I used to think that there couldn’t be anything worse than being in a closed environment like a cruise ship or a nursing home where quickly-mutating norovirus makes multiple passes through the population. Then I learned about the flight from Chile to Australia where 26 high school students came down with the disease while in the air. [More]
Stacy doesn’t have a lot of money to throw around, but she booked a flight to visit her terminally ill aunt on the other side of the country. Then she got the flu. Spreading the disease to her fellow passengers would be bad enough, but a cancer patient certainly doesn’t need the influenza virus. Stacy rescheduled to a time when she would be less of a walking germ factory, and asked Delta whether they could waive her change fee. Sure, they said: as long as she gave them contact information for her aunt’s doctor. [More]
E.’s dad has been in the hospital since February recovering from complications from heart surgery. The family didn’t expect him to be hospitalized this long, and his bills are in a bit of disarray. The only company not willing to work something out? Dish Network, which canceled his past-due account, which was still in his ex-wife’s name. [More]
Bernadette writes that when sister-in-law was gravely ill on the other side of the country, her husband booked an expensive last-minute flight to bring her back to the East Coast. He was alarmed to learn that U.S. Airways couldn’t guarantee that he and his sister would sit together on the flight from California to New Jersey…unless he paid an extra $15 “choice seating” fee on each ticket. It’s a relatively small amount of money, but the family found it heartless under the circumstances. [More]
Remember the diarrhea nightmare vessel that sickened 450 passengers a few weeks back? Once it got back home, Celebrity Cruises delayed the next trip by a day so that it could perform a “full cleaning.” It didn’t help much, though: CNN says that about 10% of passengers on the next sailing got sick, and about 19% of passengers on the current sailing are now sick. [More]
Patrons of a Chicago area subway got an extra topping with their $5 dollar footlongs — potentially lethal bacteria, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Hospitalized patrons, who dined at the Subway from Feb. 27 to March 2, are filing lawsuits against the sub sandwich chain, which is accused of contaminating sandwiches with the fecal-borne bacteria to customers at the location in question. [More]
An advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control has recommended that everyone get flu vaccinations from now on, not just people in special higher risk groups. According to WebMD, “the CDC almost certainly will make universal flu vaccination official U.S. policy for this fall’s 2010-2011 flu season, as it consistently follows the advice of the panel of outside experts.” [More]
When gastrointestinal illness hits a cruise ship, there’s nowhere to run or hide, as nearly 450 passengers and crewmembers aboard the Celebrity Cruises ship Mercury have discovered. Celebrity Cruises says they they’re still investigating what caused the outbreak, but the symptoms include “upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea,” according to their spokeswoman. [More]
The Centers for Disease Control have issued a warning that there’s a new, swine flu-themed phishing email going around. It says something about an imaginary State Vaccination H1N1 Program, and asks you to create an account on the cdc.gov website–and if you click the link, malicious code may be installed on your system. Obviously you have brain worms if you fall for this. [More]
When I look at flight attendants I do not see mere mortals. I see heroic flying immune systems. When the zombificating superflu does eventually strike, those who survive will no doubt be ruled by former flight attendants and elementary school teachers. In the meantime, they’ll somehow continue working in a “flying petri dish” as some airlines continue to refuse H1N1 as an excuse to rebook.
Do you have H1N1 flu? Probably! Aaaugghh! But before you haul your feverish butt to a clinic or a doctor, consider taking this free online flu self-assessment test from Emory University. It probably could have been combined into a one-page flowchart, but that’s not as much fun as pressing YES/NO buttons.
For nearly two years, a 50-year-old man in North Carolina has suffered mysterious coughing fits, fatigue, and pneumonia. Now he’s back to normal after doctors removed a 1-inch piece of plastic from his lungs, which he apparently inhaled while enjoying a soft drink.
Yesterday, Consumer Reports noted that an anti-health reform politician is trying to convince senior citizens that they’ll be required to take lessons in euthanasia if any reform is passed. Regardless of what side you come down on with health care reform, this is flat out wrong. We care about this lie, which is still bouncing around the media, because it might interfere with the very real and useful tasks of setting up living wills and determining health care proxies—things that matter to both the elderly and the terminally ill.
The FDA has issued a new ruling that says egg producers must “test regularly for salmonella and buy chicks from suppliers who do the same,” and that eggs “will have to be refrigerated on the farm and during shipment” as well as by wholesalers and in the store. The rule is meant to cut down on the number of egg-related salmonella cases nationwide, which currently are around 142,000 a year. [Washington Post] (Photo: Andreas Kollegger)
We know, that headline just oozes treacle. But it’s for real! The family friend of a dying child cold-called Pixar’s offices and guessed her way through the phone tree to a live person, then pleaded her case: the child desperately wanted to see Up, but was possibly days away from death and too sick to travel or sit in a movie theater. The next day, a Pixar employee arrived with a DVD of the movie and sat with the family while they watched it. Sometimes people can be really decent to each other.
The Georgia peanut plant responsible for the salmonella outbreak that has sickened nearly 500 and killed at least 7 was repeatedly cited with health code violations for being “not properly cleaned and sanitized.”
Remember melamine, last year’s pet-killing poison? It’s back with a vengeance, and this year it wants Chinese babies. As many as 10,000 may have consumed melamine-laced milk powder, according to authorities. Even worse, a New Zealand company detected the poison weeks ago but couldn’t convince local officials to issue a recall. Only after New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark demanded action did the Chinese recall the death milk.
We wrote about Eric Drew a few weeks ago—his personal information was stolen by a shady lab technician while he was undergoing treatment in 2004.