Health Highlights: April 3, 201304/03/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Organ Recipients Out of Danger After Completing Rabies
Three people who received organs from a rabies-infected donor in
2011 are no longer in danger of developing the deadly disease,
according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
The agency said the organ recipients in Florida, Georgia and
Illinois have all completed post-exposure rabies treatment and are
doing well, the
A Maryland man who received a kidney from the same Florida donor
died of rabies in February.
Health officials conducted a search for any people who may have
had close contact with any of the patients, and 36 people in
Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland and North Carolina were
advised to get the rabies vaccine. So far, 28 have done so, the
H7N9 Bird Flu Virus Could be Hard to Track: Scientists
The H7N9 bird flu virus that recently killed two people and
sickened five others in China could prove hard to track because it
might be able to spread among poultry without causing any symptoms,
They also noted that the virus, which previously infected only
birds, appears to have mutated in a way that allows it to more
easily infect other animals. This includes pigs, which could serve
as hosts that spread the virus more widely among humans, the
The findings from the scientists at several research
institutions around the world are preliminary and further research
is required to gain a full understanding of the H7N9 virus causing
human deaths and illnesses in China.
While they try to learn more about the virus, the scientists
recommended that Chinese veterinary officials conduct widespread
testing of animals and birds in affected regions in order to detect
and eliminate the virus before it becomes widespread, the
Okla. Dentist Should Face Criminal Charges: Dental Chief
Prosecutors should consider criminal charges against an Oklahoma
oral surgeon at the center of a health scare involving thousands of
patients who may be infected with hepatitis B and C or HIV, the
head of the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry says.
Susan Rogers said she has talked with Tulsa County District
Attorney Tim Harris about whether Dr. W. Scott Harrington is
criminally liable. Harrington was a dentist for 36 years before
voluntarily giving up his license on March 20.
"We're looking for the witnesses and individuals who can testify for us that this is what happened to me in (Harrington's) office," Rogers told the Associated Press.
Letters have been sent to 7,000 of Harrington's patients
advising them to get tested for hepatitis B and C as well as HIV,
the virus that causes AIDS. The testing is free. So far, nearly
1,000 people have been tested.
People who get tested should receive their results within two
weeks, Kaitlin Snider, a spokeswoman for the Tulsa Health
Department, told the
Patients were urged to get tested after officials discovered
improper sterilization, rusty instruments, and potentially
contaminated drug vials at Harrington's two Tulsa-area offices.
New Plan Would Eradicate Polio by 2018: Health Officials
About $5.5 billion is needed for a new global plan to end most
cases of polio by late next year and eradicate the disease by 2018,
health officials say.
However, they acknowledge that it may be difficult to secure the
funding in these tough economic times. The money is needed for
vaccinations as well as the monitoring required to ensure that the
paralyzing disease has been eliminated, the
Under the plan, the long-used oral vaccine would be replaced by
a more expensive but safer injection version.
Last year, there were 223 cases of polio worldwide, a historic
low. This means it is an ideal time for an "endgame" strategy
against polio, Dr. Rebecca Martin of the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention told the
Officials Say Mandela's Health is Improving
Nelson Mandela is improving after spending nearly a week in
hospital being treated for pneumonia, the South African government
The 94-year-old former president "continues to make steady
improvement in hospital," said a statement released Wednesday by
the office of President Jacob Zuma,
The New York Timesreported. "His doctors say he continues to
respond satisfactorily to treatment and is much better now than he
was when he was admitted to hospital."
The statement did not say when Mandela might be discharged.
Mandela has been hospitalized three times in the past four
months. That included a 19-day stay in December when he was treated
for a lung infection and underwent gallstone surgery,
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