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Health Highlights: Oct. 12, 2011

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

Global TB Cases Decline for First Time: WHO

The number of people with tuberculosis has fallen for the first time, according to a World Health Organization report released Tuesday.

The U.N. health agency said there were 8.8 million reported cases of TB last year, compared with a peak of 9 million in 2005. But WHO also noted that about one-third of TB cases worldwide are likely not reported, the Associated Press reported.

Increased availability of medical treatment for TB is part of the reason for the decline in reported cases, according to the agency.

WHO also said fewer people are dying of the disease and the TB death rate is expected to fall by half by 2015, except in Africa, the AP reported.


Ground Beef Recalled Due to E. Coli Concerns

Possible E. coli contamination has prompted the recall of more than 375,000 pounds of ground beef products from Commercial Meat Co. of Los Angeles.

The products, which were shipped to restaurants in California and Nevada, have the number "EST.4873" inside the U.S. Department of Agriculture mark of inspection. The products were produced between Sept. 7 and Oct. 6, the Associated Press reported.

USDA officials said that routine monitoring confirmed a positive test for E. coli in the ground beef products. There have not been any reported illnesses.

E. coli can cause diarrhea, dehydration and, in severe cases, kidney failure, the AP reported.


Leukemia Drug Linked to Lung Problem: FDA

The leukemia drug Sprycel can cause abnormally high blood pressure in patients' lung arteries, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is telling doctors.

The agency said the Bristol-Myers Squibb drug will carry a new warning about the increased risk of pulmonary arterial hypertension, which has been reported in patients taking Sprycel for more than a year, the Associated Press reported.

Pulmonary arterial hypertension can cause shortness of breath, swelling of the limbs and fatigue.

The FDA also advised doctors to evaluate patients for lung and heart problems before deciding whether to prescribe Sprycel, which is approved to treat adults with two forms of leukemia, the AP reported.


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Posted: October 2011