By Pedro Fonseca RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Authorities in Brazil said on Friday Zika has been detected in patients' saliva and urine, adding to the concern over the spread of the virus, while U.S. officials offered new guidance on sex for people returning from Zika-hit regions. Zika, linked to thousands of birth defects in Brazil, is primarily transmitted through mosquito bites, but word surfaced this week of infections through sex and blood transfusions, and news of the presence of the virus in the saliva and urine of two patients prompted new worries. In fact, the president of the Brazilian federal biomedical research institution that made the announcement urged pregnant women not to kiss strangers during the country's free-wheeling Carnival celebrations.
Sierra Leone's Health Ministry said on Thursday it was investigating a suspected Ebola death in Tonkolili district, hours after the World Health Organization said transmission of the virus in West Africa had ended. “A suspected Ebola death has been reported in Tonkolili district today,” said a note sent by the ministry to health officials in the country and seen by Reuters.
By James Harding Giahyue MONROVIA (Reuters) – Liberia has placed 153 people under surveillance as it seeks to control a new Ebola outbreak in the capital more than two months after the country was declared free of the virus, health officials said. The first of the new patients was a 15-year-old boy called Nathan Gbotoe from Paynesville, a suburb east of the capital Monrovia. “We have three confirmed cases and have listed 153 contacts, and we have labeled them as high, medium and low in terms of the risk,” Liberia's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francis Kateh told Reuters late on Saturday.
By Lisa Baertlein LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California Governor Jerry Brown on Saturday signed a bill that sets the strictest government standards in the United States for the use of antibiotics in livestock production. The move from California, known for its leadership on public health and environmental issues, comes amid growing concern that the overuse of such drugs is contributing to rising numbers of life-threatening human infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as “superbugs.” The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 2 million people in this country are infected with drug resistant bacteria each year and that 23,000 die as a direct result. “This puts California at the forefront of U.S. efforts to address the overuse of antibiotics in meat production,” said Avinash Kar, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
By Colin Packham SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia said it has detained an U.S. anti-abortion activist after he attempted to enter the country without a valid visa on Thursday, just days after permission for him travel to Australia for a series of talks was revoked. Troy Newman, a anti-abortion campaigner, was detained at Melbourne Airport after landing on a flight from the United States, a spokeswoman for Australian minister for Immigration Petter Dutton said. “Since does not hold a visa, he is unable to enter Australia and remains in the presence of Australian Border Force officials at the Melbourne Airport pending his removal,” the spokeswoman said.
By Katy Migiro NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Kenyan journalists who reported on their country's worst outbreak of inter-ethnic violence, which killed more than 1,000 people following a disputed 2007 election, remain traumatized, researchers said on Friday. The Royal Society of Medicine said it was the first major study of the emotional well-being of journalists covering violent events in Africa, although half of the continent's countries are either at war or have recently experienced it. “Post election violence was experienced firsthand as neighbor turned on neighbor, communities were destroyed and the media in some cases became the focus of mob rage,” said the study in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Open.
Advocacy groups have poured millions of dollars into legalizing both recreational and medical marijuana in states across the country.
SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea's health ministry reported on Monday two more deaths in the country's Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak, bringing the number of fatalities to 27. The ministry also confirmed three new cases, taking the total to 172 in an outbreak that is the largest outside Saudi Arabia. The new fatalities were aged in their 80s with pre-existing health problems, according to the health ministry. (Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Richard Pullin)
By Jack Kim SEOUL (Reuters) – Two South Korean hospitals are conducting experimental treatment on Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) patients, injecting them with blood plasma from recovering patients, the health ministry said on Tuesday, as four new cases were reported. The procedure has been conducted on two consenting MERS patients in addition to existing care, the ministry's head of public health policy, Kwon Jun-wook, told a media briefing. “There is insufficient clinical basis about the result of plasma treatment among experts in the country,” Kwon said, but added: “The ministry has deep confidence in the medical staff on the direction of the treatment.” Plasma treatment was previously used in SARS patients with some positive results in seriously ill patients that led to a decrease in the death rate by up to 23 percent, Kwon said.
On May 24 last year a pregnant woman and an older housewife staggered into Kenema hospital in eastern Sierra Leone and were diagnosed within a day as the country's first Ebola cases. Both women had attended the funeral of a widely-respected faith healer known as Mendinor, whose “powers” were renowned on both sides of Sierra Leone's border with Guinea. The grandmother, whose real name was Finda Nyuma, had been treating sick patients in her home village, a diamond-mining town just a few hours' walk from Gueckedou in Guinea, where the outbreak began in December 2013.