Factbox: Cyclone Idai kills 686, displaces hundreds of thousands

BEIRA, Mozambique (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of people are in need of food, water and shelter after Cyclone Idai battered Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Damaged buildings are seen as flood waters begin to recede in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, near Beira, Mozambique March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

As of Monday, at least 686 people had been reported killed by the storm, the flooding it caused and heavy rains before it hit. Following is an outline of the disaster, according to government and United Nations officials:

Mozambique prepares for cholera after cyclone wreaks havoc

BEIRA, Mozambique (Reuters) – Rescue teams in Mozambique moved hundreds of people displaced by Cyclone Idai’s massive and deadly flooding to safer shelters on Monday, while the government made preparations for a cholera outbreak that it says is inevitable amid the devastation.

In areas west of the port city of Beira, hundreds of people were trapped for more than a week after Idai hit, surviving in vast tracts of submerged land with no access to clean water and shrinking food supplies.

Long term opioid medications impacts production of important hormones

Many people who use opioid medications long term do not produce enough testosterone or another important hormone, cortisol, according to a new study. Results of what the researchers called “the most up-to-date and most comprehensive clinical review of endocrine effects of long-term opioid use” are being presented Sunday at ENDO 2019, the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in New Orleans, La.

“These hormone deficiencies can cause a wide variety of symptoms, such as infertility, extreme fatigue and malaise,” said study investigator Amir Zamanipoor Najafabadi, M.D./Ph.D. student at Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands. “People may not recognize these symptoms as possibly related to the increased use of opioids.”

New guideline focuses on strategies to improve health of older adults with diabetes

Simplifying medication regimens and tailoring glycemic targets in older adults with diabetes improves adherence and avoids treatment-related complications, according to a Clinical Practice Guideline issued today by the Endocrine Society. The Society debuted the guideline during a press conference on the opening day of ENDO 2019, its annual meeting in New Orleans, La.

The guideline, titled “Treatment of Diabetes in Older Adults: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline,” was published online and will appear in the May 2019 print issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), a publication of the Endocrine Society. The guideline focuses on treatment strategies that take into consideration the overall health and quality of life of older adults with diabetes, defined as age 65 or older.

Must-Reads Of The Week (Some Flying Below The Radar)

Your wonderfully entertaining compiler of “The Friday Breeze,” Brianna Labuskes, is off today, so I’m jumping in to keep you abreast of this week’s vital health care news. Here’s what I found most fascinating, some of it far away from the headlines.

Let’s dive into my “Department of Health Studies,” where I found several worthy of your time.

Aspiring Doctors Seek Advanced Training In Addiction Medicine

The U.S. Surgeon General’s office estimates that more than 20 million people have a substance use disorder. Meanwhile, the nation’s drug overdose crisis shows no sign of slowing.

Yet, by all accounts, there aren’t nearly enough physicians who specialize in treating addiction — doctors with extensive clinical training who are board-certified in addiction medicine.

Texas petrochemical fire prompts hundreds to visit health clinic

DEER PARK, Texas (Reuters) – Hundreds of neighborhood residents of a petrochemical plant that burned for three days and briefly emitted cancer-causing benzene into the air brought their coughs, headaches and other symptoms to a mobile clinic on Friday set up by local health officials.

Smoke rises from a fire burning at the Intercontinental Terminals Company in Deer Park, east of Houston, Texas, U.S., March 18, 2019. Jaimie Meldrum/@jamiejow/Handout via REUTERS A

While some of the symptoms people complained of are consistent with exposure to chemicals, health officials said they treated a wide variety of ailments, including the anxiety that comes with living near an industrial accident.

U.S. Customs details China pork seizure; importers could pay fine

CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. border agents said they have seized 1 million pounds (453,592 kg) of food products from China this month, rather than 1 million pounds of pork as they had previously announced, as they work to keep out African swine fever.

FILE PHOTO: Pork for sale is seen at a market in Beijing, China December 26, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

The containers seized also had noodles and tea bags that were used to facilitate the unlawful import of pork products, Anthony Bucci, spokesman for Customs Border and Protection, said this week.

FDA rejects Sanofi-Lexicon add-on pill for type 1 diabetes

(Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration declined to approve a drug developed by Sanofi SA and Lexicon Pharmaceuticals Inc intended for use with insulin in patients with type 1 diabetes, the companies said on Friday.

The logo of Sanofi is pictured during the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

The decision comes about two months after an FDA advisory panel failed to reach a consensus over whether the once-daily oral drug, sotagliflozin, should be approved as an add-on to insulin therapy.

Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health’ Surprise! Fixing Surprise Medical Bills Is Harder Than it Looks

Surprise medical bills — when patients receive an unexpected bill from a health provider not in their insurance network — are among the few problems in health care just about everyone wants to solve. But it turns out that no one in the health industry wants to take responsibility for paying those bills. That could complicate efforts toward a legislative fix, despite bipartisan support.

And the 2020 presidential campaign is already in full swing, with candidates staking out some surprisingly diverse positions on how to expand access to health care.