Trending News Today: WHO Warns of Future Pandemics

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is warning all countries to watch for outbreaks of the bird flu and to promptly report human infections, according to The New York Times. In 2017 alone, 9 people in China have already died from the virus. More than 1000 cases, with 38.5% resulting in death, have been reported in China since a 2013 outbreak, The Guardian reported. Several strains of avian flu are spreading throughout Europe and Asia, but the most worrisome is the H7N9 strain, according to the Times. Since H7N9 does not kill infected chickens and does not cause them develop symptoms, the virus is able to spread undetected to humans. Thus far, the WHO has secured 350 million doses of vaccine in preparation for the next influenza pandemic, according to The Guardian.

The CDC has released statistics that show after a decade of decreases in sugary beverage consumption, these rates have stalled at well above the recommended daily limit, according to The Washington Post. Today, both adults and children alike are consuming approximately the same amount of calories from soda, sports drinks, and other sugary beverages as they were in 2009 and 2010. The American Heart Association recommends that children drink soda once per week or less. However, two-thirds consume these sugary beverages on a daily basis, the Post reported. It is unclear why these rates have stalled, but investigators believe it may be due to Americans turning to teas, flavored waters, and other energy drinks with sugar additives. Additionally, the initial decline may be due, in part, to Americans who were particularly receptive to changing their behavior, such as high-income individuals, leaving a population that are changing their habits more slowly, reported the Post. The consumption of sugary beverages has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

Women who first start their period at 11 years or younger are more likely to reach menopause before the age of 40, according to NPR. A study published in Human Reproduction showed women with early menstruation who had no children were even more likely to have premature menopause. Study participants who had their first period at 11 years or younger were 80% more likely to have premature menopause. Overall, 2% of participants had premature menopause, and 7.6% had early menopause, NPR reported. Early menopause can increase the risk of more serious health concerns, including polycystic ovary syndrome, diabetes, endometriosis, and heart disease. “Women should be informed of their elevated risk of premature menopause if they began menstruating at a young age, especially those with fertility problems, so that they can make informed decisions,” lead author Gita Mishra told NPR.