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What We’re Reading: Tornado Destruction; Misdiagnoses Impact Thousands; Dengue a Pandemic Threat


A tornado wreaked widespread damage to a Pfizer plant in North Carolina; a new study finds that misdiagnoses lead to 800,000 deaths and serious disabilities yearly; the World Health Organization reports dengue risk is rising because of global warming.

Tornado Destroys Part of Pfizer Plant

A tornado inflicted major damage to a Pfizer drug manufacturing plant in Rocky Mount, North Carolina on Wednesday, endangering vital supplies for domestic hospitals, reported The New York Times. Pfizer estimated that 25% of the injectable treatments it supplies to US hospitals were manufactured at the Rocky Mount location, including mediations used during surgeries and other procedures to assist in pain blocking maintaining sedation, and fighting infections. The extent of the damage and ensuing loss of drugs, as well as how that will impact the current drug shortage, is still unclear.

Misdiagnoses Cause 800,000 Deaths and Serious Disabilities Yearly, Study Finds

Diagnostic errors happen in health care and can have deadly consequences, but little has been done to quantify misdiagnoses measuring deaths and permanent disability, according to STAT News. The influence of their impact has been underestimated by health care, reported a 2015 account by the National Academy of Medicine. A new study published in BMJ this week estimated that 371,000 people die annually after a misdiagnosis, and 424,000 are permanently disabled, equaling 800,000 people that encounter major harm. The lead study author said that the number could be lower or higher because of how many cases go undetected.

WHO Says Dengue is a “Pandemic Threat”

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday warned that dengue fever cases could reach almost record highs in 2023, partially because global warming contributes to mosquitoes that spread it, reported Reuters. Dengue rates are increasing around the world, with reported cases since 2000 up 8-fold to 4.2 million in 2022, said WHO. The organization cautioned in January that dengue is the world’s swiftest-spreading tropical disease and symbolizes a “pandemic threat.” Almost 3 million cases have been noted in the Americas.

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