Health Highlights: Jan. 15, 2016

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

New Ebola Case in West Africa

One day after the World Health Organization (WHO) said the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was over, a corpse in Sierra Leone tested positive for the deadly virus.

The 22-year-old woman died earlier this month in northern Sierra Leone. Officials have sent investigators to the area and are tracing the woman’s contacts. Certain areas will be quarantined, Francis Langoba Kellie, an Office of National Security spokesman, told a local radio program, the Associated Press reported.

When the WHO declared the Ebola outbreak over, it did warn that flare-ups were still possible.

“We are now at a critical period in the Ebola epidemic as we move from managing cases and patients to managing the residual risk of new infections,” said Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO’s Special Representative for the Ebola Response, the AP reported.

“We still anticipate more flare-ups and must be prepared for them,” he added.

The two-year Ebola outbreak in West Africa — the worst in history — killed more than 11,300 people.


CDC May Warn Pregnant Women Against Travel to Regions With Zika Virus

Pregnant women in the United States may be warned against traveling to Latin American and Caribbean countries where mosquitoes are spreading a virus that may cause brain damage in newborns.

Experts say a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warning against travel to areas with the Zika virus is warranted. The agency could make a final announcement Thursday or Friday, according to a CDC spokesperson.

“We can’t make these decisions in a vacuum,” Thomas Skinner told The New York Times. “We’re consulting with other experts outside.”

It could be the first time the CDC advises pregnant women to stay away from a specific region during an oubreak, officials said.

The Zika virus first appeared in South America in May. Pregnant women infected with it may be at increased risk to have babies with small heads and damaged brains, a condition called microcephaly, The Times reported.

So far, local transmission of the Zika virus has been confirmed in 14 countries and territories in the Western Hemisphere: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Paraguay, Suriname and Venezuela.

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