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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.

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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.

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Deep-Fried Candy Bars May Be Hazardous to Your Health


iStock/Thinkstock(GLASGOW, Scotland) -- Candy is dandy but deep-fried candy bars are really tasty.

The problem, according to a report in the Scottish Medical Journal, is that these sugary and fatty confections normally sold at state fairs could put you in serious medical jeopardy.

In fact, the researchers from Glasgow say that a deep-fried Mars bar may increase the risk of a sudden stroke by slowing blood flow to the brain.

Their small study of 24 participants found that men with narrow arteries may be playing Russian roulette if they consume a deep-fried candy bar as blood flow was found to "moderately" decrease in as little as an hour-and-a-half.

However, women didn't seem to have the same reaction after they ate one.

The researchers say a lot more research is needed to confirm the possible dangers of deep-fried candy bars.

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Antibiotics in Young Children May Be Linked to Higher Obesity Risk


Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study indicates that antibiotics, used in children under the age of 2, may be linked to childhood obesity.

Researchers at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia looked at data from 65,000 infants and found that infants under the age of 2 who received more frequent doses of wide-spectrum antibiotics were more likely to be obese than those who received less frequent doses.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, found that children younger than three months are given the strongest selection of antibiotics for a short period of time, which has been proven to save lives. However, researchers say children over the age of three months may be more prudently treated with a more narrow spectrum of antibiotics.

Researchers say that the cumulative exposure to antibiotics, as well as the early age of antibiotic exposure, was linked to a higher risk of obesity later on.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Debbie Gibson Opens Up About the Lows of Lyme Disease


ABC/Kelsey McNeal(NEW YORK) -- Singer Debbie Gibson admits that she is just now starting to feel like herself again after struggling from Lyme disease for the past year.

"This is my first pain-free month," she told People magazine. "My strength has really come back. I've put back on about 12-15 lbs. Before, I couldn't ride my bike. I could hardly walk. Now I can. I went to yoga for the first time a month ago. I'm someone who has spent my life dancing and working out, and I wasn't able to do it with this disease."

Indeed, things got so bad that Gibson, 44, said she "became a shell of myself."

"I couldn't lift my head sometimes," she continued. "My boyfriend said I was mixing up words in my texts. It really got into my cognitive skills. I took crazy amounts of antibiotics, including doxycycline. It killed so much stuff in my body."

The "Lost in Your Eyes" singer is happy to be taking fewer pills for her disease.

"I'm on zero medications and two supplements. Isn't that crazy? It's all about getting my own body back online," she said. "My food sensitivities have gone away -- I was able to eat airplane food yesterday and didn't have a major episode!"

Even though things are better, she's not looking "too far ahead."

"I'm taking things day by day,” she added. “I get into trouble when I look too far ahead and worry about the future. I'm now grateful for each day.”

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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.

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University of Michigan Coach Defends Use of Dazed Quarterback


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- University of Michigan football coach Brady Hoke defended his team's handling of quarterback Shane Morris, who stayed in Saturday’s game despite appearing dazed and wobbly following a vicious hit.

"We would never ever put a guy on the field when there is a possibility with head trauma," Hoke said at a news conference Monday.

He added, "Guys play beat up every day."

Morris, already suffering from a leg injury in the fourth quarter of the 30-14 loss, was steamrolled by Minnesota’s Theiren Cockran, sending the quarterback sprawling backward.

Morris flipped on the ground and grabbed his facemask. Upon standing, the quarterback appeared wobbly and shaky, leaning on a teammate for support. Despite being visibly dazed, Morris remained in the game for the next play -- and even waved off someone on the sideline, possibly signaling that he wanted to play. He returned for another play later in the quarter.

Hoke said his quarterback remained in the game "because he felt like he could still play."

Following the game, Hoke said he didn’t know Morris was wobbling and he made the decision to keep Morris on the field.

“I didn’t see it,” he said. “I can only answer for me.”

“Shane wanted to be the quarterback, and so, believe me, if he didn't want to be, he would've come to the sideline or stayed down,” Hoke said Monday. “I would never put a kid in that situation never have and never will. You get into this to coach kids, believe me, and that’s what this game is all about.”

Hoke said only medical staff members can determine if and when an injured player can return to action. Michigan does not provide details about the health status of any of its players.

"[Morris] was evaluated by our experienced athletic trainers and team physicians, and we're confident proper medical decisions were made," Hoke said in a statement on Sunday. "The University of Michigan has a distinguished group of certified athletic trainers and team physicians who are responsible for determining whether or not a player is physically able to play. Our coaches have no influence or authority to make determinations if or when an injured player returns to competition."

Concussions have been an ongoing focal point in football. A documentary and book released last year, both titled League of Denial, investigated traumatic brain injuries in the professional ranks, and retired players and the NFL faced off in court over a class-action settlement.

Awareness has also shifted to the collegiate ranks. This season, two Division I football quarterbacks -- the University of Connecticut’s Casey Cochran and University of Texas QB David Ash -- called it quits after sustaining multiple concussions.

Dr. Kelley Anderson, a sports medicine physician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said it’s important for team personnel to be vigilant about concussion concerns, especially with players doing all they can to stay on the field.

“When [players] take multiple hits like that, you’ve got to watch them,” Anderson said. “So often, these athletes will minimize their symptoms.”

ESPN’s injury analyst Stephania Bell said the University of Michigan could have handled the situation differently, given the potential for a concussion.

“You can’t make the diagnosis purely on observation, but there were certainly elements that you saw in his behavior that raise concern,” she said.

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Up Close with Patients in the Throes of Ebola


ABC NewsREPORTER'S NOTEBOOK By ABC News' Dr. Richard Besser

(MONROVIA, Liberia) -- "First thing was the headache," a Liberian teen tells me.

I've arrived in a remote village with a medical team from The International Medical Corps to take him to an Ebola treatment unit.

Ten days ago, the teen, a local bishop's son named Boimah, shared a room with a community healer who died from Ebola last Tuesday, he says. Now, Boimah appears to have the deadly virus, too.

After the headache, there were body aches, Boimah says, then fever, vomiting and diarrhea. Now, he has sores and it hurts to swallow. When he opens his mouth, we can see blood on his teeth coming from his gums.

Before we arrived, Boimah’s father walked four hours to a district hospital to get help, but he only came home with antibiotics, painkillers and advice to come back if things got worse. It took some convincing, but he eventually persuaded his county health officer to call the Ebola Treatment Unit in Bong County.

I am embedded with USAID, following a team from the nonprofit International Medical Corps on their hunt for Ebola patients in rural Liberia. The village where I met Boimah is our second stop of the day.

It's impossible to travel anywhere quickly. We start the day weaving our way down the road out of Monrovia using both lanes, trying to avoid oncoming cars, trucks and the teeth-jarring potholes caused by the long rainy season. We are in two large white SUV's and ahead of us, the International Medical Corps are driving two makeshift ambulances -- pickup trucks outfitted with metal frames and covered with bright orange tarps.

Outside the town of Kakata, we are stopped at a checkpoint. “Everyone out,” one of the guards tells us. No one passes without having his or her temperature checked.

A fever in Liberia is more likely due to malaria than Ebola, but these checkpoints are one way the government is trying to contain the outbreak. We walk up the little hill to the cement shelter where a young woman with an infrared thermometer holds court. "36 degrees" Celsius, she shows me after holding it next to my temple. I don’t have a fever. Those who do are detained until a medical team can assess them.

Our first pickup of the day is in a village called Mahwa, a small cluster of wood and mud houses. Garmai, a young mother, sits on a stool in her outdoor kitchen, holding her listless baby son, Freeman, on her lap. He's not quite a year old and he's breathing rapidly. I can see his belly pulling in with each breath, while his arms just hang at his sides.

Freeman's father and grandmother have Ebola and are in the Ebola treatment unit in Bong County, where we will be heading for the night. While the woman feels fine, it’s clear her baby does not. He's hot to the touch and has not been eating. No diarrhea or vomiting, but he's had a cough.

Freeman sleeps with his parents on a common sleeping mat in the cramped quarters behind them, she says. The opportunity for exposure was there.

Though the baby might have Ebola, it’s also possible he has pneumonia, a common killer of young children in its own right. He needed to get to the treatment center for testing and care.

As they climbed into the back of the ambulance, a crowd of villagers looked on approvingly. Mahwa is unique among rural Liberian villages because it welcomes health workers and believes that taking patients to treatment centers is the best approach for everyone. They even told me about how they are washing their hands to prevent the disease from spreading.

With Garmai and Freeman in the ambulance, we moved on to pick up Boimah in a village two hours away.

"He's a good boy. Very hardworking. The doctors will help him," his father said.

The look on his face was one of hope mixed with despair. He told me of the beloved healer who had likely infected his son.

"He was a great man. A beloved man. He took care of me." He pulled up his pants leg to show me where the healer had stitched up an old leg wound. "If he hadn't had Ebola, everyone would have come to his funeral. Now, we couldn't even say goodbye."

Then, as Boimah climbed into the orange ambulance for the four-hour ride to the Ebola treatment unit, a rainbow arced across the sky. On a day full of trepidation and disease, a much needed sign of hope.

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Paralysis Link Suspected as Enterovirus Spreads


iStock/Thinkstock(DENVER) -- Simon Humphrey spent nine days in a Colorado hospital room fighting for his life.

Humphrey, 13, is one of hundreds of children across the country stricken by Enterovirus 68.

He later had problems moving his limbs.

"I couldn't move my legs," he told ABC affiliate KMGH-TV in Denver. "The muscles in my arms could barely lift the weight of my hands."

Humphrey is showing signs of improvement after the temporary paralysis. But his struggle reflects an emerging concern; young patients with respiratory infections later having trouble moving their arms and legs.

Investigators with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are searching for links between Enterovirus D-68 and paralysis. Nine patients at Children’s Hospital Colorado -- all age 18 or younger -- have experienced some level of paralysis. Four of the patients tested positive for Enterovirus D-68 but, so far, doctors have not confirmed a link between the respiratory infections and paralysis. Experts say it could take a week before conclusive test results emerge.

Six of the eight children tested were found to be positive for a rhinovirus or enterovirus, and four of those cases were found to be the Enterovirus 68. The other two cases were still pending.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, said it’s important for officials to understand the scope of the problem.

“In a circumstance like that, the virus actually infects the central nervous system, the spinal cord, causes injury to some of the cells, and that’s what causes the paralysis,” Schaffner said.

Dr. Larry Wolk, the chief medical officer and executive director for Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said the paralysis is rare but could be permanent.

“Parents ask, ‘Why? Why my child or why not my child?’” Wolk said. “And it’s a question we can’t answer because we don’t really know why some of these kids go on to develop this type of serious complication.”

Enterovirus D-68 is confirmed or suspected in 45 states. Authorities are investigating whether the virus killed a 4-year-old New Jersey boy Thursday.

Doctors are urging parents to keep a close eye on sick children.

“When your child is not acting the way you would expect with a cold symptom, that’s when you need to access care,“ Dr. Christine Nyquist of Children’s Hospital Colorado said. “Breathing difficulty and wheezing is important to deal with.”


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Talk Therapy Is Best for Overcoming Social Anxiety


iStock/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) -- The best way to treat social anxiety disorder, which can literally paralyze people in social situations, is through talk therapy more so than drugs.

That's the finding of a John Hopkins University study, which looked at a disorder affecting millions of Americans.

"Social anxiety is more than just shyness," says study leader Evan Mayo-Wilson.

Mayo-Wilson says social anxiety goes far beyond ordinary shyness because the disorder can prevent people from establishing relationships or getting ahead at school or work.

In a meta-analysis of more than 13,000 participants from 100 clinical trials, it was discovered that cognitive behavioral therapy was more effective in getting people to deal with their social anxiety than either antidepressants or a combination of therapy and drugs.

Cognitive behavioral therapy predominantly focuses on the connection between thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Through talking, patients are able to overcome irrational fears that often lead to avoiding social situations.

Perhaps more significantly, many don't lapse back into social anxiety after CBT is over.

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Burying Ebola Victims in Liberia


Dr. Richard Besser/ABC News(MONROVIA, Liberia) -- REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK By: Dr. Richard Besser

Matthew Lincoln died Saturday night. He was one of two patients to die at the Bong County Ebola Treatment Unit on Saturday.

When Lincoln died, I was embedded with a group of aid workers tracking down Ebola patients. We were on our way to the center with his 23-year-old wife, Garmai and their 11-month-old son, Freeman, both of whom are believed to be infected with Ebola. We picked up Garmai and Freeman in the small village of Mahwa, but instead of traveling directly to the clinic, we detoured to pick up another suspected Ebola patient. A four-hour trip stretched to six, and by the time we reached our destination, Matthew was dead.

There was no chance for his wife to say goodbye.

Bong County Ebola Treatment Unit is run by the International Medical Corps. It was built by Save the Children and is funded by USAID. It sits on top of a forested hill a couple miles from the main road on property that used to be a leper colony, according to a large sign that hangs by the road.

Eventually the facility will house 52 Ebola patients, but it opened just 13 days ago as part of the increased American support coming into Liberia to fight the outbreak. Now, it can only handle 22 patients.

Taking care of Ebola patients requires meticulous attention to detail; one small mistake and a health care worker can become infected. As a result, new centers scale up slowly, working out there systems with a small number of patients at first.

On Sunday morning, we attended Matthew's funeral. No prayers, no remembrances, no loved ones at the grave site. There was just a small procession: the burial team, health care workers, and a small group from USAID.

A narrow trail snaked through the jungle leading from the treatment compound to the burial site. Vines hung down and tangled in our hair and roots tripped our feet as we followed the two yellow-suited members of the burial team carrying Matthew's body in a white body bag on an orange canvas stretcher. We filmed them from the front, walking backwards, slowing their progress with the body.

"Hurry, hurry," they said. "He's getting heavy."

We stepped aside to let them pass and filmed them from behind.

Seven mounds of freshly filled graves stood side-by-side, each with a little white sign bearing the carefully written name of the deceased. Stretching past these filled graves were 19 empty ones. It was a horrifying sight.

In the short time the treatment unit has been open, they've buried seven victims and have two more waiting to go into the ground. There were more empty graves than there were living patients being treated here for Ebola.

"We have to plan ahead," Dr. Pranav Shetty, director of the unit explained, adding that they have a team of nine gravediggers who can dig three graves a day. "It's important that they stay ahead of our needs."

At this rate, within two weeks all these graves will be filled, and they will need to clear a larger area and hire another team of diggers. It's an overwhelming feeling to see such a forecast of death, to know what is coming but to also know that -- with high quality treatment -- it doesn't have to be that way.

I talk to Garmai, the newest widow, through the chicken wire that separates us in the visitors area. A ledge extends out to ensure that we stay a safe distance apart, at least 3 feet. It's the smart thing to do but it makes it difficult to talk about illness, death, and her baby, Freeman.

"I don't feel well. My body is cold," she tells me. "Freeman is not good. He won't eat. He's very weak. They took my blood but not from Freeman."

It is so hard to draw blood from a dehydrated infant. The medical team was trying to decide how best to do this.

Garmai’s blood will be taken to a lab on Monrovia. It will take 2-to-3 days before they know if they have Ebola, but Garmai knows the test is probably just a formality. She and her son shared a bed with Matthew.

I ask Dr. Shetty the question that has been eating at me for weeks: How can it be that all the Americans who get treated in the U.S. survive, and here in Liberia 70 percent die? He explains that they are doing the best they can with what they have.

"All diseases have a better outcome in Western countries,” he says. “Ebola is no different. The key to controlling Ebola is preventing new cases."

What he says is true about prevention being the most critical need, but I'm haunted by the sight of those empty graves waiting to be filled. The job of saving lives is enormous and cannot be ignored. It is far too big to be handled without a massive influx of health care workers. Yet, no country has stepped in and said that this will be their mission: providing lifesaving care to Ebola patients.

How can the world accept such a preordained path to death?

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American Doctor to Be Admitted for Observation After Exposure to Ebola in Sierra Leone


VILevi/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- An American doctor who had been volunteering in an Ebola treatment unit in Sierra Leone will be admitted for treatment at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center after being exposed to the virus.

According to the NIH, the decision to admit the patient was made "out of an abundance of caution." The patient, who was not identified, will stay in a specially-designed unit with high-level isolation capabilities. The unit is also staffed by infectious diseases and critical care specialists.

The NIH says it will take every precaution to ensure the safety of all of its patients and staff, as well as the public.

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