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Vending machines are selling increasingly novel items: cupcakes, live crabs and fresh baguettes.

In China, you can now add HIV testing kits to that list.

Malaria transmission in the United States was eliminated in the early 1950s through the use of insecticides, drainage ditches and the incredible power of window screens.

But the mosquito-borne disease has staged a comeback in American hospitals as travelers return from parts of the world where malaria runs rampant. In the early 1970s there only a couple hundred malaria cases reported in the entire U.S. but that number has steadily increased in recent years.

Can all hope be lost?

I used to think not.

I used to think that no matter how tough life gets for people, they always have hope to cling to – to get them through it.

Then I met some Rohingya refugees on a trip to Bangladesh last month. Reporter Michael Sullivan and I were there to report on the latest wave of the Muslim minority group to flee over the border from Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

Nasir Abdullahi is sitting in a mall in downtown Abuja, sipping fresh juice and eating plantain chips. Small, distinguished with an embroidered cap, Nasir looks like your typical Northern Nigerian businessman, but he's also a farmer.

A few years ago he got a call from an employee on his millet farm in Jigawa, Nigeria.

"He was even crying when he called me," Abdullahi says. "I said, 'Talk!' He said, 'There is something serious, there is something serious!' I said, 'Did anybody die? What is it?' He said, 'No, it's cattle herdsmen.'"

To say that the U.N.'s peacekeeping mission in Haiti has been controversial is an understatement.

The peacekeepers are blamed for bringing cholera to the island nation for the first time.

They were accused of sexually abusing locals. Haitians have accused them of being an occupying army.

But the peacekeepers also have been credited with bringing a measure of stability to one of the most impoverished, unstable nations in the hemisphere.

And now, after 13 years, the end of the mission is in sight.

Most creepy, crawly bugs are pretty much harmless when it comes to infectious diseases.

But there are two classes of little critters that cause big — and we're talking big — problems: ticks and mosquitoes.

To learn how climate change could alter the course of tick- and mosquito-borne diseases, we talked to two scientists who have devoted a major chunk of their careers to answering that question.

Let's start with the bloodsuckers that can stay on your skin for days.

What do you want to know about world hunger?

One thing we do know is that more than 20 million people are now at risk of starvation and famine. The United Nations is calling it the biggest humanitarian crisis since the U.N. was founded in 1945. Conflict and drought are blamed for the looming crisis in four countries in Africa and the Middle East: Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and northeast Nigeria.

The United States spends the most on health care per person — $9,237 – according to two new papers published in the journal The Lancet.

Somalia spends the least – just $33 per person.

The United Nations' top human rights official is condemning a chant by a pro-government youth militia in the small East African country of Burundi.

The chant is shown in a video recorded and distributed by the human rights groups iBurundi and RCP Burundi. The U.N. says the members of the militia, called Imbonerakure, are encouraging the rape of women from the opposition so "that they give birth to Imbonerakure."

When Emmanuel Ikubese first saw the show MTV Shuga, he was a university student and an aspiring actor. Like many fans, he was hooked.

Gandelina Damião, 78, is permanently hunched, carrying her sorrow. She lost three children to heroin in the 1990s.

A quarter century ago, her cobblestone lane, up a grassy hill from Lisbon's Tagus River, was littered with syringes. She recalls having to search for her teenagers in graffitied stone buildings nearby, where they would shoot up.

"It was a huge blow," Damião says, pointing to framed photos on her wall of Paulo, Miguel and Liliana. "I was a good mother. I never gave them money for drugs. But I couldn't save them."

Girindra Nath Jha was born and raised in the tiny village of Chanka, a settlement in the state of Bihar in northern India, close to the Nepal border. It's mostly grassy fields and mud huts with thatched roofs. It gets just seven hours of electricity per day and its first paved road arrived only last year. None of the homes have toilets.

And a lot of its 7,000 residents have gray hair.

When Dr. Thumbi Mwangi was a child growing up in Kenya, his father would send him out to care for the calves.

What will our dinners look like when temperatures and sea levels rise and water floods our coastal towns and cities?

Allie Wist, 29, an associate art director at Saveur magazine, attempts to answer that question in her latest art project, "Flooded." It's a fictional photo essay (based on real scientific data) about a dinner party menu at a time when climate change has significantly altered our diets.

It's an ad for Vicks, maker of cold and cough remedies, produced for the Indian market. It's had 9 million views on YouTube so far. And it's launched a discussion on social media about the rights of transgender people.

The 3 1/2-minute commercial, released online on March 31, doesn't mention any products. Instead, it tells what is labeled as a "true story."

Three years ago, Liberia was in the opening act of an unfolding catastrophe. The first cases of Ebola had been confirmed in the country on March 30, 2014. Over the next months, the virus spread, largely undetected at first. By late summer, every day the country awoke to news of dying Liberians being turned away from treatment or of families ripped apart by the virus. Uncertainty and fear swirled in the streets of Monrovia.

But on the afternoon of Sept. 11 that year, amid the chaos, there was a quiet pocket of joy.

Scientists love patterns.

It's what makes science possible — and powerful — especially when it comes to infectious diseases.

Over the past 30 years, scientists have noticed a distinctive pattern of mosquito-borne diseases in the Western Hemisphere: Three viruses have cropped up, caused small outbreaks and then one day — poof! — they hit a city and spread like gangbusters.

On a scorching afternoon in March, Agner Balladares Cardoza drives along Managua's chaotic main road, the Masaya Highway, jammed each day by the city's stressed-out commuters.

Balladares, 36, is the father of a 6-month-old girl. He has no formal job and makes his living selling whatever he can get his hands on — pants, used car batteries, baseball caps — and by working as a driver on occasion. When he has nothing to sell and no one to drive, Balladares stays at home and takes care of his little girl.

When 1,700 specialists in global health descended upon Washington, D.C., this past weekend, they brought suitcases full of data and experience.

The Consortium of Universities for Global Health conference offered marathon sessions that covered everything from noncommunicable diseases and breast-feeding to climate science and injury prevention.

At a research lab on top of a forested hill overlooking Hong Kong, scientists are growing viruses. They first drill tiny holes into an egg before inoculating it with avian influenza to observe how the virus behaves.

After you see a case of elephantiasis, you can never forget it.

People's legs, feet and toes swell up so much that they can't walk. Or move easily. The skin thickens and breaks open, creating ulcers and infections.

"It causes so much pain. So much pain," says epidemiologist Christine Kihembo, at Makerere University School of Public Health in Kampala, Uganda.

Stella Nyanzi, one of Uganda's most controversial academics and activists, appeared in court Monday, after being arrested and charged Friday with cyber harassment and the misuse of a computer, for "shaming" the government.

Nyanzi's latest run-in with the 31-year-old regime of President Yoweri Museveni began with a fight for free sanitary pads for school-age girls.

Morphine. It's why Zubair in Kerala, India, can ride his motorcycle, work at his coffee shop and bring an income home to his family. Without his daily dose, living a normal life is nearly impossible.

Anais Martinez is on the hunt in Mexico City's Merced Market, a sprawling covered bazaar brimming with delicacies. "So this is the deep-fried tamale!" she says with delight, as if she'd just found a fine mushroom specimen deep in a forest.

The prized tamales are wrapped in corn husks and piled next to a bubbling cauldron of oil.

Why Add A Banana To The Passover Table?

Apr 7, 2017

Next week, between 150 and 200 people will gather for a Passover seder at Temple Beth-El in Richmond, Va. When the traditional Passover question is posed — "Why is this night different from all other nights?" — there's a new answer. Guests at the Seder, co-sponsored by the refugee aid agency ReEstablish Richmond, will include about 50 locally resettled immigrants from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Next week I'll be hopping on a plane for an 11-hour ride to Europe with a strong-willed, 1 1/2-year-old toddler.

A big concern is how to deal with the inevitable meltdowns. But my top priority before boarding is about my little girl's health: Is she protected from the measles?

The virus — which kills almost 400 kids each day worldwide — is hitting Europe hard this year.

Let's say you'd like to go for a run in Mexico City.

Dr. Tonatiuh Barrientos, an epidemiologist with Mexico's National Institute of Public Health, thinks that's a good idea — in theory. An expert on diabetes, he'd like to see more people in the Mexican capital get out and exercise to combat the disease.

But as a runner himself, he knows that Mexico City isn't an easy place to jog. In a metropolis of 22 million, there are only a handful of parks where people can run.

In a suspected chemical weapon attack like the one in Syria on Tuesday, children are the most vulnerable targets. They are more likely than adults to die from chemical agents and to suffer injures. If they survive, they also suffer from the physical and mental trauma of the attack for far more years than adults simply because they have more years left to live.

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Mario Alberto Maciel Tinajero looks like a fairly healthy 68-year-old. He has a few extra pounds on his chest but he's relatively fit. Yet he's suffered for the last 20 years from what he calls a "terrible" condition: diabetes.

"I've never gotten used to this disease," he says. Maciel runs a stall in the Lagunilla market in downtown Mexico City. This market is famous for its custom-made quinceañera dresses and hand-tailored suits.

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