Health Highlights: April 8, 2013
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Margaret Thatcher Dies of Stroke
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died Monday after suffering a stroke. She was 87 years old.
Her death was confirmed by son Mark and daughter Carol, The Telegraph newspaper reported.
"It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning. A further statement will be made later," Thatcher's spokesman Lord Bell announced.
Thatcher, known as the Iron Lady, governed Britain from 1979 to 1990. She was Britain's first female prime minister.
Dengue Fever Much More Common Than Believed: Study
There may be about 390 million cases of dengue fever worldwide each year, which is nearly four times higher than previously believed, a new study says.
Prior estimates by the World Health Organization put the number of cases of the mosquito-borne tropical disease at 50 million to 100 million a year, the Associated Press reported.
The study authors noted that most cases of dengue fever are mild and don't require medical treatment. Their findings were published online Sunday in the journal Nature.
The new numbers came from analyzing more evidence than was used in previous estimates and by looking at other factors that influence dengue, explained Jeremy Farrar, one of the study authors and director of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam, the AP reported.
Two Infants Infected with Herpes After Ritual Circumcision
In the last three months, two infants in New York City's ultra-Orthodox Jewish community have been infected with herpes after undergoing ritual circumcision, the city's health department says.
The two boys were not identified. Officials said one of the babies developed a fever and lesion on its scrotum seven days after the circumcision and tested positive for herpes, ABC News reported.
It is too early to tell if the infants will suffer long-term health consequences from the herpes infection, said Jay Varma, deputy commissioner for disease control in the city's health department.
The ritual circumcision includes a highly controversial component in which the practitioner places his mouth around the baby's penis to suck the blood and "cleanse" the wound, ABC News reported.
Thirteen cases of herpes have been linked to the ritual since 2000, including two deaths and two other babies who suffered brain damage.
WHO May Send Bird Flu Team to China
The Chinese government and World Health Organization are talking about sending international experts to China to investigate the new H7N9 bird flu strain, which has sickened at least 24 people, including seven who died.
The latest victim died Sunday night a week after first experiencing chills. The 64-year-old man in Shanghai first sought medical treatment on Wednesday and was admitted to hospital Sunday. He died hours later, the Associated Press reported.
The WHO has confidence in China's efforts to track and control the outbreak, but growing international concern about the virus has led the health organization to consider sending a team to the country, said Michael O'Leary, head of WHO's office in China, the AP reported.
The outbreak is of "great interest not only in the scientific community but in the world at large," he said at a joint press conference with China's national health agency. "WHO's responsibility in part is to make sure that we serve as liaison and linkage between China and the rest of the world."
The H7N9 virus had previously not been known to infect humans.
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