Diseases

Global child mortality rate continues decline

In this image, a boy in a bright shirt carries a kite while running over a field of garbage.
Children play with kites in a waste area in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Sept. 15, 2019. Photo: Syed Mahamudur Rahman/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Every 5 seconds a child under 15 years old died in 2018, mostly from preventable causes, according to the latest mortality trends report from 2 UN agencies.

The big picture: UNICEF and the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UNIGME) found the total number of deaths among children and adolescents under 15 years old has dropped by 56% since 1990 — from about 14.2 million to 6.2 million in 2018. Causes of death include treatable infectious diseases, nutritional causes, drowning, burns and injuries.

Health labs identify chemical linked to vaping-related illness

A person smokes an e-cigarette.
Photo: Lisa Ducret/Getty Images

State and federal health authorities are focusing in on a single chemical as they try to determine the cause of vaping-related illnesses, according to the Washington Post. The compound turned up in marijuana products that patients had used.

Why it matters: Identifying the common chemical gives health officials a potential thread to follow to pinpoint the cause and find the right treatment for a severe pulmonary illness that has killed 2 people and may have afflicted at least 215 more.