• iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — As the Zika virus outbreak has spread in Central and South America, online searchers for the formerly little-known virus have exploded across the globe since the start of the year. While the virus initially gained headlines late last fall when Brazil connected a Zika outbreak to an increased rate of infants born with the birth defect microcephaly, it was not until early February this year that Americans started to search for information about the virus in large numbers, according to data from Google.The virus made headlines again this week when the Miami-Date Health Department in Florida announced it was investigating a possible local transmission of the Zika virus after a Miami resident contracted the disease, despite not traveling to a country with ongoing Zika transmission and not reporting sexual contact with someone who was infected. If confirmed, this would be the first time the virus has been transmitted via infected mosquito within the continental U.S.Data from Google trends reveal how Americans and people across the globe have reacted online to the outbreak. In the U.S., searches for Zika remained relatively low before spiking on specific dates. Online interest in Zika in the U.S. coincided with major news, such as when the World Health Organization called the virus a "global health emergency" and when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded the birth defect microcephaly is linked to the virus.In the U.S., interest in the virus has varied widely depending on the state. While the most number of Zika cases have been found in Florida and Texas, residents in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Vermont are showing the most interest in Zika, according to Google trends.In total, more than 1,300 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the Zika virus, according to the CDC. The vast majority of those contracted the disease while in a country with ongoing Zika virus transmission. In rare cases, the virus was transmitted through sexual contact.While Zika infections usually result in mild symptoms, including fever, rash and pink eye, it's been found to cause serious birth defects, according to the CDC.Cities that are most concerned about the virus tend to be in states with some of the highest number of Zika diagnoses, with Miami and Washington, D.C., currently topping the list.Globally, the highest number of Zika searches online are not surprisingly in the Caribbean and Central America, where the virus has spread rapidly, according to Google. Jamaica and Honduras currently have some of the highest number of Zika searches.When people did search on the topic of Zika, they were overwhelmingly looking to understand what exactly the virus was, according to Google News. Here are the top three Zika-related searches in the U.S.1. What are the symptoms of Zika?2. What is the Zika virus?3. What is microcephaly?Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Alexander Traksel/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study on Wednesday revealed the extent and cause of a 2015 HIV outbreak in a small area of Indiana that saw 157 related cases of the disease identified, all linked to intravenous drug use.According to the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, many of the cases of HIV in Scott County were linked to an opioid drug called oxymorphone. Before last year's outbreak, only five cases of HIV were diagnosed in Scott County between 2004 and 2013.Between Nov. 18, 2014 and Nov. 1, 2015, 181 people in Scott County were diagnosed with HIV, and testing proved that 157 of those cases were "highly related."Researchers used complicated genetic analysis to prove the link between the cases in Indiana. As a response to the outbreak, the local health department established a needle-exchange program, free HIV testing and partner services, immediate access to health insurance and general education in an effort to curb the rate of HIV transmission.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- A newlywed couple from the U.K. is celebrating after learning that an experimental treatment they took a chance on has erased all signs of cancer in the husband.Mike Brandon was found to have leukemia one month after proposing to Kate Brandon in 2014. A bone marrow transplant put Brandon in remission, but last year the now newlywed couple were devastated to find that the cancer had returned, according to their online fundraising site.Kate and Mike Brandon came to the U.S. in order to take part in an experimental cancer treatment aimed at reviving the immune system to fight cancer through modifying the body's own T-cells to attack cancer cells. The couple began the cancer-fighting treatments soon after they were married."When my [leukemia] relapsed in March, we were told that it was time to plan our last days together, but Kate point blank refused," Mike Brandon wrote on the couple's GoFundMe page. "We would fight on, and we have."In an effort to find a new kind of treatment they started raising funds and eventually raised more than 450,000 British pounds or nearly $600,000 to go to the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which confirmed Brandon was a patient there.In an online update. Kate Brandon said that her husband had suffered severe side effects from the experimental t-cell treatment."Mikes has been in intensive care for over a week but I am pleased to say he is finally now back on the wonderful Oncology Unit," she said. "We were told that paradoxically the sicker that people become during this treatment, the more likely they are to have a good outcome."After the severe illness, the couple updated with positive news: new tests showed no sign of cancer."Mike's initial bone marrow biopsy test has come back clear! Prior to starting the therapy Mike’s bone marrow was almost completely made up of [leukemia] cells," the couple wrote on their page. "28 days later there were none."The couple thanked those that helped them get treatment, but said there is still much to be done before Mike Brandon is out of the woods."This is a great first step showing that the T-Cell therapy is doing exactly what we hoped it would," they wrote. "We still have quite some distance to go in our journey, but we are currently filled with huge relief to have cleared such an enormous hurdle."
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) — The Florida Health Department is investigating whether a Zika virus infection in Miami-Dade County could be the first time the virus has been transmitted within the continental U.S. through infected mosquitoes.The department is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to understand how the infected person could have been exposed to the virus in Miami. If confirmed to be a case of local virus transmission via an infected mosquito, it would be the first such case reported for the continental U.S.The unnamed patient had not traveled to any country with ongoing-Zika infections, the health department said.Puerto Rico has already been battling a widespread outbreak of the virus that is being locally transmitted.There have been more than 1,300 people diagnosed with Zika in the U.S., but virtually all were infections contracted while abroad. A small number of cases were transmitted via sexual contact with partners who were infected abroad, according to health officials.Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said if the case is confirmed as a local transmission of the virus through infected mosquitoes, it would not be surprising."Everyone has said from the beginning is that there will likely be introductions and then subsequent local spread that is going to be very limited," of Zika virus, Schaffer said. "This sounds as though this may be the first instance of that."Schaffner pointed out that to stop any possible outbreak, the health department will ask the infected patients to remain indoors so that they cannot infect mosquitoes that might bite them -- potentially leading to other infections. The CDC and Miami-Dade Department of health are also distributing Zika prevention kits and working with mosquito control to reduce the mosquito population in the area.Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical ContributorHow clean are your makeup brushes?When you're getting ready in the morning, that's probably the last thing on your mind. But keeping your brushes clean can go a long way when it comes to preventing more bacteria from getting on your face. This can be so important for people who are prone to eye infections, acne or just have sensitive skin. So how often should you clean your brushes?Ones that are used for wet or liquid products should be washed a bit more often -- maybe once a week. Those used for dry products, like powder, can be washed once a month. Products that are used around the eyes, meanwhile, should be washed every two weeks. Sometimes, however, it's just best to toss those old brushes and replace them with new ones.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The healthiest diet in the world is high in fat -- but it’s the kind of fat found in fish, nuts and healthy choices, such as avocados and olive oil.The New York Daily News reports that a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests a Mediterranean Diet with no restriction on fat intake may protect against breast cancer, diabetes and heart attacks.Dr. Hanna Bloomfield, the lead researcher said, “It’s OK to have up to 40 percent of your daily calories from these ‘healthy fats.”Based on evidence collected over the past 50 years, a high-fat Mediterranean Diet was associated with lower total cancer mortality, including breast, colorectal and lung cancer, compared to other diets.It was also linked to lower incidents of diabetes and cardiovascular events.“Cook with olive or canola oil, limit your intake of red meat, refrain from products with added sugar or refined carbohydrates and supplement your diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes,” the doctor says.Whole dairy products like yogurt and cheese and red wine are a part of the Mediterranean diet provided they are consumed in moderation.“The emphasis, in the United States at least for the past 30 years, has been it’s important to reduce fat, fat of all kinds, fat’s the bad thing,” she added. “It turns out that the obesity epidemic in this country is probably more due to our increased consumption of refined grains and added sugar.”Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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