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Health Highlights: Jan. 9, 2019

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

Measles Outbreak in New York State Largest in Recent History

There have been at least 112 confirmed cases of measles in Rockland and Orange counties and at least 55 in New York City in what officials say is the largest measles outbreak in New York state in recent history.

"If you go back many decades ago when we weren't vaccinating, of course there were probably more outbreaks, but in my memory, I don't know of a measles outbreak that was this significant," Dr. Howard Zucker, the state commissioner of health, said Tuesday, CNN reported.

"We have immunized 13,000 children since this outbreak has begun," he said. "I would say this is the largest measles outbreak that New York state has had in recent history."

The outbreak has particularly affected Orthodox Jewish communities and began after some children were infected on a visit to Israel in September, the New York City Health Department said.

As of Tuesday, "we have 55 cases confirmed in Brooklyn," said Dr. Jane Zucker, assistant commissioner for the Bureau of Immunization at the NYC Health Department, told CNN.

She said the largest recent measles outbreak in New York City had 58 cases in 2013. "I'm certainly hoping that there are no further cases and we won't exceed that 58, but we're still in the middle of the outbreak."

There's been an increase in measles cases across the U.S. and worldwide, CNN reported.

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AI Technology Detects Genetic Diseases By Analyzing Facial Photos

Certain genetic diseases can be detected by new artificial intelligence technology that analyzes a photo of a person's face, researchers say.

The DeepGestalt technology was better than doctors at identifying a range of genetic syndromes, CNN reported.

The study was published Monday in the journal Nature Medicine.

Examples of conditions that can be identified by the technology include the nervous system disorder Angelman syndrome, in which patients have a wide mouth and widely spaced teeth, and strabismus, where the eyes point in different directions, CNN reported.

The deep learning algorithm was created by the artificial intelligence and precision medicine company FDNA using 17,000 facial images of patients with more than 200 distinct genetic syndromes.

While it could prove useful in personalized care, the researchers warned that the technology could be used by insurers and employers to discriminate against people who have pre-existing conditions or developing medical conditions, CNN reported.

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Posted: January 2019

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