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Health Highlights: Jan. 31, 2018

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

Sterilizing Mosquitoes Released Into Wild in Miami

Special mosquitoes will be released in some Miami-area neighborhoods in coming days in an effort to reduce people's risk of Zika, dengue, yellow fever and other mosquito-borne diseases.

The male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes carry bacteria that cause female mosquitoes to lay useless eggs, leading to a decline in the mosquito population, NBC News reported.

"The released male mosquitoes mate with the female mosquitoes. The resulting eggs do not hatch, which can reduce the mosquito population that can transmit mosquito-borne viruses," the City of South Miami said in a statement.

"The ... male mosquitoes do not bite or blood feed and are incapable of transmitting diseases," the city explained.

Illness Outbreak Linked to Puppies is Over: CDC

A 17-state outbreak of Campylobacter bacteria infections linked to puppies from Petland stores is over, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In total, 113 people became sick. The last illness began on Jan. 7, 2018.

Investigators could not pinpoint a common breeder who supplied Petland with puppies infected with the outbreak strain of Campylobacter, the CDC said. Puppies could have been infected through contact with puppies from other breeders or distributors when they were being transported to pet stores.

The Campylobacter strain that caused the outbreak was resistant to commonly-used antibiotics, highlighting the need for responsible use of antibiotics in pets, the CDC said.

The agency also noted that even though the outbreak is over, pet owners need to be aware that any puppy or dog can carry germs such as Campylobacter and need to take precautions. These include always washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after touching puppies or dogs, or after picking up their poop.

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Chinese Scientists Use 3-D Printing to Create New Ears for Children

New ears for five children were grown using a combination of 3-D printing and cultured cells, scientists in China say.

The first-of-its-kind study included children with a defect in one ear called microtia, which affects the shape and function of the ear, CNN reported.

The research was published in the journal EBioMedicine.

"We were able to successfully design, fabricate, and regenerate patient-specific external ears," wrote the researchers, who followed each child for up to 2 1/2 years, CNN reported.

"Nevertheless, further efforts remain necessary to eventually translate this prototype work into routine clinical practices," they added. "In the future, long-term (up to 5 years) follow-up of the cartilage properties and clinical outcomes ... will be essential."

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Judge Hosts Meeting on Settling Opioid Lawsuits

Lawyers will meet Wednesday in Cleveland to begin talks on trying to settle more than 250 lawsuits filed against drug makers and distributors over the U.S. opioid epidemic.

The lawsuits were filed in communities nationwide but have been consolidated in the Cleveland courtroom of U.S. District Court Judge Dan Polster, the Associated Press reported.

Wednesday's meeting, which will include lawyers for municipal and state governments, drug makers and distributors, will be closed to the media and the public.

The U.S. is experiencing the largest and deadliest drug crisis in its history . In 2016, the federal government counted a record 63,600 drug overdose deaths, the AP reported.

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Posted: January 2018


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