Life expectancy in the US ticks up, but remains below pre-pandemic levels

WASHINGTON, Nov 29, 2023 (AFP) – Americans’ life expectancy rose in 2022 after two years of sharp decline, although it did not return to pre-pandemic levels, health officials said Wednesday. Life expectancy at birth in the United States rose by 1.1 years between 2021 and 2022, and stood at 77.5 years, according to initial estimates from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC). “The increase… primarily resulted from decreases in mortality due to Covid-19,” […]

Australia to ban vape imports over child addiction concerns

Australia will ban imports of disposable vapes from January 1, the government said Tuesday, slamming the devices as recreational products addicting children. The block on single-use vapes is aimed at reversing a “disturbing” increase in vaping among young people, Health Minister Mark Butler said. Australia first revealed the import ban in May but had not given a start date until now. Vaping had been sold to governments as a tool to help long-term smokers quit, […]

UK confirms first human case of swine flu strain H1N2

LONDON, Nov 27, 2023 (AFP) – UK public health officials on Monday said they had confirmed a first human case of a swine flu strain similar to one that has been circulating in pigs. The variant of the H1N2 virus was confirmed in an individual who had been tested by their doctor after experiencing respiratory symptoms. It has not previously been detected in humans in the country, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said. “This […]

China reports no ‘unusual or novel pathogens’ in respiratory illnesses upsurge

By Ludovic EHRET BEIJING, Nov 23, 2023 (AFP) – China has reported no ‘unusual or novel pathogens’ in a respiratory illnesses spreading in the north of the country, the World Health Organization said Thursday. Northern China has recorded an increase in “influenza-like illness” since mid-October when compared to the same period in the previous three years, said the WHO, which had requested more information on the situation. China’s National Health Commission told reporters last week […]

WHO asks China for more data on respiratory illness

The World Health Organization has asked China for more data on a respiratory illness spreading in the north of the country, urging Chinese to take steps to reduce the risk of infection. Northern China has reported an increase in “influenza-like illness” since mid-October when compared to the same period in the previous three years, according to the WHO. “WHO has made an official request to China for detailed information on an increase in respiratory illnesses […]

AI use in Mozambique jails spawns new hope in TB fight

A programme using artificial intelligence to test inmates in a high security Mozambican jail for tuberculosis has spawned hope that the new tech can help eradicate the disease. Teeming prisons are a hotbed of TB, the world’s second deadliest communicable disease after Covid, according to the World Health Organization. Mozambique, a country of 32 million people, recorded about 120,000 infections last year. Caused by a bacteria that most often affects the lungs, it infected more […]

US approves first vaccine against chikungunya virus: drug regulator

US health authorities on Thursday approved the world’s first vaccine for chikungunya, a virus spread by infected mosquitoes that the Food and Drug Administration called “an emerging global health threat.” The vaccine, developed by Europe’s Valneva which will be marketed under the name Ixchiq, was approved for people 18 and over who are at increased risk of exposure, the FDA said. Ixchiq’s green-light by the US drug regulator is expected to speed the vaccine’s rollout […]

Rare aid delivery reaches Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City: UN

A rare delivery of emergency medical supplies and medicines on Wednesday reached Al-Shifa hospital in the war-ravaged north of the Gaza Strip, the UN said, warning though that far more was needed. In a joint statement, the heads of the United Nations agency supporting Palestinian refugees and the World Health Organization said the aid had reached Gaza’s largest hospital “despite huge risks to our staff and health partners due to the relentless bombardments”. They highlighted […]

US officials warn of dramatic rise in infant syphilis

Cases of syphilis among newborns have grown tenfold in the United States over the past 10 years, health officials warned Tuesday, part of a broader rise in sexually transmitted diseases in America. Over 3,700 infants were born with congenital syphilis in 2022, more than 10 times the number in 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement. However, in nine out of 10 cases the disease could have been prevented with […]

Why Sweden going smoke-free may not be such good ‘snus’

GOTHENBURG, Sweden, Nov 7, 2023 (AFP) – Sweden is poised to become Europe’s first smoke-free country largely thanks to the popularity of snus, a kind of moist snuff which is placed under the upper lip. But some are worried the tobacco industry is peddling a “fairytale” that is too good to be true. Used by one in seven Swedes, snus has, according to the government, helped slash the number of smokers from 15 percent of […]

Climate change and filthy water drive disease in Iraq

By Hayder Indhar with Laure Al-Khoury in Baghdad AL-AYYACH, Iraq, Oct 25, 2023 (AFP) – A worried Iraqi father points at a blister on the face of his one-year-old daughter, the result of a parasitic infection carried by sandflies in her remote village. “It’s a skin disease, the ‘Baghdad boil’,” Najeh Farhan said of the pustule on Tiba’s mouth as the toddler played with a pacifier at their home in the drought-hit province of Al-Diwaniyah. […]

US states accuse Meta of profiting ‘from children’s pain’

By Glenn CHAPMAN SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 24, 2023 (AFP) – Dozens of US states on Tuesday accused Facebook and Instagram owner Meta of profiting “from children’s pain,” damaging their mental health and misleading people about the safety of its platforms. “In seeking to maximize its financial gains, Meta has repeatedly misled the public about the substantial dangers of its Social Media Platforms,” argued a joint lawsuit filed in federal court in California. In total more […]