Health Highlights: April 22, 201304/22/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Questions Remain About Bird Flu Outbreak in China: WHO
It's still unclear how the H7N9 bird flu virus spreads and how
dangerous it could become, a World Health Organization team said
The researchers are in China to study the virus responsible for
an outbreak that has killed 20 people and infected more than 100
Wall Street Journalreported.
The team has found no evidence of sustained person-to-person
transmission of the H7N9 virus. Such transmission could make it
more contagious and more dangerous. But the researchers are still
examining the possibility of limited transmission of the virus
through people, given the fact that there are small clusters of
"The same question has been looked at by the [local] investigators as well as by ourselves, and I think that we don't know the answer," Keiji Fukuda, the WHO's assistant director general for health security and environment, said at a news conference Monday, WSJreported.
The situation "remains complex and difficult," he added.
"It is virtually impossible to predict how many more cases" could occur, Fukuda said. He also noted that "it is important to recognize that if the infection spreads a little bit, it doesn't mean that things are out of control."
Recall of Drug Products Made by Fla. Compounding Pharmacy
Possible bacterial contamination has led a Florida compounding
pharmacy to recall all of its sterile non-expired drug products
sold in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration
The agency said hospitals and other health-care providers who
received sterile products, including all injectables, from Balanced
Solutions Compounding Pharmacy should immediately quarantine the
products and follow the company's recall instructions, the
The company posted the recall on its website but did not specify
how many products are affected. Patients who received any sterile
drug products made and distributed by the company should contact
their health-care providers, the FDA said.
The agency is not aware of any illnesses caused by the recalled
Compounding pharmacies custom mix medication for individual
patients. Balanced Solutions is one of 30 compounding pharmacies
inspected by the FDA between February and April in the wake of a
deadly fungal meningitis outbreak last year. The outbreak, which
caused 53 deaths, was linked to tainted steroid shots made by the
New England Compounding Center, the
NYC Proposal: Raise Minimum Age for Cigarette Purchases to
A new proposal would forbid young people in New York City from
buying cigarettes until they are age 21. The current minimum age is
It was not clear whether the proposal would make it illegal for
people under 21 to possess cigarettes. The proposal was advanced by
Dr. Thomas Farley, the city's health commissioner, and Christine
Quinn, the City Council speaker,
The New York Timesreported.
The move is the latest in the city's anti-smoking campaign that
began soon after Mayor Michael Bloomberg took office in 2001. Bans
on smoking in restaurants and bars were recently expanded to cover
parks, beaches, plazas and other public places.
Smoking among young people in New York City has been declining,
surveys suggest. Some experts say this is because many young people
have been influenced by public health campaigns and never took up
the habit, the
Creator of First Live-Virus Polio Vaccine Dies
The American scientist who created the first live-virus polio
vaccine died recently at age 96.
Dr. Hilary Koprowski used an ordinary kitchen blender to mix the
ingredients -- including rat brain and a cultivated virus -- to
create the vaccine. He then took a drink of his concoction to test
it and later said that it tasted like cod liver oil,
The New York Timesreported.
While the vaccine was given to patients in other countries and
yielded good results, it was never approved for use in the United
States. But by demonstrating that a live-virus polio vaccine could
be safe and effective, Koprowski opened the door to the live-virus
oral vaccine that was developed by Albert Sabin and introduced in
Koprowski, who died April 11, was considered one of the leading
biomedical researchers in the world. Along with the first
live-virus polio vaccine, his notable accomplishments included
developing a safer, less painful and more effective rabies vaccine
that is still widely used, the
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