Reuters Health News Summary

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Vaping and smoking tied to stroke risk in younger adults

Young and middle-aged adults who vape and smoke are more likely to have had a stroke than those who use only one of these types of nicotine product, or none at all, a study suggests. Researchers examined 2016-2017 survey data from more than 161,000 participants ages 18 to 44. Overall, 4.8% said they currently smoked traditional combustible cigarettes and also used e-cigarettes; another 7.8% only smoked traditional cigarettes and 2.7% only vaped.

U.S. vaping-related deaths rise to 60, cases of illness to 2,668

U.S. health officials on Thursday reported 3 more deaths from a mysterious respiratory illness tied to vaping, taking the total death toll to 60. As of Jan. 14, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 66 new cases from the illness associated with use of e-cigarettes or vaping products. The number of people hospitalized now stands at 2,668.

China detects new case of H5N6 bird flu in Xinjiang region: ministry

China's agriculture ministry said on Thursday it had found a new case of highly pathogenic H5N6 avian flu in a flock of about 150 wild swans in the western Xinjiang region. One had died and another was sick, it said in a statement on its website.

Too old for new heart? Germany faces dearth of organ donors

Siegfried Richtsteig has been waiting in hospital for more than 130 days for a heart that would allow him to do the things he enjoyed most, like playing with his grandchildren, before a stroke damaged the organ beyond repair. But time is ticking. He is 64 and under German rules when he turns 65 he will not be eligible for a transplant as scarce organs are saved for younger patients in a country where some 10,000 are on the national waiting list.

U.S. FDA panel split over approval of Durect's non-opioid painkiller

Independent experts on an FDA advisory panel on Thursday were split over the approval of Durect Corp's non-opioid painkiller to manage post-surgical pain. The panel members questioned the drug's effectiveness and raised concerns over the nausea, vomiting and bruising at the surgical site experienced by some patients during the studies.

Japan confirms case of new Chinese virus, spread is 'concerning'

Japan has confirmed its first case of infection from a newly-identified coronavirus that has killed one person and infected at least 40 more in China, as well as prompting a travel alert from the U.S. State Department. A man in his 30s from Kanagawa prefecture, next to Tokyo, tested positive, the health ministry said on Thursday. The man had been to the Chinese city of Wuhan, where there has been an outbreak of pneumonia believed to be caused by the new type of coronavirus, a ministry statement said.

Serbia reports outbreak of African swine fever in boars

Serbia has seen an outbreak of the pig disease African swine fever (ASF) in wild boars in the east of the country, close to the country's borders with Bulgaria and Romania, the state Tanjug news agency said on Wednesday. ASF is harmless to humans but it is highly contagious and deadly in pigs. It spread from Africa to Europe and Asia and has already killed hundreds of millions of pigs, affecting global meat markets.

German drug assessment body not convinced by Bayer's cancer drug Vitrakvi

Germany's drug assessment body said that data provided by Bayer on its precision cancer drug Vitrakvi did not provide clear enough evidence of benefits, in a setback to the drugmaker in its home market. Bayer's Vitrakvi won European approval in September, the first drug in Europe to tackle tumors based on a rare genetic mutation regardless of where in the body the disease started.

U.S. warns citizens in China about pneumonia outbreak

The U.S. State Department warned Americans in China about an outbreak of pneumonia in the central city of Wuhan believed to be caused by a new strain of coronavirus, which has killed one person. The outbreak comes ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday in late January, when many of China's 1.4 billion people will be travelling to their home towns or abroad. The World Health Organization and Chinese authorities are taking steps to ensure the disease does not spread further.

Disease that killed millions of China's pigs poses global threat

Bettie the beagle, a detector dog for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, picked up the scent of pork on a woman arriving from China at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Soon the dog's handler discovered and confiscated a ham sandwich in the purse of a passenger who had flown on a China Eastern Airlines flight from Shanghai.