• Flu outbreak shuts Hong Kong schools for two weeks

    HONG KONG (Reuters) - More than half a million Hong Kong schoolchildren stayed at home on Thursday after the government shut all kindergartens and primary schools for two weeks to contain an outbreak of flu. A government-appointed panel of experts is investigating the deaths of three children, aged 2, 3 and 7, over the last two weeks. All three had flu-like symptoms. >> Read the Full Article
  • Asia shows way to fight dengue as global spread looms

    HONG KONG (Reuters) - Clarissa Poon was one of an estimated 50 million people who contracted mosquito-borne dengue fever last year. She spent an agonizing week on a drip in a Bangkok hospital as she battled the potentially deadly disease. "There was not a single moment when I wasn't aching everywhere, dizzy and nauseous. I was so weak I couldn't even stand," said Poon, who caught the illness during a family holiday at a beach resort in Thailand. >> Read the Full Article
  • Foreign donors back away from Indonesia AIDS fight

    JAKARTA (Reuters) - Foreign donors who have propped up Indonesia's fight against AIDS/HIV are poised to slash their funding programs, partly because they now consider Indonesia a middle-income country, officials said on Wednesday. Infection rates in Indonesia are increasing rapidly among high-risk population groups, especially drug users and sex workers, and in the easternmost Papua region an AIDS epidemic has spread into the general population. >> Read the Full Article
  • Drinking Water Contaminated by Pharmaceuticals; Bottled Water Not the Answer

    "A vast array of pharmaceuticals -including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones - have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans," an Associated Press investigation shows. Water in 24 metropolitan areas, including Detroit, Louisville, southern California and Northern New Jersey is particularly at risk. The report says the concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are "tiny." But it also points out that "the presence of so many prescription drugs - and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen - in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to human health." Those consequences could include reproductive irregularities, the early onset of puberty, and increasing resistance to antibiotics. >> Read the Full Article
  • Bird flu shows signs of mutation: China expert

    HONG KONG (Reuters) - A Chinese expert on respiratory diseases says the H5N1 bird flu virus has shown signs of mutation and urged vigilance at a time when seasonal human influenza is at a peak, newspapers reported on Tuesday. "When avian flu is around and human flu appears, this will raise the chances of avian flu turning into a human flu. We have to be very alert and careful in March," Zhong Nanshan was quoted by the Ming Pao newspaper as saying. >> Read the Full Article
  • Are fat moms to blame for fat kids? Answer unclear

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - British researchers who tried to show why overweight mothers tend to have overweight children said on Monday they had filled in one small piece of the puzzle. Their reassuring finding: women who are too fat when pregnant are probably not somehow driving the obesity epidemic by programming their children to be fat. >> Read the Full Article
  • Gebrselassie misses marathon due to pollution

    ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Marathon world record holder Haile Gebrselassie said on Monday he would not compete in the Olympic marathon because of fears that Beijing's air pollution would damage his health. The Ethiopian runner, who suffers from asthma, said he would still compete in the shorter 10,000 meters event in the August Games. >> Read the Full Article
  • Japan seeks new form of flu vaccine

    TOKYO (Reuters) - A group of Japanese researchers has developed a substance that could potentially help make flu vaccines effective for multiple strains of the disease, including strains of the bird flu virus, Japan's National Institute of Infectious Diseases said on Monday. The substance faces a lot more testing but investors seized on media reports of it on Monday, pushing the shares of a chemical firm involved in the project, NOF Corp, up nearly 21 percent. >> Read the Full Article
  • Hong Kong wild bird tests positive for H5N1

    HONG KONG (Reuters) - A wild magpie robin in Hong Kong has tested positive for the H5N1 birdflu virus, the government said in a statement on Friday. The bird was found and collected on February 29 near the Tai Po Kau nature reserve in the New Territories. >> Read the Full Article
  • New Lollipops Can Fight Cavities

    Your parents always told you candy would give you cavities. But what if you could satisfy your sweet tooth with something that's actually good for your teeth? Now you can, thanks to UCLA microbiologist Wenyuan Shi, who's just invented a sugar-free lollipop that contains a licorice root extract (Glycyrrhiza uralensis) which naturally targets and kills the bacteria that cause tooth decay. >> Read the Full Article