- Suspected E. coli Causes Nationwide Recall of 1.2 Million Pounds of Ground Beef
- Gift Card Program Latest Effort to Reduce HIV/AIDS Incidence
- Interaction Between Cholesterol, Heart Meds May Cause Muscle Damage
- Pandemic Flu Biggest Threat to U.K.: Report
- Study Examines Possible Link Between Gluten/Dairy and Autism
- Fertility Treatments Offer Little Benefit For Some Couples
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Suspected E. coli Causes Nationwide Recall of 1.2 Million Pounds of Ground Beef
For the second time in a month, beef from a large Nebraska meat processor has been recalled... this time, 1.2 million pounds.
According to the Washington Post, the fresh ground beef, believed to contain the dangerous E. coli bacterium, was recalled from the upscale Whole Foods stores nationwide Saturday. The beef had been processed at Nebraska Beef of Omaha, one of the nation's largest meatpackers, the newspaper reported.
Just last month, 5 million pounds of beef produced by Nebraska Beef had to be recalled after nearly 50 cases of E. coli had been confirmed. The meat processor was allowed to continue operations after making a number of operational changes, according to the Associated Press.
But 31 new cases have been reported since Aug. 1 in 12 states and Washington, D.C., the Post reports. Seven people who became ill from E. coli O157:H7 had bought their meat at Whole Foods, the newspaper reports. Whole Foods Market issued a statement saying that ground beef bought from from June 2 to Aug. 6 should be thrown out.
Meanwhile, Nebraska Beef continues to operate while being observed by inspectors from the U.S. department of Agriculture. "We will continue to investigate to see what is happening at the plant to see what they have to do to get a handle on their food-safety issues," USDA spokeswoman Laura Reiser told the Post.
E. coli O157:H7 can cause bloody diarrhea and dehydration, and in severe cases, kidney failure. Children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are at greater risk of serious infection.
Gift Card Program Latest Effort to Reduce HIV/AIDS Incidence
Could a $25 gift card given to the right person help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS?
According to the Associated Press, U.S. government officials think it's worth trying, to the tune of $1.5 million.
With the latest statistics showing that the majority of HIV cases in the United States still occur among homosexual males, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reviving a 2005 North Carolina program that resulted in encouraging results for more young gay men practicing safe sex (using a condom), the A.P. reports.
According to the wire service, the North Carolina program was relatively simple: CDC officials would go to gay nightclubs and other places where gay men gathered in the Charlotte, Raleigh and Greensboro areas and find men who were popular, respected and had social standing. These men were given four $25 gift cards along with HIV/AIDS marketing materials and encouraged to promote safe sex among their peers, the wire service said.
This simple experiment had good results, the A.P. said. Surveys of 300 men in the three North Carolina communities found a 32 percent reduction in unprotected sex and a 40 percent reduction in the average number of sexual partners, the wire service reported. The CDC is going to try the program now in about 200 communities over a two year period, the A.P. reported.
Interaction Between Cholesterol, Heart Meds May Cause Muscle Damage
People who take the anti-cholesterol drugs Zocor (generic: simvastatin) or Vytorin along with a medication to control irregular heartbeat are at increased risk of severe muscle damage, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Friday.
Zocor and Vytorin, which contains the active ingredient in Zocor, are statins, and muscle damage is a known but rare side effect of the drugs. The heart rhythm drug is called either Cordarone or Pacerone (generic: amiodarone). The danger rises among those who take more than 20 milligrams daily of the cholesterol drugs, according to the agency warning cited by the Associated Press.