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2016: Health Stories That Made Headlines

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NEW YORK (CBSMiami) – The Zika virus dominated health news in 2016.

The United States did not see uncontrolled, widespread infections similar to what happened in South and Central America, but there were isolated outbreaks involving around 200 people.

The first locally transmitted cases of the Zika virus turned up in Miami-Dade. Crews sprayed by ground and by air to eradicate the mosquitoes that can carry it.

“It’s been referred to as the cockroach of mosquitoes,” said U.S. Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. “It can bite four or five people at once so it spreads the disease rapidly.”

Also in 2016, the number of cases of a mysterious polio-like illness in children spiked across the country. Acute Flaccid Myelitis, or AFM, can limb weakness, paralysis and, in cases, death.

In other health headlines, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that infants sleep in their parents bedroom for at least the first six months, if not the entire first year, to cut the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

The AAP also relaxed recommendations for screen time, saying parents who want to introduce children 18-24 months to digital media should choose high quality programming.

“What you really want to make sure you are doing is co-viewing with them so that you are narrating what’s going on,” said AAP’s Dr. Corinn Cross.

The AAP also said that there is no safe level of lead for kids. They called for stricter government testing of water, soil and house dust.

In 2016, for the first time, federal health officials recommended limiting salt in processed foods to help prevent thousands of deaths every year from heart disease and stroke.

A ten year study of the pain reliever Celebrex found patients are not at greater risk for heart problems than those taking naproxen or ibuprofen.

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force continued to recommend mammograms every other year for women 50 to 74 years of age. They also said screen can be effective for women in their 40s, but overdiagnosis is a concern.

The year, a woman underwent the first uterus transplant in the U.S. It was removed a month later after a complication developed. A cancer survivor also received the first penis transplant in the U.S.

Finally this year, the American Heart Association highlighted the differences between heart attacks in women and men, say some risk factors can be more harmful for women.

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