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Health Highlights: Jan. 4, 2013

Health Highlights: Jan. 4, 2013

01/04/13

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

U.S. Whooping Cough Cases Highest in More Than 50 Years: CDC

Almost 42,000 cases of whooping cough were reported in the United States last year, the most since 1955, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And the final tally could climb even higher, perhaps reaching 50,000 when all the CDC data is in, the Associated Pressreported. On a positive note, deaths from the bacterial infection dropped to 18 for the year, probably because of better diagnosis and treatment during outbreaks, experts told the news agency.

The severity of whooping cough (pertussis) varies over periods of several years, and experts said it was particularly virulent in 2012. Also, the current whooping cough vaccine has a shorter lifespan than an earlier version, which could help explain the rise in cases.

Anyone can get whopping cough, but it is especially dangerous and potentially deadly in infants.

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FDA Sends Warning to Cantaloupe Farm Behind Salmonella Outbreak

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has sent a warning letter to the cantaloupe farm tied to a deadly salmonella outbreak last year.

The outbreak sickened at least 260 people across 24 states, killing three people in Kentucky, CBS/APreported, and the FDA has now warned Chamberlain Farms of Owensville, Ind., to fix unsanitary conditions at its facilities.

According to the FDA, investigators found "accumulated organic material" on conveyors and algae-filled standing water on floors at Chamberlain Farms. Bird droppings were discovered on rafters directly above food products, the FDA added.

According to the FDA letter, "allowing birds to roost in your packing facility could allow them to defecate directly on to food products during conveyance, grading and sorting," CBS/APreported.

In August, the salmonella outbreak caused federal health officials to warn consumers away from cantaloupes grown in southwestern Indiana, and a DNA test later confirmed Chamberlain Farms as the source. The farm voluntarily recalled its watermelons from the market last September, CBS/APreported.

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Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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