Health Highlights: April 1, 2016
Ebola Flare-Up in Liberia, Hundreds to Receive Experimental Vaccine in Guinea: WHO Lab Worker Salmonella Infection Being Investigated by CDC Medicare Tests New Payment System for Knee and Hip Replacements
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Ebola Flare-Up in Liberia, Hundreds to Receive Experimental Vaccine in Guinea: WHO
A new flare-up of Ebola in Liberia was announced Friday by the World Health Organization.
The WHO also said hundreds of people in neighboring Guinea would receive experimental vaccines against the deadly disease, CNN reported.
A few days ago, the WHO said the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was no longer a public health emergency of international concern.
However, the international health body said in a tweet Friday: "Flare-ups, at decreasing frequency, are expected," CNN reported.
Lab Worker Salmonella Infection Being Investigated by CDC
A salmonella infection in a lab worker is being investigated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Preliminary findings indicate the worker was infected with a strain of salmonella that matched the strain being worked on in the lab.
"The worker is well and back at CDC and, based on what we know now, no other staff were exposed or sick, and there was no release outside the laboratory," according to a CDC news release.
The agency said the infected person was trained by experienced microbiologists, completed all required safety training, and followed standard protocols in conducting a basic procedure on a frozen sample in order to grow the bacteria.
The CDC said it is investigating to determine whether further safety measures are needed when the same procedure is conducted in the future.
Medicare Tests New Payment System for Knee and Hip Replacements
A new way of paying for hip and knee replacements is being tested by Medicare with the goal of improving quality and cutting costs.
Patients will be monitored more closely in order to improve their recovery and prevent expensive complications, the Associated Press reported.
The new program will be launched Friday in 67 metro areas nationwide that have millions of beneficiaries and about 800 hospitals. It will use financial rewards and penalties to promote coordination among doctors, hospitals and rehabilitation centers.
Hospitals are supportive but orthopedic surgeons have some concerns about the initiative, which has the interest of consumer groups, the AP reported.
Hip and knee replacements are the most common inpatient surgery for Medicare beneficiaries.
Head Hits During Amateur Football May Lead to Problems in Adulthood: Study
There's a link between the number of hits to the head a player receives during youth, high school and college football and the development of mood and behavioral problems later in life, according to a new study.
However, the Boston University authors emphasized that this is a preliminary study and further research is needed before any conclusions are made about the safety of amateur football, the Associated Press reported.
The study in the Journal of Neurotrauma is the first of its kind to examine the association between total number of head impacts when a person is young and depression, apathy and behavioral problems in adulthood, according to Dr. Robert Stern, BU School of Medicine.
He stressed the study is meant to encourage more investigation into the issue and not guide people when deciding if football is safe for them, the AP reported.
New Measles Concern in California
There are worries that a measles outbreak could occur in California after the disease was diagnosed in a student at a school with a large number of unvaccinated pupils.
The unnamed student attended the Yuba River Charter School and showed symptoms earlier this month, according to the Nevada County Public Health Department, ABC News reported.
The youngster, whose grade was not revealed, developed measles symptoms after traveling overseas, said Dr. Karen Smith, director and State Public Health Officer at the California Department of Public Health.
The child has recovered from the measles, but health officials fear other unvaccinated children may have been exposed, ABC News reported.