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Florida’s Measles Outbreak: Transparency Lacking, Health Concerns Rising

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The scarcity of information regarding measles cases in Florida has raised concerns among health experts, especially for those planning vacations to the state who wish to avoid exposure to the virus. This lack of transparency contrasts with the standard public health practice during measles outbreaks, where alerts are issued to warn the public of potential exposure.

For instance, health officials in two Michigan counties recently warned residents of potential exposure to measles. These alerts were issued following the discovery of two adults who had contracted the virus abroad and had been in health-related settings in the area. The counties urged unvaccinated individuals who had been in the listed locations at the listed times to contact public health or their health care provider, warning them to phone ahead if they needed to seek in-person care.

In Florida, however, the Department of Health has released limited information about the 10 residents and at least four non-residents diagnosed with measles in the past month. This lack of transparency leaves the public in the dark about potential exposure.

“Very little information is available,” Scott Rivkees, Florida’s former surgeon general, told STAT by email, adding it is “very unusual to have such sparse information for the public, especially when the onus is being put on parents to make decisions.”

This lack of information is particularly concerning as measles activity has been reported in at least three Florida counties — Broward, Polk, and Orange — in the past month. The state Department of Health’s website homepage has a single measles alert, which does not provide specific details about the cases.

Michael Mina, an infectious diseases epidemiologist, said the state’s approach defies common sense. “What’s happening in Florida is sort of breaking all the global conventions around measles,” said Mina. “One of the first things that anyone would normally do, whether it be in Europe or the United States, is be extremely — almost overly — transparent.”

The primary cost of not containing measles transmission is unnecessary illness. Measles is a very unpleasant experience and can be fatal. Knowing that measles poses a present risk can change thinking about vaccination, said Jane Zucker, who retired from the New York City Department of Health last July.

William Moss, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, emphasized the importance of public health officials promoting vaccination and alerting the public of potential exposures.

Informing the public of sites where measles exposures could have taken place is especially critical in health care settings, which can significantly increase the size of an outbreak and the work required to contain it.

One of the reasons measles spreads so well is that infected people are contagious in the four days before the telltale measles rash develops. During that period they can become quite sick, so they may seek medical care. But their symptoms could be caused by a range of conditions.

“Unless you really know something’s going on with measles, or you have some reason to suspect measles, those are just not going to be recognized very often, and that often leads to lots of exposures in health care facilities,” said Kathleen Harriman, who retired from the California Department of Public Health.

Telling the public of possible measles exposure events can get parents of unvaccinated children or adults who are unvaccinated to think “Maybe this is measles” if their children or they themselves become ill.

It also alerts medical providers that they should think about measles and to be on the lookout for the triad of symptoms known as the three C’s — cough, coryza (a stuffed up or runny nose) and conjunctivitis or pink eye — which along with fever can signal measles.

In addition to preventing unnecessary illness, this transparency can also save a great deal of money. The health department costs of containing the Disneyland outbreak were between $1.5 million and $4 million, Harriman has said.

In an account of New York City’s efforts to stop the 2018-2019 outbreak that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Zucker and colleagues estimated that the cost to their department alone of responding to that outbreak was $8.4 million.

“You need to stop transmission. You just have to stop transmission,” Zucker said. But “it’s very labor intensive.”

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Dereck Hough’s Wife Makes Radiant Return to Spotlight After Brain Surgery

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Derek Hough and his wife, Hayley Erbert, recently graced the red carpet together for the first time since Erbert’s emergency brain surgery. The couple was spotted at the Hulu on Disney+ launch event on April 5 in Los Angeles, looking radiant in matching pastel outfits. The event marked Erbert’s return to the public eye following a health scare in December 2023 that required her to undergo a craniectomy.

Erbert experienced a medical emergency during a performance when she suffered from bleeding in her skull. She was diagnosed with a cranial hematoma caused by a burst blood vessel, necessitating the removal of a portion of her skull. Since then, the couple has been open about her recovery journey, including her triumphant return to dance.

On the day of the Hulu event, the couple announced via social media that Erbert would be rejoining the “A Symphony of Dance” tour. In a video posted on Hough’s Instagram story, he expressed their excitement to be performing together again and thanked fans for their unwavering support during this challenging time. “We cannot wait to dance together again on stage and be back with all of our fans and thank them,” Hough shared. “Thank you all for the amazing support that you’ve shown during this time. We cannot wait and we’ll see you very, very soon.”

Erbert also took to Instagram to share her feelings about her journey to recovery and her return to dance. She described her healing process as “extraordinary” and expressed her gratitude to her medical team for prioritizing her health and safety. She concluded her post by expressing her excitement for fans to see the upcoming show, which she described as even more special after her recent health ordeal.

Hough first shared the news of Erbert’s hospitalization in December 2023, revealing that she had been rushed to the hospital after becoming disoriented during a performance. He later posted a video of the couple walking hand in hand, with Erbert wearing protective headgear. He expressed his gratitude for the support they received during this difficult time and acknowledged the fragility of life.

Erbert’s health scare was due to an intracranial hematoma, a condition where a blood vessel ruptures in the brain, causing blood to pool in the skull. This often occurs after a traumatic event, such as a car crash, fall, or accident. Following her craniectomy, Erbert underwent another surgery to replace the portion of her skull that was removed.

In February, the couple shared an emotional video on Instagram where Erbert opened up about her recovery process. She acknowledged the emotional and physical challenges she faced but emphasized her progress and gratitude for the support she received. “Life is so precious and, just spend time with the ones you love. Hold them close because you never know what can happen,” she advised.

Hough and Erbert’s journey through this health crisis has been marked by resilience, gratitude, and an outpouring of support from their community. Their return to the red carpet and the dance stage is a testament to their strength and the power of a supportive community.

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Boost Longevity: Embrace Holistic Health in Your Golden Years

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Today, individuals are enjoying longer and healthier lives, with many engaging in exciting activities and new hobbies well into their senior years. In fact, a significant 82% of adults between the ages of 65 and 74 describe their health as excellent, very good, or good. However, senior health and wellness extend beyond how one feels in the present. The choices made today significantly impact future health, with lifestyle choices being a key determinant of longevity. For instance, one study revealed that the absence of major lifestyle risk factors could extend men’s lives by 12 years and women’s lives by 14 years.

Regardless of your current health status, it’s never too late to prioritize your health and wellness. Aging often brings a renewed focus on well-being, with many seniors becoming more concerned about their health over the coming decades. This concern may be due to the effects of aging or the realization that there is now more time to focus on health and wellness, particularly for those no longer working or raising children.

Holistic health goes beyond taking the right medication, visiting the doctor, or lifting weights. It involves a comprehensive approach that considers your needs, goals, and feelings about your health. Embracing a wellness approach empowers you to understand your body better and take control of your health.

Holistic health and wellness are crucial for seniors, and adopting a few simple lifestyle changes can set you on the path to a lifetime of good health. Lifestyle is a significant predictor of longevity, and it’s never too late to start making healthier choices. Even small changes, such as incorporating just 11 minutes of exercise into your daily routine, can make a significant difference in your life expectancy.

Holistic health and wellness encompass various aspects, including finding new ways to enjoy life. Happiness plays a crucial role in health and can make it easier to maintain healthy lifestyle choices. Even with chronic health conditions or disabilities, you can still embrace holistic wellness, which can lead to a reduction in symptoms like pain, insomnia, and stress, and lower the risk of developing health conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Holistic health and wellness for seniors is not about giving up everything you enjoy; it’s about finding opportunities to optimize health. Exercise, for instance, increases the production of endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemicals. Becoming more active can help you feel better right away, especially as the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle become more apparent with age.

Living healthier involves integrating healthy decisions into daily life, forming better habits, and doing things that feel good to your body and mind. Some tips to help you on this journey include eliminating unhealthy habits like smoking, cultivating a feeling of safety and security, making a balanced diet part of your daily life, staying socially engaged and active, keeping your mind active, giving back to your community, continuously improving yourself and your relationships, getting stress under control, and staying physically active.

Contrary to popular belief, healthy living doesn’t have to be unpleasant. Fitness can be fun, healthy food doesn’t have to be bland, and a wellness-oriented lifestyle doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, enjoying life is beneficial for mental and physical health and can inspire you to continue making healthy choices.

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Madonna’s Miraculous Recovery: From ICU to Stage in Two Months

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Last year, fans of the iconic pop star Madonna were left worried when a health crisis landed her in the ICU. The singer’s manager, Guy Oseary, disclosed on Instagram that Madonna was battling a “serious bacterial infection”. This health scare forced her to halt all her activities, including her ongoing “Celebration” tour. Fortunately, the “Like a Prayer” singer made a full recovery and resumed her tour a few months later in October 2023.

Madonna has recently opened up about her “near-death experience” and a profound conversation she believes she had with God.

During her first show at the Kia Forum arena in Los Angeles, Madonna shared the intensity of her health scare. She has faced numerous challenges in her life, including multiple injuries, “fallen off a lot of horses and broken a lot of bones” and even has a titanium hip.

“I mean, the list goes on and on, but nothing can stop me,” the pop star declared. She then delved into her recent frightening experience and the induced coma she was in for four days. Madonna revealed that the first word she uttered after waking up from the coma was “no.” According to her, this was in response to a question she heard God ask her while she was unconscious.

“I’m pretty sure that God was saying to me, ‘Do you wanna come with us? You wanna come with me? You wanna go this way?’ And I said, ‘No. No. No!'” Madonna shared on stage.

She expressed gratitude to her physician, David Agus, MD, who she said tolerated “so many entertaining phone calls.”

“When I was sick this summer and I literally couldn’t walk from my bed to the toilet, I would call him every other day and ask him why I didn’t have any energy. ‘When was my energy gonna come back? When was I gonna feel myself again? When could I go back on tour again?’ When, when, when, when, when, when, when?” Madonna recounted. “And all he would say was, ‘Go outside in the sun.'”

She followed Agus’ advice to soak up some vitamin D, which he assured her would help her kidneys function.

“I hate the sun, but I did it anyways and it was so hard for me to walk from my house to the backyard and sit in the sun,” Madonna confessed. “I know that sounds insane, but it was difficult and I didn’t know when I could get up again and when I could be myself again and when I would have my energy back. It was a strange thing to finally not feel like I was in control. And that was my lesson to let go.”

Madonna expressed her gratitude to everyone who cared for her during her illness. She was adamant about getting back on tour, even while still in the hospital. When Oseary asked when she planned to return to the stage, she boldly declared two months.

“I swear to God, I just said it. And sometimes you just gotta say [expletive], put that in the universe, and it happens,” she told the audience.

She thanked her children for their support, helping her to “pull through,” and expressed her determination not to let them or her fans down.

“I just set a date and that date became a reality,” the pop legend said. “And I didn’t wanna disappoint my fans. I never do.”

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