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Health News Headlines: EV-D68 In 46 States; TB Global Spread Continues


We started our show this week reporting on the continuing spread of Ebola, but two other respiratory viruses also made health news headlines this week: Enterovirus D 68 and Tuberculosis.

The CDC reported nearly 1000 cases of Enterovirus D 68 have now shown up in 46 states. It’s believed that as many as seven people have died from it so far, although not all deaths can be directly linked to the illness. Enterovirus D 68 is very similar to the one that causes a common cold. It can be spread through sneezing and coughing, and it lasts on surfaces for several days. 

Meanwhile the global spread of TB is getting worse. The World Health Organization reported nine million cases of the infectious disease last year—mainly in underdeveloped countries. 1.5 million people died from it. The WHO says TB is now the second fastest growing infectious disease killer after AIDS, and that it’ll take a lot more money to get TB under control. 

Doctors in Poland took to the internet this week looking for volunteers: specifically, patients with spinal cord injuries caused by a knife or sharp object, to help them test a new procedure that involves cells from the nose. Doctors say they successfully transplanted cells from the nasal cavity into the spine of a man who was paralyzed from the chest down, and now the man is able to walk with the help of a cane. The doctors want to make sure the successful procedure wasn’t just a fluke, so they need to try it again on patients who suffered a similar type of injury. 

The American Heart Association continues to push its message that high blood pressure leads to serious health problems, including stroke and heart attack. The group released more research this week that visiting your doctor twice a year was the best way to keep your blood pressure under control. Studies also found that people with health insurance or those already being treated for high cholesterol were most likely to monitor their blood pressure levels.