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Zika virus leaves Kenya undecided about attending Rio Olympics
9 Feb 2016 at 11:02pm
By Drazen Jorgic NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya caused a stir on Tuesday when the head of its Olympics committee said the team might withdraw from the Rio Games because of Zika, but officials said later it was too soon to decide on the impact of the virus. The mosquito-borne virus, which is widespread in Brazil and has been linked to birth defects, has prompted concern among athletes and sports officials around the world as they prepare for the Aug. 5-21 Games in Rio de Janeiro. There is no vaccine or treatment for Zika, so combating the outbreak is focused on eradicating mosquito populations and preventing mosquito bites.
Zika, disease of the poor, may not change abortion in Brazil
9 Feb 2016 at 10:28pm
By Stephen Eisenhammer RECIFE (Reuters) - Six months pregnant with her first child, Eritania Maria has a rash and a mild fever, symptoms of the Zika virus linked to brain deformities in newborn children in Brazil. Like other women in the slums of Recife, which squat on stilts over mosquito-ridden marshland in northeast Brazil, Maria has few options if her child develops microcephaly, the condition marked by an abnormally small head and underdeveloped brain that has been linked to Zika. Brazil has amongst the toughest abortion laws in the world and is culturally conservative.
Japanese actor Ken Watanabe, leukemia survivor, fights stomach cancer
9 Feb 2016 at 9:40pm
By Elaine Lies TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese actor Ken Watanabe, an Academy Award nominee for his performance in the movie "The Last Samurai" and lauded in the recent Broadway revival of "The King and I," is fighting stomach cancer and will have to postpone plans to return to Broadway. The lean, ruggedly handsome Watanabe, who more than twenty years ago survived two bouts of leukemia, was diagnosed "almost miraculously early" with the cancer last month and underwent surgery, he said on Twitter. "I was really shocked, my wife and daughter pushed me to have a health check and the cancer was found.
China confirms first case of Zika virus: Xinhua
9 Feb 2016 at 8:52pm
By Megha Rajagopalan and Clare Jim BEIJING/HONG KONG (Reuters) - China has confirmed its first case of the Zika virus in a man who had recently travelled to South America, the official Xinhua news agency reported. The virus, which is causing international alarm after spreading through much of the Americas, was detected in a 34-year-old man from Ganxian county in the eastern province of Jiangxi, Xinhua said, citing China's National Health and Family Planning Commission.
FDA puts full clinical hold on CTI BioPharma's blood cancer drug
9 Feb 2016 at 6:44pm
(Reuters) - CTI BioPharma Corp said the U.S Food and Drug Administration has put a full clinical hold on the company's investigational new drug application for pacritinib. CTI said it has withdrawn its application for the experimental blood cancer drug and will now review the safety and efficacy data. The regulator also recommended that CTI request a meeting prior to submitting its response to the full clinical hold.
Australia set to legalize cultivation of medical cannabis
9 Feb 2016 at 6:32pm
By Colin Packham SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia is expected to legalize the cultivation of cannabis for medical or scientific purposes with a bill introduced to parliament on Wednesday -- the first step towards doctors eventually prescribing it to patients with chronic pain. The bill will see Australia create a national licensing and permit scheme to supply medical cannabis to patients with painful and chronic conditions on clinical trials. Several Australian states have committed to starting trials for the cultivation of cannabis for medical and research purposes but current laws forbid the growing of the plant.
Email: Bacteria worries influenced Flint corrosion decision
9 Feb 2016 at 6:12pm
Worries over bacteria led to the fateful decision not to apply anti-corrosive chemicals when Flint, Michigan, began drawing water from the Flint River, an email written by the city's former public works director says.
U.S. to study Zika link to Guillain-Barre in Puerto Rico
9 Feb 2016 at 6:10pm
By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - Experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are heading to Puerto Rico this week to study whether the mosquito-borne Zika virus will cause an increase in cases of a rare neurological disorder known as Guillain-Barre syndrome as the outbreak intensifies in this U.S. territory. The World Health Organization last month predicted that Zika would spread to all countries in the Americas except for Canada and Chile. "Right now we're focusing on Puerto Rico, where we've just started seeing cases of Zika as well as cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome," Dr. James Sejvar, a neuroepidemiologist at the CDC, told Reuters in an interview.
Ohio EPA: Town failed to notify some of lead in recent tests
9 Feb 2016 at 5:57pm
SEBRING, Ohio (AP) ? Tap water samples taken over the last two weeks have found high levels of lead in at least 30 homes in the village, which failed to promptly notify some people about results and didn't submit required weekly reports on water chemistry, state environmental regulators said Tuesday.
Biggest ever infectious disease survey to speed end of trachoma
9 Feb 2016 at 5:38pm
By Alex Whiting LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Surveyors were taken hostage in Yemen, accused of being representatives of Dracula in Papua New Guinea, worked in sandstorms and temperatures of 50 degrees Celsius in Ethiopia. It was all part of the day's work for some of the thousands of people who have completed what the organizers say is the largest ever survey of an infectious disease, examining 2.6 million people in 29 countries for the eye infection trachoma. "They faced tribal warfare and rogue villagers in Papua New Guinea who spread a rumor that the teams were vampires," said Anthony Solomon, chief scientist of the Global Trachoma Mapping Project (GTMP).
Report card on aboriginal Australians paints bleak picture
9 Feb 2016 at 5:34pm
By Matt Siegel SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Wednesday said that the government was failing to meet a number of goals aimed at improving the lot of its embattled aboriginal population as he released its tenth annual report card on indigenous issues. Just two of seven targets in the 2016 Closing the Gap report, which outlines the government's record in meeting its own targets on issues such as infant mortality, life expectancy and economic performance, are on track to be met. The report found that the imprisonment rate for indigenous adults in Australia rose by a staggering 77 percent between 2000 and 2015.
Nearly 100 nerve disorder cases linked to Zika in Colombia: health officials
9 Feb 2016 at 5:32pm
By Anastasia Moloney BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Nearly 100 Colombians suffering from the Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare nerve disorder, also have symptoms of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, Colombia's National Health Institute has said. Colombian health authorities recently announced that three people who had been infected with the Zika virus had died after developing the Guillain-Barre syndrome, the first time health officials had said the Zika virus could cause deaths.
Michigan governor says to request another $195 million for Flint water
9 Feb 2016 at 4:49pm
The new funding request is in addition to $37 million that has already been appropriated this year by the Republican-led legislature, said Snyder spokesman Dave Murray. "That's a significant investment in the people of Flint," Murray said. The city of some 100,000 people was under control of a state-appointed emergency manager in 2014 when it switched its source of water from Detroit's municipal system to the Flint River to save money.
FDA advisory panel strongly backs biosimilar Remicade
9 Feb 2016 at 3:34pm
(Reuters) - A medical advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday recommended approval of a cheaper biosimilar form of Johnson & Johnson's Remicade arthritis drug that could eventually batter sales of the branded product. The panel, by a vote of 21-3, supported use of the biosimilar from Celltrion Inc and Pfizer Inc, called Remsima. The FDA usually, but not always, follows the advice of its advisory panels.
Texas abortion providers launch campaign to keep clinics open
9 Feb 2016 at 3:23pm
As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to decide the legality of strict Texas abortion restrictions, women's healthcare providers have launched a campaign across the state trying to win support to keep their clinics open. The U.S. Supreme Court took up a major new abortion case in November by agreeing to hear a challenge by abortion providers to parts of a restrictive, Republican-backed Texas law that critics contend is aimed at shutting abortion clinics. Texas Republicans who backed what is known as HB-2 contend the 2013 abortion law is aimed at protecting women's health.