Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Four people have died from Legionnaires' disease in the Bronx this summer.
A fourth person died from Legionnaires' disease in the South Bronx part of New York, according to a report on Saturday. There have been 65 confirmed cases of people with Legionnaires' since July 10, 55 of which were hospitalized.
The four people who died from the disease were older and had additional medical conditions.
Five locations have tested positive for legionella and all have been disinfected, though officials say they are expecting more cases to rise.
Daniel Tejada battled the disease and spoke to ABC News affiliate WABC-TV about his condition.
"I was about to wait one more day to go to the hospital and if I would have waited that one more day, I don't think I'd be here right now," Tejada, who was back home Saturday night, told WABC-TV.
According to WABC-TV, Highbridge, Morrisania, Mott Haven and Hunts Point are four neighborhoods where the outbreak is most prominent.
"I can't say where I got it from because I'm a cab driver and I'm everywhere so I could have caught this in any borough," Tejada told WABC-TV.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and pharmaceutical company Hospiraannounced Friday that they are aware of "cybersecurity vulnerabilities" associated with the company's Symbiq Infusion System.
The devices, computerized pumps that allow for continuous delivery of general infusions, are used in hospitals and nursing homes. Hospira notes in a statement that there have been no known breaches of their devices.
Still, the company has "worked with [customers] to deploy an update to the pump configuration" and "[provide] our Symbiq customers with another layer of security for the devices while they remain in the market for another few months."
The updates, Hospira adds, "will address reported vulnerabilities specific to Symbiq."
The FDA adds that the devices are no longer being manufactured or distributed, recommending that healthcare facilities transition to alternate infusion systems as soon as possible.
Breaches of the Symbiq device "could lead to over- or under-infusion of critical patient therapies," the FDA adds.
"As we learn about vulnerabilities, we are committed to continuing to communicate with customers regarding cybersecurity, software and infusion pump updates or enhancements," Hospira's statement reads.
iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- Thanks to a revolutionary procedure, a woman who was blind for 16 years is now able to see.
Carmen Torres, of South Florida, is the first recipient of a bionic eye. At 18, she was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, in which the vision declines over a period of time, according to ABC News affiliate WPLG-TV.
“You have to move forward with your life," Torres, 45, said of her condition at a news conference Friday.
Through an implant on the eye, the patient wears special glasses containing a video camera. An image is processed through a tiny computer affixed to a purse or belt. A signal is sent into the glasses that then transmits the image to the implant.
According to Torres, she can now see sidewalks and buildings as well as find windows and doors.
"It's very emotional,” she told reporters. “But I am very strong and I didn't cry. I was happy and just laughing like crazy."
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A New York City doctor, who made headlines after he was diagnosed with Ebola, said he hoped an experimental vaccine could be “a way forward” for a region decimated by the deadly virus.
Craig Spencer, an emergency room physician at New York Presbyterian Hospital, made headlines last year when he contracted Ebola after treating patients for the disease in Guinea. His diagnosis in New York City set off a wave of media coverage of the 33-year-old doctor who spent 20 days in isolation as he fought off the deadly disease.
After his treatment Spencer returned to Guinea to treat patients and he got to see firsthand how the vaccine trial affected patients and health care workers.
In a newly published study in the medical journal The Lancet, researchers found that an experimental Ebola vaccine appeared to be successful in early trials. Thousands of patients who had been exposed to Ebola were given the vaccine right away or after three weeks. Those given the vaccine right way were found not to develop the virus, although researchers started tracking virus results after 10 days in case anyone who had already been infected. Sixteen of those who were given the vaccine after 21 days developed the virus.
Officials from the World Health Organization said more research would be needed to confirm the early findings from the Guinea-based study.
Spencer said it was difficult for health workers to get the trial underway — many in the country were still afraid of health care workers or heard rumors about the government not helping patients in need.
“When I was back, it certainly was not calm, it was not easy,” said Spencer. “Many people were still very uncomfortable with Ebola in the country.”
After seeing the devastation of the disease with no clear treatment or vaccine, he said the vaccine is “certainly helpful,” but remains concerned people will assume it can end the outbreak alone.
He pointed out the outbreak had decimated the medical infrastructure in the countries hit hard by Ebola leading to deaths by other more common illnesses or complications like childbirth.
More people “could die of measles than will die of Ebola throughout this outbreak,” explained Spencer, citing that 200,000 people are expected to get the measles virus in the area.
“There was a study that estimated that up to 7 percent of doctors in Sierra Leone and 8 percent in Liberia,” had died from Ebola, said Spencer. “This was for a region that before the outbreak had less practicing doctors [in] countries combined that there were in the one hospital in New York City where I was treated.”
He remained concerned that if people think the vaccine works they will no longer think help is needed, even though measles—which can be prevented with a vaccine—also kills far more than Ebola.
“One of the big messages is that Ebola is bad but post-Ebola could be worse,” said Spencer.
Spencer said he's gone to Africa for years and expects he’ll be back in west Africa in the next year to work with patients.
“I’ve learned so much about medicine and humanity," Spencer said. "What it really comes down to is everyone deserve the same right to be treated and to be free of disease.” said Spencer.
iStock/Thinkstock(DESTIN, Fla.) -- A heroic act to save a drowning girl last Saturday left a Special Forces soldier paralyzed.
Sgt. First Class Tim Brumit was responding to screams that a girl was drowning in the waters of Crab Island in Destin, Florida, amid a storm. As he later recalled, he felt his neck break immediately upon hitting the water. He was pulled out of the water by another soldier, according to ABC News affiliate WEAR-TV.
"They said 'don't go in the water it's storming,' I dove,” he said. "My misjudgment was that the wave moved out of the way and turned into a foot of water probably, and soon as I went, I'm 6'4, so I went in the water, hit my head first, and I'm like, ‘Oh, I'm done.’"
A member of the 7th Special Forces group who had been deployed 11 times in 12 years, Brumit was taken to Baptist Hospital paralyzed from the neck down. He suffered a damaged spinal cord and two broken cervical vertebrae.
Still, Brumit expressed optimism and said: "I've been through tougher. This is not going to set me back." He said he would still go back into the water again.
The drowning girl was rescued by a person on a boat.
Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center (MCASAC)(DERWOOD, Md.) -- A Maryland animal shelter is hoping that a heartfelt letter written by Susie the cat's previous owner before her death, will help the feline's chances of finding a forever home.
"I'm sure that when she wrote it, she wrote it just to the intent of getting it to the adopter," said Katherine Zenzano, community outreach coordinator of Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center in Derwood, Maryland. "But we realized Susie was wasn't going anywhere. Some cats are really great at selling themselves and Susie wasn’t selling herself.
"If this letter can in any way help Susie, or any other cats in the same situation, we are happy to get it out there because we think it can touch a lot of people."
Zenzano told ABC News that Susie, a 5-year-old domestic short-hair orange tabby, was brought into MCASAC on May 15 by her owner's son, who said he was no longer able to care for his mother's cat following her death.
"He had said that he could not have the cat where he lived," she added. "We assume his mother knew this was going to happen because she wrote a letter to the person that was going to adopt Susie. He gave it to our intake counselor, so that's now in a file waiting for whoever comes to adopt her, and it will be passed onto them."
"It [the letter] was very touching," she added. "The adoption counselor had tears in her years. She couldn’t bring herself to read it, but she though it could serve a purpose."
Susie's owner's note read, in part:
Dear Friend, Thank you for adopting my friend, Susie. She was one of three cats in a litter. November 15, 2010 is her approximate birthdate. She moved in with me on December 1, 2010.
Susie is unusual but I enjoy her company.
She is a good snuggler but she likes to be the boss. She spends much of her time on my bed but I always seems [sic] to know where I am. I hope you enjoy Susie as much as I have.
Zenzano said it's not often the shelter learns this much about an animal, but thinks sharing the letter could help make Susie a desirable pet for potential owners.
"It's just a sweet history of their life together," she added. "Every cat has a story. Every animal that comes here has a story and we are left to guess so much. We piece together a lot of the story for them, but with Susie we have a lot to go on."
While Susie was at first a bit skittish coming to the shelter, Zenzano said she's warmed up to the staff and has been profiled as a "love bug."
She added that there have been some families that have expressed interest in adopting Susie, but there have yet to be any serious inquiries.
Tomwang112/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) -- Officials in both Iran and Iraq declared a mandatory holiday this month after temperatures soared far into the triple digits.
In Iraq, temperatures reached a sweltering 126 degrees and officials declared a mandatory holiday to try and protect people from succumbing to the heat. In Iran, the country faced possible record-breaking temperatures and high humidity that will leave residents feeling they are in temperatures as high as 151.2 degrees Fahrenheit, or 66.2 degrees Celsius.
The hottest temperature ever recorded was 56.7 degrees Celsius in Death Valley, but that did not account for humidity.
Such severe temperatures can be incredibly taxing on the body with people more at risk for serious complications including heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
While the old and young are most susceptible to scorching temperatures, such severe heat can be dangerous to anyone spending time out doors.
We asked experts to explain how heat affects the body.
Heat exhaustion is a precursor to heat stroke and can be a sign to get indoors and cooled down fast. While it may seem easy to figure out if someone is getting overheated, experts say that's not always the case. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a list of key symptoms for both heat exhaustion and heat stroke that is included below.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
Fast, weak pulse
Heat stroke symptoms can include:
Body temperature above 103-104
Fast, strong pulse.
Hot, red dry or moist skin
Dr. Edmundo Mandac, director of the Emergency Medicine Clinical Operations, University Hospital Case Medical Center, said that it can be especially difficult to tell if older people are overheating because their body can lose the ability to react to extreme heat.
"They’re in a hot environment and there temperature awareness is not very good," said Mandac. "They don’t have warning signs of sweating."
He said people are usually determined to reach heat stroke if their body temperature reaches about 104 degrees Fahrenheit, but that for older people it may be lower. He explained that as the body has multiple ways of trying to lower the internal temperature.
"The interesting thing is the body has to release the heat somehow, the blood vessels dilate and open up and allow more blood to flow through," said Mandac. "The body thinks it can dissipate the heat…[but]their blood pressure drops."
As a result people can be more at risk for fainting with extreme heat. Heat exhaustion is also just a precursor to heat stroke, a potentially deadly complication as the body's temperature rises. Mandac explained that heat stroke can be so bad that the body will just stop sweating.
"Things start clamping down [you're] losing fluids and your body says 'I don’t have enough fluids in my central system,'" said Mandac. He explained at this point the patient could be in a dire condition because the body has lost the ability to regulate the internal temperature.
Without any fluids to cool the body, Mandac said this is where things get "bad."
"It...can cause heart failure and cause kidneys to fail and when that happens basically those are the major systems," said Mandac, explaining the fatal risk of heat stroke. He said treatment includes putting icepacks in the underarms, neck and groin to lower the body temperature. In rare cases fluid is pumped into the stomach to lower internal temperature even faster.
iStock/Thinkstock(GENEVA) -- Researchers may have found a vaccine for the deadly Ebola virus.
A new study conducted on Ebola-affected communities in the African country of Guinea has proved to be 100 percent effective in stopping the spread of the virus.
Doctors used what they call a "ring vaccination" strategy, vaccinating the friends, family, neighbors and coworkers of almost 100 Ebola patients.
"The data so far shows that none of the 2,014 persons vaccinated developed Ebola virus disease after 10 days after vaccination," Ebola Assistant Director-General Marie-Paule Kieny, head of the Ebola R&D at the World Health Organization, said.
Researchers are now going to expand the trial to include children as well.
"By continuing the trial with this modification, with doing all the vaccinations immediately and also including younger people, we will be able to assist the Ebola response team, bringing Ebola transmission to zero in Guinea," Kieny said.
ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Skinny, as he is now appropriately called, was found abandoned in a Dallas suburb back in 2012. The cat weighed a whopping 41-pounds and had a hard time walking more than five steps.
But all that changed when he was adopted by veterinarian Dr. Brittney Barton, of HEAL Veterinary Hospital, in 2013.
Barton started Skinny on a workout regimen including sit ups, underwater treadmill walking and playtime.
But when it came to walking on land, the feline still needed a bit of extra encouragement. In the beginning, the vet would place treats on the treadmill as inspiration to get moving, but Skinny has now learned to hop on the treadmill with the simple sound of treats shaking around.
“The secret is basically the same secret for all of us,” Barton explained of Skinny’s 22-pound weight loss on ABC News' Good Morning America Friday. “It’s about calorie intake and calories burned. It’s not just about the diets that we used, but trying to figure out ways to get them moving.”
Barton recommends giving pets “green beans and blueberries in lieu of the commercialized [foods].”
Most importantly, she adds, “Try not to love them with food but try to love them with your attention and your time.”
iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Generation Z is notorious for being glued to their phones and spending countless hours on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. And, according to a new study, all that time spent on social media may be making them unhappy.
Research conducted by the Ottawa Public Health agency, and published in the Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking journal, finds that teens who spend more than two hours on social media each day are more likely to suffer from mental health problems, psychological distress and suicidal thoughts.
Data was pulled from a sample of 750 teens in grades 7-12, collected for the 2013 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey. Of that sample, about 25 percent of students said they spend more than two hours daily on social media, and those students were more likely to report poor mental health.
These results do not prove causality, but researchers suspect that the relationships between social media use and mental health occur in both ways. Teens with mental health issues may turn to social media for connection, while using social media frequently may lead to mental health issues over time.
"It could be that teens with mental health problems are seeking out interactions as they are feeling isolated and alone," lead author Dr. Hugues Sampasa-Kanyinga tells The Huffington Post in an email. "Or they would like to satisfy unmet needs for face-to-face mental health support."
Still, the issue is complex, says Sampasa-Kanyinga, and looking only at social media use is not sufficient to explain the cause of mental health issues.
Think it’s time for teens to stop tapping their thumbs? Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold of the Interactive Media Institute in San Diego says not necessarily.
"We see social networking sites, which may be a problem for some, also being a solution," says Wiederhold in a statement, reacting to the study's findings. "Since teens are on the sites, it is the perfect place for public health and service providers to reach out and connect with this vulnerable population and provide health promotion systems and supports."
BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — An outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease has infected at least 46 in New York City and health officials said the bacteria has already been found in cooling units on top of at least two buildings.
Two patients with Legionnaire's disease died during the outbreak, but officials stressed that the two patients, a man and woman in their 50s, had other conditions including lung and heart issues.
Caused by a bacteria called Legionella, the infection causes a type of pneumonia that can be damaging or even fatal for those with compromised immune systems or underlying health conditions. It’s contracted when a person inhales small droplets of air or water with the bacteria and can be spread from contaminated hot tubs, fountains, cooling units for air conditioners and large plumbing systems.
Dr. Mary Basset, commissioner of the New York City Health Department, said the bacteria which causes the disease has been found in two cooling towers in the Bronx, one in a hospital and one in a commercial buildings.
She stressed that the units did not lead to infections inside the buildings and explained that as the cooling towers release mist, it falls onto the street and can potentially infect those passing by.
“It thrives in water and in summer we have a better atmosphere for it,” explained Basset. “We are looking into ways to keep a better eye on the maintenance of these cooling towers.”
She said the reported cases were spread out in a large area so investigators were still searching for other sources of infection.
“We are conducting a swift investigation to determine the source of the outbreak and prevent future cases. I urge anyone with symptoms to seek medical attention right away,” Bassett said in an earlier statement.
Symptoms of Legionnaire’s disease include coughing, shortness of breath, high fever, muscle aches or headaches.
Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said that 46 infections constitute a large outbreak for Legionnaire’s disease and that health officials will likely look for a common source if people are in the same neighborhood.
“If they are clustered geographically … Where do they travel, where do they work, where do they worship?,” Schaffner said of the kinds of questions health officials will ask patients. “By localizing it geographically you can look up and see if you can find cooling towers that might be contaminated.”
While the outbreak is worrying, Schaffner said people should not panic since the disease cannot be spread person to person and antibiotic treatment is available.
The disease was named after it infected numerous people at a conference of the American Legion in 1976. The bacteria leads to the hospitalization of around 8,000 to 18,000 people in the U.S. every year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and it is more commonly reported in the summer and early fall.
Photo by Mark Wilson/Newsmakers(NEW YORK) -- The National Institutes of Health reported successful use of non-invasive electrical stimulation treatment for paralysis on Thursday, citing the ability of five paralyzed patients to move their legs.
The study involved use of electrical stimulation to the spinal cord for five men with complete motor paralysis. The number of patients who have achieved mobility while receiving the stimulation is now at nine, the NIH says.
The men had their legs hung from the ceiling in braces, allowing them to move freely without gravitational resistance. The NIH notes that such movement is not comparable to walking, but represents "significant progress towards the eventual goal of developing a therapy for a wide range of individuals with spinal cord injury."
"These encouraging results provide continued evidence that spinal cord injury may no longer mean a life-long sentence of paralysis," said Roderic Pettigrew, director for the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at NIH.
Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Ronda Rousey recently posed in Sports Illustrated for its swimsuit issue. Instead of dropping weight like most do before stripping down and putting on a bikini, the champion MMA fighter decided to pack on a few pounds.
"I felt like I was much too small for a magazine that is supposed to be celebrating the epitome of a woman," she told Cosmopolitan.com. "I wanted to be at my most feminine shape, and I don't feel my most attractive at 135 pounds, which is the weight I fight at. At 150 pounds, I feel like I'm at my healthiest and my strongest and my most beautiful."
Rousey, 28, said that being an athlete growing up, she felt "my body type was uncommon, it was a bad thing."
"Now that I'm older, I've really begun to realize that I'm really proud that my body has developed for a purpose and not just to be looked at," she added. "But to be honest, it took a lot of time to develop a healthier relationship with food and with my weight. My mind was backward. I thought I wanted my body to look a certain way so I could be happy."
Rousey said her fighting weight is only maintained for that purpose and for weigh-ins.
"Afterward, I maintain a weight where I'm not starving or feeling weak, which makes me happier," she said.
What's the fighter-turned-actress afraid of?
"Failure. I'm scared of failure so much more than any of the other girls I compete against that I work so much harder than they possibly could. I'm totally down with spiders and frogs and heights and snakes — everything, I'm cool with it. But I have such a huge fear of failure that I go to bed every night thinking about all the possible ways that I can succeed," she said.