17 Stories

'Plague-Like' Facebook to Lose 80% of Users by 2017

Site will be abandoned as 'immunity' builds

(Newser) - Facebook has spread like an infectious disease but its dominance of social media is doomed and 80% of its user base will probably drift away over the next three years, according to researchers who compared the growth of social media to the spread of epidemics. The Princeton researchers based their... More »

America's Worst Airport for Spreading Disease Is ...

... New York's JFK, scientists say

(Newser) - Which US airport is most likely to spread an infectious disease during an epidemic? This won't surprise New Yorkers: It's JFK. But its top ranking has nothing to do with dirtiness, reports the New York Daily News . MIT scientists who analyzed 40 of the biggest US airports compared... More »

Meant to Soothe, Hospital Water Walls Spread Danger

Water wall linked to outbreak of Legionnaire's disease

(Newser) - Getting too close to a water wall or other decorative water fountain in a hospital can turn you into a patient, especially if you have underlying health problems, a new study warns. Researchers focused on a hospital in Wisconsin, where a water wall in the lobby was linked to an... More »

Contagion: It's Not Just Fiction

Premise 'will almost certainly occur,' writes Dr. Larry Madoff

(Newser) - Bad news for those of you, who after seeing Contagion , reminded yourself comfortingly, “It was only a movie:" According to one epidemiologist, the frightening premise put forth in the film “will almost certainly occur.” The plot deals with a virus breaking out of its niche and... More »

Swine Flu Not Gone Yet

US is 'not at all out of the woods,' CDC chief says

(Newser) - H1N1 continues to spread, albeit at a subdued pace. The chances of a third outbreak this season seem slight, but even though swine flu is not mounting a major offensive, it seems unusually resilient—most influenza outbreaks would've dissipated by now. Deaths from pneumonia and influenza are up, for the... More »

Coffee, Tea Lower Risk of Diabetes

Just drink 4 cups a day; decaf works, too

(Newser) - Consuming four cups a day of coffee, tea, or even decaf dramatically lowers the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, researchers say. In 18 studies that covered a whopping half-million people, coffee drinkers lowered their risk of diabetes by 7% per cup, Bloomberg reports. More research is needed, but the... More »

Flu Battles at Camp Spark Fears for School Year

Purell abounds; symptomatic kids sent home

(Newser) - With a swine flu resurgence expected in the fall—before an H1N1 vaccine is available—schools are getting a head start on fighting the disease, the Los Angeles Times reports. The scene at summer camps may provide a preview: Hundreds of youngsters in Southern California alone have been sent home... More »

WHO Declares Swine Flu Pandemic

H1N1 has spread to 74 countries, but may be milder than first thought

(Newser) - The World Health Organization has declared the first influenza pandemic since 1968, Reuters reports. Although the current outbreak has caused mostly mild cases of the illness, today's official declaration that the outbreak has hit phase 6, the highest level, means heightened prevention measures in 193 countries. The designation refers to... More »

Obese People Have More Flu Complications

In H1N1 patients, fat had same effects as diabetes, heart disease

(Newser) - Scientists at the CDC have noticed a new trend in cases of swine flu: "We were surprised by the frequency of obesity among the severe cases that we've been tracking," says an epidemiologist, adding that it might be cause to make obese people a priority for a... More »

Swine Flu Came From Lab: Researcher

WHO investigates claim that H1N1 arose from human error

(Newser) - The World Health Organization is investigating a claim by an Australian researcher that the swine flu virus may have been created in a laboratory as a result of human error. Adrian Gibbs, who helped develop Tamiflu, said in an interview with Bloomberg that the new strain may have evolved in... More »

Flu Carries Lessons for Bioterror Fight

(Newser) - The H1N1 flu outbreak spotlights a public-health infrastructure ill suited to respond to a pandemic or its close cousin, a bioterror attack, D.A. Henderson writes for Newsweek. We must “sharpen our health-care response. Rapid diagnosis and response are critical,” he writes. The “interconnected world we live... More »

Minnesota May Have Saved Your Innards

In detecting outbreaks of tainted food, some states are far superior

(Newser) - When it comes to salmonella and other food-borne illnesses, federal agencies are rightly putting money into preventing future outbreaks, but few agencies are focused on detecting them. That task falls mostly to state and local officials, which means the ability to connect several sick citizens and call it a salmonella... More »

College Kids Take Global Outlook to Class

Interest in public health leads to skyrocketing course enrollment

(Newser) - In less than a generation, college students' international perspective has transformed many colleges' public health-related programs and courses. The AIDS epidemic served as a catalyst by opening young people’s eyes to the global character of disease, and the ease of worldwide travel and communication is spurring involvement abroad. The... More »

CDC Sharply Raises Estimate of HIV Cases in US

New test indicates 40% more infected in US each year than reported

(Newser) - A lot more people in the US have HIV than previously thought. A new CDC study suggests that the US has undercounted by about 15,000 cases a year for 15 years or so, the New York Times reports. That would add 225,000 cases to the current estimate of... More »

Screening Isn't Slowing Staph: Study

Researchers back more cost-effective, targeted testing to catch superbug

(Newser) - Widespread screening of hospital patients for the drug-resistant staph bacteria MRSA doesn’t appear to reduce the number of infections, a new study finds. Swiss researchers screened more than 10,000 patients for the superbug when they were admitted to the University of Geneva Hospitals. Another 10,000 weren’t... More »

Drug-Proof Superbug Turns Deadly

Antibiotic-resistant staph kills more Americans than AIDS

(Newser) - An antibiotic-resistant strain of staph kills more Americans each year than HIV, accounting for almost 19,000 deaths annually, the first national stats on the superbug reveal. The super-staph is treatable but can quickly lead to dangerous "flesh-eating" infections. "We really need to be on guard against these... More »

Virus Causes Buzz in Bee Caper

Breakthrough may help explain billions of apian deaths

(Newser) - The mysterious deaths of billions of honeybees now has a new leading suspect, scientists say: a newcomer to the US called Israeli acute paralysis virus. And as most stricken colonies test positive for the disease, the lead seems promising, the AP reports. The deaths have hit between 50% and 90%... More »

17 Stories