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Narcan may be no match for 2 new fentanyl strains

Two new strains of fentanyl are so deadly that they may be immune to naloxone, also known as Narcan, the drug used to save those who have overdosed, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Tuesday in a news release. 

>> Watch the news report here

>> Police say Narcan prevented them from charging man with DUI

Acrylfentanyl and tetrahydrofuran fentanyl were not identified by the GBI until March, when the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office submitted the drugs as part of forensic evidence. A month later, officials investigated four overdoses that killed two people in the county. At the time, authorities thought the overdoses were caused by a bad batch of deadly drugs such as heroin or fentanyl.

>> Mom who lost son to opioid overdose shares heartbreaking photo

Officials have not said if the two new strains are connected to the overdoses. 

“It is not known how the human body will react to both drugs since they are not intended for human or veterinary use,” GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said. “The drugs can be absorbed through the skin and are considered highly dangerous.”

>> Police officer overdoses after accidental contact with fentanyl on traffic stop

One of the drugs – acrylfentanyl – was banned in Georgia in April, she said, and has been on the GBI watch list for months. 

“It’s a very potent drug and there’s a high potential it has already killed people in Georgia,” Miles told WSB-TV. “There are multiple reports that (the drugs are) showing resistance to naloxone.” 

>> Mass overdose kills four, a dozen more hospitalized in Georgia

The new strains come three weeks after four people were killed and dozens suffered from overdoses in a two-day span in Middle Georgia. The chief medical officer at Navicent Health in Macon told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that a new drug in the area was being sold as Percocet. It’s possible the drug could be homemade. 

7 things to know about the human plague, symptoms and how to protect yourself

Two new cases of the human plague have been confirmed in New Mexico Tuesday, according to health officials.

» RELATED: Possible plague case in Georgia 

This year, New Mexico has seen three cases of the plague, the first of which was reported in early June.

>> Read more trending news 

All three cases required hospitalization, according to the New Mexico Department of Health.

Here are seven things to know about the plague:

What is it?

According to Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plague is a disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis that affects humans and other mammals.

» RELATED: Stray cat's plague death prompts 'fever watch' 

What is the history of plague?

Historians and scientists have recorded three major plague pandemics, according to the CDC.

The first, called the Justinian Plague (after 6th century Byzantine emperor Justinian I), began in A.D. 541 in central Africa and spread to Egypt and the Mediterranean.

The “Great Plague” or “Black Death” originated in China in 1334 and eventually spread to Europe, where approximately 60 percent of the population died of the disease.

» RELATED: The 'Black Death': Are gerbils, not rats, to blame for plague? 

Lastly, the 1860s “Modern Plague,” which also began in China, spread to port cities around the world by rats on steamships, according to the CDC.

In 1894, French bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin discovered the causative bacterium, Yersinia pestis.

Ten million deaths resulted from the last pandemic, which eventually affected mammals in the Americas, Africa and Asia.

It was during this last pandemic that scientists identified infectious flea bites as the culprit in the spread of the disease.

More about the history of plague.

Where in the U.S. is human plague most common?

Human plague usually occurs after an outbreak in which several susceptible rodents die, infected fleas leave the dead rodents and seek blood from other hosts.

These outbreaks usually occur in southwestern states, particularly in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico, according to the CDC.

» RELATED: Lyme disease risks could increase after mouse plague, experts warn 

According to the World Health Organization, an average of five to 15 cases occur annually in the U.S.

Since 1900, more than 80 percent of those cases have been in the bubonic form.

Worldwide, there are approximately 1,000-3,000 cases of naturally occurring plague reported every year.

More about plague in the U.S.

How do humans and other animals get plague?

Usually, humans get plague after a bite from a rodent flea carrying the bacterium.

Humans can also get plague after handling (touching or skinning) an animal (like squirrels, prairie dogs, rats or rabbits) infected with plague.

According to the CDC, inhaling droplets from the cough of an infected human or mammal (sick cats, in particular) can also lead to plague.

» RELATED: Rare tick-borne illness worries some medical professionals 

What are the types of plague and their symptoms?

Bubonic plague (most common)

  • Tender, warm and swollen nymph nodes in the groin, armpit or neck usually develop within a week after an infected flea bite.
  • Signs and symptoms include sudden fever and chills, headache, fatigue, muscle aches.
  • If bubonic plague is not treated, it can spread to other areas of body and lead to septicemic or pneumonic plague.

Septicemic plague

  • Occurs when bacteria multiply in the bloodstream.
  • Signs and symptoms include fever and chills; abdominal pain; diarrhea; vomiting; extreme fatigue and light-headedness; bleeding from mouth, nose, rectum, under skin; shock; gangrene (blackening, tissue death) in fingers, toes and nose.
  • Septicemic plague can quickly lead to organ failure.

Pneumonic plague (least common)

  • Pneumonic plague, which affects the lungs, is the most dangerous plague and is easily spread person-to-person through cough droplets.
  • Signs and symptoms (within a few hours after infection) include bloody cough, difficulty breathing, high fever, nausea, vomiting, headache, weakness.
  • If it is not treated quickly, pneumonic plague is almost always fatal.

» RELATED: What is Lyme disease and how to avoid it 

How is plague treated?

Immediately see a doctor if you develop symptoms of plague and have been in an area where the disease is known to occur.Your doctor will likely give you strong antibiotics (streptomycin, gentamicin or others) to combat the disease.

If there are serious complications like organ failure or bleeding abnormalities, doctors will administer intravenous fluids, respiratory support and give patients oxygen.

How to protect yourself, your family and your pets against plague

You and your family

The CDC warns against picking up or touching dead animals and letting pets sleep in the bed with you.

Experts also recommend eliminating any nesting places for rodents such as sheds, garages or rock piles, brush, trash and excess firewood.

Other ways to protect yourself and your family include wearing gloves if handling dead or sick animals, using an insect repellent with DEET to prevent flea bites and reporting sick or dead animals to your local health department or to law enforcement officials.

» RELATED: Ticks the season: How to prevent, find and get rid of ticks this summer 

Pets

Flea medicine should be administered regular for both dogs and cats.

Keep your pet’s food in rodent-proof containers and don’t let them hunt or roam in rodent habitats.

If your pet becomes ill, see a veterinarian as soon as possible.

More about plague at CDC.gov.

Woman's photo of son's hospital bill goes viral

A New Jersey mother wants parents and other Americans to know the cost of health care in the country. 

>> Read more trending news 

In a now-viral tweet, Alison Chandra posted a photo of her son's latest hospital bill. Chandra’s son, Ethan, was born with heterotaxy syndrome, a rare genetic disorder in which organs form on the wrong side of the body, CNN reported. 

"Ethan was born with nine congenital heart defects and he has two left lungs. Five or so spleens of dubious function. His liver and his gallbladder are down the middle of his body along with his heart, and then his stomach is on the right instead of the left side," Chandra told CNN.

On Friday, Chandra tweeted a hospital bill for services received from Boston’s Children’s Hospital earlier this year.

"It seems fitting that, with the #TrumpCare debate raging, I got this bill in the mail today from Ethan's most recent open heart surgery," she wrote. “Without insurance we would owe $231,115 for 10 hours in the OR, 1 week in the CICU and 1 week on the cardiac floor.”

Chandra’s tweet has been liked more than 80,000 times and retweeted more than 53,000 times.

"That is why I like to tell our story. Maybe you hadn't thought of this side before. You don't picture a 3-year-old with all these fees,” she said. 

Chandra, who said she didn’t follow politics until November, said she was “shocked at how loudly each side yells about their specific talking points.” 

“It paints these issues as black and white when they are anything but that,” she told CNN. “My fear is that this bill comes into play and suddenly essential health benefits are no longer covered, like hospitalization, prescription medications. (Ethan) will rely on prescription medications for the rest of his life. He is functionally asplenic and will need to take prophylactic antibiotics the rest of his life to prevent and protect against sepsis, a huge risk of death for our kids in the heterotaxy community.

“As a mother with a kid who has disorder you feel alone ... We just want him to be a kid.”

Read more at CNN.

Shocking Facebook Live video shows aftermath of apparent drug overdose

A frightening Facebook Live video from Massachusetts shows the life-and-death struggle that follows an apparent drug overdose.

WARNING: The video and details that follow are graphic. Viewer discretion is advised. Click to see the entire seven-minute video.

Posted just before 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Dorchester area of Boston, a man confronts a couple in a car about using drugs in his neighborhood.

A needle is visible, lying in the woman’s lap.

>> Watch the news report here (WARNING: Viewer discretion advised)

The woman wakes up as the resident confronts her, but the man in the passenger seat does not.

The couple in the video carry their own Narcan, according to the woman, and she retrieves it from the trunk. She then starts doing CPR.

>> Read more trending news

The man who confronted them keeps filming and tries to help.

“Do you have a pulse? ... The police are coming,” he can be heard saying.

The woman asks the man how long they had been sitting in the car.

“Ya’ll had been sitting here for a while, and we could tell what ya’ll were up to,” he responded.

>> Doctor charged with murder in patients’ opioid deaths

The woman, still performing CPR, thanks him.

A Boston police officer arrives and shortly after the man begins to move, and then vomits.

“I’m glad you came back, man,” said the man filming the video.

The video has been shared more than 20,000 times and has more than 2 million views, capturing people’s attention from around the country.

>> Police officer overdoses after accidental contact with fentanyl on traffic stop

While it might be shocking to see, emergency workers said these scenes are an everyday occurrence.

“I'll say almost once a shift now we're doing overdoses," said Debra Johnson with Brewster Ambulance.

In Boston so far this year, EMTs have responded to more than 1,300 overdose calls, which is on par with 2016. That’s about 7.5 calls a day.

The number of fatalities, however, has doubled from last year.

“A lot of the people that we find deceased that we refer to the Medical Examiner are somebody who maybe used alone,” said Chief Jim Hooley, a Boston EMT.

U.S. suspends Brazilian beef imports over safety concerns

All imports of fresh beef from Brazil have been halted because of recurring concerns about the safety of the products intended for the American market, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said Thursday.

The suspension of shipments will remain in place until the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture takes corrective action which the USDA finds satisfactory.

The action comes three months after a major scandal erupted in Brazil over allegedly corrupt inspectors at slaughter and processing facilities. Brazilian officials said then that meat companies paid inspectors to overlook violations and certify tainted or rotten meat or not make inspections at all.

>> Read more trending news

However, before the crackdown, rotten meat was distributed in Brazil and exported to Europe.

Since March, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has been inspecting 100 percent of all meat products arriving in the United States from Brazil. FSIS has refused entry to 11 percent of Brazilian fresh beef products.

That figure is substantially higher than the rejection rate of one percent of shipments from the rest of the world. Since the implementation of the increased inspection, FSIS has refused entry to 106 lots (approximately 1.9 million pounds) of Brazilian beef products due to public health concerns, sanitary conditions, and animal health issues. It is important to note that none of the rejected lots made it into the U.S. market.

The Brazilian government had pledged to address those concerns, including by self-suspending five facilities from shipping beef to the United States. Today’s action to suspend all fresh beef shipments from Brazil supersedes the self-suspension.

Secretary Perdue issued the following statement:

“Ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply is one of our critical missions, and it’s one we undertake with great seriousness. Although international trade is an important part of what we do at USDA, and Brazil has long been one of our partners, my first priority is to protect American consumers. That’s what we’ve done by halting the import of Brazilian fresh beef. I commend the work of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service for painstakingly safeguarding the food we serve our families.”

>> Read the full news release here

The U.S. is not a major importer of beef from Brazil because the U.S. produces more beef and veal than Brazil does. This year, U.S. beef and veal production are expected to grow 5 percent to more than 12 million tons, reaching a nine-year high, according to USDA reports.

In 2016, the U.S. exported $6.3 billion in beef and beef products globally. The major importers of beef to the U.S. are Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico, with Brazil ranking fifth.

In May, Brazil re-opened its doors to U.S. fresh beef exports after a 13-year hiatus, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service reported.

In 2003, Brazil closed its market fresh beef imports from the U.S. over concerns about bone spongiform encephalopathy, also known as mad cow disease.

The Washington, D.C.-based National Farmers Union applauded the decision to suspend the importation of Brazilian beef and said it has long had concerns about the importation of fresh beef from Brazil.

“Since the 2015 repeal of Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL), food safety scandals can undermine consumer confidence in the entire beef industry, harming American producers’ bottom line. This incident underscores the importance of COOL to protect American beef producers and consumers alike,” NFU officials said in a statement.

Monday, several cattle-ranching groups sued the USDA in Spokane, asking that it overturn its decision to not require country-of-origin labeling on meat imports. Without the labeling, imported meat can be sold as a U.S. product.

Connecticut educator teaches students life lessons after being diagnosed with ALS

Nearly 11 months after being diagnosed with Asymotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Connecticut educator Andrew Niblock is using his diagnosis to teach students about life.

>> Read more trending news

Niblock, the head of the elementary school at Greenwich Country Day School in Connecticut, said he wanted to continue working after being diagnosed with the disease so that he could teach his students a lesson about life and be an example for them.

“I want children to understand curve balls,” the father of two told ABC News. “No matter what is thrown your way […] if a kid powers through or makes the most of something later because of knowing me, that’d be great.”

>> RELATED: Neighborhood kids use lemonade stand to raise a surprising amount of money for disabled veteran

ALS, a rare and incurable progressive neurodegenerative disease, affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord and causes the brain to be unable to initiate and control muscle movement, according to the ALS Association. As a result, people may lose the ability to speak, eat, move and breathe, with some patients ending up completely paralyzed in the later stages of the disease.

>> RELATED: Mass. teacher battling ALS fired months before earning pension

Instead of hiding the changes occurring to his speech and mobility, Niblock is working with the school’s headmaster to create age-appropriate videos with the goal of teaching students about ALS and spreading awareness about it.

By being open about his battle with the disease, Niblock said he hopes to convey to the students that hope is resilient.

“Hope can drive you forward,” he said. “And I hope […] that the kids see that, and run with it.”

Photographer captures 6 families' fights with childhood cancer in heartbreaking project

The “More Than 4” photo project by Sherina Welch of Houston, Texas-based FreeSpiritFoto aims to educate the public on what cancer really looks like by documenting six families’ fights with childhood cancer, as well as spread awareness about the fact that only 4 percent of funds for cancer research go to children.

>> Learn more here

On Saturday, Welch posted an emotional photo series of Colt Wilson, a child cancer patient who underwent 43 weeks of chemotherapy and 28 days, with his mom and dad after his last chemo treatment.

“The first day we walked onto this floor comes flooding back to my mind, and all my fears of cancer killing my baby are fresh again,” Cortni Wilson, Colt’s mom, told Welch. “Treatment is finally over, but the worry isn’t.”

>> Read more trending news

Wilson explained that it was reassuring for Colt to be on the hospital every week getting checked out, but now that his treatment is over, it would be months before he gets checked out again.

“I knew the chemo could kill him, I knew he could have complications, I knew cancer could completely take over,” she said. “So now that it’s finally here, I feel like I’m gonna lose it. I’m scared beyond my mind, excited and relieved, nervous and overjoyed.”

>> See the photos here

Tick spreading in the US gives people meat allergies 

A bite from the aggressive Lone Star tick could do more than give you an irritable rash — it could potentially induce a dangerous meat allergy.

» RELATED: How to prevent, find and get rid of ticks this summer 

The tick, widely distributed in the southeastern and eastern United States, is spreading to even more areas, including Minnesota, New Hampshire and Long Island, New York, and is making people allergic to just a single bite of meat.

According to Wired.com, something in the tick bite makes people sensitive to the sugar compound alpha-galactose, or alpha-gal, found in meat from mammals.

» RELATED: What is Lyme disease and how to avoid it 

And unlike most allergies, which are dependent on a mix of genetic and environmental factors, alpha-gal allergies seem to affect anyone and everyone, regardless of genetic makeup, Wired reported.

» RELATED: Rare tick-borne illness worries some medical professionals

Some bite victims will experience a hive-like rash or a dangerous anaphylactic reaction about four hours after eating meat. 

» RELATED: WATCH: Young girl left temporarily paralyzed illustrates dangers of tick bites

Such allergies are still incredibly rare and the government hasn’t issued any health warnings yet, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the distribution, range and abundance of the Lone Star tick has increased steadily in the past 20 to 30 years.

» RELATED: Rare tick-borne illness worries some medical professionals “We expect with warming temperatures, the tick is going to slowly make its way northwards and westward and cause more problems than they’re already causing,” Ronald Staff, allergist and clinical professor of medicine, told Business Insider.

» RELATED: Girl dies from possible tick bite

Saff said he's now seeing patients every week who have been bitten by ticks and developed the meat allergy.

The best thing to do while scientists continue research to track and understand the species is to try to prevent tick bites overall.

» RELATED: Woman loses arms, legs after tick bite 

The CDC recommends avoiding tick habitats, using insect repellents with DEET or permethrin and actively checking for ticks after you’ve been outdoors.

Click here to read more on tick prevention and removal tips.

Guns kill nearly 1,300 children a year in U.S., study finds

On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a study that will be in the July issue of “Pediatrics” and its recommendations in response to the study. “Childhood Firearm Injuries in the United States” is the largest study to look at the number of gun-related injuries and death in children and adolescents. It looked at numbers from National Vital Statistics System, the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System and the National Violent Death Reporting System.

>> Read more trending news

Here’s what it found:

  • On average, 1,297 children a year die in the U.S. from gunshot wounds and 5,790 are treated for a gunshot wound.
  • Death from a firearm is the third-leading cause of death for children in the U.S. behind illness/congenital defect and motor vehicle injury.
  • 53 percent of gun deaths in children were homicides, 38 percent were suicides, 6 percent were unintentional deaths, and 3 percent were due to legal intervention or undetermined intent.
  • Homicide deaths by firearms in children have declined, but suicide deaths are on the rise.
  • 4.2 percent of children ages 0 to 17 in the United States have witnessed a shooting in the past year.
  • 82 percent of children killed by guns were boys.
  • Children 13-17 years old had a 12-times higher rate of being killed by a firearm than children 12 and younger.
  • Race mattered: The annual firearm homicide rate for African-American children (3.5 per 100,000) was nearly twice as high as the rate for American Indian children (2.2 per 100,000), 4 times higher than the rate for Hispanic children (0.8 per 100,000), and ∼10 times higher than the rate for white children and Asian-American children (each 0.4 per 100,000).
  • The suicide rate was highest for white and American Indian children (each 2.2 per 100,000), almost four times the amount for African-American (0.6 per 100,000) and Hispanic (0.5 per 100,000) children and over 5 times the rate for Asian-American children (0.4 per 100,000).
  • The rate of unintentional firearm deaths for African-American children was twice as high (0.2 per 100 000) as the rate for white children (0.1 per 100,000) and 4 times the rate for Hispanic children (0.05 per 100,000).
  • Southern states and parts of the Midwest had the highest rate of firearm homicides among children.
  • Firearm suicides are more evenly distributed among states, but higher in Western states.
  • In younger children, homicides often happen in a multivictim scenario and by family conflict.
  • Older children were more likely to die from crime and violence.
  • A shooter playing with the gun was the most common reason for an unintentional firearm death for all children.
  • Of children who committed suicide by firearm, 60 percent used a handgun, 42 percent had a crisis in the past, 71 percent had relationship problems, 34 percent were depressed, 26 percent had a clinically diagnosed mental health problem, 18 percent were receiving mental health treatment and 26 percent disclosed their intent to die by suicide to someone. Most spent 10 minutes or less thinking about it before they did it.

What are pediatricians to do with this information? And what are parents supposed to do?

Dr. Eliot W. Nelson of the University of Vermont wrote the academy’s response recommendations for its physicians:

  1. Ask parents if there are guns in their house.
  2. Do not get in a debate about their rights to have a gun.
  3. Talk about safe storage practices such as a gun safe and lock, storing guns unloaded and storing bullets separately.

New 'tan in a bottle’ drug could prevent skin cancer, study says

A new kind of “tan in a bottle” could give you the sun-kissed skin you want while lowering your risk of skin cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States.

» RELATED: Study finds 73 percent of sunscreens don’t even work — how to find one that does 

That’s according to new research published Tuesday in the journal Cell Reports, by a team of scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The drug, which is in liquid form, mimics the effect of sunlight on the skin without the sun’s harmful UV rays, tricking the skin into producing a brownish pigmentation of melanin.

>> Read more trending news

So far, according to the study, it has been tested on mixed-gender adult mice and skin samples considered surgical waste.

» RELATED: Here are the 19 best sunscreens for kids, according to experts 

The drug bronzes the skin and because it’s all done without UV rays, it could potentially slow the appearance of skin aging.

But the researchers aren’t trying to create the next consumer beauty product.

“Our real goal is a novel strategy for protecting skin from UV radiation and cancer,” David Fisher, one of the researchers, told BBC News.

» RELATED: The 14 most dangerous sunscreens for kids, according to experts 

“Dark pigment is associated with a lower risk of all forms of skin cancer -- that would be really huge.”

Fisher sees the development and inclusion of this drug as as an ingredient as something that could enhance sunscreen protection and protect against skin cancer.

“There is unequivocal evidence that sunscreens are protective against several types of skin cancer,” he told Time Magazine. “But there is also unequivocal evidence that they are not enough. Just look at the data -- skin is the most common site of cancer in people despite the embarrassing fact that UV radiation is broadly recognized as a cause in all common forms of skin cancer.”

» RELATED: 9 tips for improving your summer tan

According to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while many other cancer rates have declined, skin cancer rates continue to rise.

Nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer in the U.S. every year at an estimated cost of $8.1 billion.

In addition, melanoma causes more deaths than any other type of skin cancer -- more than 9,000 deaths each year.

» RELATED: Mom warns other parents after baby burned by sunscreen 

But the scientists said more research needs to be done to confirm the drug works in people and not just in samples of human skin cells in petri dishes.

Click here to read the full study report.

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