The rate of HPV vaccination among teen boys in the U.S. surged in 2015, suggesting that more parents and physicians are embracing the message that it’s as important for boys to be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus as it is for girls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 49.8 percent of boys ages 13 to 17 had gotten at least one of the recommended three doses as of 2015, up 8 percentage points from 2014.
Keep that wind instrument clean
A report in the journal Thorax describes a newly recognized cause of a potentially fatal lung disease: playing a contaminated wind instrument. A 61-year-old man went to a clinic in Manchester, England, with a seven-year history of dry cough and progressive breathlessness, thought to be allergies. The man played the bagpipes daily as a hobby, but left his instrument at home for a three-month stay in Australia, during which his symptoms disappeared. When he resumed playing, the symptoms returned. His lung function was poor, and he was treated with antibiotics, but died six months later. Doctors took samples from his bagpipes and found six species of fungi. A saxophone and a trombone have been implicated in similar cases.
Soda taxes help cut pop drinking
A new study out of Berkeley, Calif., adds to evidence that taxing sugary drinks causes people to drink less of them. Researchers followed residents of several low-income communities in Berkeley, San Francisco and Oakland around the time that Berkeley voters passed the country’s first big soda tax in 2014. The study found that, in the four months after the tax took effect last year, self-reported consumption of sugary drinks fell by 21 percent in the Berkeley neighborhoods, but rose by 4 percent in the other two cities. The study also found that the Berkeley residents reported drinking more water.