A summary of important health news from the past week.
By: Jacqueline Howard
Health officials in Kenya investigating the sudden death of 10 buffalo have confirmed that the first case in the outbreak was due to anthrax. Such cases occur occasionally in livestock and wild animals around the world, and humans can become infected if they come into contact with an infected animal (this includes eating the animal’s meat or drinking its milk). According to a release by Kenya’s State Department of Wildlife, the outbreak has been contained and officials are monitoring the situation. In order to prevent anthrax outbreaks from spreading other animals and to humans, livestock vaccines are administered and post-exposure antibiotics are distributed to those who may have had contact with an infected animal.
By: Susan Scutti
The World Health Organization’s director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has declared that the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is not an international health crisis. If it stays within the Congo, the WHO will keep the same position. The outbreak began August 2018 and has become the second largest and deadliest situation. So far, 1,206 cases and 764 deaths have been reported. During the 2014 outbreak in West Africa, 1,711 probable cases had been reported before the outbreak was deemed a public health emergency of international concern. Without the declaration from the WHO, Congo might repeat the mistakes of West Africa during their Ebola outbreak.
A recent study found that the rate of young children in the United States going to the emergency room for having swallowed coins, toys and other similar objects has practically doubled over the last 20 years. After looking at data from 1995 to 2015, the researchers found that the rates of emergency room visits for these ingestions increase from 9.4 per 10,000 children in 1995 to 17.9 per 10,000 in 2015. The lead author of the study, Dr. Danielle Orsagh-Yentis, highlighted button-sized batteries as a potential contributor to the increase in ingestions over the last two decades. The authors note that further research is needed and investigating foreign body ingestions in the home environment is important.
By: Sarah Varney
A recent report by Disability Rights California exposes bad conditions at an ICE detention facility run by private corporation GEO group. They note detainees attempting suicide and not getting important care and resources such as depression medication, walkers, and wheelchairs. There are additional reports of psychiatrist improperly prescribing detainees antipsychotic medications, which make them sleep a lot. GEO group has come under fire previously for conditions at prisons and other facilities it runs.
By: James Gallagher
A baby boy was born via IVF (in vitro fertilization) involving three people in Greece. Both the mother and the child are healthy, but the public response regarding the procedure is split. The procedure was developed to help women with rare mitochondrial diseases and thus requires three individuals: the father, the mother, and a donor woman. The mother’s egg is combined with the donor woman’s egg to prevent mitochondrial disease in the baby. While some see it as an alternative for infertile couples around the world, others are questioning whether it is ethical. The same team of doctors is set to help 24 other women take part in the trial.