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Friends run for a cure for lupus, completing NYC Marathon in honor of longtime pal and lupus sufferer

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Friends run for a cure for lupus, completing NYC Marathon in honor of longtime pal and lupus sufferer

All marathoners have their own particular motivations for running a 26.2-mile race — and for Molly Anderson, Sarah Edwards and Laura Haley, it was to honor Rosie De Queljoe Herzog, their longtime friend who is living with lupus.

As a 30th birthday surprise, the three runners flew De Queljoe Herzog from her home in Los Angeles to the Big Apple, where she was able to cheer them on as they ran the New York City Marathon on Nov. 5.

Anderson, Edwards and Haley were part of Team Life Without Lupus, the official competitive team of the Lupus Research Alliance, the largest private funder of lupus research in the world.

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The four friends shared with Fox News Digital what the experience meant to them — and how its impact is lasting well beyond that one day.

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‘Something larger’

It was in 2021 when De Queljoe Herzog, a public relations professional, first started noticing symptoms, including rapid hair loss, joint pain, fatigue, swelling of her face and hands — and a malar rash (butterfly rash) on her face.

Pictured left to right: Molly Supple Anderson, Sarah Edwards, Rosie Herzog and Laura Haley at the NYC Marathon on Nov. 5, 2023. (Lupus Research Alliance)

“In the early days, I attributed the hair loss to a stressful 2020 and stressful work schedule, but it turned out to be something larger,” she told Fox News Digital. 

In early 2022, De Queljoe Herzog was officially diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, an inflammatory disease that occurs when the immune system attacks its own tissues.

She was hospitalized due to a lupus flare-up shortly after that. 

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AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE: A BODY AT WAR WITH ITSELF

“I was put on a number of drugs to help quell the flare,” she said. 

“I’ve been able to taper off some of the drugs since then, but am still on a few to help keep future flares at bay. I am no longer in a flare and am back to feeling healthy and ‘normal.’”

Over a decade of friendship

The four friends, all 30 years old, attended college together at the University of Arizona, where they competed on the triathlon team and developed an “inseparable bond,” said De Queljoe Herzog.

Their friendships continued to thrive after graduation. They were in each other’s weddings and took trips together.

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Friends at NYC Marathon

Team Life Without Lupus, the official competitive team of the Lupus Research Alliance, are pictured with family and friends. “The energy and spectators, especially all our friends and family who came out to watch, were absolutely electric,” said Edwards. (Lupus Research Alliance)

“We’re all so uniquely different, but have such an incredible time when we’re all together,” De Queljoe Herzog told Fox News Digital.

She was “floored” when her friends said they would be running the NYC Marathon on her behalf to support the Lupus Research Alliance. 

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“It was such a selfless act of friendship and love,” she told Fox News Digital. “They know how much lupus has impacted my overall health, and to see them rally around me and around lupus research was astonishing.”

De Queljoe Herzog and her husband traveled to New York City to watch the race.

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“It was such a fun weekend and race day — we were able to catch them at three different points during the race to cheer them on,” she said. “It was an emotional day that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.” 

“They know how much lupus has impacted my overall health, and to see them rally around me and around lupus research was astonishing.”

For those who are just starting their lupus journeys, De Queljoe Herzog stressed the importance of finding a support system to lean on.

“It can be a lonely road, but friends and family make it so much more manageable — especially friends who provide an endless supply of belly laughs.”

A race to remember

For the three runners, the race represented a way to support their friend while also marking a significant accomplishment.

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“As much as I would do anything to take Rosie’s symptoms and flares away, I can’t,” said Anderson, who lives in Spain and works as a sports psychologist. 

Friends running marathon

The team is pictured with Rosie De Queljoe Herzog along the race course. “Being able to run with two of my best friends for such a great purpose was incredibly gratifying and emotional,” said Anderson. (Lupus Research Alliance)

“It’s difficult living so far away, but after her diagnosis, I began to brainstorm ways to support her in my own way,” she went on. “That was when I had the idea to fund-raise for lupus research and encourage her to come to support the race.”

The other two runners, Edwards and Haley, were on board right away.

“We have always been motivated by physical and athletic challenges, so this seemed like the perfect combination of a challenge for us and raising money for an amazing cause,” said Edwards, who lives in Bend, Oregon, and works as an outreach coordinator for environmental organizations.

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“I’ve always dreamed of experiencing the magic of New York City and the energy I had always heard about in the marathon setting,” she went on.

Race day exceeded the team’s expectations, the women agreed.

“Being able to run with two of my best friends for such a great purpose was incredibly gratifying and emotional,” said Anderson.

Friends at NYC Marathon

The friends embrace along the NYC Marathon race course. Edwards described the race as “pure magic from start to finish.” (Lupus Research Alliance)

Edwards described the race as “pure magic from start to finish.”

“It was like running on cloud nine — it felt like a dream,” she said. “The energy and spectators, especially all our friends and family who came out to watch, were absolutely electric.”

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She added, “My most sore muscles after the race were my cheeks from smiling the whole time.”

“Seeing Rosie at mile 18 made me remember why I was doing this, made me cry and helped me get to the finish line.”

Haley, who lives in Tucson, Arizona, and works as a physical therapist, said the best part of the race was taking the ferry to Staten Island and watching the sunrise over Manhattan with her best friends, as well as running through Brooklyn and the Bronx.

“The people were so fun and full of life, energy and support,” she said.

Haley said she struggled at around mile 16, and found herself wishing she had trained more.

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Friends running NYC Marathon

The team is pictured celebrating along the marathon race course. “Every time I got tired or frustrated during training for this race, I would think of how much frustration Rosie has been through with lupus,” Edwards said. (Lupus Research Alliance)

“Oftentimes, while training or running the marathon, I would want to stop or ask myself, ‘Why am I doing this? This is miserable,’” she recalled. 

“And those moments are when I would remember Rosie’s challenges. It would make me grateful for my healthy body and carry me through those rough times.”

Haley added, “Seeing Rosie at mile 18 made me remember why I was doing this, made me cry and helped me get to the finish line.”

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Running the marathon was “a huge joy” for all of them, said Edwards.

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“And what has been even better is raising so much awareness among our family and friends through the fundraising process,” she said. “The more people know about lupus, the more support we can raise to find a cure one day.”

“Every time I got tired or frustrated during training for this race, I would think of how much frustration Rosie has been through with lupus.”

While De Queljoe Herzog is grateful for her friends’ support, they all agree that she is a huge source of motivation for them.

“Before her diagnosis, Rosie was always the most positive person I knew,” said Anderson. “She is an incredible listener and has an incredible ability to process information in a way that is productive. After her diagnosis, she was able to channel these parts of herself to listen to her body and manage her symptoms.”

Alzheimer's awareness

Lupus is one of the most complex autoimmune diseases, according to the Lupus Research Alliance, which is based in New York City. “It affects each person differently with symptoms that are sometimes hard to detect and differ from patient to patient,” the organization notes on its website. (iStock)

Edwards said thoughts of her friend’s challenges helped get her through the race preparations.

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“Every time I got tired or frustrated during training for this race, I would think of how much frustration Rosie has been through with lupus,” she told Fox News Digital.

“She is incredibly thoughtful and the kindest person I know. She motivates me to be a better person every day.”

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Albert Roy, president and CEO of Lupus Research Alliance, noted the significant impact that all of the teams make toward advancing research.

“We so appreciate how these young women and all the members of our Team Life Without Lupus ran the world’s largest marathon to raise both awareness and funds for lupus research,” he commented to Fox News Digital.

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Women make up about 9 out of 10 adults with the disease. 

“By pushing themselves to reach the finish line, they challenge us to keep striving to reach our goal — more treatments and ultimately a cure.”

Lupus is one of the most complex autoimmune diseases an individual can have, the organization notes. “It affects each person differently, with symptoms that are sometimes hard to detect and differ from patient to patient,” the group says on its website (lupusresearch.org).

While anyone can get lupus, the disease most often affects women, who make up about 9 out of 10 adults with the disease, the group also notes. 

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The chronic autoimmune disease affects millions of people worldwide. Doctors don’t know exactly what causes lupus, but they believe that something, or a combination of things, triggers the immune system to attack the body, WebMD indicates.

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews/health.

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Fasting-like diet could slow the aging process, study suggests: ‘Living longer and healthier’

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Fasting-like diet could slow the aging process, study suggests: ‘Living longer and healthier’

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Could adopting a fasting-like diet help slow down aging?

That’s the claim of researchers from the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology in Los Angeles, who led a study on the benefits of a “fasting-mimicking diet” (FMD).

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In addition to reducing biological age and immune system aging, the diet was linked to reductions in insulin resistance and liver fat, according to a press release from the university.

TIME-RESTRICTED EATING NO MORE BENEFICIAL THAN CALORIC RESTRICTION IN OBESE PATIENTS, STUDY SAYS

The findings, published in Nature Communications on Feb. 20, were based on clinical trials that included 100 men and women between 18 and 70 years old.

Half of the group was randomly assigned to the FMD, adhering to the diet for five days followed by 25 days of normal eating for three or four cycles.

A fasting-mimicking diet was found to reduce biological age and immune system aging, as well as insulin resistance and liver fat, in a new study. (iStock)

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The control group ate either a normal diet or a Mediterranean-style diet.

The people in the FMD group showed decreased abdominal and liver fat, as well as reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

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Those on the experimental diet also showed signs of a more youthful immune system.

Overall, the FMD adopters’ biological age was reduced by an average of 2.5 years based on the functioning of their cells and tissues, the researchers found.

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Drinking tea

In the USC study, the fasting-mimicking diet included energy bars, plant-based soups, chip snacks, energy drinks and tea. (iStock)

“I think it is surprising that three cycles of the FMD done for only five days a month (15 days total) — which allow people to have modified/low calorie but regular meals and without changing the normal diet of the participants for the rest of the month — can have such an effect on biological age, body fat and a range of disease risk factors,” senior author Valter Longo, USC Leonard Davis School Professor, told Fox News Digital.

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If the cycles were continued for three cycles a year for 20 years, Longo projected that the FMD could reduce biological age by 11 years and reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes by 10% to 30%. 

“However, these are only simulations — and additional studies are necessary to confirm this potential of the FMD cycles,” he added.

Energy drinks

Half of the group was randomly assigned to the FMD, adhering to the diet for five days followed by 25 days of normal eating for three or four cycles. (iStock)

Prior studies in mice have identified additional benefits of the FMD, including reduced risk of age-related diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes, Vongo pointed out.

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The diet has been previously to reduced chemo side effects, greater stem cell regeneration and reduced signs of dementia, the release stated.

What is the fasting-mimicking diet?

Originally developed by Longo, the FMD is a five-day diet that is low in overall calories, protein and carbohydrates and high in unsaturated fat.

The eating plan is designed to mimic a pure fast while still allowing consumption of essential nutrients.

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“The fasting-mimicking diet (FMD), also known as the ProLon Diet, has been around for approximately seven years and has been studied in multiple clinical trials,” Erin Palinski-Wade, a New Jersey-based registered dietitian, told Fox News Digital.

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“By following a structured, very low-calorie nutrition plan for five days, the goal is to provide the benefits of a prolonged fast while still allowing individuals to eat,” said Palinski-Wade, who was not involved in the USC study.

“The diet is designed to transition the body into a fasting state while nourishing it with specific nutrients to avoid activating food-sensing pathways.”

Woman reaches for water glass near bed

“[The diet] allows for physical, biological and epigenetic benefits without the need for prolonged water-only fasts,” an expert said.  (iStock)

In the USC study, the fasting-mimicking diet included energy bars, plant-based soups, chip snacks, energy drinks and tea, according to the release. 

The FMD group also received a supplement with “high levels of minerals, vitamins and essential fatty acids.”

The specific diet that was tested in the two trials is commercially available, but Longo said that university rules prevent him from sharing the name of the product.

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“In an era obsessed with superficial youth and quick fixes, the fasting-mimicking diet offers a tangible method to systematically reverse aging and enhance metabolic health.”

“I think it is important to begin to consider the plant-based FMD intervention described here for two to three times a year as a way to prevent and treat some diseases, together with the right type of drugs,” Longo said. 

This could aid in “returning to full health and living longer and healthier, rather than continuing to take progressively more drugs as we age,” he added.

For people aiming to prevent or treat diseases through the use of an FMD, Longo said people should first talk to a doctor.

Other experts weigh in on the diet

Melanie Avalon, an Atlanta-based health influencer who hosts “The Intermittent Fasting Podcast,” was not involved in the study, but noted that the research provides “solid data” on how dietary and lifestyle changes affect the aging process.

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“Our society’s fascination with youth and longevity is well-known; however, measuring progress and biological improvements is often subjective,” she told Fox News Digital. 

Woman meal plan

While fasting is often pursued for its visible weight loss benefits, an expert noted that this study highlights its extended benefits for metabolic health. (iStock)

“The concept of ‘chronological age’ can mislead when assessing the body’s aging rate and predicting lifespan,” Avalon went on. 

“For the first time, this study reveals that a fasting-mimicking diet can reduce one’s biological age.”

While traditional fasting can be daunting for some, FMD can be a more feasible alternative.

“It allows for physical, biological and epigenetic benefits without the need for prolonged water-only fasts,” she said. 

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AVOID THESE FAD DIETS IN 2024; TRY THESE HEALTHY METHODS OF EATING INSTEAD

While fasting is often pursued for its visible weight loss benefits, Avalon noted that this study highlights FMD’s extended benefits for metabolic health.

“In an era obsessed with superficial youth and quick fixes, the fasting-mimicking diet offers a tangible method to systematically reverse aging and enhance metabolic health,” she said.

“Unlike the costly and extreme measures of ‘biohacking,’ the FMD provides an accessible and practical solution to reduce biological age.”

Potential risks and limitations

Tanya Freirich, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Charlotte, North Carolina, who practices as The Lupus Dietitian, cautioned that she would not recommend the fasting-mimicking diet to any person who has struggled with an eating disorder in the past or who has trouble controlling their blood sugar.

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“Restricting and changing eating patterns may have negative effects,” she said. 

Woman eating healthy

The fasting-mimicking diet could aid in “returning to full health and living longer and healthier, rather than continuing to take progressively more drugs as we age,” the study author said. (iStock)

Palinski-Wade agreed that those with underlying health conditions should speak to their physician before considering a restrictive diet plan. 

“A very low-calorie diet may not be appropriate for those with uncontrolled diabetes, a history of hypoglycemia, a history of disordered eating, or those who are pregnant or nursing,” she said.

Before making any dietary changes, Freirich stressed the need for “extensive education” to be provided.

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“While changing the timing and amount of our food intake is an approach worth examining, it is also important to remember to choose health-promoting foods daily,” the dietitian continued. 

“The food choices we make daily have a large impact on our weight, blood sugars, heart health, immune system and more. If fasting doesn’t feel like the right choice for you, speaking with a registered dietitian about the dietary changes for your health is always recommended.”

Nutritionist

Before making any dietary changes, a nutritionist (not pictured) told Fox News Digital that people need “extensive education” to be provided. (iStock)

The study had some limitations, both dietitians noted.

“It was a small sample size of healthy young-ish individuals,” Freirich said. “The results may be helpful and useful for other people after more research is completed in a larger age range and including people with other medical concerns.”  

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Palinski-Wade reiterated that the studies on FMD have included smaller sample sizes of generally healthy adults, which means the results cannot be generalized to all populations.

“FMD may offer promising benefits and may be an excellent tool to consider for those looking to improve long-term health and reduce future disease risk, but more research is needed on larger and more diverse populations to fully understand the benefits it may offer,” she added.

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.

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Kidney swap saves two lives, plus surprising COVID effects and IVF uncertainty

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Kidney swap saves two lives, plus surprising COVID effects and IVF uncertainty

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A decision from the Alabama Supreme Court has led to a halt in IVF services at some locations and a flurry of protests from providers in the fertility space. (iStock)

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Amid measles outbreaks, Florida Department of Health speaks out against ‘false information’

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Amid measles outbreaks, Florida Department of Health speaks out against ‘false information’

Amid ongoing measles outbreaks at Florida schools, the state’s Department of Health released an updated statement on Wednesday, which was provided to Fox News Digital.

There have been a total of nine confirmed measles cases as of Tuesday in Broward County, with seven of them reported at Manatee Bay Elementary in Weston, according to local reports.

Last week, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo issued a letter to parents urging them to make their own decisions about whether to send their children to school.

AMID FLORIDA MEASLES OUTBREAK, SURGEON GENERAL LETS PARENTS DECIDE WHETHER TO SEND UNVACCINATED KIDS TO SCHOOL

Typical guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is for unvaccinated children who have not had the measles to stay home for up to 21 days in the event of a potential exposure at school.

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Amid ongoing measles outbreaks at Florida schools, the state’s Department of Health has released an updated statement.  (iStock)

“However, due to the high immunity rate in the community, as well as the burden on families and the educational cost of healthy children missing school, DOH is deferring to parents or guardians to make decisions about school attendance,” Ladapo’s letter stated. 

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The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) noted that details of the agency’s investigations into the outbreak are “confidential,” and claimed that “many media outlets are reporting false information and politicizing this outbreak.”

FDOH released a statement to ensure that Floridians are “correctly informed.”

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Boy vaccination

Doctors have expressed their support of measles vaccinations and cautioned against sending unvaccinated kids to school during an outbreak. (iStock)

At Manatee Bay Elementary, where the bulk of the cases have been reported, 97% of students have received at least one dose of the MMR immunization, according to the agency.

On Tuesday, the local news outlet WSVN reported that about 30% of students at Manatee Bay Elementary were unvaccinated, according to the school board.

“Outbreaks are occurring in multiple states, and the national immunization rate for measles is less than 92%,” the statement said.

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When a case of measles is confirmed in a school, FDOH recommends that students who have not had a prior infection or vaccination remain at home for up to 21 days.

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“This is the period of time that the virus can be transmitted. This recommendation has been made at Manatee Bay Elementary,” the agency said.

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo

Amid measles outbreaks in various parts of the U.S., Florida surgeon general Dr. Joseph Ladapo has issued guidance to parents regarding kids’ school attendance. He also said, “This recommendation may change as epidemiological investigations continue.” (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/Sipa USA/Sipa via AP Images)

The last confirmed case of measles was on Feb. 15, 2024, which means the end of the 21-day infectious period is March 7, 2024.

“This may change as epidemiological investigations continue,” the statement noted.

FDOH said it has been working with Manatee Bay Elementary to educate parents on measles.

“Any parent who is concerned for their child, regardless of their immunization status, may choose to keep their children home.”

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“Any parent who is concerned for their child, regardless of their immunization status, may choose to keep their children home and utilize continuous learning during this time,” the agency said.  

“Due to the high immunity rate, as well as the burden on families and educational cost of healthy children missing school, the surgeon general’s current guidance ensures that parents or guardians are able to make the best decisions for their families regarding school attendance,” the statement continued.

measles on a male torso

As of Tuesday, there have been a total of nine confirmed measles cases in Broward County, with seven of them reported at Manatee Bay Elementary in Weston, according to local reports. (iStock )

Other doctors have expressed their support of measles vaccinations and cautioned against sending unvaccinated kids to school during an outbreak.

“At a time when there’s a resurgence of measles in the world and travel is not restricted, and people are coming into this country with measles, it’s extremely important that our children be vaccinated against it,” Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, told Fox News Digital last week.

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Amid the current measles outbreak, he said, “individual choice has to give way to public health and community preservation or safety,” Siegel said.

“The problem here is that if kids start going to school unvaccinated against measles, given how contagious it is and how effective the vaccine is, they are putting other children at risk,” the doctor added.

In a statement sent to Fox News Digital, a member of the District 2 School Board in Broward County stated that the board is working with the state and local health departments. 

“I appreciate the leadership and support by the surgeon general and welcome all resources to help our parents and children,” says Torey Alston, who was formerly a county commissioner. 

“The safety and academic success of our children remains the No. 1 priority.”

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As of Feb. 22, 2024, a total of 35 measles cases had been reported by 15 jurisdictions across the U.S., in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York City, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.

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