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Acute flaccid myelitis: CDC sees rise in cases, seasonal pattern to polio-like illness

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting an increase in cases of a rare polio-like illness affecting kids.

>> Watch the news report here

So far this year, the CDC has confirmed 62 cases acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, in 22 states, and has received reports of 127 patients who are under investigation.

>> Read more trending news 

The CDC started detecting the increases in 2014. Since, then there have been 386 cases of the mysterious illness, including one death in 2017.

Despite the increase in cases, the disease remains rare, with fewer than an estimated one in a million people getting AFM each year, the CDC said. However, it’s not mandatory for health providers to report AFM, so it’s possible there could be more cases.

According to Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, most AFM cases occur in late summer and fall. The Associated Press reported that "similar waves of the same illness occurred in 2014 and 2016," appearing to follow "every-other-year pattern."

“As far as we know, it has only been detected in the United States. In terms of clustering in the United States, many states in the U.S. have been impacted by this disease, so we are not seeing geographic clustering in 2018, nor have we seen it in 2016 or 2014,” Messonnier said.

>> On ActionNewsJax.com: Florida toddler fighting polio-like disease in ICU, mom says

In Jacksonville, Florida, doctors believe Aamira Faircloth, 3, has AFM. She is in fair condition at Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

Aamira's mother, Reba, told ActionNewsJax on Tuesday that her daughter suddenly couldn’t walk.

“It was just like how a baby learns to walk, and she collapsed and fell to the ground,” Reba said.

Dr. Mobeen Rathore, chief of infectious diseases at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, said this isn’t cause for panic, but parents should be aware.

“The good news is we know it’s not polio, but unfortunately it’s still happening, it almost looks like every other year, and still affecting children,” he said.

Rathore said the most frustrating thing about the illness is "not knowing what causes it and not knowing how to treat it."

ActionNewsJax's Facebook post about the illness received hundreds of comments, including one from Christina Strickland, who wrote that in 2012 she woke up one morning to find her son “crying laying on the floor screaming in pain that he couldn’t walk.”

>> On ActionNewsJax.com: Jacksonville sees first case of polio-like illness affecting children in Florida

Other parents on the thread blamed vaccinations – a claim that Rathore disputed.

“Absolutely not. There is no evidence. There’s absolutely no evidence that vaccines have anything to do with this,” Rathore said.

According to Rathore, there’s also no evidence that AFM is caused by the flu shot. 

He said there is something parents can do right now.

“Good hand hygiene, good cough etiquette, stay away from people who are sick,” Rathore said.

Missing boy last seen 2 years ago in Massachusetts found safe in Florida

A 5-year-old boy last seen in Massachusetts about two years ago was found 1,500 miles away in Orlando, Florida.

>> Watch the news report here

An anonymous tip sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on Tuesday helped Florida sheriffs locate the boy.

Police in Webster, Massachusetts, said Matthew Hale was kidnapped by his mother, Christina Hale, in 2016, first going from New York to her mother's home in Webster. 

The child's father showed up in Webster in January 2017 and asked police for help.

"He was from New York. He had paperwork stating he had full custody of his child, and he wanted officers to go with him to keep the peace," Master Deputy Ingrid Tejada-Monforte said. 

When they arrived on Emil Street, they came up empty-handed.

"When they went there, Christina and Matthew were not there," Tejada-Monforte said. "They learned she had left a few weeks prior."

Police filed a missing person's report, with posters featuring Matthew and his mother's pictures going up across the area.

>> On Boston25News.com: Investigators following trail of trash to help identify newborn baby found dead

Seven months later in July, the mother's car was found in Maine. That trail went cold, as the two eventually made their way to Florida to stay with a cousin, authorities said.

The anonymous tip led the Florida sheriffs to the home, where an arrest was made.

"She was located down in Florida with a relative, I assume, because it’s the same last name [Warren Hale], and she was taken into custody," Tejada-Monforte said. "Matthew was taken into custody of the Department of Children and Families, and they’re working on reuniting him with his father.” 

>> Read more trending news 

The mother will face a charge of parental kidnapping in Webster, while Matthew's father gets a weight lifted off his shoulders.

“For the father, this is a good relief for him to know that his child is OK and is in good health," Tejada-Monforte said.

Salmonella outbreak linked to raw chicken sickens 92 people nationwide, CDC says

Salmonella linked to raw chicken has made dozens of people sick across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday. 

>> Salmonella: Signs and symptoms of infection

In total, 92 people from 29 states have been sickened in the outbreak. 

The CDC said 21 people have been hospitalized, but no one has died. 

The people who became sick reported eating different types and brands of chicken products bought from many different stores.

“A single, common supplier of raw chicken products or of live chickens has not been identified,” the CDC said in a statement. 

>> Read more trending news 

The drug-resistant strain of salmonella making people sick has been found in samples taken from raw chicken pet food, raw chicken products and live chickens, which the CDC said indicates the outbreak may be widespread in the chicken industry.

Click here for more information from the CDC.

Powerball prize hits $430 million after no one wins jackpot Wednesday

Two national lottery games – Mega Millions and Powerball – are sporting huge jackpots, topping a billion in total combined winnings.

Update 12:52 a.m. EDT Oct. 18: The estimated jackpot for Saturday’s Powerball drawing has climbed to $430 million, according to the Powerball website.

Update 11:30 p.m. EDT Oct. 17: No one won the $345 million Powerball jackpot in Wednesday’s drawing, but five lucky players won a $1 million. The Powerball website said the winners were in Michigan and Nebraska.

Update 11:10 p.m. EDT Oct. 17: The winning Powerball

numbers for the drawing on Wednesday, Oct. 17 are: 03-57-64-68-69 and the Powerball number was 15. The jackpot is $345 million.

Update 12:10 p.m. EDT Oct. 17: The Mega Millions jackpot has swollen to $900 million ahead of  Friday’s drawing. If a person wins the jackpot, he or she will also have the option of taking the jackpot as a $513 million cash payout, according to the Mega Millions website.

The next Mega Millions drawing is set to take place Friday at 11 p.m. EDT.

Update 12:59 a.m. EDT Oct. 17: No tickets matched all six numbers in Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing. Friday’s estimated jackpot has climbed to a record $868 million, with a cash payout of $494 million, according to the Mega Millions website.

Update 11:15 p.m. EDT Oct. 16: Mega Millions numbers drawn Tuesday night were 69-45-61-3-49 and the Mega Ball was 9. It is not yet known if there is a winner.

Original report: If you have a few dollars and dreams of riches untold, the coming week could be a game-changer for you.

Two national lottery games – Mega Millions and Powerball – are sporting huge jackpots this week, now topping a billion in total combined winnings.

>> Read more trending news 

The Mega Millions drawing set for Tuesday has the second largest jackpot in the game’s history, worth $667 million (or $372 million with the cash option). That breaks the game’s previous record jackpot of $656 million.  

Related: 7 biggest lottery jackpots in US history

Add to that a hefty $345 million Powerball jackpot, and you’re looking at nearly a billion dollars in lottery money being up for grabs this week.

The Powerball jackpot is the 17th largest in the game’s history. The cash payout on the $345 million would be $199 million.

Related: 7-time lottery winner shares tips for winning Powerball

How did we get the chance to play for such jackpots? You can thank all those who played and didn’t hit the jackpot. The Mega Millions jackpot has been building since July 24, the last time the grand prize jackpot was won.

The Powerball game has not seen a grand  prize winner since Aug. 11. 

The Mega Millions numbers drawn Friday were 04-24-46-61-70. The Megaball was 07. The Megaplier was 3. 

Related: Which Powerball numbers have hit most often? Will choosing them improve your odds?

One ticket sold in Arkansas matched all five numbers, but did not match the Megaball number. That winning ticket is worth $3 million because the person who purchased the ticket purchased the “Multiplier” option which tripled the $1 million prize.

The Powerball numbers drawn Saturday were 11-14-32-43-65 and the Powerball was 15. The Power Play was 3. Two players – one in Nebraska and one in Michigan – matched the five numbers, but not the Powerball number. Each of those tickets is worth $1 million.

Hurricane Michael crop damage estimates top well over $1 billion in Georgia

Cost estimates for the damage to Georgia Agriculture after Hurricane Michael are well over $1 billion, according to a new report from Georgia Agricultural Commissioner Gary Black.

>> Read more trending news 

Hurricane Michael was the first major hurricane to hit Georgia since the 1800s. It moved through southwest Georgia last week after slamming into the Florida Panhandle.

It destroyed crops, in places ripping entire pecan trees out of the ground. Some South Georgia farmers lost their entire livelihoods in just one day.

Black called the losses unprecedented and said they will impact generations to come. 

“Unfortunately, our worst thoughts were realized. We saw months and sometimes years of work just laid over on the ground in a matter of seconds,” Black said. “These are generational losses that are unprecedented and it will take unprecedented ideas and actions to help our farm families and rural communities recover.”

On Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence toured the damage, pledging support to help communities rebuild.

“It’s not going to go unnoticed in this administration and we’re going to make sure the people of this region will have the support to rebuild," Pence said.

Here’s the new breakdown of the devastation by crop release Wednesday by the Georgia Department of Agriculture:

COTTON: $300 MILLION to $800 MILLION -- Cotton was the second highest contributor to Georgia’s farmgate value last year, contributing just over 7 percent. The final loss estimate will be dependent on farmers’ ability to harvest what remains in the field. Georgia had the potential of record yields for this year, so this loss is even more devastating.

PECAN: $560 MILLION -- Pecan trees that were blown over or broken are a severe, generational loss for farmers. It takes about seven years for a tree to begin producing nuts, and there is 100 percent crop loss in Seminole County, 85 percent in Decatur County and 30 percent in Grady County. Pecan farmers will take a decade to recover from the loss of a mature tree, and many of these farmers were still recovering from Irma when Michael rolled through.

>> Related: Trumps visits storm-ravaged Georgia, Florida Panhandle after Hurricane Michael

VEGETABLES: $480 MILLION -- Vegetables affected include sweet corn, cucumbers, squash, peppers, peas and more. Georgia is home to a wide variety of produce, much of which was affected by the high winds and hard rains of Michael. After Hurricane Florence, prices were elevated so this enhanced the loss estimate because Georgia was in a very good position to supply the market prior to Hurricane Michael. This comes as a blow to growers who had a difficult spring harvest and were counting on the fall.

POULTRY: $25 MILLION -- Poultry is Georgia’s leading agricultural industry, contributing nearly 32 percent of the state’s 2018 farmgate value in broilers and an additional 5.62 percent in eggs. Michael will make a lasting impact on this poultry industry with the loss of 97 houses and well over 2 million chickens.

PEANUTS: $10 MILLION to $20 MILLION -- While peanuts fared better than many other crops, infrastructure loss remains uncertain. The final loss estimate will be impacted by the ability to get the remaining peanuts out of the field and into storage facilities. The grading and sorting of these peanuts will play a large part of determining the final loss. Peanuts contributed nearly 5 percent of Georgia’s 2018 farmgate value. 

AGRITOURISM: Fall is typically the most important season for many agritourism sites, as it includes activities like corn mazes and pumpkin patches that bring many families and school field trips to the farms. Multiple mazes have been destroyed in addition to other farm damage. The loss estimate will be difficult to determine, even after the season is over.

>> Related: Photos: Trumps tour hurricane-ravaged Florida Panhandle

TIMBER: $1 BILLION -- Approximately 1 million acres were destroyed, most belonging to small or private landowners.

Disturbing video shows mom dunking baby's head under water

A 5-month-old girl is fine after police said her mother recorded herself plunging the baby's head underwater.

>> Read more trending news 

Laquanda Mosley faces charges including aggravated assault with intent to murder, first-degree child cruelty and terroristic threats after police said she recorded a video of herself holding her baby underwater. 

The baby’s father said he believes anger drove her to do it.

"That was a vindictive act," Kevin Dandridge said.

Dandridge said Mosley became upset and threatened to harm the child when he asked for custody. He said Mosley was angry at him and sent him the videos threatening to kill the child in retaliation.

He posted it on social media and it went viral. Dandridge, who lives out of state, said he posted it for one reason only.

"I just needed some help and I didn't know how to locate her," he explained.

He says a friend of Mosley's saw his post and told him where she lives, and that's how police found her.

Officers said the infant was taken to the hospital and was released.

Dandridge told Jones no father should have to see his child's life threatened like that.

"I guess she just went off the deep end. I don't understand," he said.

>> Trending: Father and son swept away by high tide while fishing in Florida identified

Dandridge said Mosley was angry with him over money and the fact that he wanted custody of his child.

Police said when they arrived at her home she had the baby and two other children, 5 and 7-years-old.

All the children are in the custody of child protective services.

Witnesses prevent suspect from kidnapping child at Orlando airport, police say

A Florida man is facing charges after police said he attempted to abduct a child Saturday at Orlando International Airport. 

>> Read more trending news 

Kissimmee resident Alfredo Sanchez, 49, of walked up behind an 8-year-old girl, wrapped his arms around her waist and tried to walk away, authorities said.

Witnesses said the child started screaming and Sanchez yelled, “This is my girl.” 

Two of the witnesses knew something wasn’t right and held Sanchez to the ground until police arrived, according to a police report.

An officer at the airport heard the child’s screams and saw Transportation Security Administration agents yelling into their radios to respond to the B side exit. 

When the officer got to the scene, he saw Sanchez lying on the ground with his hands behind his back and two witnesses holding him down, according to the report. 

>> Trending: Customs beagle named Hardy detects roasted pig’s head in luggage at Atlanta airport

Police said the child was not physically injured, but was “obviously traumatized by the suspect."

The officer called for backup and based on witness and the child’s mother’s statements, he believes that Sanchez tried to kidnap the child. 

Sanchez is jailed without bond on charges related to the incident.

California surgeon, girlfriend charged with rape in 5 more drugging and assault cases

Update 6:45 p.m. EDT Oct. 17: A California surgeon and his girlfriend are facing five additional charges of drugging and raping women, according to news reports.

>> Read more trending news 

Reality TV star and celebrity orthopedic surgeon Dr. Grant Robicheaux, 38, and Cerissa Riley, 31, are accused of “rape by drugs, kidnapping, oral copulation by anesthesia, assault with intent to commit sexual offenses and other crimes” in cases dating back to 2009, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Robicheaux was additionally charged with sexually assaulting five women and Riley was charged in connection with attacks on three women, according to the newspaper. The original charges involved attacks on two women.

>> Related: 50-state review uncovers how patients are vulnerable to abusive physicians

The pair pleaded not guilty during a court hearing Wednesday in Newport Beach, California, to a number of felony charges relating to the alleged drugging and raping of women, the Times reported.

A judge also increased Robichaeux’s bail to $1 million, the L.A. Times reported. If convicted on the charges, he faces more than 80 years in jail.

Riley is facing more than 60 years in prison if she’s convicted on the charges

Original story: A California surgeon who appeared on a reality TV show and a woman are accused of drugging and sexually assaulting at least two women.

>> Read more trending news

Authorities said Grant W. Robicheaux, 38, and Cerissa Laura Riley, 31, were taken into custody Sept. 12 on multiple charges, including “rape by use of drugs.”

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said in a news conference that the investigation into the pair began in October 2016.

Police were called to Robicheaux’s Newport apartment on Oct. 2, 2016, after a neighbor called 911 when he or she heard a woman screaming. The alleged victim said she was sexually assaulted by Robicheaux and Riley when they brought her to his home after meeting them at a bar, where she drank “until she was unconscious,” according to The Associated Press.

A 32-year-old woman claimed she was assaulted by the pair in April 2016 after meeting them at a local restaurant. She told police she “consumed large amounts of alcohol” before going to Robicheaux’s home for an after-party, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Prosecutors claim the woman was then drugged and sexually assaulted. The AP said “a forensic exam found multiple controlled substances” after she called police the day after the alleged incident.

On Jan. 9, 2018, authorities searched Robicheaux’s home and allegedly found unregistered firearms and large amounts of illegal drugs, including GHB, according Rackauckas. 

In a press conference, Rackauckas also said investigators were combing through “thousands and thousands of videos and images on Robicheaux’s phone, many also including Riley.”

Some videos reportedly show women who are inebriated and “barely responsive to the defendant’s sexual advances,” leading investigators to believe there are other victims.

Robicheaux, a board certified orthopedic surgeon, was featured on a 2014 reality dating show that aired on Bravo, “Online Dating Rituals of the American Male.” Orange Coast Magazine also named him “Orange County’s Most Eligible Bachelor” in 2013, according to the LA Times.

Pets rescued from South Georgia Hurricane Michael damage zone need new homes

Pets rescued from south Georgia following Hurricane Michael need new homes.

>> Read more trending news 

The Atlanta Humane Society, as it often does following disasters, has taken in dogs and cats from the Albany area. Shelter facilities there were without power or water for days after the devastating storm. Last year the organization took in more than 1,000 animals from areas impacted by hurricane damage.

The Albany arrivals will be medically evaluated and then put up for adoption at the AHS’ two shelter locations. The main branch is at 981 Howell Mill Road in Midtown and the north Fulton one is at 1565 Mansell Road. Call 404-875-5331 or see atlantahumane.org for information.

Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle a week ago as a powerful Category 4 storm. The Alaqua Animal Refuge, about 70 miles from the coast, has launched a program to extend relief to animals and their owners in the hard- hit area.

The refuge’s structures and the 350 animals it houses came through the storm fine, with only minimal property damage, so it is now offering help. 

“We’re blessed, so we’re turning our focus to help others,” president and founder Laurie Hood said. “Losing a pet during this time adds more strain to people who are already over-stressed and have little or no resources.”

Alaqua is offering to help search for lost, abandoned and injured animals in addition to offering temporary refuge for pets, displaced horses and farm animals. The facility’s veterinary staff members are on stand-by to provide medical treatment.

>> Related: Trumps visits storm-ravaged Georgia, Florida Panhandle after Hurricane Michael

“We take the animals out, provide medical treatment and keep them safe, with the goal to eventually reunite them with their owners,” Hood said. “We work with appropriate agencies, manage the process in an organized manner, and know how to handle frightened and injured animals.”

Florida Panhandle pet or farm-animal owners can reach out by calling 850-880-6694 (leave a message) or by emailing LHood@alaqua.org. For full details see alaqua.org/michael.

Machine Gun Kelly’s entourage wanted following alleged attack

Three members of rapper Machine Gun Kelly’s entourage are wanted by police in connection with an alleged attack on an actor in Atlanta last month.

The Atlanta Police Department confirmed Wednesday that battery warrants were obtained for Brandon Allen, 28, John Cappellety, 24, and Lamar Reed, 42.

The men are accused of beating up Gabriel “G-Rod” Rodriguez on Sept. 13 in a hotel lobby.

>> Read more trending news 

Surveillance video released by police appears to show the attack. In the video, one man in a gray shirt picks Rodriguez up and slams him to the ground, and the other men hit and kick him. The man who allegedly body-slammed the actor is believed to be Kelly’s personal bodyguard, according to police.

Rodriguez said the fight followed a heated exchange between Rodriguez and Kelly at a restaurant.

Related: Actor claims he was attacked by rapper Machine Gun Kelly’s entourage

Rodriguez told WSB in September that he had an issue with Kelly ever since the rapper called Eminem’s daughter “hot as (expletive)” in a tweet when she was just 16 years old. 

He told police he later crossed paths with the rapper’s entourage when he returned to an area hotel.

Related: Video shows actor allegedly being attacked by Machine Gun Kelly’s crew 

“He’s a coward for having his goons jump me,” Rodriguez, who was in Atlanta filming a television show at the time, said.

When officers arrived at the hotel, none of the alleged attackers were there. Police said Rodriguez suffered “major injuries to the right side of his face.”

It is unknown if Allen, Cappellety and Reed still work for Kelly, or if any of them live in Georgia.

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