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Health Highlights: Jan. 27, 2020

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

Kobe Bryant Dies in Helicopter Crash

A helicopter crash Sunday claimed the lives of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant, and seven other people.

Kobe, 41, was a five-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist.

The helicopter crashed just before 10 a.m. into a hillside near Calabasas, Calif., about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles. It was carrying one pilot and eight passengers, the Washington Post reported.

“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

Low clouds and restricted visibility in the crash area may have obscured high terrain, the Post reported.


Ebola-Like Marburg Virus Circulating in Bats in Sierra Leone

The Marburg virus — a dangerous germ that’s akin to deadly Ebola — has been found actively circulating in bat colonies for the first time in the West African country of Sierra Leone, a new study says.

About 2.5% of 435 Egyptian rousette fruit bats tested from four districts in Sierra Leone tested positive for the virus. Some of the infected bats had a strain similar to one that caused an outbreak in Angola in 2005 and is believed to be the most virulent strain of the virus that’s emerged thus far, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

During the 2005 outbreak, 90% of people who contracted the virus died, compared with a 40% death rate during the 2014-2016 West African Ebola outbreak. Ebola and Marburg belong to the same family of viruses.

This is the first time Marburg virus has been found in West Africa and the first time an Angola-like strain has been found in Egyptian rousette bats, according to the CDC study in the journal Nature Communications.

Actively infected bats can potentially spread the Marburg virus to people who interact closely with them, including eating them for food or eating fruit that’s been contaminated with infected bat saliva or urine, according to the CDC.

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