Microplastics in drinking water do not appear to pose a health risk at current levels, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In its first report on the issue, the WHO found that larger particles, and most smaller ones, pass through the body without being absorbed. But it said the findings were based on “limited information” as it called for greater research on the issue.
Strains of drug-resistant malaria are becoming more dominant in Vietnam, Laos and northern Thailand after spreading rapidly from Cambodia. Currently, artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are the gold standard of antimalarial treatment – but in 2008, a parasite resistant to artemisinin emerged in Pailin, western Cambodia. Millions of lives will be in danger if antimalarial drug resistance spreads from Asia to Africa, doctors have warned.
A number of patients who were diagnosed with complete paralysis have been given new hope, after pioneering nerve surgery restored movement in their elbows and hands. Australian surgeons were able to attach nerves connected to working muscles above the spinal injury, to nerves attached to the paralyzed muscle below it. The study, which has been published in The Lancet, is the largest of its kind and researchers have called it a “major advance” in restoring hand and arm function.
San Francisco has become the first US city to ban sales of e-cigarettes until their health effects are clearer. Officials on Tuesday voted to ban stores selling the vaporizers and made it illegal for online retailers to deliver to addresses in the city. The Californian city is home to Juul Labs, the most popular e-cigarette producer in the US.
A San Diego hospital on Wednesday announced the birth of what’s thought to be the world’s tiniest surviving baby, who weighed just 8.6 ounces and was smaller than an apple. Baby Saybie — a name used by her care team — was born in December 2018 and discharged this month from the Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns as a healthy five-pound infant, the hospital said in a news release. She is believed to be the world’s smallest surviving newborn, according to the Tiniest Babies Registry, which is maintained at the University of Iowa.
A cruise ship quarantined for a reported case of measles left the Caribbean island of St. Lucia late on Thursday after health officials provided 100 doses of vaccine to the ship, media reports said. The Church of Scientology cruise ship was confined in port this week by island health officials after the highly contagious disease was detected on board. On its website, the Church of Scientology describes the Freewinds as a floating “religious retreat ministering the most advanced level of spiritual counseling in the Scientology religion.”
A large-scale pilot of what has been called the world’s first malaria vaccine to give partial protection to children has begun in Malawi. The RTS,S vaccine trains the immune system to attack the malaria parasite, which is spread by mosquito bites. Earlier, smaller trials showed that nearly 40% of the 5-to-17-month-olds who received it were protected. Malaria cases appear to be on the rise again after a decade of success in combating the deadly disease.
New York City on Tuesday ramped up the battle against the spread of a measles outbreak in a Brooklyn hot spot, declaring a public health emergency and calling for mandatory vaccinations. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the emergency covers four Brooklyn ZIP codes, including most of Williamsburg and Borough Park, which have seen more than 285 cases of the measles since October. The order mandates that all unimmunized children and adults living or working in the area must receive vaccinations unless they can prove a medical exemption applies. Those who do not comply could be guilty of misdemeanor violations and incur fines.
A US jury has found that one of the world’s most widely-used weedkillers was a “substantial factor” in causing a man’s cancer. Pharmaceutical group Bayer had strongly rejected claims that its glyphosate-based Roundup product was carcinogenic. But the jury in San Francisco ruled unanimously that it contributed to causing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in California resident Edwin Hardeman. The next stage of the trial will consider Bayer’s liability and damages.
A recent study finds new mums who become pregnant less than a year after giving birth could be putting themselves and their unborn baby in danger. The discovery was made by experts at University of British Columbia (UBC) and the Harvard TH Chan School of Public health. Parents who waited 12 to 18 months after their first child reduced the short and long term risks to both the mother and baby.