Health Highlights: June 2, 2015

Health Highlights: June 2, 2015

Health Highlights: June 2, 2015

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

Two MERS Deaths in South Korea

The first two deaths from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in South Korea were confirmed Tuesday by officials.

There have been 24 MERS cases in South Korea since the country's first case was diagnosed last month in a man who had traveled to the Middle East, where the disease has killed hundreds of people, the Associated Press reported.

Many of the MERS cases in South Korea are connected to the first patient, such as family members, medical staff who treated him, or patients exposed to the man before he was diagnosed and isolated.

The two patients who died of MERS were a 58-year-old woman and a 71-year-old man. Both had been patients at the same hospital as the first MERS patient, the AP reported.


Large Increases in Hospital Charges for Common Procedures

The prices hospitals charge patients for a number of common procedures rose more than 10 percent between 2011 and 2013, more than twice the rate of inflation.

Those increases mainly affect people without insurance and those who use hospitals outside their insurance network, The New York Times reported.

During the same period, the prices hospitals charge to Medicare remained about the same, according to data released by the federal government Monday.

The data provided a look at about $62 billion in Medicare payments to hospitals and more than seven million hospital discharges, and also included information about 950,000 doctors and other health care practitioners who received $90 billion in Medicare payments, The Times reported.

As in previous years, cancer and eye doctors were at the top of the list of high earners.


Meat With Fewer Antibiotics to be Served in U.S. Government Cafeterias

Many federal government cafeterias will soon begin buying meat and poultry produced with fewer antibiotics, as part of the Obama administration's efforts to reduce the use of antibiotics in meat.

The directive announced Tuesday will apply to all civilian government cafeterias within five years, the Associated Press reported.

Earlier this year, the White House announced a plan to reduce the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Drug-resistant bacteria cause 23,000 deaths and 2 million illnesses a year in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Drug-resistant bacteria - caused by overuse of antibiotics -- is one of the most serious public health issues in the nation, according to Obama, who has asked Congress to boost funding to tackle the problem, the AP reported.
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