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]

Michigan Hospital’s Neonatal ICU Is in Need of Volunteer ‘Baby Cuddlers’

barsik/iStock via Getty Images
barsik/iStock via Getty Images

You don’t have to be an empty-nester impatiently waiting for grandkids to feel the urge to cuddle a newborn baby. And, unless you or a loved one happens to be raising a baby at the moment, the opportunity doesn’t arise all that often. But if you live in Michigan and have a little extra time on your hands, now is your chance to get the snuggle action that you (and the babies) have been craving.

MLive reports that Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw, Michigan, is looking for volunteers to cuddle, rock, and soothe babies in its Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It’s no surprise that the hospital takes the safety of its patients—especially infants—very seriously: All applicants must pass a background check, interview, and extensive training before gaining access to the NICU.

You’ll also have to make at least a year-long commitment to volunteer for four hours on a weekly or biweekly basis. Though the NICU staff could use volunteers every hour of every day, right now they only need people to sign up for the graveyard shift—between midnight and 8 a.m.

If staying up past your bedtime once a week sounds like a reasonable trade-off for four hours of tender, loving care and that sweet baby smell, you can apply on Covenant HealthCare’s website here.

Wondering why you now feel the urge to move to Saginaw just so you can cuddle Covenant’s newborns? You can blame evolution. Newborns aren’t so supremely snuggle-worthy just because they’re often soft and doughy; they also have large, round eyes and tiny noses, mouths, and chins. This configuration of facial features is called kinderschema, and it activates our instinct to nurture and protect, giving our species the best chance of survival. You can read more about it here.

[h/t MLive]

A Custom Wheelchair Allowed This Brain-Injured Baby Raccoon to Walk Again

фотограф/iStock via Getty Images
фотограф/iStock via Getty Images

Animal prosthetics and wheelchairs allow dogs, cats, and even zoo animals with limited mobility to walk again, but wild animals with disabilities aren't usually as lucky. Vittles, a baby raccoon rescued in Arkansas, is the rare example of an animal that was severely injured in its natural habitat getting a second shot at life.

As Tribune Media Wire reports, Vittles came to wildlife rehab specialist Susan Curtis, who works closely with raccoons for the state of Arkansas, with a traumatic brain injury at just 8 weeks old. The cause of the trauma wasn't clear, but it was obvious that the raccoon wouldn't be able to survive on her own if returned to the wild.

Curtis partnered with the pet mobility gear company Walkin' Pets to get Vittles back on her feet. They built her a tiny custom wheelchair to give her balance and support as she learned to get around on her own. The video below shows Vittles using her legs and navigating spaces with help from the chair and guidance from her caretaker.

Vittles will likely never recover fully, but now that she's able to exercise her leg muscles, her chance at one day moving around independently is greater than it would have been otherwise. She now lives with her caretaker Susan and a 10-year old raccoon with cerebral palsy named Beetlejuice. After she's rehabilitated, the plan is to one day make her part of Arkansas's educational wildlife program.

[h/t Tribune Media Wire]

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