Kroger Recalls Ground Beef Because of E. coli Outbreak
Grocery store chain Kroger Co. said yesterday that it is voluntarily recalling ground beef sold at stores throughout Michigan and near Toledo and Columbus, Ohio, owing to a recent outbreak of E. coli infections, Reuters reports. Fifteen cases of illness in Michigan and 17 in Ohio have been linked to the outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those affected became ill between May 30 and June 11, and 14 people have been hospitalized.
FDA Asks for More Information About Gardasil
There was some disheartening news on the HPV vaccine yesterday for women ages 27 to 45 who were hoping to get vaccinated against cervical cancer and have the $360 cost covered by insurance, Deborah Kotz reports. The Food and Drug Administration told manufacturer Merck that it needs more time to make a decision about whether to expand use of its Gardasil vaccine, already approved for females 12 to 26 years old. The vaccine protects against four types of human papillomavirus, two of which cause genital warts and two of which are responsible for 70 percent of cervical cancers; about 80 percent of women become infected with HPV at some time in their lives.
Last year, Kotz reported on whether her daughter should get the HPV vaccine.
Rotavirus Vaccine Gets Panel Endorsement
A vaccine to ward off rotavirus—which causes severe diarrhea and vomiting in infants and children—received the endorsement of a federal advisory panel yesterday, the Associated Press reports. The two-dose oral vaccine, made by GlaxoSmithKline, joins Merck's three-dose vaccine in combating the illness; each vaccine costs about $200. Rotavirus is the cause of 67,000 hospitalizations of kids under age 5 each year, the AP reports. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week that the introduction of Merck's vaccine in 2006 may be the reason that fewer kids are suffering from rotavirus this season.
In May, Nancy Shute described a new tool to help manage your child's vaccination schedule. And this week, a new five-in-one vaccine was approved that protects kids against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis), polio, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).
The Safety of Tanning
Tanning is neither an entirely dangerous nor a largely healthful activity, Adam Voiland reports. Small amounts of exposure to ultraviolet radiation enhance vitamin D production, yet regular tanning can lead to premature aging, cataracts, and skin cancers. The question, of course, is how much sun is too much. And that's where it gets complicated. Many dermatologists suggest that the tanning industry, like the tobacco industry before it, is manipulating and distorting scientific evidence to protect a dangerous product.
—January W. Payne