Health Highlights: Oct. 30, 2014

By on October 30, 2014

Health Highlights: Oct. 30, 2014

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

Ebola Nurse Being Watched by State Police

A nurse who says she’ll defy Maine’s quarantine for health care workers who’ve treated people with Ebola is under close observation by state police as officials seek a court order to detain her.

Troopers are tracking the movements and interactions of Kaci Hickox, but cannot take her into custody without a judge’s permission, the Associated Press reported.

State officials are seeking a court order to force Hickox to remain in quarantine for the rest of the 21-day incubation period for Ebola, which would end on Nov. 10. As a volunteer with Doctors Without Borders, Hickox cared for Ebola patients in Sierra Leone.

She said she doesn’t need to be quarantined because she has no symptoms of Ebola. On Wednesday, she stepped outside her home to talk to reporters while police watched from across the street, the AP reported.

“I’m not willing to stand here and let my civil rights be violated when it’s not science-based,” Hickox told reporters.

“There’s a lot of misinformation about how Ebola is transmitted, and I can understand why people are frightened. But their fear is not based on medical facts,” Norman Siegel, one of her lawyers, said Wednesday, the AP reported.

When Hickox flew home from West Africa, she was forced into New Jersey’s mandatory quarantine for people arriving at the Newark airport from Ebola-stricken areas. She spent the weekend in quarantine before returning to her home in Maine.

Maine health officials could have difficulty convincing a judge that Hickox poses a health threat, according to Jackie L. Caynon III, a health law specialist in Massachusetts.

“If somebody isn’t showing signs of the infection, then it’s kind of hard to say someone should be under mandatory quarantine,” he told the AP.

Health care workers who come into contact with Ebola patients should receive daily monitoring, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But Maine and some other states are going well beyond those guidelines.

Ebola is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. People aren’t contagious unless they’re sick, health officials say. Only four people in the United States have been diagnosed with Ebola, the AP reported.

—–

Hi-Tech Pill Would Detect Cancer in Early Stages: Google

A pill to detect cancer in the early stages is being developed by Google.

The pill would contain tiny magnetic nanoparticles that would travel through a person’s bloodstream and search for cancerous cells. The nanoparticles’ findings would be transmitted to a wearable sensor, the Associated Press reported.

The objective of the team at Google’s X lab is to improve on single-sample blood tests that aren’t comprehensive enough to detect the early stages of many types of cancer.

“We want to make it simple and automatic and not invasive,” said Andrew Conrad, head of life sciences at Google’s X lab, the AP reported.

The experimental project was announced Tuesday but it could be a decade before a cancer-detecting pill becomes available to patients, Google said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

​​