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What Would Happen if Ebola Landed in the US


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The current Ebola virus outbreak is already the worst on record, with 1,201 infected in three countries across West Africa. Of those infected, 672 have died, including top Ebola doctors in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

While the staggering numbers of the infected and dead are frightening, an outbreak in the U.S. is unlikely to be as devastating as the hardest hit areas in Africa, health officials said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other government agencies have multiple safeguards in place to contain the deadly virus from turning into a wider epidemic.

The safeguards have already been put into place after an American doctor in Liberia was diagnosed with Ebola. His family was visiting the U.S. before he was diagnosed and are under "fever watch" to ensure they do not develop the virus, health officials said.

Two American health care workers have been infected with the virus in Liberia and one person with a dual American-Nigerian citizenship died after flying from Liberia to Nigeria.

While none of those infected landed in the U.S., the chance of that occurring is a growing concern for health officials.

Earlier this week, the CDC issued a level 2 warning ordering Americans visiting countries affected by the Ebola outbreak to practice "enhanced precautions" by avoiding people who appear to be ill or show signs of the disease.

Despite enhanced safeguards from both local governments and the CDC, multiple experts said it's likely that at least one person infected with Ebola will land in the U.S. at some point during the outbreak.

But once an infected passenger lands here, there are multiple ways for the disease to be contained, CDC officials said.

"It's true that anyone with an illness is just one plane ride away from coming to the U.S.," said John O'Connor, a spokesman for the CDC told ABC News earlier this week. "But we have protections in place."

Throughout airports across the country, employees have been trained to spot the early signs of Ebola, including fever, sore throat, and muscle weakness. At 20 U.S. airports including JFK Airport in New York City, CDC quarantine teams are ready to isolate and treat any passenger that has worrying symptoms before they enter the country, officials said.

If a crew realizes a passenger is sick while en route, the plane's captain can call ahead and have CDC officials meet the plan on the tarmac. Flight attendants can also move the passenger to a more isolated area.

If an infected passenger is identified after landing, the CDC would work to identify others who traveled with them and monitor them as well. While Ebola can be a terrifying virus, experts said it is unlikely to pass between plane passengers. The virus is not airborne, meaning a person would have to be in close personal contact with a contagious person or touch an infected surface to contract the disease.

And a person is only contagious once they have started to show symptoms. The virus is spread through bodily secretions, including blood or urine, and a person is likely to be more contagious as they become more symptomatic as the virus multiplies.

There is also the chance that an infected passenger will arrive even before they develop symptoms and know that they are sick. One particularly worrying fact is that the incubation for the virus is on average eight to 10 days but can be as long as 21 days, which means a traveler arriving in the U.S, from West Africa can appear healthy for weeks before showing symptoms.

The CDC has warned U.S. doctors to be on the lookout for signs of patients with Ebola by looking for early warning signs, including fever or muscle weakness and by taking into account their recent travel history.

If a doctor in the U.S. suspects at all that a patient is infected with Ebola, they would immediately be directed to call the CDC and isolate the patient. Special protective gear would be used by hospital workers, including maintenance workers, to protect themselves from infection.

Dr. Stephen Morris, a professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, said that the group of people at the biggest risk for Ebola are health care workers or those in close contact with the infected person such as a family caregiver.

"The only way a person will get it is through infected secretions," said Morris. "The chances from getting it [from sitting next to someone] is very, very small."

If an infected person is identified then their family would either be isolated or monitored to ensure they are also not infected with the disease. The family of an American doctor who was infected with the disease in Liberia have remained on fever-watch, according to the CDC, but are not isolated in a hospital.

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Rare Flesh Eating Bacteria Kills One in Florida


iStock/Thinkstock(SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla.) -- One person has died from a rare flesh eating bacteria in Sarasota County, Fla., officials confirmed Wednesday.

The disease can be contracted through open wounds on the skin or eating raw or undercooked shellfish.

The bacteria thrives in warm, salt water, but Sarasota County Health Department epidemiologist Michael Drennon says the water is still okay to go in.

"Just be diligent if you have an open wound or cut," Drennon said. "Child, adult, you know, older adult, all of those individuals should be aware that there's a risk associated when that condition is present, but otherwise it's safe to go in the water."

According to health officials, 11 cases have been reported throughout the state of Florida in 2014.

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Drug Dealer Arrested for Selling 'Molly' to Man Who Died


iStock/Thinkstock(BUFFALO, N.Y.) -- A Buffalo, New York man was arrested on Wednesday for selling a club drug to someone who later died.

Patrick Morgan is accused of selling the synthetic drug "molly," a form of ecstasy, to several people including Jeffrey Russ.

At last summer's Electric Zoo music festival in New York, Russ collapsed and had a seizure. He died at the hospital.

Two others also died from molly overdoses at the festival, prompting the city to call off Electric Zoo.

Despite Russ's death, Morgan reportedly continued to sell. Court records show he sent a text message in March to Russ' friends that said "u too call me whenever you want."

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Sugary Drinks Linked to Poor Memory Function


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Sugary drinks may hurt more than your waistline and teeth.

Researchers at USC found a disturbing connection between regular sweetened drink consumption in childhood and poor memory function in adulthood.

They reported that the hippocampus region of the brain -- where memories are made and stored -- is particularly sensitive to environmental assault including high fructose levels.

This includes soda, apple juice, lemonade, sports drinks, and anything with added sugar or syrup.

They recommend sugar intake be limited to four teaspoons a day.

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How US Government Could Evacuate Americans with Ebola


U.S. Centers for Disease Control(WASHINGTON) -- A government-owned jet equipped with a plastic isolation tent could evacuate Ebola-stricken Americans from the West African hot zone, health officials say.

The portable tent, designed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Defense and the Phoenix Air Group, transforms an airplane into a portable isolation ward.

It’s called an Aeromedical Biological Containment System, and it can house a sick patient along with medical personnel. It can be loaded on a Gulfstream jet, which has a flight range of seven hours or 3,500 miles.

“CDC sends personnel all over the globe to respond to some of the most dangerous infectious agents,” said ABC News’ chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser, who served as the CDC’s director of emergency preparedness and response when the tent was constructed. “It was essential that if the agency was going to send people out to help others, it had a way to bring them back if they got sick. That was the impetus behind this project.”

At least two Americans have contracted Ebola while working to contain the outbreak -- Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol. Both are currently receiving treatment in Liberia, according to their organization, Samaritan’s Purse.

Another 12 American CDC workers are in the area, according to the agency, but none of them have been reported sick.

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CDC: Two Thousand Americans Die from Weather Every Year


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Weather reportedly kills 2,000 Americans every year.

According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 6% of weather-related deaths are from extreme situations like storms-- 63% of the victims die from cold exposure, while 31% die from heat.

The old, the poor, people in cities, and people in rural areas are the most susceptible.

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Woman Dies on US Airways Flight


iStock/Thinkstock(PHEONIX) -- A passenger died aboard a US Airways flight from Honolulu to Phoenix.

The victim, a woman in her 50's, suffered a medical emergency as flight 693 was decending.

She reportedly became unconsious, and when the plane touched down in Phoenix, firefighters say she had no pulse and was declared dead.

Her cause of death is not yet known.

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Aid Group Pulls Some Workers from West Africa Amid Ebola Outbreak


iStock/Thinkstock(BOONE, N.C.) -- An American aid group on the front lines of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is evacuating non-essential personnel as two if its workers fight to survive the deadly infection.

Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical Christian charity based in Boone, North Carolina, said it would pull non-essential personnel from Liberia “because of instability and ongoing security issues in the area.”

Two workers with the group, Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol, are being treated for Ebola in Liberia, where 249 people have been infected and 129 have died, according to the World Health Organization.

More than 1,200 people have contracted the virus in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in what experts have called the largest ever Ebola outbreak. At least 672 people have died, according to WHO.

“We ask that people continue to pray for Kent and Nancy and all those who are affected by Ebola, and the tremendous group of doctors and nurses who are caring for them,” Samaritan’s Purse said in a statement.

Brently and Writebol are in “serious condition,” according to the group, but have shown “a slight improvement in the past 24 hours.”

It’s unclear whether Samaritan’s Purse will evacuate health care workers.

Dr. Stephen Morris, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, said there is already a lack of professional medical personnel to fight the outbreak, which can make things even more difficult for overtaxed doctors who risk infection by treating the sick.

“You can’t accidentally stick yourself with a needle or cut yourself,” Morris said, explaining of the hazards of working while tired. “I think the reality is there aren’t enough personal and resources. I think the key things that are really needed are health care personnel and others who can help in the situation, such as epidemiologists.”

More than 100 health care workers from various organizations have contracted Ebola in West Africa and at least 50 have died, according to WHO.

A spokesperson for Doctors Without Borders confirmed to ABC News that the group has no plans to pull its estimated 300 medical workers out of west Africa.

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Hungry People Feel More Entitled at Work, Study Finds


iStock/Thinkstock(ITHACA, N.Y.) -- You don’t necessarily have to be brought up spoiled to have a sense of entitlement. Instead, all it might take is skipping a meal.

After a series of experiments, Cornell University and Dartmouth College researchers say that workers on empty stomachs tend to think they're owed certain privileges than those who’ve satisfied their hunger.

In one of the trials, students both entering and leaving the Cornell cafeteria were asked if they agreed with statements that included “I honestly feel I’m more deserving than others” and, “Things should go my way.”

It was the hungry students who more often agreed with those feelings of entitlement.

At work, this expectation of favorable treatment, particularly when one is hungry, seems to boost self-confidence and spurs people to push a little harder for raises or promotions.

However, feeling entitled also has a bunch of downsides, in that it can make you harder to work with and more apt to blame others when things go wrong. In other words, the person at work no one likes.

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Radio Voices Are Born Not Made


iStock/Thinkstock(SYDNEY) -- Say, with a voice like that, you ought to be on the radio. If you’ve been told that, you can thank certain vocal cord vibration patterns that set you apart from people with ordinary voices.

Speech pathologists at the University of Sydney Voice Research Laboratory say until now, scientists haven’t been able to figure out what makes radio voices deep, warm and resonant.

However, by using a device called a videoendoscopy camera, Dr. Cate Madill and Dr. Samantha Warhurst noticed that announcers’ vocal cords move and close more quickly, giving their voices that unique sound made for radio.

Warhurst said these findings offer “some significant clues on how a good voice for radio might be trained.”

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The Hard Lives of Organ Transplant Doctors


iStock/Thinkstock(DETROIT) -- Organ transplant surgeons usually deal in life-and-death situations. With so much riding on the outcome of their work, it’s no wonder that so many of these doctors are experiencing burnout, according to a study led by the Henry Ford Transplant Institute.

In the survey of 218 transplant surgeons, 40 percent reported feeling emotionally exhausted, which is certainly understandable given the nature of the work they do.

However, what is far more surprising is that close to half of these surgeons also admit feeling a low sense of personal accomplishment.

The researchers attribute this to several factors, including the health of patients, the often long period of recuperation and the frustration that comes when patients die while still waiting for organs.

As for organ transplant surgeons who didn’t experience burnout, their higher sense of accomplishment was related to a sense of greater control in their work lives and more cooperation among co-workers.

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Surgeon General: Skin Cancer Is 'Major Public Health Problem'


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Surgeon General is calling skin cancer a "major public health problem" and says tanning is a direct cause.

A report from the office of Surgeon General Boris Lushniak says unlike other forms of cancer in the United States, the rate of skin cancer is on the rise, with 5 million people getting treated each year.

About 63,000 people are treated for melanoma and about 10% of those cases are directly linked to indoor tanning.

Lushniak says all states should ban minors from using tanning beds and the report urges everyone to wear sunscreen outside.


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Twenty-Five NJ Residents Test Positive for Chikungunya Virus


iStock/Thinkstock(TRENTON, N.J.) -- The New Jersey State Health Department says 25 New Jersey residents have tested positive for the Chikungunya virus, which can be brought back to the United States by travelers from the Caribbean.

The first two cases in the U.S. were reported last week in Florida.

The infection is rarely fatal but it can cause severe joint pain, high fever, headache and muscle pain.

Dr. Greg Williams who heads the Hudson County Mosquito Control Division says his department is now testing mosquitoes caught in traps for the disease and is urging home owners to do what they can to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

"People are coming back with the disease and if the mosquito bites them while they're sick potentially they can carry that virus to other people," Williams said. "The mosquitoes that transmit this usually come from peoples' backyards so you want to monitor your yard to make sure that you eliminate all standing water."

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Moderate Running Can Reduce Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study finds a little bit of activity goes a long way in promoting good health.

From weekend joggers to serious sprinters, a study from the University of lowa determined that even moderate running can profoundly reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The researchers found similar benefits from running as little five to 10 minutes a day to three times as long. According to the lead researcher, because, "time is one of the strongest barriers to physical activity, this study may motivate more people."

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Exercise: Why 6 Seconds Can Be as Worthwhile as 90 Minutes


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When it comes to exercise, even a little can go a long way. A slew of new studies suggest that working out for just a few minutes -- seconds, even -- can be beneficial to your health.

Read on to find out how any amount of exercise is completely worthwhile. The amount you should do just depends on your goals.

6 Seconds:  For seniors, every second of exercise counts.  In a new Scottish study, retirement-age subjects were asked to do six six-second sprints on a stationary bicycle with one minute of rest in between. After six weeks, their blood pressure dropped by a respectable 9 percent.  It’s possible these results might translate to younger folks, said Michele Olson, an exercise science professor and researcher at Auburn University in Alabama.  “Even a little activity can increase the efficiency of your heart and lead to more energy overall, no matter what your age,” she said.

5 Minutes:  According to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, a five-minute daily run can cut the risk of death in middle-aged men and women by 30 percent and the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 45 percent compared to people who parked themselves on the couch all day.  But don’t cancel your gym membership just yet, Olson said.  “You have to push at a very high intensity to see improvements in heart function and reduce the dangerous, unhealthy visceral fat that collects around the organs,” she said.

10 Minutes:  Olson, who has led numerous investigations on the benefits of quick, intense exercise, said that bone health benefits begin to kick in around the ten minute mark.  “That’s about how much time you need to stress the bones and stimulate bone density to avoid osteoporosis,” she said.

30 Minutes:  Most major health groups, including the American Heart Association, recommend getting at least half an hour of activity daily -- and with good reason.  “Thirty minutes seems to be the tipping point where you begin to see not just health benefits but fitness benefits like reduced weight and increased stamina as well,” Olson said, adding that other advantages include cancer prevention, a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and a healthier cholesterol profile.  Thirty minutes of exercise is also where you’ll see improvements even if you slow down to a moderate pace, which Olson characterizes as brisk but sustainable. However, an International Journal of Obesity study published earlier this year found that pushing hard for the full half hour may lead to even greater weight loss by dulling your appetite.

60 Minutes:  One hour of exercise a day at a moderate pace appears to be the secret to substantial, long term weight loss, Olson said. This may be especially true for middle-aged and older women who are close to their ideal weight, a recent Harvard study revealed.  While sixty minutes of exercise may seem unrealistic, Olson said you don’t have to do it all at once.  “You can accumulate minutes throughout the day doing many different exercises and activities, including some resistance training,” she said. “And if you go at a higher intensity you can cut back to 45 minutes daily.”

90 Minutes:  People who are obese or have lost a lot of weight may have stubborn metabolisms that require up to 90 minutes a day of activity for weight loss or maintenance, studies suggest.  Longer exercise sessions should be done at lower intensity to prevent injury and burn out, Olson said, especially for someone who carries a lot of extra pounds. But here again, breaking up your workout into shorter, more manageable sessions should yield the same results as one marathon session.

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