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Measles-related death toll tops 6,000 in Democratic Republic of the Congo

Deaths from measles in the Democratic Republic of the Congo surpassed 6,000, with children over the age of 5 most vulnerable to the infectious disease, new data from the World Health Organization showed Tuesday.

Why it matters: About 310,000 suspected measles cases, one-fourth of which are in kids over age 5, have been reported since the beginning of 2019. Vaccinations for children have made headway in some parts of the country, but public health officials are still trying to keep the disease at bay.

Go deeper: DRC health leader discusses what's being done to fight Ebola

AP: China's hidden, growing opioid crisis

Oxycodone, an addictive narcotic pain reliever. Photo: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A lack of treatment options, overprescription and little official understanding of the scale of painkiller abuse in China are likely contributing to the spread of opioid addiction in the country, per AP analyses.

What's happening: Drug company Mundipharma has "pushed ever larger doses" of painkillers like OxyContin in China, "even as it became clear that higher doses present higher risks," AP found in November. Mundipharma is owned by the Sackler family, which also owns Purdue Pharma, the OxyContin maker accused of helping fuel the U.S. opioid crisis.

Go deeperArrowDec 31, 2019

Alcohol played a role in 2.6% of U.S. deaths in 2017

Photo: George Rose/Getty Images

Nearly 1 million people died from alcohol-related causes between 1999 and 2017, and alcohol played a role in 2.6% of all U.S. deaths in 2017, a new analysis released Friday by the NIH's National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism shows.

Why it matters: The deaths correspond with increased alcohol consumption in the U.S. and alcohol-linked emergency department visits and hospitalizations over the same period. Death certificates mentioning alcohol more than doubled from 35,914 in 1999 to 72,558 in 2017.

Go deeper: Alcohol consumption in Russia fell by 43%

Keep ReadingArrowUpdated Jan 10, 2020