Texas girl, 4, dies of flu-related illness

A Texas family is mourning the death of their 4-year-old daughter who died from a flu-related illness last week after testing positive for the virus only days earlier.

Ashanti Grinage, who according to family members did not receive the flu vaccination this year, was taken to the emergency room after she developed a 103-degree fever last Tuesday, Fox 4 News reported.

According to her father, Ashanti had been showing symptoms of a cold since Sunday but she wasn’t tested for pneumonia when she arrived at the emergency room, and was sent home once her fever subsided. He told ABC 13 that he regrets not pushing for more testing on their first visit.


“I’m mad at myself. I’m mad at everyone,” Martell Grinage told ABC 13. “I’m mad at the hospital. I’m mad at God. I can’t lie to you.”

On Thursday, Ashanti had become lethargic and was taken back to the unidentified hospital, where she was then-diagnosed with pneumonia. Ashanti died later that same day, Fox 4 News reported.

Ashanti’s mother was then hospitalized at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center for the virus and pneumonia as well, but has since been released, Martell Grinage told the news outlet.

“I feel like I let her down and I lied to her because I told her I’d never let nothing back happen to her,” Martell Grinage told Fox 4 News, of his daughter’s tragic death. “That’s what killing me.”


In the state’s most recent influenza report, dated Feb. 1, officials had reported widespread activity. Officials have already confirmed at least two other flu-related pediatric deaths in the state this season.

Ashanti’s family said their child had no underlying health conditions prior to contracting the virus.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 4,400 flu-related hospitalizations have occurred since Oct. 1. The highest rate of hospitalization is among adults older than 65 and children younger than 5. As of Jan. 26, the nation has recorded 24 flu-related pediatric deaths.

Physicians and health officials continue to stress that the flu vaccine is the first line of defense against the virus, and that it can help lessen the severity of the illness. The virus typically causes fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea. While most people recover from the flu without requiring hospitalization, some can develop life-threatening complications. Those most at risk for severe illness include patients 65 and older, people with chronic medical issues, pregnant women and children younger than 5.

Britney Spears announces indefinite work hiatus to be by father’s side amid illness

Britney Spears is taking some time off to be with family.

The singer announced in a press release on Friday that she is going on an indefinite work hiatus, and will be putting her “Britney: Domination” show at Park Theater at the Park MGM resort in Las Vegas on hold until further notice.

Britney, 37, made the decision in order to devote all of her time to her family right now, and to care for her father, Jamie Spears. He was rushed to the hospital two months ago when his colon ruptured, and is currently undergoing recovery for a life-threatening illness. According to the release, Jamie spent the next 28 days in the hospital, and the family credits the doctors and nurses for saving his life. He is expected to make a full recovery.

“I am dedicating my focus and energy to care for my family,” Britney said in a statement. “We have a very special relationship and I want to be with my family at this time just like they have always been there for me.”

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“Thank you to all my fans for your continued love and support during this time,” she continued. “I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and I look forward to the time when I can be back on stage performing for all of you.”

She also posted to Instagram, writing, “I don’t even know where to start with this, because this is so tough for me to say. I will not be performing my new show ‘Domination.’ I’ve been looking forward to this show and seeing all of you this year, so doing this breaks my heart.”

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“However, it’s important to always put your family first… and that’s the decision I had to make,” she added. “A couple of months ago, my father was hospitalized and almost died. We’re all so grateful that he came out of it alive, but he still has a long road ahead of him. I had to make the difficult decision to put my full focus and energy on my family at this time. I hope you all can understand. More information on ticket refunds is available on I appreciate your prayers and support for my family during this time. Thank you, and love you all… always.”

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Bill Hornbuckle, President of MGM Resorts International, also released a statement regarding the news.

“All of us at MGM Resorts wish Mr. Spears a speedy recovery,” the statement says. “We wholly understand and respect Britney’s commitment to her family and believe that her place is with them during this important time.”

Recent grad diagnosed with paralyzing illness while teaching in Thailand

The family of a recent University of Mississippi graduate who has been teaching in Thailand since October is racing to raise funds to transfer her back home to Virginia after she developed a paralyzing disorder that’s left her unable to move from the neck down. Caroline Bradner, 22, reportedly complained of fatigue and weakness before experiencing full-blown paralysis.

Bradner, who according to the family’s GoFundMe page has since been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, has been in the hospital since shortly before Christmas, and will reportedly need medical clearance and be accompanied by a nurse on the 26-hour journey home, but cannot board a commercial flight.

Bradner's mother flew out to be with her on Christmas Eve.

Bradner’s mother flew out to be with her on Christmas Eve. (Courtesy)

Her father, Jim Bradner, told WTVR that the family’s insurance company has denied their request to cover her transfer home.


“The hospital there has put out bids to get us costs and we should know something in the next two to three days,” he told the news outlet, adding that they aren’t sure how long it’ll take his daughter to recover.

Guillain-Barre syndrome causes a patient’s immune system to attack the nerves, and typically first presents as weakness and tingling in the limbs. According to the Mayo Clinic, the sensations quickly spread and cause eventual paralysis, which nearly always requires hospitalization.

The family is raising funds to cover the cost of transporting her back to their home in Virginia.

The family is raising funds to cover the cost of transporting her back to their home in Virginia. (Courtesy)

While there is no known cure, treatment options can help ease symptoms and while patients are expected to eventually recover, some may experience lingering weakness, numbness or fatigue.


According to the family’s GoFundMe page, Bradner’s mother was able to fly to Thailand on Christmas Eve to be with her daughter, who has been pictured smiling alongside her care team.

“She’s scared because she can’t move,” Bradner’s sister, Pierce, told WTVR. “But she is really strong and really brave. She’s a great person, the best sister.”

Bre Payton, 26-year-old conservative writer, dies following sudden illness

26-year-old writer dies suddenly after flu diagnosis


    26-year-old writer dies suddenly after flu diagnosis


26-year-old writer dies suddenly after flu diagnosis 00:34

(CNN)Bre Payton, a commentator and staff writer for The Federalist, died Friday in San Diego after a sudden illness, according to the conservative online magazine. She was 26.

Payton quickly became a featured commentator for conservative outlets after joining The Federalist in April 2015, an obituary on the site said, making regular appearances on Fox News, Fox Business Channel and One America News Network, or OANN.
“Bre brightened the lives of everyone around her,” it said. “She was joyful, hard-working, and compassionate, and she leaves behind friends and colleagues for whom she brought nothing but sweetness and light.”
Payton was found “unresponsive and barely breathing” Thursday, according to a page shared on Twitter by The Federalist’s publisher, Ben Domenech.
    Following a CT scan and extensive testing, she was diagnosed with the H1N1 flu and meningitis.
    Payton’s father stayed with her in the hospital, “but her condition worsened and worsened,” the CaringBridge post said.

    Bre Payton, conservative writer, dies at 26 after sudden illness

    Bre Payton, a conservative writer at The Federalist and frequent guest on television news outlets including Fox News Channel, died Friday after a sudden illness, according to her employer. She was 26.

    Those who knew and worked with Payton at the Federalist website expressed shock Friday over her death. She had been on television just days earlier.

    “Bre has passed,” publisher Ben Domenech tweeted. “We are devastated. Last we saw her, she was her funny, smart, vivacious self. Now lost to us so suddenly.”

    A few hours earlier Friday, Domenech asked for prayers and linked to a CaringBridge website that said Payton was found unresponsive on Thursday in San Diego. Doctors, according to the post, determined she had contracted the “H1N1 flu and possibly meningitis.”

    Payton, who was based in Washington, was in California this week guest-hosting a show on the One America News Network. On Wednesday, Payton told her Twitter followers to tune in that night to see her on television.

    But the next morning, according to the CaringBridge post, a friend found her “unresponsive and barely breathing.”

    “She immediately called 911 and Bre was taken to the hospital where she was admitted to the ICU, sedated & intubated, and doctors began working up a diagnosis,” the post said. “After a CT scan and hours of testing, they have determined she has the H1N1 flu and possibly meningitis.”

    In recent weeks, Payton appeared as a guest on Fox News’ “Your World with Neil Cavuto” and “Trish Regan Primetime” on Fox Business. She has also been on “Fox & Friends” and “Fox News @ Night.”

    “I cannot believe this. @Bre_payton was such a beautiful light, smart and funny and kind and talented,” Fox News anchor Shannon Bream tweeted. “Please pray for her broken hearted loved ones, who are undoubtedly reeling. She was far too young.”

    According to her biography at The Federalist, Payton wrote stories on “subjects ranging from Kanye West to Supreme Court rulings, to 2016 and breaking news.” She previously worked as a reporter for and received her degree in political journalism from Patrick Henry College.

    Kroger recalls shrimp products over possible foodborne illness risk

    Supermarket chain Kroger is recalling some of its shrimp products after finding they may not have been fully cooked.

    The grocery store giant announced in a recent statement that nine of its pre-cooked shrimp products may be undercooked, “which could result in contamination by spoilage organisms or pathogens.”

    Eating undercooked or raw seafood can put consumers at risk of developing a foodborne illness. In some cases, raw or undercooked seafood like shrimp may contain Salmonella bacteria, according to the Mayo Clinic. The bacteria can lead to a Salmonella infection.


    The infection — which typically lasts two to seven days, according to the Mayo Clinic — can cause symptoms including vomiting, abdominal cramps, chills, fever and diarrhea.


    Kroger is urging consumers who purchased one of the affected products to not eat it and return it to the store where they purchased it for a full refund.

    All of the affected products were produced between Aug. 25 and 26 and have a sell by date of August 25, 2020, and August 26, 2020. They were primarily sold in stores in Michigan, Ohio, and Virginia, according to local news station ClickOnDetroit. 

    To learn more about the potentially contaminated products, click here.

    Ariana Grande cancels New Year’s performance in Las Vegas due to illness

    Ariana Grande is closing out a rough 2018 with a case of bronchitis.

    The pop star, 25, who was slated to perform at The Chelsea in Las Vegas’ Cosmopolitan hotel on Saturday night, has canceled, a rep for the venue told Page Six on Friday.

    “Due to unforeseeable health reasons, Ariana Grande has canceled her show at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Saturday, Dec. 29,” we’re told. “Guests are able to receive a full refund on tickets through their specified point of purchase. A rescheduled date has not yet been determined at this time.”

    TMZ reports that the “thank u, next” singer has been sick this week with bronchitis and backed out of the gig on Friday. Remaining tickets for the show were going for over $ 1,000 each as of Friday afternoon.

    The cancellation and reported illness caps off Grande’s year which included the death of her ex-boyfriend, Mac Miller, and the turbulent aftermath of her broken engagement with “Saturday Night Live” star, Pete Davidson.

    She has made no mention of the change in plans or feeling under the weather on social media.

    Grande’s rep did not immediately respond to our request for comment.

    This article originally appeared in Page Six.

    Ohio zoo announces Asian elephant calf dies following ‘sudden illness’

    An Asian elephant born to the Columbus Zoo in Ohio in early December has died, zoo officials announced Wednesday.

    The elephant, a female, succumbed to a “sudden illness,” zoo officials said in a news release.

    “The calf was being monitored 24 hours a day by members of her care team. She was observed nursing overnight, but at 6:30 a.m. she appeared sluggish. The veterinary team determined she had an infection and administered fluids, antibiotics, and blood plasma from her mother, Phoebe,” the zoo said in the news release, noting the 3-week-old animal “appeared to rebound and nursed before her health rapidly declined again.”


    A necropsy, an animal autopsy, will be performed on the elephant to better determine the exact cause of death. But the results won’t be available for “several weeks,” the zoo said.

    “At only a few weeks of age, this little calf had already won our hearts. She was a cherished member of our Zoo family, and we are mourning her passing,” Columbus Zoo President and CEO Tom Stalf said in the news release. “I have the privilege of working alongside amazing, compassionate and dedicated animal experts. Our team is going through an exceptionally difficult time with our recent unrelated losses, and we are appreciative of the outpouring of support we receive from near and far.”

    The elephant, which had not yet been named, was born on Dec. 6.


    The calf was the first elephant to be born at the zoo in nearly 10 years, The Columbus Dispatch reported at the time.  Phoebe, a 31-year-old Asian elephant, conceived the calf after she was artificially inseminated with sperm from two different male elephants. It’s not yet clear which fathered the calf.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    Tennessee dad faces fatal, untreatable illness as family hopes for cure

    A Tennessee father who was given a year to live after being diagnosed with an extremely rare degenerative illness now requires 24-hour care at a nursing facility as his family hopes for a cure for the currently untreatable condition. Tony Gibson, a 32-year-old welder and ironworker, initially showed symptoms of confusion and forgetfulness earlier this year, his wife, Danielle, told News Channel 5.

    Gibson was diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), which according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, is a degenerative, fatal brain disorder that strikes in about one in a million per year, worldwide. It’s estimated that 350 Americans are diagnosed each year, although it’s typically diagnosed in older patients with symptoms beginning at around 60, and death occurring within one year.


    Patients may first exhibit memory issues, behavioral changes, visual disturbances and lack of coordination before it advances to mental deterioration, blindness, weakness of extremities and coma. Gibson told the news outlet doctors believe her husband’s case is sporadic, which occurs in patients with no known risk factors and accounts for about 85 percent of all CJD cases. There are two other types of CJD, with one often compared to mad cow disease.

    According to NINDS, symptoms of sporadic CJD are comparable to those of Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease, but deterioration occurs more quickly in CJD patients. While there are studies underway, no successful treatment has been developed.


    In a Facebook post honoring CJD Awareness Day on Nov. 12, Gibson wrote that her husband went from being a strong man to a 90-year-old within months.

    “This is the most devastating thing I’ve ever seen,” Danielle Gibson, who is caring for the couple’s four children at-home, told New Channel 5. “I’ve seen a lot of terrible things. I’ve seen ALS, but this has to be the worst.”

    Record number of cases of polio-like illness AFM in US this year

    polio-like illness abigail's story_00001016


      Polio-like illness leaves healthy, active toddler paralyzed


    Polio-like illness leaves healthy, active toddler paralyzed 02:10

    (CNN)With 24 newly confirmed cases of the polio-like illness acute flaccid myelitis announced Monday, 2018 has become a record year for the illness.

    In its weekly update on cases of the illness, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there have been 158 confirmed cases in 36 states this year.
    This is the highest number of confirmed cases in a single year since the CDC began tracking cases in August 2014. Since then, there have been a total of 484 confirmed cases of AFM, according to the CDC.
      The illness has peaked every other year in the fall.
      From August to December 2014, there were 120 confirmed cases. In all of 2015, 22 confirmed cases were reported. In 2016, there were 149 confirmed cases, and in 2017, 35 confirmed cases were reported.
      In addition to the confirmed cases reported this year, there are 153 patients under investigation as possibly having AFM.
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      Last week, the CDC said the number of cases this year seemed to have peaked, as indicated by a decline in the number of patients under investigation. The decline was expected to continue, with fluctuation in the number of confirmed cases; some of those under investigation would be confirmed while others would be eliminated.
      This week’s report holds true to expectations. The number of patients under investigation is 12 fewer than last week, while the number of confirmed cases jumped.
        Although it’s not clear what exactly causes AFM, the CDC said, “Most of the patients with AFM (more than 90%) had a mild respiratory illness or fever consistent with a viral infection before they developed AFM.”
        More than 90% of AFM patients have been children.