Health Highlights: Aug. 3, 2012

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

Possible Listeria Contamination Spurs Salad Products Recall

Over 13,000 pounds of meat and poultry salad products distributed nationwide are being recalled due to possible contamination of diced onions with the listeria bacterium.

In a notice on its website posted Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said that Garden Fresh Foods of Milwaukee, Wis., is recalling about 13,600 pounds of salad products. "The salads contain diced onions that are the subject of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recall by Gill Onions, due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes," the USDA said.

No reports of illnesses linked to consumption of the salads have yet been reported, the agency said.

The products include -- but are not limited to -- specific lots of "Finest Traditions Spiral Pasta and Chicken Salad," "Garden Fresh All White Meat Chicken Salad With Cranberries" and "Garden Fresh Reduced Fat Chicken Salad" (among others). The salads were produced between July 10 and July 16, 2012 and distributed to retailers and institutions across the United States, the USDA says.

For a full list of the recalled products, including product codes and lot numbers, head to the website of the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service at www.fsis.usda.gov.

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Ebola Outbreak Finally Halted in Uganda: WHO

A World Health Organization official said Friday that health authorities are finally halting the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in Uganda.

According to the Associated Press, WHO representative Joaquim Saweka told reporters that all 176 exposed people have been isolated.

"The structure put in place is more than adequate," Saweka said. "We are isolating the suspected or confirmed cases."

The outbreak was first confirmed in late July, and at least 16 Ugandans have since died. Health officials there were slow to respond because the victims did not show the typical symptoms of Ebola, which include coughing up blood.

"The doctors in Kibaale say the symptoms were a bit atypical of Ebola," Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said in a national address Monday. "They were not clearly like Ebola symptoms. Because of that delay, the sickness spread to another village."

Fortunately, other health organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been helping to control the spread of Ebola, Saweka said Friday.

The virus is highly infectious and very deadly; this is the fourth time it has struck in Uganda since 2000, when 224 people died and hundreds more were traumatized in northern Uganda. First reported in Congo in 1976, the disease is named for the river where it was first diagnosed, according to the CDC.

FDA Approves Ingestible Medical Sensor

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it has approved an ingestible medical sensor that reports vital information on a patient's health back to his or her doctor.

The device, from Proteus Digital Health Inc., is only about the size of a grain of sand and had already been approved by European health officials last year, CBS News reported. Once swallowed, it sends out information on whether patients are taking their medications as instructed, as well as data on vital signs.

The sensor is designed so that it can be placed inside a pill or other consumable and it is powered by stomach fluid, CBS said. It transmits information to a patch on the patient's stomach, and that data is then relayed to a cell phone app to the patient and, with his or her permission, to their caregiving team.

"About half of all people don't take medications like they're supposed to," Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, Calif., told the journal Nature.

"This device could be a solution to that problem, so that doctors can know when to rev up a patient's medication adherence," said Topol, who is not affiliated with the device's maker.

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Posted: August 2012


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