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Ebola in America: Timeline of the Deadly Virus

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Ebola, a virus that is affect­ing peo­ple thou­sands of miles away in West Africa, is now in Amer­ica with two trans­mis­sions on U.S. soil con­firmed in Dal­las and offi­cials call­ing addi­tional trans­mis­sions to health work­ers a “very real possibility.”

The Ebola out­break in West Africa has sick­ened at least 9,936 peo­ple since March, killing at least 4,877 of them — mak­ing it the worst out­break of the virus in his­tory, accord­ing to the World Health Organization.

Find out how the virus first arrived in the United States — via U.S. mis­sion­ar­ies flown here for treat­ment this sum­mer — and then how Ebola was unwit­tingly imported via Thomas Eric Dun­can, who flew from Liberia to Texas with the virus and later died in Dallas.

Oct. 23, 2014: Dr. Craig Allen Spencer is diag­nosed with Ebola the same day he went into iso­la­tion at Belle­vue Hos­pi­tal in Man­hat­tan. Accord­ing to the hos­pi­tal, he had a fever and gas­troin­testi­nal symp­toms when he was trans­ferred to Belle­vue. Spencer recently returned from Guinea, where he was work­ing for Doc­tors With­out Bor­ders. NYC Mayor Bill de Bla­sio said at a news con­fer­ence that Spencer only had symp­toms for “a very brief period of time” and only had con­tact with “very few” peo­ple. He described the patient as “in good shape.”

Oct. 19, 2014: The unnamed Amer­i­can Ebola patient is dis­charged from Emory Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tal, where the patient had been under­go­ing care since Sept. 9. This patient had been work­ing for the WHO in Sierra Leone and chose to remain anony­mous. “Given the national focus on Ebola, par­tic­u­larly with the diag­no­sis in two health care work­ers, I want to share the news that I am recov­er­ing from this dis­ease, and that I antic­i­pate being dis­charged very soon, free from the Ebola virus and able to return safely to my fam­ily and to my com­mu­nity,” the unnamed patient said in a state­ment released Oct. 15.

Oct. 17, 2014: Offi­cials announce that a Dal­las health worker who han­dled clin­i­cal spec­i­mens from Thomas Eric Dun­can, the first per­son diag­nosed with Ebola on Amer­i­can soil, is quar­an­tined aboard a Car­ni­val cruise ship amid con­cerns the worker may have been exposed to the Ebola virus.

Oct. 16, 2014: Dal­las nurse Nina Pham, 26, the first per­son to con­tract Ebola in the United States, is flown from Texas Health Pres­by­ter­ian Hos­pi­tal in Dal­las to the National Insti­tutes of Health hos­pi­tal in Bethesda, Mary­land. Pham treated Dun­can at Texas Health Pres­by­ter­ian Hos­pi­tal, where she works.

Oct. 15, 2014: Amber Vin­son, 29, another nurse who treated Dun­can at Texas Health Pres­by­ter­ian Hos­pi­tal, is diag­nosed with Ebola shortly after mid­night and flown to Emory Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tal that evening.

Oct. 14, 2014: Vin­son is taken to Texas Health Pres­by­ter­ian Hos­pi­tal in Dal­las with a fever.

Oct. 13, 2014: Vin­son flies from Cleve­land to Dal­las on Fron­tier Air­lines Flight 1143, arriv­ing at 8:16 p.m. She has no symp­toms, but her tem­per­a­ture was 99.5 degrees that morn­ing, accord­ing to health offi­cials. She noti­fied the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion before board­ing, and no one told her not to fly.

Oct. 12, 2014: Texas Health Pres­by­ter­ian Hos­pi­tal in Dal­las says that Pham has tested pos­i­tive for Ebola.

Oct. 12, 2014: An uniden­ti­fied Dal­las health worker who han­dled Duncan’s clin­i­cal spec­i­mens at Texas Health Pres­by­ter­ian Hos­pi­tal boards a cruise ship. The CDC noti­fied the worker about active mon­i­tor­ing after the cruise ship left the coun­try, accord­ing to a gov­ern­ment statement.

Oct. 10, 2014: Vin­son takes a com­mer­cial flight from Dal­las to Cleve­land, Ohio, to pre­pare for her upcom­ing wedding.

Oct. 9, 2014: A Dal­las County sheriff’s deputy who reported symp­toms asso­ci­ated with Ebola after serv­ing a quar­an­tine order on the apart­ment where Dun­can had been stay­ing tests neg­a­tive for the virus.

Oct. 8, 2014: Dun­can dies at Texas Health Pres­by­ter­ian Hospital.

Oct. 6, 2014: Ashoka Mukpo, 33, a free­lance Amer­i­can cam­era­man who con­tracted Ebola in West Africa, arrives at Nebraska Med­ical Cen­ter for Ebola treatment.

Oct. 6, 2014: Dr. Rick Sacra, 51, who con­tracted Ebola while treat­ing patients in a Liber­ian mater­nity ward a month ear­lier, is released from his sec­ond hos­pi­tal­iza­tion since return­ing to the United States. He had been hos­pi­tal­ized at UMass Memo­r­ial Med­ical Cen­ter on Worces­ter, Mass­a­chu­setts, with what doc­tors ini­tially thought was an Ebola relapse but was soon diag­nosed as a res­pi­ra­tory infection.

Oct. 5, 2014: Sacra is hos­pi­tal­ized in Mass­a­chu­setts with what doc­tors fear is an Ebola relapse. They iso­late him out of what they said was an abun­dance of caution.

Oct. 2, 2014: Mukpo is diag­nosed with Ebola in Liberia. He worked for Vice News, NBC News and other outlets.

Sept. 30, 2014: The CDC con­firms that a patient who would later be iden­ti­fied as Dun­can has been diag­nosed with Ebola on U.S. soil.

Sept. 28, 2014: Dun­can returns to the hos­pi­tal in an ambu­lance and is isolated.

Sept. 26, 2014: Dun­can goes to Texas Health Pres­by­ter­ian Hos­pi­tal in Dal­las with a fever and tells a nurse he has been to Liberia. But he is sent home with antibi­otics and Tylenol.

Sept. 25, 2014: Sacra is deemed virus-free and released from Nebraska Med­ical Cen­ter, where he had spent weeks in an iso­la­tion ward recov­er­ing from Ebola.

Sept. 20, 2014: Dun­can arrives in the United States from Liberia to visit family.

Sept. 9, 2014: An unnamed Amer­i­can Ebola patient arrives at Emory Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tal for treat­ment. This patient had been work­ing for the WHO in Sierra Leone.

Sept. 5, 2014: Sacra arrives at Nebraska Med­ical Cen­ter for treat­ment. He even­tu­ally gets a blood trans­fu­sion from Dr. Kent Brantly, the Amer­i­can mis­sion­ary who sur­vived his bout with Ebola.

Sept. 3, 2014: Sacra was diag­nosed with Ebola even though he was treat­ing patients in the mater­nity ward of the ELWA Hos­pi­tal in Mon­rovia, Liberia, not Ebola patients.

Aug. 21, 2014: Dr. Kent Brantly, 33, is dis­charged from Emory Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tal, where he was under­go­ing treat­ment for Ebola after con­tract­ing it in Africa. In a news con­fer­ence, he hugs sev­eral mem­bers of the hos­pi­tal staff.

Aug. 19, 2014: Mis­sion­ary Nancy Write­bol, 59, is qui­etly dis­charged from Emory Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tal, where she was under­go­ing treat­ment for Ebola. She also con­tracted the virus doing aid work in Liberia.

Aug. 5, 2014: Write­bol is flown from Liberia to Emory Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tal in Atlanta, Geor­gia, for Ebola treat­ment in its iso­la­tion ward.

Aug. 2, 2014: Brantly is flown from Liberia to Emory for treat­ment. He sur­prises every­one by walk­ing out of the ambu­lance into the hos­pi­tal in his pro­tec­tive suit.

July 31, 2013: In Liberia, Brantly gets the first dose of an exper­i­men­tal drug called ZMapp, though it was unnamed at the time. Though doc­tors ini­tially thought there was only enough for one per­son, Write­bol was admin­is­tered the drug as well.

July 27, 2014: Mis­sion­ary groups report that two Amer­i­cans are sick­ened with Ebola while help­ing patients in Mon­rovia, Liberia. Brantly and Write­bol were work­ing for aid groups Samaritan’s Purse and SIM, respec­tively. Brantly later told reporters he held patients’ hands as they were dying.

March 19, 2014: What would become the largest Ebola out­break in his­tory begins in March 2014 with 23 deaths from what is then called a “mys­tery” hem­or­rhagic fever.

1976: Ebola is first dis­cov­ered in what is now the Demo­c­ra­tic Repub­lic of Congo near the Ebola River in 1976. Thirty-two Ebola out­breaks would fol­low, bring­ing the total num­ber of cases before this out­break to 2,361, includ­ing 1,438 deaths, accord­ing to the WHO.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio


Uber Turns From Taxis to Nurses With Home Delivery of Flu Shots

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Ride-service app Uber isn’t con­tent stick­ing to the world of taxis and lim­ou­sines, so they’re now work­ing on chang­ing pub­lic health.

In time for flu sea­son Uber launched a pilot pro­gram Thurs­day called Uber­HEALTH. In con­nec­tion with the health­care ser­vice orig­i­nally devel­oped by Google, Vac­cine Finder, the pro­gram aims to make flu pre­ven­tion as easy for users as open­ing their front door.

On Thurs­day Uber­HEALTH tem­porar­ily launched in New York, Boston and Wash­ing­ton, D.C. The ser­vice allowed users to have a flu pre­ven­tion pack and even a flu shot deliv­ered to their front door.

The shot is not just dropped off, but is admin­is­tered by a reg­is­tered nurse. Dur­ing the pilot pro­gram, the cost for flu pro­tec­tion is free and for each shot ordered the com­pany has offered to donate $5 to the Red Cross vac­ci­na­tion efforts.

Pub­lic health experts say the one-day pilot pro­gram will likely not make a mea­sur­able dif­fer­ence in flu shot rates this sea­son, but that an expanded pro­gram could encour­age more peo­ple to get the impor­tant flu shot.

Infec­tious dis­ease spe­cial­ist Dr. William Schaffner called the pro­gram “Uber-wonderful” and said any­thing that encour­ages peo­ple to get their flu shot is a good thing.

We’re try­ing to reach the entire U.S. pop­u­la­tion,” said Schaffner. “There’s not going to be one solution.”

Schaffner said in recent years health offi­cials have offered flu shots at more loca­tions in an effort to have nearly every­one over the age of 6 months be vac­ci­nated against the sea­sonal flu. Flu shots are now avail­able at some air­ports, drive-thru vac­ci­na­tion pro­grams and pharmacies.

By reach­ing peo­ple at home the Uber­HEALTH pro­gram could have a last­ing impact, since get­ting the shot just one time will make peo­ple more likely to get the flu shot in fol­low­ing years, he added.

Accord­ing to the U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion, only 41.5 per­cent of adults over the age of 18 were vac­ci­nated against the sea­sonal flu dur­ing the 2012–2013 flu sea­son. The rate was slightly higher at 45 per­cent for chil­dren over the age of 6 months dur­ing the same time period.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio


Ohio College Gives Terminally Ill Lauren Hill Chance to Fulfill Her Basketball Dream

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — An Ohio stu­dent whose last wish is to play in a col­lege bas­ket­ball game will see her dream come true in front of thou­sands of fans after the NCAA agreed to move up her team’s sea­son opener so she would be well enough to play.

Lau­ren Hill, 19, was diag­nosed with Dif­fuse Intrin­sic Pon­tine Glioma (DIPG), an inop­er­a­ble brain con­di­tion, in Novem­ber 2013, not long after she com­mit­ted to play­ing col­lege bas­ket­ball at Cincinnati’s Mount St. Joseph’s Uni­ver­sity on her 18th birthday.

Last month, Hill, who was recruited as a local high school stand­out, got the news that her brain tumor had grown and she had only months to live.

After the diag­no­sis, Hill kept play­ing bas­ket­ball, join­ing her Mount St. Joseph team­mates for practices.

She wanted to be a part of the team and wanted to do as much as she could,” Dan Ben­jamin, Mount St. Joe’s girls’ bas­ket­ball coach, told ABC News. “When she came to the Mount, she told her play­ers, ‘You guys have to be com­mit­ted. You have to play hard. Just like I have to play hard,’” Ben­jamin said.

When Ben­jamin learned of the pro­gres­sion of Hill’s tumor, he men­tioned to an NCAA offi­cial and the coach of the team Mount St. Joe’s was sched­uled to open their sea­son against — Hiram Col­lege — that he was going to seek a waiver to move the game to an ear­lier date.

By the time I got into my office that Mon­day morn­ing, I not only had an email from the NCAA but a mes­sage say­ing, ‘Just send us the med­ical doc­u­ments,’” Ben­jamin said. “They have moved fast and it’s been remarkable.”

Instead of a Nov. 15 face-off, Hill and her team­mates will now play Hiram Nov. 2 at Xavier University’s 10,000-seat Cin­tas Center.

We typ­i­cally only get 100 or 200 peo­ple per game so they’re excited to play in front of so many peo­ple,” Ben­jamin said of his team. “They’re more excited to help Lau­ren fin­ish her mission.”

A big part of the mis­sion for Hill, who could not be reached for com­ment Thurs­day by ABC News, has been to help raise aware­ness for DIPG, which, accord­ing to Ben­jamin, typ­i­cally strikes children.

Lau­ren took this upon her­self to say, ‘There’s no one that can tell the story because these kids can’t talk about it,’” Ben­jamin said. “She said, ‘I can be the spokesperson.’”

Hill and her team­mates cre­ated T-shirts to sell as a fundraiser. Pro­ceeds from the T-shirts as well as tick­ets to the Nov. 2 game will go to The Cure Starts Now Foun­da­tion and the Cincin­nati Children’s Hos­pi­tal Med­ical Center.

Despite all the atten­tion Hill’s story has received – includ­ing a visit from Cin­ci­natti Ben­gals player Devon Stills, whose daugh­ter is bat­tling pedi­atric can­cer – her coach says she is focused on the game.

She wants to hear the squeak­i­ness of her ten­nis shoes on the floor. She wants to hear the drib­bling of the ball and the roar of the crowd,” Ben­jamin said. “That’s all she wants.”

She’s taught me, don’t ever give up,” he said. “There’s no rea­son to not roll out of bed with a smile on our face like she does.”

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio


Doctor Isolated at New York City Hospital Tests Positive for Ebola

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A pre­lim­i­nary Ebola test has come back pos­i­tive for a doc­tor who recently trav­eled from West Africa and is being iso­lated at a New York City hos­pi­tal, city and state offi­cials said Thurs­day night.

The doc­tor, who has been iden­ti­fied as Dr. Craig Allen Spencer by New York gov­ern­ment sources, was placed in an iso­la­tion unit Thurs­day at Belle­vue Hos­pi­tal in Man­hat­tan after report­ing Ebola-like symp­toms. He had a fever and gas­troin­testi­nal symp­toms when he was trans­ferred to Belle­vue, said NYC Depart­ment of Health and Men­tal Hygiene Com­mis­sioner Dr. Mary Bassett.

The Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion will con­firm the pos­i­tive test. CDC test results are expected by the end of the day on Friday.

Spencer, 33, was treat­ing Ebola patients in Guinea for Doc­tors With­out Bor­ders, accord­ing to the offi­cials. Guinea is one of the West African coun­tries cur­rently bat­tling an Ebola outbreak.

Spencer left Guinea on Octo­ber 14, said Bas­sett. He trav­eled through Brus­sels, Bel­gium, and arrived at JFK Air­port on Oct. 17.

The city Health Depart­ment has already started to trace the patient’s con­tacts, said Bas­sett, includ­ing four peo­ple he had con­tact with — his fiancee, two friends and an Uber driver.

His fiancee is under quar­an­tine at Belle­vue Hos­pi­tal while his two friends are quar­an­tined at home, said Bas­sett, who added that they aren’t show­ing Ebola symp­toms. The Uber dri­ver isn’t con­sid­ered to be at risk for con­tract­ing the virus.

ABC’s Chief Health and Med­ical Edi­tor Doc­tor Richard Besser said, “When­ever there’s a new case of Ebola, it’s pos­si­ble we’re going to see a few oth­ers, from peo­ple who had con­tact with him early on in the ill­ness. From what we’re hear­ing though, it sounds like he was iso­lated before shar­ing body flu­ids, so I think we can be hope­ful that there won’t be addi­tional spread.”

New York Mayor Bill de Bla­sio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo expressed their con­fi­dence in the staff at Belle­vue Hos­pi­tal to treat Spencer.

There is no rea­son for New York­ers to be alarmed,” said de Blasio.

While Spencer only began show­ing symp­toms when he reported a fever Thurs­day morn­ing, health offi­cials have begun track­ing his move­ments since his return to the U.S. Bas­sett said he took the A, L and 1 sub­way trains on Wednes­day. He also went to the High Line park and a bowl­ing alley in the Williams­burg neigh­bor­hood of Brook­lyn, The Gut­ter, which was closed Thurs­day, “out of an abun­dance of cau­tion,” Bas­sett said.

The NYC Health Depart­ment will check the bowl­ing alley on Fri­day, said Bassett.

A CDC team was en route to New York, said CDC Direc­tor Dr. Tom Frieden. Ear­lier this week, a CDC team deter­mined hos­pi­tal staff had proper pro­to­cols and was pre­pared to treat Ebola patients.

NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia Uni­ver­sity Med­ical Cen­ter described Spencer as a “ded­i­cated human­i­tar­ian …who went to an area of med­ical cri­sis to help a des­per­ately under­served population.”

Spencer’s apart­ment was sealed off after it was cleared. Since he tested pos­i­tive, a team will decon­t­a­m­i­nate his apart­ment in the Harlem sec­tion of New York.

Spencer is the fourth patient to be diag­nosed with Ebola in the United States. Thomas Eric Dun­can, a Liber­ian national, tested pos­i­tive for the virus at the end of Sep­tem­ber in Dal­las, where he infected two nurses who cared for him: Nina Pham and Amber Vinson.

Dun­can died on Oct. 8, shortly before the nurses tested pos­i­tive for the virus.

Vin­son has been declared virus-free, her fam­ily announced Wednes­day. Pham’s con­di­tion has been upgraded from “fair” to “good.”

Health offi­cials decided to test the New York City patient for Ebola because of the patient’s work, symp­toms and travel his­tory, accord­ing to the Belle­vue Hos­pi­tal state­ment. Belle­vue is the des­ig­nated hos­pi­tal for the diag­no­sis and treat­ment of Ebola patients in New York City.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio


Quadruplet Mom-to-Be Has Emergency Surgery to Save Babies

Tyson and Ash­ley Gard­ner(NEW YORK) — An expec­tant mom get­ting ready to wel­come two sets of iden­ti­cal twins — a one in 70 mil­lion occur­rence — endured emer­gency surgery this week after doc­tors found signs of a rare con­di­tion that could affect the health of one set of twins.

This week, dur­ing Ash­ley Gardner’s 19th week of preg­nancy, doc­tors found evi­dence of an alarm­ing con­di­tion called twin-to-twin syn­drome that occurs when there is an imbal­ance in the blood sup­ply between a set of iden­ti­cal twins in the pla­centa. As nutri­tion and blood sup­ply is shunted from one twin to another, both can be harmed by either too much or too lit­tle fluid.

Doc­tors will decide on Thurs­day if Gard­ner and her hus­band, both of Pleas­ant Grove, Utah, can leave a hos­pi­tal in Cal­i­for­nia after another check-up to see if all four of the fetuses sur­vived the surgery, includ­ing the fetus that was most in dis­tress, accord­ing to the hus­band, Tyson Gardner.

The surgery was a great suc­cess, and this morn­ing we just hope the baby is a fighter,” Tyson Gard­ner told ABC News. “We really hope that the ultra­sound. …We hope we see four heartbeats.”

The Gard­ners are expect­ing quadru­plets after spend­ing years in fer­til­ity treat­ments. While the cou­ple only had two embryos implanted, both of the embryos split, mean­ing they are now hav­ing two sets of iden­ti­cal twins.

Tyson Gard­ner told ABC News that their doc­tor in Utah found evi­dence of twin-to-twin syn­drome on Mon­day and by Tues­day they had flown to Hol­ly­wood Pres­by­ter­ian Med­ical Cen­ter to be treated by experts.

We haven’t slept much the past few days,” he said, adding that doc­tors had ordered his wife on imme­di­ate bed rest after find­ing out her cervix had started to open.

On Wednes­day, doc­tors per­formed the emer­gency surgery to more equally divert blood flow between one set of the Gard­ner twins.

Today, we’re doing much bet­ter,” he said. “The last few days have been really rough…very scary.”

The couple’s preg­nancy made head­lines ear­lier this month because of the rar­ity of hav­ing two sets of iden­ti­cal twins. The chances of two iden­ti­cal sets of twins is approx­i­mately one in 70 mil­lion, accord­ing to Dr. Alan Pen­zias, asso­ciate pro­fes­sor of obstet­rics, gyne­col­ogy and repro­duc­tive biol­ogy at Har­vard Med­ical School.

There were 276 sets of quadru­plets born in the U.S. in 2012, accord­ing to the U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Prevention.

The cou­ple had been under­go­ing fer­til­ity treat­ments for years after Ash­ley Gard­ner was diag­nosed with endometrio­sis. The dis­or­der, which involves tis­sue grow­ing out­side the uterus, meant she and her hus­band faced years of dif­fi­culty conceiving.

This year, the cou­ple tried in-vitro fer­til­iza­tion and only two of the nine embryos cre­ated were viable for implan­ta­tion, they said.

Dur­ing their first ultra­sound, the tech­ni­cian ini­tially told them they were hav­ing twins. Then took another moment and looked closer at the screen.

After about a minute of star­ing at the screen, she said there’s four babies in here,” recalled Tyson Gard­ner in an ear­lier inter­view. “Me and Ashley’s faces went pale white.”

A pic­ture of Ashely’s shocked face look­ing at the ultra­sound screen went viral on Face­book and other social media sites. Tyson Gard­ner said both he and his wife came from large fam­i­lies and are ecsta­tic they will get to have a large family.

We’ll get our whole entire fam­ily here in one shot,” he said.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio


You Really Love Your Dog Like a Child, Study Says

iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) — You love your dog, that’s a no-brainer. And with Amer­i­cans expected to spend an esti­mated $58.51 bil­lion on the pet indus­try this year, it’s clear that the emo­tion is deeper than ever projected.

Now, sci­en­tists have taken the uncon­di­tional love you have for your dog to the next level, con­firm­ing that it’s very sim­i­lar to a mother-child connection.

I don’t have a child but I have nieces and nephews and I could say I absolutely love my dog like a child,” says Wendy Dia­mond, Chief Pet Offi­cer at “My dog relies on me for absolutely every­thing; I would do any­thing for my dog.”

Just as pet par­ents are val­i­dat­ing the ado­ra­tion they have for their canines, research ana­lysts at Mass­a­chu­setts Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal con­cluded that the bond between pup and pet par­ent were very sim­i­lar to mater­nal love, accord­ing to the 2014 study pub­lished in PLOS ONE.

Researchers recruited a group of women who had a child between 2 and 10 years old, as well as a dog that had been liv­ing in their house­holds for at least two years.

Sub­jects were shown images of their dog and chil­dren, then a scan­ner picked up the sig­nals of affec­tion that were trig­gered in the brain.

Moth­ers reported sim­i­lar emo­tional rat­ings for their child and dog, which elicited greater pos­i­tive emo­tional responses than unfa­mil­iar chil­dren and dogs,” the study concluded.

Devin Crouch, stay-at-home tot and doggy mom as well as owner of the “carterand­toby” Insta­gram account, believes you can absolutely love your dog like a baby.

We have an almost two-year-old and I refer to Toby our dog as one of my chil­dren,” says Crouch. “I think by watch­ing Toby love our son as if it’s one of his pup­pies or his brother that makes the love for I have for him even greater.”

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio


Texas Health Workers Use Tabasco to Help Train for Ebola

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(DALLAS) — As Texas health work­ers pre­pare two new bio­con­tain­ment units to help treat any future Ebola patients the state might have, they’re are using one piece of train­ing equip­ment from a neigh­bor­ing state that may sur­prise you: Tabasco sauce.

At the Uni­ver­sity of Texas South­west­ern Med­ical Cen­ter, where one of the units is being estab­lished, the staff has been prac­tic­ing treat­ing fake patients who have been sprayed at ran­dom with the pep­pery sauce as a stand-in for Ebola virus-laden flu­ids. Doc­tors and nurses prac­tice dress­ing and undress­ing in their pro­tec­tive gear to avoid con­t­a­m­i­na­tion, but if they feel the tin­gle of Tabasco on their skin, they know they’ve been contaminated.

In a way, it gives feed­back imme­di­ately,” said Dr. Bruce Meyer, an exec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent at the hos­pi­tal, giv­ing credit to the hospital’s direc­tor of infec­tion pre­ven­tion, Dora­marie Arocha, for the idea.

Tabasco sauce is made by Louisiana-based McIl­henny Co. from red pep­pers called Cap­sicum frutescens, which are made spicy by the chem­i­cal cap­saicin. When skin comes in con­tact with this chem­i­cal, the brain’s pain and tem­per­a­ture recep­tors get acti­vated at the same time, caus­ing that tingly, hot feel­ing. The hot pep­per chem­i­cal has also been used in other med­ical set­tings, includ­ing der­ma­tol­ogy and neu­rol­ogy for pain and itch relief.

Nurse Eliz­a­beth Thomas, who works in the hospital’s infec­tion pre­ven­tion depart­ment, said health work­ers were orig­i­nally drilling with ketchup mixed with water when Arocha came up with the idea to use Tobasco sauce instead. When work­ers took off pro­tec­tive gear at the end of a drill, Arocha told every­one to rub their eyes and touch their lips.

But we didn’t have the burn­ing sen­sa­tion,” Thomas said. “So that’s how we knew we were doing the right thing.”

In the after­math of Texas being home to the first two Ebola trans­mis­sions on Amer­i­can soil, Gov. Rick Perry this week promised to cre­ate two bio­con­tain­ment units in the state to treat any future Ebola cases that may arise.

Two nurses who treated Liber­ian national Thomas Eric Dun­can for Ebola at Texas Health Pres­by­ter­ian Hos­pi­tal in Dal­las last month — Nina Pham, 26, and Amber Vin­son, 29 — con­tracted the deadly virus and are being treated in iso­la­tion units at the National Insti­tutes of Health iso­la­tion facil­ity in Bethesda, Mary­land, and Emory Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tal in Atlanta, Geor­gia, respectively.

Though it’s not clear exactly how the nurses caught the virus, some have spec­u­lated that they may have been con­t­a­m­i­nated while tak­ing off pro­tec­tive gear.

When you have gone into con­t­a­m­i­nated gloves, masks or other things to remove those with­out risk of con­t­a­m­i­nated mate­r­ial touch­ing you and being then on your clothes or face or skin and lead­ing to an infec­tion is crit­i­cally impor­tant and not easy to do right,” Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion Direc­tor Dr. Thomas Frieden said dur­ing a news con­fer­ence the day Pham’s pre­lim­i­nary Ebola test came back positive.

Vinson’s fam­ily announced that she had been declared virus-free on Wednes­day, and Pham’s con­di­tion was upgraded from “fair” to “good” ear­lier this week.

One new Texas bio­con­tain­ment unit will be at the Uni­ver­sity of Texas Med­ical Branch at Galve­ston, which is also home to a high-security bio­lab that is already pre­pared to treat Ebola in the unlikely event that one of its work­ers becomes infected while study­ing the virus in the lab set­ting. The other bio­con­tain­ment unit will be at the Uni­ver­sity of Texas South­west­ern Med­ical Cen­ter in Dal­las, which has already spent “north of half a mil­lion dol­lars” retro­fitting rooms and train­ing staff to treat Ebola patients in iso­la­tion over the last sev­eral weeks, Meyer said.

Dr. W. Ian Lip­kin, who directs Colum­bia University’s Cen­ter for Infec­tion and Immu­nity, called the move a “sen­si­ble invest­ment,” and said that other com­mu­ni­ties should be able to repli­cate cen­ters like the ones at Emory Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tal, Nebraska Med­ical Cen­ter and the NIH facil­ity, where other Ebola patients have been treated in the United States.

The unit itself phys­i­cally isn’t that com­pli­cated,” said Dr. William Schaffner, chair­man of pre­ven­tive med­i­cine at Van­der­bilt Uni­ver­sity Med­ical Cen­ter in Nashville, Ten­nessee, adding that train­ing staff is much more cru­cial to the effort.

Vir­tu­ally any hos­pi­tal of any size” can build one of these units, he said. And though it might not be as “elab­o­rate” as the ones at Emory and the NIH, it should work.

The United States cur­rently houses four facil­i­ties with bio­con­tain­ment units, and they have the capac­ity to treat 11 patients. Texas would be adding two new facil­i­ties, and the abil­ity to treat sev­eral more patients.

When I heard about this, I said ‘Good for them,’” Schaffner said. “They’ll add to the U.S. capac­ity to take care of Ebola patients in these units.”

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio


One College Has Unique Approach to Preventing Sexual Assaults

Wave­break Media/Thinkstock(HAMILTON, N.Y.) — Col­gate Uni­ver­sity is doing its part in the national cam­paign to end sex­ual vio­lence on col­lege campuses.

The idea is one that might catch on else­where because stu­dents who take a sem­i­nar on sex­ual con­sent can use those cred­its toward the school’s Phys Ed requirements.

Dur­ing the class, which meets for six weeks per semes­ter, stu­dents are assigned to read and dis­cuss Jes­sica Valenti’s book, Yes Means Yes!, which means that both peo­ple give con­scious and vol­un­tary con­sent to hav­ing sex. At the com­ple­tion of the course, each stu­dent must expound on an ideal sex­ual cli­mate on campus.

Although the Yes Means Yes sem­i­nar is referred to as an extracur­ric­u­lar pro­gram, its pur­pose is par­tic­u­larly seri­ous.  And for Col­gate stu­dents, a rel­a­tively pain­less way to get out of Phys Ed for one semester.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio