Reuters Health News Summary

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Chronic depression after heart attack tied to increased risk of death

Heart attack survivors with chronic mood disorders may be more likely to die prematurely than their counterparts who don't suffer these problems, a recent study suggests. Patients with anxiety or depression have previously been shown to have longer hospital stays and a worse prognosis after a heart attack, researchers note in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. But earlier research hasn't given doctors a clear sense of whether patients with specific types of emotional distress might put patients at greater risk for serious complications or premature death.

Don't kiss your pet hedgehog, CDC warns as Salmonella hits 17 states

U.S. health officials warned pet-owners against kissing and snuggling their hedgehogs as a Salmonella outbreak linked to contact with the animals spread to 17 states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said 27 people had been infected with a strain of Salmonella typhimurium, including two people who were hospitalized.

Traumatic injuries linked to later social dysfunction

Nearly half of trauma patients, even those without brain injuries, experience social deficits that make it harder for them to interact with friends and stay involved in the community, a recent study suggests. Traumatic brain injuries have long been linked to an increased risk of a wide range of short-term and long-term physical and mental health problems that can dramatically reduce quality of life, researchers note in the journal Surgery. But doctors don't yet have a clear picture of what type of social impairments may follow other types of traumatic injuries.

New Ebola cases in Uganda raise fears of spread beyond Congo

Uganda announced two more cases of Ebola on Wednesday - a grandmother and a three-year-old boy, confirming that a deadly outbreak has spread for the first time beyond the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Ugandan cases show the epidemic is entering a "truly frightening" phase and could kill many more people, one infectious disease specialist told Reuters.

U.S. pet doctors steel themselves for online pharmacy challenge

A David and Goliath battle is brewing in the business of selling prescription medicines for pets, pitching veterinarians against online giants moving into this lucrative corner of the growing market for animal supplies. Americans spent $72.56 billion last year on their pets, according to American Pet Products Association. Prescription drugs were expected to account for over $10 billion, according to an estimate from the Federal Trade Commission, and overall pet product sales are expected to keep growing by 4% a year. (Graphic:

WHO emergency committee to meet on Ebola on Friday: statement

The World Health Organization will convene its emergency committee on Friday June 14 to decide whether the Ebola outbreak constitutes an international emergency, the U.N. agency said in a statement. It will be the third time that the group of independent experts have evaluated the epidemic, which was declared in the Democratic Republic of Congo last August and has infected at least 2,062 people, killing 1,390 of them.

Catalyst Pharma sues FDA over approval of cheaper rival drug

Catalyst Pharmaceuticals Inc, which has come under fire for the high price tag on its rare disease drug, on Wednesday sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to challenge the recent approval of a lower-cost rival drug. The lawsuit alleges that the approval of Ruzurgi, a rival drug from privately held Jacobus Pharmaceutical Co, in May violated provisions of FDA regulations and Catalyst's rights to exclusivity for its drug, Firdapse.

Sobi buys rare-disease drug emapalumab, zooms in on hematology and immunology

Rare diseases specialist Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (Sobi) has agreed to buy the drug emapalumab and is reorganizing to increase focus on late-stage development in hematology and immunology. The drugmaker said on Wednesday it would buy a newly established company owning the drug candidate for the treatment of primary haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), and related assets, for 4.9 billion crowns ($519 mln).

New review suggests proven ways to cut back on sugary drinks

With sugary sodas and other sweetened drinks considered a key driver of the obesity epidemic worldwide, a new research review evaluates how well various measures work to reduce consumption of these calorie laden drinks. Strategies including limited availability of sodas in schools, removal from children's menus at restaurants and better labeling could help reduce consumption, according to the analysis published in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Canadian panel calls for universal public drug coverage

A Canadian advisory council studying prescription drug coverage said on Wednesday the federal government should create a C$15.3 billion ($11.5 billion) universal, single-payer public pharmacare system, and warned that the current system requires a major overhaul. The council said the plan should be implemented no later than Jan. 1, 2027, with coverage for essential medicines in place by Jan. 1, 2022.