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Employers Need to Prepare for Flu Outbreak Now

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — No one’s telling Amer­i­cans not to take Ebola seri­ously. How­ever, mil­lions can start prepar­ing now for another con­ta­gious dis­ease: the flu.

John Chal­lenger, CEO of the out­place­ment com­pany Chal­lenger, Gray & Christ­mas, says that if this year’s flu sea­son is any­thing like last year’s, it will be tremen­dous drain on the economy.

Over­all, a sea­sonal flu out­break costs the nation’s econ­omy $10.4 bil­lion in direct costs for hos­pi­tal­iza­tion and out­pa­tient vis­its, not to men­tion another $7 bil­lion dol­lars annu­ally in lost pro­duc­tiv­ity at work.

Obvi­ously, Amer­i­cans at risk of catch­ing the flu, such as the young and those over 50, can reduce the risk of con­tract­ing the flu by get­ting vaccinated.

Chal­lenger also advises employ­ers to start tak­ing steps to stop the flu from spreading.

For instance, he rec­om­mends “encour­ag­ing employ­ees to wash their hands, offer­ing free or low-cost flu vac­ci­na­tion shots, and rou­tinely wash­ing and dis­in­fect­ing work surfaces.”

Per­haps even more impor­tant than all that, man­agers and super­vi­sors should make it a point to tell work­ers early on that if they’re sick, stay home.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio

 

Study: Without Exit Screening, About Three Ebola-Infected Individuals Could Fly Out of West Africa Monthly

Purestock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A study released on Tues­day by the Cana­dian Insti­tutes of Health Research found that with­out exit screen­ing, about three peo­ple infected with Ebola could fly out of West African nations impacted by the disease’s out­break each month.

The study, pub­lished in The Lancet, ana­lyzed his­tor­i­cal flight itin­er­aries and con­cluded that 2.8 trav­ellers infected with Ebola leave impacted coun­tries on com­mer­cial flights every month. Notably, 64 per­cent of trav­ellers leav­ing Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone were trav­el­ing to low-income and lower-middle-income countries.

While researchers con­tinue to note the impor­tance of bal­anc­ing the poten­tial harms caused by travel restric­tions, exit screen­ing in West Africa “would be the most effi­cient fron­tier at which to assess the health sta­tus of trav­ellers at risk of Ebola virus exposure.”

Such action, how­ever, would require inter­na­tional sup­port to prop­erly implement.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio

 

Drawing Attention to the Risks of Drowsy Driving

Tomwang112/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — When it comes to drowsy dri­ving dan­gers, the National Trans­porta­tion Safety Board said Tues­day that Amer­i­cans need to wake up.

The NTSB, for the first time, held a forum on drowsy dri­ving in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

Mark Rosekind, a board mem­ber, said one of the biggest prob­lems is that peo­ple under­es­ti­mate just how tired they are.

Humans are just hor­ri­bly inac­cu­rate if we have to self-diagnose fatigue,” Rosekind said. “That’s what allows us to put our­selves in life-threatening situations.”

Accord­ing to the AAA, 40 per­cent of dri­vers have admit­ted to falling asleep at the wheel.

Los­ing two hours of sleep in just one night can affect a person’s reac­tion time by 20 per­cent, the NTSB said.

All that can add up to one of the most under-reported prob­lems on the road. One study has sug­gested that 20 per­cent of crashes — one out of every five acci­dents — involves a tired driver.

On test tracks at Vir­ginia Tech, researchers are assess­ing dri­vers for alert­ness and signs of fatigue.

Cam­eras are also being tested to see whether they can look at a person’s face and find tell­tale signs of a lack of sleep. Some cars have even been equipped with tech­nol­ogy that can sense a dri­ver drift­ing into another lane.

For now though, the NTSB is issu­ing this bit of advice: If a dri­ver has not had enough sleep, they should not get behind the wheel.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio

 

Family Denies Teen Was 'Scared to Death' at Haunted House

iStock/Thinkstock(MIDDLETOWN, Ohio) — The 16-year-old girl who col­lapsed and died after vis­it­ing an Ohio haunted house was not “scared to death,” her fam­ily says.

Chris­t­ian Faith Benge was on a fam­ily trip last week to the Land of Illu­sions haunted house in Mid­dle­town last week when she collapsed.

Benge’s mother, Jean Benge, said she and a para­medic per­formed CPR on the teen before she was taken to a local hos­pi­tal. The teenager was pro­nounced dead after arriv­ing at the hospital.

Benge said she has been frus­trated by early news reports insin­u­at­ing that her daugh­ter was “scared to death.” Benge, how­ever, cited a life-long con­gen­i­tal defect as being respon­si­ble for her daughter’s not-surprising death.

Benge said her daugh­ter was born with a con­gen­i­tal diaphrag­matic her­nia. The con­di­tion means abdom­i­nal organs move into the chest because of a hole in the diaphragm, accord­ing to the Children’s Hos­pi­tal of Philadelphia.

The defect had been fixed when Chris­t­ian Faith Benge was an infant, Jean Benge explained, but there was long-term dam­age related to the con­di­tion, includ­ing an enlarged heart and one non­func­tional lung. She said her daugh­ter was never told to avoid cer­tain stress­ful sit­u­a­tions, such as so-called haunted houses.

It had enlarged four times her nat­ural size,” Jean Benge of her daughter’s heart. “It kicked out. When she col­lapsed, she died instantly.”

After talk­ing to the coro­ner, Benge said she believes her daughter’s heart could have given out any­where and that they just hap­pened to be at a haunted house.

The War­ren County Coro­ner in Ohio will not offi­cially release a cause of death until tox­i­col­ogy tests return.

Benge said she is try­ing to focus on her daughter’s man­ag­ing to sur­vive far longer than expected and the many friends in her school and local church. She said doc­tors had not been opti­mistic that the girl would live past infancy and even sent her home to die when they couldn’t do any­thing else to help her, Benge said.

My hus­band named her [because] Chris­t­ian faith is the rea­son why she lives,” Benge said. “Peo­ple rule out mir­a­cles in our soci­ety. She was a liv­ing proof that God still works miracles.”

There are some cases where patients with car­diac con­di­tions should avoid stress­ful sit­u­a­tions, but such cases are rare, accord­ing to Dr. Sahil Parikh, a car­di­ol­o­gist at Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tals Case Med­ical Cen­ter in Cleveland.

Parikh, who did not treat Chris­t­ian Faith Benge, said the most com­mon rea­son for sud­den death is an arrhyth­mia, when a heart’s elec­tri­cal sys­tem mal­func­tions and can cause the heart to stop beat­ing or to beat irreg­u­larly. In cases sim­i­lar to the one described by Jean Benge, when the heart is enlarged, the patient can be more at risk for sud­den heart failure.

The heart gets big­ger and big­ger as it gets weaker and weaker,” Parikh said. “It was try­ing to compensate.”

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio

 

Utility Workers Indicted Over Brain-Eating Amoeba Testing

File photo. iStock/Thinkstock(NEW ORLEANS) — Two Louisiana util­ity work­ers have been indicted for allegedly fail­ing to test the water sup­ply for a brain-eating amoeba and then lying about it.

In late August, St. John the Bap­tist Parish offi­cials told 13,000 peo­ple in three Louisiana towns that the deadly amoeba, called Nae­g­le­ria fow­leri, had been found in their water sup­ply. The fol­low­ing month, state police offi­cers began to inspect incon­sis­ten­cies in the water inspec­tion data, accord­ing to ABC New Orleans affil­i­ate WGNO.

Util­ity work­ers Kevin Branch, 54, and Danielle Rous­sel, 43, were both indicted Mon­day on one count of fail­ing to per­form a duty required of a pub­lic employee and another count of cre­at­ing and main­tain­ing false pub­lic records, accord­ing to the indict­ment obtained by ABC News.

It’s unbe­liev­able really because we trust them. We thought they were doing their jobs, and I’m kind of shocked,” res­i­dent San­dra Remon­det told WGNO. “I can’t believe it.”

Nae­g­le­ria fow­leri causes pri­mary amoe­bic menin­goen­cephali­tis, an extremely rare but almost invari­ably fatal brain infec­tion, accord­ing to the U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion. The amoeba thrives in warm fresh­wa­ter and enters the brain through the nose. This infec­tion is not caused by drink­ing water con­t­a­m­i­nated by the amoeba.

A 4-year-old boy from a nearby parish died last year after con­tract­ing the amoeba while play­ing on a Slip ‘N Slide. After­ward, New Orleans flushed its water sup­ply with chlorine.

Accord­ing to the grand jury indict­ment filed Mon­day, inves­ti­ga­tors com­pared the water inspec­tion logs with data from the GPS devices on Branch’s and Roussel’s parish vehi­cles and con­cluded that Branch did not stop at 30 of the 48 water inspec­tions he claimed to have done between Aug. 1 and Aug. 27. And Rous­sel did not stop for three of the six inspec­tions she claimed to have com­pleted over the same period, the indict­ment states.

Both Branch and Rous­sel were given 24 hours to sur­ren­der to the parish jail, accord­ing to a state­ment from the Louisiana attor­ney general.

There have been 132 other reported cases of Nae­g­le­ria fow­leri infec­tions between 1962 and 2013, with only a hand­ful occur­ring each year, accord­ing to the CDC. By com­par­i­son, about 10 peo­ple die in unin­ten­tional drown­ings per day, the agency said. Four of those Nae­g­le­ria fow­leri cases occurred in Louisiana.

In July, 9-year-old Hally Yust died after being infected with the amoeba in Kansas.

Nei­ther Branch nor Rous­sel could be reached for com­ment. The Louisiana attor­ney general’s office said infor­ma­tion on their attor­neys was not available.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio

 

Journalist Who Contracted Ebola Now Disease Free

Ashoka Mukpo

(OMAHA, Neb.) — The free­lance cam­era­man who con­tracted Ebola while work­ing with NBC in Liberia is now dis­ease free, he tweeted Tuesday.

Ashoka Mukpo was trans­ported from Liberia to the Nebraska Med­ical Center’s bio­con­tain­ment cen­ter on Oct. 6.

The med­ical cen­ter announced Tues­day that he was free of the dis­ease and would be released from the hos­pi­tal on Wednesday.

The 33-year-old made the announce­ment him­self, tweet­ing that he is “Ebola free and feel­ing so blessed.”

 

Just got my results. 3 con­sec­u­tive days neg­a­tive. Ebola free and feel­ing so blessed. I fought and won, with lots of help. Amaz­ing feeling

— ashoka (@unkyoka) Octo­ber 21, 2014

Through­out his treat­ment he opened up via Twit­ter about how he still is not sure how he con­tracted the dis­ease but does not regret going to Liberia to help spread the word about Ebola’s impact on west Africa.

 

 

For the record — no idea how I got it. It was some­thing fluky. My best guess is I touched a sur­face and didn’t chlo­ri­nate fast enough.

— ashoka (@unkyoka) Octo­ber 20, 2014

He wrote about the “end­less debt, end­less grat­i­tude” he owes to his sup­port­ers, men­tion­ing how the head of Doc­tors With­out Bor­ders’ bur­ial team took time to visit Mukpo while he was still being treated in Liberia.

 

 

I was around a lot of sick peo­ple the week before I got sick. Thought I was keep­ing a good dis­tance, wish I knew exactly what went wrong.

— ashoka (@unkyoka) Octo­ber 20, 2014

 

 

But I don’t regret going to Liberia to cover the cri­sis. That coun­try was a sec­ond home to me and I had to help raise the alarm.

— ashoka (@unkyoka) Octo­ber 20, 2014

 

 

I’ll have time to say more the next few weeks, but for now, I’m in awe of my good for­tune. I’m a very very lucky per­son. #blessed

— ashoka (@unkyoka) Octo­ber 20, 2014

 

 

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio

 

Study Investigates What Traits Make a Kid a Future Killer

iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) — Is there any reli­able way to pre­dict whether a child will grow up to be a murderer?Alex Piquero, a Uni­ver­sity of Texas at Dal­las crim­i­nol­o­gist, says try­ing to fig­ur­ing that out is extremely difficult.About the only two fact…

 

Michael Strahan’s Trainer Reveals How to Get in “Magic Mike” Shape

ABC/Ida Mae Astute(NEW YORK) — Want to know Michael Strahan’s secret weapon for get­ting into ripped, chis­eled, rock solid Magic Mike–wor­thy shape? Meet his per­sonal trainer, celebrity fit­ness guru, Latreal “La” Mitchell.

As a Pro Foot­ball Hall-of-Famer, Stra­han was already pretty phys­i­cally fit. But Mitchell has helped trans­form his body into tip-top shape, sky­rock­et­ing his con­fi­dence and mus­cle tone to con­quer the sil­ver screen — shirtless.

But that trim trans­for­ma­tion doesn’t come overnight, even if you’re a celebrity.

The best weight-loss tip I can give is being patient,” Mitchell told ABC News. “If some­one gains weight over the last 10 years, they want to lose it. All of a sud­den they want to lose it now. So be patient and start elim­i­nat­ing things slowly, and the weight will def­i­nitely come off.”

Now Mitchell is giv­ing our ABC’s Good Morn­ing Amer­ica view­ers a free per­sonal train­ing ses­sion live on the ABC News web­site, help­ing to con­tinue the new work­out while you watch the series called All-Access Celebrity Work­out. It’s another 30-minute livestream work­out that you can do right along with us from the com­fort of your own home.

Take a look at Mitchell’s extra work­out tips to keep you in A-list shape:

  1. It’s not impor­tant how you got to be this way, it’s impor­tant that you are tak­ing care of your­self now.
  2. Break the scale obses­sion and its emo­tional and eat­ing roller-coaster — instead look at how your clothes fit and how you feel.
  3. Be kind to your­self — con­grat­u­late your­self on accom­plish­ments and for­give your failures.
  4. Renew your com­mit­ment to tak­ing good care of your­self every day.
  5. Eat to live, don’t live to eat.”

As with any exer­cise rou­tine, if you have any con­cerns about start­ing a work­out regime, check with your health care pro­fes­sional to see whether it’s right you.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio