Health Highlights: Jan. 28, 201401/28/14
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Antibiotics in Livestock Feed Linked to Drug-Resistant
Infections in People
Many antibiotics used in farm animal feed are likely
contributing to the growing problem of drug-resistant bacterial
infections in people, according to a U.S. Food and Drug
Administration analysis released Monday by the Natural Resources
FDA scientists examined 30 penicillin and tetracycline additives
in animal feed and found that 18 of those antibiotics posed a high
risk of exposing people to antibiotic-resistant bacteria through
The New York Timesreported.
The scientists were unable to make any firm conclusions about
the other 12 drugs due to a lack of data.
The analysis -- which covered the years 2001 to 2010 -- was
contained in internal FDA records that the nonprofit environmental
advocacy group obtained through a Freedom of Information Act and
follow-up legal action,
Each year, at least two million people in the United States
become ill and about 23,000 die from antibiotic-resistant
infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. Many experts believe that widespread use of antibiotics
in animal feed is a major contributor to the problem.
Livestock are given small amounts of antibiotics over their
lifetimes to protect them from disease while living in crowded
conditions. This can lead to the development of
antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are passed on to people through
the environment or eating meat from the animals,
In 1977, the FDA proposed revoking approvals for animal feed
additives containing penicillin and most tetracyclines, but it
never took action, according to Avinash Kar, a lawyer for the
Natural Resources Defense Council. In 2012, the group sued the FDA
in an attempt to force it to implement the 1977 proposal.
"This is an agency that has repeatedly found, since the 1970s, that these drugs pose a risk to human health, but it has not done anything meaningful with those conclusions," Kar told The Times.
The FDA says it is taking action on the issue.
"In December 2013, the FDA began formal implementation of a strategy to phase out the use of all medically important antimicrobials," the agency said. "The FDA is confident that its current strategy to protect the effectiveness of medically important antimicrobials, including penicillins and tetracyclines, is the most efficient and effective way to change the use of these products in animal agriculture."
Sentencing For Owners of Cantaloupe Farm Linked to Listeria
Sentencing is scheduled Tuesday for two Colorado cantaloupe
farmers who pleaded guilty to charges linked to a 2011 listeria
outbreak in 28 states that led to 147 hospitalizations and 33
Brothers Ryan and Eric Jensen, who owned and operated Jensen
Farms in Holly, Colo., last year pleaded guilty to misdemeanor
counts of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce,
The listeria outbreak was traced to tainted fruit from the
The Jensens could receive up to six years in prison and $1.5
million in fines. The brothers are seeking probation, contending
that jail time is excessive because justice has been served with
the implementation of new food guidelines, the
Many American Families Burdened by Medical Bills
Medical bills are a financial burden for many American families,
a new study finds.
National Center for Health Statistics researchers examined data
from a national survey of 43,000 families that included a total of
"In 2012, 26.8 percent of families in the United States experienced any financial burden of medical care," the investigators wrote. "Almost 1 in 6 families (16.5 percent) had problems paying medical bills in the past 12 months."
The study also found that nearly nine percent of respondents
said they had medical bills they couldn't pay,
Having children increased the likelihood of having large medical
bills. Thirty-six percent of families with children had a financial
burden from medical care, compared with 25 percent of families with
two adults and no children, according to the study.
Difficulty paying medical bills was reported by 46 percent of
families in which some members had health insurance, 40 percent of
families with no health insurance, and 21 percent of families where
everyone had private insurance,
Hong Kong Poultry Market Closed Due to H7N9 Bird Flu Virus
Hong Kong officials have banned sales of live chickens and will
kill about 20,000 birds at a wholesale market after the H7N9 bird
flu virus was discovered in a chicken that came from mainland
The market will be closed for 21 days for cleaning and
disinfection, Hong Kong's government announced Jan. 27. Imports
from the farm where the infected chicken came from will be
suspended for the same period of time,
So far this year, the H7N9 bird flu virus has infected about 96
people in China and killed 19, according to the Chinese Center for
Disease Control and Prevention.
Cases of people infected with virus were first reported in China
in March 2013 and peaked in April before officials temporarily
closed live poultry markets. Currently, the H7N9 virus is not
easily passed from person to person,
Concussion Wouldn't Stop Most NFL Players From Playing in Super
Most NFL players say they would play in the Super Bowl even if
they had a concussion, a new survey finds.
The NFL Nation anonymous poll of 320 players revealed that 85
percent said they would play in the big game with a concussion,
"We are competitors. We want to go out there and entertain. That's all we are. We're entertainers. Guys want to go out there," said Tennessee Titans safety Bernard Pollard. "They don't want to let themselves down. They don't want to let their teammates down. They want to go out there and play, not thinking about, 'OK, what can this affect later on down the line?'"
Washington Redskins linebacker London Fletcher's first comment
about the survey question was, "Did 100 percent say yes?" But he
also said his decision would depend on the severity of the
"If it's something where I'm having just a few symptoms and can hide it from the trainer, then yeah, I would do it," Fletcher said. "With some of them, you get in a game and you can't play."
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