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Factbox: Why the Zika virus is causing alarm
25 Jul 2016 at 12:13pm
Global health officials are racing to better understand the Zika virus behind a major outbreak that began in Brazil last year and has spread to many countries in the Americas. Zika is transmitted to people through the bite of infected female mosquitoes, primarily the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same type that spreads dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said Aedes mosquitoes are found in all countries in the Americas except Canada and continental Chile, and the virus will likely reach all countries and territories of the region where Aedes mosquitoes are found.
'Thrifty' Samoan obesity gene found: study
25 Jul 2016 at 11:31am
Scientists revealed a "thrifty" gene variant Monday that likely helped Samoans store fat and survive in bygone lean times, but has made them among the portliest people in times of plenty. The variant in the gene CREBRF was common among Samoans -- it was present in 45 percent of some 5,000 participants in a study, a research team reported in the journal Nature Genetics. "Those with it were likely to have a higher BMI than those who didn't have it," they wrote -- referring to the international measure of "body mass index" -- a ratio of weight-to-height squared.
U.S. health officials update Zika transmission and testing guidance
25 Jul 2016 at 11:12am
(Reuters) - U.S. health officials issued updated recommendations for preventing and testing for Zika infection on Monday, warning that the virus can be transmitted through unprotected sex with an infected female partner. Previously, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other experts, believed that the virus could only be sexually transmitted by males because it can reside in semen potentially for several months. For that reason, the CDC had recommended that men who had been infected abstain from unprotected sexual contact for at least six months with a partner who is pregnant or hoping to become pregnant.
New Zealand satisfied with Rio Village after remedial work
25 Jul 2016 at 10:55am
(Reuters) - New Zealand's Olympic team said they were satisfied with their accommodation for the Rio de Janeiro Games on Sunday, despite their trans-Tasman Sea neighbors Australia refusing to move in. The Australian Olympic team have declined to take up their apartments in the village with Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller saying the accommodation was "not safe or ready". The New Zealand Chef de Mission Rob Waddell said, however, he was happy with the accommodation, even if the advance team had needed to work with organizers to get it up to standard.
Australians stay away from Village citing blocked toilets, exposed wiring
25 Jul 2016 at 10:53am
The Australian Olympic team refused to move in to Rio de Janeiro's village for athletes on Sunday, saying the accommodation was "not safe or ready" for next month's games. "Due to a variety of problems in the Village, including gas, electricity and plumbing, I have decided that no Australian Team member will move into our allocated building," delegation head Kitty Chiller said on Sunday. The first Australian athletes to arrive in Rio were due to move into the Village on July 21 but have instead been living in nearby hotels.
Venezuelan schoolchildren express hunger in drawings
25 Jul 2016 at 10:25am
By Daniel Kai CARACAS (Reuters) - When children at a Catholic-run school in a poor neighborhood of Venezuela's Caracas capital began fainting from hunger, teachers asked them to draw or describe their most recent meals and what they expected to eat next. The drawings and texts at the Padre Jose Maria Velaz school in western Caracas are another symptom of the oil-rich South American nation's deep economic crisis and its effects on nutrition and eating habits. Due to the faltering socialist economy and the plunge in global oil prices, Venezuela has been in recession since early 2014.
Colombia declares end to Zika epidemic inside country
25 Jul 2016 at 10:25am
The epidemic of the Zika virus has officially ended in Colombia, the country's vice health minister said on Monday, 10 months after the mosquito-borne illness arrived in the Andean nation. The disease, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says can cause the devastating birth defect microcephaly, has infected nearly 100,000 Colombians and caused 21 cases of microcephaly. Colombia's declaration comes after British experts said this month that the outbreak will take two to three years to burn out.
Spain registers first case in Europe of baby born with Zika-related defect
25 Jul 2016 at 9:30am
Spain has recorded the first case in Europe of a baby born with the microcephaly birth defect associated with the Zika virus, Spanish health authorities said on Monday. The woman had been diagnosed with the virus in May and had decided to keep the baby, a spokeswoman for the regional health authorities of Catalonia, where the baby was born, told Reuters. The mosquito-borne Zika virus has been linked to hundreds of cases of microcephaly.
First baby with Zika-linked microcephaly born in Spain
25 Jul 2016 at 9:28am
MADRID (AP) ? Health officials in Barcelona say a woman has given birth to a baby boy with microcephaly associated with the Zika virus ? the first detected case in Spain.
Flu vaccine may help keep diabetics out of the hospital
25 Jul 2016 at 9:12am
By Lisa Rapaport (Reuters Health) - People with diabetes who get the flu vaccine may be less likely to wind up hospitalized for cardiovascular or respiratory problems, a recent study suggests. ?The potential impact of influenza vaccine to reduce serious illness and death highlight the importance to renew efforts to ensure that people with diabetes receive the flu vaccine every year,? said lead study author Dr. Eszter Vamos, a public health researcher at Imperial College London. Vamos and colleagues examined seven years of data on almost 125,000 people in England with type 2 diabetes, which is associated with aging and obesity and accounts for most cases of the disease.
Baby born in Spain with Zika-caused microcephaly, first in Europe: hospital
25 Jul 2016 at 9:11am
A woman infected with the Zika virus gave birth to a baby with the brain-damaging disorder microcephaly in Spain on Monday, her hospital said, the first case of its kind in Europe. A hospital source said she was infected in Latin America, where the virus is prevalent. "The baby did not require any resuscitation," Felix Castillo, neonatal chief at the Vall d'Hebron hospital in Barcelona, told a press conference, adding that the infant's vital signs were "normal and stable".
Tens of thousands of babies 'may be born with Zika disorders'
25 Jul 2016 at 8:49am
Tens of thousands of babies may be born with debilitating Zika-related disorders in the course of the outbreak sweeping through Latin America and the Caribbean, researchers said Monday. Mathematical projections suggest about 93.4 million people may catch the virus -- including some 1.65 million pregnant women -- before the epidemic fizzles out, a team reported in the journal Nature Microbiology. Among women in a high-risk early term of pregnancy, anything between one and 13 percent have foetuses develop microcephaly or other Zika-related complications, said the multidisciplinary research team from the United States, Britain and Sweden.
Germany plans to extend price brake for drugs under statutory insurance
25 Jul 2016 at 8:16am
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany wants to extend a price brake for drugs covered by statutory health insurance for five years beyond 2017, stretching out the measure introduced in 2009, a draft law seen by Reuters shows. The health ministry estimates savings from the extension will amount to between 1.5 and 2.0 billion euros ($1.65-2.19 billion), ministry sources said. Under the draft law, the government in Germany, Europe's biggest market for medicines, also wants to lower prices of newly launched drugs within the first 12 months if sales are greater than 250 million euros. ...
Up to 1.65 million women of childbearing age at risk for Zika
25 Jul 2016 at 8:14am
By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - As many as 1.65 million women of childbearing age in Central and Latin America are at risk of being infected with Zika, resulting in tens of thousands of pregnancies that could be affected by the mosquito-borne virus that is linked with severe birth defects. Prior modeling efforts that focus on the number of cases have been challenging because people infected with Zika often don't have symptoms. According to study co-author Alex Perkins of University of Notre Dame, women in poorer areas are at greater risk for Zika because they are less likely to have screens on their windows and air conditioners - two factors that have a major influence on reducing exposure to mosquitoes that carry Zika.
When pot became legal in Colorado, kids' exposures went up
25 Jul 2016 at 8:12am
By Kathryn Doyle (Reuters Health) - After recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado, there was an increase in hospitalizations and poison control center visits for kids who?d been accidentally exposed to the drug, researchers say. Recreational marijuana became available in Colorado in 2014, and three other states now allow recreational use, the study authors point out in JAMA Pediatrics. Officials had hoped that the child resistant packaging requirements that were part of the recreational marijuana law ?might blunt any potential increase? in accidental exposures in children, but the increase was more dramatic than expected, said senior author Dr. Genie Roosevelt of the Denver Health and Hospital Authority.