Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
DEA announces four-state crackdown on illegal pill distribution
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on Wednesday announced the results of a four-state crackdown aimed at stopping illegal distribution of addictive prescription medicines, such as opioid painkillers, that yielded 280 arrests. Dubbed Operation Pilluted, the DEA said 22 doctors and pharmacists were among those arrested on federal and state criminal charges over the course of 15 months. Led by the DEA's New Orleans Field Division, the action, which the agency called its largest-ever prescription drug operation, took place in Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi.
Cholera kills 33 in Burundi refugee camp in Tanzania
A cholera outbreak at a refugee camp sheltering thousands of Burundian refugees in northwest Tanzania has killed at least 33 people, a Tanzanian regional health official said on Wednesday. "The number of Burundi refugees who have died from the cholera outbreak has now reached 33," Leonard Subi, a medical officer in the nearby town of Kigoma, told Reuters.
More evidence rape a significant problem on U.S. college campuses
About one in six women experienced completed or attempted rape during their first year of college at one school in upstate New York, according to a new study. The report's lead author said the results add to existing evidence suggesting the hype surrounding campus rape is not overblown. There may even be a greater risk of rape during the first year of college, she told Reuters Health.
Doctors may not fully explain risks of common heart procedure
Patients mulling whether to get a common procedure to unclog blocked arteries may not get enough information from their doctors to make the best choice, a small study suggests. Researchers analyzed recordings of 59 conversations between cardiologists and patients about a common procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), which is done to reopen arteries and restore blood flow to the heart - and found just two discussions covered all the points needed for patients to make an informed decision.
Paracetamol/Tylenol in pregnancy may lower testosterone in boys
Pregnant women who take the painkiller paracetamol regularly for long periods may put their unborn sons' testosterone levels at risk, leading to possible reproductive problems later in life, researchers said on Wednesday. In a study using mice with grafts of human tissue, the scientists found that a week's paracetamol treatment led to a sharp fall in the production of testosterone, a hormone that is critical to men's life-long health.
Most Americans still don't use sunscreen
Despite years of public health messages, barely one third of Americans use sunscreen regularly, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Researchers found that sunscreen is most often used by women on the skin of the face, and by people with higher household income.
California Medical Association drops opposition to doctor-assisted suicide
The California Medical Association on Wednesday dropped its three-decade opposition to physician-assisted suicide, possibly paving the way for already-introduced legislation that would make the practice legal for terminally ill patients in the state. The CMA said its change to neutral on the issue marked the first by a state medical association. It comes amid renewed debate over doctor-assisted suicide following the death of brain cancer patient Brittany Maynard last fall.
J&J to submit at least 10 new drugs for approval by 2019
U.S. healthcare conglomerate Johnson & Johnson said on Wednesday it expects to submit more than 10 new medicines with annual revenue potential of at least $1 billion each to regulators by 2019, and is testing dozens of new uses for existing medicines. J&J said it would file for approval of daratumumab for the blood cancer multiple myeloma in the United States and Europe this year based on mid-stage clinical data.
South Korea confirms second case of MERS virus; third case possible
South Korean health officials have confirmed the country's second case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in a patient who nursed her infected husband before he was diagnosed with the disease after a trip to Bahrain. The woman is in stable condition. A 76-year-old man who shared the hospital room with the first confirmed patient had developed a high fever on Wednesday, a statement from the health ministry said.
Sanderson sees no alternatives to antibiotic use in chicken production
Sanderson Farms Inc, the third largest U.S. poultry producer, plans to continue using antibiotics on its birds partly because there are no alternatives on the horizon for treating a deadly but common gut disease, Chief Executive Officer Joe Sanderson said on Wednesday. Other major poultry producers, including market leader Tyson Foods Inc, have announced plans to eradicate antibiotics, which are also crucial in human healthcare, from their flocks but have not ruled out their use on sick birds.