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1 in 11 Organ Donors Died of Drug Overdose Last Year

More than 20 people die every day waiting for an organ transplant

(Newser) - As the number of Americans dying of drug overdoses continues to rise—thanks in large part to an opioid epidemic—so too has the number of organ donors. In fact, the percentage of donors who died of overdoses has nearly tripled since 2006, according to data gathered by the United... More »

Typhoid 'Superbug' Spreading Worldwide

H58 strain is 'completely transforming' disease

(Newser) - Efforts to fight typhoid in some of the world's poorest countries have helped create an antibiotic-resistant "superbug" strain of the disease that's spreading worldwide, researchers warn. According to a study published in Nature Genetics , the resistant H58 strain of typhoid is now present in at least 21... More »

HIV Epidemic Strikes an Indiana County

Needle-sharing fueled the outbreak

(Newser) - In one southern Indiana county, at least 72 people have been diagnosed with HIV since December. The Scott County "epidemic" has been fueled by opiate addicts sharing needles, and it's moving fast—another seven residents have tested "preliminary positive," and Reuters reports that officials fear the... More »

True Root of Black Death: Giant Gerbils?

Climate fluctuations suggest the plague entered European harbors from Asia

(Newser) - Much-maligned black rats and their fleas have long been blamed for spreading the Black Death that claimed millions of lives in Europe over the course of a few hundred years, but scientists now have a new critter they think was at fault. By studying tree rings to learn about precise... More »

Origin of Ebola Outbreak: Tiny Guinea Bat?

Team says bats hunted by kids likely started this outbreak

(Newser) - The current Ebola epidemic—which now totals upward of 20,000 cases and more than 7,700 deaths—has already been traced to the tiny village of Meliandou in southern Guinea, where the person thought to be patient zero, 2-year-old Emile Ouamouno, died with Ebola-like symptoms in late 2013. Fruit... More »

The Ebola Outbreak: It's Time for 'Plan C'

We need 500M doses of a vaccine we don't have: Michael Osterholm

(Newser) - Plan A for stopping Ebola calls for shutting it down where it's already occurring, and that's not working. There's no Plan B in place to prevent it from expanding even further, especially if it hits a busy area with limited health care. So it's time for... More »

'Hero' Ebola Doctor Dies; US Physician Is 'Grave'

Disease threatens to spread to Africa's most populous nation, Nigeria

(Newser) - Dr. Sheik Umar Khan, one of the leading doctors fighting Sierra Leone's Ebola outbreak, died today of the virus in yet another high-profile casualty , reports the BBC . The death of the man hailed by the government as a "national hero" comes as Nigeria, the continent's most populous... More »

'Tip of Iceberg'? Ebola Toll Passes 500

Aid group blames 'gross misjudgement in gauging severity'

(Newser) - Deep in the forests of southern Guinea, the first victims fell ill with high fevers. People assumed it was the perennial killer malaria and had no reason to fear touching the bodies. Some desperate relatives brought loved ones to the distant capital in search of better medical care, unknowingly spreading... More »

California Facing Whooping Cough Epidemic

More than 3K cases reported this year

(Newser) - At least 3,458 cases of whooping cough have been reported in California this year—more than the number reported through all of last year. Facing 800 cases in the past two weeks, the state has now declared an epidemic, the San Jose Mercury News reports. "We urge all... More »

Skeletons Reveal Black Death Secrets

Victims led hard lives before dying, scientists say

(Newser) - Skeletons dug up in London last year are indeed the remains of people who died from the Black Plague—and who suffered a tough life before falling ill, the BBC reports. Forensic analysis shows that teeth taken from at least four of the 12 corpses discovered during excavation for a... More »

Swine Flu's 2009 Death Toll Not 19K—It Was 203K

New research finds H1N1 epidemic killed 10 times more than estimated

(Newser) - WHO initially reported 18,631 lab-confirmed deaths from 2009's "swine flu" epidemic—but a new study by epidemiologists finds that H1N1 actually killed as many as 203,000 people. The researchers looked at respiratory deaths in 20 countries and then used that data to calculate a global figure.... More »

US Woefully Unprepared for New Tuberculosis Epidemic

Multidrug-resistant TB on the rise, and US is at risk: experts

(Newser) - Though multidrug-resistant tuberculosis was basically conquered in the US in the 1990s, it's now at epidemic levels in other parts of the world—and the US is not prepared, reports the Wall Street Journal in an extensive look at the disease. As TB strains get more drug-resistant abroad—a... More »

Vermont Declares Whooping Cough Epidemic

Urges adults to get vaccinated

(Newser) - Vermont is officially in the midst of a whooping cough epidemic, the state's department of health has declared, urging everyone age 19 and older to get vaccinated. As of the end of last week there had been 522 reported cases of the disease, formally known as pertussis, the Burlington ... More »

War on TB Has Backfired: Experts

WHO slow to tackle drug-resistant TB

(Newser) - For years, the World Health Organization has pushed countries to battle tuberculosis by treating those patients who could be most easily cured. The strategy has a major flaw: It's allowed drug-resistant forms of the disease to flourish, experts say. Now the WHO is reworking its strategy—but much damage... 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 »

Whooping Cough Outbreak Worst in 50 Years

Adults should get booster shots, CDC says

(Newser) - The US is facing its worst epidemic of whooping cough since the 1950s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends that adults—especially pregnant women and those who spend time around children—get booster shots. Some 18,000 cases of the highly infectious disease have been... More »

Florida Kept Lid on Worst TB Outbreak in Decades

Strain linked to 13 deaths and 99 cases: Palm Beach Post

(Newser) - Florida is in the midst of the worst tuberculosis outbreak the CDC has seen in two decades—and the Jacksonville outbreak was largely hidden from the public, finds the Palm Beach Post in a disturbing report. The outbreak apparently originated in 2008, when a schizophrenic patient came down with TB... More »

Baby Boomer? Feds Say Get Tested for Hepatitis C

Disease can lurk in the body for decades

(Newser) - An epidemic of hepatitis C is afflicting the baby boomer generation, and federal authorities will roll out a campaign this year urging everyone born between 1945 and 1965 to get tested, reports the Los Angeles Times . Roughly 75% of the estimated 3.2 million people infected are boomers, many of... More »

This Might Be a Bad Summer for Lyme Disease

Big crop of acorns, mice signal potential trouble

(Newser) - A surge in cases of Lyme disease could be hiding in the forest. Scientists say the northeastern US might be staring at "the worst year yet" for the bacterial illness, reports Wired . The reason starts with acorns: In 2010, there was a huge crop of them, which led to... 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 »

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