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Health Highlights: Oct. 26, 2010

Haiti Cholera Outbreak Stabilizing

The cholera outbreak in Haiti appears to be stabilizing but efforts to fight the waterborne disease must continue, experts say.

Only six new deaths have been reported since Sunday, said Health Ministry Director Gabriel Timothee, the Associated Press reported. So far, more than 250 people have died in the outbreak.

"The worst part is over, but you can always have a new spike of cholera," Timothee said.

Aid groups and government workers are striving to purify water and warn people across the country about the outbreak. A major focus is the capital Port-au-Prince, where more than a million survivors of the Jan. 12 earthquake live in camps, where poor sanitation would lead to the rapid spread of cholera, the AP reported.


High School Bullying Common: Survey

Nearly half (47 percent) of American high school students have been bullied in the past year and 50 percent have bullied or teased someone in that time, says a study released Tuesday.

The survey of 43,321 teens, ages 15 to 18, from 78 public and 22 private schools also found that 52 percent of respondents said they have hit someone in anger in the past 12 months, while 37 percent of boys and 19 percent of girls said it's okay to hit or threaten a person who angers them, USA Today reported.

The survey was conducted by the nonprofit Josephson Institute of Ethics, based in Los Angeles.

"There's a tremendous amount of anger out there," said institute president Michael Josephson, USA Today reported.

The survey also found that 60 percent of students said they had cheated on a test, and 34 percent did so twice or more. Students at non-religious private schools were much less likely to cheat on test (33 percent) than those at religious schools (56 percent).


Companies May Be Allowed to Change Health Plans Without Penalty

Changes that would allow businesses to shop for cheaper employee health insurance plans without having to pay a penalty under the new health care law are being weighed by the Obama administration.

Currently, the law requires companies who change health insurers to provide added services, including preventive care. But the government is considering permitting employers to avoid the requirement as long as worker benefit levels remain the same, a White House official told Bloomberg news.

The move would fit with the law's goal of lowering costs, according to John Green, of the National Association of Health Underwriters.

"I think they really do care what businesses are saying," Green told Bloomberg.


Peanut Risk Prompts Nestle Raisinets Recall

Some packages of Nestle Raisinets are being recalled because they may contain peanuts and pose an allergy risk to some people, says Nestle USA.

The company says it has received three complaints about the 10-oz. "fun size" bags distributed to Target, Shop Rite and Don Quixote stores, the Associated Press reported.

The recall applies to packages with a production code of 02015748 and UPC number of 2800010255, Nestle said. People with peanut allergies should not eat the candy. No other Nestle products are affected.

Consumers should not return the candy to stores, Nestle said. Instead, the company said they can call 1-800-478-5670 for a refund, the AP reported.


Screen New Moms for Depression: AAP

New mothers should receive routine screening for depression, which can harm their babies, says the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The group said research shows that infants with depressed mothers can suffer development and social delays, the Associated Press reported.

The academy said severely depressed new mothers should be referred to mental health experts for treatment. The recommendation appears in the journal Pediatrics.

Each year in the United States, more than 400,000 babies are born to depressed women and between 5 percent and 25 percent of women develop postpartum depression, according to the AAP.

Similar depression screening guidelines for new mothers were released earlier this year by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the AP reported.


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Posted: October 2010