Whooping Cough Sickens 24

Whooping cough has sickened 24 adults in Illinois, U.S. health officials reported yesterday, saying the outbreak illustrates how the childhood disease is making a comeback in the United States.

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, can make small children and infants seriously ill and once killed 9,000 people every year. Relatively benign in adults, whooping cough can cause high fever and pneumonia in babies. It is the only vaccine-preventable disease on the rise in the United States.

Last year, 8,296 cases were reported, the highest number of reported cases since 1967, said Dr. Gregory Huhn, an epidemiologist with the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Huhn and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on 24 cases of whooping cough among adults working at an oil refinery in the Chicago area and among people living nearby.

Warming Skeptic Rejects Criticism

A Danish environmentalist rejected charges of "scientific dishonesty" yesterday after a scientific committee criticized him for playing down the threat of global warming.

Bjorn Lomborg, head of Denmark's independent environmental institute, said a verdict this week by the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty, or DCSD, was undocumented and biased.

A former Greenpeace member, Lomborg has challenged the scientific community by saying that the dangers of global warming have been exaggerated.

In his book "The Skeptical Environmentalist," published in August, the statistician, 38, said forests are hardly declining, few animals have become extinct lately, and rivers and oceans are becoming cleaner.

Lomborg dismissed the panel's verdict. "The committee entirely takes as its basis the four reviews in Scientific American, which is fine if they also listened to what I have to say," he said yesterday.

EU Wants Smoking Curtailed Further

The European Union, which has cracked down on smoking within its own borders, wants to set up a fund to help poor countries do the same.

European Health Commissioner David Byrne, who last month won a two-year battle for tough labeling laws and a ban on tobacco advertising, will discuss the plan next month with World Health Organization Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland.

Byrne's fight for new labeling rules culminated in a court victory last month over British American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco, which had challenged his plans.

-- Compiled from Reuters