Top 5 Global Health Headlines: One Cigarette Causes Harm, Haiti Cholera
Photo by Valentin Ottone
Just One Cigarette Can Harm Health
The chemicals from even one puff of a cigarette can cause immediate damage to the lungs and DNA, according to a new report issued by U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin Thursday. The results conclude that even limited exposure to smoking can raise the risk of diseases like cancer and heart disease.
“There is no safe level of exposure to cigarette smoke,” Benjamin said.
Meningitis Vaccine Offers New Hope
Health officials in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger are carrying out a massive public health campaign with a newly introduced meningitis vaccine that costs just 50 cents.
The vaccine was developed specifically to help developing countries in the “meningitis belt” fight outbreaks that leave thousands dead, and hundreds of thousands with brain damage. More than 12 million people will be vaccinated before the end of the year.
Haiti Cholera Linked to Nepal Peacekeepers
A group of Nepalese peacekeepers working in Haiti were likely the source of the raging cholera outbreak that has claimed more than 2,000 lives, according to a new report by a respected French epidemiologist. Nepal’s military has disputed the study’s findings, and the United Nations cautioned there is no definitive evidence linking the cholera strain to the peacekeepers.
Half of Europeans Overweight
The obesity epidemic continues to gain ground–more than half of all Europeans are now overweight or obese, said the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The United Kingdom, Ireland and Malta have the highest rates of obesity in Europe.
Faster TB Diagnosis on the Way
A new generation tuberculosis test could cut wait times from weeks or months to just two hours for a diagnosis. The World Health Organization is endorsing a global roll out of the new test, which uses modern DNA technology for more accurate results and better detection of drug resistant tuberculosis.
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