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Health Highlights: Feb. 18, 2020

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

Japanese Couple on Delta Flight From Hawaii Diagnosed With Coronavirus

Delta Airlines is notifying passengers who were on a Feb. 6 flight from Hawaii to Japan that a Japanese couple on the flight tested positive for novel coronavirus after they returned home.

Delta Flight 611 departed Honolulu and landed in Nagoya after a flight of about 10 hours, CNN reported.

“We are proactively reaching out to customers who were onboard that flight as well as taking the necessary steps to ensure the safety of our customers and crew,” Delta said Monday.

Hawaiian officials have been tracking the couple’s activities in Hawaii and are trying to identify people who may have had close contact with the man and woman, CNN reported.

They were on Maui from January 28 to February 3, and on Oahu from February 3 until their Delta flight home, according to Hawaiian health officials.

Last Friday — eight days after the couple left Hawaii — Hawaiian health officials said that the man had tested positive for coronavirus in Japan and was being treated at a hospital there, CNN reported.

On the weekend, the Japan Times reported that the man’s wife had also been diagnosed with coronavirus.

People can get sick up to 14 days after exposure to coronavirus, so physicians in Hawaii have been alerted “that it’s possible that cases may surface sometime before” this Friday, two weeks after the Japanese couple left Honolulu, said state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park, CNN reported.


Melanoma Cases Rising in U.S.

Cases of melanoma in the United States increased 2% a year between 2005 and 2015, and will likely rise from 96,000 cases in 2019 to 151,000 cases in 2030 if the trend continues, a new study says.

The researchers noted that most cases of melanoma — the deadliest type of skin cancer — in the United States are linked with ultraviolet radiation exposure from “excessive sun exposure and indoor tanning,” CNN reported.

UV exposure accounted for 91% of all melanoma cases diagnosed in the United States from 2011 to 2015, and 94% of melanoma cases occurred in non-Hispanic whites, according to the study.

“High indoor tanning prevalence among teen girls in the late 1990s is likely a contributing factor,” to the rising number of melanoma cases, said study author Dr. Farhad Islami, a cancer epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society, CNN reported.

States with the highest UV-attributable incidence rates among all residents were: Utah, 36.3 cases per 100,000; Vermont, 31.1 per 100,000; Delaware, 28.2 per 100,000; Minnesota, 27.6 per 100,000; New Hampshire, 27.2 per 100,000; Oregon, 25.5 per 100,000; Idaho, 25.4 per 100,000; Georgia, 24.2 per 100,000; Washington, 23.9 per 100,000; Montana, 23.9 per 100,000.

“These variations likely reflect a combination of state differences in the strength of solar UV radiation, regular or intermittent participation in outdoor activities [even intermittent sun exposure increases melanoma risk], sun protection, indoor tanning and early detection activities,” the authors wrote, CNN reported.


Coronavirus Fears Trigger Attack on Asian-American Teen in California

A 16-year-old California boy was attacked at school last week by assailants who accused him of having the coronavirus simply because he’s Asian-American.

This is just one of a series of racist incidents in the United States linked with the coronavirus outbreak that began in China, but has nothing to do with being Asian, CBS News reported.

Officials did not release the name of the San Fernando Valley student’s school or any further details of the attack, but said that Los Angeles police are investigating.

The student “went to the hospital originally, and went to the emergency room,” Robin Toma, the executive director of the L.A. County Human Relations Commission, said in a news conference with Los Angeles County public officials on Thursday, CBS News reported. “They were taking MRIs to ensure he didn’t have a concussion or other harm.”

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