<![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 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 02:39:11 -0700 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 02:39:11 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Olympian, Coach Steve Scott Battling Prostate Cancer]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 17:49:22 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/steve+scott+getty.jpg

The Carlsbad man who held the U.S. record for fastest mile for more than two decades is suffering from prostate cancer, according to Scripps Health. 

Steve Scott, 58, made the announcement Saturday at the Cougar Challenge cross country meet at Cal State University San Marcos.

The three-time Olympian is currently head coach of the cross country team and track and field team at CSUSM.

Between 1982 and 2007, Scott held the record for fastest mile among American men at 3 minutes 47 seconds.

About one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Does Ebola Affect Dogs and Humans in the Same Way?]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 20:17:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/1017-2014-EbolaDog.jpg

While there are countless unknowns and mysteries still associated with the Ebola virus and its effects on human beings, the reality is that scientists have been studying it for years and now know more about the illness than ever before. However, that’s certainly not the case when it comes to the virus’ impact on dogs – virtually nothing is known.

So, can dogs be carriers of or get Ebola? If they can get infected with the virus, are they contagious to humans and/or other animals? And, should we treat dogs exposed to Ebola like humans and quarantine them?

"All of these are open research questions that don’t have very easy answers. We don't know what role the virus actually plays in dogs," said Dr. Amesh Adalja of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

The issue of Ebola and dogs came to the forefront this week after it was revealed that one of the Dallas nurses infected with Ebola may have exposed her dog, Bentley, to the virus as well.

A similar situation unfolded in Spain earlier this month where officials decided to euthanize the dog. However, in Dallas, authorities decided to quarantine the dog and see if he could be cared back to health.

The problem is that so little is known about canines and the virus.

To date, there’s only been one major study on Ebola and dogs. After a 2001 outbreak in Gabon, scientists tested more than 300 dogs and that as many as 25% formed antibodies to the virus, though, none actually showed symptoms of Ebola. However, researchers did conclude the following in the Gabon study: "Given the frequency of contact between humans and domestic dogs, canine Ebola infection must be considered as a potential risk factor for human infection and virus spread. Human infection could occur through licking, biting or grooming."

And, Dallas Health officials say they’re acting with caution.

"Bentley is being crated during his stay because he does have to be confined, because this is a public health situation," explained Jody Jones of Dallas Animal Services Commission.

Many scientists said they hope Bentley will provide some answers about the impact of Ebola in dogs.

Dr. Adalja is among them: “In this opportunity that we have in Dallas... I would hope that they would take some samples of the dog’s saliva, for example, and the dog’s urine and maybe the dog's stool and some blood, in order to know at what the virus is doing. We need to use this as an opportunity for research."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Nurses Claim Kaiser Unprepared for Ebola Outbreak]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 06:21:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/marching-nurses.jpg

Hundreds of nurses hit the streets of Oakland on Thursday with a very troubling message. They claim one of California's largest medical providers is not ready to deal with an Ebola outbreak.

Hundreds of Kaiser Permanente nurses from across Northern California are banding together. They marched through the streets of Oakland to Kaiser headquarters to demand greater protections from Ebola.

The marching nurses said they have not been properly trained and claim the necessary protective equipment isn't available.

The infection of two nurses in Texas has them terrified.

“I'm personally upset, and actually I'm afraid,” said Johanna Lavorando, a Kaiser nurse. “If someone slips through the cracks like Mr. Duncan, what's going to happen?”

“If one of us gets exposed, we have ties to our community,” Virginia Macalino said. “The whole community is gonna be exposed if we get sick.”

Kaiser’s director of medical operations said in a statement Thursday they're reinforcing training by distributing educational materials and issuing a video. He says they're fully prepared.

Photo Credit: Jodi Hernandez]]>
<![CDATA[Local Company's Device Used to Treat Ebola]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 12:08:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/hemopurifier-ebola_2.jpg NBC 7's Elena Gomez reports on the device made by San Diego company Aethlon Medical Inc. that's being used to help treat patients infected with the Ebola virus. ]]> <![CDATA[Prof Holds Permit for SD's First Legal Pot Shop]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 20:06:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/marijuana+generic.jpg

San Diego will have its first legal medicinal marijuana dispensary within city limits.

The San Diego Development Service Commission approved the City of San Diego’s first medical marijuana dispensary license Wednesday.

The company called A Green Alternative will be located on Roll Drive in Otay Mesa.

Dr. David Blair, a business ethics professor who teaches a course through San Diego State University, said they have done everything the city has asked.

“We’re just so thrilled, grateful and humbled by it,” Blair said of the permit approval.

Having been diagnosed with HIV and PID, Blair uses medicinal marijuana and recalls having to drive to Los Angeles to get his prescription filled legally.

He said he is dedicated to following the rules and setting an example for other marijuana dispensaries that may come to San Diego.

“We play by the rules. We always intend to play by the rules and we will only play by the rules,” Blair said.

Opponents warned the one-story commercial building where the dispensary will be located is not the right place for a pot shop.

“With it being in an area with many families that are coming to and from, that’s definitely a concern. These are not benign businesses as some have portrayed them,” Barbara Gordon told the committee.

At the end of a 10-day appeal period and background checks, the permit will be official.

The dispensary will be located at 2335 Roll Drive #4 near near Siempre Viva Road just east of State Route 905.

Blair noted that when he is teaching, he does not medicate the day before so he can be alert for his classes.

<![CDATA[SD Hospitals Take New Ebola Precautions]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 06:37:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Ebola-training-san-diego-10.jpg

San Diego County hospitals are rolling out new and improved training procedures for health care workers who may come in contact with an infected Ebola patient.

This comes after Dallas nurse Nina Pham became infected after treating the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are continuously updating their guidelines on how to care for an infected patient. Hospitals in San Diego say they’re paying attention to make sure their staff is protected, too.

“Since the transmission of Ebola to the health care worker in Dallas, we've taken a look again at our protocol and decided to retrain our organization,” said Jim LaBelle, Chief Medical Officer for Scripps Health.

LaBelle says Scripps is stepping up its training for staff who may come in contact with an Ebola patient. This means upgrading their protective suits and using a buddy system to have an extra set of eyes when putting it on and taking it off, a process outlined step-by-step by the CDC.

“What that means is that every person that is going to be taking care of a patient with Ebola has a safety buddy with them observing for any risky behavior,” LaBelle said.

“We fulfill all the CDC criteria, actually moving above what they recommended,” he said. “I think given the conversations we've had over the couple of days, it’s likely to be uniformly adopted by most hospitals.”

That includes Sharp Memorial Hospital, which is now screening patients, asking about their travel history and if they’ve had contact with anyone who was recently in West Africa. Warning signs and masks will also be available in the main entrances of the hospital.

Another facility conducting Ebola drills is Palomar Health, which carried out drills at all its campuses last week and plans a decontamination drill at Palomar Medical Center this week, according to Marketing Manager Bobette Brown.

"All of our clinical staff are trained on infection control procedures and have necessary equipment. We are providing on-going training and education on the latest CDC guidelines," said Brown in a statement.

The health system is also prepared to screen the travel history of possible infectious disease patients.

The UCSD Medical Center says it too is making preparations but was not ready to speak with NBC 7 on camera.

On Tuesday, National Nurses United, the largest registered nurses’ union in the country, said that nurses in the U.S. are not protected or prepared to handle Ebola.

There have been no reported cases of Ebola in San Diego County.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Flight Attendants Express Concern About Ebola: Official]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 10:18:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/141012-lax-ebola-scare-united-airlines.jpg

After a sick passenger on a United Airlines flight caused an Ebola scare at Los Angeles International Airport Sunday, flight attendants have expressed concern about the deadly disease, according to aviation officials.

LAX Association of Flight Attendants President Dante Harris told NBC4 that he has been getting calls and emails from flight attendants worried about Ebola, but added that flight attendants have been trained to deal with medical issues and are responsible for checking out every passenger for health and safety risks.

"You don’t know that we’re looking but we are," Harris said. "Our responsibility is to assess every single passenger and try to interact with every single passenger when they get on the flight."

Passengers on United Airlines Flight 703 from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport were kept on board for two hours Sunday afternoon because one passenger exhibited flu-like symptoms and had recently traveled to Africa.

"It has turned out that there was some miscommunication - that this patient had been to the continent of Africa, but not near West Africa," Los Angeles Fire Capt. Jaime Moore said. "As a matter of fact, it was South Africa. The patient has been ill on flights before and got ill on this flight. There is no reason to believe this person (had) been exposed to an Ebola virus."

Passengers were escorted off the tarmac when officials learned the threat was a false alarm.
In addition to first aid and CPR training, Harris said flight attendants are also trained to use medical kits for infectious diseases that are onboard every plane.

"We have gloves and we have masks. We have face shields and we're trained on all those items," Harris said.

Harris said that when there is a medical concern, the pilot consults with a ground crew to determine whether or not to divert the plane.

"My first reaction is that the flight attendants did what they were supposed to do (Sunday) in identifying the issue and calling the appropriate authorities," Harris said.

<![CDATA[Hillary Clinton Speaks to San Diego Convention]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 08:50:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Hillary-Clinton-SD-1013.jpg NBC 7's Vanessa Herrera reports on how guests attending the American Academy of Pediatrics expo were treated to a special visit from former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.]]> <![CDATA[La Jolla Lab to Get Ebola Antibodies]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 11:51:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Ebola-Lab-La-Jolla-1013_2.jpg

Samples of antibodies from new Ebola survivors are heading to a lab in La Jolla, California, for analysis and the lab director is asking for the public’s help to fund the process.

Scripps Research Institute Professor Dr. Erica Ollman Saphire and her team are on the front lines to help find a cure for Ebola, which is believed to have killed more than 4,000 people in West Africa.

On Monday, the World Health Organization called the Ebola outbreak "the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times."

Saphire and her team worked with a global consortium of researchers to create the ZMapp drug, considered to be the most promising experimental drug against Ebola.

The Sorrento Valley lab Mapp Bio used the images created at Scripps to come up with the experimental drug used to treat Ebola survivors Dr. Kent Brantley and Nancy Writebol. It has also been used on an English nurse, a Spanish priest and two Liberian doctors who contracted Ebola. The priest and one of the doctors died despite receiving the treatment.

“Right now we are at war. It's a crisis there are thousands of cases there are not enough beds, it has come here, and it will come again,” Saphire said.

Saphire is anticipating the shipment of hundreds of antibodies from people all over the world who have survived the Ebola virus infection this year.

“We need to know what those antibodies are. Why do these people survive and what we can learn from that?" Saphire said.

Saphire has launched a crowdfunding page with the goal of boosting staff and upgrading equipment because she expects the amount of material she will soon receive to outpace the lab's current capabilities. Her goal is to raise $100,000 for a Fast Protein Liquid Chromatography machine.

“We need a new FPLC it's most important workhorse in the lab. What we do here is look at the shapes of the proteins, how they're folded. How the antibodies get the virus," she explained.

The CDC describes ZMapp as a combination of three different monoclonal antibodies that bind to the protein of the Ebola virus.

There is no current supply of the drug. Experts warn it still must undergo testing in humans for safety and effectiveness.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[3 Kids Test Positive for Enterovirus in OC]]> Fri, 10 Oct 2014 12:48:03 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/enfield+enterovirus.jpg

Three children in Orange County have tested positive for enterovirus D68 in cases “not linked with any community outbreak of the illness,” health officials said Friday.

The latest diagnoses comes the same day that the California Department of Public Health confirmed that 32 people have tested positive for the virus, which has reached areas including San Diego, Alameda, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Solano and Ventura counties.

“Due to the heightened awareness and surveillance for enterovirus D68, it is not surprising to identify cases in Orange County,” said Public Health Officer Dr. Eric Handler in a statement.

Enterovirus spreads from person-to-person through coughs, sneezes and touches by an infected person, officials said. Symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and body and muscle aches.

Children who have the disease may exhibit more serious symptoms, such as wheezing. Parents who notice their children having trouble breathing should seek medical attention immediately, officials said.

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for the virus. According to the Orange County Health Care Agency, the best preventative measures include:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick

<![CDATA[Rabies Alert Issued for Del Mar Mud Run Participant]]> Fri, 10 Oct 2014 18:23:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Mud-run1.jpg

A runner who participated in the Del Mar Mud Run last weekend is undergoing rabies tests for rabies after coming into contact with a bat during the race, San Diego County health officials said Friday.

According to the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), the runner from New York reported that a bat had landed on him during the run. The bat was captured and turned over to county officials for rabies testing and the County Public Health Lab confirmed the bat was infected with rabies.

HHSA officials are concerned that the runner and other people at the Del Mar Mud Run, which took place on Oct. 4 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, may have directly handled the rabid bat.

“We want to make absolutely sure that no participants or observers were potentially exposed to this deadly disease,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., county public health officer.

The health department at first did not know the identity of the person who may have been exposed, so it released a media alert in an effort to reach the runner. Health officials also worked with the race's organizer VAVi. 

"Safety is our number 1 priority at VAVi when producing events locally and across the country," said Keith Cunningham, VAVi's vice president of events and sponsorship. "Within hours we found the person and they're getting taken care of. We appreciate the help the city and media has given us." 

Health leaders said event participants and spectators who had no contact with the bat are not at risk for the disease.

According to the HHSA, rabies is a preventable viral disease most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. Though rare, it can also be transmitted if the saliva from a rabid animal makes contact with a person’s eyes, nose, mouth or open wound.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the first symptoms of rabies may be similar to those of the flu, including weakness, discomfort, fever or headache. The symptoms could last for days.

A person infected with rabies may also experience itching or a prickling sensation at the site of the animal bite. Within days, symptoms may progress to include cerebral dysfunction, anxiety, confusion and agitation. As the disease unfolds, the infected person may also experience delirium, abnormal behavior, hallucinations and insomnia.

Rabies symptoms can take weeks to months to develop after exposure. Once symptoms develop, health officials say rabies is almost always fatal. To date, the CDC says less than 10 documented cases of human survival from clinical rabies have been reported.

Health officials say prompt post-exposure treatment is crucial in order to prevent the deadly disease. This treatment includes a round of injections with rabies vaccine and an injection of human immune globulin.

<![CDATA[U.S. Marines in Liberia for Ebola Operation]]> Fri, 10 Oct 2014 07:17:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Marines-Liberia-Ebola-7.jpg Some 100 U.S. Marines arrived in Monrovia, Liberia, on Oct. 9, 2014, to take part in Operation United Assistance. The troops will support the American effort to contain the Ebola epidemic, which includes transporting supplies and building 17 Ebola treatment centers around Liberia. U.S. President Barack Obama has committed up to 4,000 troops in West Africa to combat the disease. The Marines and sailors that arrived on Oct. 9 are assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response Africa (SPMAGTF-CR-AF), consisting of four MV-22 Ospreys, two KC-130J Super Hercules, and approximately 100 Marines and sailors who took off from Moron, Spain, for Liberia.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego County Prepared for Ebola Virus: Experts]]> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 17:06:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ebola-hospital-preps-getty2.jpg

Health care officials in San Diego County say the region is adequately prepared to handle a diagnosis of an Ebola patient.

The disease has killed at least 3,800 people in West Africa with no signs of subsiding.

After the death of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person in the U.S. to be diagnosed with Ebola, NBC 7 asked health care officials in San Diego about screening and treatment if a case of the deadly virus were to surface here.

San Diego Fire Rescue and City Emergency Medical Services met with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention representatives Thursday to talk about how to handle such a situation.

EMTs and firefighters are equipped with the proper gloves, masks, gowns and medical equipment to handle any patient exhibiting symptoms, should crews be called to take him or her to the hospital, the City Emergency Medical Services says.

“Every acute care hospital is prepared to deal with contagious, infectious pathogens,“ said Dr. Michael Butera, Infectious Disease Physician and chairman of the Infection Control Department at Alvarado Hospital.

Alvarado Hospital has negative pressurized rooms and other isolation rooms used for droplet and contact precaution, Butera said.

He added that all hospitals in San Diego County – particularly acute care centers – are very well prepared to care for someone exhibiting symptoms of the Ebola virus.

Currently, Alvarado Hospital staff is using a standard list of questions posed to all patients that asks about recent travel and exposure to people who may have recently been in West Africa.

He believes that screening and training is key to preventing an outbreak similar to the one currently in West Africa here in the U.S.

“Having robust policies in our hospitals and with first responders to be able to recognize and anticipate that it could happen anywhere is really important for the protection of everyone else in both the medical community and our public,” Butera said.

Physicians, nurses and other hospital staffers are outfitted with standard layers of protective gear including impermeable gowns, gloves, mask, face shield or goggles, as well as eye protection to prevent splatters from body fluid and special shoes.

That type of gear is used for other transmissible diseases currently in San Diego County including seasonal and pandemic influenza, West Nile Virus and tuberculosis.

“The epidemiology of all the [Ebola] outbreaks to date… suggest that this is a contact-spread virus that does not behave like influenza, SARS,” Butera said.

“We are well prepared, well poised to handle a first diagnosis of Ebola in San Diego,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, Public Health Officer County of San Diego.

The health department should be notified if someone arrives at a hospital or doctor’s office with symptoms of Ebola and has either traveled to the three countries in the West African Ebola outbreak or have had contact with someone carrying the Ebola virus, Wooten said.

Once a potential Ebola patient has been identified, then that person needs to be isolated and the health care official should call the health department, Wooten said.

At that point, her agency’s laboratory will package the specimen and then call a courier to ship the specimen to Los Angeles to run tests.

Then, contact tracing begins – something Wooten called, “the bread and butter activities of the public health department” and points to San Diego County’s Measles outbreak in 2008 as the agency’s most recent experience with the process on a large scale.

Butera said it’s important for San Diegans to remember that the incubation for the Ebola virus is two to 21 days. Most patients who are going to become ill will get sick on days 6 through 10 after exposure.

“The key to understand is that if you’re not symptomatic, you’re not infectious,” he said.

During the time a person has no symptoms, the patient cannot spread the virus and those symptoms, he repeats, include fever, headache, body ache, back pain, nausea and vomiting.

The mainstay of treatment for the Ebola Virus is support of care – maintaining hydration, stable blood pressure and organ function, he said. 

However, the San Diego Border Patrol is not as optimistic about its ability to handle a patient with Ebola, according to National Border Patrol Union Representative Gabe Pacheco.

He said while agents have masks, gowns and gloves, those supplies are few, and they do not have the full mock suits needed.

The Department of Homeland Security has only sent mass internal emails about the disease's indicators, Pacheco said, but agents have not recevied clear guidelines about how to handle a case at the border.

"I think we're all waiting for the direction, and I think that's what's lacking is their direction and leadership that we're saying, 'Hey this is what we're going to do, this is where we're gonna go," said Pacheco.

The CDC says Border Patrol and TSA agents are at low risk for coming across the disease.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Why Lindbergh Field Is Not Screening for Ebola]]> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 08:10:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Lindbergh-Field-1008.jpg

A majority of Americans want a ban on incoming flights from West African countries experiencing an Ebola outbreak, an online survey for NBC News reveals.

The survey, conducted by SurveyMonkey and then weighted for age, race, sex, education and region to match U.S. Census data, found that 58 percent of Americans support the ban.

Twenty percent of respondents opposed a travel ban, and the rest said they didn’t know.

The survey was conducted a day before the first person diagnosed with Ebola inside the U.S. died Wednesday.

Beginning this week, CDC and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will screen people traveling from or through Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone at five major U.S. airports.

San Diego International Airport, known locally as Lindbergh Field, is not among them. Our airport is more of a destination airport than a hub.

The only carrier with a direct flight from Europe is British Airways, spokesperson Rebecca Bloomfield told NBC 7.

While the CDC is working hand in hand with other airports worldwide, Bloomfield said the organization has not contacted airport administrators here about the potential spread of the Ebola virus through air travel.

The airport does have an isolation area between Gates 21 and 22 in Terminal Two established years ago to corral any communicable disease.

Wednesday night Laura Johnson returned home from a business trip in Munich.

“I washed my hands at least six times if that helps and saved my little hand sanitizer,” Johnson said.

Johnson agrees the potential for panic is great but didn't get a sense of that from other passengers on her flight.

Rafi Feliciano just returned from two years teaching in Korea and said she experienced temperature sensors at an airport in China.

“I was making sure I hope I do not have a fever,” Feliciano recalled. “I don't want to be quarantined. I want to get home okay.”

One British Airlines flight arrives each day around dinner time from London Heathrow Airport. The average flight carries 320 passengers.

Under the new screening guidelines released Wednesday, an estimated 150 people would be checked each day at New York's JFK International and the international airports in Newark, Washington Dulles, Chicago and Atlanta.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[UCSC Fighting Ebola With Technology]]> Wed, 08 Oct 2014 06:39:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/205*120/UIC_researchers_ebola.jpg

University of California, Santa Cruz is mixing science and technology, trying to find a vaccine for the dreaded Ebola virus.

Researchers at the school are taking a page from the SETI handbook, developing an open source web browser to collect information about the Ebola virus, and how it's spreading. It's a way to bring in new information and share it quickly with other scientists.

The recent Ebola outbreak is being called the largest in history. More than 3,000 people have died from the disease. The goal now is to contain it, then end it. UC Santa Cruz's Jim Kent is head of a team trying to bring in other scientists via the web, trying to figure out the best way to target the disease.

I remember setting my browser to help SETI find ET. This is far more serious, with scientists getting involved to help.

We'll track their progress for you.

Scott tracks business & tech on twitter: @scottbudman 

<![CDATA[Ebola in America]]> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 14:14:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/456608446.jpg

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Enterovirus-D68 Outbreak]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 15:13:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/x-ray-ENTEROVIRUS-VO---00002324.jpg

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Jodi Kodesh's Morning Forecast for Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 04:12:22 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/WEBWXTUEJODIPIC_0.jpg Jodi Kodesh's Morning Forecast for Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014]]> <![CDATA[Journalist With Ebola Optimistic]]> Mon, 06 Oct 2014 21:01:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Ashoka+Mukpo+Raw.jpg

There's been encouraging news for the Providence, Rhode Island, man flown back to the U.S. Monday to be treated for the Ebola virus.

The mother of NBC News freelance photojournalist Ashoka Mukpo says her son and his doctors are optimistic about his chances of recovering from the deadly virus.

"They say that compared to all the other patients that have been evacuated to the United States, Ashoka is actually in the best shape," Diana Mukpo told NECN over the phone.

His parents Diana Mukpo and Dr. Mitchel Levy say they were relieved to not only watch their son walk off the plane and wave to them as he entered the hospital, but they were grateful to be able to see him and speak with him through a video system at Nebraska Medical Center's Bio-Containment Unit.

"His spirits are good, he's tired, it's been quite a frightening experience but he's also a fighter and he said 'I'm going to get through this,' so he's really determined to get better, and I think he will," Diana Mukpo said.

Mukpo's parents say he spent two years working in Liberia, and after a short stint at home, returned about a month ago despite their urging to not go back. They say he's unsure exactly where and how he caught Ebola.

"He was filming inside the clinic and around the clinic so they had a lot of opportunity to be exposed. He does remember one instance where he was helping spray wash a vehicle with chlorine and he thinks he might have been splashed, but honestly he's not exactly sure," Dr. Levy said.

Mukpo is at the same hospital that successfully treated Holden, Massachusetts Dr. Richard Sacra, but he will be receiving a different experimental anti-viral medication.

"As far as I understand from the physicians, this is a drug that in a laboratory setting has shown to be very, very effective against the Ebola virus and also has very low incidence of side effects," Diana Mukpo said. 

<![CDATA[Tuberculosis Diagnosed at Local High School]]> Fri, 03 Oct 2014 11:59:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tlmd_tuberculosis_lynn_shutterstock_183163493_2.jpg

County health officials are warning Grossmont High School students and staff about tuberculosis after a person there started treatment for it.

GHS is trying to notify people who may have been exposed to the infectious disease between Sept. 2 and Sept. 17, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.

Potentially vulnerable students can get a free TB test on Oct. 14 on the GHS campus, located at 1100 Murray Drive in El Cajon.

Symptoms of the illness include a fever, night sweats, persistent cough, chest pain, chills and unexplained weight loss.

“Most people who are exposed to TB do not develop the disease, but when it does occur, it can be treated and cured with medication,” said County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten. “That’s why it’s important to identify those who have been exposed.”

TB, which usually attacks the lungs, is spread through the air, often when an infected person sneezes or coughs. People who catch the disease but show no symptoms have latent TB, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, some infected with latent TB can develop the actual disease weeks or even years later if their immune system becomes weak.

The disease is not uncommon in the San Diego area, the HHSA says. In 2014, 132 cases have been reported.

Last year saw the lowest number of cases – 206 – since a peak year in 1993, which had 469 cases.

For more on potential exposure, the HHSA recommends calling the County TB Control Program at 619-692-8621.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Two Cases of Enterovirus Confirmed in LA County]]> Thu, 02 Oct 2014 05:27:11 -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, who is between the age of five and 10, 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?]]> Thu, 02 Oct 2014 07:39:43 -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
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[CDC Confirms 1st U.S. Ebola Case]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 15:03:53 -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
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas Ambulance Crew Who Brought Ebola Patient to Hospital Is Quarantined]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 15:03:53 -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
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[How Is Ebola Spread?]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 21:30:52 -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, Thomas Eric Duncan, 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. Duncan died on Oct. 8 in a Dallas hospital.

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.

How Ebola Is Spread:

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

  • Touching the 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. To become infected with the virus, you would need to get some of the ill person’s bodily fluids into your mouth, nose, or eyes, or into your body via a cut or a needle stick. Doctors say that there is no evidence anyone has ever been infected via sweat.
  • Touching objects contaminated with the virus, like syringes or other medical equipment
  • Touching infected animals, by contact with blood or fluids or infected meat
  • A cough from a sick patient could infect someone close enough to be sprayed with droplets of mucus or saliva. People dealing with anyone who may be ill are told to stand at least three feet away, preferably six. Being within three feet of a patient for a prolonged time, without wearing protective gear, is considered direct contact, according to Frieden.

Direct contact through broken skin or mucus membranes is key, as the CDC said Ebola cannot be spread through the air (the virus doesn't drift through the air like germs that cause measles or tuberculosis) 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.

What Are the Symptoms of Ebola:

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.

Are Patients Who Recover From Ebola Immune for Life?

Evidence shows that people who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years, or longer, according to the CDC. But it's not known if people who recover are immune for life or if they can become infected with a different species of Ebola.

Can Ebola Mutate to Become Aiborne?

According to experts, it is very unlikely that the virus would mutate to become airborne. The Ebola virus has not previously mutated in this way, and experts say there is no other virus that has changed from non-airborne to airborne in humans.

Can Mosquitoes Spread Ebola?

There is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects can transmit the virus, according to the CDC. Only mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys and apes) have shown the ability to spread and become infected with Ebola virus.

How Long Does the Ebola Virus Live:

The virus can survive for a few hours on dry surfaces like doorknobs and countertops, according to the C.D.C. It can, however, survive for several days in puddles or collections of body fluid at room temperature. It is not clear how long it may survive in soiled linens and clothing.

A thorough cleaning with hospital-grade disinfectants (such as household bleach) will kill Ebola.

How Can Travelers Protect Themselves:

The CDC said travelers can do several things to protect themselves when visiting the area where the outbreak is occurring, including:

  • Wash your hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Do not touch the blood and body fluids of an ill person or the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
  • Do not touch bats and nonhuman primates or their blood and fluids and do not touch or eat raw meat prepared from these animals.
  • Avoid hospitals where Ebola patients are being treated. The U.S. Embassy or consulate is often able to provide advice on facilities.
  • Seek medical care immediately if you develop fever (temperature of 101.5oF/ 38.6oC) and any of the other following symptoms: headache, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding.

There is no vaccine for the Ebola virus, but researchers are currently testing two.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![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.