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Public health officials are increasingly concerned about a possible pandemic amid reports of hundreds of new cases of swine flu in Mexico that have killed up to 60 people. Eight swine flu cases have been reported in the United States, in California and Texas. Mexican authorities are taking drastic measures to contain the swine flu outbreak, closing schools and universities in Mexico City.

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In a provocative April 9 post, Dr. Jaan Sidorov, who writes the Disease Management Care Blog, envisions how federal health reforms could prompt health insurers to consolidate to the point where, like AIG, they are "too big to fail."

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Journalists - particularly those in rural areas - will definitely want to follow the epidemiological investigation of swine flu that struck a nine-year-old Imperial County girl and a 10-year-old boy in adjacent San Diego County.The kids are fine now, but public health officials have never before seen this strain of swine flu in the United States. Here is the AP story.

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's $100 million grant to the International Partnership for Microbicides is big news for HIV prevention researchers frustrated by years of skimpy funding and scientific setbacks. The United Kingdom Department for International Development kicked in another $28.5 million.

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This story, pegged to new research on dual mastectomy rates, examines why some breast cancer patients choose to have both breasts removed even if it may not improve their survival.

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Although some international health indicators have improved substantially in the last decade, poverty, conflict, lack of access to health care and/or education, poor sterilization techniques, evolving human migration patterns, unsafe water, new infectious agents and changing development activities all contribute to what seems a dismal global health climate.

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The Alzheimer's Association estimated in 2009 that as many as 5.3 million Americans suffer from the mind-robbing illness. With that number expected to grow by double-digit percentages through 2025 as the population ages, scientists are working feverishly on strategies for prevention and treatment. But more than 100 years after the disease was discovered, it's still not clear what causes it. The only approved treatments barely dull the symptoms.

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Dr. Wada started work as the director/health officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department in March 2010. Previously, he was the Pasadena's health officer, and oversaw all health issues that affect Pasadena and all medical services provided by the Pasadena Public Health Department. Services include direct clinical services, disease surveillance and epidemiology, communicable disease control, health policy and promotion programs, environmental health (including restaurant inspections) and bioterrorism and emergency preparedness.

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The nation’s overdose epidemic has entered a devastating new phase. Drugs laced with fentanyl and even more poisonous synthetics have flooded the streets, as the crisis spreads well beyond the rural, largely white communities that initially drew attention. The death rate is escalating twice as fast among Black people than among white people. This webinar will give journalists deep insights, fresh story ideas and practical tips for covering an epidemic that killed more than 107,000 people in the U.S. last year. Sign-up here!

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