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POLITICO New York Health Care: New twist in Zika story; Border patrol

07/25/2016 10:00 AM EDT

Good morning! You are receiving the complimentary synopsis of the POLITICO New York Pro Health Care newsletter. Pro subscribers are receiving an enhanced version of this newsletter at 5:45 a.m. each weekday, which includes a look-ahead and robust analysis of health care policy news driving the day. If you would like the Pro version of this newsletter, along with customized real-time insights on New York health care, please contact us here and we will set you up with trial access. Thank you for reading!

written by Dan Goldberg

FIRST NYC CASE OF MICROCEPHALY - The first New York City case of Zika-related microcephaly was reported Friday by the city's health department. The news was somewhat expected given the thousands of pregnant women who have traveled to Zika-affected countries over the last several months. Earlier this week, while speaking to numerous reporters who represent ethnic media outlets, city health commissioner Mary Bassett said it was only a matter of time before the city saw its first case of microcephaly, a devastating deformity in which a baby is born with a small head and can have brain damage. "While not surprising, given the travel trends of our global city, this case is a strong reminder of the tragic consequences of the Zika virus," Bassett said in a statement.

A NEW ZIKA TWIST - The New York City health department does not test the Culex mosquito for Zika but that could change, health officials say, now that the virus has been found in that particular type of mosquito in Brazil. Read more here:

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AND MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOW Josefa Velasquez and me on Twitter @J__Velasquez & @DanCGoldberg. And for all New Jersey health news, check out @katiedjennings

CROSSING THE LINE - With increasing frequency, health systems are crossing state lines, posing new challenges for state regulators whose mission has traditionally been to protect their own. POLITICO New York's Josefa Velasquez has more:

NOW WE KNOW - If you want to avoid malaria - and, really, who doesn't? - you should sleep with a chicken next to your bed, according to Malaria Journal. That's because the malaria-carrying mosquitoes don't like the taste of chicken and avoid the animals using their sense of smell.

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HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY - To Sylvia Garry Epstein, older sister of a loyal reader.

OH, RATS! - Rat complaints are up nearly 50 percent since 2010, according to the city's health department. AMYNY has more: "There have been 8,186 complaints for the first half of 2016, a 23.4% increase from the first half of last year, where there were only 6,632 complaints."

REDEMPTION STORY - The New York Times has a fascinating read on Dr. Cheryl Karcher, the dermatologist who was arrested in 2014 for possession of prescription meds.

SUDDEN DEATH - NBC News reports: "A 59-year-old bicyclist who injured his arm when he was hit by a car in Queens earlier this month died four days after he walked out of the hospital, authorities say."

PHARMA REPORT: Did you watch the Republican National Convention? Did you notice anything unusual? OK, that's a trick question but what health wonks noticed is lot of pharmaceutical commercials. STAT says that "nearly 40 percent of the spots that ran during ABC, CBS, and NBC's broadcasts of the convention touted pharmaceutical companies, prescription medications, or over-the-counter drugs.


-FOR OUR NEXT TRICK WE'LL NEED 1 MILLION VOLUNTEERS - The United States government is looking for one million people will to share their genetic information, part of a decade-long project to understand the causes of, and cures for, disease.

-DATA ANALYSIS - The Associated Press reports: "The cost of Medicare's catastrophic prescription coverage jumped by 85 percent in three years, from $27.7 billion in 2013 to $51.3 billion in 2015, according to the program's number-crunching Office of the Actuary."

-IN THE NAME OF EXPEDIENCY - Bloomberg reports: "Last September, U.S. regulators faced a dilemma: whether to allow importation of drug ingredients from a Chinese factory with a history of poor quality controls, or face shortages of treatments for American cancer patients."

-PUNISHING STRIKE - The New York Times writes about the medical strike in Haiti. "Young doctors and interns walked off the job in March to protest chronic shortages of basic medical supplies, dismal pay and working conditions so unsafe that relatives of patients routinely threaten them, even storming into operating rooms with handguns."

-THE PLATFORM - The Democratic platform is out and it includes an expansion of state Obamacare waivers and a commitment to repeal the health care law's Cadillac tax.

-BIG BUST - The Justice Department accused three Florida health providers of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid out of $1 billion, the department's largest-ever criminal health care fraud case.

-SIGNED - President Barack Obama signed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act into law Friday evening, but expressed his disappointment that it does not contain new funding.

-SPERM SUIT - The New York Times reports on lawsuits against sperm banks that highlight claims of deception and negligence.

-TRAVELING FOR OPIOIDS - Kaiser Health News reports: "Federal authorities say about 78 Americans die every day from opioid overdose. In Montana, health care officials report that abuse there is worse than the national average. But the casualties of the opioid epidemic are not all drug abusers."

TODAY'S TIP - Comes from the city's health department: "If you're at risk of heat illness and don't have A/C at home, find a cooling center near you."


-GOOD GENES - Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai identified a panel of genes that can help predict whether a transplanted kidney will later develop fibrosis, according to an article in the Lancet.

-KEY INGREDIENT - Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian say that adding a monoclonal antibody therapy to chemotherapy increased survival in patients with advanced sarcoma by more than a year, according to an article in The Lancet.

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