Monday, April 23, 2018
Health

Zika illnesses are mild at worst in U.S. teens, young children

NEW YORK — A first look at U.S. teens and young children who were infected with Zika suggests the virus typically causes at worst only a mild illness.

Zika infection during pregnancy can cause severe brain-related birth defects. But the report seems to confirm health officials' belief that infections after birth in children are similar to infections in adults — most people don't feel sick, and some develop only mild symptoms like fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes.

Some experts say there's not enough data to answer questions about the virus's potential impact on the developing brains of infants and small children, however.

The report, released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is based on 158 infections from earlier this year in kids ages 1 month to 17 years.

All the children picked up the virus while traveling abroad, and the bulk of them were older kids in their teens. Only 16 were 4 or younger and only four were under a year old. Experts are worried about very young children because they can be more severely affected by infections in general, and because their brains are developing rapidly.

"I'm really concerned about birth through the first birthday," said Dr. Carrie Byington, a University of Utah researcher who focuses on infections in children.

None of the children studied died, and none developed a paralyzing condition seen in some infected adults called Guillain-Barre syndrome.

But Guillain-Barre is rare, seen only once in every several thousand Zika illnesses in adults. It may be that kids can still get it, but there weren't enough cases for it to surface, said Dr. Ganeshwaran Mochida, a pediatric neurologist at Boston Children's Hospital.

Zika outbreaks have swept through Latin America and the Caribbean in the last year, but data on infections in children are limited. Experts have based conclusions about how infections progress in kids partly on what was seen in 10 children in a Zika outbreak on a South Pacific island in 2007.

Zika is mainly spread a tropical mosquito called Aedes aegypti, though it can also be spread through sex. Mosquitoes have been spreading the virus in Florida's Miami-Dade County, as well as in Puerto Rico and some other U.S. territories.

Most of the more than 3,600 reported infections in the 50 states, including about 800 pregnant women, have been seen in people who traveled to and were infected in Zika outbreak countries.

Also on Friday, the CDC updated its advice to U.S. couples who may have been infected with Zika and are thinking of having a baby. They recommend men use condoms or refrain from sex for at least six months after returning from a Zika-hit area. That's longer than the eight weeks previously recommended because researchers have found that the virus can linger in semen for months. The recommendation for women to use protection remains eight weeks from possible Zika exposure.

Comments
Do not eat any romaine lettuce, the CDC warns

Do not eat any romaine lettuce, the CDC warns

Public health officials are now telling consumers to avoid all types of romaine lettuce because of an E. coli outbreak linked to the vegetable that has spread to at least 16 states and sickened at least 60 people, including eight inmates at an Alask...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida has hit a milestone of sorts as it slowly moves toward wider availability of medical marijuana.The number of patients in the state who are registered to use the substance has surpassed 100,000 for the first time, according to Florida Departme...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida Hospital Carrollwood spending $17.5 million to expand emergency department

Florida Hospital Carrollwood spending $17.5 million to expand emergency department

Florida Hospital Carrollwood is expanding its emergency department. The hospital, 7171 North Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa, is spending $17.5 million to add 15 new private treatment rooms, new pediatric rooms and waiting areas, and new technology, acco...
Published: 04/18/18
Barbara Bush’s end-of-life decision stirs debate over ‘comfort care’

Barbara Bush’s end-of-life decision stirs debate over ‘comfort care’

As she nears death at age 92, former first lady Barbara Bush’s announcement that she is seeking "comfort care" is shining a light — and stirring debate — on what it means to stop trying to fight terminal illness.Bush, the wife of former President Geo...
Published: 04/17/18
Preparing for the worst, staffers at Johns Hopkins All Children’s learn through simulation

Preparing for the worst, staffers at Johns Hopkins All Children’s learn through simulation

When the patient got violent, Dr. Michelle Hidalgo didn’t have time to think. She had to react. The woman was moving strangely and seemed erratic. Hidalgo had to make a tough call — it was time to physically restrain her for everyone’s safety.Then th...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Lung cancer patients live longer with immune therapy

The odds of survival can greatly improve for people with the most common type of lung cancer if, along with the usual chemotherapy, they are also given a drug that activates the immune system, a major new study has shown.The findings should change me...
Published: 04/16/18
Thousands of pounds of prepackaged salad mixes may have been tainted with E. coli, officials say

Thousands of pounds of prepackaged salad mixes may have been tainted with E. coli, officials say

A Pennsylvania food manufacturer is recalling 8, 757 pounds of ready-to-eat salad products following an E. coli outbreak that has spread to several states and sickened dozens of people.Fresh food Manufacturing Co., based in Freedom, Pennsylvania, is ...
Published: 04/15/18
St. Anthony’s Cancer Center installs bell dedicated to survivors

St. Anthony’s Cancer Center installs bell dedicated to survivors

ST. PETERSBURGSister Mary McNally, vice president of mission at St. Anthony’s Hospital, stood in front of a room of cancer survivors to unveil a silver bell surrounded by butterfly stickers mounted to the wall of the Cancer Center lobby. "So often pe...
Published: 04/13/18
Hand dryers could leave your hands dirtier than you think

Hand dryers could leave your hands dirtier than you think

Washing your hands after you use the bathroom is a good idea. But using a public dryer could undo all that hard work, according to a new study.A study, published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, examined 36 men’s and women’s bat...
Published: 04/13/18
Meek and Mighty Triathlon draws the young (siblings who are 7, 9 and 11) and not so young

Meek and Mighty Triathlon draws the young (siblings who are 7, 9 and 11) and not so young

The annual St. Anthony’s Triathlon has for years attracted elite athletes from around the world, making the St. Petersburg race one of the premier triathlon events in the country. There’s a big incentive to run fast, swim hard and be the best on a bi...
Published: 04/13/18