The Health News USA October 15 2017

  • Four deaths in Hurricane Maria’s aftermath are being investigated as possible cases of a disease spread by animals’ urine, Puerto Rico’s governor said Wednesday amid concerns about islanders’ exposure to contaminated water. A total of 10 people have come down with suspected cases of leptospirosis, Gov. Ricardo Rossello said at a news conference.ds.
  • A US Food and Drug Administration advisory committee unanimously voted to approve an experimental genetic therapy called voretigene neparvovec for patients with a rare inherited eye disease Retinal dystrophy due to mutation of the RPE65 gene causes severe visual impairment beginning in infancy. As it progresses, patients experience gradual loss of peripheral vision and central vision.
  • A giant billboard over Interstate 44 will now help children mark the end of their chemotherapy treatment at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The 12-foot metal bell was installed on Wednesday, and will be triggered to ring through an app used by hospital staff.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 15th of  October 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

http://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/puerto-rico-investigates-post-hurricane-disease-outbreak/ar-AAtiUip

Four deaths in Hurricane Maria’s aftermath are being investigated as possible cases of a disease spread by animals’ urine, Puerto Rico’s governor said Wednesday amid concerns about islanders’ exposure to contaminated water. A total of ten people have come down with suspected cases of leptospirosis, Governor Ricardo Rossello said at a news conference.
On a U.S. territory where a third of customers remain without running water three weeks after the hurricane, some became ill after turning to local streams to relieve their thirst.
….
Forty-five deaths in Puerto Rico have been blamed on Hurricane Maria, which tore across the island with one hundred fifty miles per hour or two hundred forty kilometers per hour winds. Ninety percent of the island is still without power and the government says it hopes to have electricity restored completely by March. Leptospirosis is not uncommon in the tropics, particularly after heavy rains or floods. Rossello said the symptoms can be confused with those of other illnesses, including dengue, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was helping to investigate. Two of the deaths were in Bayamon, and one each in Carolina and Mayaguez. Other patients have been receiving treatment with antibiotics.
Rossello said that fliers with instructions on how to disinfect water will be sent to mayors for distribution with food supplies in towns across Puerto Rico.
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He added that The Health Department and the U.S. military also will be distributing pills to purify water.

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/10/12/health/fda-gene-therapy-blindness-vote/index.html

A US Food and Drug Administration advisory committee unanimously voted Thursday to approve an experimental genetic therapy for patients with a rare inherited eye disease.
Retinal dystrophy due to mutation of the RPE sixty five gene causes severe visual impairment beginning in infancy. As it progresses, patients experience gradual loss of peripheral vision and central vision. Eventually, the disease leads to blindness.

Voretigene neparvovec, made by Philadelphia-based Spark Therapeutics Incorporated and given the brand name Luxturna, is now one step closer to full FDA approval. The agency will make its final decision by January twelve. If the verdict is positive, the gene therapy will be the first approved treatment in the US to correct an inherited genetic trait. Some scientists believe an approval could open the door to other treatments that correct flaws in the inherited genome.
Spark believes that one thousand to two thousand people in the United States and six thousand worldwide — would be eligible for its gene therapy. Currently, there are no approved treatments for this disease. In clinical trials, twenty seven out of twenty nine participants (ninety three percent) demonstrated a gain in functional vision and maintained improved vision for at least three years. No serious adverse events or harmful immune responses have been associated with the gene therapy.

Luxturna works by supplying a normal RPE sixty five  gene to retinal cells. It is a liquid that is injected into the eye with a microscopic needle during a surgical procedure. Within the liquid is a gene therapy virus that contains a healthy version of the gene. Essentially, the drug adds a third version of the gene to retinal cells. Unlike the mutated genes, this normally functioning gene is able to code for a protein crucial to vision.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2017/10/12/billboard-featuring-chemo-bell-to-ring-every-time-child-finishes-treatment.html

A giant billboard over Interstate forty four will now help children mark the end of their chemotherapy treatment at Saint Louis Children’s Hospital. The Saint Louis- Dispatch reported that the twelve-foot metal bell was installed on Wednesday, and will be triggered to ring through an app used by hospital staff.  Bell-ringing is a ceremonious way patients mark the end of chemotherapy at hospitals across the nation. The bell over I-forty four was installed with speakers so drivers can hear each time it rings.

“Our kids are so excited when they get to ring that bell, they know what it means right from the start of their treatment,” Jenny Brandt, a certified child life specialist at Saint Louis Children’s Hospital, told CBS Saint Louis. An estimated five to ten children complete chemotherapy at Saint Louis Children’s Hospital each month.

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