Health Highlights: March 19, 2015

By on March 19, 2015

Health Highlights: March 19, 2015

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

Gates, Bloomberg Announce Fund to Help Poorer Countries Fight Big Tobacco

A new fund to help low- and middle-income countries fight legal battles against the tobacco industry has been created by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates.

The Anti-Tobacco Trade Litigation Fund — established with $4 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — was announced Wednesday at the World Conference on Tobacco or Health, the Associated Press reported.

The fund is meant to help small, developing countries that often don’t have the money to fight tobacco companies over laws such as requiring graphic health warning labels on tobacco products or plain packaging for cigarettes.

“We think most of these countries will win these battles but they have to be able to afford some lawyers that have experience in litigating to win,” Bloomberg said in a media conference call, the AP reported.

The fund is expected to grow as more donors join the effort.


Dozens Test Positive for TB at Kansas High School

More than two dozen people have tested positive for tuberculosis at a Kansas high school.

More than 300 students and staff at Olathe Northwest High School were tested last week after a reported case of TB at the school. The testing identified 27 more people with TB infection, the Kansas City Star reported.

On Monday, health officials started calling people who tested positive, while letters were being sent to those who showed no sign of TB.

“The number of individuals with TB infection does not exceed what we would anticipate in this setting,” Lougene Marsh, director of the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, said in a statement Wednesday, the Star reported.

“Of course, we had hoped we wouldn’t find any additional TB cases, but we knew this was a possibility. That’s why we took such thorough steps to test everyone who might have been in close contact with the first confirmed case of TB disease,” Marsh added.

Another round of tests will be offered May 5 for people known to have been exposed to TB during the spring semester. It can take up to eight weeks for TB to give a positive test result, according to health officials.

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