Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
UNICEF study shows kids make up 40% of Haiti’s cholera cases
Some two in five of Haiti’s growing number of cholera cases are among children, the United Nation’s children’s agency warned on Wednesday, saying youth suffering from severe malnutrition ran three times the risk of dying from the bacterial disease. Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, has suffered a series of disasters in recent years, including a presidential assassination last year followed by a massive earthquake.
EU regulator warns of ‘disappointing’ vaccine booster uptake
Recent uptake of COVID-19 vaccine booster doses in the European Union has been “rather disappointing,” an official said on Thursday, amid concerns that protection against severe cases of the disease could weaken during the winter. The European average rate of re-vaccination, or receiving booster doses, was only 29% in the groups of people considered to be at highest risk, such as the elderly and immunocompromised.
Top Georgia court orders the U.S. state’s abortion law back into effect
Georgia can enforce a law banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy while the state appeals a lower court order striking it down, the state’s highest court ruled on Wednesday. The Supreme Court of Georgia did not give a reason for its unanimous order. The state law, which originally took effect this past summer, has been challenged by Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights groups.
Fears Malawi’s cholera outbreak could worsen in rainy season
Malawi is in the grip of a cholera outbreak which has spread across the country, killing 292 people and infecting 9447 since March when the first case was reported, according to health minister Khumbize Chiponda. Most deaths from the disease, which is spread through contaminated water and food, are occurring in four districts bordering Lake Malawi and in Blantyre, the country’s second largest city.
FDA classifies Baxter’s hospital bed system recall as most serious
The U.S. health regulator on Wednesday classified the recall of hospital bed systems by Baxter International Inc, as the most serious type, on concerns it could lead to life-threatening injuries or death. Baxter initiated the recall of its WatchCare Incontinence Management System, which is used to discreetly alert an incontinent patient’s caregiver of involuntary urination or defecation, by sending a correction letter to its customers in late September.
Avian flu outbreak wipes out 50.54 million U.S. birds, a record
Avian flu has wiped out 50.54 million birds in the United States this year, making it the country’s deadliest outbreak in history, U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed on Thursday. The deaths of chickens, turkeys and other birds represent the worst U.S. animal-health disaster to date, topping the previous record of 50.5 million birds that died in an avian-flu outbreak in 2015.
China’s COVID infections hit record as economic outlook darkens
China reported record high COVID-19 infections on Thursday, with cities nationwide imposing localised lockdowns, mass testing and other curbs that are fuelling frustration and darkening the outlook for the world’s second largest economy. The resurgence of infections, nearly three years after the pandemic emerged in the central city of Wuhan, casts doubt on investor hopes for China to ease its rigid zero-COVID policy soon, despite recent more targeted measures.
Researchers test mRNA technology for universal flu vaccine
An experimental vaccine provided broad protection against all 20 known influenza A and B virus subtypes in initial tests in mice and ferrets, potentially opening a pathway to a universal flu shot that might help prevent future pandemics, according to a U.S. study published on Thursday. The two-dose vaccine employs the same messenger RNA (mRNA)technology used in the COVID-19 shots developed by Pfizer with BioNTech, and by Moderna. It delivers tiny lipid particles containing mRNA instructions for cells to create replicas of so-called hemagglutinin proteins that appear on influenza virus surfaces.
Measles now an imminent global threat due to pandemic, say WHO and CDC
There is now an imminent threat of measles spreading in various regions globally, as COVID-19 led to a steady decline in vaccination coverage and weakened surveillance of the disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. public health agency said on Wednesday. Measles is one of the most contagious human viruses and is almost entirely preventable through vaccination. However, it requires 95% vaccine coverage to prevent outbreaks among populations.
Uganda recording downward trend in Ebola cases – official
Uganda has recorded a drop in the number of new Ebola cases, with some districts going for at least two weeks without registering new infections, health ministry officials said. The development is a major sign the East African country is having a measure of success in efforts to combat its latest outbreak of the deadly haemorrhagic fever disease more than two months after it was declared.
(With inputs from agencies.)