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NIH Finds Old Ricin, Other Forgotten Germs in Labs

The National Institutes of Health said it has uncovered a nearly century-old container of ricin and a handful of other forgotten samples of dangerous pathogens as it combs its laboratories for improperly stored hazardous materials.

The agency began an intensive investigation of all its facilities after a scientist in July found vials of smallpox dating from the 1950s, along with other contagious viruses and bacteria that had been stored and forgotten in one lab on the NIH's campus.

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U.N: Ebola Vaccine for Health Workers by November if Safe

Medical workers, members of the Liberian Red Cross, adjust their protective suits upon arrival in Banjol, on September 4, 2014

An Ebola vaccine could be available by November for health workers, hard-hit by the killer disease, with testing of two candidate vaccines under way, the World Health Organization said Friday.

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Ecuador to Target Unhealthy Diets with 'Junk Food Tax'

Ecuador plans to impose a "junk food tax" on fast food restaurants, and will use the revenues to address the negative health effects on its citizens of diets laden with salt and fat.

"We are moving past poverty-related problems since the country is progressing a lot, and moving on to problems of affluence," President Rafael Correa said Thursday.

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EU Pledges 140 mn Euros for Ebola-Hit West Africa

The European Union on Friday announced 140 million euros ($183 million) in funds to fight the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa, a sharp increase over its previous aid as the outbreak worsens.

The commission said the aid was necessary to boost measures to stop the "worst ever outbreak of the epidemic" from ravaging Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.

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U.N. Report on E-Cigarettes is Flawed, Say Critics

Health experts fearing a clampdown on e-cigarettes said Friday a U.N. report on the device had exaggerated their health risk and underplayed their role as a safe alternative to tobacco.

The August 26 report by the U.N.'s World Health Organisation (WHO) said governments should ban the sale of so-called electronic cigarettes to minors, warning they posed a "serious threat" to unborn babies and young people.

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FDA OKs Merck Drug, 1st in New Cancer Drug Class

Merck & Co. on Thursday won the first U.S. approval for a new kind of cancer drug with big advantages over chemotherapy and other older cancer treatments.

The Food and Drug Administration said it has granted accelerated approval to Merck's Keytruda, for treating melanoma that's spread or can't be surgically removed, in patients previously treated with another melanoma drug called Yervoy.

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World Experts Race to Deploy Experimental Ebola Drugs

World health experts will meet in Geneva on Friday for the second day of urgent talks on fast-tracking experimental Ebola drugs as doctors in the worst-hit countries pleaded to be given the serums.

With no fully tested treatments for Ebola, the World Health Organization has endorsed potential cures like ZMapp to be rushed out.

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HIV Patients in Myanmar Struggle

Myanmar, which only recently emerged from a half-century of dictatorship and self-imposed isolation, has one of the world's worst health care systems, with tens of thousands dying each year because treatment is lacking for many diseases, including AIDS.

Though international aid has been flowing into the country since 2011, when military rulers handed over power to a nominally civilian government, the country remains one of the hardest places to get care for HIV. Of the estimated 190,000 people who lived with the virus last year, only around a third were receiving treatment, and more than 15,000 died from the disease, according to UNAIDS.

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WHO: One Person Commits Suicide Every 40 Seconds

One person commits suicide every 40 seconds, an avoidable tragedy that fails to grab attention because of taboos and stigma, a UN report said Thursday.

In a study released three weeks after the apparent suicide of Hollywood great Robin Williams, the World Health Organization also warned that media reporting of suicide details raises the risk of copycat behavior.

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Ebola Survivors: Hospital Staff Exposed in Africa

The hospital in Liberia where three American aid workers got sick with Ebola has been overwhelmed by a surge in patients and doesn't have enough hazard suits and other supplies to keep doctors and nurses safe, a missionary couple told The Associated Press.

The latest infection — of Dr. Rick Sacra, an obstetrician who wasn't even working in the hospital's Ebola unit — shows just how critical protective gear is to containing the deadly epidemic, and how charities alone can't handle the response, they said Wednesday.

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