Health Highlights: Jan. 30, 2014

Health Highlights: Jan. 30, 2014

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

Government Will Fund Tracking Devices for Autistic Children

The U.S. government will pay for tracking devices worn by children with autism and other developmental disorders so they can be found if they go missing.

The Justice Department grants will be available immediately, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said at a congressional hearing Wednesday. Grant money will also be used to train authorities, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The tracking devices use GPS technology and can be worn on the wrist or attached to belt loops or shoelaces. They will be monitored by local law enforcement agencies. The government already pays for tracking devices for Alzheimer’s disease patients.

The attorney-general’s announcement comes two days after U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer proposed a bill containing similar measures. Schumer said he’ll still move ahead with his bill, which would boost funding for the program and provide a flow of money that will “ensure its permanence,” WSJ reported.

Schumer noted that running away from parents, teachers and other caregivers is common among youngsters with severe autism.


Norovirus May Have Sickened Nearly 700 on Cruise Ship

Nearly 700 passengers and crew are now reported ill on the Royal Caribbean vessel Explorer of the Seas in what could turn out to be one of the worst norovirus outbreaks on a cruise ship in 20 years.

While health officials believe that norovirus is to blame, the cause of the outbreak still has to be confirmed. The ship’s doctors said the symptoms experienced by patients were consistent with norovirus, the Associated Press reported.

The latest tally puts the number of ill people at 630 passengers and 54 crew members, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday. The vessel was scheduled to dock in Bayonne, N.J. Wednesday afternoon.

Most passengers who became ill are now up and about, according to Royal Caribbean. The CDC said that passengers who still have symptoms after leaving the ship should stay at nearby hotels or be assessed at medical centers, the AP reported.