- Jalapeno Peppers Latest Suspects in Salmonella Outbreak
- Emergency Rooms Often Being Used as 'Holding Areas' for Mental Patients
- U.S. West Nile Activity Remains Stable
- Woman Develops Accent After Stroke
- Beef Recall Expanded to Kroger Stores in 20 States
- Work-Based Weight Loss Programs Effective
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Jalapeno Peppers Latest Suspects in Salmonella Outbreak
If it's not the tomatoes, maybe it's the peppers.
That's the latest theory into the cause behind the salmonella outbreak that has sickened 943 people across the United States since April, according to the Baltimore Sun
The newspaper reports that health authorities are investigating whether jalapeno peppers in salsa and other condiments may have become tainted, causing the strain of salmonella poisoning known as Salmonella saintpaul. Samples have been taken from restaurants and homes in a number of states, the Sun reports.
The newspaper quotes one government health official as saying the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is moving quickly to determine whether combinations of the green jalapeno pepper, along with the herb cilantro -- often used in various Mexican foods -- and tomatoes, may be the cause of the salmonella outbreak.
On July 1 officials warned consumers not to abandon caution when selecting tomatoes. "The tomato trail is not getting cold; rather, other items are getting hotter," said Dr. David Acheson, the FDA's associate commissioner for food protection. Acheson said the FDA has also activated the Food Emergency Response Network, which could bring to 100 the number of laboratories across the country working to identify the source of the outbreak.
Meanwhile, advice to consumers remains the same, Acheson said. Avoid raw red plum, red Roma, round red tomatoes, and products containing these raw tomatoes. To date, 130 people have been hospitalized from infections reported in 36 states and the District of Columbia, making it the largest produce-linked salmonella outbreak in U.S. history. There have been no deaths, officials said.
Emergency Rooms Often Being Used as 'Holding Areas' for Mental Patients
Are hospital emergency rooms, becoming "dumping grounds" for mentally ill patients?
According to the Associated Press, a recent survey by the American College of Emergency Physicians found that 79 percent of hospitals who responded said they routinely let psychiatric patients remain in ER waiting rooms for "at least some period of time." This could be as long as 24 hours because of the lack of support services for those with mental problems, the A.P. said.
One-third reported that those stays averaged at least eight hours, and 6 percent said they had average waits of more than 24 hours for the next step in a patient's care.
Dr. David Mendelson, an emergency physician in Dallas who wrote the ACEP report, said that the ideal solution would be to provide a "quiet spot" with nursing care until the patient could be seen. "Unfortunately, sometimes the only thing we can do is restrain them, or medicate them," the wire service quotes him as saying.
Sometimes, the situation can be tragic, the, A.P. reports.
In June at Kings County Hospital Center's emergency room in Brooklyn, N.Y., 49-year-old Esmin Green, a Jamaican immigrant collapsed to the floor from her chair in the waiting room where she had been sitting for more than 24 hours, the wire service reports.
Security cameras caught the incident, which showed no one coming to her aid for more than hour. She eventually died, and a cause of death is still undetermined, the A.P. said.
U.S. West Nile Activity Remains Stable
In 2007, there were 3,630 reported cases of West Nile Virus disease in people, including 1,227 cases of more serious infection known as West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease (WNND), says an article in the current Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The overall 2007 incidence of WNND was 0.4 per 100,000 population, similar to that reported from 2004 to 2006, but substantially lower than the incidence in 2002 and 2003. The highest incidence of WNND in 2007 occurred primarily in the west-central United States.