Entries in Disease (3)


On Thanksgiving, Family of Baby with Rare Disease “So Grateful”

Courtesy of Jenna Buswell(SEATTLE) -- A stranger who raffles his beloved race car to help a baby he’s never met.

A caring, intrepid team of doctors halfway around the world, who could save that baby’s life.

And watching that wide-eyed baby giggle with his 3-year-old sister.

They’re the moments that make the parent of a child with a disease so rare he’s just one of 14 people in the world who have it thankful.

“I think life throws a lot of curveballs, and this is definitely one of them,” said Jenna Buswell, the mother of 9-month-old Casen Buswell.

The past nine months have been spent taking Casen, who is only one of 14 people in the world with a rare vascular disease called glomuvenous malformations plaque type, to doctor’s appointments.

The disease causes Casen’s breathing to be labored and his blood vessels, skin and muscles to harden, something that will only worsen as he gets older unless he receives lifesaving care in Belgium, where a husband and wife team are the only doctors in the world who have experience treating the rare disease.

“Being a special education teacher, I’m used to working with high needs children. I never envisioned that was going to my life at home,” Buswell said. “We’re so grateful Casen is our son so we can fight for him and advocate for him.”

Through the bad news at doctors’ appointments, the hospital stays and medical bills, Jenna Buswell said she’s been overwhelmed by the generosity and support her family has received from strangers, making this Thanksgiving, baby Casen’s first, especially meaningful for the Puyallup, Wash., family.

“We’ll be thinking about what everyone else is doing who helped us. And what they have done for us and we look forward to the day when we can give back,” she said.

Buswell said she keeps a scrapbook documenting all of the acts of kindness, many on the part of complete strangers that have touched her family, in the hope that she will one day be able to teach her son about gratitude.

There was racing enthusiast Ron Cook, from nearby Arlington, who raffled his beloved 1957 Chevy Bel Air netting $11,000 for the family, who were complete strangers to him before he saw a report on ABC News’ affiliate KOMO.

The good deed was then carried on when the winner of the car, octogenarian Della Phillip, vowed to sell it and donate the proceeds to the Buswell family.

Then there are the doctors, including those in the United States, who have treated Casen and kept in communication with his specialists in Belgium.

And the strangers, the people who heard about Casen’s story and left encouraging notes for the Buswells or donated to them online.

“The thing I want everyone to know is that our Thanksgiving table may be small when we’re eating dinner, but it’s really going to be quite large. I’ll be thinking of everyone who has helped us,” Buswell said. “This Thanksgiving is about living every moment to the fullest.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Measles Outbreak: Tens of Thousands Exposed?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images (file)(WASHINGTON) -- Federal health officials are scrambling to prevent a massive measles outbreak after a young woman traveled through three airports this week with an active case of the highly contagious virus.

The 27-year-old woman, who tested positive for measles, departed the U.K. before traveling through airports in Washington, D.C., Denver and Albuquerque last Tuesday, exposing possibly tens of thousands of passengers to the disease.

"Public health authorities consider this a medical urgency, if not an emergency,” said Dr. William Schaffner, professor and chair of the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University. “They will do everything they can to track down everyone to see if they are indeed protected."

Because measles is transmitted through the air, health experts say passengers who traveled on the same planes as the woman, or passed through the same airports could have been exposed.

"Measles is the most communicable virus that we know and it can be transmitted not just person to person, but over considerable distances because it wafts in the air and then people can inhale it when they are some distance away," Schaffner said.

While the CDC is trying tracking down the passengers, airport officials are doing the same with employees.

In the U.S., only about 60 cases of measles are reported to the CDC each year. Health officials say children who never received an immunization or adults who declined to be immunized are at greatest risk.

"It’s a potentially devastating illness,” Schaffner said. “It still kills many children worldwide, so this is not a disease which we wish to reintroduce into the United States."

The measles can take 18 days to develop, so it may be a while before the scope of the exposure is fully recognizable.

The CDC says the woman who tested positive was not immunized because of her religion.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Outbreak Feared in Proposed Federal Disease Research Facility

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(KANSAS CITY) -- A federal disease research facility planned for Manhattan, Kan., has sparked controversy after a safety study reported a 70 percent chance of an outbreak of dangerous and contagious diseases.

Located about 120 miles west of Kansas City, the proposed $451 million National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility would study dangerous foreign animal and zoonotic diseases, which are illnesses passed between humans and animals. It would be the first time in almost 75 years that research of highly contagious foot and mouth disease would be allowed to take place on the U.S. mainland.

In a report critiquing the Homeland Security risk assessment study, the National Research Council issued several warnings about the current plan for the facility, chief among them, it said, was a 70 percent chance of a foot and mouth disease outbreak over the building's 50-year lifespan.

Although the Department of Homeland Security assessment put the cost of an outbreak between $9 billion and $50 billion, the report suggests the cost would be much higher.

Foot and mouth disease, a severe viral infection that affects cloven-footed animals such cattle and pigs, is one of the most dreaded diseases among farmers. An outbreak in the United Kingdom in 2001 had grave economic consequences for the country's agriculture industry: with more than 2,000 cases, thousands of healthy animals were slaughtered as a preventive measure.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio