Hurricane Irma caused over 400 senior deaths in Florida, study says

The aftereffects of 2017’s Hurricane Irma appear to have killed more than 400 senior residents of Florida nursing homes, a new university study shows.

Researchers at the University of South Florida and Brown University concluded that 433 additional patients died within 90 days of the September 2017 storm, compared to the same period in 2015, when there were no hurricanes.

Their study examined health data for 62,000 patients at 640 Florida nursing homes obtained from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The study was recently released.

HURRICANE DELTA’S DEATH TOLL AT 4 AS LOUISIANA OFFICIALS STRESS GENERATOR SAFETY AFTER DEADLY FIRE

The study was prompted by the heat-related deaths of 12 residents at a Broward County nursing home. Authorities said those deaths were caused when the storm disabled the central air conditioning and the staff failed to move patients to a nearby hospital.

The study was prompted by the heat-related deaths of 12 residents at a Broward County nursing home.

The study was prompted by the heat-related deaths of 12 residents at a Broward County nursing home.
(John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, File)

An administrator and three nurses who worked at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills have been charged with failing to prevent the deaths.

The researchers found that long-term nursing home residents suffered not only increased mortality rates after Irma, but more hospitalizations.

‘BUBBLE CURTAIN’ IS THE NEWEST CRAZY HURRICANE-KILLING IDEA

“Nursing homes need to really pay attention to these people when they’re in the process of reacting to a hurricane,” said co-author Lindsay Peterson, a research assistant professor of aging studies at USF.

In this geocolor image captured by GOES-16  and released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Hurricane Irma, a potentially catastrophic category 5 hurricane, moves westward, Tuesday morning, Sept. 5, 2017, in the Atlantic Ocean toward the Leeward Islands.

In this geocolor image captured by GOES-16  and released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Hurricane Irma, a potentially catastrophic category 5 hurricane, moves westward, Tuesday morning, Sept. 5, 2017, in the Atlantic Ocean toward the Leeward Islands.
(NOAA via AP)

Brian Lee, director of Families for Better Care, a nonprofit that advocates for better services at long-term care facilities, said the study shows that nursing homes need to do a better job preparing for hurricanes.

“This is an extremely vulnerable population, and nursing homes and other facilities need to do a better job of hardening their facilities to protect our loved ones,” Lee said.

After Irma, Florida required nursing homes and assisted-living facilities to install generators to keep residents cool in case of a storm. But the laws need to be tougher, Lee said.

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Nursing homes need generators that can allow cooling of residents in their rooms, not spot coolers that were used at Hollywood Hills. That required moving residents into large spaces to keep them cool. Fewer than 100 of the state’s long-term care facilities had temporary generators during Irma, the Times reported.

“We need to make sure that facilities can withstand these storms and not worry about transferring residents around and exposing them to potential transfer trauma,” Lee said.

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The Latest: Glitch caused Mo. virus count inaccuracy

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A “database extract error” resulted in an incorrect inflation of the number of reported COVID-19 cases in Missouri going back over several days, Missouri health officials said Sunday. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said in a news release that it is in the process of migrating all COVID-19 testing and case data into one new consolidated system. Missouri incorrectly reported Saturday on its coronavirus website more than 5,000 new COVID-19 cases, more than double the previous single-day record. The agency said Sunday it is working urgently to resolve the issue and will update its website with the correct numbers once that is done. It said the problems with the data were limited to cumulative reporting on its Show Me Strong Covid-19 Public Health Dashboard.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— The White House doctor says President Donald Trump is no longer at risk of transmitting the coronavirus but did not say whether Trump had tested negative. Some medical experts are skeptical that Trump could be declared free of the risk of transmitting the virus so early.

— Trump makes speech from White House balcony, 1st appearance since return to residence

— India’s coronavirus cases top 7 million, a re on track to surpass the United States

— As a second wave of coronavirus infections hit, European nations seem not to have learned their lessons from the first surge

— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismisses the latest White House offer in COVID-19 aid talks but remains hopeful progress can be made toward a deal.

— Queen Elizabeth II honors the work of doctors, nurses, delivery drivers, fundraisers and volunteers during the coronavirus pandemic.

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— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The number of people hospitalized in Arkansas with the coronavirus hit a record-high on Sunday of 576. The Arkansas Department of Health said the number of people hospitalized rose by 22. Hospitalizations from COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, reached records levels Tuesday through Friday before dropping by six on Saturday. The health department on Sunday reported 613 new cases for a total of 92,833 confirmed and probable cases. With 17 more deaths, the number of confirmed and probable deaths in the state so far rose to 1,569. Gov. Asa Hutchinson told CNN on Sunday that he was concerned about the increase in hospitalizations. “Right now, we do have capacity,” Hutchinson said, adding that they’re “watching it very carefully and taking it seriously.”

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky’s governor says he will be in isolation after a member of his security detail who drove with his family tested positive for the coronavirus.

Gov. Andy Beshear said Sunday that he and his family feel fine and have tested negative for the virus. Beshear’s wife and their two children also will stay isolated.

The governor has stressed the importance of following the advice of health experts to

A woman in Australia discovered her headaches were caused by tapeworm larvae in her brain

The aches were caused by tapeworm larvae that had taken up space in her brain, according to a new study on her case by the The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene published on September 21.

The woman, who never traveled overseas, is the first native case of the disease in Australia, the study said. Previous Australian cases of this infection were from immigrants or returning residents who traveled to regions where the disease is endemic to, such as Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

For the past seven years, the woman complained of headaches that would occur two- or three-times a month and went away with prescribed migraine medication. However, her latest headache lasted for more than a week and came with more severe visual symptoms, including the blurring of her central vision.

Disinfecting the Texas water supply from a brain-eating amoeba could take months, officials say

An MRI of her brain led doctors to believe that a tumor might be the cause of her pain, but after operating and removing the lesion, they discovered it was actually a cyst full of tapeworm larvae. After the removal, she required no further treatment.

This condition is known as neurocysticercosis, which can cause neurological symptoms when larval cysts develop in the brain. People who get the parasitic infection do so by swallowing eggs found in the feces of a person who has an intestinal tapeworm, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Neurocysticercosis is deadly, and a leading cause of adult onset epilepsy worldwide, the CDC said.

Tapeworms typically take up residence in human’s intestines, an infection known as taeniasis, and some can pass on their own without medication. The parasite is commonly transmitted when people consume undercooked pork — pigs are often intermediary tapeworm hosts — or come in contact with food, water and soil contaminated with tapeworm eggs.

The woman, who worked as a barista, was considered to be at no or very low risk of infection with tapeworm larvae but is believed to have somehow accidentally ingested tapeworm eggs released from a carrier.

A man from Texas had a similar experience, suffering from splitting headaches for more than a decade that turned out to be caused by tapeworm larvae that became lodged in his brain’s fourth ventricle.

The best line of defense against similar infection is cooking meat to safe temperatures, washing your hands with soap before eating and only eating food you can ensure was cooked in sanitary conditions.

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Coronavirus test caused brain fluid leak in woman with rare health condition: report

A COVID-19 test reportedly led to a life-threatening infection for a woman with a rare, undiagnosed health condition.

The woman, in her 40s, received a nasal swab test that was said to have punctured her brian lining, causing fluid to leak from her nose and putting her in danger of an infection that could have been deadly, Jarret Walsh, an otolaryngologist, reported in the medical journal JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, according to AFP. 

A woman in her 40s received a nasal swab test that was said to have punctured her brain lining, causing fluid to leak from her nose. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

A woman in her 40s received a nasal swab test that was said to have punctured her brain lining, causing fluid to leak from her nose. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

The patient reportedly had an undiagnosed health condition and received a COVID-19 test that, doctors say, may not have been administered correctly.

The woman went for the COVID-19 nasal test before an elective hernia surgery and later exhibited clear fluid coming out one side of her nose, according to the report. She also developed symptoms including a headache, neck stiffness, vomiting and aversion to light, Walsh explained.

FACE MASKS DON’T RESTRICT OXYGEN OR CONTRIBUTE TO CARBON DIOXIDE BUILDUP: STUDY 

Doctors drained some of the fluid using a shunt, but it resulted in a defect at the base of the skull that’s called an encephalocele, which, according to the report, made her brain’s lining poke out into the nose where it was at risk for rupturing.

The woman, who was not identified, has since recovered. However, if such a condition was left untreated, doctors say she could have developed a potentially fatal infection from bacteria.

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Doctors in the report stressed that individuals with sinus or skull surgery should request oral COVID-19 testing if they are able to.

“It underscores the necessity of adequate training of those performing the test and the need for vigilance after the test has been performed,”  Dennis Kraus, an ear, nose and throat specialist at New York City-based hospital Lenox Hill Hospital, told AFP.

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Covid-19 test caused brain fluid leak in US patient: study

A Covid-19 nasal swab test punctured a US woman’s brain lining, causing fluid to leak from her nose and putting her at risk of life-threatening infection, doctors reported in a medical journal Thursday.

The patient, who is in her 40s, had an undiagnosed rare condition and the test she received may have been carried out improperly, a sequence of improbable events that means the risk from nasal tests remains very low.

But her case showed health care professionals should take care to follow testing protocols closely, Jarrett Walsh, senior author of the paper that appeared in JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, told AFP.

People who’ve had extensive sinus or skull base surgery should consider requesting oral testing if available, he added.

“It underscores the necessity of adequate training of those performing the test and the need for vigilance after the test has been performed,” added ear, nose and throat specialist Dennis Kraus of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, who wasn’t involved in the paper.

Walsh, who practices at the University of Iowa Hospital, said the woman had gone for a nasal test ahead of an elective hernia surgery, and afterward noticed clear fluid coming out of one side of her nose.

She subsequently developed headache, vomiting, neck stiffness, and aversion to light, and was transferred to Walsh’s care.

“She had been swabbed previously for another procedure, same side, no problems at all. She feels like maybe the second swab was not using the best technique, and that the entry was a little bit high,” he said.

In fact, the woman had been treated years earlier for intracranial hypertension — meaning that the pressure from cerebrospinal fluid that protects and nourishes the brain was too high.

Doctors at the time used a shunt to drain some of the fluid and the condition resolved. 

But it caused her to develop what’s called an encephalocele, or a defect at the base of the skull which made the brain’s lining protrude into the nose where it was susceptible to rupture.

This went unnoticed until old scans were reviewed by her new doctors, who carried out surgery to repair the defect in July.

She has since fully recovered.

Walsh said he believes the symptoms she developed were a result of irritation to the lining of the brain.

If the problem hadn’t been treated, she could have developed a potentially life-threatening brain infection from bacteria that traveled up the nose.

Or, air could have entered the skull and placed excess pressure on the brain.

Most testing protocols call for clinicians to follow the path of the floor of the nose, which lies above the roof of the mouth, rather than pointing the swab up — or if they point it up, to do so with great care.

Walsh said that though this was likely a very rare occurrence, it was a reminder of the need for high-quality training, given that hundreds of millions more tests will be performed before the pandemic is over.

In Rare Case, COVID-19 Test Caused Spinal Fluid Leak | Health News

By E.J. Mundell
HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay)

THURSDAY, Oct. 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Doctors stress that it’s a very rare occurrence, but one woman’s pre-surgery COVID-19 nasal swab test appears to have triggered a release of cerebrospinal fluid into her upper nasal cavities.

The incident was tied to a tiny gap in the bones of the woman’s skull — an encephalocele.

“The [COVID-19 test] swab itself did not result in a violation of the bony skull base, but rather the invasive test caused trauma to the patient’s preexisting encephalocele,” reported a team led by Dr. Jarrett Walsh. He’s with the department of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, in Iowa City.

As the researchers explained, millions of people worldwide are enduring the discomfort of nasal swab tests for SARS-CoV-2 during the pandemic. These tests are thought to produce more accurate results than samples taken further down the nasal tract, but their reach high up in the nasal passages makes them less than enjoyable.

In the case under discussion, a 40-year-old woman underwent a standard nasal swab test for COVID-19 prior to undergoing an elective hernia surgery.

Soon after the test, she experienced mucus discharge from one side of her nose, headache and vomiting. Investigation at the hospital revealed a leakage of cerebrospinal fluid — a vital fluid that’s normally sealed off from entering the nasal cavities.

“This represents a truly rare complication of this common and critical diagnostic test,” said Dr. Dennis Kraus, an ear, nose and throat specialist who wasn’t involved in the new report. He’s vice chair of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Imaging tests revealed the previously undiagnosed gap in the woman’s skull (the encephalocele). It was this vulnerability, coupled with the “trauma” of the nasal swab, that spurred the fluid leak, the doctors believe. In this patient’s case, timely surgery to repair the gap in the skull stopped the leak.

These cases are exceedingly rare, the experts noted. While a typical person wouldn’t face any danger of a cerebrospinal fluid leak from a swab test, “prior surgical intervention [in the nasal/sinus area], or pathology that distorts normal nasal anatomy, may increase the risk of adverse events associated with nasal testing,” Walsh’s group reported.

For that reason, alternative types of COVID-19 tests should be considered for patients who are known to have “skull base defects,” the team said, or any history of surgeries in areas adjacent to the swab test site.

According to Kraus, the incident “underscores the necessity of adequate training of those performing the test and the need for vigilance after the test has been performed.”

The report was published online Oct. 1 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

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