A summary of important health news from the past week.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), during the 2013-2014 year, 42 outbreaks across 19 states were associated with drinking water. In total, these outbreaks resulted in 1,006 illnesses and 13 deaths; the majority of the illnesses and all of the deaths could be attributed to Legionella. This information illustrates the importance of ensuring that drinking water is indeed clean.
In The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers showed that breast cancer can return 15 years after being successfully treated. The study of 63,000 women tracked women for 20 years. Women with larger tumors and whose cancer spread to the lymph nodes were at highest risk. The study authors are describing this finding as cancer laying dormant for 15, even 20, years.
Bill Gates' newest mission: Curing Alzheimer's
Bill Gates has announced that he is investing $50 million into the Dementia Discovery Fund, a research partnership that investigates novel ideas about what drives brain disease such as Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and over 5 million Americans are living with the condition. This will be the first time the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation gives money to fund research for a noncommunicable disease.
Breathing in Delhi air equivalent to smoking 44 cigarettes a day
Last Tuesday, Delhi was engrossed in a white haze that has become increasingly thicker. The thick haze is from pollution made up of vehicle exhaust, road dust, and the smoke from crop burning and garbage fires. The air quality in Delhi hit the 1,000 mark on the US embassy air quality index (The World Health Organization states that anything over 25 is unsafe), and is roughly equivalent to smoking 44 cigarettes a day. While masks and air purifiers can improve one's personal air quality, the majority of the people in Delhi cannot afford these devices. The microscopic particles in the polluted air are particularly harmful as they are so small that they can lodge deep into the lungs and pass into other organs, thus causing major, and serious, health risks and problems.
Outbreak of Plague Strikes Madagascar
More than 1,800 people are sick due to an unusual outbreak of plague. White plague is rare in developed countries, it is still an ongoing problem, as WHO estimates that "the risk of potential further spread of the plague outbreak at a national level remains high." To protect neighboring countries, including Comoros, Mauritius, Mozambique, Reunion and Mayotte, Seychelles, South Africa, and Tanzania, CDC has issued a level 2 travel ban.
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