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Editor's note: The coronavirus that started in Wuhan has sickened more than 4,000 people and killed at least 100 in China as of Jan. 27, 2020. Thailand and Hong Kong each have reported eight confirmed cases, and five people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the illness. People are hoping for a vaccine to slow the spread of the disease.
By Roz Plater
It's 2020 and another year of health-related topics awaits us.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The government of Samoa will shut down its offices for two days this week so civil servants can focus on a nationwide immunization drive after almost 4,000 confirmed cases of measles have swept across the small Pacific nation of just 200,000 people, as NPR reported. So far 55 people have died, 50 of them are children under four, according to The Guardian.
(R) The measles virus pictured under a microscope. PHIL / CDC
The Pacific Island nation of Samoa declared a state of emergency this week, closed all of its schools and limited the number of public gatherings allowed after a measles outbreak has swept across the country of just 200,000 people, according to Reuters.
By Julia Ries
- The measles virus was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000.
- But if more cases of the measles virus are detected next month, it could mean an end of that elimination status.
- There have been more than 1,200 measles cases this year so far. That's the largest number of cases since 1992.
Facebook will take a stand against the dangerous practice of spreading misinformation about vaccines. The social media behemoth, which has served as an online meeting spot for spreading memes of misinformation about vaccine safety and efficacy, will now try to redirect consumers on its platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, to reputable sites for information about vaccines, as the Guardian reported.
Genetics are significantly more responsible for driving autism spectrum disorders than maternal factors or environmental factors such as vaccines and chemicals, according to a massive new study involving more than 2 million people from five different countries.
By Vanessa Schipani, FactCheck.org
Q: Did people develop cancer because of the polio vaccine?
A: There are no known cases, and it's very unlikely. In the 1950s and 1960s, people did receive polio vaccines contaminated with a virus that causes cancer in rodents. But research suggests this virus doesn't cause cancer in humans.