Health Buzz: Hepatitis C and Other Health News

Shingles vaccinations, and video games as exercise tools

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Unsafe Injection Practices Linked to Hepatitis C Outbreak

Unsafe injection practices at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada led to a hepatitis C outbreak that may have affected more than 80 people, according to a new report released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An investigation revealed that clinic workers reused syringes and single-use medication vials on multiple patients. The clinic was closed earlier this year, and two of its doctors were required to stop practicing medicine, the New York Times reports.

Health Buzz reported on the Nevada outbreak last week. You can learn about prevention, treatment, and symptoms of the illness on the U.S. News Hepatitis C Channel.

Beef Recalled Due to E. Coli Concern

A Chicago company is recalling beef products because of possible E. coli contamination, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service. JSM Meat Holdings Co. voluntarily issued the recall for products that have the establishment number "EST. 6872" inside the USDA's mark of inspection. The beef was distributed to establishments in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The recalled meat includes 15 labels including, "Boneless Chucks," "Knuckle," "Boneless Clods," "Gooseneck Rounds," and "Flat Rounds," the Associated Press reports.

Health Buzz reported on a meat recall by New York-based Gourmet Boutique earlier this month. Earlier this year, U.S. News explored the safety of the meat supply, and listed the top six meat recalls in U.S. history.

CDC Recommends Shingles Vaccination

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week made official a recommendation it originally issued 19 months ago: that adults ages 60 and older get vaccinated against shingles, U.S. News reports. The potentially debilitating illness involves mild-to-severe tingling, itching, burning, or shooting pain and is caused by the same virus that caused their chicken pox as kids. Merck, the maker of the Zostavax vaccine, says it has distributed just 2.5 million doses of the shot so far—a far cry from the 43 million people eligible to get vaccinated.

U.S. News answers common questions about the shingles vaccine. Adult vaccines overall tend to be underused, as Nancy Shute reported in January.

Video Games Can Help You Get Fit

Video games are criticized for everything from their obsessive hold on users to their purported role in childhood obesity to their misogynist elements, Katherine Hobson reports. But might they also be healthy? That's the idea behind "exergaming": physically interactive video games, controllers, and systems that aim to get your heart rate up without making you feel like you're doing penance. This emerging discipline is about to get a big bump with the release this week of Nintendo's Wii Fit—intended to "change how you exercise, how you balance, and even how you move," according to the company's website. Wii Fit is already flying off the shelves in Asia and Europe and is likely to be in short supply here, too.

Earlier this month, U.S. News explored the increasing concern among parents and mental-health professionals that the exploding popularity of computer and video games has a darker side than simple couch-potatohood. You can read a list of resources that worried families can look to for guidance on dealing with video game addiction, as well as find information about behavioral and substance addiction.

—January W. Payne