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Report: Chinese City in Quarantine After Bubonic Plague Death

iStock/Thinkstock(YUMEN, China) -- Parts of a city in northwestern China are in quarantine after a man died from bubonic plague last week, state media reported.

The 38-year-old victim had been in contact with a dead marmot, a type of rodent, according to the Xinhua news agency. Health officials and disease prevention specialists are in Yumen, in China's Gansu Province, to prevent the plague from spreading.

Several parts of the city of more than 100,000 people are reportedly in quarantine, and 151 people who recently had contact with the victim are under isolation, the news agency said. No one has any symptoms of the plague, Xinhua reported.

Some reports claim the victim had chopped the squirrel-like rodent up to feed it to his dog, and later developed a fever. He died in a hospital on July 16.

Bubonic plague usually comes from an infected flea bite, which can live on rodents and other animals, according to the World Health Organization. Without immediate treatment, it is fatal in more than half of cases.

The plague is very rare but still present in mostly rural areas.

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Deaf Toddler Has Second Brainstem Device Surgery to Help Him Hear

iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- A deaf toddler who underwent surgery to have a radical auditory device implanted into his brainstem to help him hear is showing vast improvement after undergoing the surgery a second time, his doctors said, giving new hope that the device could one day be a common treatment option for deaf children.

Alex Frederick, a 2-year-old boy from Washington Township, Mich., was just 17 months old when Dr. Daniel Lee from Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and a team of specialists from Massachusetts General Hospital, implanted an Auditory Brainstem Implant or ABI, into Alex's brain last year.

Alex was born with little to no hearing and the ABI acts as a kind of "digital ear." It's made up of a small antenna that is implanted on the brainstem so that it can pick up signals from a tiny microphone worn on the ear and relay them back inside as electrical signals that reach the area of the brain associated with interpreting sound.

An Italian surgeon named Dr. Vittorio Colletti pioneered the use of the device and implanting procedure in children -- previously the device had been used as a common approach for treating adults with brain tumors. The device is currently not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but is undergoing a series of clinical trials to win approval. Alex was selected as a participant in one of these trials last year and Nightline has followed him and his parents on their journey.

Alex's first surgery was a success, but a few weeks ago, the toddler fell and hit his head on a table. The impact broke the speech processor and damaged the surgically implanted plate in his skull that holds the device in place, doctors said.

On July 2, Alex underwent a five-hour "revision" surgery at Massachusetts General to have the entire device re-implanted. His team of doctors successfully replaced the broken ABI with a new one, in the same location on the left side of his brainstem, and Alex seems to be improving quickly.

"The responses looked encouraging. That could be associated with stimulation of the first brainstem implant," Dr. Lee told Nightline. "In order for brain development to continue it needs to be stimulated whether it is through sight or through hearing, through sound. In the case of the ABI, the device is electrically stimulating the path of sound in the brain, which means that the neural network can continue to mature. A mature network of the auditory pathway is associated with better responses."

Alex returned home just four days after the second surgery and his parents remain optimistic.

He is "alert and playing with toys less than 48 hours after surgery completion," Alex's father Phil Frederick told Nightline over email. "Not trying to jinx things but he is healing faster than last time."

"We are just so happy right now and excited things are looking up," he added.

At the time of Alex's first surgery in Nov. 2013, he was the youngest person in the U.S. to receive the ABI device and is one of a very few pediatric patients in the world to undergo ABI revision surgery. Worldwide, about 10 children are known to have had the device re-implanted.

Since the procedure on children is still new, Dr. Lee said he and the rest of Alex's surgical team discussed whether to re-implant Alex's device in the same location, or try to place it around his other ear.

"The decision was not so clear, as far as whether you implant the same ear and encounter scarring, which would make the surgery difficult, or consider doing an ABI on the other ear, which has not been implanted yet," Dr. Lee said. "In the end we decided to attempt replacing the first ABI because it was working well and because the experience of one particular ABI surgeon, Dr. Colletti, was that revising these ABI's is possible if done carefully. We went ahead after much deliberation to do the ABI on the same side."

Alex was born two months prematurely, weighing just four pounds and four ounces at birth. He spent the first month of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit of St. John Hospital in Detroit. Scans later showed that Alex had a heart condition, his vision was compromised and he was deaf.

When Alex was 1, his parents tried for a cochlear implant, a 40-year-old technology that uses electrodes to stimulate auditory nerves. The surgery commenced, but was halted mid-operation when it became evident it would not work due to the irregular structure of Alex's inner ear. The scar from that failure is still evident behind his right ear.

Alex's parents kept looking for an answer, for some other technology that would help their son hear. In the course his research, Phil Frederick learned about Dr. Colletti's approach for placing ABIs in children, and that the device was about to undergo a series of clinical trials in the U.S. to win FDA approval.

After finding out about the ABI surgery, Frederick looked up which U.S. hospitals where hosting the clinical trials and emailed them all individually to get Alex on the list. In August 2013, the family got word there was an opening in a trial being conducted at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston, under the direction of Dr. Lee.

"ABI surgery in the child ... who cannot get a cochlear implant can result in meaningful sound awareness and speech perception with time, but it takes work," Dr. Lee told Nightline in a previous interview.

On Oct. 5, 2013, the Fredericks traveled from Michigan to Boston for Alex to undergo the initial surgery, for which Dr. Colletti flew in from Italy to observe. Alex's surgery cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, but was paid for by the family's insurance company.

Several weeks after the first surgery, Alex and his family returned to Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in November 2013 to have his ABI switched on for the first time. Wires connected the device inside his head to a sound generator controlled from a computer, where a doctor could manipulate the sound level on the device. Nightline was there when the device was first switched on.

Alex's parents decided that they wanted the first sound their son to hear to be his older sisters' voices, so after the device was turned on, Evelyn, 6, and Izabella, 3, started talking, but it didn't elicit a reaction from Alex. Others in the room tried raising the sound level, but still nothing at first.

Then, to everyone's surprise, a doctor in the room slammed her keys into the side of a desk, and Alex turned towards the sound. With that little turn of his head, Alex had made the connection to sound for the first time.

Alex and his parents are eager to get back to the long process of Alex learning what sound actually is and how it has meaning, even meaning as words. They will return to Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary next month, where an audiologist will activate the newly implanted device, and the family will continue to travel back and forth to Boston every month, so that doctors can test Alex's hearing response as they fine-tune the software that interacts with the electronics inside his skull.

Since Alex's surgery, Dr. Lee has implanted the device in an 11-month-old girl from Austin, Texas, and on Wednesday, the teams at Massachusetts General and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary will meet again to perform the same surgery on a 15-month-old girl from Oregon.

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West Virginia Clinic Caught Reusing Needles

iStock/Thinkstock(MCMECHAN, W.Va.) -- Medical officials in Ohio and West Virginia are warning patients from a pain management clinic in West Virginia that they need to be tested after the clinic was allegedly caught reusing needles.

Ohio Deputy Health Commissioner Rob Sproul says patients at Valley Pain Management could have been exposed to HIV as well as Hepatitis B and C.

"They need to get in contact with their primary physician," Sproul said. "If they have insurance, go see the doctor and get tested."

The clinic is located in McMechan, West Virginia, near the Ohio border.

Some residents are considering legal action while some are urging a criminal investigation.

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Beef Production Is More Harmful than Pork, Poultry, and Eggs, Study Finds

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study says beef production is much more harmful to the earth than the production of other animal proteins.

According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, compared to pork, poultry, eggs, and dairy, the production of beef is responsible for six times more nitrogen, which pollutes water and comes from the fertilizer used to grow the corn fed to cows.

The author of the study suggests eating other proteins instead.

The beef industry says this a "gross oversimplification" of the beef production process.

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Overusing Antibiotics May Make Fixable Problems Incurable, CDC Warns

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While many people worry about deadly headline diseases like MERS and Ebola, Americans are ignoring an everyday threat that could be far more deadly. 

Overusing antibiotics may make fixable problems incurable, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Antibiotics are being used for a "quick fix" to cure everything from a cold to an earache, says CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden.

Frieden is urging the government to invest in better antibiotic monitoring and control to make sure the drugs work when patients really need them.

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How Wedding Gowns Can Bring Solace to Grieving Parents

iStock/Thinkstock(FORTH WORTH, Texas) -- After the last piece of cake has been eaten and the last remnants of a tan have faded away from the honeymoon, one wedding element is often left hanging in limbo or, at least, in the back of a closet -- the bride's dress.

For those who don't plan to preserve their garment, options for "What to do with it?" can range from resale to recycling. But a Texas nonprofit now offers a dress donation alternative with a higher purpose: "angel gowns," beautiful white burial clothing for stillborn children.

NICU Helping Hands, in Fort Worth, Texas, is an organization offering support to families with premature newborns and stillborns. Their Angel Gowns program, founded by Lisa Stubbs in 2013, collects donated bridal gowns from across the country to be transformed by volunteer seamstresses into tiny precious designs.

"I watched so many families who had lost a baby sorting through donated clothing at the hospital, some of which was appropriate for final burial and pictures, some of it not," said Stubbs. "But what really bothered me was watching them dig through those bins. It just seemed so disrespectful. So I thought we should provide something to families that is respectful, and that would fit their child."

Stubbs' mother and mother-in-law became the first two volunteer seamstresses for NICU Helping Hands, turning a wedding dress into multiple dressing gowns in several sizes.

"Each wedding gown, depending upon the size and the style, will make between 12 and 20 angel gowns," a spokeswoman for NICU Helping Hands told ABC News.

As of March, more than 12,000 angel gowns could be created after the donation of roughly 3,000 wedding dresses from across the nation.

"And the gowns are still coming in," said the spokeswoman. "Thankfully we have a pretty big warehouse space in Fort Worth. Local volunteers can come by to pick up gowns and start sewing, and that's also where volunteer seamstresses around the country get shipped dresses from."

The need is great. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 11 percent of babies are born preterm each year, putting them at higher risk for infant mortality. And the most recent CDC figures indicate that more than 24,000 infant deaths occurred in 2010.

"People don’t like to talk about this. There’s nothing normal about a child dying," said Stubbs. "But what’s also heartwarming about this program is what it has done in bringing a voice to families who have lost a baby across generations. Many of them lost them in the NICU, many in stillbirths, many were early miscarriages, and it’s given so many of them an opportunity to express their grief."

It has also given brides a way to imbue an ephemeral investment with new value.

"After I got married in 2010, I knew I wanted to donate my wedding gown to a worthwhile cause," said Aimee Dars Ellis. "It's taken me almost four years to find a meaningful charity. Right now, I am cleaning my gown and getting ready to send it to NICU Helping Hands."

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California Fruit Recalled Across Canada over Listeria Risk

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Canadian Food Inspection Agency released a food recall warning Tuesday for Sweet 2 Eat brand fruit products imported from California because of concerns about a possible listeria monocytogenes contamination.

The recalled fruits include whole peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots.

The CIFA urges consumers to throw out the potentially contaminated fruit or return it to the store they were purchased from.

If consumers eat fruit contaminated with listeria monocytogenes, they can suffer from symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache and neck stiffness.

The Wawona Packing Co. released a statement about the recall, quoting company President Brent Smittcamp as saying, "We are aware of no illnesses related to the consumption of these products, by taking the precautionary step of recalling product, we will minimize even the slightest risk to public health, and that is our priority."

For a full list of affected products, click here.

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Lunchtime Shocker! Most Kids Like Schools' Healthier Meals

iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Do kids really hate the healthier foods that have been mandated in school lunch programs?

A study out of University of Illinois at Chicago suggests that first lady Michelle Obama may have been on the right track when she pushed for tougher nutrition standards, even as more schools now seem to be resisting the program that covers some 30 million kids.

Administrators from more than 500 elementary schools were asked by researchers how their students reacted to the meals that emphasized more fruits and vegetables and less junk during the 2012-2013 year, when the policy first went into effect.

The result was that over seven in ten agreed or strongly agreed that primary school students liked the lunch choices they were being offered.

According to the survey, the new lunches were better received in larger schools where youngsters qualified for free meals or those at reduced prices, while students in either urban or suburban areas were less apt to turn their noses up at the lunches than youngsters in rural parts of the country.

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The Possible Downside of Too Much Religious Training

iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- There are a lot of benefits to a religious upbringing, but one of the unintended consequences is that strong beliefs might make kids more gullible.

In a comparison between children who learn religious stories and those who don't, Boston University researchers say that youngsters who have a deep and abiding faith more often accept fiction as the literal truth.

The researchers made their finding by reading stories considered realistic, religious and fantastical to groups of 5- and 6-year-olds. When it came to non-fictional characters, both religious and secular children were able to correctly answer questions at the same rate.

However, the 79 percent of children who attended church or religious school identified religious characters as real compared to six percent of secular kids. In terms of characters described as magical, 41 percent of children exposed to religious teaching accepted them as real while only 13 percent with no religious teaching believed they existed.

Study author Kathleen Corriveau says religious teachings often require a suspension of disbelief, which is why the churchgoing children might apply these fictional events outside of their faith.

Nonetheless, Corriveau contends this is not necessarily a bad thing because it might make learning counterintuitive phenomena easier for them as well.

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Pregnant Smokers Could Put Children at Greater Risk for ADHD

Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The dangers of smoking during pregnancy have been well documented. One possible side effect is that a cigarette habit might put a child at a greater risk of developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

As a result, physicians have recommended that if a pregnant woman can't quit cold turkey, they switch over to nicotine-replacement products such as patches or gum.

However, a new study out of the University of Denmark suggests that while these products might do less harm to the mother, the nicotine they're ingesting could still boost their child's chances of developing ADHD.

Study author Dr. Jin Liang Zhu says that while no definitive link has been established between nicotine and ADHD, health experts have long believed that cigarette smoking can lead to abnormalities in the fetal brain.

As a result, any woman who smokes is advised to quit if they wish to get pregnant or are pregnant, and to come off nicotine-replacement therapy as quickly as possible.

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Norovirus Named in Washington Lake Outbreak

iStock/Thinkstock(KITSAP COUNTY, Wash.) -- The stomach bug that sickened more than 260 swimmers at a Washington state lake was in fact norovirus, health officials have confirmed.

The contagious virus swept through Horseshoe Lake Park in Kitsap County, Washington, earlier this month, causing cramps, nausea, and diarrhea, according to the local health department.

The park was closed as officials investigated the cause of the outbreak, which was initially dubbed "norovirus-like." It reopened Saturday after water samples from the lake came back negative for the virus.

The same virus sickened more than 100 people at Idaho’s Eagle Island State Park last week, according to the local health department.

Norovirus is the sixth-leading cause of recreational water illness in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention –- tying with the bacteria E. coli. Each year the virus causes more than 19 million cases of illness, 400,000 emergency room visits, 71,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths, according to the CDC’s website.

The virus spreads through food, liquid, and surfaces that are contaminated with infected feces or vomit, according to the CDC. There's no specific treatment, so the agency recommends staying hydrated for the duration of symptoms, which is usually one to three days.

The CDC recommends the following tips for safe summer swimming:

  • Avoid getting water up your nose when swimming in warm, freshwater.
  • Don't swim if you have diarrhea.
  • Shower with soap before taking a dip.
  • Wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers.
  • Check the free chlorine level and pH before getting into the water.
  • Don't swallow the water.

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Can Any Animal Be a Therapy Animal?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Dogs once cornered the market on being therapy pets, but now bunnies, pigs -- even llamas -- are making their way into the laps and hearts of people with a range of conditions. But experts say some animals are more therapeutic than others.

“While we know that a wide variety of animals can be wonderful companions or pets, not every animal is suited to therapy work,” said Glen Miller, a spokesman for Pet Partners, a national nonprofit organization that trains and registers therapy animals.

Therapy pets can include “dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, guinea pigs, rats, miniature pigs, llamas, alpacas, horses, donkeys and mini-horses,” as long as they’re at least a year old and have lived with their owner for six months, according to Pet Partners. Though the organization registers “birds,” it does not register ducks, Miller said.

Pet Partners does not allow exotic or wild animals, either.

“We know many people have wonderful experiences with these animals as pets, but without research documenting their behavior over time, we cannot evaluate their predictability and reaction to stress,” the organization’s website reads.

Unlike service animals, therapy animals don’t help their owners perform tasks and are therefore not protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Though there are no national requirements to register therapy animals, most hospitals only allow ones that have been trained, aren’t easily stressed and are covered by an insurance policy.

Read about some traditional and not-so-traditional bedside creatures below:


Darin Welker’s village in Ohio banned residents from keeping fowl in 2010, but the former member of the National Guard insists that his 14 ducks are therapy animals. They motivate him to get out of the house to take care of them, he said.

"They're quite a relaxing animal, and they help comfort me in different situations," Welker told the Conshohocken Tribune, holding one of the ducks like a baby. "[Watching them] keeps you entertained for hours at a time."

Welker served in Iraq in 2005 and returned home with a back injury that required surgery as well as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, according to the Tribune. He’s had the ducks in his fenced-in yard since March and will argue his case for keeping them Wednesday or face a $150 fine.


Nutmeg and Clovis are the 4-and-a-half-year-old therapy bunnies that live on the 13th floor of NYU Langone Medical Center.

“We’ve seen patients that literally had no affect smile,” said Gwenn Fried, manager of horticultural therapy services at NYU Langone. “Their whole demeanor changes.”

Sometimes doctors recommend the rabbits, and sometimes, the patients ask to see them, Fried said.


There’s nothing like a “kiss” -- basically a soft, furry lip bump -- from a 300-pound llama to brighten your mood.

Lori Gregory volunteers her llama, Rojo, through MTN Peaks Therapy Llamas and Alpacas, taking him to visit hospice patients and children who have mental and emotional problems.

“He has eyes the size of golf balls,” said Gregory, 57, of Vancouver, Washington. “People just stand there and look into their eyes. It’s pretty wonderful to be able to do that with a large animal that doesn’t ask anything.”

Though she can’t personally detect a change in the patients Rojo meets, she said nurses often tell her their most introverted patients become animated around the llamas.


Dogs are the only type of therapy animal allowed to see patients at the Mayo Clinic, according to the Rochester, Minnesota hospital’s animal therapy coordinator, Jessica Borg. She said dogs attend group sessions and sometimes meet one-on-one with patients.

“Having the dog there almost takes the tension out of the room,” she said. “It’s pretty common that patients will tear up because they’re so excited, so thankful for getting five or 25 minutes of time just snuggling, hanging out with the pet.”

Borg said some patients who are unwilling to get out of bed for physical therapy jump up when she’s walking by with a dog, eager for a cuddle.

“Seeing the dog and being with the dog can change their spirits within five seconds of contact time,” she said.

Five golden retrievers were a big help after the Boston Marathon bombings last year, when they visited victims in nearby hospitals as well as shaken residents on the streets. The pups were part of Lutheran Church Charities' K-9 Comfort Dogs, which has 60 dogs that travel the country to help patients in need.


Former Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Lyndon Ortiz helped start a veteran’s program Heavenly Hooves, a volunteer group that provides equine-assisted therapy.

Ortiz, who suffered from PTSD after being hit with an improvised explosive device in Iraq in 2005, started as a volunteer for the group and encouraged fellow veterans to join him. He said it helped him get back to civilian life as he wanted to live it.

“I’ve seen hope in some of the guys,” Ortiz said. “Some of them were stuck at home not doing anything just stuck in those four walls and now they look forward for Tuesdays when they’re riding horses.”

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Disease-Carrying Mosquitoes Are Biting into Summer Fun

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- You’ve probably heard of the West Nile virus -- a rare but deadly infection transmitted by mosquitoes. But what about chikungunya and eastern equine encephalitis?

All three mosquito-borne diseases are here in the U.S., and depending on where you live, you might be at risk.

Read on to learn more about the viruses and find out whether mosquitoes in your state are carrying them:

West Nile Virus

What It Looks Like

Most people who contract the virus show no symptoms at all, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But one in five people infected will develop a fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash, and one in 100 will experience brain swelling or meningitis, which can be deadly. Symptoms can take up to two weeks to appear and last “for weeks or months,” according to the CDC.

Where It Is

Fourteen states have reported West Nile infections so far this year -- Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. Another 13 have mosquitoes, birds and other animals carrying the virus, including Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wyoming.

Chikungunya Virus

What It Looks Like

Most people who contract the virus develop symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle and joint pain or a rash within a week of the offending mosquito bite, according to the CDC. They usually feel better in a week, but joint pain can persist for months, the agency said, adding that the infection is rarely fatal but sometimes disabling.

Where It Is

Thirty states plus Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have reported chikungunya infections so far this year, including Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. However, only two cases in the continental U.S. -- both in Florida -- were acquired locally. The rest were acquired outside the country, according to the CDC.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus

What It Looks Like

The virus, dubbed EEE, causes fever, chills and body aches within a week after the offending mosquito bite. Some people recover after two weeks, while others go on to develop an encephalitic form of the disease, which can cause headache, irritability, convulsions and even coma, according to the CDC. Roughly a third of those infected die, the agency said, and many who survive are left with brain damage, personality disorders, seizures and paralysis.

Where It Is

Mosquitoes carrying EEE were recently detected in Massachusetts, according to the state’s Department of Health. No human cases have been reported in 2014, but six Massachusetts residents died from the infection between 2004 and 2006, according to state data.

In the last 50 years, EEE infections have also been reported in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin, according to the CDC.

How to Protect Yourself

Since there are no vaccines or antiviral treatments for West Nile, chikungunya or EEE, the CDC recommends the following tips to prevent infections:

  • Use insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin or IR3535. Some oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol products also provide protection.
  • Wear long sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors and avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn -- peak mosquito biting hours.
  • Mosquito-proof your home with screens and regularly remove standing water from birdbaths, gutters, pool covers and pet water dishes.

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Woman Takes Selfies to Overcome Struggle with Hair-Pulling Disorder

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Selfies are all the rage, but one young woman has had the tenacity to take one of herself every single day for more than six years. However, the reason she’s been so consistent is not one you’d typically expect.

Rebecca Brown, 21, of Essex, England, has taken a picture of herself every day -- from age 14 to 21 -- putting them together in a video montage all to bravely share her battle with depression and her struggle with trichotillomania disorder, the compulsion to pull out one’s own hair.

She says the video project, which has received more than 5.5 million views on YouTube since it was originally posted on June 8, has immensely helped her deal with overcoming the disorder.

“It’s been pretty scary for me in the last year because I’ve seen myself come out of that darkness,” Brown told ABC News Monday. “Because when I was completely consumed in depression all I could see was black and white. Everything around me was dark, and I honestly didn’t believe there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Whereas now, I’ve seen myself get better. I’ve seen my smile come back. I feel like there is a light.”

Brown says there was no particular trigger that caused her to have trichotillomania disorder.

“For me, I’ve always been depressed but there’s been no pinpoint trauma. It just reached a head,” she explained.

The hair-pulling disorder has even affected celebrities like Katy Perry, Charlize Theron and Justin Timberlake.

At certain points in the video you can see where Brown resorted to shaving her head and wearing wigs to help deal with the battle, but now she’s doing great and hopes her project will help spread awareness of the disease.

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Study: Annual HIV Infection Rate Dropped by 33 Percent in a Decade

Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study indicates that the annual number of HIV diagnoses dropped by 33 percent between 2002 and 2011.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, analyzed data from the National HIV Surveillance System and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2002, the study found that the rate of HIV diagnosis in the U.S. was 24.1 cases per 100,000 population. That figure fell to 16.1 cases per 100,000 population by 2011.

It was not clear what caused the decrease in HIV diagnoses. The figures only correlate to newly-diagnosed HIV cases each year, not to the overall HIV population.

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