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How This Enterovirus Outbreak Could Affect Adults

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- There's one silver lining in the ominous news about the mysterious respiratory virus that has sickened children in 46 states since August, even causing paralysis in some: It does not seem to be spreading into adults.

But experts aren't sure why.

"Everyone is scratching their heads on this one," said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of the department of medicine at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

One possible theory is that the current pathogen, enterovirus 68, or a virus very similar to it has circulated undetected in the past, Schaffner said. That means adults may have already been exposed to it and have built up immunity.

However, Schaffner said it's more likely that adults aren't being infected because enteroviruses are so common.

"Older family members may have built up some antibodies to enteroviruses in general that are providing some cross-protection," he said.

Dr. Michael Tosi, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, said he doesn't expect to see many adult cases if any at all.

"In general we see enteroviruses more in children than adults anyway," Tosi said. "When they do get them they are often asymptomatic or have less serious reactions that don't require hospitalization."

Schaffner agreed it's unlikely there will be mass outbreak in older people. The virus has been around since the summer and children have been exposing their families to it for months, he said. If it was going to spread to adults, it probably would have already.

However, he noted that enterovirus 68 is a bit of a rogue.

"Many enteroviruses are transmitted and live in intestinal tract but this virus is spread by a respiratory route, more like how winter flus are spread," he explained. "We'll definitely have to watch it and see how it behaves."

Enterovirus 68 is similar to the common cold, but symptoms can be more serious, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It causes wheezing and in some instances, neurological symptoms and temporary paralysis. How it spreads is unclear, though most enteroviruses spread through contact with respiratory secretions like saliva and mucous, as well as feces.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Dove Ad Highlights a Mother’s Impact on Daughter’s Self-Esteem

BananaStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Dove’s buzzy new short film titled “Legacy” asks women to share how they feel about their bodies, but then poses the same question to their daughters.

“My number one hate on my body is… ,” one mother begins reading in the advertisement. “My eyes are wonky,” another finishes. “My bigger arms” or “I have very big legs,” two other women say.

The powerful ad shows mothers just how much their behavior can leave a lasting impact on their daughter’s lives.

“Oh, she said her thighs too, didn’t she?,” one mom reacted after hearing her little girl’s similar response.

“I don’t like my arms and she doesn’t like her arms either,” realized another.

“She really picks up a lot of my ways. She really does,” one more noted, shocked by her daughter’s similarities to her own insecurities.

It’s an issue Babble.com blogger Jeannette Kaplun, of Aventura, Florida, experienced first-hand.

The naturally curly-haired mother says she straightens her hair for special occasions -- a simple act that, just like in the Dove film, has made her young daughter, Sofia, question her own beauty.

“My daughter actually told me, ‘Straight hair is beautiful, curly hair isn’t,’” Kaplun told ABC News of her daughter’s remarks. “'Anytime you want to look extra pretty, you straighten out your hair.’”

It wasn’t the only lifestyle decision that appeared to rub off on 9-year-old Sofia. She also picked up on Kaplun’s efforts to lose a few pounds.

“I don’t want her to be obsessed by her weight,” said Kaplun.

Now she says she is more careful about the comments she makes about her appearance.

“I realized I’m not doing a great job as a mom if she is thinking these contradictions and it’s making her doubt her own beauty,” Kaplun explained.

The mothers featured in Dove’s film had the same surprised reaction.

“Looking at it, she really picks up a lot of my ways. She really does,” one noticed.

“How I feel about myself really affects how she feels about herself,” another added.

The advertisement closes with the remarks, “The way a girl feels about her beauty starts with how you feel about yours. What’s your beauty legacy?”

For these moms, it has opened their eyes to thinking twice before they open their mouths to say something negative about their bodies, especially in front of their young daughters.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Pediatric Group Recommends IUDs over Birth Control Pill for Teens

JackF/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Doctors from the American Academy of Pediatrics say that long-acting reversible contraceptive methods should be used for teenagers before the birth control pill.

LARC methods, such as intra-uterine devices and subdermal implants, have been found to be safe for use in teenagers, according to the academy, and may actually be more effective at preventing pregnancy than the pill. This, experts say, is because many teens fail to take the pill regularly.

Additionally, experts say, doctors shouldn't rely solely on abstinence counseling, instead recommending that comprehensive sexual health information be provided to all adolescents.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Researchers: Choosing Soda Could Be Bad for Kids’ Bone Health

Aleksandar-Pal Sakala/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Researchers say soda may cause problems for children's bone health, particularly if it leads to children drinking less milk.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, points to the importance of calcium in children, and notes that choosing soda over beverages containing calcium is one route that could lead to poor bone health. Past research has also noted that the phosphate in sodas can bind with calcium, preventing its use in strengthening bones.

The researchers say that nearly 25 percent of high school students drink some kind of soda daily. That drink selection can put children at risk of weaker bones as they age.

The American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidelines, recommending that children avoid carbonated beverages.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

What You Need to Know About Enterovirus 68

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- There's a new mystery surrounding a respiratory virus suspected of sickening children in 45 states since August: temporary paralysis.

The virus, called enterovirus 68, can start out like the common cold but can quickly turn serious and send children to the hospital with breathing problems. And now, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is investigating whether the virus led to temporary limb paralysis in nine children in Colorado.

The virus is similar to the rhinovirus that causes the common cold, according to the CDC. But unlike a cold, the infection can lead to severe respiratory symptoms such as wheezing.

"It's the wheezing you have to watch out for," said ABC News' chief health and medical editor, Dr. Richard Besser, referring to the whistling sound generated when air moves through narrowed breathing tubes.

Here are six things you should know about the outbreak:

The CDC is investigating the link between enterovirus 68 and paralysis


Nine children in Denver have reported neurological symptoms after having a respiratory virus, according to the CDC, which says it is now investigating a link between enterovirus 68 and paralysis. The patients are all 18 years old and younger, and four of them have tested positive for enterovirus 68.

"It is a spectrum of arm or leg weakness that can be as mild as weakness or as severe as paralysis," said Dr. Larry Wolk, the chief medical officer and executive director for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. "What ties them all together though are findings of spots or lesions in the grey matter of the spinal cord on MRI scans."

This isn’t the first enterovirus 68 outbreak in the U.S.

Georgia and Pennsylvania reported clusters of enterovirus 68 almost exactly five years ago in September 2009, according to a 2011 CDC report. Arizona had a small cluster of cases in August and September 2010, according to the same report.

No one knows how it started.

While this isn't the first time enterovirus 68 has popped up in the U.S., health officials are still trying to figure out why the virus has re-emerged.

"This is a very common time for outbreaks. Kids come back to school, they like to share things, they bring them home to their little brothers and sisters," said Besser, adding that most enterovirus outbreaks occur in the summer. "But this one, this particular enterovirus is very rare, and they have no idea why it showed up this year."

No one knows how it spreads.

Studies on enterovirus 68 are limited, and so is knowledge about how the virus spreads.

Most enteroviruses spread through contact with respiratory secretions like saliva and mucous as well as feces, according to the CDC.

The Department of Health and Senior Services in Missouri, where hundreds of suspected cases have been reported, recommends washing hands thoroughly and often, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, disinfecting frequently-touched surfaces and staying home when feeling sick.

There’s no specific treatment.


There are no anti-viral medications for enterovirus 68, and no vaccines to prevent the infection, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Instead, health care providers are tasked with treating the symptoms of the infection -- a task that may require hospitalization.

"The important thing is to recognize the signs of respiratory distress," said Besser, describing how difficulty talking, audible wheezing and bluish lip color can signal distress. "There are treatments to improve respiration."

Some people may be more vulnerable than others.


Young children and people with asthma may be particularly vulnerable to enterovirus 68, health officials say.

Dr. Raju Meyappan, a pediatric critical care physician at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver, said he's seen multiple asthmatic children end up on breathing tubes in the intensive care unit after contracting the virus.

"As a pediatric ICU doctor, we try our best not to intubate kids with asthma at any point in time," Meyappan said. "They all needed it. The onset [of the virus] is severe."

Children also appear to be more susceptible than adults, according to a CDC report released earlier this month about cases in Missouri and Illinois. The ages of those infected ranged from 6 weeks to 16 years, with most of the illnesses occurring in children aged 4 and 5.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

What America’s Richest Man Thinks We Should Do About Ebola

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- America's richest man has a plan to fight Ebola, and he isn't shy about trumpeting its greatest benefactor: the United States.

In his first interview since donating $50 million to counter the quickly-expanding threat of Ebola in West Africa, Bill Gates outlined the obligations America has in shaping the institutions that will curb the crisis.

He told an intimate audience at the Bank of America building in Washington, D.C., on Monday that the Ebola outbreak is "a great example of where the world needs to come together."

The $50 million pledge through his foundation is intended to "scale up" the fight, letting the money be released in "flexible funds" to United Nations agencies and global organizations that can purchase medical supplies and support facilities treating the outbreak.

Gates also cited the expertise of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as being evidence of America's responsibility to step in and help. He referred to America's ability to counteract health crises as being "the best in the world."

"The U.S. is the leader in being able to move into areas like this," he said.

After President Obama told the U.N. last Thursday that the crisis is "a marathon, but you have to run it like a sprint," Gates echoed the urgency, telling the audience that "the next few months will be really tense." To effectively stop the spread, Gates said he believes the appropriate infrastructure must be in place within the next month.

"What happens when you have people panic is that the entire health system shuts down," he said.

Politico, which hosted the highly-choreographed event, inadvertently caused a clumsy exchange about a key issue in the Ebola emergency: the success and timeliness of the global reaction to the outbreak.

Politico's White House correspondent Mike Allen, who moderated the event with Politico editor Susan Glasser, promoted a new article on the website that details the criticisms of the response to the calamity. But Gates was unconvinced.

"Unless you have an algorithm for the future...I'm pretty impressed with how quickly people have stepped up on this," he said.

Though he said he believes the epidemic "would have been caught a month or two before it was" had the sufficient systems been in place, Gates nevertheless praised Congress' generosity: at least $175 million has been committed by the U.S. government, and the U.S. military is looking to give $500 million in "humanitarian assistance" that would be redirected from its budget. Almost 3,000 American troops have been mobilized to offer support to field hospitals and training facilities for health employees.

"There's an overall approach now," Gates said. "And the U.S. as usual on world problems [is] stepping up both in terms of the science, the understanding, and now the U.S. military's logistic ability to get supplies in and create field hospitals that are critical."

"If we can stop Ebola when it's just these three countries [Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Guinea]...building back up primary health care should be pretty straightforward," he added.

The eventual goal should be to not just rely on American and global institutions, but to encourage a kind of grassroots support for bearing the burden, Gates said.

"Getting as many Americans out in action to see this ..that’s our best tool," he said.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio