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MIAMI (AP) — Linda Close was grateful to learn she qualified for a sizable subsidy to help pay for her health insurance under the new federal law. But in the process of signing up for a plan, Close said her HealthCare.gov account showed several different subsidy amounts, varying as much as $180 per month.
China lifts quarantine after man dies of plague
BEIJING (AP) — A nine-day quarantine imposed on parts of a northern Chinese city where a man died of bubonic plague has been lifted, China's official news agency reported Thursday.
GSK asks European regulator to OK malaria shot
LONDON (AP) — Pharma giant GSK said Thursday it is submitting its malaria vaccine for regulatory approval to the European Medicines Agency.
Oregon GMO labeling measure certified for November ballot
By Courtney Sherwood PORTLAND Ore. (Reuters) - An Oregon citizens' initiative that would require labeling of foods made with genetically modified ingredients has garnered more than enough signatures to gain a spot on the state's November ballot, a state government spokesman said on Thursday. "It cleared easily," said Tony Green, a spokesman for the Oregon Secretary of State's Office. It would not apply to food served in restaurants or to animal feed. Oregon is only one of many states wrestling with the hotly contested issue of GMO labeling.
By Annika McGinnis WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday took another step toward authorizing a lawsuit against President Barack Obama, claiming he has overstepped his executive powers. In a partisan vote of 7-4, the House Rules Committee approved the legislation, likely setting it up for consideration by the full House next week. The Republican initiative already has spawned a bitter debate with Democrats less than four months before elections that will determine the political control of Congress next year. House Speaker John Boehner wrote in June that Obama's use of executive orders, including raising the minimum wage for federal contractors and stopping deportations of undocumented youths brought to the United States by their parents, risked giving him a "king-like authority." But Boehner has tamped down calls from some fellow Republicans who have called for impeachment proceedings against Obama, which would be a first step toward removing him from office.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday lifted a moratorium on transfers of inactivated materials from its clinical tuberculosis laboratory, after a bioterror lab mishap last month potentially exposed workers to live anthrax, prompting the halt of transfers from other high-containment labs. The tuberculosis lab, which last year processed more than 500 specimens from around the United States, is the first of the CDC's high-containment labs to be cleared to resume transfers of biological materials. Its other such labs remain on hold, the CDC said. The CDC also announced on Thursday the members of a new panel of independent experts who will advise CDC's director, Dr. Thomas Frieden, on safety issues and corrective actions for the agency's labs.
Watch: Sierra Leone's Chief Ebola Doctor Catches the Virus
The latest victim in the fight against the deadly virus in West Africa is the man leading the fight.
Lou Gehrig's disease is rare, 1st US count finds
NEW YORK (AP) — The government has issued its first national estimate for Lou Gehrig's disease, confirming the devastating disease is rare.
Child siblings may influence each other’s obesity risk
By Shereen Lehman NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Brothers or sisters might have a greater influence than parents on a child’s likelihood of being obese, suggests new U.S. research. The study, based on data from the larger national Family Health Habits Survey, found that kids with obese parents were about twice as likely to be obese themselves, but having an obese sibling raised a child’s risk of obesity five-fold or more in some cases. “When you look at a two-child family, a child's obesity status was more strongly related with their sibling than with their parent,” said Mark Pachucki, a researcher with the Mongan Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, who led the analysis. Past research has shown that parents’ obesity, health habits and the environment they create in the household can all influence whether their kids will be obese, Pachuki and his colleagues note in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
By Chijioke Ohuocha LAGOS (Reuters) - A Liberian man in his 40s is being tested for the deadly Ebola virus in Nigeria's commercial capital of Lagos, a mega-city of 21 million people, the Lagos State Health Ministry said on Thursday. Ebola has killed 660 people across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since an outbreak in February, straining their flimsy healthcare systems despite international help. A spokesman for the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva confirmed Nigeria had "one suspect case" and said samples had been sent to a WHO lab for testing. "The Nigerian Ministry of Health has implemented control measures in the meantime," he told Reuters.
By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline faces new allegations of corruption, this time in Syria, where the drugmaker and its distributor have been accused of paying bribes to secure business, according to a whistleblower's email reviewed by Reuters. The allegations relate to its former consumer healthcare operations in Syria, which were closed down in 2012 due to the worsening civil war in the country. GSK has been rocked by corruption allegations since last July, when Chinese authorities accused it of funneling up to 3 billion yuan ($480 million) to doctors and officials to encourage them to use its medicines. Syria is the sixth country to be added to the list.
More girls now getting cervical cancer vaccine
NEW YORK (AP) — The government is reporting an increase in teen U.S. girls getting a controversial cervical cancer vaccine — but it's not much of a bump.
By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK (Reuters) - A divided federal appeals court on Thursday upheld a U.S. Food and Drug Administration policy allowing the use of various antibiotics in animal feed, even if such use might endanger the public health. Reversing a lower court ruling, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said the FDA was empowered to reject two citizen challenges to its policy, which discourages but does not ban the use of penicillin and some tetracyclines in feed for chickens, cows and pigs, even if they are not sick. They said the FDA should have followed through on its 1977 proposal to ban the feed entirely. The FDA has long since promoted voluntary limits on animal feed containing the antibiotics.
By David Beasley ATLANTA (Reuters) - More U.S. adolescents are receiving vaccines against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical and other types of cancer but vaccination rates for the infection remain too low, federal health officials said on Thursday. In 2013, 37.6 percent of girls ages 13-17 got the recommended three doses of the vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. "It’s frustrating to report almost the same HPV vaccination coverage levels among girls for another year," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general and director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. The percentage of boys receiving all three doses of the vaccine more than doubled, increasing to 13.9 percent in 2013 from 6.8 percent in 2012, according to data from the CDC's National Immunization Survey of teens.
A Liberian man has been hospitalised in Lagos with Ebola-like symptoms, but it is not yet clear if he is infected with the killer virus, Nigerian officials said Thursday. The 40-year-old Monrovia resident arrived in Nigeria's mega-city on Sunday and was admitted to hospital on Tuesday suffering from severe vomiting and diarrhoea, said Yewande Adesina, the special advisor on health for the Lagos state government. The patient was "detained for possible Ebola infection while blood samples were sent to the Virology Reference Laboratory in Lagos as well as to the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Dakar," she said.
U.N. chief condemns attack on U.N. school in Gaza
By Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday he was appalled by an attack on a United Nations-run school in the Gaza strip that killed civilians, including children, and U.N. staff. "Many have been killed – including women and children, as well as U.N. staff." The Gaza health ministry said at least 15 people had been killed and some 200 wounded. Israel Radio, without citing a source, reported that most of those killed at the United Nations school were children. More than 140,000 Palestinians have fled 17 days of fighting between Israel and Gaza militants, many of them seeking shelter in buildings run by the U.N. Refugee Works Agency (UNRWA).
Israeli shelling kills at least 15 in UN Gaza shelter - health ministry
By Nidal al-Mughrabi GAZA (Reuters) - At least 15 people were killed and many wounded on Thursday when Israeli forces shelled a U.N.-run school sheltering Palestinians in northern Gaza, said a spokesman for the Gaza health ministry, Ashraf al-Qidra. The director of a local hospital said various medical centers around Beit Hanoun in the coastal enclave were receiving the wounded. "Such a massacre requires more than one hospital to deal with it," said Ayman Hamdan of the Beit Hanoun hospital. Israel said its troops were engaged in combat in the area with Hamas gunmen and it was investigating the incident at the school.
By Scott Malone SPENCER, Mass. (Reuters) - Tucked off a two-lane highway in a hilly, wooded section of central Massachusetts, a group of Roman Catholic monks has embraced a centuries-old tradition they hope can sustain their aging members in a world of rapidly rising health costs. "We're trying to reinvent our economy," said Father Isaac Keeley on a recent tour of the abbey's low-slung stone buildings and starkly modern 30,000-square-foot brewery, nestled in a wooded property some 60 miles (97 km) west of Boston. "The health costs are huge," said Father Dominic Whedbee, the abbey's 65-year-old prior, the group's second-ranking member.
Chinese police arrest man after nursing home patients castrated
Police in China have arrested a man on suspicion of castrating or partially castrating four patients at a nursing home, state media said on Thursday, the latest scandal to hit the country's medical sector. Doctors discovered on Tuesday that three men at the nursing home in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang had had either one or both of their testicles removed with a blunt razor, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Alabama man sues, claiming penis amputated instead of circumcised
(Reuters) - An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday. Johnny Lee Banks Jr., 56, said in a lawsuit filed in state court earlier this week that no one at the Princeton Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama, had told him why it had been necessary to remove his penis, according to his attorney, John Graves. Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the hospital, the Simon-Williamson Clinic, Urology Centers of Alabama and two doctors, Graves said. Spokeswomen for the hospital, the clinic and Urology Centers of Alabama did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
By Aruna Viswanatha WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Bank of America Corp's banking unit agreed to pay $16.6 million to resolve allegations that it processed several hundred transactions for drug traffickers who are subject to U.S. sanctions, the U.S. Treasury Department said on Thursday. The bank processed around $91,000 in transactions for six designated narcotics traffickers between 2005 and 2009, and failed to file timely reports on accounts owned by four others, the department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said. Bank of America spokesman Lawrence Grayson said the settlement concluded a matter the bank addressed in 2009 by improving its sanctions-related systems and controls. In announcing the settlement, OFAC said it determined that 79 transactions the bank processed after October 2006 constituted an "egregious" case, because the bank knew of a problem with its screening tool, but didn't fix it until more than two years later.
Liberian man in Nigeria's Lagos being tested for Ebola
LAGOS (Reuters) - A Liberian man in his 40s is being tested for the deadly Ebola virus in Nigeria's commercial capital of Lagos, a megacity of 21 million people, the Lagos State Health Ministry said on Thursday. Ebola has killed 632 people across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since an outbreak began in February, straining a string of weak health systems despite international help. ...
The United Nations, expressing deep concern, said on Thursday that militant group Islamic State had ordered all girls and women in and around Iraq's northern city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation. One document posted on Twitter suggested it may be a year old and have been issued by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, the group's previous name. Such a "fatwa" issued by the Sunni Muslim fighters would potentially affect 4 million women and girls, U.N. resident and humanitarian coordinator in Iraq Jacqueline Badcock told reporters in Geneva by videolink from Arbil. There was no immediate comment from Islamic State which has led an offensive through northern and western Iraq.
By Paul Mooney and Thin Lei Win INN DIN Myanmar (Reuters) - Visitors to the medical facility in one of Myanmar's poorest and most remote regions are greeted by a padlocked gate and a sign reading: "Clinic closed until further notice." A vehicle that used to ferry around doctors and patients parked next to the neat compound of bamboo and brick buildings in the western state of Rakhine is covered in thick dust. Since international aid groups were forced out of the area in February and March, members of the minority Muslim Rohingya community who relied on them say basic health care services have all but disappeared. Worst affected are those in Northern Rakhine State (NRS), home to most of Myanmar's 1.3 million Rohingya who are stalked by sickness and malnourishment and as yet untouched by reforms under a semi-civilian government which took power in 2011.
South Africa plans plain cigarette packaging by 2015: minister
By Wendell Roelf CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa aims to force cigarette companies to sell products in plain packets by next year, despite an ongoing World Trade Organisation (WTO) investigation into Australia's ban on tobacco branding, the health minister said on Thursday. South Africa, New Zealand, France, India and Britain are all considering adopting standardised packaging on tobacco products but the African country hadn't previously given a timeframe. Opponents of the law, who say it is heavy-handed and an invitation to counterfeiters, had hoped other countries would hold off from following Australia's example pending a WTO case addressing complaints by tobacco-producing countries. "I am not even sure we can wait for that WTO decision.
By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline said on Thursday it is applying for regulatory approval for the world's first vaccine against malaria, designed for children in Africa. The British drugmaker said the shot, called RTS,S, is intended exclusively for use outside the European Union but will be evaluated by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO). Malaria, a mosquito-borne parasitic disease, kills more than 600,000 people a year, mainly babies in the poorest parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Yet hopes that RTS,S would be the final answer to wiping out malaria were dampened when results from a final-stage trial in babies aged six to 12 weeks showed the shot provided only modest protection, reducing episodes of the disease by 30 percent compared to immunisation with a control vaccine.
EU regulator: Morning-after pill OK for all women
LONDON (AP) — A commonly used morning-after pill is suitable for use by heavier women, the European Medicines Agency said Thursday after a review of the evidence sparked by the French manufacturer's declaration that the drugs didn't work in women weighing more than 80 kilograms (176 pounds).
EU finds 'morning after pills' work, regardless of a woman's weight
Emergency contraceptives, known as the "morning after pill", remain suitable for all women who need them, regardless of a woman’s weight, European regulators said on Thursday. The European Medicines Agency had questioned whether the contraceptives worked as effectively in women weighing more than 75 kg, but its experts concluded that the benefits of using them outweighed the risks. “Women should be reassured that regardless of their body weight, emergency contraceptives can still be used to prevent unintended pregnancy," said Sarah Branch, of Britain's drugs watchdog the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
Thought to offer the most complete analysis of sleep quality in relation to one's sleeping environment, Sense is creating a crowdfunding sensation on Kickstarter. Well, for starters, investors believe in inventor James Proud, 22, who received a Thiel Fellowship to skip college and invest a $100,000 grant into creating a business. The particle detector is important, according to the product's Kickstarter campaign, because abundance can cause nasal allergies, which impact sleep quality. Sense comes with a device that attaches to the pillow called the "Sleep Pill," which tracks sleep quality by sensing sound, movement and respiration, whereas the bedside table device -- which doubles as a decoration -- is equipped with the environmental sensors.
Lithuania to slaughter 20,000 pigs as swine fever spreads
Lithuanian authorities on Thursday ordered the slaughter of 19,400 pigs at one of the country's largest farms as an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in the region spread. It was first case of ASF to be found in farm pigs in the Baltic country, Chief Veterinary Officer Jonas Milius said, amid an outbreak in which cases have appeared in neighboring countries. Poland has also reported ASF cases at farm pigs near its border with Belarus. ASF was found after pigs in the Rupinskai farm near the Belarusia and Latvia borders began dying in larger numbers than usual on Wednesday, the farm's owner, Danish firm Idavang, said.
By Padraic Halpin DUBLIN (Reuters) - A United Nations human rights panel has told Ireland it should revise its highly restrictive abortion laws and that allegations of abuse of women and children at Catholic-run homes must be better investigated. Following months of polarizing debate in the Roman Catholic country, Ireland's parliament voted to allow limited access to abortion for the first time last year but restricted it to cases when a woman's life is in danger. The U.N. Human Rights Committee remained highly critical of the law, saying Ireland should revise it to provide for additional exceptions in cases of rape, incest, serious risks to the health of the mother, or fatal fetal abnormality. "The Committee reiterates its previous concern regarding the highly restrictive circumstances under which women can lawfully have an abortion in the state," it said following hearings last week when Committee Chairman Nigel Rodley said Irish law treated women who were raped as a "a vessel and nothing more".
Britain's leading fraud prosecutor on Thursday charged a British subsidiary of French engineering group Alstom with three offences of corruption and three offences of conspiracy to corrupt after a five-year investigation. The charges by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), flagged by the agency's head David Green in a Reuters interview on Wednesday, come just weeks after the French parent agreed a 12.4 billion euro (9.8 billion pounds) sale of most of its power business to U.S. conglomerate General Electric (GE). Officials for Alstom in Paris declined to comment. The charges against Alstom Network UK relate to large transport projects in India, Poland and Tunisia carried out between June 2000 and November 2006, the agency said.