USA Today – Solutions to woes of mentally ill exist but aren’t used
The USA could dramatically improve the lives of the 10 million Americans with serious mental illness if it would make wider use of proven programs.
“We know what to do,” says Ron Honberg, national director of policy and legal affairs at the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “We just don’t do it.”
Most communities ignore mental health until there’s a crisis, such as the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., two years ago. Though people are initially horrified by such acts of violence, Americans forget all too quickly – and move on.

ABC News – New ‘Bourbon virus’ blamed for Kansas man’s death
A new tick-borne virus has been discovered in Kansas and dubbed the “Bourbon virus.”
The never-before-seen virus was named for Bourbon County, Kansas, where its only known victim lived. The man got sick over the summer and died, and it’s taken six months for doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital as well as state and national epidemiologists to solve the mystery of his death.
“Its genome is similar to viruses that have been found in eastern Europe, Africa and Asia, but no virus like that has ever been identified in the western hemisphere,” University of Kansas Hospital infectious disease expert Dr. Dana Hawkinson said in a video prepared last week by the hospital.

Fox News – Safeway pulls caramel apples amid listeria scare
Safeway has pulled prepackaged caramel apples from its shelves, the grocery chain said Tuesday, a day after the family of a person who died from a listeria infection linked to the fruit sued the company.
Shirlee Jean Frey, who died Dec. 2, became ill after buying several caramel apples from a Safeway supermarket in Felton in October, according to the suit filed Monday in Santa Cruz County Superior Court.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the 81-year-old woman was sickened with the same strains of listeria found in apples that infected 28 other people in nine states.

NPR – Christmas in Liberia: Ebola fears, no snow, holiday spirit
Despite the trauma of the past year, Liberians are trying to have a happy holiday season. Carols are playing on the radio and there’s lots of decorating — and painting — going on.
“At a certain time of the year we want our homes to look good,” says journalist Siatta Scott Johnson. “It’s like a competition in Liberia when it comes to the festive season.”
According to Scott Johnson, there’s a government order to paint all buildings, shops and private houses by mid-December. Otherwise you face a fine. She says Ebola has not changed that practice.

Reuters – Risk of dengue increases due to climate change, city growth: research
Large parts of Europe, West and Central Africa, and South America face the threat of outbreaks of the deadly dengue virus due to climate change and urbanization, according to the first-ever maps of dengue vulnerability published on Tuesday.
Research by the United Nations University found dengue fever, that is transmitted by the bite of female mosquitoes and causes severe pain, is on the move with the maps pinpointing vulnerable areas as a tool to help prevent outbreaks. “Changes to climate could result in increased exposure and pose a serious threat to areas that do not currently experience endemic dengue,” the report said.