• Image Source/Thinkstock(BEIJING) -- China is experiencing a surge in H7N9 "bird flu" infections.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Officials at a Washington D.C. public health lab confirmed to ABC News that they are retesting hundreds of samples from people in the area for Zika virus over concerns about the accuracy of the original test results.Already, samples taken from two pregnant women, who originally tested negative for the virus, have now tested positive for likely Zika infection.The District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences Public Health Laboratory has tested hundreds of people, mainly pregnant women, for the Zika virus since last year.Yesterday, officials from the lab announced that after identifying "technical issues" with the Zika tests in December and a subsequent review of the tests, they would be retesting hundreds of specimens for signs of the virus collected during the second half of last year.A spokesperson for the lab clarified to ABC News that "calculation and formulation errors" led to officials stopping and reviewing the Zika tests.In total, 409 specimens that originally tested negative, including 294 from pregnant women, have been sent for retesting. The specimens from pregnant women were sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and those from men and non-pregnant women were sent to public health labs approved by the CDC. It often takes two to three weeks to receive test results that could indicate a likely Zika infection. Currently, two of 62 samples that were sent to the CDC for additional testing, and then further confirmation testing, were positive for antibodies that would indicate a possible Zika infection.The test looks for antibodies that indicate a current or past infection from a flavivirus, a family of viruses that includes Zika. The CDC is treating the patients who tested positive as though they tested positive for the Zika virus out of caution and for monitoring.Currently, only specimens obtained between July 14, 2016 and December 14, 2016 will be reexamined, since those collected before that date were already tested by the CDC.Dr. Christopher Zahn, vice president of practice activities for The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), called the testing issue a "very unfortunate situation" and said it is critical that patients get updated results quickly in case they need to get extra prenatal or post-partum care."The CDC has prioritized these lab retests and, as they are completed, it is critical that patients are informed of the updated results so they can follow-up appropriately based on current clinical recommendations," Zahn said in a statement. "ACOG and the CDC have been in contact and continue to consult and collaborate and will issue any additional necessary information."The issue should serve as a reminder that "Zika is still a very serious public health crisis," he said, and that the public, as well as doctors and health officials, should remain vigilant."ACOG will continue to work closely with obstetric providers and offer the most up-to-date clinical guidance," he added.Lab officials said they expect to have all retested sample results back in the next four weeks.Zika infection in adults often has mild symptoms such as fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis, according to the CDC, and approximately one in five people infected with the virus shows symptoms. Severe complications from Zika that require hospitalization are rare, and most people are over the worst of the symptoms after a week, according to the CDC.In pregnant women, the virus has been found to be associated with fetal development issues and can cause birth defects including microcephaly, which is characterized by an abnormally small head.
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  • Amber Travaglio | Ashlyn Richardson(CLEVELAND) -- A grieving mother has met the child whose life was saved thanks to the donation of her little girl's heart.Mothers Amber Travaglio and Ashlyn Richardson embraced in a tearful first meeting Feb. 8, one year after the heart of Travaglio's late daughter, Melody Kashawlic, 7, was donated to Peyton Richardson, 5."It was an overwhelming sense of peace, which may sound strange," Travaglio told ABC News of meeting Richardson and Peyton. "There's so much emotional turmoil in losing a child and curiosity in organ donation. Who has a piece of my child? What is the family like? Is their life better because of this?""Getting to see how much Ashlyn loves Peyton and seeing how she'll do anything for her child brought me some peace. There's never a complete closure in something like this; there's a shadow of sadness but for one moment in time. I got to feel like my child was there because I know a part of Melody lives on in Peyton," Travaglio said.Travaglio of Cleveland, Ohio, said Melody was a vibrant little girl with an old soul who enjoyed fostering pets and knitting hats for babies in the neonatal intensive care unit."She had an innate desire to help people," Travaglio said. "[I'll miss] cooking and baking together; we'd always make up silly songs and sing and play. We called her a little Punky Brewster with her purposely mismatched clothes. Thankfully, we built a lot of memories."But one particularly painful memory is from June 7, 2015, when after Melody woke up to use the bathroom, Travaglio said she heard a "bang" and found her daughter collapsed on the floor. Her daughter, who had a minor case of asthma, had suffered an unexplained asphyxic asthma attack, Travaglio said.Travaglio, a nurse at the time, administered CPR and called 911. Melody was transferred to University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland where her lungs failed and she died.Seven hundred miles away in Conyers, Georgia, and five months earlier, on Jan. 15, 2015, Richardson was getting Peyton, then 3, ready for school.Richardson, a mom of two, noticed Peyton had a fever and took her to a hospital emergency room, where she was diagnosed with a stomach virus and sent home with anti-nausea medication.Richardson said her mother, a nurse, kept Peyton with her that night. "I wanted her to stay with her in case something happened,” she said.When Peyton's health didn't improve, Richardson's mother, Theresa Rainey, brought her to another hospital, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.Richardson was on her way to work when she learned her daughter's heart stopped at the hospital.“We had no idea that she had heart issues at all," Richardson said. "They performed CPR on her for approximately 45 minutes to an hour, which brought her back.”Peyton was hooked up to a machine to support her heart's function and days later doctors told Richardson that her daughter would need a brand new heart."They told us that it had to be a child around her age, size and blood type, which was so devastating because I knew for a transplant to happen, a child had to die. I know I wanted my child to recover, but I didn't want another child to have to pass away in order for that to happen," Richardson said.Peyton had dilated cardiomyopathy, said one of her cardiologists, William Mahle, M.D., who is co-chief of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Sibley Heart Center. Dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle that usually starts in the heart's main pumping chamber, or the left ventricle, according to the Mayo Clinic.Peyton Richardson turned 4 on the day that Melody Kashawlic died, June 9, 2015.All of Melody's organs were donated with the exception of her lungs, which were sent to medical research, her mother, Travaglio, said. She said she hopes her daughter's story will inspire others to be open to organ donation.Patti DePompei, president of the Cleveland hospital where Melody died, sa
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  • Leave No Paws Behind(NEW YORK) -- What would have been a routine visit to her local animal shelter turned into an emotional experience for Elaine Seamans.A stray cat that had recently been brought to the shelter stopped Seamans in her tracks as she walked past his cage."I saw about four dogs who needed help, and then I saw him," Seamans, who runs the At-Choo Foundation, a nonprofit that provides dogs with medical care, told ABC News. "We don't normally help cats but there's no way I could walk past him."The emaciated cat somehow managed to muster a "meow" and turn toward Seamans."He reached out and so I picked him up," she said. "He was so thin and he was so weak and he just put his little head on my shoulder."What Seamans didn't know at the time was that the cat was suffering from a highly contagious sarcoptic mange, a condition that requires handlers to wear protective gloves. She said she doesn't regret the risk she took that day."There was no way I could leave him here to not get help," Seamans said.Seamans knew the cat, named Valentino, was in bad shape. She texted her friend Toby Wisneski, CEO of Leave No Paws Behind, a nonprofit that specializes in extreme medical cases and terminally-ill animals.Wisneski immediately responded and arrived at the shelter shortly after. She promised Valentino would receive the best care possible."I heard his tiny little meow and that sealed the deal," Wisneski told ABC News.Thanks to these women, Valentino is now recovering under 24-hour care. In addition to the sarcoptic mange, Valentino was suffering from low glucose levels, infections that left his eyes swollen shut, dehydration and possible gastrointestinal bleeding. However, Dr. Michelle Dulake, a veterinarian at The Pet Doctors of Sherman Oaks who has been overseeing Valentino's care, said he is on the road to recovery."I do think we are optimistic, and as long as his glucose goes up and his bacterial infections go away, I think he'll have a really good life," Dulake told ABC News. "He's the sweetest, sweetest cat. I think it was a really great find for Leave No Paws Behind. They did a great job finding a cat that has the potential to live a long and happy life."The support Valentino has received from the public after she began sharing his story has been overwhelming, Wisneski said."The people have been just amazing," she remarked. "We've received donations from people in Sweden, Australia, Austria. Who knew? We were just doing what we normally do — help those that can't help themselves and the ones that nobody wants."She continues to post updates on Valentino's status on her foundation's Facebook page, garnering even more support."He's the sweetest little guy," Wisneski, who named the cat in honor Valentine's Day, said. "He's an internet sensation, he's got a fanbase that is unbelievable, and we're taking it one day at a time."
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  • ABC News(NEW YORK) — A woman who suffered from severe acrophobia conquered her fear of heights by facing her anxieties head-on as part of a new Good Morning America campaign that launched Friday called "Face Your Fears."Jane Fisher, 35, of Atlanta, climbed a 21-foot ladder live on GMA before anxiously stepping onto a trapeze platform to go flying high through the air.“I’m ready to fly,” Fisher proudly said moments before taking the leap at Fearless Flyers Academy in Mystic, Connecticut.And with that courageous attitude, she pulled it off.Psychologist Ellen Koch, a professor at Eastern Michigan University who specializes in "one-session exposure therapy,” has been helping Fisher train to get to this point.“For Jane, she was very motivated to overcome her fear and that was really helpful for her,” Koch said. “And it was really important for her to learn about the anxiety process and that it was important for her to confront her fear, and let the anxiety come down and that she’ll be fine with that, as opposed to trying to fight it or avoid it like she had done in the past.”Once Fisher climbed down from the net that caught her brave jump, she told GMA that she was “feeling awesome.”“I feel fearless,” she added. “Well, not fearless, but I just feel good.”She said the hardest part of the entire ordeal was getting from the ladder to the platform 21-feet in the air, “and just trying to reassure yourself there’s a net underneath, and then from there it helps the anxiety go down,” she explained.To help her build up to this experience, GMA sent Fisher to the Trapeze School New York to help her face her fears head-on by working with Koch."I freeze, I get sweaty palms," Fisher said at the time. "I'm getting sweaty palms thinking about it."Koch’s "one-session exposure therapy” is based on the premise that if you repeatedly flee from your anxieties, you actually reinforce that fear. But if you stay put and face the fear a little at a time, the anxiety will eventually subside."We'll have her take one step at a time," Koch said of Fisher at the start of her treatment. "We'll let her sort of pace treatment and so when she's ready, she'll take the next step up the ladder and we'll go one step at a time until she gets to the top."Koch added that she believes such therapy is so effective that Fisher’s lifelong fear of heights could be cured in three hours.And Friday on GMA, Fisher proved to herself that it worked.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WATERBORO, Maine) — Three good Samaritans rescued a teenage girl after she was thrown off a snowmobile into a frozen lake in Waterboro, Maine.The three rescuers — Brandon Jackson, Bill Rodgers and Taylor Dion — were fishing and snowmobiling near Little Ossipee Lake Feb. 4 when they saw someone struggling in the frozen water.Jackson, Rodgers and Dion threw a thick rope out to the victim in the water, who turned out to be a 16-year-old girl, and yelled instructions to her, saying, "Hold on tight. Get both hands. Kick your feet really hard.""All three of us pretty much decided, 'Hey let's get out there,'" Jackson said, adding he and the other rescuers were there at the "right place and the right time.""We were there and we helped and we had what we needed to get the job done and it worked out very well."Jackson, who captured the video on his helmet camera, Rodgers and Dion were able to pull the victim, who was not named, safely to shore.The teen's dramatic rescue demonstrates the dangers that can come with riding snowmobiles on ice.Snowmobiles can reach top speeds of over 90 mph and weigh over 600 pounds. Ice needs to be at least 5 inches thick in order to support the weight of the snowmobile, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.Individual drivers' own decisions, not the machines, may be responsible for a portion of the 14,000 reported injuries that occur on snowmobiles each year, according to the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association."Snowmobile safety is the responsibility of all snowmobilers to conduct themselves in a safe manner and follow the snowmobiling laws and regulations," association president Ed Klim said in a statement to ABC News.Individuals who fall into frozen water, whether caused by a snowmobile accident or other things, should try to control their breathing, remain calm and focus on putting their arms on top of the ice and kicking their legs to pull themselves back onto the ice.The teen who was rescued in Maine also made a potentially lifesaving decision to remove her boots while in the water so they would not wear her down, according to police.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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