• Public healthFirst Novel Coronavirus Case Detected in U.S.

    In rapidly escalating developments with the spread of the Wuhan-linked novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Tuesday the first U.S. case, involving a man who got sick after returning to Washington state from Wuhan and contacted medical authorities.

  • Public healthEdible “Security Tag” Protects Drugs from Counterfeit

    Manufacturing prescription drugs with distinct markings, colors, shapes or packaging isn’t enough to protect them from counterfeiting, DEA reports have shown. Researchers are aiming to stump counterfeiters with an edible “security tag” embedded into medicine. To imitate the drug, a counterfeiter would have to uncrack a complicated puzzle of patterns not fully visible to the naked eye.

  • MeaslesDRC Measles Deaths Top 6,000

    Deaths in a massive measles outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have now topped 6,000, prompting a call from the World Health Organization (WHO) for more funding to curb the spread of the disease.

  • Snake venomNew Technique to Transform Anti-Venom Production

    Snake bites kill more than 120,000 people a year, more than a third of them in India. About 400,000 lose limbs after amputations become necessary to prevent the spread of the venom. The number of people bitten by snakes is increasing as a result of more people living near areas which are snake habitats, but the production of venom antidotes has not changed much since anti-venom was first produced in 1896. Scientists are ready to transform the production of anti-venom after mapping the DNA of the Indian cobra for the first time.

  • Public healthQuestions Swirl over China's Unexplained Pneumonia Outbreak

    Investigations are still under way to identify the pathogen involved in an unexplained pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, China, as local health officials announced Sunday fifteen more cases and said tests have ruled out severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

  • Preventable diseasesCalifornia's Stricter Vaccine Exemption Policy Improves Vaccination Rates

    California’s elimination, in 2016, of non-medical vaccine exemptions from school entry requirements was associated with an estimated increase in vaccination coverage at state and county levels, according to a new study.

  • Nuclear safetyA New Way to Remove Contaminants from Nuclear Wastewater

    By David L. Chandler

    Nuclear power continues to expand globally, propelled, in part, by the fact that it produces few greenhouse gas emissions while providing steady power output. But along with that expansion comes an increased need for dealing with the large volumes of water used for cooling these plants, which becomes contaminated with radioactive isotopes that require special long-term disposal. New method concentrates radionuclides in a small portion of a nuclear plant’s wastewater, allowing the rest to be recycled.

  • Nuclear safetyHelping Keep U.S. Nuclear Deterrent Safe from Radiation

    Advanced modeling speeds up weapons research, development and qualification. It also lets researchers model changes in experimental conditions that increase the total radiation dose, change how fast a device gets that dose, and mix and match destructive elements like neutrons, energy and heat in environments that cannot be recreated in experimental facilities.

  • SuperbugsAntibiotic Over-Prescribing for Kids in Poorer Nations

    A new study has found that children in eight low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) receive a remarkably high number of antibiotics by the time they reach the age of 5. The study, which looked at data on sick children who attended healthcare facilities in Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Senegal, Namibia, Nepal, Tanzania, and Uganda over a 10-year period, found that the average number of antibiotic prescriptions written for children between birth and the age of 5 in these countries was 25.

  • Public healthThe Spread and Mutation of Zika Virus

    Researchers have found that outbreaks of human disease, such as the 2015 Zika virus epidemic, may be due to genetic mutation, and viruses may undergo further changes as they expand their geographic range.

  • PerspectiveSeizure-Triggering Attack Is Stark Example of How Social Media Can Be Weaponized

    Followers of the Epilepsy Foundation’s Twitter handle were targeted last month with posts containing strobe light GIFs and videos which could have caused seizures for people with epilepsy, the foundation announced Monday. “While this kind of activity may not bear the hallmarks of a cyberattack, which can trick users into clicking malicious links or knock a website offline by flooding it with junk traffic, this attack shows that platforms can have even their normal functions weaponized in order to cause physical harm,” Shannon Vavra writes.

  • SuperbugsFDA Details Rising Sales of Antibiotics for Meat Production

    New data released by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shows that the amount of medically important antibiotics sold and distributed for use in food-producing animals rose by 9 percent between 2017 and 2018, after a 3-year decline. “I’m concerned that we’re going in the wrong direction,” says one expert.

  • Nuclear decontaminationLessons Learnt from Fukushima Soil Decontamination

    Following the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in March 2011, the Japanese authorities decided to carry out major decontamination works in the affected area, which covers more than 9,000 km2. The European Geosciences Union (EGU) has published a collection of studies providing an overview of the decontamination strategies used and their effectiveness.

  • Energy & healthSwitching to Renewable Energy May Save Thousands of Lives in Africa

    With economies and populations surging, an industrial revolution is inevitable on the African continent. The question is, what’s going to power it? With renewable energy cheaper and more efficient than ever, countries in Africa have the unique opportunity to harness abundant renewable sources like wind, solar and geothermal to leapfrog the dependence on fossil fuels that has poisoned the air and environment in Europe, the U.S., India and China. But will they?

  • Chemical attacksPreparing for Chemical Attacks

    Is the U.S. ready for a chemical attack on the homeland? With the very real possibility of a chemical attack in public spaces like stadiums, religious buildings, museums and theaters, or even contamination of the food or water supply, the U.S. needs to be prepared to take appropriate action to save lives. This means having security measures in place to prevent or minimize the attack. It also means having effective medical responses that consider the quantity of medical supplies needed, transportation of those supplies to the scene, and medical facilities and personnel to care for the injured.