Senator Dianne Feinstein on Thursday confirmed that the 89-year-old California lawmaker’s complications from shingles are more serious than previously known.
The official New York Times report said Feinstein’s shingles had spread to her face and neck, causing vision and balance abnormalities and facial paralysis, a complication known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome, a previously unreported form of encephalitis, a rare but potentially debilitating swelling of the brain.
Feinstein’s spokesman, Adam Russell, said in a statement that the encephalitis “resolved itself shortly after she was released from the hospital in March.” She continues to have complications from Ramsay Hunt syndrome, Russell added in a statement, which came after the Times story was published.
Here’s everything we know about Feinstein’s health and its impact on her work in the Senate, culled from the original report and from Yahoo News partners including The Times, The Washington Post and others.
How rare are Feinstein’s complications?
so true. according to US Centers for Disease Control and PreventionShingles affects a third of Americans, but Ramsay Hunt syndrome and encephalitis are rare and can be serious.
Dr. Michael Wilson, an encephalitis specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, told The Washington Post that the risk of encephalitis after shingles is “one in a thousand.”
Symptoms of encephalitis include “fever, headache, sensitivity to light or sound, neck stiffness, and even seizures and loss of consciousness.”
Ramsay Hunt syndrome – caused by the same virus as measles and shingles – is also very rare. According to the Mayo ClinicIt is more common in adults, especially affecting people over 60.
But young people can get it too. Last year, Justin Bieber, 29, He announced that he was diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt syndromeThis paralyzed one side of his face and forced him to delay his visit.
How long has Feinstein been missing?
Feinstein, who sits on the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, returned to Washington last week after months away from the Senate to recover from a shingles case under investigation in February. That same month, the six-term California Democrat announced she would not seek re-election in 2024.
Her extended leave raised concerns among Democrats about lost votes and prompted many calls for her to resign. Her absence from the Judiciary Committee has undermined the ability of the panel to issue subpoenas investigating reports of Supreme Court corruption, holding President Biden’s judicial nominees high.
(Time: Why Diane Feinstein Shouldn’t Quit)
Feinstein said last month that her return was “delayed due to ongoing complications” due to her shingles diagnosis and that she was not cleared to travel by her doctors.
She asked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to have “another Democratic senator serve on an interim basis” until I can resume my committee work.
What happened when she returned to work?
When she finally returned to Capitol Hill, she appeared remarkably frail.
“Used in a wheelchair, her face frozen on the left side and one eye nearly closed, an aide looked dazed as she walked down the Senate’s marble corridors,” the Times reported.
And speaking to a small group of reporters a few days later, Feinstein, who will turn 90 next month, seemed confused when asked about the well-wishes she received from her Senate colleagues upon her return.
“I didn’t go,” she said in the Los Angeles Times. “I was here. I’m choosing. Please either you know or you don’t.
(Politician: Feinstein’s return leaves her party on edge.)
The exchange did little to reverse calls for Feinstein to resign, which she resisted.
The New York Times added, “The senator still sees the job as a calling, and in 2016 In 2018, she faced questions about her mental health, but they were no more receptive to the discussion about her exit than when she decided to seek another term,” the New York Times said. Maybe Feinstein is going to start thinking about resigning when she dies.
“I returned to Washington, voting and attending committee meetings while I recovered from complications related to my shingles diagnosis,” Feinstein said in a statement Thursday. I work for California and get results.
Who is running to replace her?
Feinstein is not running for re-election next year and three prominent Democratic incumbents are vying to replace her.
Barbara LeeThe 76-year-old has served in Congress since 1998, representing the San Francisco Bay Area. Lee was the only member of Congress who did not vote for military authorization following the September 11 attacks, and she has a lot of support from progressives, the Congressional Black Caucus, and high-ranking California officials, such as the state attorney general and the mayors of Los Angeles and San Francisco.
(Yahoo News: The 2024 California Senate race could be Democrats’ next big civil war.)
Katie Porter, 49, entered Congress in 2011. Representing the Orange County district in what has been described as a Democratic progressive “blue wave” in 2018, she is more competitive than her Senate rivals. As soon as she entered Congress, she quickly a A reputation as a strong interrogator in committee hearings. Porter recently issued a memo and acknowledged Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a professor at Harvard Law School.
Adam Schiff, 62, has been the lead attorney for former President Donald Trump since 2001, representing the Los Angeles-area district. The former House Intelligence Chairman has the support of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and nearly two dozen other members of the California House. Possess a significant fundraising advantage against his opponents.