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HEAR THIS HOUR'S UPDATE

Wednesday
Oct012014

US Ebola Patient Identified, May Have Exposed School-Aged Children to Disease

Will Montgomery(DALLAS) -- Five school-aged children in Texas may have been exposed to Ebola by the first patient diagnosed with the virus in the United States, officials said Wednesday.

The children had contact with the patient and are being monitored at home, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday in a press conference.

"Let me assure you, these children have been identified and are being monitored," the governor said.

"This is all hands on deck," Perry said.

The patient was identified on Wednesday as Thomas Eric Duncan. Duncan's identity was confirmed Wednesday by a source familiar with the government's response to the diagnosis. His name emerged as Texas health officials outlined efforts to track and monitor people Duncan had been in contact with since becoming sick over the weekend.

The country's top medical official, who has vowed to stop Ebola "in its tracks" in the U.S., conceded Wednesday that it's "not impossible" that others will contract the disease.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said an extensive tracking process is underway in the wake of the first Ebola diagnosis in the United States, with special focus on the Duncan’s family and health staff.

“We have a seven-person team in Dallas working with the local health department and the hospital, and we will be identifying everyone who may have come in contact with him and then monitoring them for 21 days,” Frieden said.

The city of Dallas, which has activated its Emergency Operations Center on "Level 2: High Readiness," said, "We are currently evaluating 12-18 people that the patient confirmed to have the Ebola virus was in contact with."

In addition, the three ambulance crew members that brought Duncan to the hospital were tested for Ebola. The tests were negative, but the crew members were sent home and will be monitored for the next three weeks, the city said in a statement.

Duncan's safety, along with the well-being of the medical people treating him, is a primary focus, Frieden said.

“What we need to do first in this particular instance is do everything possible to help this individual who’s really fighting for their life, and then make sure that we’re doing that, that we don’t have other people exposed in the hospital, identify all those contacts and monitor them for 21 days. It’s not impossible that one or two of them would develop symptoms and then they would need to be isolated,” he said.

Frieden said he’s confident that passengers who flew on the same plane as Duncan did not contract the disease.

“That was four or five days before he had his first symptoms and with Ebola, you’re not contagious until you have symptoms,” he said.

"Besides the case detected yesterday," the Texas State Health Department told ABC News, "there are no additional suspect cases in Texas at this time and we have not conducted any more Ebola tests in our state lab."

Although American Ebola patients have been treated in the United States prior to this diagnosis, they all contracted Ebola in West Africa. Ebola has killed 2,917 people and infected 3,346 others since the outbreak began in March.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct012014

Sabrina Allen: Moment Missing Girl's Father Found Out She Was Safe

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children(AUSTIN, Texas) -- After 12 years of clinging to hope that his missing daughter would be found safe, a Texas father is now waiting to reunite with the little girl who was taken from him.

Sabrina Allen, who was 4 when she went missing, was located in a small town southeast of Mexico City on Tuesday, authorities said.

Now 17, Allen was taken into custody, along with her non-custodial mother, Dara Llorens, and was flown back to Houston late Tuesday, authorities said.

"I'm going to ask her if I can give her a hug," the girl's father, Greg Allen, said through tears at an emotional news conference Wednesday. "She's in pretty bad shape as far as my understanding....She was not living a regular life. She has not been going to school."

On April 19, 2002, Llorens allegedly took her daughter for a scheduled weekend visit as part of a court-ordered child custody agreement.

According to the FBI, Llorens never returned Sabrina to her father, who was her primary guardian, at the end of that weekend.

Acting on a tip from a confidential informant, Mexican officials worked with a team from private investigator Philip Klein's office to locate Allen and Llorens on Tuesday morning at a small apartment in Tlaxcala, authorities said.

Llorens was booked into Travis County Jail on an aggravated kidnapping charge. It was not immediately known if she had hired an attorney.

As Sabrina Allen re-adjusts to life in the United States, her father said he hopes she has some memories of their time together from before she was taken.

"I want to know her. She’s a completely different person, but they say personalities are formed by age five," Allen told ABC News' Austin affiliate, KVUE, in an exclusive interview. "[I'm] hoping she has some memories still.”

Allen said hiring Philip Klein as a private investigator and setting up a website for tips allowed him to never give up hope that he would one day be reunited with his daughter.

"Phil told me finding her would be the easy part. Getting her out will be the hard part," Allen said.

Now that Sabrina Allen is back home, Allen said he's patiently waiting to reunite with the daughter he worked to bring home for 12 years.

"She needs time to relax and just be a kid," he said.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct012014

Accused Cop Killer Eric Frein Has Dodged Authorities Before

Courtesy Roman Kamensky(NEW YORK) -- The accused cop killer who's been the subject of a manhunt in eastern Pennsylvania for weeks tried to dodge authorities once before to escape prosecution, ABC News learned Wednesday.

Eric Frein, a war reenactor obsessed with Eastern European armies and weaponry, was arrested and charged with grand larceny in 2004 after stealing uniforms from a World War II reenactment in New York. He requested a jury trial but never appeared.

"On the day that his trial was supposed to start he didn't show up," Schuyler County District Attorney Joseph Fazzary told ABC News.

The judge issued a warrant for his arrest on bail jumping. Frein's father, a retired Army major, brought him to New York to handle the charges. Frein pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, spent about four months in jail and paid $3,000 in restitution.

"He made it much worse than what it could have been, for sure," Fazzary said.

Frein, 31, swiped five wool replica uniforms, 10 smocks, seven camouflage socks and two wool caps in the heist at the World War II Reenactment Center in Odessa, New York. The owner of the items saw them for sale on eBay two months later.

Fazarry said he knew at the time that Frein "was some sort of marksman and may have had a number of weapons."

Now, a decade later, Frein is evading police once more. He's been on the run since Sept. 12, when, police said, he shot two Pennsylvania state troopers at the Blooming Grove barracks before fleeing into the woods. He's a trained survivalist and skilled shooter, and police believe he planned the ambush and was prepared to hide out in the woods for a long period of time.

Police have found an AK-47, two functional pipe bombs, empty packs of Serbian cigarettes and soiled diapers in the search. They believe Frein has been hiding out near the border of Pike and Monroe counties, not far from his home in Canadensis, Pennsylvania.

Shortly after the ambush, they also found his abandoned Jeep in a swamp. There was military gear, empty rifle cases, camouflage face paint and a black hooded sweatshirt inside, police said.

Frein has been spotted several times but police were never close enough to apprehend the suspect, accused of killing one officer and shooting another in the attack nearly three weeks ago. Lt. Col. George Bivens, who is leading the manhunt, suspects Frein is getting tired.

"You are clearly stressed," Bivens said a press conference on Tuesday, calling for Frein to surrender. "You're making significant mistakes. We continue to take your supplies and your weapon stockpiles. While you are no doubt weakening, our troopers' resolve is very strong. We are not going anywhere."

The FBI has added Frein to its 10 Most Wanted fugitive list.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct012014

Child Infected with Enterovirus 68 Dies in Rhode Island

iStock/Thinkstock(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) -- A child infected with enterovirus 68 has died, the Rhode Island Department of Health said Wednesday.

The 10-year-old girl from Cumberland, Rhode Island, died last week of a rare combination of bacterial and viral infections, the department said, explaining that she died of Staphylococcus aureus sepsis "associated with" enterovirus 68.

“We are all heartbroken to hear about the death of one of Rhode Island’s children,” state Health Department Director Dr. Michael Fine said in a statement. “Many of us will have EV-D68 [enterovirus 68]. Most of us will have very mild symptoms and all but very few will recover quickly and completely."

Enterovirus 68, which is suspected of sickening children in 45 states, starts out like the common cold but can quickly turn serious and send children to the hospital with breathing problems. And on Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it was investigating whether the virus led to temporary limb paralysis in nine children in Colorado. It is related to the polio virus.

The girl's illness began with cold-like symptoms and shortness of breath, Fine said during a press conference Wednesday. Her parents called 911 last week, but after she arrived at the hospital her condition "deteriorated very quickly."

"Things became dire," Fine said.

She died of Staphylococcus aureus sepsis, which he said was "associated with" her enterovirus 68 infection.

Staphylococcus aureus is a bacteria that lives in about 30 percent of people's noses and usually doesn't cause any problems, according to the CDC. It can be serious or fatal when it results in sepsis, which is body-wide inflammation that results from an infection, according to the CDC. Sepsis can cause blood flow problems, which leads to organ failure.

The CDC said Wednesday that the Rhode Island death is not the first in patients who had enterovirus 68. In a statement, the agency said that it "has detected EV-D68 in specimens from three patients who died and had samples submitted for testing." However, it was unclear what role the enterovirus may have played in those deaths.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct012014

Arrest in Missing UVA Student Has Cops Checking Cold Cases

Charlottesville Police Department(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- At least two additional sheriffs' offices in Virginia are reviewing old murder cases to see if they are connected to the suspect in the disappearance of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham.

Virginia State Police have already confirmed that they found "a new forensic link" between the 2009 murder of Morgan Harrington and Jesse Matthew, 32, who has been arrested and charged with abduction with intent to defile in the case of Graham's disappearance last month.

Virginia State Police investigating Harrington's death found a DNA link in 2010 between her murder and the 2005 sexual assault of a woman in Fairfax, Virginia. The woman survived the attack.

Now, investigators in the Campbell County Sheriff's Office and the Montgomery County Sheriff's office are checking if two open murder cases have any connection to Matthew.

Cassandra Morton, 23, was reported missing in Lynchburg on the same night that Harrington, 20, vanished in Charlottesville in October 2009. The two young women were approximately 60 miles apart. Morton's remains were found on Candlers Mountain in November of that year, while Harrington's remains were not found until January.

Campbell County Sheriff Steve Hutcherson told ABC News that the investigator in Morton's case will now be checking to see if Matthew has any connection to her death "like any other lead."

"If any leads come in, of course they follow up on them," Hutcherson said.

"It's way too early to say that someone's a suspect in the case," he said.

Investigators 70 miles further east in Montgomery County are checking to see if there is any connection between Matthew and a double homicide that occurred near Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.

The murders of Heidi Childs and David Metzler, who were shot near a camp ground in August 2009, are also considered an open investigation by the Montgomery County Sheriff's office and they are looking to see if there is a connection to Matthew.

"Our investigators will certainly follow up and look at the facts surrounding the Hannah Graham case to see if there is a connection. However, at this time we have nothing to lead us to believe that there is a connection," Capt. Brian Wright of the Montgomery County Sheriff's office told ABC News.

Attempts to reach Matthew's attorney, Jim Camblos, were not immediately returned.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct012014

WATCH: 35,000 Walruses Swarm Alaska's Shores

iStock/Thinkstock(JUNEAU, Alaska) -- Thousands of walruses washed along the beach of an Alaskan eskimo village in early September, gathering as the result of increasing ocean temperatures.

An estimated 35,000 of the sea mammals massed on the shores in early September. Usually, the animals will position themselves on ice, but climate change and warmer conditions have forced the walruses to swim to the coasts, according to experts.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct012014

Missing Texas Girl Found 12 Years Later in Mexico

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children(AUSTIN, Texas) -- A Texas girl who has been missing for 12 years is back in the United States Wednesday after authorities located her in Mexico, authorities said.

The Austin Police Department confirmed to ABC News that Sabrina Allen had been located, however declined to release further information.

A news conference, which includes local police and the FBI, is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon to discuss "a significant arrest," authorities said.

Philip Klein, a private investigator who has worked on the case, told ABC News that Allen, who was 4 years old when she went missing, was located in a small town southeast of Mexico City.

The mission was carried out by Mexican federal authorities, the U.S. Marshals and FBI, according to Klein, who said that one of the Mexican agents sustained a minor injury in the operations.

The missing girl, who is now a teenager, was taken into custody with her mother, Dara Llorens, and flown back to Houston late Tuesday, Klein said.

He said Llorens was booked into Travis County Jail, while Allen is currently undergoing a medical evaluation at an undisclosed location.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct012014

CDC: It's 'Not Necessary' to Release Ebola Patient's Flight Information

James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(ATLANTA) -- The flight information for the Ebola patient diagnosed in Texas will not be released by health officials because "it's just not necessary," a spokesperson at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told ABC News.

The CDC announced that the man has tested positive for the disease, making him the first person to have discovered he had the virus while on U.S. soil, and they made it clear that he traveled from Liberia to America to visit family in Dallas.

"If we need to contact passengers we have a way. We'd call ourselves," the CDC spokesperson said.

Even though the CDC will not release his flight plan from Liberia to the United States, it is clear that he would have had to make at least two transfers -- including one in at least one other country.

Flights from the airport in the Liberian capital of Monrovia fly to only six destinations -- four in West and Central Africa, one flight to Morocco and one flight to Brussels, Belgium. There are no direct flights into the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport from any of those six destinations, meaning that the man had to make at least one more change.

The CDC said Tuesday that the passengers who unknowingly traveled with the man need not be concerned because he was not contagious while he was on the plane.

"The ill person did not exhibit symptoms of Ebola during the flights from West Africa and CDC does not recommend that people on the same commercial airline flights undergo monitoring, as Ebola is only contagious if the person is experiencing active symptoms," the agency said in a statement Tuesday.

The man left Liberia on Sept. 19 and arrived in Texas on Sept. 20, CDC Director Tom Frieden said.

"Ebola doesn't spread before someone gets sick and he didn't get sick until four days after he got off the airplane," Frieden noted during a news conference Tuesday.

On his first visit to the hospital, doctors did not immediately conclude that he had Ebola and they sent him home but he returned with much more drastic symptoms on Sept. 27, according to the CDC. He was put in a special isolation unit the following day.

Part of the problem in diagnosing Ebola comes from the fact that patients, like this man, can take up to 21 days to exhibit symptoms such as fever, muscle pain, vomiting and bleeding.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct012014

National Nursing Shortage Fueled by Lack of Teachers

Fuse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- They’re often the first people you see at the doctor’s office, and the first line of defense in any emergency room -- but America’s nursing population is shrinking fast.

The nursing shortage may not be caused just by lack of interest. In many ways, it’s caused by lack of capacity. Each year, 80,000 applicants are turned away from nursing schools, often because there aren’t enough teachers or resources to accommodate growing student interest.

“Suddenly, we turned around and realized we’re not attracting enough nurses to go into teaching,” said Dr. Kimberly S. Glassman, with patient care services and the chief nursing officer at NYU Langone Medical Center.

“The fear is we will have to shrink the number of nurses we can prepare for the future at a time when we need to prepare more,” she said.

Many of America’s nurses are about to reach retirement age just as the baby boomer population is growing in its health care consumption -- compounding the urgency of the situation.

“In addition to not having many student placements, and the retirement issue on the part of the faculty, the slowness at which we can prepare these nurses to serve as teachers has really come together at a time when we really want to increase the numbers, but we find that we are restrained,” said American Nurses Association President Pam Cipriano.

But Glassman is quick to eschew a doomsday scenario, saying, “This is not something you’re going to feel day to day. ...This is something that we and other universities are paying attention to.”

The ANA is taking note, as well, working to help fund scholarships and encouraging nursing students, as well as current registered nurses, to take advantage of doctoral and masters programs, providing them with a window to one day move into a faculty position.

“On the one hand, we think that the position is getting better,” said Cipriano. “But on the other hand, we know it can take years before we can change the equation, before we have sufficient numbers of slots for those 80,000 candidates that are being turned away.”

Glassman noted that larger institutions such as NYU Hospital and similar facilities in major cities are not the ones that are suffering the most. It’s the institutions in smaller, more rural areas that will see a more rapid change in a shorter amount of time.

To that end, the ANA will be canvassing the halls of Congress this January in an effort to double down on funding efforts for schools and scholarship programs.

In the meantime, Cipriano said, she’s focused on one basic question: “How can we redesign care? What are the care methods that will allow us to use the nurses we have in the most effective manner?”


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct012014

Foster Farms Offers Award for Chickens Killed at California Plant

Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock(CARUTHERS, Calif.) -- Foster Farms is offering $5,000 for information about the killing of nearly 1,000 chickens in Caruthers, California.

The Fresno Sheriff's office said in a news release Tuesday that on Sept. 20, suspects used a golf club and "possibly another similar type instrument" to slaughter 920 chickens.

Deputy Chris Curtice told the Los Angeles Times “whoever did something like this is pretty sick." Detectives are looking into a motive.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio