Top 5 Global Health Headlines: Superbug in India, Refugees Flee Ivory Coast Violence
Family washing vegetable in Delhi. Photo by Flickr user Michael Foley.
Superbug Found in New Delhi Water
A drug-resistant superbug was found in about a quarter of samples taken from tap water and puddles in New Delhi, indicating the bacteria is circulating widely in the area.
Researchers from Cardiff University found the NDM-1 bacteria in two drinking water samples and 51 street samples, out of 200 total samples. The bacteria can be deadly and can only be treated with a few last-line, expensive antibiotics.
The World Health Organization called Thursday for new focus on preventing the spread of emerging drug-resistant bacteria threats.
Fleeing Ivory Coast Violence
As fighting continues in Ivory Coast between forces loyal to the internationally recognized winner of November’s presidential election, Alassane Ouattara, and the country’s incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo, thousands are fleeing their home or heading for eastern Liberia.
The U.N.’s refugee agency reports an estimated 100,000 people are displaced within the country, while 135,000 may have already fled to Liberia.
Search for Bodies in Japan Evacuation Zone
The search for those missing after the March tsunami is extending into the evacuation zone around the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. Nearly 15,000 people are still listed as missing, but teams were told not to enter the 12-mile radius evacuation zone during previous searches.
Radiation levels have dropped low enough to safely send in police officers wearing protective suits, said the Fukushima Prefecture police.
Australia Pushes Toughest Anti-Smoking Laws Yet
Legislation proposed in Australia Thursday would require cigarette manufacturers to use only plain olive green packaging, without logos, featuring grotesque pictures warning of the health effects of tobacco. Olive green was found to be the most off-putting for smokers.
The country’s Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon said the laws would be a first and some of the toughest anti-smoking restrictions in the world, though tobacco companies claim it would infringe on trademark and intellectual property laws.
Food Prices Dip
World food prices declined in March for the first time in eight months, the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization said Thursday, but still remain well above last year.
The FAO’s food price index showed a 2.9 percent drop from the record high food prices recorded in February that prompted new fears about food shortages and riots. Despite the drop, prices are 37 percent above March of last year and the FAO warns with harvest production uncertain, all the factors that led to the historic rise in prices are still in play.