Health Highlights: Nov. 6, 2014

Health Highlights: Nov. 6, 2014

Health Highlights: Nov. 6, 2014

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Facebook Adds Donation Button to Support Ebola Fight

Facebook has introduced a "Donate Now" button so that users can give money to charities fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Donations can be made to the American Red Cross, Save the Children or the International Medical Corps, CBS News reported.

"For Facebook users in 34 countries, this initiative provides a simple and desperately needed way to donate to the worst Ebola outbreak in history," Save the Children President and CEO Carolyn Miles said in a statement.

More than 13,500 people in West Africa have been infected with Ebola and nearly 5,000 have died from the disease, CBS News reported.


NYC Rat Population Smaller Than Thought: Study

There may be six million fewer rats in New York City than widely believed, according to a new study.

Some statistics have suggested the city has eight million rats, or about one rat per person. But there may far fewer rats in the Big Apple, says a statistician studying for a doctorate at Columbia University, The New York Times reported.

Jonathan Auerbach called the one-person, one-rat idea "an urban myth" and put the rat population at about 2 million. His study, which won a competition by the Royal Statistical Society of London, was published in the statistical journal Significance.

For the study, Auerbach analyzed rat complaints phoned in by New York City residents. He determined the location of each reported rat sighting and concluded that 4.75 percent (40,500) of the city's 842,000 building lots were rat-infested, The Times reported.

It's known that there are about 40 to 50 rats in a typical colony. Auerbach multiplied the higher figure by the number of rat-infested building lots and came up with his count of 2.02 million rats in New York City.


White House Seeks $6.2 Billion to Fight Ebola

Congress is being asked for $6.2 billion in emergency funds to fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and to protect the United States against the possible spread of the deadly disease.

President Barack Obama's request includes $2 billion for the U.S. Agency for International Development, $2.4 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services, $127 million for the Department of State, $112 million for the Pentagon, and more than $1.5 billion for a contingency fund, the Associated Press reported.

The more than $4.6 billion in immediate spending would be used to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, speed development and testing of vaccines and other treatments, improve the public health system in the U.S., and help at-risk countries detect and respond to Ebola.

The Obama administration would like prompt action on the funding request. It will be reviewed by appropriators, according to House Speaker John Boehner's office.

"We'll continue to work with our members and the administration to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect the public from a deadly disease," Boehner spokesman Kevin Smith said, the AP reported.
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