Health

Army veteran Randy Michaud had to make a 200-mile trip to the Veterans Affairs hospital in Aroostook County, Maine, near the Canadian border, every time he had a medical appointment.

Michaud, who was medically retired after a jeep accident in Germany 25 years ago, moved home to Maine in 1991. He was eligible for VA medical care, but the long drive was a problem.

He's one of millions of veterans living in rural America who must travel hundreds of miles round-trip for care.

A health care worker in Texas who cared for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan has been confirmed to have the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The head of the CDC says the infection stems from a breach in protocol that officials are working to identify.

Updated at 12:40 p.m. ET

Call it a sign of the times: An airline passenger sneezes, makes a joke about Ebola and is quickly escorted from the plane by hazmat-suited personnel.

That's what reportedly happened aboard a US Airways flight that had landed in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, shortly after arriving from Philadelphia on Wednesday.

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Repair and boost the bacteria in the gut with the right food, prebiotics and probiotics, and you'll feel better and lose weight. That's the theory of Dr. Raphael Kellman of New York, author of The Microbiome Diet.

On Aug. 15, doctors and nurses at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., realized they had a problem.

Children were coming into the emergency room with an illness that caused wheezing and breathing problems so severe that some children ended up in the ICU on ventilators. And it was spreading fast.

Updated at 11:35 a.m. ET

Hospital officials in Spain are saying that the condition of a nurse quarantined with Ebola has worsened.

Yolanda Fuentes, an official at the Carlos III hospital in Madrid, says of Ebola patient Teresa Romero Ramos: "Her clinical situation has deteriorated but I can't give any more information due to the express wishes of the patient."

stewartfornb.com

New Britain's mayor is looking for space to serve as an emergency homeless shelter this winter. 

The Herald of New Britain reports that Mayor Erin Stewart is asking that a local property owner step forward and donate a building. 

Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, died Wednesday morning at Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. As relatives and friends grieve and plan an evening service for the 42-year-old man, public health officials are putting in action plans to safely manage his remains.

This is critical, given that people who die of Ebola virus infection can harbor the virus after death.

Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET

Thomas Eric Duncan, the 42-year-old man who contracted Ebola in Liberia and later traveled to Dallas, where he was being treated, has died, hospital officials say.

A statement from the company that runs Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where Duncan was in isolation, read:

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

Here's a roundup of the latest developments on Ebola. We'll update this post as news happens.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest confirmed that the U.S. will conduct additional screenings of passengers arriving from the Ebola-infected region of West Africa. JFK, Newark, Chicago O'Hare, Dulles and Atlanta's Hartsfield airports will implement measures that would affect about 150 passengers a day.

One U.S. Coast Guard sector says it will contact ships that have recently been to Ebola-affected countries to ask whether passengers have symptoms of the virus before they're allowed into port.

Dr. Jack Ross is used to seeing potentially lethal viruses, and he is used to putting patients into isolation. Still, Ebola is different.

"I think, for any hospital today, Ebola represents one step higher than anything else, if we had to do it," says Ross, who directs infection control for Hartford Healthcare's five hospitals in Connecticut.

On a tour of Hartford Hospital, Ross explains how his Ebola control plan would affect various parts of the facility — from the emergency room, to the intensive care unit, to the floors of rooms where patients stay.

Jackie Filson / WNPR

A Connecticut bioscience company said it’s developing an Ebola vaccine and it plans to have samples ready for testing by the end of this year. 

Lanny Nagler / UConn Health Center

A UConn Professor has won a lucrative award from the National Institutes of Health for his work in regenerative engineering.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The state Department of Children and Families is refuting a judge's criticism that it did not turn over documents in a timely manner for a recent child abuse trial. 

Updated at 10:20 a.m. ET

The condition of a man infected with the Ebola virus who is undergoing treatment in Dallas is "fighting for his life," doctors say, as another patient with the disease has arrived in Nebraska to receive care.

Thomas Eric Duncan, in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, became ill after arriving from the West African country of Liberia two weeks ago.

Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte / Thinkstock

There's a new statewide hotline for Spanish-speaking victims of domestic violence.

No, Seriously, How Contagious Is Ebola?

Oct 2, 2014

Update on Oct. 8: The Ebola patient in Dallas, the first diagnosed with the virus in the U.S., has died.

Holy moly! There's a case of Ebola in the U.S.!

That first reaction was understandable. There's no question the disease is scary. The World Health Organization now estimates that the virus has killed about 70 percent of people infected in West Africa.

Updated at 3:42 p.m. ET:

The number of "contact traces" for a man diagnosed with Ebola earlier this week in Dallas has risen to 100, officials say, as they add secondary contacts to a list of people being monitored for symptoms of the deadly virus.

Earlier today, Erikka Neros, a spokeswoman for the Dallas County Health and Human Services department, said the number of "contact traces" stood at about 80 because the 12 to 18 people who had been exposed directly to the patient then had contact with others.

Exactly one year ago, the Obamacare insurance exchanges stumbled into existence. Consumers struggled to sign up for its online marketplace — and the Obama administration was pummeled. Eventually, HealthCare.gov's problems were mostly fixed, and two weeks ago, the administration announced 7.3 million people have bought insurance through it so far this year.

So, was the health exchanges' first year a success — or something less?

Ask President Obama, and he says you measure the Affordable Care Act's success this way:

Elipongo / Creative Commons

Five Connecticut hospitals have left the network of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, after they failed to reach an agreement with the insurer. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Tuesday that the first case of Ebola has appeared in the U.S.

A man in Dallas has tested positive for the virus, the agency said. The man flew to the U.S. from Liberia, arriving on Sept. 20, NPR has learned. He wasn't sick on the flight, and had no symptoms when he arrived.

Jeff Turner/flickr creative commons

Whether it's you or someone you know, why can't we be prepared to take certain actions if we're diagnosed with cancer? We prepare for retirement, for funerals, for wills—isn't it wise to have as much information as possible for ourselves and people we care about, should we face the challenge?

C-HIT

The Connecticut Department of Health announced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 12 cases of enterovirus D68 in the state. The most recent confirmation came from cases at Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford. The virus causes breathing problems but nationally, there are some cases that have other troubling symptoms, as well.

Earlier this year, the heroin epidemic in this country was front and center. It's not in the headlines anymore, but that doesn't mean the problem of opioid addiction, fueled by abusing prescription drugs or heroin, has gone away.

Torrington received a lot of attention for the number of overdose deaths there in 2013.  Late last year, community stakeholders came together to form the Litchfield County Opiate Task Force. One of the task force's biggest initiatives to combat the problem throughout the entire county was the creation of a community case manager to work at the local hospital.

As the Ebola outbreak gains steam, experts continue to deploy to the region.

Teams from Doctors Without Borders, the World Health Organization, the U.S. military and others are in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia assembling treatment centers and fighting the deadly virus.

There's one group of experts missing from the picture, says Ann Kelly, senior lecturer at the University of Exeter: anthropologists.

Huntstock / Thinkstock

Historically, doctors recommended genetic screenings in certain women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer. This month, Mary-Claire King, an influential the geneticist who discovered links between a gene called BRCA1 and breast cancer, said doctors need to offer genetic tests to all women 30 and older.

Krystal International Vacation Club / Creative Commons

Research shows that using your vacation time can have some major benefits. For one, it’s better for productivity, and -- as one study shows -- it can even be better for your health. But are Americans taking enough time off, or are we really a "no-vacation nation"? 

Courtesy of The Defining Photo

Identical twins are just like us - and then they're not! From Ann Landers and Dear Abbey, from the Castro brothers, one of whom might be our first identical twin president one day, carbon-copy twins live lives that the rest of us cannot fathom.

Two of the world's top health organizations released predictions Tuesday warning how bad the Ebola outbreak in West Africa could get.

Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization agree that the epidemic is speeding up. But the CDC's worst-case scenario is a jaw-dropper: If interventions don't start working soon, as many as 1.4 million people could be infected by Jan. 20, the agency reported in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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