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Ebola, ACA, VA Scandal Top U.S. Health News for 2014

Enterovirus illnesses, surge in e-cigarette use also made headlines this year

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 31, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- It started as a deadly but little-known outbreak in West Africa, but the lethal and unchecked spread of the Ebola virus dominated U.S. headlines for much of 2014, making it one of the year's top health news features.

The other big health coverage of the year: the continued rollout of the Affordable Care Act. By the end of the year, the Obama administration said, 10 million Americans had gained health care coverage, with nearly two million new enrollees signing up for coverage for 2015.

Other top health news stories for 2014, as compiled by the editors at HealthDay, included allegations by whistle-blowers inside the Veterans Administration that prompted an FBI investigation into long waiting times for patients at VA hospitals and claims that hospital executives had falsified records to cover up the problem. The scandal triggered the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, with one internal audit revealing that more than 64,000 newly enrolled veterans who had sought appointments for care never received one.

Also in 2014, enterovirus D68 was linked to hundreds of U.S. cases of serious pediatric illness, some involving paralysis and death. In other news, California suffered its worst outbreak of pertussis in 70 years. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show that U.S. measles cases have reached a 20-year high. And even the National Hockey League was laid low by an outbreak of mumps. Other headlines included: E-Cigarette Use Soars, Amid Debate; FDA Mandates Calorie Counts on Many Menus; New Drugs Offer Cure for Hepatitis C; and Medicare OKs CT Scans for Long-Term Smokers.

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