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Health Highlights: Nov. 6, 2018

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

Congo Ebola Outbreak May be Uncontainable: CDC Director

It may not be possible to bring the Ebola outbreak in Congo under control and the deadly disease may become entrenched in the northeastern part of the country, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield says.

The outbreak in North Kivu province is in its fourth month and there have been nearly 300 cases, including 186 deaths, the Washington Post reported.

Ebola was first identified in 1976. No previous outbreak has resulted in the persistent presence of the disease.

If that occurs in North Kivu, "this will mean that we've lost the ability to trace contacts, stop transmission chains and contain the outbreak," said Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, the Post reported.

The center hosted the Capital Hill briefing that featured the Ebola discussion with Redfield.


Cases of Polio-Like Condition Still Increasing: CDC

Cases of a polio-like condition that mainly affects children continue to rise this year in the United States, health officials say.

There have been 219 possible cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) reported in 25 states, and 80 of those have been confirmed, according to the latest update from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There were 120 confirmed cases in 2014, 22 in 2015, 149 in 2016 and 33 in 2017. The condition is marked by muscle weakness and paralysis.

The cause of the cases is unclear, the CDC said. Some patients have been infected with a usually harmless common cold virus called EV-D68, but not all patients have tested positive for the virus, NBC News reported.

"To date, no pathogen [germ] has been consistently detected in the patients' spinal fluid; a pathogen detected in the spinal fluid would be good evidence to indicate the cause of AFM since this condition affects the spinal cord," according to the CDC.


Top American Cancer Society Official Resigns Over Fund-Raising Partnerships

Concerns over some of the American Cancer Society's fund-raising partnerships may have contributed to the resignation of a top official at the society.

Dr. Otis Brawley, executive vice president and chief medical officer, resigned late last week after 11 years at the society, the New York Times reported Monday.

Brawley has not made any public comments, but people close to him say that a major reason for his resignation was dismay over some commercial partnerships, including with the controversial supplements company Herbalife International, the Times reported.

Other partnerships that have been criticized by people in and outside the American Cancer Society (ACS) include those with seafood chain Long John Silver's and a sports pub called Tilted Kilt that features "Kilt Girls" in skimpy red plaid outfits.

Brawley's resignation has hit his colleagues hard, according to Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer at the society.

"It's personally difficult, and certainly for many in the organization it's difficult as well," he told the Times.

The cancer society long relied on fund-raising walks such as Relay for Life and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, but such events have become less popular in the past decade, according to spokesman Michael Reich.

"Because ACS's walks generated so much revenue and were such a large part of our portfolio, our declines were much more pronounced than some other organizations," he told The Times.

"We have been re-engineering and diversifying our revenue portfolio, and partnerships are playing a key role. This takes time to build, but we are making tremendous progress," Reich said.

The ACS does not form partnerships with tobacco companies, but alliances with other companies are assessed individually, Sharon Byers, the cancer society's chief marketing officer, told the newspaper.

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