Patrick Sawyer had one stop to make before heading home to Minnesota to celebrate his daughters' birthdays: a conference in Lagos, Nigeria.
But when he landed in Lagos, Sawyer, 40, collapsed getting off the plane. He had been infected with Ebola in Liberia, where he worked as a top government official in the Liberian Ministry of Finance.
Sawyer was isolated at a local Nigerian hospital on July 20. He died five days later.
Sawyer's wife Decontee Sawyer, lives in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, with the couple's three young daughters, 5-year-old Eva, 4-year-old Mia, and Bella, who is 1. The Sawyers are naturalized citizens; their daughters were born in the United States.
"He was so proud when he became a U.S. citizen," Decontee told CNN. "He voted for first time in the last U.S. presidential election. He lived in the U.S. for many years, and wanted that for Liberia - a better democracy."
Sawyer had been caring for his Ebola-stricken sister in Liberia, Decontee said, though at the time he didn't know she had Ebola.
Sawyer is the first American to die in what health officials are calling the "deadliest Ebola outbreak in history." His death has sparked concerns that the virus could potentially spread to the United States.
"People weren't really taking it [Ebola] seriously until it hit Patrick," Decontee said. "People are ready to take action."
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Choosing healthier foods at the grocery store may soon be a little easier.
The Food and Drug Administration is proposing several changes to the nutrition labels you see on packaged foods and beverages. If approved, the new labels would place a bigger emphasis on total calories, added sugars and certain nutrients, such as Vitamin D and potassium.
The FDA is also proposing changes to serving size requirements in an effort to more accurately reflect what people usually eat or drink. For example, if you buy a 20-ounce soda, you're probably not going to stop drinking at the 8-ounce mark. The new rules would require that entire soda bottle to be one serving size - making calorie counting simpler.
This is the first overhaul for nutrition labels since the FDA began requiring them more than 20 years ago. There has been a shift in shoppers' priorities as nutrition is better understood and people learn what they should watch for on a label, administration officials said.
"You as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into your local grocery store, pick up an item off the shelf, and be able to tell whether it's good for your family," first lady Michelle Obama said in a press release. "So this is a big deal, and it's going to make a big difference for families all across this country."
The proposed labels would remove the "calories from fat" line you currently see on labels, focusing instead on total calories found in each serving. Nutritionists have come to understand that the type of fat you're eating matters more than the calories from fat. As such, the breakdown of total fat vs. saturated and trans fat would remain.
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Obesity rates of children ages 2 to 5 years old have decreased significantly over the past decade, according to a new study published Tuesday.
While there were no significant changes in obesity rates for most ages between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012, researchers saw a sharp decrease in the obesity rates of 2- to 5-year-olds - from 13.9% to 8.4%, according to the study published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.
A big part of a child's obesity risk is already established by age 5, according to a study published in January.
The study findings were announced the same day as first lady Michelle Obama proposed new rules to limit the types of foods and beverages that can be advertised in schools and marked the fourth anniversary of her Let's Move! initiative to combat child obesity.
Under the suggested federal regulations, companies would no longer be permitted to use logos of high-calorie products such as regular sodas on cups, vending machines or posters.
The move is part of the first lady's ongoing efforts to combat childhood obesity in America.
According to the new JAMA study, close to 17% of children aged 2 to 19 were obese in 2011-2012. That number has remained fairly constant since 2003-2004, dropping just 0.2%.
More than a third of adults over 20 were obese that same year, a number that held steady over the study's time period. The prevalence is often higher in women and in Hispanic and non-Hispanic black populations.
Four years ago this month, Obama announced that she was taking on childhood obesity with a new initiative called Let's Move! The comprehensive program was part parental education, part government reform - with a bit of celebrity encouragement thrown in.
"About one-third of our children are overweight or obese. None of us want that for our country," Obama said at the time. "It's time to get moving."
Let's Move! had several objectives under its broader ambition of "solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation." Obama wanted to increase physical activity and improve nutrition in schools, overhaul nutrition labels to make healthy choices easier for families, decrease the number of calories in restaurant meals and eliminate food deserts - areas without access to fresh, healthy foods - in cities across America.
Doctors are looking for more information about a "polio-like syndrome" that has caused paralysis in a few children in California.
Neurologists have identified five patients who developed paralysis in one or more of their limbs between August 2012 and July 2013. All five children had been vaccinated against the poliovirus. Treatment did not seem to help the children regain their motor function.
Samples from two of the children tested positive for enterovirus 68, a rare virus that has been linked to severe respiratory illness in the past. Samples from the other three children were not collected or tested soon enough to yield conclusive results, said Dr. Emmanuelle Waubant, a neurologist at the University of California, San Francisco.
Waubant and her colleagues will present a case report about these patients' illnesses at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting in late April. They are asking health care providers to be on the lookout for similar cases and send in samples from any patient exhibiting these symptoms.
Dr. Carol Glaser, chief of the Encephalitis and Special Investigation Section at the California Department of Public Health, said the state is aware of the paralysis cases but believes the risk to families is very low.
"We are evaluating cases as they are reported to us," Glaser said in an e-mail to CNN. "We have not found anything at this point that raises any public health concerns."
The poliovirus has been eradicated in the United States for more than 30 years. Only three countries in the world are not yet free of the disease: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria, according to the World Health Organization.
Poliovirus is part of the Picornaviridae family, which also includes enteroviruses and rhinoviruses (better known as the common cold). There are more than 100 types of enterovirus that cause 10 million to 15 million infections in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most people who become infected with an enterovirus do not get sick or experience only mild symptoms, said Dr. Steven Oberste, chief of the Polio and Picornavirus Laboratory Branch at the CDC. Common symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough, skin rash and body aches.
Enterovirus is often the cause of "summer colds," whose cases spike in July, August and September. Children and teens are more likely to fall ill because they have not yet built up immunity to these common viruses.
However, some types of enterovirus are more serious. These can cause hand, foot and mouth disease; viral meningitis; encephalitis (inflammation of the brain); an infection of the heart; and paralysis in some patients.
Enterovirus 68 was first identified in a California lab in 1962, after four children came down with a severe respiratory illness. Between 1970 and 2005, only 26 cases of enterovirus 68 in the United States were reported to the CDC. Since 2000, the government agency has kept a closer watch and has seen 47 cases, Oberste said. Outbreaks have occurred over the years in Asia and Europe, but it's still one of the rarest types of enterovirus.
More common - and more concerning to health officials - is enterovirus 71, which was discovered by the same California lab in 1969, Oberste said. Enterovirus 71 is usually associated with severe neurological issues, including aseptic meningitis, polio-like paralysis and encephalitis.
According to a CDC report, several outbreaks of paralysis caused by enterovirus 71 were seen in Europe in the 1960s and 1970s. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, fatal encephalitis was a big problem in Malaysia and Taiwan.
"Ever since then, the virus has circulated in high levels in Southeast Asia," Oberste said.
In recent years, the outbreaks have spread to Australia; a cluster of cases near Sydney drew media attention in 2013.
Between 1983 and 2005, 270 cases of enterovirus 71 were reported in the United States. But none has resulted in a larger outbreak, despite the virus's infectious nature.
"That's the really odd thing," Oberste said. "We see cases from time to time in the United States. Occasionally they'll be severe. Basically it's identical to what's circulating in Asia ... but it doesn't cause the same big outbreak in disease. And we really don't know why."
The CDC is aware of the small cluster of cases in California but is not actively involved in an investigation, a spokesman told CNN. Waubant and her colleagues don't want to alarm anyone with their case report presentation; they're simply seeking help in finding the cause of these seemingly connected cases.
"We would like to stress that this syndrome appears to be very, very rare," one of Waubant's colleagues, Dr. Keith Van Haren, said in a prepared statement.
Parents need to know that vaccination is key to preventing polio from returning to the United States, Glaser said. While there is no vaccine to protect you from a non-polio enterovirus, washing your hands frequently and avoiding close contact with others who are sick can help.