Ebola Outbreak Continues, WHO Coordinates International Efforts to Combat Disease
August 27, 2014
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Ebola an international public health emergency on August 8, 2014, and the number of cases of Ebola continues to rise in West Africa. There is some evidence that these numbers may be vastly underestimated. Confirming cases through laboratory testing, tracking the spread of the disease, and additional coordinated efforts between WHO, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other global agencies are essential for helping to stop further spread of the Ebola virus. Read more...
An ongoing pilot program by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) aims to cut down on the time it takes for newly approved tests to be covered by CMS. One clinical laboratory test, a stool DNA test for colon cancer screening, has been reviewed through this process, making history by being the first to be approved by FDA and, on the same day, receive a decision by CMS that Medicare and Medicaid will pay for the test.
A respiratory virus called enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is causing a serious illness in children in several states, sending many of them to hospitals. The first cases were identified in mid-August and now a number of states are investigating clusters of enterovirus illnesses. The CDC is advising physicians to be vigilant for this viral illness in their patients and to consider testing for EV-D68 in certain cases.
Although the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently passed a rule granting patients direct access to their laboratory results, a new study from the University of Michigan has found that some people may not be able to understand lab reports in a meaningful way. Current formats for lab reports pose a barrier to understanding, say the researchers, and should be redesigned in order to help patients take a more active role in their health care.