Health Highlights: Aug. 14, 2014

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

Second Pneumonia Vaccine Recommended for Seniors

A second vaccine to protect seniors against pneumonia has been recommended by the U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

The panel decided Wednesday that people 65 and older should get Pfizer's Prevnar-13 vaccine, as well as an older pneumonia vaccine. Prevnar-13 is already recommended for infants and people with certain health conditions, the Associated Press reported.

A recent study found that Prevnar-13 was better than the older vaccine at preventing pneumonia in seniors. The two vaccines target different types of bacteria that cause pneumonia.

Health officials believe the new vaccine could prevent 5,000 cases of pneumonia a year in the U.S., the AP reported.

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Ebola Claims Life of Another Leading Doctor in Sierra Leone

Another top doctor in Sierra Leone has died from Ebola.

Health ministry officials said Dr. Modupeh Cole, 56, died Wednesday at an Ebola treatment center operated by Doctors Without Borders in the northeastern part of the country. It's believed he was infected while caring for a patient at a hospital in the capital city of Freetown, The New York Times reported.

His death comes two weeks after the death from Ebola of Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan, a virologist who was heading the battle against the disease in the eastern region of Sierra Leone.

Cole "was a highly qualified physician, and we have very few of them on hand," Dr. Amara Jambai, director of prevention and control at the health ministry, told The Times.

"You can imagine what this does to the younger cohort. It's like having a general falling in battle. It just brings more misery. It's not good. When you have a health system that's constrained, it's a bit too much," Jambai said.

To date, the Ebola outbreak has killed 1,013 people in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

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Viral Infections in 14 Kansas City-Area Infants Under Investigation

Similar viral infections among 14 infants in the Kansas City area are being investigated by health officials.

The infections were caused by HPeV3, a virus that can cause meningitis and other inflammation. No deaths have occurred, but all of the infants have been hospitalized, CBS News/Associated Press reported.

Nine of the children are from Kansas and five are from Missouri. The first infection was reported in June. It's not clear if the cases are connected, said Kansas Department of Health and Environment spokeswoman Aimee Rosenow.

She added that her department, the Missouri Health Department, and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working to find out if there have been other similar infections.

The virus was first identified in 1999 after it caused an infection in a one-year-old child in Japan who developed symptoms such as diarrhea, fever and temporary paralysis, CBS/AP reported.

These infections appear to be a summer-time disease, with peak months from July through October, according to experts.

Posted: August 2014


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