An Avengers: Endgame Screening May Have Exposed the Audience to Measles

Film Frame/Marvel Studios
Film Frame/Marvel Studios

For some members of an Avengers: Endgame audience in Fullerton, California last week, the danger wasn’t limited to what was happening onscreen. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, a woman recently infected with measles—but without measles symptoms—may have exposed the crowd to the virus.

Health officials in Orange County announced that the woman, who lives in Placentia, had contracted the disease while traveling overseas. Upon returning to California, she went to work and attended a midnight movie—likely a screening of Avengers: Endgame Thursday evening—before coming down with measles symptoms. As a result, officials are warning anyone who was at the AMC Theaters location on 1001 South Lemon Street in Fullerton from 11 p.m. April 25 to 4 a.m. April 26 to review their measles vaccine history and be mindful of possible symptoms, such as a measles rash. People in the vicinity of her workplace and the emergency department in Fullerton she visited are also being cautioned.

Measles causes fever, rash, coughing, and watery eyes, and can progress to more serious illnesses like pneumonia and pregnancy complications. The virus is transmitted through the air via coughing or sneezing and can linger for up to two hours.

This isn't California's first brush with the disease. Universities in the Los Angeles area have experienced an outbreak, with students and staff members told to remain home until their immunization records can be evaluated.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 704 people have been diagnosed with measles nationwide this year, the worst year for the disease since 1994.

In 1989, the CDC recommended two doses of the MMR vaccine—which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella—when a child is between 12 and 15 months old and again between 4 to 6 years old. The vaccine is thought to provide a 97 percent chance of protection against measles. Prior to that, a single-dose vaccine was typical but it offered less protection. Adults born before 1957 were likely exposed to the virus as children and are considered immunized. People who were not vaccinated as a child, unsure of their status, or at high risk due to working in health care or traveling internationally can still receive an MMR shot. They should check with their physician.

[h/t Los Angeles Times]

Alcohol-Producing Gut Bacteria May Harm Livers—Even if You Don't Drink

itakdalee/iStock via Getty Images
itakdalee/iStock via Getty Images

Teetotalers might think their liver is safe from the damaging effects of alcohol consumption, but new research is hinting that even non-drinkers and light drinkers might have cause for concern. It turns out a type of gut bacteria is capable of producing alcohol—and enough of it to potentially cause some pretty serious health consequences, including liver disease.

A study led by Jing Yuan at the Capital Institute of Pediatrics in Beijing, China and published in the journal Cell Metabolism offers details. After evaluating a patient with auto-brewery syndrome (ABS), a rare condition brought on by consumption and fermentation of sugary foods that leaves a person with high blood alcohol levels, researchers made an intriguing discovery. Rather than finding fermenting yeast that may have led to the condition, the patient’s stool contained Klebsiella pneumonia, a common gut bacteria capable of producing alcohol. In this subject, K. pneumonia was producing significantly more alcohol than in healthy patients.

The patient also had nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), characterized by fatty deposits in the liver. While many cases of NAFLD are relatively benign, too much fat can become toxic. Examining 43 other subjects with NAFLD, scientists found that that K. pneumonia was both present and potent, pumping out more alcohol than normal in 60 percent of participants with NAFLD. In the control group, a surplus was found in only 6.25 percent.

To further observe a correlation, scientists fed the bacteria to healthy, germ-free mice, who began to see an increase in fat in their livers after only one month. While not conclusive proof that the bacteria prompts NAFLD, it will likely trigger additional research in humans.

It’s not yet known how K. pneumonia acts in concert with the bacterial profile of the gut or what might make someone carrying stronger strains of the bacteria. Luckily, K. pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics. That’s good news for people who might never touch a drink and still find themselves with a damaged liver.

[h/t Live Science]

Visit Any National Park for Free on September 28—or Volunteer to Help Maintain Them

Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park
Nick Hanauer/iStock via Getty Images

By the end of September—which always seems especially busy, even if you’re not a student anymore—you might be ready for a small break from the hustle and bustle. On Saturday, September 28, you can bask in the tranquility of any national park for free, as part of National Public Lands Day.

According to the National Park Service, the holiday has been held on the fourth Saturday of every September since 1994, and it’s also the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort. It’s up to you whether you’d like to partake in the service side or simply go for a stroll, but there is an added incentive to volunteer: You’ll get a one-day park pass that you can use for free park entry on a different day. Opportunities for volunteering include trail restoration, invasive plant removal, park cleanups, and more; you can see the details and filter by park, state, and/or type of event here.

If you’re not sure how you should celebrate National Public Lands Day, the National Park Service has created a handy flowchart to help you choose the best course of action for you—which might be as simple as sharing your favorite outdoor activity on social media with the hashtag #NPLD.

National public lands day celebration flowchart
National Park Service

There are more than 400 areas run by the National Park Service across the U.S., and many of them aren’t parks in the traditional sense of the word; the Statue of Liberty, Alcatraz Island, and countless other monuments and historical sites are also run by the NPS. Wondering if there might be one closer than you thought? Explore parks in your area on this interactive map.

For those of you who can’t take advantage of the free admission on September 28, the National Park Service will also waive all entrance fees for Veteran’s Day on November 11.

And, if you’re wishing a free-admission day existed for museums, you’re in luck—more than 1500 museums will be free to visit on Museum Day, which happens to be this Saturday.

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