Health Highlights: April 27, 201204/27/12
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
FDA Sends Warning to Supplements Companies
Ten companies that make and distribute dietary supplements
containing dimethylamylamine (DMAA) have been sent warning letters
for marketing products that lack safety evidence, the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration said Friday.
DMAA -- also referred to as 1,3-dimethylamylamine,
methylhexanamine, or geranium extract -- is often touted as a
The companies that received warning letters and the names of
their products are: Exclusive Supplements for Biorhythm SSIN Juice;
Fahrenheit Nutrition for Lean Efx; Gaspari Nutrition for Spirodex;
iSatori Global Technologies, LLC for PWR; Muscle Warfare, Inc. for
Napalm; MuscleMeds Perfomance Technologies for Code Red; Nutrex
Research for Hemo Rage Black, Lipo-6 Black Ultra Concentrate,
Lipo-6 Black, Lipo-6 Black Hers Ultra, Concentrate, and Lipo-6
Black Hers; SEI Pharmaceuticals for MethylHex 4,2; SNI, LLC for
Nitric Blast; and USP Labs, LLC for Oxy Elite Pro and Jack3D.
"Before marketing products containing DMAA, manufacturers and distributors have a responsibility under the law to provide evidence of the safety of their products. They haven't done that and that makes the products adulterated," Daniel Fabricant, director of the FDA's Dietary Supplement Program, said in an agency news release.
Bed Bugs Blamed for Monkeypox Scare on U.S. Passenger Plane
Bed bugs, not the monkeypox virus, may have caused the rash on a
passenger that resulted in a two-hour quarantine of a Delta
Airlines plan in Chicago Thursday.
Monkeypox is a rare and sometimes fatal disease similar to
Officers wearing Hazmat suits boarded Flight 3163 to examine and
take photographs of the rash on 50-year-old Lise Sievers of Red
Wing, Minn., who was returning home from Uganda,
ABC News reported.
"Medical staff at CDC and the Chicago Department of Public Health reviewed the case and, based on the patient's symptoms and photographs of the rash, it does not appear that the signs and symptoms are consistent with a monkeypox infection," the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement. "The ill passenger was advised to seek medical care and the rest of the passengers were released from the plane."
"It's just a case of bed bugs," Sievers said after she exited the plane, ABC News reported.
Holstein with Mad Cow Disease Put Down After Showing Signs of
A dairy cow in California that was found to have mad cow disease
was euthanized after it become lame and started lying down, U.S.
Department of Agriculture officials said Thursday.
They also said that the Holstein cow from a dairy farm in Tulare
County -- the nation's leading dairy-producing county -- was 10
years and seven months old. That contradicts a spokesman for U.S.
Rep. Devin Nunes of California who said Wednesday that the cow was
5 years old, the
Associated Press reported.
Routine testing at a transfer facility detected mad cow disease
(bovine spongiform encephalopathy -- BSE) in the cow. The animal
was never destined for the meat market and posed no threat to the
food supply, officials said.
The cow had atypical BSE, which is caused by a random mutation.
The last two cases of BSE in the U.S. were atypical as well, the
Don't Use Hepatitis C Drug With HIV Drugs: FDA
The hepatitis C medicine Victrelis (boceprevir) should not be
taken with certain ritonavir-boosted HIV protease inhibitor drugs,
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Thursday.
Taking these medicines at the same time could reduce their
effectiveness and allow levels of the hepatitis C virus or HIV in
the blood to increase.
Ritonavir-boosted HIV protease inhibitors include
ritonavir-boosted Reyataz (atazanavir), ritonavir-boosted Prezista
(darunavir), and Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir).
"Patients should not stop taking any of their hepatitis C or HIV medicines without talking to their healthcare professional. Patients should contact their healthcare professional with any questions or concerns," the FDA said.
"Healthcare professionals who started patients infected with both chronic HCV and HIV on Victrelis while the patient was taking antiretroviral therapy containing one of these ritonavir-boosted protease inhibitors should closely monitor patients for treatment response (no HCV virus detected in the blood) and for potential HCV or HIV virologic rebound (HCV or HIV virus is detected in the blood again after becoming undetectable)," the FDA advised.
Consumers, Employers to Get $1.3 Billion in Health Insurance
Under the new U.S. health care law, more than 3 million health
insurance policyholders and thousands of employers will receive a
total of $1.3 billion in rebates this year, according to a report
released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan
The law requires insurance companies to spend at least 80
percent of the premiums they collect on medical care and quality
improvement or return the difference to individuals or employers,
Associated Press reported.
Insurance companies must notify policyholders about the rebates
and pay them by Aug. 1. Some companies have already started issuing
More than 3 million individual healthy insurance policyholders
will receive a total of $426 million, which works out to an average
of $127 per person, the
On a state-by-state basis, the largest rebates will go to
individuals and employers in Texas ($186 million) and Florida ($149
million). Hawaii is the only state in which insurers are not
expected to issue rebates.
Rebates totaling $377 million will be sent out to small
employers with plans covering nearly 5 million people. Employers
are not required to pass their rebates on to workers, and are also
allowed to take them as a discount on next year's premiums, the
The Kaiser report's findings are based on an analysis of
insurance industry filings with state health insurance
The rebates are one of the most tangible benefits that consumers
have seen to date from the Obama administration's health care law,
according to Larry Levitt, a Kaiser Family Foundation expert on
private insurance, the
However, the insurance industry says new benefits and other
requirements of the health care law will likely drive up premiums,
negating any consumer benefit from the rebates.
But the Kaiser report said that the new health care law has
"provided an incentive for insurers to seek lower premium increases
than they would have otherwise," according to the report. "This
'sentinel' effect on premiums has likely produced more savings for
consumers and employers than the rebates themselves."
200 Now Sickened in Tuna-Linked Salmonella Outbreak
A salmonella outbreak linked to a frozen yellowfin tuna product
has now sickened 200 people in 21 states and the District of
Columbia, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said
In a statement, the agency said 28 people have been hospitalized
but there have been no deaths reported.
The CDC says it is now including two types of salmonella in the
"outbreak strains" -- Salmonella Bareilly (190 cases) and
Salmonella Nchanga (10 cases).
On April 16, nearly 59,000 pounds of tuna product linked to the
outbreak -- labeled Nakaochi Scrape AA or AAA -- were recalled by
Moon Marine USA Corp. of Cupertino, Calif. The product, which is
scraped off fish bones, was sold to grocery stores and restaurants
to make dishes such as sushi, sashimi and ceviche.
As reported early in the outbreak by the
Associated Press, many people who became ill reported eating raw tuna in sushi as "spicy tuna."
As of Thursday, the CDC said illnesses linked Salmonella
Bareilly had been reported in: Alabama (2), Arkansas (1),
Connecticut (8), District of Columbia (2), Florida (1), Georgia
(9), Illinois (15), Louisiana (3), Maryland (20), Massachusetts
(24), Mississippi (2), Missouri (4), New Jersey (18), New York
(33), North Carolina (3), Pennsylvania (7), Rhode Island (6), South
Carolina (3), Texas (4), Virginia (9), Vermont (1) and Wisconsin
(145). Illnesses linked to Salmonella Nchanga had been reported in
Georgia (2), New Jersey (1), New York (5), Virginia (1), and
Wisconsin (1), the CDC said.
The CDC noted that salmonella illness is often serious for
infants, older adults, pregnant women and persons with impaired
immune systems, and these individuals should not eat raw or
partially cooked fish or shellfish.
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