Today's Health News in Snippets

18/AUG/2022

US pharmacy chains ordered to pay $650m in Ohio opioids suit.jpg

US pharmacy chains ordered to pay $650m in Ohio opioids suit

A federal judge has ordered the three largest pharmacy chains in the United States to pay $650.5 million (£539.8 million) for their role in fueling a painkiller crisis in two Ohio counties.

 

A federal court ruled in November that Walgreens Boots Alliance, CVS, and Walmart all contributed to an oversupply of addictive opioid pills.

 

The funds will be used to mitigate the effects of the crisis in Lake and Trumbull counties.

 

The companies intend to file an appeal.

 

Over the last 20 years, millions of people in the United States have become addicted to opiate-based painkillers such as fentanyl and OxyContin.

 

Between 1999 and 2019, painkiller overdoses were responsible for nearly 500,000 deaths.

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WHO urges caution after dog catches monkeypox.jpg

WHO urges caution after dog catches monkeypox

Following the first reported case of human-to-dog transmission, the World Health Organization on Wednesday urged people infected with monkeypox to avoid exposing animals to the virus.

 

The first case of human-to-dog transmission of monkeypox was reported last week in the medical journal The Lancet, involving two men and their Italian greyhound living together in Paris.

 

According to Rosamund Lewis, WHO's technical lead for monkeypox, experts were aware of the theoretical risk that such a jump could occur, and public health agencies had already advised those suffering from the disease to "isolate from their pets."

 

Furthermore, she stated that "waste management is critical" in order to reduce the risk of contaminating rodents and other animals outside the household.


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Nigeria's NDLEA arrests online tramadol distributor in Abuja.jpg

Nigeria's NDLEA arrests online tramadol distributor in Abuja

Nigeria's National Drug Law Enforcement Agency arrested Mr. Celestine Orakwe, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Marvelrock Pharmaceuticals and Stores Limited, for allegedly selling illicit and controlled drugs on the popular e-commerce platform, jiji.ng.

 

Orakwe, a Business Administration graduate from the University of Abuja, registered the pharmaceutical company on December 16, 2014, with the help of an unnamed licenced pharmacist who opted out of the deal in 2017.

 

However, the suspect allegedly continued to operate the business and listed it on jiji.ng in 2019.

 

According to NDLEA spokesperson Femi Babafemi, he came under the agency's radar in October 2021 after advertising many pharmaceutical products, including tramadol, ketamine hydrochloride injection, and hypnox flunitrazepam tablets, among others, on the online platform.

 

"Between October 26, 2021, and August 8, 2022, the NDLEA team assigned to investigate Orakwe's drug business activities was able to establish that he was selling tramadol 225mg and other illicit and/or controlled drugs through the e-commerce platform," according to the statement.

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Japan wants young people to drink more alcohol.jpg

Japan wants young people to drink more alcohol

The Japanese government has been hit hard by an unusual problem: its youth aren't drinking enough.

 

Since the pandemic began, Covid-19 restrictions have hit bars and other alcohol-selling establishments hard, causing sales – and liquor tax revenues – to plummet in the world's third-largest economy.

 

What is the government's solution? Launch a competition to find new ways to get young people to drink more.

 

According to the official competition website, the "Sake Viva!" campaign, overseen by the National Tax Agency, invites participants to submit ideas on how to "stimulate demand among young people" for alcohol through new services, promotional methods, products, designs, and even sales techniques using artificial intelligence or the metaverse.

 

However, not everyone is on board, with some people online criticising the competition and the tax agency.


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Deadly blast rips through crowded Kabul mosque.jpg

Deadly blast rips through crowded Kabul mosque

A massive explosion ripped through a crowded mosque in Kabul, killing 21 people, police say.

 

Another 33 people were injured, according to Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran.

 

The explosion happened during evening prayers on Wednesday. The imam of the mosque is said to be among the dead.

 

It is unknown who carried out the attack, which occurred a week after Islamic State (IS) militants killed a pro-Taliban cleric in a suicide bombing in Kabul.


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At least 26 dead in Algeria forest fires.jpg

At least 26 dead in Algeria forest fires

At least 26 people have died and dozens more have been injured in forest fires that have ravaged northern Algeria.

 

The country's interior minister, Kamel Beldjoud, said 24 people died in El Tarf, near the border with Tunisia, as well as a mother and daughter in Setif.

 

On Wednesday evening, firefighters were still battling several blazes with the help of helicopters.

 

According to reports, 350 people have been evacuated in various provinces.

 

Water is being dumped on the flames from helicopters.

 

Every year, wildfires rage in Algeria, but climate change has exacerbated the problem.


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Wednesday's Health News in Snippets

17/AUG/2022

Ghana probes TikToker's death threat to patients.jpg

Ghana probes TikToker's death threat to patients

A TikTok user is being investigated after allegedly threatening to kill patients in a video posted on the app, according to Ghana's Nursing and Midwifery Council.

 

According to reports, the TikToker is a nursing student in the country.

 

In the video, she was dressed in a nursing school uniform and stated that "she will kill any client who seeks her service as a nurse because she was forced to pursue nursing against her will," according to the council.

 

"Investigations have commenced earnestly to identify the said student and apply the necessary sanctions," it said.

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New York City reports 2 human cases of the West Nile virus as the city sees record number

New York City reports 2 human cases of the West Nile virus as the city sees record number of infected mosquitoes

Two human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in New York, where the virus has been found in an unprecedented number of mosquitos, according to health officials on Tuesday.

 

According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 1,068 mosquito pools in the city's five boroughs have tested positive for the virus. At the same time last year, the city recorded 779 positive pools.

 

The two human cases were reported in Brooklyn and Queens, according to the health department.

 

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the West Nile virus is most commonly transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. These incidents occur during mosquito season, which begins in the summer and will last until the fall, according to the CDC.


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UK infected blood victims get £100,000 compensation.jpg

UK infected blood victims get £100,000 compensation

The government has announced that approximately 4,000 UK victims of the tainted blood scandal will receive interim compensation of £100,000 each.

 

It will be given to people whose health is deteriorating as a result of blood-borne viruses such as hepatitis and HIV, as well as partners of those who have died.

 

After decades of campaigning, this is the first time compensation will be paid.

 

Families welcomed the news, but many people, such as bereaved parents, would be excluded.

 

The payments will be made in England by the end of October. The money will also be distributed to residents of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

 

The contaminated blood scandal has been dubbed the UK NHS's worst treatment disaster in its history.

 

From the mid-1970s onwards, thousands of UK NHS patients with haemophilia and other blood disorders became seriously ill after receiving a new treatment called factor VIII or IX.


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Rwandan singer Yvan Buravan dies from cancer aged 27.jpg

Rwandan singer Yvan Buravan dies from cancer aged 27

Rwandan singer-songwriter Yvan Buravan has died at the age of 27, according to his manager.

 

The singer was suffering from pancreatic cancer and was receiving treatment in India.

 

Before being transferred to India, he had been treated in Rwanda and Kenya.

 

Buravan's musical talent was recognised when he finished second in a national music competition at the age of 14.

 

Malaika, his 2016 hit song, catapulted him to fame in Rwanda.

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Global experts race to understand rare cases when monkeypox leads to death.jpg

Global experts race to understand rare cases when monkeypox leads to death

Out of tens of thousands of monkeypox cases worldwide this year, a dozen deaths have been linked to the virus, and for the first time, some of them have occurred outside of Africa, in countries where the virus does not normally spread.

 

Since January 1, more than 31,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported worldwide, with more than 10,000 of them occurring in the United States. Most people have recovered at home with no long-term consequences. Doctors are trying to figure out why monkeypox can be so serious and, in rare cases, fatal.


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Measles vaccine drive targets Zimbabwe cases.jpg

Measles vaccine drive targets Zimbabwe cases

Since April, a measles outbreak in Zimbabwe has killed 80 children, with health officials blaming religions that forbid vaccinations.

 

Measles is a highly contagious but treatable respiratory disease characterised by fever and a rash.

 

According to the World Health Organization, cases in Africa increased 400% in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year.

 

The majority of the victims are unvaccinated children aged six months to fifteen years. Zimbabwe has started a mass vaccination campaign.


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New virus called the Langya henipavirus found in China 3.jpg

New virus called the Langya henipavirus found in China

More research is needed on a new virus discovered in dozens of people in eastern China that may not cause the next pandemic but demonstrates how easily viruses can spread from animals to humans, according to scientists.

 

According to a team of scientists, the virus, dubbed Langya henipavirus, infected nearly three dozen farmers and other residents and may have spread directly or indirectly to people from shrews – small mole-like mammals found in a variety of habitats.


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WHO turns to public for monkeypox name change.jpg

WHO turns to public for monkeypox name change

The World Health Organization, which is looking to rename monkeypox, asked the public for help on Tuesday in coming up with a less stigmatising name for the rapidly spreading disease.

 

For weeks, the UN health agency has expressed concern about the disease's name, which first appeared on the global stage in May.

 

Experts warn that the name may be stigmatising to the primates named after it, but who play little role in its spread, as well as to the African continent with which the animals are frequently associated.

 

In Brazil, for example, there have been reports of people attacking monkeys due to disease fears.

 

Monkeypox got its name because the virus was discovered in monkeys kept for research in Denmark in 1958, but the disease can be found in a variety of animals, most commonly rodents.


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Two polio vaccine guards shot dead in Pakistan.jpg

Two polio vaccine guards shot dead in Pakistan

Two police officers guarding a polio vaccination team were killed by gunmen in northwestern Pakistan.

 

According to police, the team of two vaccinators were unharmed.

 

Anti-vaccine militants frequently target local polio vaccination teams, with some claiming vaccination is a Western plot to sterilise Muslims.

 

Polio, which can be fatal or paralyse patients in severe cases, is still endemic in only two countries: Pakistan and Afghanistan.

 

According to local police, the two gunmen were hiding near a small water channel before opening fire on the guards from "very close range."

 

The incident happened in Kot Azam, Tank district, in north-west Pakistan.


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Tuesday's Health News in Snippets

16/AUG/2022

UK first country to approve dual-strain Covid vaccine.jpg

UK first country to approve dual-strain Covid vaccine

The United Kingdom is the first country to approve a dual vaccine that protects against both the original Covid virus and the newer Omicron variant.

 

According to ministers, the vaccine will now be included in the autumn booster campaign.

 

Moderna anticipates that 13 million doses of its new vaccine will be available this year, but 26 million people will be eligible for a booster.

 

According to health officials, people should take whichever booster they are offered because all vaccines provide protection.

 

The first pandemic vaccines were designed to prepare the body to fight the first strain of the virus, which emerged in Wuhan, China, at the end of 2019.

 

The original vaccines continue to provide effective protection against becoming severely ill or dying, but companies are tweaking them to keep up with the virus's evolution.

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Death toll climbs to 15 after huge explosion wipes out shopping centre in Armenian capital

Death toll climbs to 15 after huge explosion wipes out shopping centre in Armenian capital

According to local reports, the death toll from a massive explosion in an Armenian shopping centre has risen to at least 15 people.

 

More than 60 people were also injured in the explosion that occurred on Sunday (August 14) at a fireworks warehouse in the Surmalu district of Yerevan, while 18 people are still missing.

 

Firefighters have been battling the ensuing blaze as fireworks continued to detonate and parts of the building collapsed.

 

Thick black plumes of smoke have been seen rising from the warehouse's vicinity, with footage showing staff and customers being evacuated.


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Nurse whose Felixstowe park walk raised £25k for NHS dies.jpg

Nurse whose Felixstowe park walk raised £25k for UK NHS dies

A retired nurse who walked 102 laps of a local park to raise money for the UK NHS on her 102nd birthday has died.

 

Joan Rich walked more than 35 miles and raised £25,000 in her local park in Felixstowe, Suffolk, during Covid restrictions in 2020.

 

She passed away on July 29, just two months before her 104th birthday.

 

Her daughter, Diane Rich, described her mother as a "amazing, courageous, warm, and humorous" woman who would be remembered for her generosity.

 


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Horror as man, 26, dies after choking on piece of meat during pub lunch.jpg

Horror as man, 26, dies after choking on piece of meat during pub lunch

A Liverpool bricklayer died by choking after going out for a pub lunch earlier this year.

 

Martin Peter Weir, 26, of Broom Way in Halewood, began to gag on a piece of meat while dining at the Mersey View public house in Halebank on April 10, according to the Liverpool Echo.

 

He was rushed to nearby Whiston Hospital by North West Ambulance Service, but he died despite the best efforts of the medical team there.

 

Treatment was carried out on Martin at Whiston's A&E department, including ventilation and adrenaline, but it was decided to stop resuscitation efforts a short time later.

 

On August 15, Sefton Coroner's Court held an inquest into his death, during which the hearing heard how Martin suffered from a condition that affected his ability to swallow.

 

According to Assistant Coroner Johanna Thompson, his death was accidental due to hypoxic cardiac arrest caused by choking.

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Gran, 99, who almost became a nun welcomes 100th great-grandchild.jpg

Gran, 99, who almost became a nun welcomes 100th great-grandchild

A grandmother who once wanted to be a nun has welcomed her 100th great-grandchild.

 

Marguerite Koller of Pennsylvania, USA, is celebrating the birth of her grandson, Koller, who is named after his great-grandmother.

 

The achievement comes just two months before the 99-year-old's 100th  birthday.

 

Marguerite was on the verge of becoming a nun, but instead married her husband William in 1942.

 

Koller, now a widow living in Bluebell, Pennsylvania, is the mother of 11 children and grandmother of 56 grandchildren, despite being an only child herself.


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Changing kidney blood type may boost transplants.jpg

Changing kidney blood type may boost transplants

Researchers have successfully altered the blood type of donor kidneys, which could increase the supply of organs available for transplant.

 

The breakthrough has particular implications for minority groups, which often have a more difficult time finding a match.

 

A kidney from a type A person cannot be given to a type B person, and vice versa.

 

However, changing a kidney's blood type to the universal type O allows it to be transplanted into any patient.

 

A normothermic perfusion machine - a device used to pass oxygenated blood through a kidney to help preserve it - was used by scientists at the University of Cambridge to flush blood infused with an enzyme through a donor kidney.

 

The enzyme removes blood-type markers from the organ's blood vessels, effectively changing its blood type to type O. When three donor kidneys were successfully transplanted, the procedure took only a few hours.


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Rubbing cow dung on vagina during labour won’t aid delivery, can cause infection – Gynaeco

Rubbing cow dung on vagina during labour won’t aid delivery, can cause infection – Gynaecologist

Dr. Labaran Aliyu, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Kano State's Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, has warned pregnant women against engaging in cultural practices that could be harmful to their health and the health of their unborn babies.

 

One of the cultural practices to avoid, he says, is rubbing cow dung on the vagina of a woman in labour, noting that this will not aid delivery but may expose the woman to infection and tetanus.

 

Aliyu also stated that some pregnant women are also prohibited from eating certain foods that would aid in the growth and development of their babies due to the mistaken belief that they will harm their babies after birth.

 

The gynaecologist stated in an interview with PUNCH HealthWise that these false cultural beliefs and practices contribute to Nigeria's alarming maternal mortality rate.


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Nigeria records 172 monkeypox cases across 27 states.jpeg

Nigeria records 172 monkeypox cases across 27 states

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has confirmed 172 cases of monkeypox in 27 Nigerian states.

 

This was revealed in the National Health Agency's latest monkeypox situation report for week 31.

 

The monkeypox virus, a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the Poxviridae family, causes monkeypox. It is a rare viral zoonotic disease spread through close contact with lesions, bodily fluids, respiratory droplets, and contaminated materials such as bedding.

 

Nigeria is one of the African countries where the disease is endemic.

 

According to the NCDC, four deaths were recorded in four states between January 1 and August 7, 2022: Delta (1), Lagos (1), Ondo (1), and Akwa Ibom (1). 


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Nigeria's Kano teaching hospital begins bone marrow transfer, commissions new ward.jpg

Nigeria's Kano teaching hospital begins bone marrow transfer, commissions new ward

Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital in Kano opened a new Haematological Disease Ward on Monday, signalling the start of bone marrow transplants.

 

The AKTH will be the country's second Nigerian Teaching Hospital to perform the transplant.

 

Prof. Abba Sheshe, the hospital's Chief Medical Director, announced this on Monday at the official commissioning of the ward, which was donated by Engr. Umar Ibrahim.

 

Only Lagos State University Teaching Hospital had successfully performed bone marrow transplants in Nigeria, according to the CMD.

 

He emphasised, however, that the hospital could successfully admit bone marrow transplant patients after establishing, furnishing, and equipping the new Ward.


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