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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A surge of outbreaks related to a microscopic parasite has officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banning all cilantro imported from a Mexican state.

Cilantro farms in Pubela have been blamed for causing repeated cyclospora outbreaks in the U.S. in recent years, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The disease is caused by a parasite called Cyclospora cayetanensis and can cause intestinal illness with causes flu-like symptoms.

This year, the Texas Department of Health said there have already been 205 cases of the parasitic infection reported. Previous cases have also been reported in Wisconsin.

An investigation into multiple cilantro farms found dire conditions at some farms including "human feces and toilet paper found in growing fields and around facilities," and either "inadequately maintained and supplied toilet and hand washing facilities, " or "a complete lack of toilet and hand washing facilities," according to the FDA.

In some cases the water used by workers to wash their hands was found to be contaminated with the parasite.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said tracing cases of cyclospora can be difficult because it can appear similar to other diseases and is relatively rare.

"It’s an infection that is not easy to diagnose and is one that the average physician has very little knowledge of," said Schaffner. "Hospital laboratories will have some difficulty making these diagnosis."

He also said the case is worrying because cilantro is not usually cooked, which would kill the parasite.

"We use it frequently in salads and it’s uncooked and so there's no way you sterilize cilantro," said Schaffner.

Bill Marler, a Seattle-based food safety lawyer, said the number of cyclospora outbreaks in recent years is worrying.

"Banning the product is probably a bit past due given the numbers of outbreaks that have occurred, "said Marler. "The fact is that cyclospora is called an emerging pathogen. It’s relatively new bug making people sick in the U.S."

The disease is more common in tropical and subtropical regions but has caused outbreaks in exported food.

If your guacamole just isn't complete without a dash of cilantro, don't despair. Imports of the vegetable are still allowed from other Mexican states and the U.S. and Mexican authorities have joined forces to enhanced safety controls of cilantro farms in the area.

Cyclospora symptoms include:

  •     Loss of appetite,
  •     Weight loss
  •     Stomach cramps,
  •     Nausea
  •     Fatigue
  •     Diarrhea

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) -- For the last few decades, women have been breaking professional barriers. But a new report by Harvard’s Educational School reveals there’s a hidden barrier teen girls are running up against.

“Girls are facing biases from many sources, from teen boys, from some parents, and they are facing biases from each other,” Richard Weissbourd, co-director of Harvard’s Making Caring Common Project, which conducted this study, told ABC News.

The result is that these biases could be holding girls back from succeeding.

“We have made a lot of progress in terms of gender equality but we still have a long way to go,” he added.

The study of 20,000 students showed only 8 percent of teen girls preferred female political leaders.

“Males have always led, so I guess we’re kind of used to it,” one 17-year-old girl said.

“Right now it seems to be mostly a male-dominated sphere,” added another.

What’s more surprising is that even some mothers appear to be biased, supporting school councils that are led by boys more.

The report also reveals girls tend not to support other young women saying they feel threatened by their successes in school. Weissbourd believes girls need to start working collectively to fight biases.

“Emphasizing girls’ solidarity is really important,” he said. “That is an important message for parents to send to girls.”

Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out and co-founder of Girls Leadership, says these findings are amazing, but she’s not really surprised by them.

“Even in this day and age, we’ve given girls every opportunity but our attitudes still have to change,” Simmons said on ABC News' Good Morning America Tuesday. “We’re still giving girls messages to look at each other as threats. Think about the media images of Mean Girls and cat fighting. Girls are not looking at each other for support, and they’re also feeling so insecure about how they look. Think about Instagram and social media. They’re feeling like, ‘I’m not as pretty as the next girl’ so they’re not supporting each other.”

Simmons offers ways for parents to help break these patterns of gender bias:

Change the chores.

"Research shows that chores can be distributed in really gendered ways," she said. "That means we tell boys to mow the lawn and girls do the dishes. Change it up at home. That’s a big thing parents can do. Let boys do some caregiving because beliefs and attitudes start very early and parents can help kids change it very quickly and very early in the home."

Words matter.

"Another thing is change the way we talk to our kids," said Simmons. "If you have an outspoken girl, do you call her bossy, or do you say, ‘I’m so glad you spoke up’? If you’ve got guys at home who talk about doing things ‘like a girl’ as if that’s a weak thing to do, we’ve got to say ‘knock it off.’ That’s not the way to talk."

Check your bias.

"We all have our own biases. I have a 3-year-old daughter and when she doesn’t want to wear a dress, I get a little bummed out about it," she explained. "Again, every parent has to look at their own biases. What toys are we buying for our kids? Are we buying girls the makeup kits and boys the science kits? It’s ok to do that, but change it up a little bit."

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(SEOUL, South Korea) -- The deadly MERS virus that rattled South Korea with 36 deaths is now virtually gone.

With no news cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in more than three weeks, the country's prime minister told residents Tuesday they "can now be free from worry," the BBC reports.

The World Health Organization, however, won't declare the country virus-free until 28 days have passed without a new infection, the BBC says.

The outbreak, which began in May, sickened nearly 200 people and forced thousands to stay confined to their homes or hospitals.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A child’s smile can light up any room, but it may be harder to find smiling young faces in a children’s hospital.

Martand Bhagavatula, 12, of Yorba Linda, California, was determined to do something about that.

“I was playing violin for youth group at a pediatric hospital," he said. "And what I'd noticed is that most of these kids didn't have anything in their rooms.”

He was only 8 years old at the time, but it made such an impression on him that he founded Kids and Smiles.

According to the website, Kids and Smiles is a nonprofit whose mission is to bring smiles to hospitalized children by delivering toys, cards and other prepared crafts to them.

In just three years, Martand’s organization has organized numerous social activities and donated nearly 1,000 toys to hospitals in the Los Angeles area.

Conner Guinn, a patient at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital in Loma Linda, California, appreciates Martand’s efforts.

“I think it is wonderful how people could be so kind in this world,” Conner said.

The satisfaction goes both ways.

“For them to just see that all -- it just really, you know, makes me feel good,” Martand said.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Purestock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Does your teenage daughter like to play rough?

In the age of girl power, lots of our young ladies are buffing up to do the same things boys do, especially in sports. But is this safe?

Research does show that young women who participate in sports tend to have better health and long-term benefits, such as a decrease in risky behaviors. Lower risk of depression also comes with being an athlete.

But it’s also important to note that sports do not define you. So if your little princess wants to play a rough sport that gets her sweaty, smelly and dirty, go for it. And have fun doing it.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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peterspiro/iStock/ThinkStock(WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.) -- Three young women are giving back to their community.

According to ABC News affiliate WABC-TV, the women are volunteers at White Plains Hospital in Westchestery County, where they provide comfort to worried parents in the neonatal intensive care unit. That unit happens to be where all three of the women were born.

Kathryn Linehan, 21, Parris Lloyd, 19 and Sofia Flissler, 15 were all pre-mature babies born at White Plains Hospital in the NICU.

Linehan weighed less than five pounds when she was born and Flissler, who weighed in at one pound 11 ounces, spent three months in the NICU. Lloyd, along with her twin brother, was in the NICU for 32 weeks, according to WABC-TV.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — When medications work they alleviate pain, heal infection, prevent disease or even save lives. But every medication comes with the risk of side effects — and, occasionally, those side effects are debilitating or deadly. Are companies always reporting those adverse effects in a timely manner, though? Apparently, they are not, according to researchers.

Drug manufacturers are required to report serious adverse events — those involving "death, a life-threatening adverse drug experience, inpatient hospitalization or prolongation of existing hospitalization, a persistent or significant disability/incapacity, or a congenital anomaly/birth defect” — to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration within 15 calendar days after such cases are reported to the company.

But in a new report, a group out of Minnesota found that while 90 percent of the reports involving serious adverse effects were filed within 15 days, 10 percent were filed with the FDA between 16 days and greater than 180 days after the initial report was filed with the company.  The group also found that the 10 percent of delayed reports were more likely to involve death of a patient.

The group arrived at these findings after examining the quarterly FDA Adverse Event Reporting System data files over a 10-year period to see how manufacturers adhere to the policy.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Kristen Anne Photography(NEW YORK) — If you ask 100 different parents about their journey to parenthood, there would be 100 different stories to share.

In the case of the Olsons of Minnesota, the journey to becoming parents for the third time was not only a figurative one, but a literal one as well.

Sarah and David Olson always knew they wanted three children. Her pregnancies, neither of which came easily, were "brutal," the couple told ABC News. She was sick throughout, and was in and out of hospitals. One pregnancy even broke her pelvic bone, she said.

Their first child is a boy named Zakary. Their second child, Levi, was born with Spina Bifida and has had many surgeries. "Despite the fact we were told he wasn’t going to walk, Levi has defied the odds and is running around torturing his older brother," David Olson told ABC News.

Those difficult pregnancies and medical complications didn't deter the couple. "We love our boys but knew our family was not complete. Regardless of Levi’s ongoing medical scenario, we wanted a third child. We tried to become pregnant for about eight months with no luck," David said.

The couple took a trip to New York City for Sarah's birthday and it was on the flight, Sarah said, she wanted to consider adoption. David’s father and sister-in-law were both adopted. Sarah’s niece had recently been adopted from China.

"We both have incredibly favorable attitudes towards adoption," David said. "We prayed about this idea and didn’t tell anyone for a while."

The couple hooked up with Christian Adoption Consultants. After four potential matches and four disappointments as the children they thought were theirs were placed with other families, the call came at noon on a Tuesday.

"Are you ready for a miracle?" their adoption consultant said. "We have a stork drop situation and if you say yes, this is your daughter!”

A stork drop situation is when a couple takes a baby on a moment's notice.

The couple made childcare arrangements for their boys and booked a flight to Tallahassee, Florida, for 5 a.m. the next day. They took along their friend and photographer Kristen Prosser of Kristen Anne Photography to document the journey.

"We named our daughter Tilly Pearl," David said. "Tilly means 'Strength through adversity.' We have a deep connection with that statement. Pearl means “a precious thing, the finest example of something."'

Flight and other travel delays made the journey from Minnesota to Tallahassee a 14-hour one.

"We walked into the room expecting to meet our baby, but it was empty. The charge nurse was busy and couldn’t bring her down yet. Another wait. Those 20 minutes may have been hours," David said. "But the time came and she was rolled in. As soon as we saw her, our hearts felt complete. There are no words to describe it. How to you explain love for a human you just met? That is the power of adoption. We prayed and prayed for this baby to come into our lives, and that time had finally come. Within 30 hours of receiving the call, we were holding our baby girl. Such a surreal moment."

"Thank you to the birth moms that choose life for their children," the couple wrote in an email to ABC News. "Thank you to the adoptive parents that sacrifice to bring children home into their forever families."

Sarah and Tilly are still in Florida as they wait for paperwork to be complete and the money needed to travel home to rejoin the rest of the family. To read more about their journey, visit Olson Family Adoption.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Women with newborns get advice, of course, from their families, friends and neighbors. But a new study reveals that up to half of mothers don't get any advice from their doctors on some important topics, including where and how to put their infant to sleep.

Researchers surveyed more than 1,000 mothers of infants at 32 different medical centers across the country to learn what mothers recalled being told about breastfeeding, immunizations, pacifier use and baby sleep. They also looked at where this advice was coming from (doctors, nurses, family and media) and whether it was accurate.

Doctors were the most common source of advice, but one in five women did not recall receiving any suggestions from them regarding breastfeeding or sleep position. Furthermore, more than half reported getting no advice regarding sleep location and pacifier use.

But even more concerning, the study, published Monday in Pediatrics, found that more than one in four women received “bad” advice on where and how to put their babies to sleep.

Family members seemed to provide the worst recommendations, with two-thirds of advice being inconsistent with current guidelines.

Black mothers, Hispanic mothers and first-time moms were the most likely to get accurate advice.

It's worth nothing that most of the women getting “bad” advice actually received conflicting, rather than purely bad advice. In other words, they reported receiving at least two different recommendations from their doctors and, in the majority of cases, at least one of these recommendations was consistent with guidelines.

The study was also based on what mothers recalled, so it may not reflect the advice that was actually given.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Purestock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Did you know that acupuncture may be able to help stress and anxiety?

Research shows that this go-to pain reliever may also be good for keeping you calm and can treat things like PMS, menopause symptoms and even infertility.

So how does it work? We don’t completely know. But 3,000-plus years of practice in traditional Chinese medicine has pointed to the targeting of so-called "trigger points" along pathways called meridians or channels.

When an area is stimulated, it causes a therapeutic response in the body that is thought to repair and balance. So if you’d like to give it a try, talk to your doctor and find a licensed and reputable acupuncturist.

And sometimes, it’s even covered by insurance.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Ridofranz/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The overwhelming majority of young cancer patients are unaware of the affect that chemotherapy could have on their fertility, a new study finds.

Researchers looked at nearly 500 patients from around the U.S. involved in the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program. They found that 80 percent of women and 74 percent of men between the ages of 15 and 39 were not aware that cancer therapy can impact their fertility.

In fact, 29 percent of men and 56 percent of women said they hadn't discussed options that could preserve their fertility, such as egg or sperm freezing.

Researchers also noted that even among those patients who were aware of the risks, 70 percent of men and 93 percent of women did not make arrangements to preserve their fertility.

The study was published in the journal Cancer.

Researchers also note that additional counseling on the impact and options available to cancer patients when it comes to fertility is important, particularly for younger patients.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Henrik_L/iStock/ThinkStock(TUSTIN, Calif.) -- One town in California can't scratch away this itch.

According to ABC News affiliate KABC-TV, a two-block section of Tustin has “higher than normal rates” of mosquitoes infected with the West Nile Virus. The area includes 40 homes and two public parks.

In Orange County, 32 samples of mosquitoes have tested positive for the West Nile Virus, and 26 of them came from Tustin, said KABC-TV, and officials are working to control the problem.

“Our staff have been canvassing this area for the better part of a month,” Jared Dever, a spokesman for Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District, told KABC-TV. “Going door-to-door, doing property inspections, finding any mosquito breeding sources we can possibly discover.”

So far there is no explanation for the positive samples because according to KABC-TV, most of Orange County has levels below normal for mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says to reduce the risk of being infected with the virus, to wear insect repellent or protective clothing. The CDC also says about 1 in 5 who are infected will develop a fever or other symptoms, and less than 1 percent will develop a serious and potentially fatal neurological illness.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Following the release of two secretly recorded videos that appear to feature the discussion of the price of fetal tissue involving a Planned Parenthood employee, the organization’s president said on Sunday it has done nothing illegal and criticized those responsible for the videos.

“Planned Parenthood has broken no laws," Cecile Richards, the president of the non-profit, said on "This Week." "We have the highest standards. The care and health care and safety of our patients is our most important priority."

The anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress released two videos showing Planned Parenthood's senior director of medical services Dr. Deborah Nucatola discussing procedures for providing fetal tissue to researchers, including possibly changing some aspects of the abortion process to preserve tissue samples. It is illegal to use a different method of abortion in order to facilitate tissue donation.

A second video released this week seems to show a different Planned Parenthood official, Mary Gatter, discussing price ranges of tissue samples. While the sale of fetal tissue for profit is illegal, abortion providers can legally be reimbursed for the costs of processing and transporting the samples.

“The folks behind this, in fact, are part of the most militant wing of the anti-abortion movement that has been behind, you know, the bombing of clinics, the murder of doctors in their homes, and in their -- in their churches,” she said. "That's what actually needs to be -- to be looked at."

In response to the claims of illegal behavior in the video, Planned Parenthood asserted that all of its actions are legal as well as ethical. In addition, the organization said the video was “heavily edited,” stating that “similar false accusations have been put forth by opponents of abortion services for decades.”

ABC US News | World News

ABC US News | World News

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VILevi/iStock/Thinkstock(RIYADH, Saudi Arabia) -- The World Health Organization announced Friday that in the first two weeks of this month, six new cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, also known as MERS, were identified in Saudi Arabia.

The new cases involve patients between the ages of 35 and 77, according to the WHO. Four of the patients were identified as being in stable condition, with the other two listed as "critical."

Four of the patients reportedly had a history of contact with camels and/or consumption of their raw milk, which are considered known risk factors.

WHO says there have been 1,374 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS since September 2012, and at least 490 related deaths.

The disease has also spread in recent months in South Korea, with more than 100 people there diagnosed with the disease this year. At least 14 have died from MERS in South Korea.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Minerva Studio/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) -- A new treatment has been approved for the most common form of skin cancer.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new drug for advanced basal cell carcinoma, a skin cancer that's easy to treat, if caught early enough.

Odomzo, a daily pill, from Novartis, has been approved for patients whose cancer hasn't spread to other parts of the body but, has recurred after surgery or radiation therapy.

The drug can stop or reduce the growth of cancerous lesions.

The drug, however, does have some side effects including hair loss and nausea. For pregnant women, possible birth defects in the fetus.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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