Greenville County student diagnosed with viral meningitis

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A Greenville County high school student has been diagnosed with viral meningitis.

Students at Wade Hampton High School were sent home with letters on Monday explaining what the difference is between viral meningitis and bacterial meningitis.

The Greenville News reports that the letter points out the recent death of a Pickens County student who had bacterial meningitis. Meningitis occurs when there is an inflammation of the tissue that covers the brain and spinal cord.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), viral meningitis is the most common form of meningitis. The CDC said it is considered less dangerous because it is not an airborne disease and can only be transmitted by direct contact. Most individuals who get viral meningitis recover within a week to 10 days, according to the agency.

The school assured parents that an extra effort is being undertaken when it comes to cleaning commonly used items at the school.

According to the CDC symptoms of viral meningitis range from fever, headache, stiff neck, discomfort in bright conditions, confusion, drowsiness, nausea, and reduced eating and drinking.

More than 230,000 South Carolinians sign up for ObamaCare despite repeal effort

A large number of South Carolinians signed up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for this year, despite its unertain future as Republicans who vowed its repeal assume control of Capitol Hill and the White House.

File photo.

The advocacy group Palmetto Project helped many navigate the process. Director of Programs Shelli Quenga told South Carolina Radio Network that was only a small decline from last year.

“More than 200,000 in South Carolina enrolled in an affordable healthcare plan. There may be a few more who trickle in,” she said.

She said individuals who were covered by BlueChoice last year qualify for an extension enrollment period until the end of February, isnce that company is no longer offering plans on the exchange. [Read more…]

Ex-volunteer firefighter admits creating hoax bomb threat at VA hospital

Dorn VA Medical Center (Image: Dept. of Veterans Affairs)

A former Columbia volunteer firefighter pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to sending false text messages about a bomb at a veterans hospital.

Prosecutors said 21-year-old Karry Taylor sent the texts so other fire stations would respond to the Dorn Veterans Affairs Medical Center hospital in January 2016, thus freeing up his own station to respond to any other calls that happened.

According to court evidence, three individuals received a text message from an unknown South Carolina telephone number about the threat. One of the texts stated, “Hey Montana, this is Sosa. Omar said he put a bomb in the parking lot or something…in the VA hospital on Garners Ferry Road. I am scared and I don’t know what to do.” The three individuals each notified law enforcement authorities. As a result, the Columbia Police Department, the Columbia Fire Department, and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center Police Department responded and placed the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in lockdown and swept the parking area for explosives. After three hours, first responders deemed the texts a hoax.

The FBI said its investigators were able to link the texts back to a cellphone and email account belonging to Taylor. Agents said Taylor admitted to sending the texts to random numbers when confronted in an effort to draw other fire engines to the Dorn VA in hopes that his fire station would then be called to respond to any other calls that occurred during that timeframe.

Taylor faces up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines when he is convicted at a later day. Federal law also requires he reimburse the state and local agencies who responded to the January 2016 incident.

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MUSC notifies 3,000 patients about possible infection

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) revealed that up to 3,000 individuals may have been exposed to dangerous bacteria since 2012 during open-heart surgery at the hospital.

MUSC Hospital in Charleston (Image: MUSC)

The Greenville News reports that includes an unknown number in the Upstate.

An MUSC spokeswoman said the infection was caused by potentially contaminated equipment used to regulate blood and organ temperature during open-heart surgeries. The infections are related to a heater-cooler piece of equipment.

Hospital officials said they have no evidence that anyone has been infected to date. However federal guidelines require MUSC to call patients about the potential for infection. [Read more…]