Health Highlights: Nov. 20, 2014

By on November 20, 2014

Health Highlights: Nov. 20, 2014

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

Ebola Spread Remains ‘Intense’ in Sierra Leone: WHO

The spread of Ebola has slowed somewhat in Liberia and Guinea, but remains “intense” in most of Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization.

It said that about 168 new confirmed cases of the deadly disease occurred in a single week in Sierra Leone’s capital of Freetown recently, the Associated Press reported.

Ebola has killed more than 5,400 people in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. The death toll in Sierra Leone is at least 1,250, including seven of the country’s doctors, according to the WHO.

Only 13 percent of Ebola patients in Sierra Leone had been isolated, compared with 72 percent in Guinea. The goal of health officials is to isolate at least 70 percent of people who are ill with Ebola, the AP reported.

“The numbers are still rising and the transmission is persistent and widespread,” Amadu Kamara, the U.N.’s Ebola crisis manager in Sierra Leone, said. “Rapid and coordinated response are needed to overcome the spread of the Ebola disease.”

“Progress is slow and we are falling short, and we need to accelerate our efforts,” Kamara said, the AP reported.

In Liberia, Ebola cases appear “to have stabilized” over the past four weeks, but people must remain vigilant, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Wednesday.

“Our government remains concerned that progress in this battle will lead to complacency on the part of the international community,” she said, the AP reported.

“It must be remembered that although in Monrovia we are witnessing improvements, we continue to see Ebola hotspots throughout rural Liberia. We must, therefore, remain steadfast in our commitment to fight this disease until the very last case.”


Half of World’s Adults Could be Overweight/Obese by 2030: Report

Nearly half the world’s adults will be overweight or obese by 2030 if current trends continue, a new report by the McKinsey Global Institute predicts.

Currently, 2.1 billion people — nearly one-third of the global population — are overweight or obese, according to the institute, the Associated Press reported.

It also said the worldwide cost of obesity is $2 trillion a year, nearly as much a smoking or the combined costs of war, terrorism and armed violence.

The institute said there is no single or simple solution to overweight and obesity, but international disagreement on how to tackle the problem is hindering progress, the AP reported.


Worst-Case Ebola Scenario Won’t Happen: CDC

The worst-case scenario for the Ebola outbreak in West Africa will not happen, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

So far, there have been more than 14,000 Ebola cases in Africa. But the CDC predicted in September that the number of Ebola cases could reach as many as 1.4 million by mid-January if adequate measures were not taken to control the epidemic, the Associated Press reported.

“We don’t think projections from the summer will come to pass.” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said at a U.S. Senate hearing. He did not offer new estimates.

The estimate given by the CDC in September was based on the situation in late August, before there was a significant increase in international medical aid, the AP reported.

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