Health Highlights: April 17, 2014

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Guinea Ebola Outbreak Caused by New Virus Strain: Researchers

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is being caused by a new strain of the virus that did not spread there from other regions of Africa, researchers say.

Most of the more than 120 deaths in the outbreak have been in Guinea, the Associated Press reported.

The international team of scientists analyzed blood samples from 20 Ebola patients in the current outbreak and concluded that they had a unique strain. The findings were published online Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"The source of the virus is still not known," but it did not come from neighboring countries, said Dr. Stephan Gunther of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg, Germany, the AP reported.

Previously, health officials said the Ebola outbreak in Guinea and surrounding countries was caused by a Zaire strain. Zaire is the former name of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

But Gunther said the Guinea Ebola is not from the Democratic Republic of Congo or from Gabon, where Ebola has also occurred, the AP reported.

The researchers believe that the Guinea outbreak began last December or earlier and may have gone unrecognized for some time. Efforts to pinpoint "the presumed animal source," are continuing, they wrote.

There is no cure or vaccine for Ebola.

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Miley Cyrus in Hospital After Reaction to Antibiotics

Singer Miley Cyrus has to spend a second day in a Kansas City hospital after suffering "a severe allergic reaction to antibiotics," she tweeted Wednesday.

She was hospitalized Tuesday afternoon, according to a statement from the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., where she had been scheduled to perform Tuesday night, CNN reported.

"Cyrus has been hospitalized for a severe allergic reaction to antibiotics and has been placed on medical rest by her doctors," according to the statement. "She will not be able to perform as scheduled."

The singer suffered a bout of flu earlier this month and was forced to cancel a concert in Charlotte, North Carolina, CNN reported.

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Actress Valerie Harper Says She's Cancer-Free

Valerie Harper says her latest test results show she is cancer-free.

The 74-year-old television star was diagnosed last March with an inoperable brain tumor and told she had just a few months to live. But she received good news a few weeks ago, ABC News reported.

"I'm absolutely cancer-free!" Harper told Closer magazine. "My last scans have been positive, and my doctors are very happy."

She added that her doctor will not use the term "remission," but instead "likes to say, 'I give you a treatment, and it's either responsive or nonresponsive -- and you are having a phenomenal response.'"

Harper said she's feeling much better, now visits the doctor only once every eight weeks, and is taking a "pulse dose" of medication once a week, ABC News reported.

"There may come a time when I'm not feeling good," Harper said. "But then again, that time may never come."

Posted: April 2014


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