Health Highlights: June 5, 2019

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Former CDC Director Pleads Guilty to Sex Abuse

Tom Frieden, who ran the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Obama administration avoided jail by pleading guilty to groping a family friend, ABC News reported.

The incident occurred in October 2017. In 2018, the women involved reported that Frieden had grabbed her butt in a Brooklyn apartment. Frieden turned himself into police.

Frieden, 58, wasn’t required to explain to Brooklyn Criminal Court Judge Edwin Novillo what happened. Frieden plea avoided up to a year in jail for misdemeanor forcible touching, third-degree sexual abuse and second-degree harassment.

Frieden pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in exchange for having all of the criminal charges dropped. He was sentenced to a conditional discharge, which will be dismissed and sealed in a year as long as he doesn’t get arrested during that time.

The judge also ordered Frieden not to have contact with the woman for a year.


Congo Ebola Cases Exceed 2,000

An outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo has reach more than 2,000 cases in 10 months, BBC News, reported.

The outbreak, which has killed two thirds of its victims, is now the second largest in history. The number of cases has risen rapidly in recent weeks.

The fight against the epidemic has been hindered by mistrust of violence towards health care workers, the BBC said.

Although more than 1,300 deaths from the disease have been reported since August, the NGO Oxfam told the BBC, that their teams meet people everyday who don’t believe Ebola even exists.

Still others say they don’t trust health care workers, so they avoid treatment. That makes it more difficult to curb the outbreak, Oxfam said.

In addition, from January to May more than 40 attacks on health stations have occurred. Recently, however, the attacks have lessened.

Although the outbreak is confined to two provinces, there is a fear that it will spread because violence in the region is making it harder to contain.


Beverly Hills Is First U.S. City to Stop Most Tobacco Sales

Beverly Hills city council voted Tuesday to ban sales of cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products starting in 2021.

It’s the first city to take such a step, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The ban covers gas stations, drugstores and convenience stores, but exempts hotels and three cigar lounges in the posh LA suburb.

Exempting hotels was done to accommodate tourists.

Owners of gas stations said the new ban targeted their businesses, which could cause layoffs. But public health advocates believe the benefits to health are worth the costs.

“I’ll never understand why a product that causes diseases and harm to nearly every organ of the body can be sold at every gas station and drug store,” Laurent Huber, executive director of Action on Smoking and Health, said in a news release.

“No other hazardous, proven-deadly product receives the same free pass to be sold for mass consumption,” Huber said. “Beverly Hills is the first domino falling for tobacco sales, and other jurisdictions with no doubt soon follow their lead.”


Apple Watch Adding Menstrual Cycle Tracker

Among the new Apple Watch apps announced on Monday is one to track a women’s menstrual cycle, CNN reported.

The app will predict the timing of a woman’s menstrual cycle, which can help tell when she is likely to be fertile.

“Knowing more about your menstrual cycle gives you a window into your health, from simply insuring you are prepared to understanding your personal patterns and regularities,” Sumbul Desai, Apple’s vice president of health, said during the Worldwide Developers Conference, CNN said.

According to Apple, women can add information related to their menstrual cycle, including current period, flow, symptoms, results from ovulation prediction kits and other elements of fertility tracking.

The app will be available with the release of iOS 13.