U.S. Confirms First Measles Death Since 2003

SEATTLE (AP) — A Washington woman died from measles in the spring — the first measles death in the U.S. since 2003 and the first in the state since 1990, health officials said Thursday.

The woman lacked some of the measles’ common symptoms, such as a rash, so the infection was not discovered until an autopsy, Washington State Department of Health spokesman Donn Moyer said.

This is the 11th case of measles in Washington — and the sixth in Clallam County — this year, Moyer said.

Measles is highly contagious and spreads when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes. However, dying from it is extremely rare, Moyer said.

Officials didn’t say whether the woman was vaccinated, but they did note she had a compromised immune system. They withheld her age to protect her identity but said she was not elderly.

The woman was hospitalized for several health conditions in the spring at a facility in Clallam County, which covers the northern part of the Olympic Peninsula. She was there at the same time as a person who later developed a rash and was contagious for measles, Moyer said. That’s when the woman most likely was exposed.

She was on medications that contributed to her weakened immune system, he said.

After being treated in Clallam County, the woman was moved to the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, where she died. An autopsy concluded the cause of death was pneumonia due to measles.

“This tragic situation illustrates the importance of immunizing as many people as possible to provide a high level of community protection against measles,” Moyer said. “People with compromised immune systems cannot be vaccinated against measles. Even when vaccinated, they may not have a good immune response when exposed to disease; they may be especially vulnerable to —> Read More

U.S. Confirms First Measles Death Since 2003

SEATTLE (AP) — A Washington woman died from measles in the spring — the first measles death in the U.S. since 2003 and the first in the state since 1990, health officials said Thursday.

The woman lacked some of the measles’ common symptoms, such as a rash, so the infection was not discovered until an autopsy, Washington State Department of Health spokesman Donn Moyer said.

This is the 11th case of measles in Washington — and the sixth in Clallam County — this year, Moyer said.

Measles is highly contagious and spreads when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes. However, dying from it is extremely rare, Moyer said.

Officials didn’t say whether the woman was vaccinated, but they did note she had a compromised immune system. They withheld her age to protect her identity but said she was not elderly.

The woman was hospitalized for several health conditions in the spring at a facility in Clallam County, which covers the northern part of the Olympic Peninsula. She was there at the same time as a person who later developed a rash and was contagious for measles, Moyer said. That’s when the woman most likely was exposed.

She was on medications that contributed to her weakened immune system, he said.

After being treated in Clallam County, the woman was moved to the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, where she died. An autopsy concluded the cause of death was pneumonia due to measles.

“This tragic situation illustrates the importance of immunizing as many people as possible to provide a high level of community protection against measles,” Moyer said. “People with compromised immune systems cannot be vaccinated against measles. Even when vaccinated, they may not have a good immune response when exposed to disease; they may be especially vulnerable to —> Read More

Dinner’s-eye View of a Saltwater Croc

(Photo by Trevor Frost)

If you were to look a saltwater crocodile in the mouth as it tried to eat you, this is what you’d see.

Saltwater crocodiles have surprisingly varied personalities. While one skims along the surface for a while, then chomps down at the last second, another is nowhere to be seen until it suddenly erupts from directly below. (Photo by Trevor Frost)

Dig the silhouette of the lower teeth coming up at you from underwater as well.

The dinner’s-eye view was captured by explorer Trevor Frost’s camera in Australia. While on assignment for National Geographic, Trevor travels with local guides and gets to know the giant crocs that call the sandy riverbanks of northern Australia home. (Get saltwater crocodile facts.)

Perhaps surprisingly, he also gets to know their individual personalities and tendencies. Some rivers will have a memorable denizen recognized for decades by multiple generations of local people. In the area Trevor has been working, one skims along the surface for a while, then chomps down at the last second. Another is nowhere to be seen until it suddenly erupts from directly below.

Nice to know that can happen.

Crocodilians aren’t all teeth and terror though. They can be very tender mothers, carting their young around gently in those same jaws, and they’re even known to play, splashing around and giving each other piggyback rides.

Fossil specimens have also shown that a hundred million years ago, there were some crocs big enough to take down large dinosaurs, and others able to walk tall on long limbs and gallop around on land. Their snouts took on shapes more like those of boars, or even ducks, for specialized hunting and feeding (see photos). They don’t seem like such monolithic monsters now, do they?

Still, there’s no getting around those teeth. Careful out there, Trevor.

Saltwater Crocodile —> Read More

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