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Texas reports first confirmed case of bird flu in humans; The latest health stories from around the world

Texas officials today issued a “health alert” about the first confirmed case of a human infection with a bird influenza virus that has found its ways into dairy cows in the US. The worker developed conjunctivitis, a mild eye infection that frequently occurs when avian influenza viruses jump into humans. www.science.org/content/article/us-dairy-farm-worker-infected-as-bird-flu-spreads-to-cows-in-five-states?  The case is the latest surprise …

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Bird flu detected among US cattle; The latest health stories from around the world

The flu virus that has wreaked havoc on birds around the world appears to have surfaced among cows in the US. Texas authorities said this week they found the H5N1 strain, and the US Department of Agriculture said testing showed “consistency” with the clade of virus that has killed millions of wild birds and forced …

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Genetically modified kidney marks major milestone in organ transplantation; The latest health stories from around the world

A 62-year-old man with end-stage renal disease has become the first human to receive a new kidney from a genetically modified pig, doctors from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston announced on Thursday. https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/first-pig-to-human-kidney-transplant-performed-boston-2024-03-21/  The four-hour surgery, performed on March 16, “marks a major milestone in the quest to provide more readily available organs to patients,” …

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Developing nations seek reassurance on the WHO Pandemic Agreement; The latest health stories from around the world

“Me first”—that’s how Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization (WHO), described the wealthy world’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic when he kicked off negotiations for a global “pandemic treaty” in December 2021. Even before vaccines had proved safe and effective, rich countries had purchased enough doses to cover their entire population several …

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Dengue fever surges in Brazil; The latest health stories from around the world

Brazil is seeing an unprecedented surge in dengue, a viral disease that can cause excruciating pains and is sometimes fatal. An unusually hot rainy season, along with rapid, unplanned urbanization, have fuelled its spread this year. Health officials have reported more than 1 million suspected cases in January and February, four times as many as …

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Cholera vaccine shortage coincides with major outbreak; The latest health stories from around the world

The world has run out of cholera vaccines—just when the deadly disease is on a rampage not seen in many years. Fifteen countries are currently reporting active outbreaks, with more than 40,900 cases and 775 deaths reported in January alone. But all available doses of oral cholera vaccines in the global stockpile have been allocated …

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Alabama declares frozen embryos to legally classify as people; The latest health stories from around the world

The Supreme Court of Alabama’s ruling last week declaring frozen embryos at fertility clinics to be people has upended patient care there. The state’s two leading private in vitro fertilization providers as well as the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) paused all IVF procedures earlier this week while officials sort through the legal risks …

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Example of an Ebola treatment unit

New data reveals Ebola vaccine reduces mortality by half; The latest health stories from around the world

There’s welcome news in the battle against the Ebola virus, an infectious disease that for years had almost no treatments or remedies.  Outbreaks of the deadly Ebola virus flare up in parts of Africa almost every year, and they’re vicious.  The virus kills about half the people it infects. But a new study published in The …

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Measles on the rise in Europe; The latest health stories from around the world

The World Health Organization (WHO) said in December that its European region (which extends into parts of western and central Asia) saw an “alarming” increase in measles cases – from under 1,000 in 2022 to more than 30,000 last year. www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2024/02/08/1229540182/its-no-surprise-theres-a-global-measles-outbreak-but-the-numbers-are-staggering?  The WHO’s most recent global numbers, released in November, reveal that measles cases increased worldwide by 18% …

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Fluoridation: public health advancement or potential problem? The latest health stories from around the world

A long-simmering scientific battle assumed a new life this week, as experts clashed in a San Francisco courtroom over whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should ban fluoridation of drinking water to protect foetuses and children from the risk of neurodevelopmental problems. https://www.science.org/content/article/does-fluoride-drinking-water-lower-iq-question-looms-large-court-battle?  The case, being heard in a federal district court, “is precedent setting,” …

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