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How US Government Could Evacuate Americans with Ebola

U.S. Centers for Disease Control(WASHINGTON) -- A government-owned jet equipped with a plastic isolation tent could evacuate Ebola-stricken Americans from the West African hot zone, health officials say.

The portable tent, designed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Defense and the Phoenix Air Group, transforms an airplane into a portable isolation ward.

It’s called an Aeromedical Biological Containment System, and it can house a sick patient along with medical personnel. It can be loaded on a Gulfstream jet, which has a flight range of seven hours or 3,500 miles.

“CDC sends personnel all over the globe to respond to some of the most dangerous infectious agents,” said ABC News’ chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser, who served as the CDC’s director of emergency preparedness and response when the tent was constructed. “It was essential that if the agency was going to send people out to help others, it had a way to bring them back if they got sick. That was the impetus behind this project.”

At least two Americans have contracted Ebola while working to contain the outbreak -- Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol. Both are currently receiving treatment in Liberia, according to their organization, Samaritan’s Purse.

Another 12 American CDC workers are in the area, according to the agency, but none of them have been reported sick.

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CDC: Two Thousand Americans Die from Weather Every Year

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Weather reportedly kills 2,000 Americans every year.

According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 6% of weather-related deaths are from extreme situations like storms-- 63% of the victims die from cold exposure, while 31% die from heat.

The old, the poor, people in cities, and people in rural areas are the most susceptible.

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Woman Dies on US Airways Flight

iStock/Thinkstock(PHEONIX) -- A passenger died aboard a US Airways flight from Honolulu to Phoenix.

The victim, a woman in her 50's, suffered a medical emergency as flight 693 was decending.

She reportedly became unconsious, and when the plane touched down in Phoenix, firefighters say she had no pulse and was declared dead.

Her cause of death is not yet known.

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Aid Group Pulls Some Workers from West Africa Amid Ebola Outbreak

iStock/Thinkstock(BOONE, N.C.) -- An American aid group on the front lines of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is evacuating non-essential personnel as two if its workers fight to survive the deadly infection.

Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical Christian charity based in Boone, North Carolina, said it would pull non-essential personnel from Liberia “because of instability and ongoing security issues in the area.”

Two workers with the group, Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol, are being treated for Ebola in Liberia, where 249 people have been infected and 129 have died, according to the World Health Organization.

More than 1,200 people have contracted the virus in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in what experts have called the largest ever Ebola outbreak. At least 672 people have died, according to WHO.

“We ask that people continue to pray for Kent and Nancy and all those who are affected by Ebola, and the tremendous group of doctors and nurses who are caring for them,” Samaritan’s Purse said in a statement.

Brently and Writebol are in “serious condition,” according to the group, but have shown “a slight improvement in the past 24 hours.”

It’s unclear whether Samaritan’s Purse will evacuate health care workers.

Dr. Stephen Morris, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, said there is already a lack of professional medical personnel to fight the outbreak, which can make things even more difficult for overtaxed doctors who risk infection by treating the sick.

“You can’t accidentally stick yourself with a needle or cut yourself,” Morris said, explaining of the hazards of working while tired. “I think the reality is there aren’t enough personal and resources. I think the key things that are really needed are health care personnel and others who can help in the situation, such as epidemiologists.”

More than 100 health care workers from various organizations have contracted Ebola in West Africa and at least 50 have died, according to WHO.

A spokesperson for Doctors Without Borders confirmed to ABC News that the group has no plans to pull its estimated 300 medical workers out of west Africa.

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Hungry People Feel More Entitled at Work, Study Finds

iStock/Thinkstock(ITHACA, N.Y.) -- You don’t necessarily have to be brought up spoiled to have a sense of entitlement. Instead, all it might take is skipping a meal.

After a series of experiments, Cornell University and Dartmouth College researchers say that workers on empty stomachs tend to think they're owed certain privileges than those who’ve satisfied their hunger.

In one of the trials, students both entering and leaving the Cornell cafeteria were asked if they agreed with statements that included “I honestly feel I’m more deserving than others” and, “Things should go my way.”

It was the hungry students who more often agreed with those feelings of entitlement.

At work, this expectation of favorable treatment, particularly when one is hungry, seems to boost self-confidence and spurs people to push a little harder for raises or promotions.

However, feeling entitled also has a bunch of downsides, in that it can make you harder to work with and more apt to blame others when things go wrong. In other words, the person at work no one likes.

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Radio Voices Are Born Not Made

iStock/Thinkstock(SYDNEY) -- Say, with a voice like that, you ought to be on the radio. If you’ve been told that, you can thank certain vocal cord vibration patterns that set you apart from people with ordinary voices.

Speech pathologists at the University of Sydney Voice Research Laboratory say until now, scientists haven’t been able to figure out what makes radio voices deep, warm and resonant.

However, by using a device called a videoendoscopy camera, Dr. Cate Madill and Dr. Samantha Warhurst noticed that announcers’ vocal cords move and close more quickly, giving their voices that unique sound made for radio.

Warhurst said these findings offer “some significant clues on how a good voice for radio might be trained.”

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The Hard Lives of Organ Transplant Doctors

iStock/Thinkstock(DETROIT) -- Organ transplant surgeons usually deal in life-and-death situations. With so much riding on the outcome of their work, it’s no wonder that so many of these doctors are experiencing burnout, according to a study led by the Henry Ford Transplant Institute.

In the survey of 218 transplant surgeons, 40 percent reported feeling emotionally exhausted, which is certainly understandable given the nature of the work they do.

However, what is far more surprising is that close to half of these surgeons also admit feeling a low sense of personal accomplishment.

The researchers attribute this to several factors, including the health of patients, the often long period of recuperation and the frustration that comes when patients die while still waiting for organs.

As for organ transplant surgeons who didn’t experience burnout, their higher sense of accomplishment was related to a sense of greater control in their work lives and more cooperation among co-workers.

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Surgeon General: Skin Cancer Is 'Major Public Health Problem'

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Surgeon General is calling skin cancer a "major public health problem" and says tanning is a direct cause.

A report from the office of Surgeon General Boris Lushniak says unlike other forms of cancer in the United States, the rate of skin cancer is on the rise, with 5 million people getting treated each year.

About 63,000 people are treated for melanoma and about 10% of those cases are directly linked to indoor tanning.

Lushniak says all states should ban minors from using tanning beds and the report urges everyone to wear sunscreen outside.

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Twenty-Five NJ Residents Test Positive for Chikungunya Virus

iStock/Thinkstock(TRENTON, N.J.) -- The New Jersey State Health Department says 25 New Jersey residents have tested positive for the Chikungunya virus, which can be brought back to the United States by travelers from the Caribbean.

The first two cases in the U.S. were reported last week in Florida.

The infection is rarely fatal but it can cause severe joint pain, high fever, headache and muscle pain.

Dr. Greg Williams who heads the Hudson County Mosquito Control Division says his department is now testing mosquitoes caught in traps for the disease and is urging home owners to do what they can to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

"People are coming back with the disease and if the mosquito bites them while they're sick potentially they can carry that virus to other people," Williams said. "The mosquitoes that transmit this usually come from peoples' backyards so you want to monitor your yard to make sure that you eliminate all standing water."

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Moderate Running Can Reduce Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study finds a little bit of activity goes a long way in promoting good health.

From weekend joggers to serious sprinters, a study from the University of lowa determined that even moderate running can profoundly reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The researchers found similar benefits from running as little five to 10 minutes a day to three times as long. According to the lead researcher, because, "time is one of the strongest barriers to physical activity, this study may motivate more people."

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Exercise: Why 6 Seconds Can Be as Worthwhile as 90 Minutes

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When it comes to exercise, even a little can go a long way. A slew of new studies suggest that working out for just a few minutes -- seconds, even -- can be beneficial to your health.

Read on to find out how any amount of exercise is completely worthwhile. The amount you should do just depends on your goals.

6 Seconds:  For seniors, every second of exercise counts.  In a new Scottish study, retirement-age subjects were asked to do six six-second sprints on a stationary bicycle with one minute of rest in between. After six weeks, their blood pressure dropped by a respectable 9 percent.  It’s possible these results might translate to younger folks, said Michele Olson, an exercise science professor and researcher at Auburn University in Alabama.  “Even a little activity can increase the efficiency of your heart and lead to more energy overall, no matter what your age,” she said.

5 Minutes:  According to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, a five-minute daily run can cut the risk of death in middle-aged men and women by 30 percent and the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 45 percent compared to people who parked themselves on the couch all day.  But don’t cancel your gym membership just yet, Olson said.  “You have to push at a very high intensity to see improvements in heart function and reduce the dangerous, unhealthy visceral fat that collects around the organs,” she said.

10 Minutes:  Olson, who has led numerous investigations on the benefits of quick, intense exercise, said that bone health benefits begin to kick in around the ten minute mark.  “That’s about how much time you need to stress the bones and stimulate bone density to avoid osteoporosis,” she said.

30 Minutes:  Most major health groups, including the American Heart Association, recommend getting at least half an hour of activity daily -- and with good reason.  “Thirty minutes seems to be the tipping point where you begin to see not just health benefits but fitness benefits like reduced weight and increased stamina as well,” Olson said, adding that other advantages include cancer prevention, a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and a healthier cholesterol profile.  Thirty minutes of exercise is also where you’ll see improvements even if you slow down to a moderate pace, which Olson characterizes as brisk but sustainable. However, an International Journal of Obesity study published earlier this year found that pushing hard for the full half hour may lead to even greater weight loss by dulling your appetite.

60 Minutes:  One hour of exercise a day at a moderate pace appears to be the secret to substantial, long term weight loss, Olson said. This may be especially true for middle-aged and older women who are close to their ideal weight, a recent Harvard study revealed.  While sixty minutes of exercise may seem unrealistic, Olson said you don’t have to do it all at once.  “You can accumulate minutes throughout the day doing many different exercises and activities, including some resistance training,” she said. “And if you go at a higher intensity you can cut back to 45 minutes daily.”

90 Minutes:  People who are obese or have lost a lot of weight may have stubborn metabolisms that require up to 90 minutes a day of activity for weight loss or maintenance, studies suggest.  Longer exercise sessions should be done at lower intensity to prevent injury and burn out, Olson said, especially for someone who carries a lot of extra pounds. But here again, breaking up your workout into shorter, more manageable sessions should yield the same results as one marathon session.

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Warm Water Sparks Flesh-Eating Disease Warning

iStock/Thinkstock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- Florida health officials are warning beachgoers about a seawater bacterium that can invade cuts and scrapes to cause flesh-eating disease.

Vibrio vulnificus -- a cousin of the bacterium that causes Cholera -- thrives in warm saltwater, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If ingested, it can cause stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea. But it can also infect open wounds and lead to “skin breakdown and ulceration,” according to the CDC.

“Since it is naturally found in warm marine waters, people with open wounds can be exposed to Vibrio vulnificus through direct contact with seawater,” the Florida Department of Health said in a statement.

The infection can also be transmitted through eating or handling contaminated oysters and other shellfish, according to the CDC.

At least 11 Floridians have contracted Vibrio vulnificus so far this year and two have died, according to the most recent state data. In 2013, 41 people were infected and 11 died. The proportion of skin and gastrointestinal infections is unclear.

Florida isn’t the only state to report Vibrio vulnificus infections. Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi have also recorded cases, and a 2013 outbreak linked to contaminated shellfish sickened at least 104 people in 13 states, according to the CDC.

Most people who contract Vibrio vulnificus infection recover with the help of antibiotics, but severe skin infections may require surgery and amputation, according to the CDC. People with weakened immune systems are also at risk for blood infections, which are fatal about 50 percent of the time, the CDC notes.

The CDC recommends the following precautions to avoid Vibrio vulnificus infections:

  • Avoid exposing open wounds to warm saltwater, brackish water or to raw shellfish
  • Wear protective clothing when handling raw shellfish
  • Cook shellfish thoroughly and avoid food contamination with juices from raw seafood
  • Eat shellfish promptly after cooking and refrigerate leftovers

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Ebola Virus May Have Spread to a Fourth West African Nation

Hemera/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- The world’s deadliest Ebola outbreak continues to spread in the West African nations of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea and possibly one other.

At least 1,093 people have contracted the deadly virus and 672 people have died, according to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization.

Two American aid workers are among the victims of the growing outbreak, which has taken a heavy toll on health care providers treating the sick and working to contain the outbreak. Meanwhile, a top Liberian doctor also died this past weekend.

Officials are also concerned after an infected man managed to board a plane from Liberia to Nigeria, potentially spreading the deadly virus to a fourth country.

In an effort to stop the spread of the incurable disease, Liberia's president has closed all but three land border crossings, restricted public gatherings and quarantined communities heavily affected by the Ebola outbreak.

As for what this means for the U.S.,  Dr. Stephan Monroe at the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions told reporters Monday, "No Ebola cases have been reported in the United States and the likelihood of this outbreak spreading outside of West Africa is very low."

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Social Media Is Where Good News Gets Posted

iStock/Thinkstock(MADISON, Wis.) -- It’s a sign of the times: when people have good news that’s happened to themselves or others, they’ll more often share it on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter to reach the biggest possible audience in the least amount of time.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison arrived at that finding after having 300 undergrads keep a journal of their emotions and the form of media they used to convey these feelings to others.

Far and away, when there was positive news to report, the students generally posted messages on social media.

Interestingly, however, the participants went “old school” when they had to pass along bad news.

The preferred ways of spreading less joyous information was via the phone or even telling people face-to-face.

Study author Catalina Toma put it succinctly, “You often hear people say when the phone rings, its bad news," Toma said. "Our data supports that."

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Your Soul Mate May Not Wind Up Being Your Sole Mate

iStock/Thinkstock(TORONTO) -- Careful soul mates, you're probably deluding yourselves.

Although people who believe they’ve found the perfect mate who “completes” them, University of Toronto researchers say those in love are often surprised when things don’t work out as planned.

Essentially, it’s those couples who understand that a relationship can take some time to develop are the ones who are more successful in the long run, according to study authors Spike W. S. Lee and Norbert Schwarz.

They had participants fill out questionnaires about whether they considered if love meant two people were “made for each other” as soul mates do or if “love is a journey” filled with mistakes and forgiveness.

Not surprisingly, those who believe relationships take work reported fewer conflicts and tended to recall more celebrations with their partner.

Still, the soul mate concept is apparently the more accepted of the two, a Marist poll found, with 73 percent agreeing with it and 27 not believing it. Furthermore, it’s younger folks who are more likely to think that finding a soul mate is the essence of true love.

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