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What Would Happen if Ebola Landed in the US

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The current Ebola virus outbreak is already the worst on record, with 1,323 infected in three countries across West Africa. Of those infected, 729 have died, including top Ebola doctors in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

While the staggering numbers of the infected and dead are frightening, an outbreak in the U.S. is unlikely to be as devastating as the hardest hit areas in Africa, health officials said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other government agencies have multiple safeguards in place to contain the deadly virus from turning into a wider epidemic.

The safeguards have already been put into place after an American doctor in Liberia was diagnosed with Ebola. His family was visiting the U.S. before he was diagnosed and are under "fever watch" to ensure they do not develop the virus, health officials said.

Two American health care workers have been infected with the virus in Liberia and one person with a dual American-Nigerian citizenship died after flying from Liberia to Nigeria.

While none of those infected landed in the U.S., the chance of that occurring is a growing concern for health officials.

Earlier this week, the CDC issued a level 2 warning ordering Americans visiting countries affected by the Ebola outbreak to practice "enhanced precautions" by avoiding people who appear to be ill or show signs of the disease.

Despite enhanced safeguards from both local governments and the CDC, multiple experts said it's likely that at least one person infected with Ebola will land in the U.S. at some point during the outbreak.

But once an infected passenger lands here, there are multiple ways for the disease to be contained, CDC officials said.

"It's true that anyone with an illness is just one plane ride away from coming to the U.S.," said John O'Connor, a spokesman for the CDC told ABC News earlier this week. "But we have protections in place."

Throughout airports across the country, employees have been trained to spot the early signs of Ebola, including fever, sore throat, and muscle weakness. At 20 U.S. airports including JFK Airport in New York City, CDC quarantine teams are ready to isolate and treat any passenger that has worrying symptoms before they enter the country, officials said.

If a crew realizes a passenger is sick while en route, the plane's captain can call ahead and have CDC officials meet the plan on the tarmac. Flight attendants can also move the passenger to a more isolated area.

If an infected passenger is identified after landing, the CDC would work to identify others who traveled with them and monitor them as well. While Ebola can be a terrifying virus, experts said it is unlikely to pass between plane passengers. The virus is not airborne, meaning a person would have to be in close personal contact with a contagious person or touch an infected surface to contract the disease.

And a person is only contagious once they have started to show symptoms. The virus is spread through bodily secretions, including blood or urine, and a person is likely to be more contagious as they become more symptomatic as the virus multiplies.

There is also the chance that an infected passenger will arrive even before they develop symptoms and know that they are sick. One particularly worrying fact is that the incubation for the virus is on average eight to 10 days but can be as long as 21 days, which means a traveler arriving in the U.S, from West Africa can appear healthy for weeks before showing symptoms.

The CDC has warned U.S. doctors to be on the lookout for signs of patients with Ebola by looking for early warning signs, including fever or muscle weakness and by taking into account their recent travel history.

If a doctor in the U.S. suspects at all that a patient is infected with Ebola, they would immediately be directed to call the CDC and isolate the patient. Special protective gear would be used by hospital workers, including maintenance workers, to protect themselves from infection.

Dr. Stephen Morris, a professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, said that the group of people at the biggest risk for Ebola are health care workers or those in close contact with the infected person such as a family caregiver.

"The only way a person will get it is through infected secretions," said Morris. "The chances from getting it [from sitting next to someone] is very, very small."

If an infected person is identified then their family would either be isolated or monitored to ensure they are also not infected with the disease. The family of an American doctor who was infected with the disease in Liberia have remained on fever-watch, according to the CDC, but are not isolated in a hospital.

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Tennessee Teen, Once Bitten, Now Scared of Brown Recluse Spiders

iStock/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- Most bites from brown recluse spiders go unnoticed, experts say. But not the one that turned Jessica Blessing’s leg blue.

Blessing, a 19-year-old home health nurse from Nashville, Tennessee, said she woke up immediately after the tiny spider bit into her leg in bed.

“I started itching and when I got up to look at it, I could see it was swollen and blue,” she told ABC News. “Within three hours I was throwing up. I had a 103 fever and chills. It hurt to walk and I was limping really bad.”

The bite sent Blessing to the hospital for five days in May, she said, and she still makes weekly visits to the doctor to have dead flesh cut from the wound. She says she's now terrified of spiders and keeps sticky traps all over the house.

But experts say Blessing’s experience is an extreme case.

“In rare instances, a brown recluse bite can cause a severe reaction and may even be deadly,” said Bennett Jordan, the staff scientist for the National Pest Management Association. “But in a vast majority of cases -- 90 percent -- the reaction is very mild.”

Rick Vetter, a University of California TK expert on the brown recluse, said rumors of a sharp rise in spider bites are greatly exaggerated and difficult to prove.

“Many times it’s a misdiagnosis,” he said, explaining that bacterial infections, diabetes ulcers, poison ivy and a myriad of other medical conditions are frequently mistaken for spider bites. “Unless you actually witness the spider chomping down, you can’t say for sure that’s what it was.”

Vetter also said that the vast majority of bites go unreported because most people don’t realize they’ve been bitten. At the same time, he said he’s skeptical about many of the occurrences that are reported to authorities, pointing to the fact that there have been over 850 spider bite reports filed in Florida over a six-year period despite only seventy confirmed sightings of the arachnid in the state in the past 100 years.

Blessing’s bite was confirmed by a doctor, and brown recluses are common in the region around Nashville where Blessing lives. The Tennessee Poison Center fields between 50 to 100 brown recluse spider bite claims a year.

Linda Rayor, an arachnologist with Cornell University, said it’s unlikely that brown recluse populations are exploding and argued that fear of being bitten is probably arachnophobia at play. She said she doesn’t doubt Blessing’s story, but said she tends to be skeptical about spider bites.

“The chances are crazy high in favor of a fly or a mosquito, but people would rather blame the spider,” she said.

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Let's Get Physical, Just Not Every Year

iStock/Thinkstock(SALT LAKE CITY) -- Not every adult sees their doctor for an annual physical exam. And believe it or not, they may be the smart ones.

Thomas Miller, chief medical officer for the University of Utah’s Hospitals and Clinics, says the notion that adults, especially when they get older, should have a wellness exam every year could result in people doing themselves more harm than good.

Under certain circumstances, such as people who neither have a long-term illnesses nor take regular prescription drugs, it’s been shown that annual physicals don’t lower the rate of disease-related deaths, hospitalizations or health care costs.

Rather than improve one’s health, these yearly tests might lead to unnecessary over-diagnosis and expensive over-treatment of some conditions.

So why go every year without fail? It's what doctors have recommended for the past seven decades.

Of course, there are some things Miller does recommend healthy patients get checked every year: blood pressure and cholesterol.

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Low Fat Diets Still Trump the Low Carb Kind

Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Lose the fat or lose the carbs? That’s the question facing Americans who are trying to lose weight.

Lately, low carbohydrate diets have been all the rage but not as much as you might think, given all the publicity they’ve received.

A Gallup poll of 1,000 adults across the U.S. shows that when it comes to shedding pounds, 73 percent say it’s fats they try to avoid while 44 percent are making it a point to reduce their intake of carbs.

As for the general public, again it’s fats that are getting shunned by more Americans. Gallup says that 56 percent go out of their way to cut fat from the daily diet compared to 29 percent who are eating less carbs. And then there are those people who go the extra mile by scaling back on both fats and carbs.

Meanwhile, Americans are doing a little research on their own to determine whether fat is really the main cause of their weight problems. As it happens, the percentage of Americans who try to eat less fat has fallen about eight percent over the past few years.

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Memory Impairment Could Be Another Side-Effect of Problem Drinking

iStock/Thinkstock(EXETER, England) -- Young adults who start exhibiting signs of a drinking problem might want to address their problem before they hit middle age.

That’s because a study out of the University of Exeter in England finds that too much alcohol consumption can hamper one’s memory later in life.

Researchers reviewed the drinking habits of 6,500 Americans in their 50s and 60s over two decades to measure alcohol-related cognitive damage at two-year intervals.

With 16 percent of participants admitting they had a drinking problem, it was people in this group much more so than others who demonstrated difficulties with memory on word-recall tests.

The study did not address whether drinking heavily while in your 20s was as harmful as a problem showing up during your 40s.

However, the researchers suggested that the sooner people stop drinking, the sooner they might be able to reverse the damage.

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Rare Flesh Eating Bacteria Kills One in Florida

iStock/Thinkstock(SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla.) -- One person has died from a rare flesh eating bacteria in Sarasota County, Fla., officials confirmed Wednesday.

The disease can be contracted through open wounds on the skin or eating raw or undercooked shellfish.

The bacteria thrives in warm, salt water, but Sarasota County Health Department epidemiologist Michael Drennon says the water is still okay to go in.

"Just be diligent if you have an open wound or cut," Drennon said. "Child, adult, you know, older adult, all of those individuals should be aware that there's a risk associated when that condition is present, but otherwise it's safe to go in the water."

According to health officials, 11 cases have been reported throughout the state of Florida in 2014.

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Drug Dealer Arrested for Selling 'Molly' to Man Who Died

iStock/Thinkstock(BUFFALO, N.Y.) -- A Buffalo, New York man was arrested on Wednesday for selling a club drug to someone who later died.

Patrick Morgan is accused of selling the synthetic drug "molly," a form of ecstasy, to several people including Jeffrey Russ.

At last summer's Electric Zoo music festival in New York, Russ collapsed and had a seizure. He died at the hospital.

Two others also died from molly overdoses at the festival, prompting the city to call off Electric Zoo.

Despite Russ's death, Morgan reportedly continued to sell. Court records show he sent a text message in March to Russ' friends that said "u too call me whenever you want."

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Sugary Drinks Linked to Poor Memory Function

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Sugary drinks may hurt more than your waistline and teeth.

Researchers at USC found a disturbing connection between regular sweetened drink consumption in childhood and poor memory function in adulthood.

They reported that the hippocampus region of the brain -- where memories are made and stored -- is particularly sensitive to environmental assault including high fructose levels.

This includes soda, apple juice, lemonade, sports drinks, and anything with added sugar or syrup.

They recommend sugar intake be limited to four teaspoons a day.

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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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