Entries in Alabama (3)


Alabama Mystery Illness Could Be Coincidence

Pixland/Thinkstock(MONTGOMERY, Ala.) -- A mystery illness has sickened seven people in southeastern Alabama, killing two of them, according to the state Health Department, but it's not clear whether the patients -- or their symptoms -- are connected.

"At this time, there is no epidemiological link between these patients," an Alabama health department document states in bold type.

The patients' ages range from their mid-20s to their late 80s, Dr. Mary McIntyre, who is leading the investigation, told in an email. Location aside, McIntyre said the patients had no commonalities other than that the "majority" of them had "co-morbidities like smoking, COPD, morbid obesity."

"Temporal clustering can make something look like an outbreak," said Dr. Richard Besser, chief health and medical editor for ABC News. "Good science will tell you whether it is."

The illnesses started with common flu-like symptoms -- shortness of breath, a cough and a fever. But both patients who died had come down with pneumonia, McIntyre said.

Besser said most pneumonia patients are never tested to determine what caused their infection, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could offer "state of the art" diagnostic testing to explain the Alabama cases. Health officials will also question the patients' families and friends to determine common exposures and whether the patients ever had contact with one another.

The first three cases were reported to the health department on May 16 because the patients were on ventilators but had no known cause for their illnesses, according to a health department document. The most recent case was reported May 19.

One of the patients tested positive for H1N1, the "swine flu" that began in spring 2009 and peaked the following October, according to a health department document. Another patient tested for a strain of influenza called AH3.

It's not yet clear whether either flu played a role in this cluster of illnesses, the document states. The five patients who are still living seem to be getting better, McIntyre said. One of them was released Tuesday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Alabama Company Turns Deceased Loved Ones into Ammo

Hemera/Thinkstock(STOCKTON, Ala.) -- Gun enthusiasts who have fired their last round on Earth are now being given one last shot.

Two former Alabama law enforcement officers have started a company called Holy Smoke.  For a fee starting at $850, the company will load the cremated ashes of loved ones into shotgun and rifle shells, where they can be fired at will by family members.

The company's website states, "We offer a way to honor your deceased loved one by giving or sharing with him or her one more round of clay targets, one last bird hunt, or one last stalk hunt."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tornadoes 2011: How to Help Storm Victims

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(TUSCALOOSA, Ala.) -- Deadly tornadoes and thunderstorms ripped through the south Wednesday, devastating dozens of cities and killing more than 200 people across five states.

The majority of the deaths have been reported in Alabama, where 200-mile-per-hour winds swept homes off their foundations in one area. President Obama declared a state of emergency for the search-and-rescue response in Alabama late Wednesday and said federal officials had their eye on the storms and would offer help as needed.

Find out below how to help and donate to the April 2011 tornado relief effort.

American Red Cross: The Red Cross is providing relief to people across the hardest-hit states, providing shelter, and relief to survivors. To make a donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief, visit its online donation page. You can also call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text "REDCROSS" to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

The Salvation Army: The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services is responding to the deadly tornado activity throughout the South, mobilizing feeding units and providing support to the victims. To donate to the Salvation Army's tornado disaster response, visit, click on their donation page and designate "April 2011 Tornado Outbreak." You can call 1-800-SAL-ARMY and donors can text "GIVE" to 80888 to make a $10 donation. Checks can be made out to the Salvation Army Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 100339, Atlanta, Ga., 30384-0339.

Alabama - Governor's Emergency Relief Fund: The Fund, part of the Alabama Governor's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, provides additional recovery assistance to Alabama residents who have exhausted all other coverage provided by relief organizations, government programs and insurance. To donate, visit their online donation page.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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