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Health Highlights: Aug. 12, 2010

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

Fresh Express Recalls Mixed Salad Product

California-based Fresh Express is recalling a mixed salad product that may be contaminated with bacteria that causes listeriosis.

The recall includes 2,825 cases of Veggie Lovers Salad with the product code I208 and a use-by date of Aug. 10, the Associated Press reported.

The decision to take the product off the shelves came after one package tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes in a sample test by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

The salad mix was originally distributed to 13 states but could have been redistributed to other states, said Fresh Express and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the AP reported.

No illnesses have been reported, the FDA said.


WHO Swine Flu Panel Included Members With Drug Industry Ties

Of the 15 people on an expert panel that advised the World Health Organization about the swine flu pandemic, five members had received support from the pharmaceutical industry, including for flu vaccine research, the WHO disclosed Wednesday.

Previously, some critics expressed concern that the panel might be tainted by drug industry influence that would affect decisions about massive orders of swine flu vaccines, Agence France-Presse reported.

But the WHO repeatedly denied those accusations.

The newly-released list of panel members is posted on the WHO's Web site. It reveals that members came from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin and North America. Most were scientific researchers and epidemiologists. There were also public health officials from Thailand and Chile, two specialists on international air travel and health, and a Senegalese diplomat, AFP reported.


Few Non-Urgent Patients in ERs: Study

Two-thirds of emergency room visits in 2007 occurred during non-business hours and the percentage of non-urgent emergency patients was less than eight percent, says a report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The findings challenge the idea that emergency rooms are crowded with non-urgent patients, says the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

"The percentage of non-urgent patients dropped to only 7.9 percent in 2007 [from 12.1 percent in 2006]," ACEP President Dr. Angela Gardner, said in a college news release. "The report also makes the excellent point that non-urgent does not imply unnecessary. As we have said repeatedly, our patients are in the ER because thats where they need to be."

In 2007, there were about 222 visits to U.S. emergency departments every minute. The number of visits increased by 23 percent between 1997 and 2007. Preliminary data for 2008 suggest emergency visits will reach a record high of more than 123 million.

The highest rate of emergency room visits was among babies under 12 months old (88.5 visits per 100 infants), followed by adults age 75 and older (62 visits per 100 people).


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Posted: August 2010