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Salmonella cases down, but watch out for other foodborne bacteria
Foodborne illnesses often found in raw or undercooked shellfish have increased by 75% since 2006-2008, the CDC says.
April 17th, 2014
03:33 PM ET

Salmonella cases down, but watch out for other foodborne bacteria

You might want to think twice before heading out to your favorite oyster bar.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's annual report card on foodborne illnesses, vibrio infections – most frequently found in raw or undercooked shellfish - have increased by 75% since the CDC's previous analysis period, 2006-2008.

That's about 6,600 cases for every 100,000 people - and for every case that is reported, the CDC estimates there 142 more that aren't diagnosed.

The microbe that causes vibrio is found naturally in coastal saltwater. It only represents 1% of foodborne illness in the United States, according to the CDC, but that's still 35,000 cases of food poisoning each year. Vibrio infections are at their highest rate since the CDC started tracking nine foodborne illness-related microorganisms in 1996, according to the new report. FULL POST


Banned pesticides linked to endometriosis
The EPA now restricts the use of organochlorine pesticides, along with the United Nations’ Stockholm Convention.
November 5th, 2013
11:49 AM ET

Banned pesticides linked to endometriosis

Women with higher levels of pesticides in their blood are also more likely to have endometriosis, according to a new study published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Endometriosis is a chronic condition in which tissue normally lining the uterus’ interior walls also grows outside the uterus, commonly to the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or pelvis –- causing pelvic pain and infertility.

“It affects women during their reproductive years and it could be that as many as 10% of women during reproductive ages have endometriosis,” says Victoria Holt, a researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington and lead study author.

More than 5 million women have endometriosis, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Women's Health.

“What we know about endometriosis is that it's an estrogen-driven disease. Women who have more estrogen are more likely to have it," Holt says.

Once in the body, some organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) are believed to mimic estrogen, possibly contributing to endometriosis. FULL POST


FDA: Several violations uncovered at Sunland's peanut plant
November 16th, 2012
01:00 PM ET

FDA: Several violations uncovered at Sunland's peanut plant

Health officials have found more clues about the nut product contamination that lead to at least 41 people getting sick this summer.

Conditions at the Sunland, Inc. facility in Portales, New Mexico, may have contributed to the contamination of peanut butter and almond butter products with salmonella bredeney, according to new observations posted on the Food and Drug Administration website Thursday. These conditions were observed during inspections of the facility that took place between September 17 and October 16.

Federal investigators determined that between June 2009 and August 2012, Sunland cleared - and in some cases distributed - peanut or almond butter products from 11 different lots, even though internal testing showed the presence of the salmonella bacteria.
FULL POST


Popcorn recalled due to possible Listeria contamination
October 2nd, 2012
10:30 AM ET

Popcorn recalled due to possible Listeria contamination

Dale and Thomas Popcorn is voluntarily recalling bags of its flavored, ready-to-eat Indiana-brand products due to a possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium that is pathogenic –- meaning that it is infectious to humans, causing the illness listeriosis. It is most dangerous to young children, the elderly, people with a weakened immune system and pregnant women. Listeria can cause a high fever, severe headaches, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

What you need to know about Listeria monocytogenes

The recalled popcorn bags were distributed after August 8 and have "best by" dates of February 4, 2013 to March 12, 2013, according to the FDA. Consumers can check specific UPC codes from this list.
FULL POST


FDA launches campaign against fake Internet pharmacies
The FDA is aiming to raise awareness about fake Internet pharmacies and the risk they pose to consumer health.
September 28th, 2012
12:16 PM ET

FDA launches campaign against fake Internet pharmacies

Buyers beware when it comes to buying medicine online, the Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers.  On Friday, the agency launched "BeSafeRx: Know Your Online Pharmacy," a national campaign to raise awareness about fake Internet pharmacies and their potential risk to consumer health.

“Buying medicines from rogue online pharmacies can be risky because they may sell fake, expired, contaminated, not approved by FDA, or otherwise unsafe products that are dangerous to patients,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg.  “Fraudulent and illegal online pharmacies often offer deeply discounted products.  If the low prices seem too good to be true, they probably are.  FDA’s BeSafeRx campaign is designed to help patients learn how to avoid these risks.”

FULL POST


Report: 'Worrisome' levels of arsenic in rice
September 19th, 2012
03:37 PM ET

Report: 'Worrisome' levels of arsenic in rice

Eating rice once a day can increase arsenic levels in the body by at least 44%, according to a new study from Consumer Reports.

The study surveyed more than 60 different rice products ranging from infant cereals to rice pasta and rice drinks and found “worrisome” levels of inorganic arsenic in most of the products. Others suggest, however, the levels are not cause for concern.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, inorganic arsenic has been linked to liver, bladder, and lung cancer.

Urvashi Rangan, Consumer Reports lead scientist on the study, said the study isn’t meant to scare people from eating rice, rather “our investigation of arsenic in rice is supposed to inform consumers.” FULL POST


Chemical BPA linked to children's obesity
BPA is used as an anti-corrosive in aluminum cans and is used to manufacture some plastics.
September 18th, 2012
03:24 PM ET

Chemical BPA linked to children's obesity

The chemical bisphenol-A, or BPA, has a long and controversial history.

Used to manufacture some plastics – like the kinds in soda or water bottles – and as an anti-corrosive in aluminum cans, BPA has been under fire for some time from consumer advocacy groups.

The FDA recently banned BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups after concerns were raised about potential side effects on the “brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children,” according to the FDA website.

Still, the organization has stood by the overall safety of the chemical; in March the FDA denied the Natural Resources Defense Council’s petition to ban BPA outright.

Now a new study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association is adding more fuel to the flames.  The paper shows an association between BPA levels in children’s urine and obesity prevalence.
FULL POST


SimplyThick a risk to all infants, FDA cautions
A product used to help infants with difficulty swallowing could lead to a life-threatening condition, the FDA says.
September 18th, 2012
03:04 PM ET

SimplyThick a risk to all infants, FDA cautions

A product used to help infants with difficulty swallowing could increase their risk of developing a life-threatening illness, the Food and Drug Administration warned Tuesday.

The agency says 22 infants developed necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) after being fed the thickening agent SimplyThick – reportedly as directed. Seven of them died.  Necrotizing enterocolitis is a condition where tissue in the intestines gets inflamed and dies.  It occurs most often in babies that are ill or born prematurely.  The cause is unknown.

SimplyThick is mixed with breast milk or infant formula to help babies swallow their food and keep it down without spitting it back up.  It's sold in individual packets or 64-ounce bottles that can be bought from local pharmacies or distributors across the country.
FULL POST


FDA warns consumers about topical pain relievers
The FDA has received more than 40 reports of skin injuries or burns associated with over-the-counter topical pain relievers.
September 13th, 2012
01:54 PM ET

FDA warns consumers about topical pain relievers

Sore muscles or joints?  The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers who typically reach for topical pain relievers to soothe those aches and pains that these products can cause serious burns.

The agency has received more than 40 reports of skin injuries from over-the-counter products including creams, lotions, ointments and patches. Reported brands included Bengay, Icy Hot, Capzasin, Flexall and Metholatum.

FULL POST


FDA unveils new device that detects counterfeit drugs
The CD3 is a hand-held device developed by the FDA to detect counterfeit drugs and packaging.
September 11th, 2012
02:18 PM ET

FDA unveils new device that detects counterfeit drugs

The Food and Drug Administration has a new cutting-edge tool in its counterfeit drug detection toolbox.

At a symposium Monday, the agency unveiled the Counterfeit Detection Device #3 or CD3, a hand-held device developed by FDA scientists that can be used in the field to detect counterfeit products and packaging.

"This device was designed in-house by FDA scientists in response to the needs for screening in the field," said FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg. "It is low cost compared to other analytical devices, operates with batteries, and requires minimal training to use. It allows for 'real time' comparisons with authentic drugs - and has already proven useful for identifying counterfeit drugs at our busy international mail facilities."

FULL POST


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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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