Health Highlights: May 19, 2016

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

U.S. House Bill Would Provide Only $622 Million to Fight Zika

A bill passed late Wednesday by the House would provide $622 million to fight the Zika virus, which is only one-third of the $1.9 billion requested by the Obama administration and far less than the $1.1 billion proposed by the Senate.

The amount is too little, too late to combat the threat posed by the mosquito-borne virus that can cause severe birth defects and neurological disorders, said House Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, USA Today reported.

“You will own it if this gets out of hand and we don’t have the appropriate resources deployed now,” Hoyer warned. “It should have been 30 days ago, 60 days ago, 90 days ago.”

The House and Senate would need to reach an agreement on funding levels before a measure can be sent to President Barack Obama. He has already threatened to veto the House bill.

To date, there have been more than 500 cases of Zika in the continental U.S., but all have been associated with travel to Latin America or the Caribbean. However, federal health officials say the locally-transmitted cases of Zika will begin to occur in the continental U.S. as temperatures rise and mosquito activity increases, USA Today reported.


Twelve Straight Months of Record Global Heat

The Earth beat the monthly heat record for the 12th straight month in April, U.S. scientists say.

The Earth’s average temperature in April was 58.7 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 2 degrees warmer than the 20th century average and half a degree higher than the previous record set in 2010, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Associated Press reported.

The record temperatures are due to a combination of man-made climate change and an El Nino, experts say.

Scientists “are feeling like broken records stating the same thing” each month, NOAA climate scientist Ahira Sanchez-Lugo told the AP.

April 2015 was the last month that was not record hot. December 1984 was the last month the Earth wasn’t hotter than the 20th century average, and December 1916 was the last month that was record cold, according to NOAA records.

“These kinds of records may not be that interesting, but so many in a row that break the previous records by so much indicates that we’re entering uncharted climatic territory (for modern human society),” Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist at Texas A&M University, said in an email to the AP.

Leave a Reply