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Friday, Dec 19th

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Officials: 706 babies, 43 employees exposed to tuberculosis at El Paso hospital

Robert RensendesHealth officials said that 706 babies from El Paso, New Mexico and Mexico who were born at Providence Memorial Hospital might have been exposed to tuberculosis.

In addition to the babies, 43 employees also might have been exposed to the disease, officials said Friday at a news conference at the city's Department of Public Health. Officials said the hospital delivers about 3,000 children a year.

The source of the potential exposure was a health care worker at the hospital who was found to have an active case of the disease, health officials said.

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Sierra Leone's Capital At Standstill As 3-Day Ebola Lockdown Begins

FreetownStreets in the capital of Sierra Leone were deserted on Friday as the West African state began a contested, three-day lockdown in a bid to halt the worst Ebola outbreak on record.

President Ernest Bai Koroma urged people to heed the emergency measures as health workers, some clad in protective biohazard suits, went house to house, checking on residents and marking each doorway they visited with chalk.

Radio stations played Ebola awareness jingles on repeat and encouraged residents to stay indoors.

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Are Routine Scans Causing Cancer?

ct scans. A recent article in the Journal of American Medical Association noted that “a sizeable proportion of patients with advanced cancer continue to undergo cancer screening tests that do not have a meaningful likelihood of providing benefit.” Another published in the September 28, 2010 issue of Health Imaging noted that “as many as 30 percent of diagnostic imaging procedures are inappropriate or contribute no useful information.”

Elsewhere, statistics cited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) estimate that “60 million CT scans and 20 million nuclear medicine scans annually in the US might cause up to 40,000 fatal cancers.”

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CVS Stores Go Tobacco-Free

CVS to go tobacco freeCVS Caremark plans to stop selling tobacco products in all of its stores starting Wednesday — a move health experts hope will be followed by other major drugstore chains.

CVS announced in February that it planned to drop tobacco by Oct. 1 as the sales conflicted with its health care mission. To bolster its image as a health care company, CVS will announce a corporate name change to CVS Health. Retail stores will still be called CVS/Pharmacy.

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Fracking Link to Birth Defects Probed in Early Research

Fracking linked to birth defectsThe first research into the effects of oil and gas development on babies born near wells has found potential health risks. Government officials, industry advocates and the researchers themselves say more studies are needed before drawing conclusions.

While the findings are still preliminary, any documented hazards threaten to cast a shadow over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking -- the process of blasting chemicals, sand and water deep underground to extract fuel from rock that’s helped push the U.S. closer to energy self-sufficiency than at any time since 1985.

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Fraud at the CDC uncovered, 340% increased risk of autism hidden from public

CDC cover up: vaccinesA top researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) played a key role in helping uncover data manipulation by the CDC. This fraud obscured a higher incidence of autism in African-American boys.

The whistleblower, Dr. William Thompson, came forward after a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for original data on an autism study was filed and these highly sensitive documents were received with the assistance of U.S. Representative Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The CDC documents and discussions with the whistleblower reveal widespread manipulation of scientific data and top-down pressure on CDC scientists to suppress a causal link between the MMR vaccine and later autism diagnosis, particularly in a subset of African-American males who received their immunization “on-time” in accordance with the recommended CDC schedule.

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CDC admits improperly sending dangerous pathogens five times in last decade

Thomas Frieden of the CDCThe laboratories at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, are one of only a few places in the world allowed to handle dangerous pathogens like anthrax and smallpox, and one would think they'd take that responsibility very seriously.

But in a new report outlining protocol breaches, the CDC admitted to having improperly sent dangerous bacterium, viruses or other microorganisms five times over the last decade. That's one potentially deadly mistake every two years.

"These events should never have happened," CDC Director Tom Frieden told reporters this week.

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