EMEA Health and Science Correspondent
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Feb 27, 2015

Watch out for nasty global flu surprises, WHO warns

LONDON (Reuters) – The world remains highly vulnerable to a possible severe flu pandemic and governments should increase surveillance, vigilance and preparedness, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

“Nothing about influenza is predictable – including where the next pandemic might emerge and which virus might be responsible,” the United Nations health agency warned.

Feb 26, 2015

UK lawmakers demand new EU rules on genetically modified crops

LONDON (Reuters) – EU rules that prevent genetically modified crops from being grown in the UK, even after they pass rigorous safety tests, are not fit for purpose and should be totally reformed, British lawmakers said on Thursday.

Members of parliament’s science and technology committee said the EU regulation is driven more by politics than science.

Feb 25, 2015

WHO calls for more measles vaccination in Europe as large outbreaks persist

LONDON, Feb 25 (Reuters) – The World Health Organization in
Europe called on Wednesday for measles vaccination campaigns to
be stepped up across the region after recording 22,000 cases of
the highly infectious disease since the start of 2014.

Saying she was “taken aback” by high case numbers, Zsuzsanna
Jakab, the U.N. health agency’s European director, said the
22,149 reported cases from seven countries threatened the
region’s goal of eliminating measles by the end of 2015.

Feb 25, 2015

Clinically depressed 3 times more likely to commit violent crime

LONDON, Feb 25 (Reuters) – People diagnosed with major
depression are around three times more likely than the general
population to commit violent crimes such as robbery, sexual
offences and assault, psychiatric experts said on Wednesday.

In a study based on some 47,000 people, the scientists
emphasised, however, that the overwhelming majority of depressed
people are neither violent nor criminal and should not be

Feb 24, 2015

Britain becomes first nation to legalize three-parent babies

LONDON (Reuters) – - Britain will become the first nation to legalize a “three-parent” IVF technique which doctors say can prevent some inherited incurable diseases but which critics fear will effectively lead to “designer babies”.

After more than three hours of debate, lawmakers in parliament’s upper house voted on Tuesday for a change in the law to allow the treatments, echoing a positive vote in the lower house earlier this month.

Feb 24, 2015

Preventative treatment dramatically reduces HIV risk in gay men

LONDON, Feb 24 (Reuters) – Gay men at high risk of HIV who
took a daily dose of a Gilead AIDS drug as a
preventative measure cut their risk of infection by 86 percent,
according to results of a British trial released on Tuesday.

Researchers who conducted the trial of so-called
pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) said the results offer real hope
of reversing the HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men,
one of the highest risk groups.

Feb 23, 2015

Scientists find peanut-eating prevents allergy, urge rethink

LONDON, Feb 23 (Reuters) – In research that contradicts
years of health advice, scientists said on Monday that babies at
risk of developing a childhood peanut allergy can avoid it if
they are given peanuts regularly during their first 11 months.

The study, the first to show that eating certain foods is an
effective way of preventing allergy, showed an 80 percent
reduction in the prevalence of peanut allergies among high-risk
children who ate peanuts frequently from infanthood, compared to
those who avoided them.

Feb 23, 2015

U.N. experts warn of ‘critical knowledge gaps’ on Saudi MERS virus

LONDON (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has not done enough to investigate and control a deadly new MERS virus that has killed hundreds of people there and remains in many ways a mystery, United Nations health experts said on Monday.

Cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) are surging again, but Saudi health officials and scientists appear unable to explain where the infections start and how they spread, the UN experts said.

Feb 20, 2015

UN team investigates Saudi surge in cases of deadly MERS virus

LONDON (Reuters) – An international team of United Nations human and animal health experts has flown to Saudi Arabia to investigate a recent surge in cases of a deadly virus known as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS.

Speaking from Riyadh on Friday, a spokeswoman for the World Health Organization-led team said it was worried by a steep rise in cases of MERS, which has infected some 50 people in the Kingdom in February alone — one of the highest monthly rates since it first emerged in humans in 2102.

Feb 20, 2015

Drug-resistant malaria found close to Myanmar border with India

LONDON (Reuters) – Malaria with total resistance to the antimalarial drug artemisinin has taken hold in Myanmar and spread close to the border with India, threatening to repeat history and render crucial medicines useless, scientists said on Friday.

If the spread of artemisinin-resistant malaria parasites were to reach into India, they said, that would pose a serious threat to the chances of global control and eradication of the killer mosquito-borne disease.

    • 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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