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NEWS
October 18, 2012 | By Monte Morin
The number of deaths linked to a rare fungal meningitis outbreak rose to 20 on Thursday as health officials announced new evidence tying the illnesses to tainted steroid medication. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration , scientists have confirmed the presence of a fungus known as Exserohilum rostratum in unopened vials of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate that were packaged by New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass.
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NATIONAL
April 27, 2014 | By Matt Pearce, This post has been updated with the latest information.
The worst tornado outbreak of the year struck several small towns across the central U.S. on Sunday, killing at least 12 people, damaging or destroying scores of homes and businesses, and sparking a search effort in Arkansas that continued into the night. Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe's office confirmed that at least 11 people were killed when twisters struck near Little Rock. Another person was confirmed dead in Quapaw, Okla. Nearby Baxter Springs, Kan., was heavily damaged.  Smaller tornadoes were reported in Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri and Mississippi, but it was in central Arkansas where the some of the most dramatic rescue scenes were playing out. A tornado -- or a series of tornadoes -- appeared to scour a path dozens of miles long and possibly up to three-quarters of a mile wide.
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SCIENCE
September 5, 2012 | By Thomas H. Maugh II
This year's outbreak of West Nile virus is the worst since the illness was first observed in the United States in 1999, officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday. The number of confirmed cases rose by 25% last week to 1,993 -- although only an estimated 2% to 3% of cases are reported to the government. Those are generally the most serious infections: Most people who contract the virus do not develop severe symptoms, and many never even know they were infected.
BUSINESS
April 10, 2014 | By David Pierson
More than two months after declaring the outbreak over, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said an additional 43 people have been sickened by strains of salmonella linked to Foster Farms poultry. The new cases were reported between late February and March 18, bringing the total number of people sickened by the year-old national outbreak to 524, the CDC said Wednesday . The outbreak first surfaced last October when the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a health alert warning consumers of salmonella linked to three Foster Farms processing facilities in Central California.
NEWS
October 17, 2012 | By Jon Bardin
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials have linked four more deaths to the fungal meningitis outbreak caused by a batch of tainted steroid medicine, bringing the total dead to 19. Two of the new deaths were in Tennessee, with one each in Virginia and Florida. Fungal meningitis is an extremely dangerous, non-contagious infection of the membranes that line the brain and spinal cord. It often causes the brain to swell. The announcement by the CDC came the same day Food and Drug Administration authorities raided the Massachusetts offices of New England Compounding Center, the company at the center of the scandal.
NEWS
July 13, 2010 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
Federal officials said Tuesday that they fear an outbreak of dengue fever in Florida after a survey of Key West residents found that at least 5% had been infected or exposed to the virus. With the exception of a handful of isolated cases along the Texas-Mexico border, there had previously been no cases in the United States since 1946 and no outbreak in Florida since 1934. Dengue fever, which is characterized by a fever of 104 to 105 degrees, a widespread rash, headache, fatigue and muscle aches, is the most common disease caused by mosquito-transmitted viruses in the world.
BUSINESS
April 10, 2014 | By David Pierson
More than two months after declaring the outbreak over, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said an additional 43 people have been sickened by strains of salmonella linked to Foster Farms poultry. The new cases were reported between late February and March 18, bringing the total number of people sickened by the year-old national outbreak to 524, the CDC said Wednesday . The outbreak first surfaced last October when the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a health alert warning consumers of salmonella linked to three Foster Farms processing facilities in Central California.
NEWS
May 9, 2012 | By Thomas H. Maugh II / For the Booster Shots blog
A reusable grocery bag left in a hotel bathroom caused an outbreak of norovirus-induced diarrhea and nausea that struck nine of 13 members of a girls' soccer team in October, Oregon researchers reported Wednesday. The outbreak also affected many family members after the team returned home. Norovirus is a common, easily spread virus that causes various forms of gastric distress. It is "the perfect human pathogen" because it is highly contagious, rapidly and prolifically spread, produces limited immunity and is only moderately virulent, which allows it to continue spreading, said Dr. Aron J. Hall of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in an editorial accompanying the report in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
BUSINESS
October 16, 2012 | By Tiffany Hsu
An outbreak of E. coli cases linked to a North Carolina fair is raising questions about the safety of petting zoos and animal exhibits. So far, Cleveland County Health Director Dorothea Wyant said 38 cases, including the death of a 2-year-old boy, have been linked to the Cleveland County Fair. Of the 16 adults and 22 children involved, eight were hospitalized. Many had stopped by to see the sheep, goats and pigs used for livestock competitions and in the "huge" petting zoo, Wyant said.
NEWS
October 19, 2011 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has identified why whole cantaloupes sold by Colorado grower Jensen Farms became contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes : "poor sanitary" practices in a packing facility. The FDA said it conducted an environmental assessment at Jensen Farms on Sept. 22-23, and inspectors found that bacteria may have originated in cantaloupe fields or on a truck parked near the packing facility. The bacteria then probably proliferated in the packing facility, where pooled water near equipment and walkways and might have promoted growth, the agency said.
WORLD
April 9, 2014 | By Aamera Jiwaji
Senegal has closed its borders with Guinea as West Africa braces against the spread of Ebola virus disease. The World Health Organization, which says the outbreak is presenting the toughest public health challenge in four years, has not recommended any trade and travel restrictions. Spread to Senegal is of particular concern because it is a leading tourist destination in the region, with arrivals topping 1 million in 2011, according to the World Bank. The outbreak has been blamed for 101 deaths in Guinea and 10 in Liberia.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 26, 2014 | By Anh Do
Orange County health officials met in an emergency session this week after the latest measles tally showed the number of cases in the county had rocketed in the past few weeks. There are now 21 confirmed cases of measles in Orange County, the most of any county in California, health officials said. The number jumped upward from seven cases less than two weeks ago.  Measles cases are up across the state and rose to 32 cases by March 14, far higher than the three reported cases from the previous year.
BUSINESS
March 3, 2014 | By David Pierson
Dozens more people have been sickened by a salmonella outbreak tied to Foster Farms chicken that was thought to have been over, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday. The agency reported 51 new cases of Salmonella Heidelberg between mid-January and late February. Forty-four of the new cases were found in California. “It raises concern that this outbreak may not be over,” said Robert Tauxe, the CDC's deputy director for the division of food-borne, waterborne and environmental diseases.
BUSINESS
February 21, 2014 | By David Pierson
A listeria outbreak linked to cheese has killed one person in California and sickened seven in Maryland, including three newborns. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that the outbreak is linked to semi-soft, Latino-style cheese called Caujada en Terron that is sold from a chain of grocery stores in Maryland. The cheese was made by Roos Foods of Kenton, Del. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued a warning Wednesday to avoid products made by Roos Foods, which also sells cheese under the brand names Santa Rosa de Lima, Amigo, Mexicana, Suyapa, La Chapina, and La Purisima Crema Nica.  The CDC did not name the grocery chain linked to the outbreak.
WORLD
February 13, 2014 | By Brian Bennett
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration plans to spend $85 million over the next two years to help at least 10 countries improve their ability to respond to disease outbreaks, officials say. In a new push that aims to treat epidemics as potential national security threats, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will help other countries expand their ability to detect deadly diseases early and build teams that can respond to...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 31, 2014 | By Carla Rivera
Health authorities are recommending that UC Santa Barbara students be inoculated against a strain of meningitis that infected several young adults at the seaside campus and caused an outbreak at Princeton University. University officials said Friday that the federal Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of the serogroup B meningococcal vaccine, which is licensed for use in Europe, Canada and Australia but not in the U.S. Four Santa Barbara undergraduate students became infected with meningitis in November.
BUSINESS
January 27, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
A possible outbreak of norovirus that has sickened more than 600 passengers and crew members on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship has prompted company officials to cut the trip short, the company said late Sunday. The ship, Explorer of the Seas, is heading back to its home port, Cape Liberty, N.J., two days earlier than anticipated, even after the vessel has undergone sanitation procedures at two ports as passengers grew ill.  In a statement, Royal Caribbean said a spike of "gastrointestinal illness" over the weekend led to ending the cruise early.  "After consultation between our medical team and representatives of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we think the right thing to do is to bring our guests home early, and use the extra time to sanitize the ship even more thoroughly," the company said.  Royal Caribean said its doctors suspected norovirus was behind the outbreak.
BUSINESS
January 27, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
A possible outbreak of norovirus that has sickened more than 600 passengers and crew members on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship has prompted company officials to cut the trip short, the company said late Sunday. The ship, Explorer of the Seas, is heading back to its home port, Cape Liberty, N.J., two days earlier than anticipated, even after the vessel has undergone sanitation procedures at two ports as passengers grew ill.  In a statement, Royal Caribbean said a spike of "gastrointestinal illness" over the weekend led to ending the cruise early.  "After consultation between our medical team and representatives of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we think the right thing to do is to bring our guests home early, and use the extra time to sanitize the ship even more thoroughly," the company said.  Royal Caribean said its doctors suspected norovirus was behind the outbreak.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 15, 2014 | By Jason Wells
Federal criminal proceedings have been suspended in Fresno because of an outbreak of the flu at the county jail, where hundreds of inmates have been quarantined. U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill issued the order Tuesday afternoon "in order to assure the health and safety" of judges, court staff, attorneys and the public, the Fresno Bee reported . The Fresno County Sheriff's Office has been using lockdown procedures, preventing inmate movement "unless absolutely necessary" in an effort to keep the spread of the H1N1 flu virus from spreading, according to a media alert . A 60-year-old inmate who was diagnosed with the H1N1 flu died after he was taken to a hospital  Monday.  Inmates in the specific housing area are being assessed daily, and immunizations are being offered to both inmates and jail staff as soon as possible, according to the sheriff's office.
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