By: Tara Burke, Ph.D.
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US. confirms 2 Americans with Ebola coming home for treatment – Two American volunteers who were working to stop the largest outbreak of Ebola in history have contracted the virus. They are now being flown to the U.S. for treatment and the evacuations should be completed by next week. Emory University announced that it would be treating one of those patients. This decision has provoked fear among Americans, who fear the spread of the virus in the U.S. A spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explained that the transportation and treatment of these patients would not cause an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. and reiterated that Ebola is not transmitted through the air and can only spread by direct contact with bodily fluids of a person who is sick and showing symptoms. (Joel Achenbach, Brady Dennis, Lenny Bernstein)
F.D.A. Acts on Lab Tests Developed In-House – On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it would start to regulate medical laboratory testing. The FDA stressed that these tests need to be validated and checked before they go into use. This issue had been a tug of war in Congress between some Democrats pushing for this regulation and some Republicans trying to stop it. Some laboratories and pathologists vehemently oppose this new regulation. They feel this regulation is unnecessary and will only increase the cost and time needed to develop tests. The agency said it would phase in the requirements over nine years and that they would focus on tests where wrong results would result in the highest level or risk to the patient. (Andrew Pollack)
Surgeon General Calls for Action to Reduce Skin Cancer Rate – The acting surgeon general, Dr. Boris D. Lushniak, called for urgent action to reduce the rate of skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S. but is also one of the most preventable. The rates of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, rose by 200 percent from 1973 to 2011. Additionally, melanoma is one of the most common cancers among teenagers and young adults. Dr. Lushniak advises Americans to reduce their exposure to harmful rays of the sun and tanning beds. The report comes on the heels of an announcement by the F.D.A. saying they would require manufacturers to put black-box warnings on tanning beds warning against their use to individuals under 18 years of age. (Sabrina Tavernise)