Six bodies found in debris of Solomon Island tsunami

Six bodies, including that of a child, have been found in the sodden wreckage left by a tsunami that smashed into villages in the Solomon Islands.

A spokesman for the prime minister says the 4 foot, 11-inch waves that roared into Santa Cruz Island on Wednesday overtook the five elderly villagers and one child. George Herming said several other people were missing Thursday and strong aftershocks were keeping frightened villagers from returning to the coast.

The tsunami was generated by an 8.0-magnitude earthquake in the South Pacific. Smaller waves were recorded in Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

Herming said an estimated 100 homes had been damaged or destroyed.


Girl, 9, gives birth; alleged 17-year-old father missing

Mexican authorities say a 9-year-old girl has given birth in western Mexico and they are looking for the purported father, a 17-year-old.

Jalisco state police spokesman Lino Gonzalez says the baby girl was born last week at a hospital in the city of Guadalajara. He says mother and baby are doing well.

Gonzalez said Wednesday that the girl’s family alerted authorities after she gave birth and the alleged father has not been seen since in the neighborhood they both live in. He says that if the teenager’s paternity is proven he could face child sex abuse charges.


Whooping cough cause: vaccine-resistant germ?

Researchers have discovered the first U.S. cases of whooping cough caused by a germ that may be resistant to the vaccine.

Health officials are looking into whether cases like the dozen found in Philadelphia might be one reason the nation just had its worst year for whooping cough in six decades. The new bug was previously reported in Japan, France and Finland.

The U.S. cases are detailed in a brief report from the CDC and other researchers in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious disease that can strike people of any age but is most dangerous to children. It was once common, but cases in the U.S. dropped after a vaccine was introduced in the 1940s.

An increase in illnesses in recent years has been partially blamed on a version of the vaccine used since the 1990s, which doesn’t last as long. Last year, the CDC received reports of 41,880 cases — 18 of them deaths — according to a preliminary count.

The new study suggests that the new whooping cough strain may be why more people have been getting sick. Experts don’t think it’s more deadly, but the shots may not work as well against it.


Alzheimer’s population seen nearly tripling by 2050

The number of people with Alzheimer’s disease will nearly triple by 2050 unless a cure is found, say researchers who based their prediction on U.S. Census Bureau data.

“There is a tsunami of cases coming, and for those of us who are older, we have to wonder whether we are part of it,” said Dallas Anderson, 64, an epidemiologist at the National Institute on Aging, which funded the research.

Published Wednesday in the online edition of the journal Neurology, the dire prediction of nearly 14 million Americans burdened by Alzheimer’s in fewer than four decades is part of a more complex research project conducted by scientists at Rush University in Chicago.

Anderson said the increasing number of dementia patients will be a consequence of greater longevity among baby boomers.

“Our study draws attention to an urgent need for more research, treatments and preventive strategies to reduce this epidemic,” said Jennifer Weuve of Rush University.

— From news service reports