, enterovirus-D68, has made children in 22 states ill and has left some hospitalized, according to NBC News. Children with asthma are particularly affected.

Here are key things to know about enterovirus-D68 from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.

  • From mid-August through mid-September, there have been more than 150 confirmed cases of respiratory illness caused by enterovirus-D68. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not know how many cases occur each year in the United States because health-care officials are not required to report them.
  • Enterovirus-D68 is thought to be uncommon, and less is known about it than other of the more than 100 kinds of enteroviruses. In all, enteroviruses cause about 10 to 15 million infections each year in the United States.
  • Enterovirus infections occur more often in the summer and fall. Enterovirus-D68 infections will probably decline later in the fall.
  • Infants, children and teenagers are more likely to become infected. That is probably because they do not have immunity from previous exposures to the virus.
  • Among the cases in Missouri and Illinois, children with asthma seemed to have a higher risk for severe respiratory illness.
  • To protect yourself from enteroviruses, wash your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, do not share cups or utensils with people who are sick, avoid kissing or hugging those who are sick and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, including toys and door knobs.
  • Enterovirus-D68 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.
  • Symptoms include fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing and body and muscle aches. Most of the children who got very ill had wheezing and difficulty breathing.
  • There is no vaccine.
  • There is also no specific treatment and no antiviral medications. For mild respiratory illness, you can take over-the-counter medications to help allieve pain and fever. Children should not take aspirin.
  • If you have asthma, make sure to take your prescribed medications. If you develop new or worsened symptoms and they do not go away, call your doctor.
  • Enterovirus-D68 was first identified in California in 1962 and since then clusters have appeared in Asia, Europe and the United States.

<![CDATA[New Drug Fights Melanoma]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 05:30:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.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[Rady Kids Get to See Stanley Cup Up Close]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 13:29:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Rady-Stanley-Cup-0904_8.jpg

It’s a rare thing for a hockey player to get to hold the Stanley Cup and even rarer if you’ve never put on skates or carried a stick.

On Friday however, patients and staff at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego got the honor thanks to the NHL Champion Los Angeles Kings.

One after another, the children not only got to get close to the decades-old trophy but there were even a few touches and even a hug.

One 8-year-old who lined up to see the trophy said, "I don't even watch hockey." Even so, she stood near the legendary cup with her dad, a New York Islanders fan.

The experience was made possible by Jeff Solomon, Vice-President of Hockey Operations with the LA Kings.

Solomon's wife Kathy was a nurse at Rady Children's for many years in the pediatric intensive care.

His son Drew was a resident at the hospital when he had open-heart surgery 15 years ago.

So Solomon wanted to do something special and bring the impressive trophy to the children and staff at the hospital.

Hockey fans will remember the Kings won the NHL championship on June 13 in a double overtime victory against the New York Rangers.

<![CDATA[Therapist Accused of Sex With Ex-Patient]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 21:10:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Michael-Mantell-psychologis.jpg

Respected San Diego psychologist Michael Mantell is accused of having sex with a former patient, violating ethics laws, according to a complaint filed by the state Attorney General's office.

The 16-page complaint claims Mantell sent instant messages to the former patient on Oct. 30, 2010 advising her to “deny, deny, deny” and to destroy evidence of their relationship.

Mantell is a familiar face on local television news, often available for interviews on stories involving people accused of crimes for several stations including NBC 7. He has served as chief psychologist at Rady Children's Hospital and the San Diego Police Department and has worked as a faculty member at UC San Diego's Department of Psychiatry.

He faces several violations including sexual relations with a former patient; dishonest, fraudulent or corrupt acts; unauthorized communication of information received in professional confidence; gross negligence and violating ethical standards.

When contacted Friday to discuss the allegations, Mantell said, "In 40 years of practice this is the first complaint like this.”

He said the investigation has had no effect on his professional schedule and then added,“ I don’t want it said that I am refusing to answer questions. My attorney asked that I refer questions to him.”

Mantell is accused of having a sexual relationship with a woman who originally sought counseling in January 2010 with her then-fiance. Mantell treated the couple as individuals and as a couple to work out trust and infidelity issues, documents show.

Five months later, the couple broke up. However, the female patient continued treatment until she ended therapy on July 12.

Two weeks later, the claim alleges the married psychologist and the former patient began a sexual relationship that lasted four months.

The complaint alleges the pair had sex at Mantell's office and at the former patient's home. They also spoke on the phone or texted nearly every day.

When the woman's former fiance consulted another therapist about the alleged affair, that launched an investigation into a possible ethics violation.

In an instant message on or around Nov. 1, Mantell allegedly told the woman that he was risking his license and prison time because he violated a "two year rule." 

Mantell, who has held a license to practice in California since 1977, could lose that license if the Board of Psychology Department of Consumer Affairs finds he violated the Business and Professions Code by having sexual contact with a patient within two years of termination of therapy.

Mantell's attorney Joel Douglas described the relationship as a “loving, caring friendship” that carried on beyond treatment but was not inappropriate or unprofessional.

"When you are out there helping people and people come to you, you are vulnerable," said Douglas. "I think that this may prove to be found to be a case of no good deed goes unpunished."

The attorney said Mantell may plead guilty to not using the best judgment in all cases, but at an administrative hearing, they intend to prove the relationship did not violate the “accepted standard of treatment” expected of psychologists/therapists.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Kids' Sunglasses Recalled]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 05:36:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.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[Water Service Disrupted to 4 San Diego Hospitals]]> Thu, 04 Sep 2014 07:01:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/kearny+mesa+water+break+hi+rez.jpg

For hours, a main resource needed in medical care - water - was not available to several San Diego-area hospitals, cut off by a water main break.

An 18-inch cast iron water pipe burst and caused street flooding waist-deep in parts in the Birdland community, located between State Route 163 and Interstate 805.

At Rady Children's hospital, it happened during a critical moment.

"We did have one surgery that was underway at the time. We were able to finish that up using bottled water and other infection control measures," said Rady Children's Hospital spokesperson Ben Metcalf.

They were the lucky ones, nearly an hour and half later, water was back on.

But at three major Sharp Hospitals had low water pressure.

However, a hospital spokeswoman says it didn't disrupt service.

"Currently we are operating as normal. We are accepting patients thru our emergency rooms, both walk ins and ambulance arrivals,"said spokesperson Paula Berberick.

The hospitals say they have stockpiles of water in case of emergencies like these.

At Juvenile Hall, the building closest to the water main break, there was no water.

Portable toilets were brought in and there were talks of transferring the inmates.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 News Chopper
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<![CDATA[FDA: Little Evidence to Support Testosterone Drugs]]> Wed, 03 Sep 2014 09:51:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/medical_generic.jpg

The Food and Drug Administration says there is little evidence that testosterone-boosting drugs taken by millions of American men are beneficial, though the agency is also unconvinced by recent studies suggesting the hormone carries serious risks.

The agency posted its review online ahead of a public meeting later this month to discuss the benefits and risks of treatments that increase the male hormone. Regulators agreed to convene the Sept. 17 meeting after two federally funded studies found links between testosterone therapy and heart problems in men.

The scrutiny comes amid a marketing blitz for new pills, patches and formulations that has transformed testosterone into a multibillion-dollar market.

Advertisements for prescription gels like Fortesta and Androgel promise men relief from common signs of aging, including low libido, fatigue and weight gain.

<![CDATA[Trans-Fat Labels on Food Deceiving: Study]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 11:03:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/181*120/transfat.jpg

You may be eating more bad fat than you think. Researchers at the New York Health Department checked 4,340 top-selling packaged foods, and found 9 percent of them contained trans-fats. Of those, 84 percent proclaimed themselves as trans-fat free.

SJSU Associate Professor of Nutrition and Food Science Marjorie Freedman says labels can be deceiving.

"The FDA allowed anything with up to 0.5 grams of trans fat to be labeled as zero grams,” she said.

Freedman says the ingredients will show if there’s trans-fat in the food even if the label does not. She says people should look for hydrogenated oils.

As a nutritionist, she’s more concerned about people sitting down and eating a half box of cookies even if they’re fat free.

"To me the problem is not the trans-fats that they're getting in those cookies, it's all of the calories,” Freedman said.

She applauds the industry for efforts to cut trans-fats out of foods.

"Ten years ago, thousands of foods contained it so the industry has really made great progress,” Freedman said.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kraft Recalls Some American Singles Cheese]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 08:57:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP091109173400.jpg

Kraft is voluntarily recalling 7,691 cases of four varieties of its regular American Singles cheese product.

The recalled products have a "Best if Used By" date of Feb. 20, 2015, and Feb. 21, 2015.

Kraft traced the recall back to one of the company's suppliers. Kraft Foods Group Inc., which is based in Northfield, Illinois, said the supplier did not store an ingredient used in the cheese product at the company's standards.

Kraft said it's unlikely but the product could spoil prematurely, and it could lead to food-borne illness. However, Kraft said no one has reported getting sick.

Kraft spokesman Russ Dyer said the company issued a nationwide recall, but he can't specifically cite a city or state that received the potentially problematic cheese.

"We can tell you that very little product was shipped, so there is a limited amount of product, if any, on shelf," Dyer said.

Kraft said you can return the cheese to the store you purchased it at for a refund. Customers can also call Kraft at 800-396-5512.

Below is a list of package codes associated with the recall.

  • 0 21000 60464 7
  • 0 21000 61526 1
  • 0 21000 61526 1
  • 0 21000 63360 9

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[West Nile Virus Cases Reported in East County]]> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 10:35:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/West+Nile+Virus2.jpg

Health officials believe two East County patients have contracted West Nile virus after they were both bitten by mosquitoes near their homes.

A 73-year-old La Mesa man has been hospitalized with a confirmed case of the virus, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) reported Friday. He was admitted for an infection of the brain and its surrounding tissue – a problem resulting from West Nile.

A 44-year-old El Cajon woman received outpatient treatment for flu-like symptoms with a rash, and doctors say she probably had the disease as well.

The HHSA says four out of five people who contract the virus do not show symptoms, and 1 in 150 of those infected will have serious, potentially deadly neurological complications. The greatest risk is among people over 50 years old and those with weakened immune systems.

Less severe symptoms include headache, fever, swollen glands, nausea, skin rash and fatigue.

In July, a Santee man who showed no signs of the disease tested positive for it in a routine blood screening. His was the first confirmed, local case of West Nile since 2012.

Health officials recommend protecting yourself and your family using a three-step system: prevent, protect and report.

Prevent mosquito breeding by emptying any backyard item like pots, buckets or rain gutters that can hold stagnant water. Free mosquito fish can help control mosquito breeding in pools, ponds and fountains.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites by using insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 when you’re spending time outside, and make sure all your screens are secure.

Finally, report dead crows, ravens, jays, hawks and owls, as well as green swimming pools, to the Vector Control Program at 858-694-2888. Dead birds could carry West Nile virus. At least three have tested positive for the disease in El Cajon.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Boston Marathon Dream Wedding]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 10:27:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.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[Pack a Better Lunch]]> Mon, 25 Aug 2014 12:55:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/middayguest0825_1200x675_321859651621.jpg It's time to prep those lunch boxes. Dietician Katie Ferraro will join us with more on how to make lunch delicious and nutritious for your kids. ]]> <![CDATA[Marijuana Use Among Juvenile Hall Youth at High: Study]]> Sat, 23 Aug 2014 09:23:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/marijuana-pot-smoke-inhale.jpg

Marijuana use among youth booked into Juvenile Hall in San Diego County is at the highest rate seen in the past 14 years, according to a newly-released report from SANDAG.

The study, which included interviewing 136 youth at Juvenile Hall within 48 hours of their arrest and obtaining urine samples, found that more than half of the minors booked into the facility tested positive for pot – 53 percent, to be precise.

That figure is up 11 percent from 42 percent in 2000, SANDAG said.

According to the study, 90 percent of youth reported that they had tried marijuana. The average age of their first use of the drug was at 12 years old.

Two-thirds, or 62 percent, of those surveyed said pot was the first drug they had tried, up from 35 percent in 2009.

SANDAG said 88 percent of youth said it was “very easy” or “easy” to obtain marijuana. Meanwhile, only 16 percent of juvenile pot users said the use of the drug was “very bad” or “bad” for them, compared to 34 percent for alcohol and 58 percent for tobacco.

Of the youth who tested positive for marijuana, 58 percent said they had ridden in a car driven by someone under the influence, while 42 percent admitted they had gone to school drunk or high. The study said 41 percent said they had gotten into a physical fight while drunk or high.

SANDAG Criminal Justice Research Director Dr. Cynthia Burke said the results of the study indicate a rise in the popularity of marijuana among youth in the San Diego region.

"At the same time, there is a growing perception among young people that the drug does not pose significant risks," Burke added.

Last month, SANDAG released related research on the use of methamphetamine among youth booked in Juvenile Hall in San Diego County. That report found that 10 percent of youth booked into the local facility tested positive for meth in 2013. This was a significant increase after record lows of 4 percent in 2011 and 2012, though still far below the record high of 21 percent reported in 2005.

Photo Credit: David Sutherland
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<![CDATA[Sam's Club Caesar Salads Recalled]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 11:28:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sams_club1.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics.

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

Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Whole Foods Pulls Yogurt Over Sugar]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 11:35:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/whole+foods+yogurt+allegations.JPG

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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