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Extreme weather and lack of vaccines: Africa's cholera crisis is worse than ever

Extreme weather events have hit parts of Africa relentlessly in the last three years, with tropical storms, floods and drought causing crises of hunger and displacement. They leave another deadly threat behind them: some of the continent's worst outbreaks of cholera.

In southern and East Africa, more than 6,000 people have died and nearly 350,000 cases have been reported since a series of cholera outbreaks began in late 2021.

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Almost 75% of Maui wildfire survey participants have respiratory issues

A University of Hawaii study examining the health effects of last year's deadly wildfires on Maui found that up to 74% of participants may have difficulty breathing and otherwise have poor respiratory health, and almost half showed signs of compromised lung function.

The data, gathered from 679 people in January and February, comes from what researchers hope will be a long-term study of wildfire survivors lasting at least a decade. Researchers released early results from that research on Wednesday. They eventually hope to enroll 2,000 people in their study to generate what they call a snapshot of the estimated 10,000 people affected by the fires.

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Countries struggle to draft 'pandemic treaty' to avoid mistakes made during COVID

After the coronavirus pandemic triggered once-unthinkable lockdowns, upended economies and killed millions, leaders at the World Health Organization and worldwide vowed to do better in the future. Years later, countries are still struggling to come up with an agreed-upon plan for how the world might respond to the next global outbreak.

A ninth and final round of talks involving governments, advocacy groups and others to finalize a "pandemic treaty" is scheduled to end Friday. The accord's aim: guidelines for how the WHO's 194 member countries might stop future pandemics and better share scarce resources. But experts warn there are virtually no consequences for countries that don't comply.

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New form of mpox found in Congo's biggest outbreak

Congo is struggling to contain its biggest mpox outbreak, and scientists say a new form of the disease detected in a mining town might more easily spread among people.

Since January, Congo has reported more than 4,500 suspected mpox cases and nearly 300 deaths, numbers that have roughly tripled from the same period last year, according to the World Health Organization. Congo recently declared the outbreak across the country a health emergency.

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Mammograms should start at 40 to address rising breast cancer rates, panel says

Regular mammograms to screen for breast cancer should start younger, at age 40, according to an influential U.S. task force. Women ages 40 to 74 should get screened every other year, the group said.

Previously, the task force had said women could choose to start breast cancer screening as young as 40, with a stronger recommendation that they get the exams every two years from age 50 through 74.

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More cows are being tested and tracked for bird flu

U.S. health and agriculture officials are ramping up testing and tracking of bird flu in dairy cows in an urgent effort to understand — and stop — the growing outbreak.

So far, the risk to humans remains low, officials said, but scientists are wary that the virus could change to spread more easily among people.

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Climate change is bringing malaria to new areas. In Africa, it never left

When a small number of cases of locally transmitted malaria were found in the United States last year, it was a reminder that climate change is reviving or migrating the threat of some diseases. But across the African continent malaria has never left, killing or sickening millions of people.

Take Funmilayo Kotun, a 66-year-old resident of Makoko, an informal neighborhood in Nigeria's Lagos city. Its ponds of dirty water provide favorable breeding conditions for malaria-spreading mosquitoes. Kotun can't afford insecticide-treated bed nets that cost between $7 and $21 each, much less antimalarial medications or treatment.

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Doctors combine pig kidney transplant, heart device in bid to extend woman's life

Doctors have transplanted a pig kidney into a New Jersey woman who was near death, part of a dramatic pair of surgeries that also stabilized her failing heart.

Lisa Pisano's combination of heart and kidney failure left her too sick to qualify for a traditional transplant, and out of options. Then doctors at NYU Langone Health devised a novel one-two punch: Implant a mechanical pump to keep her heart beating and days later transplant a kidney from a genetically modified pig.

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EU to probe if China is unfairly denying firms access to its medical devices market

The European Union announced on Wednesday an investigation into whether China is using unfair methods to deprive companies in Europe of access to its market for medical devices ranging from hypodermic needles to high-tech scanners.

The probe launched by the European Commission — the EU's executive branch as well as its trade and competition watchdog — is the latest attempt to help companies gain the kind of access to China's vast markets that Chinese firms enjoy in Europe.

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How the search for the origins of COVID-19 turned politically poisonous

The hunt for the origins of COVID-19 has gone dark in China, the victim of political infighting after a series of stalled and thwarted attempts to find the source of the virus that killed millions and paralyzed the world for months.

The Chinese government froze meaningful domestic and international efforts to trace the virus from the first weeks of the outbreak, despite statements supporting open scientific inquiry, an Associated Press investigation found. That pattern continues to this day, with labs closed, collaborations shattered, foreign scientists forced out and Chinese researchers barred from leaving the country.

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