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WHO: Plague Outbreak Kills 40 in Madagascar

An outbreak of plague has killed 40 people in Madagascar, the World Health Organization said, warning that the disease could spread rapidly in the country's densely populated capital Antananarivo.

The first victim was identified on August 31 in a district to the west of the capital, and died three days later, the U.N. health agency said in a statement Friday.

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Dutch Cull Ducks amid Bird Flu Fears in Poultry Heartland

The Dutch authorities on Saturday ordered the preventative cull of 8,000 ducks amid fears that a bird flu outbreak could spread to the country's poultry heartland.

"In Barneveld 8,000 ducks will be culled as a precautionary measure," the economics ministry said in a statement after the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain was confirmed on two other farms near The Hague to the southwest.

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Italy Arrests Doctors in Baby Milk Bribes Scandal

Italian police on Friday placed 12 doctors under house arrest on suspicion of promoting baby milk formula over breastfeeding in exchange for kickbacks including luxury holidays.

The doctors had been bribed by several companies to prescribe baby formula for rewards worth thousands of euros, including iPhones, televisions, cruises and trips to the United States, India and Paris, the police said.

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Switzerland Bans Dutch Poultry Imports, New Bird Flu Cases in Holland

Switzerland on Friday said it was banning chicken imports from Britain and the Netherlands, as Dutch officials said they detected bird flu on three more farms.

The Swiss move will come into effect on Saturday and apply to live chickens and chicks as well as eggs from the affected zones in the two countries, the Federal Office for Food Security and Veterinary Affairs said.

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U.N. Warns Ebola Still Far from Over

The head of the U.N. Ebola mission warned Friday that the world was "far, far away" from beating the deadly outbreak and said a huge increase in aid was needed to fight the virus in Africa.

"There is a long battle ahead of us," Anthony Banbury told the U.N. Security Council, which met two months after it declared the outbreak a threat to world security.

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Battling Ebola: The Worst of Humanitarian Missions

An invisible, murderous enemy that puts caregivers in almost unbearable working conditions, Ebola is a grueling test for even the most experienced humanitarian.

Joachim Gardemann had spent 20 years with the Red Cross in Rwanda, Bosnia and Syria  before his toughest mission in eastern Sierra Leone.

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Study: Carbs More Harmful than Saturated Fats

Long-derided saturated fats -- associated with an array of health problems such as heart disease -- caught a break Friday when research revealed their intake could be doubled or even nearly tripled without driving up their level in a person's blood.

Carbohydrates, meanwhile, are associated with heightened levels of a fatty acid linked to increased risk for diabetes and heart disease, the same study showed.

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Turkey Launches Crackdown on Synthetic Drug 'Bonzai'

Turkey is launching an "all-out war" against the use of bonzai, a synthetic drug which has become a serious social problem in the country, the health minister said Friday.

Bonzai, which has become a craze in some parts of low income Turkish society, has come under the spotlight recently after a spate of deaths of young men caused by the abuse of the drug.

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Ebola-Infected Cuban Doctor Arrives in Geneva

A Cuban doctor infected with Ebola in Sierra Leone arrived late Thursday in Geneva, where he will be treated for the deadly virus.

A plane carrying Felix Baez Sarria landed at Geneva airport and he was rushed into an ambulance which then sped, surrounded by a four-car convoy, towards a nearby hospital around midnight (2300 GMT Thursday), an Agence France Presse photographer said.

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Soaring Generic Drug Prices Draw Senate Scrutiny

Some low-cost generic drugs that have helped restrain health care costs for decades are seeing unexpected price spikes of up to 8,000 percent, prompting a backlash from patients, pharmacists and now Washington lawmakers.

A Senate panel met Thursday to scrutinize the recent, unexpected trend among generic medicines, which usually cost 30 to 80 percent less than their branded counterparts.

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