CNN – Flu season soars in the United States, especially in the South

After a slow start in October, flu season in the United States is gaining speed, particularly in the South. Flu activity, which has been increasing since the start of November, is now higher than usual for this time of year, according to a report published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

World Health Organization – Diphtheria is spreading fast in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

Diphtheria is rapidly spreading among Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, WHO warned. More than 110 suspected cases, including 6 deaths, have been clinically diagnosed by health partners, including Médecins Sans Frontières and the International Federation of the Red Cross.

Politico – VA kills plan to cut homeless-vet program after outcry

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin has killed a plan to shift money from a major homelessness program in response to a wave of protest from veterans’ advocates, who said the move would aggravate conditions for chronically ill and vulnerable vets.

STAT – Nothing protects black women from dying in pregnancy and childbirth

In recent years, as high rates of maternal mortality in the U.S. have alarmed researchers, one statistic has been especially concerning. According to the CDC, black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women’s health.

The Pump Handle – Study on H3N2 flu virus calls into question egg-based vaccine production

Scott Hensley wants to make one thing clear: You should still get a flu shot after reading this article. “Even in times of vaccine mismatches, it can still help reduce the severity of infection,” said Hensley, an associate professor in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania. “We’re talking about one (flu) strain here, but other strains seem to be very well matched.”