- Rotavirus Vaccine Cuts Infant Diarrhea
- Tagless Label Ink May Cause Baby Rashes
- New Test Checks Embryos for 15,000 Inherited Diseases
- Sales of Anti-Obesity Drug Acomplia Suspended in Europe
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Rotavirus Vaccine Cuts Infant Diarrhea
A vaccine against rotavirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea in thousands of children annually, reduced the number of new cases of the illness by at least two-thirds in its second year of use, researchers reported Saturday.
Rotateq, made by Merck and approved in 2006, worked so well that it may also have cut the spread to non-immunized children in the United States, according to research by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Quest Diagnostics.
The vaccine appeared to interrupt the spread of the disease in older children who couldn't have been immunized, Jay Lieberman, medical director of infectious diseases for Quest's Focus Diagnostics unit, told Bloomberg News.
"We saw marked declines of rotavirus in every age group, including those 2-to-6 years old for whom the vaccine isn't recommended," he added. "That's because a 2-month old who was vaccinated was less likely to infect the older brother or sister, or other children in day-care who weren't vaccinated."
Although CDC researchers also found large reductions in the number of children with rotavirus, they lacked data on children's ages that would have pointed to herd immunity, which is a community's resistance to illness, said Umesh Parasher, head of the CDC rotavirus epidemiology team.
Lieberman and Parasher presented their results at a joint meeting of the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy and the Infectious Disease Society of America in Washington.
Lieberman looked at 132,000 rotavirus cases recorded in Quest's database from 2003 through July 2008. Positive tests declined 76 percent in the two most recent seasons compared with the 2003 through 2006 seasons, before Rotateq was cleared for sale, Bloomberg reported.
Parasher looked at cases from 2000 through July 2008, using data from 33 laboratories that are part of a voluntary reporting system across the country. His study found a 67 percent decline in rotavirus cases in the most recent two years, compared with 2000 through 2006.
According to the CDC, 55,000 children are hospitalized annually because of illness and dehydration caused by rotavirus, and the disease kills more than 600,000 children worldwide each year.
Tagless Label Ink May Cause Baby Rashes
About 400 babies have developed skin rashes from wearing certain knit items sold by Carter's Inc., a major baby and children's clothing retailer
According to the Associated Press, about 400 incidents of rashes occurring on babies' backs have been reported, and officials suspect the cause may be the ink in the tagless labels on the garments.
The warning applies to the fall 2007 line of garments, such as baby knit body suits, shirts and pajamas, the AP reports, and it covers all 110 million items produced.
The rash incidents appear to come from the ink on the heat-transferred, tagless labels on the back of garments, according to an announcement on the Carter Web site. "It appears that a very small percentage of children can be allergic to one or more ingredients in the labels. The solid, rather than stenciled, background on the fall 2007 labels appears to have produced a more pronounced and noticeable reaction among those children who are most allergic to the ink," the announcement said.
A Carter company manager in Atlanta, would not comment to the AP on whether any of the rashes were serious enough to cause hospitalization.
Carter's has established a consumer phone number to answer questions: 888-282-4674
New Test Checks Embryos for 15,000 Inherited Diseases
British researchers say they've developed a gene mapping test that,within a matter of weeks, can determine whether an embryo is affected by any one of 15,000 inherited diseases. Current tests focus on a specific genemutation or can take much longer to provide results.