Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Samoa declares state of emergency as measles spreads across Pacific
Samoa declared a state of emergency this weekend, closing all schools and cracking down on public gatherings, after several deaths linked to a measles outbreak that has spread across the Pacific islands. The island state of just 200,000, south of the equator and half way between Hawaii and New Zealand, declared a measles epidemic late in October after the first deaths were reported.
China's Inner Mongolia reports fresh bubonic plague case
China's Inner Mongolia reported a fresh, confirmed case of bubonic plague on Sunday, despite an earlier declaration by the country's health officials that the risk of an outbreak was minimal. The health commission of the autonomous region said a 55-year-old man was diagnosed with the disease after he ate wild rabbit meat on Nov. 5.
Stents no better than drugs for many heart patients: U.S. study
Many patients with severe but stable heart disease who routinely undergo invasive procedures to clear and prop open clogged arteries would do as well by just taking medications and making lifestyle changes, U.S. researchers reported on Saturday. If adopted into practice, the findings could save hundreds of millions of dollars a year in healthcare costs, researchers said.
Despite safety guidelines, too many kids get hurt by lawnmowers
(Reuters Health) - Many children are injured by lawnmowers despite safety guidelines in place to prevent these accidents, and kids in rural communities are most at risk, a U.S. study suggests. Researchers examined data on 1,302 lawnmower injuries in children 1 to 18 years old from 2005 to 2017. In cities, 1.47 kids out of every 100,000 sustained lawnmower injuries, compared to 4.26 kids out of every 100,000 in rural areas, the study found.
Novartis sickle-cell drug gets U.S. FDA approval
Novartis AG on Friday won U.S. approval for its experimental sickle cell disease drug, Adakveo, making it the first of several proposed new therapies designed to offer lasting relief for patients with the debilitating blood disease to get U.S. regulatory clearance. The drug will be priced between $84,852 and $113,136 per year for most patients, who will be infused by a healthcare provider with between three and four vials each month, Novartis said.
Oklahoma judge reduces Johnson & Johnson opioid payout to $465 million
An Oklahoma judge on Friday said Johnson & Johnson must pay that state $465 million for fueling the opioid epidemic through the deceptive marketing of painkillers, down from his original award of $572 million. The decision by Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman in Norman, Oklahoma, came in the first case to go to trial out of 2,700 nationally by states, counties and cities seeking to hold drug companies responsible for the deadly epidemic.