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Friday
Aug192016

Community Rallies for Disabled Dog Whose Wheelchair Was Stolen

iStock/Thinkstock(LONG BEACH, Wash.) -- A disabled dog's wheelchair, and only means of getting around, was stolen off his owner's front porch to the heartbreak of a Washington state community. Residents then came together and crowdfunded to buy the beloved dog, Charley, a new set of wheels.

His wheelchair was stolen Monday night in Long Beach, Washington, Charley's owners, Rod Beauregard and Leona Wolf, told ABC Portland, Oregon, affiliate KATU-TV.

Charley has relied on his wheelchair to get around since rupturing a disc about a year ago.

"He'll try to sit up and he doesn't understand why he can't get in his chair," Beauregard said of Charley after his chair was stolen.

The owners did not respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.

Beauregard told KATU-TV that he can't understand why someone would steal his disabled dog's wheelchair, but that he suspects someone stole it for parts.

"It has BMX wheels on it. Someone could put it on a bike. They're going to throw the other piece away, probably," Beauregard said.

A friend of Beauregard’s started a GoFundMe page Tuesday to buy the dog a new set of wheels, writing on the page, "I would love to be able to help him replace the custom made wheel chair for his best friend," and asking the community for donations.

They met the GoFundMe goal of $585 within a matter of hours – and have since doubled it -- and updated the page this morning with an announcement that Charley has a new wheelchair on the way.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Aug192016

Teen with Cancer's Wish for Puppy Is Granted

John Dietz(CORAL SPRINGS, Fla.) -- A Florida teen who battled cancer has been granted her one wish.

Lacey Dietz, 15, of Coral Springs, Florida, was introduced to her new best friend, Casper, a miniature American Eskimo dog, on Aug. 13.

"She still had a couple of close friends come visit her, but for the most part, she's alone all day long," Lacey's dad John Dietz told ABC News of his daughter. "From the moment she [and Casper] first met, he literally followed her wherever she'd go. That's the first time I've seen her smile like that in a year."

Lacey was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma on May 21, 2015. The active cheerleader was told she'd have to undergo 35 rounds of chemotherapy over the course of a year, her father said.

The news, delivered via phone call, was devastating to the Dietz family.

"It took my breath away," John Dietz said. "I said, 'I'm not understanding what you're telling me' and the nurse said, 'Your daughter has cancer.' The next thing I remember, my son, who was 18 years old at the time, walked into the garage and picked me up off the floor. I never understand people with cancer or people who had children with cancer until now. The world was black."

Lacey completed all her chemo treatments at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg and has been in remission for six months, Dietz said.

Since her battle with lymphoma, Lacey and her family has been in contact with The Children's Dream Fund, a Florida-based group.

When the teen was asked by her dream coordinator what would be her dream, she replied, "An American Eskimo puppy...an American Eskimo puppy…but a miniature, with pink ears and under 20 pounds, so he can come with me to my apartment in college!” the Children's Dream Fund wrote in a press release.

On Aug. 13, the dog's breeder and dream coordinators met Lacey and her parents at Tampa International Air Airport to present her with a puppy.

"Lacey's been asking my wife and I if she could have a puppy for the last three years, but we would say, 'No,'" Dietz recalled. "The Dream Fund asked if there's anything she wanted, and she said, 'a puppy.' At that point we're certainly not going to say no."

Dietz said Casper has lifted Lacey's spirits.

"One of the saddest things about watching my daughter in the last year was seeing her go from being an outgoing teenager with lots of friends, to becoming very much of a loner," Dietz said. "Casper is a companion."

He added: "She's an extremely strong young lady that inspires me. God has huge plans for Lacey. She's not beating cancer for no reason. Something big is going to happen in her life, and it already has. I hope Lacey takes this experience and continues to grow and realize she has no limits going forward."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Aug192016

Your Body: Getting Rabies from Bats

iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Summertime means late nights outside and often when bats are flying around. So what do you do if a bat flies past you and touches you?

In the United States, most people get rabies from bats, not from dogs. And more often than not, they can’t find a bite with their naked eye.

Rabies is a preventable virus that is spread through the bite of a rabid animal. It attacks the central nervous system causing initial symptoms of fever, headache and general weakness. If left untreated, the virus progresses, causing confusion, an increase in saliva, paralysis and death.

Since the rabies virus can be transmitted through a bite or through a rabid animal’s saliva, it’s smart to make your way to the nearest emergency room or to your local health department for advice about what to do next.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Aug192016

CVS Creates Cold and Flu Single-Serve Cups

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — CVS has managed to turn the millions of single-serve coffee machines currently sitting on kitchen counters worldwide, into doctors. Sort of.

The pharmacy giant has just begun selling single-serve cups filled with cold and flu medicine.

Eliminating the need to heat up water in a kettle or microwave, the devices use the coffee machines to quickly spout a hot, tea-like beverage laced with acetaminophen and a decongestant, both of which can speed relief of symptoms of those suffering from the cold and flu.

The cups come in a daytime formula that's flavored like berry and green-tea, and a nighttime version that tastes of white tea with honey and lemon.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Aug192016

In the Shadow of Olympic Games, Meet the People Living with Rio's Contaminated Water

iStock/Thinkstock(RIO DE JANEIRO) — Alexandre Anderson accelerates his boat past a waterfall of sewage.

The third-generation fisherman used to make his livelihood in this bay in Rio de Janeiro, where several Olympic watersports were held this week.

“We are invisibles,” Anderson says. “I swam in these waters, my father swam in these waters, my grandparents swam in these waters...this is my house, they are killing my house.”

Sewage and garbage has flooded the bay with bacteria and viruses, contaminating fish with oil and heavy metals.

When Rio announced it would host the Olympics, Brazil promised that the local economy – and the health of local residents – would improve. The government said 80 percent of sewage would be treated.

“There was an economic point to bringing the Olympics here,” Anderson says. “But we knew this issue… we knew the Olympics would happen in the dirty water full of crap and bacteria, and after that we will be abandoned.”

ABC News found that one water sample in Guanabara Bay, where Olympic swimmers competed, had fecal bacteria at levels 40 times higher than what would be considered “contaminated” in some U.S. states. This is consistent with testing performed by other groups.

Anderson says people have been dying from Rio’s tainted waters for a long time. “We say there are powerful bacteria, something the media doesn’t know, but people are dying from dysentery, maybe without even knowing what they had,” he says.

Anderson says his reward for bringing attention to Rio’s public healthrisks has been death threats from local mobsters.

Even though the situation is dire, Anderson remains optimistic.

“While there is one fishermen, while there is one of my sons swimming in this water, my grandson, there will be a chance to recover it,” he says. “I have hope. I have hope. The bay is alive, we don’t see it as a piece of sea where there are fish and birds. We see it as a mother, something more spiritual.”

He adds, “Today the bay cries for the death of her children, but we also cry for its poisoning…[I’m] fighting for my son, my grandson, your son, your grandson to be able to enjoy a different bay than we see here.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Aug182016

Limited Vaccine to Prevent the Spread of 'Explosive' Yellow Fever Outbreak

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  An "explosive" outbreak of yellow fever has left officials struggling access to enough of the vaccine to protect millions who may need it. With the shortage, some experts are concerned the virus could spread past Africa, creating an urgent need for more protection.

This week, the World Health Organization (WHO) pledged to vaccinate 14 million people against the disease in 8,000 locations by diluting the vaccine to one-fifth the dose -- a stop-gap measure aimed at providing at least some protection, since the vaccine is in limited supply and takes six months to develop.

"Protecting as many people as possible is at the heart of this strategy," William Perea, Coordinator for the Control of Epidemic Diseases Unit at WHO said in a statement on Tuesday. "With a limited supply we need to use these vaccines very carefully."

The current vaccination plan has public health officials concerned they won't be able to protect enough people to prevent the spread of the virus, raising alarm the virus could reach densely populated regions in Asia, where it could spread rapidly or become endemic.

The yellow fever outbreak started in December of last year has caused 5,000 infections and at least 400 deaths in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The disease is spread by mosquitoes, especially the Aedes aegypti mosquito that also spreads Zika virus.

Symptoms of yellow fever include fever, chills, severe headache, back pain and nausea; the virus has been fatal in approximately 20 percent of cases. The WHO and their partners have already vaccinated 16 million with a full dose of yellow fever vaccine that provides coverage for life. But as supplies have dwindled, they are implementing an emergency measure, diluting the vaccine further so that it will provide protection for one year.

Yellow fever "transmission in 2016 has been explosive and rapidly exhausted the usual global emergency stockpile of 6 million vaccine doses," according to WHO officials in an August 6 statement.

Many public health experts are anxiously watching the yellow fever outbreak and are concerned it could spread to countries that have never faced large scale outbreaks of this virus before and therefore have little natural immunity, Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center told ABC News. He described it as "an ominous little black cloud hanging over all of this."

"Yellow fever has never been [widely] introduced into Asia," he added. "The possibility exists that someone could travel to infected country and has virus in their system and start epidemic in part of the world heretofore unaffected."

The WHO said they have a stockpile of 5 million emergency doses of the vaccine currently, but a second outbreak in a densely populated country could deplete the dangerously low vaccine supply.

Public health officials have to fight the virus on two fronts, Schaffner said, both by treating people and reducing mosquito populations so it doesn't spread. He said an outbreak must be stopped early to prevent it spreading across the globe.

Following the Ebola outbreak that infected more than 28,000 and left 11,000 dead in the past year, a report from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that outbreaks can no longer be easily contained by geography.

"This epidemic in the three countries and its introduction to seven other countries illustrates how all countries are connected and that a threat in one country is a threat everywhere," CDC researchers said in the June report.

Yellow fever is "tenacious" and the number of cases in Africa is probably far higher than what had been reported, Dr. Stephen Morse, an epidemiologist at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health told ABC News.

"Even if it isn’t a pandemic danger it could have effects. It is a globalized world and we all affect each other," he said. "It may come here in a small way like Ebola or a big way."

Morse said since the vaccine supply is limited it could be a struggle to contain a larger outbreak and that attempts to reduce the mosquito population is difficult.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Aug182016

More Hispanics Uninsured Despite Obamacare Gains, Report Says

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While the number of uninsured people in the United States appears to have declined since 2010, Hispanics remain at increased risk of going without health insurance compared with other racial and ethnic demographic groups, according to a new report published Thursday.

Released by the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation focusing on the U.S. health care system, the report sought to identify people who still have no health care coverage since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which President Obama enacted in 2010.

Hispanics have “become a growing share of the uninsured among racial and ethnic groups, rising from 29 percent in 2013 to 40 percent in 2016, more than twice their representation in the overall population,” according to the study. “In contrast, the share of whites has declined, falling from half in 2013 to 41 percent in 2016.”

The share of black uninsured black people also declined in that period, though only from 13 percent to 12 percent, according to the study.

"There is a larger slice of the pie made up of Latinos,” Sara Collins, lead author and vice president of the Health Care Coverage and Access at the Commonwealth Fund, told ABC News. “At the same time, the share of whites [and other race-ethnicities] dropped" as they gained more health care coverage.

The other risk factors for lacking health insurance include making less than $16,243 a year, being younger than 35 and working for a small business, according to the report. Overall coverage has improved, according to the report, with the number of uninsured people declining by 20 million since the ACA went into effect six years ago.

But the report found that 24 million working age adults were still uninsured during the study period from 2013 to 1016.

Researchers called 4,802 people in the United States on both landlines and cellphones from February to April of this year to get information on health care. They have done a series of surveys since 2013 to see how health care coverage has changed in the past three years.

Collins pointed out that undocumented immigrants, who include more Hispanics proportionality, were especially at risk for lacking health coverage because they are not eligible for Obamacare, Medicare or Medicaid services.

“Immigration reform [where] more people would gain citizenship would make more people eligible," she said. "It also may be that [laws] not allowing non-citizens to enroll … could be loosened. California is looking at the federal government to allow immigrants to buy in the [Obamacare] marketplace."

Rebecca Garfield, senior researcher at the Kaiser Family Foundation, pointed out that many states in the South, which have higher numbers of Hispanic residents, have also not expanded their Medicaid coverage, increasing the likelihood that low-income residents will remain without health coverage.

"Poor individuals are really being left behind,” she said. “We're seeing continuing [trends of] high uninsured rates” for these groups.

Garfield pointed out that the lower rate of health care coverage for Hispanics isn't surprising and that other research has found similar findings.

She also noted that Hispanics might face language barriers that hinder their getting coverage.

"Many people are aware that the law exists," she said. "They may not be aware that they are personally eligible for free coverage."

The Kaiser Family Foundation also released a study Thursday focusing on California that found 67 percent of uninsured residents in California are Hispanic and that half of them are undocumented. Overall, they found that of those who lacked health insurance in 2013, 79 percent now have coverage.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Aug182016

Tennessee Triplets Nearly Break World Record for Size

iStock/Thinkstock(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) -- A set of newborn triplets were the talk of their Tennessee hospital this year, after tipping the scales at a combined 19.6 pounds at birth.

Jack, Stella and Luke Tipton arrived in that order, weighing 7 pounds, 4 ounces; 6 pounds, 3 ounces; and 5 pounds, 9 ounces.

The siblings missed the world record mark for heaviest triplets by 2.4 pounds.

"We were shocked," mom Kate Tipton of Knoxville told ABC News Thursday. "They weighed Jack twice. He was first. They thought, ‘That’s not right. He can’t weigh 7 pounds, 4 ounces as a triplet.' There was so much noise and excitement and disbelief."

Jack, Stella and Luke arrived in March but only recently did Tipton's doctor suggest that she look into whether or not her kids had broken the Guinness World Record for the largest triplets.

To her surprise, Tipton's triplets were just about 2 pounds shy of the title.

The heaviest triplets on record tipped the scales in 2004 at a combined weight of 20 pounds in California, according to Guinness.

"I look back now and I said, 'Wow, what if I had been pregnant another week?'" Tipton joked. "But, I did not want to be pregnant any longer. They were the biggest in the history of UT Medical Center."

Tipton's doctor Mark Hennessy told her this was the first time in his 25 years of practice that he'd ever delivered or seen triplets of this size, she said.

Tipton and her husband, Caleb, have two other daughters, Sophia, 9, and Aubrey, 8.

The Tipton triplets go through about 30 diapers and 115 fluid ounces of formula a day. That's $500 a month to feed the "little" darlings.

The mom of five is enjoying motherhood, she said.

"It's really, really exciting," Tipton said. "The days are busy. If I got up in the morning and made a list of everything I would have to do, I would probably have a panic attack, but I meet their needs and time passes very quickly. They are a lot of fun."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Aug182016

Health Group Accuses Florida Officials of Removing Zika Billboards

iStock/Thinkstock(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) — A national health advocacy group has accused Fort Lauderdale officials of taking down its billboards promoting condom use to prevent sexual transmission of the Zika virus.

The local chapter of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which is based in Los Angeles, alleged that officials from the Fort Lauderdale Mayor's Office and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau (GFLCVB) removed its billboards there featuring an illustration of an unfurled condom with the words “Prevents Zika Transmission” and directing viewers to the website useacondom.com.

The billboards were allegedly taken down this week in locations around Fort Lauderdale and near the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport “following several complaints received from officials in the Mayor’s office, the GFLCVB and their advertising agency Starmark,” the foundation said in a press release Wednesday.

“It is outrageous that the Mayor’s Office or the convention and visitors bureau would remove these billboards, which had a public health message that was relevant to both our community and those visiting the area,” Michael Kahane, head of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s southern bureau in Fort Lauderdale, said in a statement. “Our officials have acted inappropriately and are jeopardizing the public’s health because of their actions.”

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler denied the accusations in a statement to ABC News on Thursday, saying he has “not communicated with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation about its billboard promoting condom use to prevent sexual transmission of the Zika virus.”

“Further, I have not communicated with any billboard company about the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's billboard promoting condom use to prevent sexual transmission of the Zika virus,” Seiler continued. “I suspect that this false accusation and alleged controversy may be part of their marketing campaign.”

Fort Lauderdale’s tourism bureau did not immediately responded to ABC News’ request for comment on the allegations.

The Florida Department of Health said Wednesday there are three new non-related cases of Zika in the Sunshine State, bringing the total number of locally-acquired cases to 33. One of the new cases is in Miami-Dade County, where health officials believe active transmission is happening.

Florida health officials also said there were also 12 new travel-related cases as of Wednesday, bringing the total number to 461. One of the new cases is in Broward County, which is home to Fort Lauderdale.

The Florida Health Department has tested more than 3,300 people statewide since late last year when the Zika virus outbreak in South America first raised alarms.

Although the number of cases has continued to increase, experts say this does not necessarily mean the outbreak is getting worse.

"It’s paradoxical. The reasons we’re finding other cases is that the system is working very well," Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center told ABC News earlier this week. "Expectations have to be tempered with the reality -- namely this is both a mosquito borne virus and a sexually transmitted virus."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Aug182016

Your Body: Being Fit at Midlife May Prevent Strokes Later

iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

We already know that getting regular exercise is important at every age. But new research indicates that fitness at midlife can decrease the risk of stroke as a person ages.

Researchers found that people who are fit in their 40s and 50s had a lower risk of stroke after the age of 65.

So how much exercise do you need? You should aim for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. But even if you start small, every little bit counts.

Personally, I find group fitness classes fun and effective. I know that once I sign up, I have to show up.

Sharing your results and efforts with friends can also keep you accountable and motivated.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.







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