Health Highlights: June 18, 201306/18/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
U.S. Adult Smoking Rate Falls
The number of American adults who smoke fell to 18 percent in
2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and
The adult smoking rate had been declining for decades but then
seemed to level off at about 20 to 21 percent before falling to 19
percent in 2011, the
The latest findings are from a survey of about 35,000 adults.
The smoking rate was 9 percent among people ages 65 and older but
about 20 percent for younger adults. Men had a higher smoking rate
The survey did not include teens, but a previous CDC study found
that about 16 percent of high school students were smokers in 2011,
Factors that may have contributed to this latest decline in
adult smoking include more public smoking bans, higher state and
federal tobacco taxes, and increased spending on prevention and
cessation programs, according to Patrick Reynolds, executive
director of the Foundation for a SmokeFree America.
"This is a real decline in smoking in America. I'm ecstatic about it. It's proof that we are winning the battle against tobacco," he told the AP.
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in
Swimmers Warned About Deadly Amoeba
Swimmers in Florida are being advised to avoid stagnant water
that could contain a type of amoeba that can cause a potentially
deadly brain infection.
Naegleria fowleriis invisible to the naked eye and can be
found in warm, standing water, according to an alert issued by the
Florida Department of Health. It said that the amoeba is usually
harmless, but can cause a fatal brain infection if inhaled through
"Wear nose clips, hold your nose shut or keep your head out of the water when swimming, jumping or diving in any freshwater," the health department advised. "Closing your nostrils may reduce your chance of becoming infected."
Infections caused by
N. fowleriare extremely rare but almost always result in
death. Between 1962 and 2012, 128 people in the United States were
infected and only one survived, according to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention.
The amoeba was linked to the death of a Minnesota child last
summer and killed four people in Virginia, Florida, Kansas and
Louisiana in 2011,
Spraying Begins in Dallas to Control West Nile Virus
Spraying is being conducted in North Texas after health
officials detected a large increase in the type of mosquito that
primarily carries West Nile virus.
The region was at the center of a national outbreak last year
that resulted in the country's highest annual death toll from West
Nile virus, the
In Dallas, trucks will spray through early Wednesday morning in
neighborhoods where tests have revealed a rise in the species of
mosquito most likely to transmit the virus.
There are no confirmed cases of West Nile in either Dallas or
Dallas County and the spraying is being done to stem any outbreak,
Crystal Woods, with the Dallas division manager for mosquito
control, told the
Drug Makers Can be Sued Over Deals to Delay Generic Drug Sales:
U.S. Supreme Court
Makers of brand-name drugs can be sued for violating U.S.
antitrust laws if they pay a potential competitor to delay selling
generic versions of the drugs, the Supreme Court ruled Monday in a
The court said that a "large and unjustified" payment to settle
a patent dispute over generic drugs can trigger an antitrust claim
against the maker of the brand-name drug, the
Los Angeles Timesreported.
So-called "pay-for-delay" deals between brand-name and generic
drug makers cost consumers and health plans $3.5 billion a year,
according to the Federal Trade Commission.
Monday's ruling is expected to lead to lower drug prices for
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