Georgia mom warns others after son, 5, contracts rare disease from tick bite

One Georgia mother is warning others after her son contracted a rare disease from a tick bite.

On May 10, 5-year-old Mason McNair was staying with his grandparents in LaGrange, Georgia, when they noticed a tick inside of Mason’s belly button. The tick was promptly removed, but it “got infected and very red around the entire bite,” his mother, Danielle McNair, wrote on Facebook.

tick rash

The young boy also had other symptoms that included fatigue, diarrhea and a fever.

 (Danielle McNair)

McNair promptly took Mason to the doctor, who prescribed him an antibiotic. But 10 days later, Mason’s symptoms had worsened. The young boy was plagued with  fatigue, diarrhea, fever, headaches and pain in his abdomen, according to his mother. On the last day of his medication, Mason also broke out in a rash from “head to toe,” McNair wrote.

At first, McNair thought it was a heat rash. But she soon realized it was not, as the red spots on Mason’s body worsened, becoming bigger and more visible.

Again, the worried mother took her son to the doctor, who told her the rash was possibly a “delayed reaction” to the antibiotic. But McNair wasn’t convinced.

“I was NOT satisfied with that answer and neither was my sister, who told me they needed to do a tick panel on him. I called back after doing my own research on tick-borne diseases and showed them what I had found on Rocky Mountain spotted fever,” she wrote.

After investigating McNair’s suspicion, Mason’s doctors confirmed that young boy did, in fact, contract Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The condition is a bacterial infection that can lead to the amputation of limbs, hearing loss, paralysis and mental disabilities, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2014, there were roughly 3,500 cases of the infection in the United States. 

tick rash 2

Mason’s mom Danielle wrote on Facebook that her son is now “completely healthy.”

 (Danielle McNair)

Soon after, Mason was treated with the correct antibiotic and is now “completely healthy,” his mother wrote.

“This has been a horribly scary experience for our family. I’m thankful that I did my own research and brought it to my doctors attention. So don’t EVER be afraid to be an advocate for your child or yourself when it comes to things like this!” McNair continued, adding that “doctors are humans and have to figure out the puzzle just like the rest of us do!”

Danielle McNair was not immediately available for additional comment when contacted by Fox News on Saturday.

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

Kat Von D says she won’t vaccinate her baby

No one can change Kat Von D‘s mind when it comes to her pregnancy.

In a lengthy Instagram post showing off her growing baby belly, the celebrity tattoo artist said that she will not be vaccinating her baby, abiding by her and her husband’s vegan lifestyle.

“If you don’t know what it’s like to have the entire world openly criticize, judge, throw uninformed opinions, and curse you – try being an openly pregnant vegan on Instagram, having a natural, drug-free home birth in water with a midwife and doula, who has the intention of raising a vegan child, without vaccinations,” she wrote.

Since announcing that she was expecting in May with Leafar Seyer, the “LA Ink” alum and lipstick purveyor said she’s been “bombarded with unsolicited advice,” and unwelcomed opinions.

“I also was prepared for the backlash and criticism we would get if we decided to be open about our personal approach to our pregnancy. My own Father flipped out on me when I told him we decided to ditch our doctor and go with a midwife instead” she said.

She concluded with telling her followers to simply unfollow if they don’t approve.

“If you don’t dig a certain something about what I post, I kindly ask that you press the unfollow button and move the f–k on. So before anyone of you feel inspired to tell me how to do this, I would appreciate you keeping your unsolicited criticism to yourself.”

This article first appeared on

Children hurt in Guatemalan eruption receive care at Shriners Hospital in Texas

Six children burned in the Guatemala volcano eruption are receiving treatment at Shriners Hospital for Children after arriving in Texas early Thursday morning.

The children, accompanied by five guardians, were transported via the United States military to the hospital’s pediatric burn facility. Hospital officials categorized their injuries as “life-threatening.”

“A minor burn is 1-2 percent. A moderate burn is up to 10, 15 percent of their body. And, a massive burn or severe burn is above that. All of these kids are above that. All of those kids have that final condition,” Dr. Steven Wolf, Chief of Staff at Shriners Galveston, said.


Six children burned in the Guatemala volcano eruption were admitted to Shriners Hospital for Children with “life-threatening” injuries.

 (Fox News)

An emergency medical “go team” of pediatric burn physicians and nurses was deployed to Guatemala within 24 hours after the volcano erupted on Sunday. Hospital officials said they worked with local authorities and surgeons on the ground to identify these six children, ages 1-16, who would benefit from their health care.

“Any time there’s a mass casualty event…there’s a sweet spot in the middle…the ones that really have severe injuries and those that can recover from them with state of the art care,” Wolf said.


Dr. Steven Wolf, Chief of Staff at Shriners Galveston, said treatment for the children could take months, even years.

 (Fox News)

Wolf believes the children’s injuries are due to contact with ash clouds.   

“The particles form the ash then cause a contact burn. So, these are thermal burns. There’s also risk of breathing these particles in. So, we’ve looked at them for that, and we’ll treat them appropriately,” Wolf said.

As of this morning, all of the children were stable, though most are on ventilators. The process to full recovery, however, could take months, or even years.

“Once you get in this building, you’re ours until you’re 18,” Wolf said “And, that goes on to all of the phases of care from the acute care to rehabilitation, which is the next step, to reconstruction, and then the psychological care of these children and their families as well.”

Guatemala 2

At least 99 people are dead and nearly 200 others unaccounted for following Sunday’s eruption.

 (Associated Press)

Shriners provides on-site housing for the families for part of that time. After the patients are sent home, they can be flown from Guatemala back to theU.S. for recurring treatment. Total treatment for each child can reach millions of dollars—at no cost for the patient.

At least 99 people are dead and nearly 200 others unaccounted for following the eruption.

“The people of the United States extend our deepest condolences to the victims of the ongoing eruption of Fuego Volcano in Guatemala,” The White House said in a statement released Thursday. “At the request of the Government of Guatemala, we are sending emergency aid, including financial resources to help meet food, water, and sanitation needs for the affected population.  The United States is also sending aircraft to assist in transporting burn victims of this terrible event for treatment in Florida.  We will continue to coordinate with the Guatemalan government to provide further aid where needed.”

Shriners Hospitals in Boston, Cincinnati, and Sacramento are on standby, ready to take in more patients from Guatemala, if necessary.

Madeleine Rivera is a multimedia reporter based in Houston, Texas.

Florida woman beats terminal breast cancer with new therapy

A Florida woman who was given just months to live is now cancer-free thanks to an experimental immunotherapy, researchers said.

Judy Perkins, 49, told the BBC she was given only three months to live after being diagnosed with advanced breast cancer that was spreading quickly throughout her body. She said she had “tennis ball-sized tumors” in her liver and “secondary cancers throughout her body.” She said she was unable to be treated with conventional therapy.

However, she underwent therapy that pumped “90 billion cancer-killing immune cells into her body.” She said she felt changes right away.

“About a week after [the therapy] I started to feel something, I had a tumor in my chest that I could feel shrinking,” Perkins told the BBC. “It took another week or two for it to completely go away.”


She recalled the medical staff “were all very excited and jumping around” after the tumors started to diminish.

The U.S. National Cancer Institute said the therapy was still in experimental stages but it could change cancer treatment. Dr. Steven Rosenberg, the chief of surgery at the institute, said the therapy was started after examining a person’s tumor then using the patient’s white blood cells to attack the cancer. The scientists “screen the patient’s white blood cells and extract those capable of attacking the cancer” and then grow the cells.

“The very mutations that cause cancer turn out to be its Achilles heel,” Rosenberg told the BBC.


Rosenberg added the therapy was “highly experimental.” 

“At lot of works needs to be done, but the potential exists for a paradigm shift in cancer therapy – a unique drug for every cancer patient – it is very different to any other kind of treatment,” he said.

As for Perkins, she said she has enjoyed her recovery by kayaking, backpacking and traveling. 

Mascara kept on for decades leaves ’embedded’ lumps under woman’s eyelids

A woman who claims she nearly went blind after not washing her mascara off for more than two decades is warning makeup users about her “bad habit.”

Theresa Lynch, 50, of Sydney, told the Daily Mail her eyes were irritated and discharging. She said she felt discomfort on the underside of her eyelids, so she made a doctor’s appointment.

Pic from Caters News - (Portrait Theresa Lynch, 50. Sydney, Australia) - A mum was horrified to discover 25 years of not taking off her mascara had left her with solid black lumps embedded in her eyelids - which needed an operation to remove them. Housekeeper Theresa Lynch, 50, sought medical advice after suffering from a heavy sensation in her eyelids, pain, eye irritation and discharge that lubricating gels and eyedrops would not alleviate. But the mum-of-two, who is originally from Maryland, USA, but now lives in Sydney, Australia, was shocked when doctors discovered hard calcified bumps, known as concretions, buried under her eyelids. SEE CATERS COPY

“[The lumps] were embedded so deep that particles were building up on top of each other,” Lynch told the Daily Mail.

 (Cater News Agency)

Lynch, who said it felt like she had some sort of buildup on her inner eyelids, learned she was suffering from conjunctival concretions, otherwise known as small calcified bumps or lesions.

“[The lumps] were embedded so deep that particles were building up on top of each other,” she told the Mail. “I was so uncomfortable. My eyelids were swollen and heavy because I left it for so long.”


The mother of two, formerly of Maryland, said her doctor, Daba Robaei, was shocked at the discovery and claimed she hadn’t seen anything like it during the course of her career.

Robaei published a study in the American Academy of Ophthalmology confirming Lynch’s condition, in which she detailed that the dark calcified bumps were found under her upper eyelids.


“Every time Theresa was blinking these bumps were rubbing on the surface of the eye and they pose a risk to her vision,” Robaei told the news outlet. “If the scratch on the surface of the eye got infected, there is a risk this could be a potentially blinding but that would be rare.”

Lynch said her health was in danger because she “had fallen into a bad habit of wearing a lot of makeup and not washing it off,” and is warning others that it’s “so important to properly take your makeup off every single night. You can’t miss a single day.”

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.

App uses the soothing sounds of Bob Ross to lull you to sleep

Bob Ross — the famed painter and television host known for his soothing manner — is making his way back into popular culture 23 years after his death in the form of a sleeping app.

Calm, an app used to help those who meditate or have trouble sleeping, is using three episodes of Ross’ PBS show, “The Joy of Painting,” as “calming bedtime stories” for users.

Alex Tew, co-founder of the app, said the company’s had “so many Calm users” asking for Ross’ voice to be used in “Sleep Stories” — bedtime stories meant to help people naturally fall asleep.

The decision to use Ross in the app’s Stories was due to his calm and soothing demeanor. “He was and still is a hero to the hard of sleeping,” Tew said.

So far, one of Ross’ Sleep Stories is available on the Calm app, while two others will be released this summer.

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.

Many breast cancer patients can skip chemo, big study finds

Most women with the most common form of early-stage breast cancer can safely skip chemotherapy without hurting their chances of beating the disease, doctors are reporting from a landmark study that used genetic testing to gauge each patient’s risk.

The study is the largest ever done of breast cancer treatment, and the results are expected to spare up to 70,000 patients a year in the United States and many more elsewhere the ordeal and expense of these drugs.

“The impact is tremendous,” said the study leader, Dr. Joseph Sparano of Montefiore Medical Center in New York. Most women in this situation don’t need treatment beyond surgery and hormone therapy, he said.

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute, some foundations and proceeds from the U.S. breast cancer postage stamp. Results were discussed Sunday at an American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago and published by the New England Journal of Medicine. Some study leaders consult for breast cancer drugmakers or for the company that makes the gene test.


Cancer care has been evolving away from chemotherapy — older drugs with harsh side effects — in favor of gene-targeting therapies, hormone blockers and immune system treatments. When chemo is used now, it’s sometimes for shorter periods or lower doses than it once was.

For example, another study at the conference found that Merck’s immunotherapy drug Keytruda worked better than chemo as initial treatment for most people with the most common type of lung cancer, and with far fewer side effects.


The breast cancer study focused on cases where chemo’s value increasingly is in doubt: women with early-stage disease that has not spread to lymph nodes, is hormone-positive (meaning its growth is fueled by estrogen or progesterone) and is not the type that the drug Herceptin targets.

The usual treatment is surgery followed by years of a hormone-blocking drug. But many women also are urged to have chemo to help kill any stray cancer cells. Doctors know that most don’t need it, but evidence is thin on who can forgo it.

The study gave 10,273 patients a test called Oncotype DX, which uses a biopsy sample to measure the activity of genes involved in cell growth and response to hormone therapy, to estimate the risk that a cancer will recur.


About 17 percent of women had high-risk scores and were advised to have chemo. The 16 percent with low-risk scores now know they can skip chemo, based on earlier results from this study.

The new results are on the 67 percent of women at intermediate risk. All had surgery and hormone therapy, and half also got chemo.

After nine years, 94 percent of both groups were still alive, and about 84 percent were alive without signs of cancer, so adding chemo made no difference.

Certain women 50 or younger did benefit from chemo; slightly fewer cases of cancer spreading far beyond the breast occurred among some of them given chemo, depending on their risk scores on the gene test.


All women like those in the study should get gene testing to guide their care, said Dr. Richard Schilsky, chief medical officer of the oncology society. Oncotype DX costs around $4,000, which Medicare and many insurers cover. Similar tests including one called MammaPrint also are widely used.

Testing solved a big problem of figuring out who needs chemo, said Dr. Harold Burstein of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Many women think “if I don’t get chemotherapy I’m going to die, and if I get chemo I’m going to be cured,” but the results show there’s a sliding scale of benefit and sometimes none, he said.

Dr. Lisa Carey, a breast specialist at the University of North Carolina’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, said she would be very comfortable advising patients to skip chemo if they were like those in the study who did not benefit from it.

Dr. Jennifer Litton at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, agreed, but said: “Risk to one person is not the same thing as risk to another. There are some people who say, ‘I don’t care what you say, I’m never going to do chemo,'” and won’t even have the gene test, she said. Others want chemo for even the smallest chance of benefit.

Adine Usher, 78, who lives in Hartsdale, New York, joined the study 10 years ago at Montefiore and was randomly assigned to the group given chemo.

“I was a little relieved. I sort of viewed chemo as extra insurance,” she said. The treatments “weren’t pleasant,” she concedes. Her hair fell out, she developed an infection and was hospitalized for a low white blood count, “but it was over fairly quickly and I’m really glad I had it.”

If doctors had recommended she skip chemo based on the gene test, “I would have accepted that,” she said. “I’m a firm believer in medical research.”

CDC confirms five deaths connected to E. coli-tainted lettuce

Health officials announced on Friday that five people have now died after consuming tainted lettuce from Arizona, making this the nation’s largest E. coli outbreak in a decade.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 25 new cases, across 13 states, related to the E. coli outbreak, which affected romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Ariz., growing region. Health officials said there are now 197 cases across 35 states. The five dead were reportedly from Arkansas, New York, California and, with two cases, Minnesota. 

Officials said that first illness began sometime between March 13 and May 12. There have been 89 people hospitalized, and 26 who developed a type of kidney failure due to the infection.

While more cases have been reported, the CDC said that the harvest season in Yuma ended six weeks ago and it is unlikely that any of the affected romaine lettuce “is still available in people’s homes, stores, or restaurants due to its 21-day shelf life”

When a person becomes infected with the bacteria, it can take two to three weeks before a report to the CDC.

Officials also noted that some of the individuals who became ill never actually consumed the contaminated lettuce but were in close contact with someone else who had done so.

Most E. coli bacteria are not harmful, but some produce toxins that can cause severe illness. People who get sick from toxin-producing E. coli come down with symptoms about three to four days after consumption, with many suffering bloody diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

How smartphones are causing kids to experience ‘altered childhoods’

Colleen Hartz’s daughter is 19 years old and is rarely ever seen without her phone in hand. “She uses it for everything,” the mom from Alabama recently told Healthline. “She keeps her calendar on there, she uses the notes part, she loves listening to music on it. She also primarily communicates with friends through text and Snapchat. There are many days she doesn’t have a real conversation with anyone.”


Hartz isn’t alone in what she’s witnessing. A recent report released by Common Sense Media found that 72 percent of teens feel as though they need to immediately respond to notifications from their phone, and 59 percent of parents feel their teens are addicted to their mobile devices.

Those numbers are steep and concerning, but the good news is — they also might be a little exaggerated.

According to AAP pediatrician Dr. David Hill (chair of the AAP Council on Communications and Media), a true phone addiction really comes down to compulsive behavior. “Is the kid getting enough sleep? Exercise? Actual face time with friends and family? Is homework getting done? These are the questions you need to ask. Any kind of compulsive activity, whether it be gambling or internet use, really boils down to the displacement of other things. What’s not happening if this is happening? It’s hard to make a case for addiction if the kid is getting everything else done.”

Still, true addictions to phones and devices do happen. “There’s an actual definition of [this] disorder,” he told Healthline. “Problematic Internet Use (PIU). Then there is also Internet Gaming Disorder. The researchers who look at these two issues think the percentage of those affected is under 10 percent. Maybe as much as 8 percent for PIU, but that’s probably on the high end.”

However, even if most teens aren’t suffering from a true addiction to their phones, they may be experiencing altered childhoods because of the technology available to them.

Arrested development

According to a study published last year in the journal of Child Development, teens today are experiencing a slower path to embracing adult responsibilities than ever before. And the researchers concluded that cell phone and tablet engagement was at least partially to blame. Because with social connection always just a few clicks away, teens today are less likely to leave their homes and seek that connection in the “real” world.

Even when they are out in the world, many still experience a difficult time detaching from their phones. It’s a phenomenon Melissa Bragg, a mom in Virginia, has noticed when out with her teen daughter. “Some of her friends stay on their phones constantly, even at youth events,” she recently told Healthline. “They can’t put their phones away for anything.”

This type of behavior is really what pushes up against true addiction. And it’s something Sandra Windham, a teacher from Texas, has noticed in her classroom as well. “Most kids just have a bad habit, not a true addiction,” she told Healthline. “The ones with a legitimate addiction cannot and will not follow the rules.”

John Mopper is an adolescent therapist with Blueprint Mental Health in Somerville, New Jersey. As he explained it, “Our brains are doing exactly what they are made to do. When we’re born, our brains are like a hard drive, constantly updating and filing away new experiences. We’re hardwired to move toward pleasure and away from consequence. Studies have shown how notifications on our phones can send a hit of dopamine. After a while, our brain associates that with pleasure. And for some kids and adults alike, seeking out that hit of dopamine can become compulsive.”

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as our phones making us feel better. While the immediate gratification may provide that dopamine hit that drives us (and our teens) back to our devices again and again, some research has suggested the long-term impact could actually be quite negative.

In fact, a 2017 study in the Clinical Psychological Science journal found that for adolescents in grades 8 through 12, increased time on new media (to include social media and smartphones) led to an increased rate of depressive symptoms, suicide-related outcomes, and suicide rates.

While researcher Jean Twenge has been quick to acknowledge that correlation does not equal causation, she does think these results should serve as a warning to parents.

When it comes to phones and our constant connection to the internet, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.

Parental problems

It’s not just teens that are experiencing this constant need to connect with their phones, though. As Windham explained, parents are often part of the problem.

“Parents constantly text kids throughout the day and kids get very anxious if they are unable to answer them,” she told Healthline. “The content of the texts is almost never school related, though. Even during our state testing, when strict rules go into place about phone usage, parents call the school and demand their kids get their phone back. And when I call parents to report bad behavior or grades due to phone use, the phone is rarely taken away as a consequence.”

Bragg readily admits that right now, she is more addicted to her phone than her kids. “I know I’m addicted to my phone,” she told Healthline. “Being a stay-at-home homeschooling mom, I really feel isolated from other adults much of the time. Social media probably accounts for 90 percent of my socialization. I’ve joined way too many Facebook groups and I am constantly just scrolling through them. It can get in the way of me taking care of my household responsibilities. Sometimes I’ll be so engrossed in a conversation happening online that an hour or more goes by and I haven’t moved.”

She’s not alone in that struggle. “I’m guilty too,” Mopper told Healthline. “I have to work hard to not constantly go on my phone. And I’m a therapist. I’m an adult. It’s hard.”

Family (phone) planning

Mopper suggested parents start early to teach kids a different way. “It’s really about being able to have a relationship with your kids where they’re brought up doing other things, [teaching them] from a time when they are really young that there are other things in life that are important.”

He added, “Young kids are like sponges, and every experience they have can have a huge impact on them. Screen time at that point should be a privilege. Be concrete and set limits from the very beginning.”

Dr. Hill thinks it’s also about involving kids in those conversations. “There are a lot of reasons a parent might introduce those devices. There’s no one right age, because, depending on your reasons for introducing them, the right age may vary. So, my first question is always, ‘Why does your child need this device?’ Once you’ve answered that question, you can set rules. It’s much easier to start doing that from the very beginning than it is to roll back their access once you’ve already given them free reign.”

“The good news,” he went on to explain, “is that kids can be very good partners in setting realistic expectations. They may push back a little, but you can involve them in those conversations. You can ask them about what rules seem right, and what the consequences should be for breaking those rules.”

He added that the AAP Family Media Plan tool can be a great resource for creating a plan that works for your family.

For her part, Bragg has taken steps to ensure her 15-year-old daughter doesn’t experience the same reliance on her phone that she herself has struggled with. “We have set specific times that she can be on her phone and she has things she has to do daily before she can have access to it,” Bragg said, adding her daughter is not allowed to have her phone in her room overnight and is limited one social media account on Instagram.

When her 5-year-old started exhibiting problem behaviors regarding his tablet, she took action there as well. “We had started letting him watch Netflix on the tablet so that we could continue to watch what we wanted on the living room television. Before we knew it, he had it on all the time,’ Bragg said. “We tried just limiting the time he was on it, but when it was time to put it up he would have a fit and completely melt down. So, we ultimately decided that he just couldn’t use it at all.”

Hartz and her family have taken even further steps in their efforts to reduce the draw of phones and other screens in their home. “It’s sad to me that people no longer live life for themselves,” she told Healthline. “It’s more like we do what we can for a photo op for Instagram or Facebook.”

Explaining that she wants a different experience for her kids, she talked about the limits she’s placed on her son’s phone (restricted to an hour of use a day, with the phone automatically shutting off during school hours and at 9 pm every night). She also told Healthline about a recent trip where her kids were only allowed to look at their phones for 20 minutes before they went to bed.

“We had the best time!” she said.

For parents hoping to help their kids balance life online and in the real word, experts seem to agree with the Hartz family approach. Limiting screen time and building connections with real face-to-face interactions is the best way to keep technology from becoming a terror.

And that’s not just true for teens. If you’re starting to feel a little too attached to your own phone, it may be time to step outside, grab lunch with a friend, and reconnect with reality.

This article first appeared on













Survivors file suit against ex-Gambian leader over alleged HIV ‘cure’

Three survivors of a supposed HIV treatment program run by Gambia’s former leader Yahya Jammeh featuring what he called an herbal remedy “cure” filed a lawsuit Thursday against him, claiming they suffered under the forced regimen.

This is the first time Jammeh has been sued in a Gambian court over alleged abuses during his 22-year rule of this tiny West African nation, the advocacy group AIDS-Free World said.

Jammeh’s program was “the most egregious premeditated assault on people living with HIV and AIDS in the history of the global AIDS crisis,” said Sarah Bosha, the group’s legal research and policy associate.

Survivors Fatou Jatta, Lamin Ceesay and Ousman Sowe filed the lawsuit at the high court in the capital, Banjul. They seek financial damages and a declaration that their rights were violated.


“My experience in the presidential treatment program was a horror,” Jatta said in the AIDS-Free World statement. “I could have lost my life.”

Jammeh in 2007 declared his AIDS “cure” and launched the program, ordering patients to live in a facility and submit to his “treatment regimen” under armed guards’ surveillance.

The “treatment” included foregoing antiretroviral drugs for an herbal concoction patients said often made them violently ill. Other concoctions were rubbed on them amid chanted prayers, and some sessions were broadcast on Gambian television without patient consent, survivors said.

Jammeh forced some 1,000 people, many of them part of HIV/AIDS organizations, to participate before the program was shuttered, and two people died, according to an earlier Amnesty International report.

An official with the program, Dr. Tamsir Mbowe, said during testimony to a commission of inquiry in April that 311 patients were treated from 2007 to 2012, according to AIDS-Free World.

“The precise number of deaths as a consequence of Jammeh’s criminal mistreatment remains difficult to determine,” the organization said.


“There is no cure for AIDS. When an individual of great power claimed otherwise, human health was jeopardized, lives were cut short and a deadly epidemic was prolonged — all in the service of the insatiable ego of Yahya Jammeh,” Bosha said.

Jammeh has long been accused of human rights abuses during his rule that began after a bloodless coup in 1994. He lost December 2016 elections to now-President Adama Barrow and, after a political standoff, fled into exile to Equatorial Guinea in January 2017.

Bosha told The Associated Press that in exceptional situations, “the court can grant an order allowing for civil cases to proceed despite the absence of the defendant, as long as there is sufficient evidence to satisfy the court that the defendant was personally served.”

Survivors said they hope the former president will be held accountable.

“I believe it is my responsibility to hold Jammeh to account,” said survivor Ousman Sowe. “I knew that one day the real story would be told.”

Roseanne Barr not first celeb to claim Ambien led to bizarre behavior: What is the insomnia drug?

Roseanne Barr appeared to blame Ambien, a prescribed sleeping pill, for the racist tweet that ultimately led to her popular ABC show “Roseanne” to be canceled on Tuesday by ABC.

In a series of now-deleted tweets, Barr said it was late and she was on the drug when she wrote the tweet about former President Barack Obama’s aide Valerie Jarrett. Barr’s tweet said Jarrett, who is African-American and born in Iran, is like the “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby.”

“Guys I did something unforgiveable so do not defend me,” she wrote in one post and then deleted Tuesday night. “It was 2 in the morning and I was Ambien tweeting-it was memorial day too-i went 2 far & do not want it defended-it was egregious Indefensible. I made a mistake I wish I hadn’t but…don’t defend it please. ty.”

Many social media users slammed Barr’s defense. Sanofi, one of the pharmaceutical companies that makes Ambien, tweeted Wednesday, “People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world. While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.” 

However, other celebrities have also blamed Ambien for strange tweets and odd behavior. Here is what you need to know about Ambien, as well as its common side effects and other celebrities who have taken it.

What is Ambien?


Roseanne Barr appeared to blame the drug Ambien for her racist tweet that got her show canceled.

Ambien is a drug sold by Sanofi and is also distributed under other names by NovaDel Pharma Inc. and Meda Pharmaceuticals Inc. The drug is used to treat adults diagnosed with insomnia, which is the inability to fall and stay asleep, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Ambien can be taken as an oral tablet, an oral spray, under-the-tongue tablet or an extended-release tablet.

What are the common side effects of Ambien?

Ambien has a number of side effects including nausea, memory loss, anxiety, confusion, rapid heartbeat, diarrhea, appetite loss, aggression, impaired vision, inability to concentrate and addiction, according to American Addiction Centers. The center said it was possible for a person prescribed Ambien to become addicted and dependent on the drug despite advertising itself as the opposite.

People who abuse the drug have been known to crush the drug to snort it or mix it in an alcoholic drink. When Ambien is mixed with alcohol, the effects of the drug can be enhanced. There have been numerous reports of people not recalling what happened once they were under the influence of the drug, such as sleepwalking and sleep driving.

Why does the FDA warn those taking Ambien?

In 2013, the Food and Drug Administration ordered drugmakers to lower doses for Ambien and other sleeping pills following studies that suggested patients “face a higher risk of injury due to morning drowsiness,” CBS News reported.

The studies showed that some people who took the drug felt drowsy in the morning, which could impair their driving. The research found the drug was still present in a patient’s bloodstream at a high enough level to interfere with their driving. The FDA required drugmakers to cut the dose in half for women and for the immediate-release tablets. The drug takes longer to leave women’s bodies than men’s.

Which other celebrities have blamed Ambien for strange incidents?

Former U.S. Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy II speaks during a rally in support of the People's Mojahedin Organization Of Iran (PMOI), also known as the Mujahadin-e-Khalq (MEK), in Stockholm April 6, 2013. Hundreds of Iranian demonstrators rallied in Stockholm to demand for more protection from the United Nations (UN) for their group members in Iraq. REUTERS/Fredrik Persson/Scanpix Sweden (SWEDEN - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) 

Former House Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy said he took Ambien not too long before crashing his car into a barricade.


Former House Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy crashed his car into a security barricade close to the U.S. Capitol in 2006 and said he had taken Ambien not too long before the accident. He claimed he had not been drinking, CBS News reported.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk smiles at a press conference following the first launch of a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Joe Skipper - HP1EE2700LUOA

Elon Musk went on a Twitter spree after claiming he had drank red wine and consumed Ambien.


Tesla CEO Elon Musk went on a Twitter rampage in June 2017, Mashable reported. He started the series of tweets by discussing his excitement over a Tesla shareholder meeting and went from there. He admitted to having a “little red wine, vintage record, some Ambien … and magic!” He tweeted a year earlier that he has learned that “tweeting on Ambien isn’t wise.”

May 13, 2018; Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, USA; Tiger Woods plays his shot from the 18th tee during the final round of The Players Championship golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass - Stadium Course. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports - 10834541

Tiger Woods was under the influence of Ambien during a DUI arrest in 2017.


Embattled golf star Tiger Woods was arrested for a DUI in 2017 after deputies found the athlete parked on the side of the road, asleep. During a sobriety test, Woods slurred, couldn’t walk a straight line and appeared “out of it.” A toxicology test showed Woods had a number of prescription drugs in his system, including Ambien.

Director Sean Penn poses during a photocall for the film "The Last Face" in competition at the 69th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 20, 2016. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier   - LR1EC5K11ZRYX

Sean Penn admitted to being on Ambien during Stephen Colbert’s late-night talk show.


Academy Award-winning actor Sean Penn admitted to being on Ambien during an appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” in March, People reported.

“I’m doing well,” Penn told Colbert. “You’ve inherited a little of the Ambien I had to take to get to sleep after a red-eye last night.”

Fox News’ Sasha Savitsky and Gregg Re contributed to this report.


Legoland face-painting caused significant skin reaction to boy’s face, lawsuit claims

A Florida mother filed a lawsuit claiming her young son developed a significant, possibly permanent skin reaction after getting his face painted at Legoland, according to complaint documents.

In May 2016, the boy visited Legoland, where he got his face painted by an employee, the lawsuit filed earlier this month said. Sometime following the visit to the park, the boy started “to complain that his face was itching and burning,” the document said.

The boy’s mother, Jessica Bermudez, noticed a rash developing on her son’s cheeks and took him to the doctor, the lawsuit stated, where they were given medication.

However the rash persisted, further spreading around the boy’s cheeks as well as his nose and mouth, and “causing dark spots and discoloration,” the lawsuit claimed. The pair returned to the doctor, who again prescribed medication, and diagnosed the boy with eczema “based on the aggressive spreading of the rash” and skin discoloration, according to the documents.


“Several doctor visits later, and after twenty-three months of various treatments and prescriptions,” the boy’s “skin condition continues to worsen, and the doctors became baffled as to why the rash and discoloration would not go away,” the lawsuit said.

During a medical visit in March, by which point “the rash had grown evenly around” the boy’s “mouth area, and on both cheeks,” his doctor called in for a second opinion, the lawsuit said. The second medical professional asked whether anything had been on the child’s face around when he got the rash, and Bermudez remembered the face paint, the document said.

Bermudez shared pictures of her son when he was having his face painted and they realized that his “skin had a negative reaction to the paint used on his face at Legoland that has caused him great pain and suffering, as well as two years of humiliation by other child and deep emotional distress,” the lawsuit claimed.


According to Junior Mentor, an attorney representing the family who spoke to the Orlando Sentinel, the child has been taunted at school and given the nickname, “Racoon.”

“He doesn’t know what it is. He wants it to go away,” Mentor said. “He goes to the mirror in the morning and tries to brush it off.”

The lawsuit, which is looking for more than $15,000, has claimed negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress, according to the document.

“The Defendants knew or should have known that that emotional distress would likely follow if a young middle school child would have a permanent rash and nasty discoloration of his cheeks,” the lawsuit said. “As a direct and proximate result of the actions of defendants,” the boy “suffered bodily injury and resulting pain and suffering, disfigurement, mental anguish, medical expenses. The losses are either permanent or continuing, and the Plaintiff will suffer losses in the future.”

When contacted by Fox News, a representative for Legoland provided the following statement: “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We take all matters relating to the well-being of our guests seriously. We have not been contacted regarding this legal matter and therefore cannot comment at this time.”