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Health Highlights: May 30, 2013

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

Anti-Smoking Ads Raise Smokers' Desire to Quit, Global Survey Finds

A new international survey finds that, in most cases, exposure to anti-smoking messages help spur smokers to quit the habit.

The report, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tracked attitudes in 17 countries across Europe, Asia and South America as part of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey.

Overall, exposure to anti-smoking messages in print media or on television, radio or billboards "significantly increased the odds that current smokers intend to quit" in 14 of the 17 countries included in the survey, the CDC said in a news release.

The agency notes that its own campaign, "Tips from Former Smokers" -- in which people with serious health issues linked to smoking tell their stories -- is one such outreach effort.

"The Tips campaign is responsible for sharp increases in calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW, a toll-free quitline number, and visits to www.cdc.gov/tips in 2012 and 2013. Both resources offer smokers free help quitting," the CDC said.

May 31 is designated World No Tobacco Day by the World Health Organization, with a special emphasis this year on tobacco advertising and promotion. According to the CDC, tobacco companies spend almost $1 million each hour marketing cigarettes in the United States.

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Death Toll From SARS-like Virus Reaches 27: WHO

Forty-nine people are known to have been infected with a new SARS-like virus, and 27 of those patients have died, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported Wednesday.

The latest deaths occurred in Saudi Arabia, where three people in that country's eastern environs died from their infection with what is now known as Middle East respiratory symptom coronavirus (MERS-CoV), according to CNN.

The virus "is not a problem that any single affected country can keep to itself or manage all by itself," WHO general director Margaret Chan said in closing remarks this week at the 66th World Assembly in Geneva.

On Tuesday, a man died in France after having caught the virus during a trip to the Middle East, the WHO reported. That was the first reported death from the virus in that country. The man's hospital roommate has also tested positive for the virus, according to the Associated Press.

The WHO is calling for the world to join forces to study the virus, Chan said, because experts do not yet understand how it spreads, making efforts to control its spread difficult. This latest coronavirus is related to SARS, a virus that killed about 800 people back in 2003.

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