Health Highlights: Aug. 31, 2012

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

Hantavirus Found in Two More Yosemite Visitors

Two more people who visited Yosemite Park have been found to be infected with the mouse-borne hantavirus. That brings the total number of infections to six. Two of those people have died.

Five of the six infected people stayed in tent cabins at Curry Village in Yosemite Valley. The sixth infected person may have stayed in another area of the park, California Department of Public Health spokeswoman Anita Gore told the Associated Press.

The investigation into the outbreak is continuing.

Hantavirus is carried in the feces, urine and saliva of deer mice and other rodents. The illness, which can take six weeks to incubate, begins as flu-like symptoms but can quickly affect the lungs, the AP reported.

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Ohio Hospital's Kidney Transplant Error Under Review

A living-donor kidney transplant program at the University of Toledo Medical Center in Ohio has been temporarily suspended after a donated kidney ended up in medical waste instead of being transplanted into the intended recipient.

After the Aug. 10 error, hospital officials apologized and put two nurses and an administrator of surgical services on paid leave. The hospital also sent letters to 975 patients and potential organ donors telling them they may need to make other arrangements for services typically provided through the program, the Associated Press reported.

The error is being investigated by state health officials on behalf of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and UTMC hired a Texas transplant surgeon to evaluate its transplant procedures. The review of the transplant program is expected to take several weeks.

The hospital has not released any details about the incident, the AP reported.

In a statement, UTMC's vice president for health affairs, Dr. Jeffrey Gold, said the hospital is "committed to ensuring safeguards are put in place to prevent such an incident from ever happening again."

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Janssen Pays $181 Million to Settle Deceptive Drug Marketing Charges

A $181 million dollar settlement over the marketing of anti-psychotic drugs for nonapproved uses has been reached between Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., parent company Johnson & Johnson and 36 states and the District of Columbia.

Janssen engaged in deceptive practices from 1998 to at least 2004 in the marketing of the drugs Risperdal, Risperdal Consta, Risperdal M-Tab and Invega, according to a court filing by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the Associated Press reported.

The company promoted "off-label" uses of the drugs not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Schneiderman said Thursday when he announced the settlement. For example, Janssen is accused of promoting Risperdal for the treatment of dementia in elderly patients, even though it's approved to treat schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.

Under the settlement, Janssen did not admit to wrongdoing, the AP reported.

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Posted: August 2012


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