They’ve tried vaccines. They’ve tried an ad campaign. They’ve even tried special and utterly useless red solo cups. But after an eighth case of meningitis broke out on campus last week, Princeton might just go full Matthew McConaughey in the Dallas Buyers Club and import a drug that isn’t currently approved in the States.
Philly.com reports: “A Philadelphia woman has been infected with West Nile virus, the first human case reported in the city this year.”
The woman became ill on July 30, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection. The disease was confirmed this week as West Nile.
West Nile has been found in 42 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties this year.
CBS Philly reports on two Jersey deaths from the West Nile virus:
According to state health officials, a 78-year-old Gloucester County woman developed fever, blurred vision, weakness and diarrhea in mid-August and was hospitalized. She died on August 24, and her death was reported to the Health Department today, state officials say.
A 92-year-old Morris County man developed fever and muscle weakness in mid-August and was admitted to the hospital with swelling of the brain. State health officials say he died on August 31.
The virus has been reported in six people in New Jersey, the station reported.
The Inquirer today takes on a story that until now had existed more in the realm of quiet conspiracy theorizing: The paper notes that ex-Phillies Tug McGraw, John Vukovich, Johnny Oates, and Darren Daulton all played at the old, terrible, crappy Veterans Stadium—and that all four subsequently developed brain cancer.
The rate of brain cancers in team members from that era appears to be about three times the rate in the adult male population, according to an Inquirer analysis that was reviewed by a University of Pennsylvania epidemiologist. And that elevated rate of brain cancer is statistically significant, though the analysis had certain limitations and the pattern easily could be due to chance, said Penn’s Timothy R. Rebbeck.
“These figures suggest that there’s an elevated risk of brain cancers in the baseball players compared to the general population,” said Rebbeck, a professor of epidemiology at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. “You can’t rule out the possibility that it’s random bad luck.”
The team did not respond to requests for comment.
Another possibility: Steroids, though Daulton is the only one of the four players who was really active in or around the so-called Steroid Era. And if Veterans Stadium is mixed up in all of this, wouldn’t we see similar illnesses among Philadelphia Eagles’ players? (Maybe not: The Phillies played roughly 80 games a year on that awful old turf; the Eagles just a tenth that number.)
The Inquirer notes that two other MLB teams have seen higher-than-expected rates of brain cancer during their franchise histories, and that makes sense: There are 30 teams overall—some will have higher-than-average rates of all kinds of stuff, others well below, and lots of teams will be clustered around the middle. There may be a baseball-related reason all these men have contracted brain cancer (and, let’s face it, the Phils haven’t really been historically known for their clean living) but the evidence so far seems thin.
NBC10 reports that Philadelphia is seeing an outbreak of hand, foot, and mouth disease, which is more gross than dangerous, but still kind of a pain for parents to have to deal with. Symptoms include “fever, headache, loss of appetite and painful blisters” like the kind seen on the Wikipedia picture at right.
What’s interesting about the outbreak is that it proves how ubiquitous poop is in our everyday lives. Wait, did we say interesting? We meant horrifying. But anyway:
Doctors say children spread it in fountains, pools daycares, playgrounds and at home. They also say it’s extremely contagious among toddlers who haven’t been exposed to the virus before.
“It’s ubiquitous,” said Dr. Wenonah Nelson, a pediatrician at Bryn Mawr Hospital. “It spreads all over the place. It’s spread by respiratory droplet and probably spread by fecal route. So we ask people to be careful about hand wiping after diaper changes.”
“Probably spread by fecal route” is euphemistic doctor-speak for “POOP IS EVERYWHERE!” Especially during the summer. Remember this bit of information from March:
CDC researchers collected water samples from filters at 160 public pools, booth indoor and outdoor, located in the metro-Atlanta area. They found “poop” in nearly 60 percent of the pools, with tests revealing 58 percent of the water samples were positive for the bacteria Escherichia coli, or E. coli.
In other words, the entire world is like Caddyshack (NSFW), every day.
A federal judge on Wednesday ordered HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to allow 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan to be moved to the adult lung transplant list, giving her a better chance of receiving a potentially life-saving transplant.
The quick and unusual ruling, made after a hastily scheduled emergency hearing, follows a campaign by the family and some members of Congress to pressure the Obama administration to change a federal policy that puts children under age 12 at the bottom of the list of those who can receive donated adult lungs.
Murnaghan has cystic fibrosis and her doctors have said she may only live a few weeks without the transplant. She has been on the waiting list for pediatric donors for 18 months, but they are more rare and her condition is worsening. There’s no guarantee that even with the judge’s ruling, a suitable donor will become available in time, but her odds would be better.
The case has become a political hot potato. Check out this headline from the conservative Washington Times: “Republican judge saves Sarah Murnaghan from death panel bureaucrats.” Eric Golub comments:
This situation was tailor made for Obama. He should have banged his fist on the table, ordered Sebelius to make it happen, and then take his victory laps for doing what any decent person would do.
As for Health and (secret email) Human Services Obamacare Czarina Kathleen Sebelius, she showed what happens when cold, bureaucratic government procedures trump human beings.
Murnaghan is a patient at Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, here in Philadelphia.
Saying that three other children at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia are just as sick, Kathleen Sebelius reiterated Tuesday that she would not personally intervene to help a local 10-year-old whose desperate family wants organ-allocation rules changed to give her a better shot at a lung transplant.
A spokesman for the secretary of Health and Human Services said Sebelius was at a budget hearing Tuesday on Capitol Hill when Pennsylvania lawmakers asked about Sarah Murnaghan of Newtown Square. Several area politicians have urged Sebelius to help the girl, who has been waiting on the transplant list for 18 months.
Children’s has declined to discuss the case. The Murnaghan family wants it to be easier for children Sarah’s age to receive adult lungs. Currently, such children get top priority for lungs from donors under the age of 12 but wait behind adults and adolescents for adult lungs, which must be cut down for smaller bodies.
Both Gov. Corbett and Sen. Bob Casey have written letters on Sarah’s behalf, urging Sebelius, who oversees the network, to deliver a onetime exception to the rule on the girl’s behalf.
“You have the authority to bring together a meeting of the board or its executive committee to effectuate changes necessary to close this unfair loophole and give Sarah and others like her a chance at life,” Corbett said in a letter to Sebelius
Republicans’ latest attack on HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius involves not the health care law, but a child dying of cystic fibrosis.
GOP members are pressuring the secretary to make Sarah Murnaghan, a 10-year-old who has been hospitalized at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for three months with end-stage disease, eligible to receive a transplant of adult lungs. Her family has gone very public in seeking an exemption because few pediatric lungs become available and the child is running out of time.
Republicans — from Pennsylvania and other states — insist she intervene. “It simply takes your signature,” said Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.). “A study will take over a year — this young lady will be dead.”
NPR reports that City Hall is working with 200 Chinese takeout restaurants across Philadelphia, teaching them how to cook your favorite dishes with less salt—and urging them to give you fewer soy sauce packets when they deliver.
Of course, Chinese takeout isn’t the only restaurant food loaded with extra salt. Philly could just have easily launched its lower-salt pilot program among the city’s cheesesteak shops or salty pretzel vendors. So why target the lo mein?
It’s all about demographics and location, says Giridhar Mallya, director of policy and planning at the city’s Department of Public Health.
“We know that there are at least 400 Chinese takeout restaurants in Philadelphia,” Mallya says, “and they are predominantly in low-income, African-American and Hispanic communities.”
Those populations have some of the highest rates — and risks — for high blood pressure and heart disease.
Early results are apparently encouraging: Secret tests show that sodium rates declined by 20 percent in restaurants that received training.
Roy Halladay had to be pulled in the first inning of a spring training game against the Orioles Sunday. The culprit: a stomach virus. Or, if you like, the Roy Halladay diet.
Roy Halladay says he’s lost “maybe 10 pounds” in the last 2 days. Still hopes to throw side session tomorrow & make next start Saturday
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) March 19, 2013
The day before it was set to go into effect, New York State Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingle (!) has blocked Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s controversial ban on soda containers larger than 16 ounces, ruling it “arbitrary and capricious.” Let the investigations into Tingle’s soda-consumption habits begin! For what it’s worth, this ruling has to make Mayor Nutter feel better about his own failure to push through a soda tax, right? [NY Daily News]