EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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Aug 8, 2014

WHO declares Ebola an international health emergency

LONDON/MONROVIA (Reuters) – West Africa’s Ebola epidemic constitutes an international health emergency and the virus, which has killed nearly 1,000 people, could continue spreading for months, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

“The outbreak is moving faster than we can control it,” the WHO’s director-general Margaret Chan told reporters on a telephone briefing from the WHO’s Geneva headquarters.

Aug 8, 2014

WHO declares Ebola epidemic an international health emergency

LONDON (Reuters) – West Africa’s Ebola epidemic is an “extraordinary event” and now constitutes an international health risk, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday.

The Geneva-based U.N. health agency said the possible consequences of a further international spread of the outbreak, which has killed almost 1,000 people in four West African countries, were “particularly serious” in view of the virulence of the virus.

Aug 7, 2014

Scientists retract narcolepsy study linked to GSK vaccine

By Kate Kelland

LONDON (Reuters – Scientists who believed they had started to decipher links between a GlaxoSmithKline H1N1 pandemic flu vaccine and the sleep disorder narcolepsy have retracted a study after saying they cannot replicate their findings.

The paper, originally published in the journal Science Translational Medicine in December 2013, suggested narcolepsy can sometimes be triggered by a scientific phenomenon known as “molecular mimicry,” offering a possible explanation for its link to GSK’s “swine flu” vaccine, Pandemrix.

Aug 6, 2014

Study finds a gene mutation increases breast cancer risk to 1 in 3

LONDON (Reuters) – Women with mutations in a gene called PALB2 have a one in three chance of developing breast cancer by age 70, according to research that suggests PALB2 is almost as important a risk factor as BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are widely known as breast cancer risk genes. Women with a mutation in one or both often decide to have their breasts removed so they do not develop the disease.

Aug 6, 2014

WHO consults ethics experts on wider use of experimental Ebola drugs

GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) – The use of an experimental drug on two U.S. charity workers with the deadly Ebola virus has prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to consider the implications of making such treatments more widely available, it said on Wednesday.

The Geneva-based agency, which is hosting a two-day Emergency Committee of experts to decide on the international response to the disease that has killed nearly 1,000 people in West Africa, said it would convene a meeting of medical ethics experts early next week.

Aug 5, 2014

Scientific review finds aspirin significantly cuts cancer rates

LONDON (Reuters) – Taking a small daily dose of aspirin can significantly reduce the risk of developing – or dying from – bowel, stomach and oesophageal cancer, according to a large review of scientific studies.

Researchers who analyzed all available evidence from studies and clinical trials assessing benefits and harm found that taking aspirin for 10 years could cut bowel cancer cases by around 35 percent and deaths from the disease by 40 percent.

Aug 5, 2014

WHO urged to allow experimental drugs in ‘dire’ Ebola outbreak

LONDON, (Reuters) – Three of the world’s leading Ebola specialists called on Tuesday for experimental drugs and vaccines to be offered to people in West Africa, where a vast outbreak of the deadly disease is raging in three countries.

Noting that American aid workers who contracted the disease in Liberia were given an unapproved medicine before being evacuated back to the United States, the specialists – including Peter Piot, who co-discovered Ebola in 1976 – said Africans affected by the same outbreak should get the same chance.

Aug 5, 2014

Ebola mortality rate expected to rise as outbreak runs its deadly course

LONDON, Aug 5 (Reuters) – The death rate so far in the
world’s worst outbreak of Ebola is not as extreme as recorded in
the past, but experts expect it to prove no less virulent in the
end, once more victims succumb and the grim data is tallied up.

Latest figures from the World Health Organization (WHO)
record 1,603 cases of Ebola in the West African outbreak and 887
deaths – giving a death rate of just over 55 percent.

Jul 31, 2014

Taxis, planes and viruses: How deadly Ebola can spread

LONDON, (Reuters) – For scientists tracking the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa, it’s not about complex virology and genotyping, but about how contagious microbes – like humans – use planes, bikes and taxis to spread.

So far, authorities have taken no action to limit international travel in the region. The airlines association IATA said on Thursday that the World Health Organisation is not recommending any such restrictions or frontier closures.

Jul 30, 2014

Drug-resistant malaria reaches Southeast Asia borders, could spread to Africa

LONDON (Reuters) – Drug-resistant malaria parasites have spread to border regions of Southeast Asia, seriously threatening global efforts to control and eliminate the mosquito-borne disease, researchers said on Wednesday.

The scientists, who analyzed blood samples from 1,241 malaria patients in 10 countries across Asia and Africa, found resistance to the world’s most effective antimalarial drug, artemisinin, is now widespread in Southeast Asia.

    • About Kate

      "I cover health and science news for the region of Europe, Middle East and Africa -- from flu pandemics to the newest planetary discovery to the latest drug and research developments. I joined Reuters in 1993 and worked in London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt before moving to BBC television to work on European politics for Newsnight for 2 years. Since returning to Reuters, I have also worked as a parliamentary correspondent in Westminster and on the main news desk of the London bureau."
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