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Morning Rounds

Health officials expected to declare Ebola outbreak over


The world’s latest bout with Ebola is over. Today marks the 42nd day since the last case tested negative for the virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. An official declaration is slated for tomorrow. There were a total of 53 cases, including 29 deaths. But a new paper raises concerns about survivors of this Ebola outbreak and others. Researchers investigated a mysterious cluster of cases — two brothers and their father — recorded in Liberia in late 2015, after transmission from a past outbreak was declared over.

By comparing the viral genomes to ones from earlier in the outbreak, the researchers figured out that the boys' mother had been infected more than a year earlier and was still carrying the virus. She'd never been diagnosed. Viral persistence has been seen before — but up until now, most transmission has been from men to women through semen. The authors say survivors can trigger resurgence of Ebola's spread in some cases, which experts warn could increase the substantial stigma that Ebola survivors can face. 

More women sue USC and former campus gynecologist

Dozens of women have filed a lawsuit against the University of Southern California, alleging the school didn't protect them as students from George Tyndall, a former school gynecologist accused of sexual abuse. They join scores of other USC students and alumnae who have filed lawsuits against the school and against Tyndall, who resigned last year with a financial settlement in hand. An internal investigation found Tyndall's behavior toward patients constituted sexual harassment. Rick Caruso, the chair of USC's board of trustees, told the Los Angeles Times yesterday he hopes the cases can be settled "as quickly as possible."

What's it like to be a woman working in health care? 

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Rock Health just released a report on women in health care, from physicians in the exam room to startup execs. The digital health venture fund interviewed 600 women about their experiences. Here’s what it found:

  • The number of women in health care leadership is creeping up — sort of. The number of women on Fortune 500 health care company boards rose ever-so-slightly, as did the number of women who are digital health VC partners or digital health startup CEOs.

  • Most women don’t think gender parity at work will happen any time soon. About 55 percent of respondents say they believe it’ll take 25 years or more to achieve equality at work.  

  • Women of color face additional barriers. The survey found 86 percent of African-American women, 52 percent of Asian and Asian-American women, and 49 percent of Hispanic and Latina women said their race is "very much" a barrier to career advancement.

Inside STAT: Scientists unravel a leech bacterial mystery

In 2012, surgeons in Iowa removed a tumor from a patient and patched the wound with a skin graft, but it soon became infected and was replaced with another. When an infection threatened to kill the second graft, the patient’s doctors turned to leeches to keep it alive. They pumped the patient full of ciprofloxacin to stave off infections from the bacteria in leech guts — but he still developed an infection. There would soon be similar reports in other patients. Now, a team of leech obsessives and bacteria growers have traced the cipro-resistant bugs to the apparent source: Leeches from a French supplier contaminated with traces of antibiotics, which fostered growth of resistant bacteria. STAT’s Eric Boodman has more on the finding here.

Lawmakers scrutinize advertising abuses in addiction treatment industry

House lawmakers are digging into advertising abuses in the substance use treatment industry in a hearing today. Last year, the Energy and Commerce committee started investigating patient brokering — when a person gets paid by a treatment facility for bringing patients to its program — and the use of call centers to generate leads on potential patients. Today, the committee will hear from the founder of a call center, along with treatment facility directors. On the agenda: advertising transparency, efforts to promote ethical marketing practices, and ways patients can identify quality care.

Researchers study mental health support at work

New research suggests having a supportive manager might help employees with depression miss fewer days on the job. Researchers surveyed employees in 15 countries about whether they were ever absent due to diagnosed depression, and also asked managers how they supported those employees. They found that countries where more managers support employees with depression have lower rates of missed days on the job due to depression. The study doesn’t show cause and effect, but the authors say their findings point to the personal and economic benefits of mental health policies in the workplace.

What to read around the web today

  • A toxic town, a search for answers. Washington Post
  • Adherence to PrEP, the HIV prevention drug, is low. A new study suggests a pill with a tiny sensor might help. STAT 
  • Trump's USDA fights global guidelines on livestock antibiotics. Bloomberg
  • Pricing pledges from drug makers include plenty of fine print. STAT Plus
  • Chinese leaders order probe over vaccine scandal. Associated Press

Thanks for reading! More tomorrow,

Megan

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

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