Health Highlights: Sept. 14, 201109/14/11
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Listeria Outbreak May Be Tied to Cantaloupes: CDC
U.S. heath officials say a food-borne bacterial outbreak blamed
for four deaths may be linked to cantaloupes from Colorado.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said numerous
cases of a strain of the germ Listeria have been reported in six
states, including at least 11 in Colorado, 10 in New Mexico, two in
Texas, and one each in Indiana, Nebraska and Oklahoma. The four
deaths have been reported in Colorado and New Mexico, the
Associated Press reported.
The CDC said it was the first time a Listeria outbreak has
apparently been linked to cantaloupes in the United States. The
U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it had not recalled the
melons, and it was working to locate the source. Colorado
Agriculture Commissioner John Salazar said the contamination might
not be cantaloupes, but a truck or other source, the
Listeriosis is a foodborne illness caused by Listeria
monocytogenes -- bacteria found in soil and water. The germ can be
turn up in a variety of raw foods as well as in processed foods and
foods made from unpasteurized milk. Listeria is unlike many other
germs because it can grow even in the cold temperature of the
refrigerator, according to the U.S. National Institutes of
Symptoms of infection include fever and chills, headache, upset
stomach and vomiting. While anyone can get the illness, those most
vulnerable include pregnant women and unborn babies, older adults,
and people with weakened immune systems, the NIH said.
U.S. Testing of E. Coli Will Be Expanded
In an attempt to squelch outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, the
U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to broaden its testing of E.
coli in meat next year.
Beginning in March, the government, which now tests for one
strain of E. coli, will test for seven strains of the pathogen in
beef trimmings used for ground beef, the
Associated Press reported. Eventually, other meats may be
"We are gratified that the Obama administration finally put public health ahead of industry interests by giving the USDA the authority to take action against these other pathogens," said Wenonah Hauter, director of the Food & Water Watch advocacy organization, told the news agency.
It was expected that the USDA would announce the new testing
The decision follows a deadly E. coli outbreak in Europe this
summer that was caused by a new strain. However, that novel strain
is not among those that will be screened, the
The meat industry, opposing the decision, has said increased
testing is too costly and will provide little benefit.
Ear Implants Recalled
Cochlear Ltd, an Australian maker of cochlear ear implants --
used to improve hearing -- is recalling its biggest selling devices
because some units suddenly stop working, the
Associated Press reported Tuesday.
Problems with the CI512 model of its Nucleus CI500 devices have
led to a voluntary global recall of the entire line. Cochlear has
said it will provide replacements for re-implantation.
The company said the defective devices were unlikely to cause
any health problems, the
AP said. And those who have the CI500 implants but have not
had difficulties can continue using the artificial ear, the company
In addition to the CI512 unit, the recall includes the CI513,
CI551 double array implant and ABI 541 auditory brainstem implant,
"We don't know what the cause is," Cochlear chief executive Chris Roberts said.
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