The headlines began in 2014: Formerly healthy children contracted what seemed to be a minor upper respiratory infection and were suddenly paralyzed — sometimes one limb, sometimes multiple limbs, sometimes permanently.

Parents and experts wondered if it could be a brand-new virus, West Nile disease, or even a mutated version of polio, which hadn’t been seen in the U.S. since the late 1970s.

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Think twice about hooking up: STD rates are at an all-time high. Worse, the latest STD making the rounds could literally make your genitals rot off. Donovanosis, also known as granuloma inguinale, is a sexually transmitted infection that turns a person’s genitals into flesh-eating ulcers. It can also infect the mouth, nose, and chest.

The disease has typically been reported in warm, humid regions including India, southern Africa, central Australia, and the Caribbean, but cases have also appeared in cooler climates. The CDC records about 100 cases in the U.S. each year. This summer, the U.K. saw a rash of cases as well.

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When a teenager in Idaho contracted the bubonic plague in early June, it made a few headlines because it was the first case in Idaho in 26 years. Half a millennium after it killed an estimated 60% of the European population, the specter of the Black Death still looms large in Western consciousness — gangrene, swollen lymph nodes, seizures — a horrific relic of days long past. But actually, although the bubonic plague has long been understood, it has never been eradicated.

In fact, outbreaks of the bubonic plague have been fairly common across the US since the early 20th Century.  The last widespread outbreak happened in Los Angeles in late 1924, when 30 people who lived within a few blocks of each other contracted the bubonic plague, which developed into pneumonic plague, as it virtually always does when left untreated. Altogether, 24 people died in that outbreak, though newspapers at the time referred to it as a strain of pneumonia to prevent panic — and possibly anti-racist sentiment as the neighborhood affected was home to a large population of Mexican immigrants, including Patient 0. Antibiotics, which are still very effective against the bubonic plague, did not come into widespread use until the 1950s. Before that development, outbreaks were not unusual throughout the west, particularly in California, New Mexico, Arizona and Oregon.

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Credit: https://www.cdc.gov/powassan/

[DIGEST: NBC, CDC, Time, Bangor Daily News]

In recent decades, the summer months have become a time to take precautions against contracting Lyme disease, a tick-borne illness that causes symptoms ranging from a flu-like illness to chronic pain and neurological impairments. However, Lyme is just one of many diseases humans can contract from a tick bite — and it’s not the worst one. Powassan disease is also spread by ticks. It’s on the rise, and it can be deadly.

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Credit: http://i2.cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170410121526-hawaii-rat-lungworm-super-tease.jpg

[DIGEST: Honolulu Star AdvertiserCBS, Global News, Maui News, CNN]

When Bay Area newlyweds Ben Manilla, 64, and Eliza Lape, 57, began planning their honeymoon trip to Maui in January, fear of contracting a brain-infecting roundworm was probably not high on their list of worries.

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[DIGEST: Live Science, The Telegraph, Business Insider]

Don’t pick up that toothbrush yet. Your breath could be useful to detect whether you have lung cancer, Crohn’s, multiple sclerosis, or 14 other diseases, a study published last month in the journal ACS Nano found.

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[DIGEST: New York Times, Business Insider]

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, announced they would invest $3 billion into research to prevent, manage––and cure––the world's diseases by the end of the century. The couple will invest the money through their philanthropy organization, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

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