January 11th, 2013
07:42 AM ET

Friday's live events

President Obama will be sworn in for a second term in office on Monday, January 21.  Watch CNN.com Live for all your inauguration coverage.

Today's programming highlights...

10:00 am ET - NASA satellite briefing - Hear from NASA officials about this month's launch of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-K.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Health • On CNN.com today • Politics
Pharmacy: Cleaners should share blame for meningitis outbreak
Bottles containing injectable steroids distributed by the New England Compounding Center, suspected in a meningitis outbreak.
January 4th, 2013
03:49 PM ET

Pharmacy: Cleaners should share blame for meningitis outbreak

A Massachusetts pharmacy linked to a meningitis outbreak says its cleaning contractor should share blame for an apparent mishap that left dozens dead nationwide.

The New England Compounding Center sent a letter to UniFirst Corp. demanding it share responsibility for a tainted steroid used to treat pain and inflammation, according to a filing this week with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company said that it "seeks to establish a fund to compensate individuals and families affected" by the outbreak, which has been linked to 39 fatalities among the 656 cases tallied in 19 states.

Patients contracted fungal meningitis after their spines were injected with a contaminated steroid called methylprednisolone acetate, health officials have said. According to health agencies, the compounding center did not follow proper sterilization procedures and distributed its products without knowing whether they had passed sterility tests.

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Filed under: Health • Massachusetts
December 17th, 2012
07:45 AM ET

Philippine legislators pass birth-control bill

Legislators in the Philippines have passed a birth-control bill that will open the door for free contraceptives and government-funded sex education.

Voting for the legislation was carried live on CNN affiliate ABS-CNN in the Philippines.

The bill was strongly opposed by the Catholic Church. It awaits the signature of President Benigno Aquino III to become law.

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Filed under: Catholic Church • Health Care • Philippines • Religion
FDA: Problems found at another facility of sister company of pharmacy tied to meningitis
Injectable steroids distributed by the New England Compounding Center are blamed for a widespread meningitis outbreak.
November 12th, 2012
08:26 PM ET

FDA: Problems found at another facility of sister company of pharmacy tied to meningitis

Federal inspectors found crawling insects, corroding walls and concerns about safety and quality safeguards at a  drug-making facility run by the company tied to a deadly meningitis outbreak, according to a report released today.

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Filed under: Health • Massachusetts
CDC: 11 more cases tied to fungal meningitis outbreak
Bottles of injectable steroids distributed by the New England Compounding Center are suspected in causing a meningitis outbreak.
October 25th, 2012
02:54 PM ET

CDC: 11 more cases tied to fungal meningitis outbreak

The toll from the ongoing fungal meningitis outbreak continues to climb, with health authorities reporting 328 infections on Thursday - up 11 from the previous day.

In its latest update, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there were 323 cases of fungal meningitis plus five related peripheral joint infections. The agency reports 24 deaths tied to the outbreak, the same number as on Wednesday.

The illnesses, which first emerged just over a month ago, have been linked to tainted products from the New England Compounding Center. The Food and Drug Administration has since issued a warning covering medications from the compounding pharmacy that have been distributed since May 21 at more than 3,000 medical facilities nationwide.

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Filed under: Health
October 24th, 2012
03:06 PM ET

Meningitis linked to tainted steroids claims another life

The meningitis outbreak linked to a tainted steroid is to blame for another death - bringing the toll to 24, the CDC said today.

A total of 312 cases of fungal meningitis has now been confirmed.  There are also five cases of peripheral joint infections.  All are linked to steroid injections from the New England Compounding Center.

Follow CNN.com/health for more details on the outbreak.

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Filed under: Health
October 24th, 2012
05:29 AM ET

Patient 'upset at illness' confesses to starting deadly fire

A 67-year-old cancer patient was arrested Wednesday in connection with a fire that ripped through a hospital in Taiwan killing at least 12 people and injuring 60 others.

Lin Chi-hsiung, who was found hiding in a storage facility at the hospital, confessed to starting the fire a day earlier because he was upset over his illness, according to Tseng Chao-kai, head prosecutor for the Tainan District Prosecutor's Office.

Lin is a colon cancer patient who has been hospitalized in the facility since late 2010, Taiwan's Central News Agency (CNA) reported.

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Filed under: Arson • Crime • Health • Taiwan • World • World Update
Four more deaths in meningitis outbreak
The fungus Exserohilum has been implicated in the current outbreak of fungal meningitis.
October 17th, 2012
03:37 PM ET

Four more deaths in meningitis outbreak

The number of people who have died from a 15-state outbreak of noncontagious fungal meningitis has risen to 19, up four from Saturday, the Centers for Disease Control said Wednesday.

The cases have been linked to injections of a contaminated steroid produced by the New England Compounding Center. Some 14,000 people may have received the injections, the CDC estimated last week.

The number of fungal meningitis cases associated with the injections has risen to 245 12 more than Tuesday, the CDC says. Two people also have contracted peripheral joint infections; neither has died, according to the CDC.

Members of Congress are involved in an investigation of the outbreak.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It is usually caused by an infection, frequently with bacteria or a virus, but it can also be caused by less common pathogens, such as fungi in this case, according to the CDC.  Fungal meningitis is very rare and, unlike viral and bacterial meningitis, is not contagious.

Sixty-one cases have been reported in Tennessee, with 48 in Michigan, 37 in Virginia and 32 in Indiana. Cases also have been reported in Florida (13); Idaho (one); Illinois (one); Maryland (16); Minnesota (seven); New Hampshire (six); New Jersey (12); North Carolina (two); Ohio (nine); Pennsylvania (one); and Texas (one).

October 16, 2012: FDA warns patients to be vigilant about drugs from compounding center

October 11th, 2012
03:11 PM ET

14 confirmed fungal meningitis deaths, CDC says

The Centers for Disease Control has  released new numbers regarding the fungal meningitis outbreak.

There are now 170 confirmed cases, up from 137. The number of deaths has increased from 12 to 14.

In light of the new numbers, we wanted to share a bit of helpful information for you about the outbreak and help explain what you need to know.

The recent outbreak is linked to injections developed at a compounding center. So, what is that, and why are we getting medications from them?

Many of our readers have had a lot of questions about the outbreak. We've answered them here and we hope they will be helpful for you. 

Here's some more information on the outbreak:

Meningitis outbreak highlights failed oversight efforts

One woman's fight for compounding pharmacy guidelines

October 11th, 2012
01:49 PM ET

Concussion fears to keep Earnhardt Jr. out of 2 races

NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. will miss the next two races in the chase for the Sprint Cup after sustaining a concussion during a massive wreck on the last lap of Sunday's Good Sam 500 at Talladega, Alabama, Earnhardt said Thursday.

Earnhardt was part of a 25-car pileup at Talladega. He told a press conference Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway that he was hit and spun during the wreck, apparently aggravating a concussion injury he sustained during a test run at Kansas Motor Speedway five weeks ago.

Earnhardt's doctor told him that "if you get hit again right away, it could be catastrophic," Rick Hendrick, owner of the Hendrick Motorsports team for which Earnhardt races, said Thursday.

Though Earnhardt said he felt completely recovered from the Kansas wreck by the time the green flag fell at Talladega, he said he knew immediately that the Talladega wreck had caused an injury.

“You know how your body is and you know when something’s not quite right, and I knew as soon as it happened that I had re-injured myself,” Earnhardt said Thursday.

“It wasn’t even half of the impact I had at Kansas, but it was enough to cause me some concern,” he said.

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Filed under: Auto racing • Health • Sports
October 10th, 2012
09:59 AM ET

Brain-eating amoebas kill 10 in Pakistan

A waterborne, brain-destroying species of amoeba has killed 10 people in Karachi, Pakistan, this year, prompting local water officials to increase the amount of chlorine in the city’s water supply and advise residents to use sterilized water when performing a Muslim ritual which involves cleansing the nostrils.

Misbahuddin Farid, managing director of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, said the origin of the amoebas had not been determined, according to a report in the Dawn newspaper.

Naegleria fowleri

The amoeba, known by the scientific name Naegleria fowleri, is virtually impossible to detect in the water and its presence in humans is determined by spinal tests, according to information on the water board’s website.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Naegleria fowleri amoeba causes a severe brain infection called primary amebic meningoencephalitis. The disease is usually fatal.

The amoeba most commonly enters the body through the nasal passages and usually infects people who have been swimming in warm freshwater lakes and rivers, according to the CDC.

But it can exist in improperly chlorinated swimming pool or heated tap water, the CDC says.

Only one of the 10 victims of the current outbreak in Pakistan had visited a swimming pool, according to another report from the Dawn newspaper, so authorities are focusing on the Muslim ablution ritual, or waddu.

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Filed under: Health • Pakistan
October 8th, 2012
01:15 PM ET

Eighth death reported in meningitis outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control said Monday that the number of people infected with meningitis related to steroid injections has gone from 91 to 105. The death toll has risen from seven to eight.

Patients in nine states contracted the deadly fungal meningitis after being injected in their spine with a preservative-free steroid called methylprednisolone acetate that was contaminated by a fungus. The steroid is used to treat pain and inflammation.

What is meningitis?

The New England Compounding Center (NECC), the Massachusetts-based pharmacy that made the contaminated injections, voluntarily recalled three lots of the injected steroid last week.

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Filed under: Health • Health Care
Colts owner: Head coach Chuck Pagano diagnosed with leukemia
Pagano is in his first year with the Indianiapolis Colts after spending four seasons as defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens.
October 1st, 2012
10:51 AM ET

Colts owner: Head coach Chuck Pagano diagnosed with leukemia

Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano has been diagnosed with leukemia, according to team owner Jim Irsay, and the coach's doctor describes it as a highly treatable form of the disease.

"I am very optimistic that he will beat this thing," Irsay said during a news conference Monday. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians will take the team's helm during Pagano's absence, the owner said.

According to the National Cancer Institute, acute promyelocytic leukemia the type with which Pagano was diagnosed is an “aggressive (fast-growing) type of acute myeloid leukemia in which there are too many immature blood-forming cells in the blood and bone marrow.”

Prognosis favorable for Colts coach with leukemia

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Filed under: Football • Health • Pro football • Sports
Report: Tourist death in Vietnam not from poison
Cathy Huynh, left, and Kari Bowerman took this photo in Vietnam on July 23, seven days before they were first admitted to the hospital.
September 19th, 2012
09:25 AM ET

Report: Tourist death in Vietnam not from poison

Tourists Karin Bowerman, 27, of Wisconsin, and Cathy Huynh, 26, of Ontario, died mysteriously just days apart this summer in Nha Trang, Vietnam. Since then, family and friends have waited anxiously for the autopsy results.

Speculation on the women’s cause of death ranged from alcohol poisoning to insecticide poisoning. But authorities are now saying there were no traces of toxins in Bowerman’s blood or gastric fluids, according to the Tuoi Tre News, an English-language news site operated by Vietnam’s largest newspaper.

“She died from breathing failures, circulatory collapse due to brain edema,” Lt. Col. Nguyen Hong Ky, deputy head of the Nha Trang police department, told Tuoi Tre News. Brain edema is a buildup of fluid in the brain. The official autopsy report has not been publicly released.

On July 30, Bowerman and Huynh were admitted to Khanh Hoa General Hospital; both were vomiting, had difficulty breathing and showed signs of severe dehydration.

Bowerman died later that night. Huynh was released from the hospital and died two days later. Bowerman’s body underwent an autopsy in Vietnam, according to her family, while Huynh’s body was returned to Canada to be examined in Hamilton, Ontario.

Tuoi Tre News reported earlier that Bowerman’s medical samples had not been sent to Hanoi, Vietnam, for testing as late as two weeks after her death. The director of the local forensic examination center told Tuoi Tre News that the wait period could affect the results, even if the samples were well preserved.

The autopsy results from Huynh are not expected for several weeks.

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Filed under: Health • Travel • Vietnam
September 5th, 2012
12:02 PM ET

Hantavirus warnings sent to Yosemite visitors from 39 other countries

Health officials said Wednesday that they've sent warnings to Yosemite National Park visitors from 39 other countries about a potentially deadly hantavirus uncovered at some of the park's cabins this summer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said up to 10,000 people were at risk, after estimating the number of friends and family members of those who stayed with visitors who booked reservations at the cabins.

"All guests who made reservations to stay in the 'Signature Tent Cabins' from June 10 through August 24, 2012 (approximately 2,900 persons) were emailed or mailed a health advisory urging them to seek immediate medical attention if they or other persons in their party exhibit symptoms of HPS," or hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, the CDC reported last week.

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Filed under: Health • World
Comments: Readers mostly avoid politics, wish best for Specter's cancer fight
Former Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania has overcome serious illnesses in the past two decades.
August 28th, 2012
07:09 PM ET

Comments: Readers mostly avoid politics, wish best for Specter's cancer fight

Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. Here's some comments we noticed today.

As the Republican National Convention moves forward, politically charged comments flow like water. Readers called for a few tidbits of unity on the story about Arlen Specter's fight against cancer. Specter, 82, was the longest-serving senator from Pennsylvania and switched from being a longtime GOP member to the Democratic Party in 2009.

Ex-Sen. Specter plans to win fight against cancer

Readers mused about Specter's political history in the current divided climate. Several commenters thanked Specter.

Hottampa: "Thank you Arlen Spector for the service for your country. I hope you recover. If you do not, you lived a long productive life that most people envy."

iBod: "It's odd, because I was just thinking about him yesterday - wondering how he is spending his time away from the Senate; how he is doing, overall. Dearly saddened to hear this. I am sure this news is hitting all of us Pennsylvanians pretty hard. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and that he makes a full recovery."

PeteArk: "He is a man of moderate views and a love of country ... unlike many of those now in the political arena ..."

Push politics aside for a moment, this reader pleaded.

VelveteenLdy: "It is, at once, amazing and disgusting that almost everything in the news today can be turned into a political battlefield. The purpose of these posts is not to argue Sen. Specter's politics, but to comment on the article. The man is dying. His political affiliation, actions, or whether he was liked or disliked are immaterial and inconsequential to that fact. My thoughts and prayers go to Sen. Specter's family and I pray that he passes on in comfort and in peace."

Many of the readers claimed to be Pennsylvanians, and gave a local perspective. FULL POST

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Filed under: Comments • Health • Politics
Autopsy: No apparent damage to Seau's brain
Junior Seau committed suicide May 2 in his Oceanside, California, home.
August 21st, 2012
07:56 AM ET

Autopsy: No apparent damage to Seau's brain

The brain of  former National Football League star Junior Seau showed no apparent signs of damage from Seau's years in professional football, according to an autopsy report released Monday.

Seau's death on May 2 in his Oceanside, California, home was classified as a suicide the next day by  the San Diego County medical examiner.

The autopsy results released Monday showed Seau shot himself in the chest with a hollow-point bullet from a .357-caliber revolver. The bullet hit Seau's heart, spleen and left lung.

He had used zolpidem, a sleep aid sold under the brand name Ambien among others, and naproxen, a pain reliever sold under the brand name Aleve among others, but there were no signs of alcohol, "common drugs of abuse," or other medications, according to the report by deputy medical examiner Craig Nelson.

Seau's suicide came on the heels of the suicides of other former NFL stars, including former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson just over a year earlier.

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Filed under: Football • Health • Pro football • Sports
August 16th, 2012
11:31 AM ET

UK court rules against paralyzed man in 'right to die' case

A British man left paralyzed by a catastrophic stroke seven years ago lost his High Court battle Thursday to gain a legal right to end his life when he chooses.

Tony Nicklinson's condition means it is impossible for him to take his own life - and he wants the legal right to have a doctor take his life without fear of prosecution.

But while expressing sympathy for his situation, the High Court ruled that such a significant change to the law - involving overturning the ban on voluntary euthanasia - would have to be decided by lawmakers.

The judges also rejected a similar challenge to the law brought by a second man suffering locked-in syndrome, named only as Martin.

"The Court recognised that the cases raise profoundly difficult ethical, social and legal issues, but it judged that any change to the law must be a matter for Parliament to decide," a statement from the court said.

The ruling upset Nicklinson, who cried as his wife, Jane, told the waiting media that the family was "bitterly disappointed" and would file an appeal.

In the meantime, her husband will have to continue living as he is, or starve himself to death, she said.

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Filed under: Assisted suicide • Health • United Kingdom • World
August 3rd, 2012
08:34 AM ET

Prisoner with suspected case of Ebola escapes from hospital in Uganda

One of five prisoners receiving treatment for a suspected case of Ebola virus in Uganda escaped overnight Friday from the hospital at the center of the outbreak, a health official said.

"Should his results come back and he is positive, that causes us a lot of worry. So right now, we have resolved that the remaining prisoners will be cuffed on the beds for fear that they might also escape," said Dr. Jackson Amune, commissioner at the Ministry of Health.

The five inmates from Kibaale prison are among 30 people at Kagadi hospital with suspected cases of the virus. Two additional patients have confirmed cases, according to Doctors Without Borders.

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Filed under: Health • Uganda
July 31st, 2012
07:48 AM ET

Tuesday's live events

The race to the presidency now turns toward the general election in November.  CNN.com Live is your home for all the latest news and views from the campaign trail.

Today's programming highlights...

9:30 am ET - Women's health care briefing - Senate Democrats join Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss new women's health care coverage that will take effect tomorrow.

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Filed under: Elections • Health • Health Care • Health care reform • On CNN.com today • Politics
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