- Turtle-Linked Salmonella Has Sickened 124 People in 27 States: CDC
- Blood Transfusions for Dialysis Patients Rose After Drug Payment Changes
- Words in Larger Fonts Cause Stronger Reaction: Study
- Common Bacteria Caused Flesh-Eating Disease in Georgia Woman
- Washington State Declares Whooping Cough Epidemic
- Pool Water Slides Recalled After Death, Serious Injuries
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Turtle-Linked Salmonella Has Sickened 124 People in 27 States: CDC
To date, 124 people in 27 states have been reported ill in salmonella outbreaks linked to small pet turtles, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an update issued Friday.
Here are the number of ill people in each state: Alaska (2), Alabama (1), Arizona (3), California (21), Colorado (5), Delaware (3), Georgia (3), Illinois (1), Indiana (1), Kentucky (1), Massachusetts (3), Maryland (6), Michigan (2), Minnesota (1), Nevada (4), New Jersey (7), New Mexico (3), New York (24), North Carolina (1), Ohio (2), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (9), South Carolina (3), Texas (12), Virginia (3), Vermont (1), and West Virginia (1).
There have been no deaths, but 19 people have been hospitalized. Children age 10 or younger account for 67 percent of the reported cases of illness, the CDC said.
Since the previous update on April 5, two new multistate salmonella outbreaks linked to small pet turtles have been identified, bring to five the total number of multistate outbreaks.
Investigators have determined that the outbreaks were caused by exposure to the turtles or their environments, such as water from their habitats. Seventy-five percent of patients reported being exposed to turtles prior to their illness, and 93 percent of those patients said they had been exposed to small turtles (those with a shell length of less than four inches).
Small turtles are a well-known source of salmonella infections in humans and the sale and distribution of these turtles as pets has been banned in the U.S. since 1975, the CDC said.
Blood Transfusions for Dialysis Patients Rose After Drug Payment Changes
There's been a large increase in the number of U.S. dialysis patients undergoing blood transfusions since Medicare changed how it pays for drugs to treat these patients.
Federal regulators believed the changes introduced last year would save money and protect patient health by correcting what was believed to be a misguided financial incentive for dialysis centers to overprescribe anti-anemia drugs to patients, The New York Times reported.
Before the changes, Medicare paid dialysis centers for anti-anemia drugs separately from the actual blood-cleansing treatments. This may have encouraged overuse of the drugs by patients, which leads to increased red blood counts that boost the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The payment system was changed to reimburse dialysis centers for overall care, bundling together the cost of blood-cleansing treatments and drugs. This meant that the drugs became a drain on profits instead of a profit generator for dialysis centers, The Times reported.
In the first nine months of 2011, the proportion of dialysis patients covered by Medicare who received blood transfusions increased by 9 to 22 percent over the first nine months of 2010, according to the United States Renal Data System.
For example, there were 10,041 transfusions for dialysis patients in September 2011, compared with 8,259 in September 2010, The Times reported.
Between 2009 and 2010, there was virtually no change in blood transfusion rates for dialysis patients.
The research was to be presented Friday at a National Kidney Foundation meeting.
Words in Larger Fonts Cause Stronger Reaction: Study
Words in larger fonts trigger a stronger emotional brain response than those in smaller fonts, according to a new study.
German researchers monitored brain activity in 25 volunteers as they looked at 72 different positive, neutral and negative words in a variety of font sizes, ABC News reported.
Positive (e.g. holiday) and negative (e.g. disease) words printed in larger fonts prompted a stronger emotional brain response than the same words in smaller fonts. The font size of neutral words, such as chair, did not cause the same type of response.
"Our study showed that the effects of emotional meaning are boosted when words are presented in large fonts. In other words, more attention is captured by larger emotional words, probably explaining the power of large fonts in tabloid headlines or catchwords," lead author Mareike Bayer, of Humboldt University in Berlin, told ABC News.
The study was published in the journal PLoS One.
Common Bacteria Caused Flesh-Eating Disease in Georgia Woman
A common bacteria that thrives in warm climates and fresh water caused the flesh-eating disease in a 24-year-old Georgia women who has had her leg amputated and is fighting for her life.
Aimee Copeland's case of necrotizing fasciitis was caused by Aeromonas hydrophila, a bacteria typically linked to intestinal disease.
"This bacteria is a common cause of diarrheal illness," Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., and president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, told ABC News. "For it to cause a deep wound infection that dissolves tissue, that's not common."
It's believed that Copeland became infected after she suffered a gash on her left calf while riding a homemade zip line. She was diagnosed with flesh-eating disease three days later and her left leg was amputated at the hip.
Washington State Declares Whooping Cough Epidemic
Washington state has declared an epidemic and is seeking federal help to deal with its worst outbreak of whooping cough in decades.
Officials are also urging residents to get vaccinated amid concerns that the number of cases of the highly contagious disease could climb much higher, the Associated Press reported.
About 1,280 cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, have been reported so far this year and there could be as many as 3,000 cases by the end of the year, according to state officials. Washington is the first state to declare a whooping cough epidemic since 2010, when California had more than 9,000 cases, including 10 deaths.
Wisconsin has had nearly 2,000 cases of whooping cough so far this year but has not declared an epidemic, the AP reported.
Pool Water Slides Recalled After Death, Serious Injuries
One death and two serious injuries have prompted the recall of about 21,000 inflatable Banzai in-ground pool water slides old by Walmart and Toys R Us stores, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Thursday.
The slide can deflate during use and cause users to hit the ground underneath the slide. In addition, the slide is unstable and can topple over in both still and windy conditions and has inadequate warnings and instructions.
The CPSC said a 29-year-old Colorado mother died after breaking her neck going down a Banzai slide that had been placed over the concrete edge of a pool. She hit her head at the bottom of the slide after it had partially deflated.
Two other similar incidents resulted in a 24-year-old Springfield, Mo. man becoming a quadriplegic and an Allentown, Pa. woman breaking her neck.
The recalled Chinese-made slides were sold at Walmart and Toys R Us stores across the U.S. from January 2005 through June 2009 for about $250. The recalled slides have the barcode number 2675315734 and model number 15734. Both the barcode and model number appear on the original packaging but are not on the actual slide, the CPSC said.
The agency advised consumers to immediately stop using these slides and return them to their nearest Walmart of Toys R Us store for a full refund. Consumers can also cut the two safety warning notices out of the slide and just return them to a store.
Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.