Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Britax Recalls 23,000 Infant Car Seats
About 23,000 infant care seats that may have faulty harness
clips are being recalled by Britax Child Safety Inc. of Charlotte,
The clip on the chest of car seats can break loose and pose a
laceration or choking hazard, says the U.S. Consumer Product Safety
Associated Press reported.
So far, Britax has received three reports of cuts and scratches
and one report of a child placing a broken clip in his mouth.
The Chinese-made seats were sold across the U.S. and on the
Britax website from June 2009 to October 2010, the
Consumers can get a free repair kit by calling Britax at
Did U.N. Peacekeepers Trigger Haiti Cholera Outbreak?
The cholera outbreak in Haiti that has killed at least 442
people may have been caused by United Nations peacekeepers,
according to experts.
The outbreak involves a strain of cholera that matches strains
found in South Asia, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. But the CDC, the United Nations and the World Health
Organization claim it's not possible to pinpoint the source of the
outbreak and further attempts to do so would harm efforts to combat
the outbreak, the
Associated Press reported.
But experts say determining the source of the outbreak is
possible and important in order to prevent future deaths.
The strain of cholera in the Haiti outbreak is a new, virulent
strain previously not seen in the Western Hemisphere, according to
cholera expert John Mekalanos, chairman of the microbiology
department at Harvard University.
Evidence suggests that Nepalese soldiers with the U.N.
peacekeeping force brought the strain with them when they arrived
in Haiti in early October, Mekalanos told the
"The organism that is causing the disease is very uncharacteristic of (Haiti and the Caribbean), and is quite characteristic of the region from where the soldiers in the base came," Mekalanos explained. "I don't see there is any way to avoid the conclusion that an unfortunate and presumably accidental introduction of the organism occurred."
Listeria Found in Texas Food Plant: FDA
A Texas food-processing plant has tested positive for bacteria
linked to listeriosis-related illnesses, including four deaths, the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.
The SanGar Fresh Cut Produce plant in San Antonio was ordered
closed Oct. 20 by state health officials and the company was told
to recall all products shipped from the plant since January,
Health authorities took the action after state health laboratory
Listeria monocytogenes in chopped celery at the plant. The
bacteria can cause severe illness.
The FDA inspected the plant on Oct. 26 and found the same
bacteria in processed celery and in a number of locations
throughout the plant. The FDA said the listeria it found "matches
the DNA fingerprint of the clinical cases of listeriosis reported
by the Texas Department of State Health Services,"
Tests conducted by an independent lab hired by SanGar came back
negative for listeria, said a lawyer for the company.
FDA Gives Digital Mammography Lower Risk Rating
Digital mammography systems have been given a lower risk rating,
which will make it easier for them to gain regulatory approval, the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday.
The devices, which produce computerized X-ray images of the
entire breast, are an alternative to systems that produce X-ray
film. When first approved by the FDA in 2000, digital mammography
systems were classified as a Class III, or high-risk, device.
Since then, numerous studies involving tens of thousands of
patients have provided more information about digital mammography.
As a result, the FDA decided to reclassify the technology as a
Class II, or medium-risk, device.
"Our decision to reclassify these devices is consistent with feedback we've received from public discussions with appropriate medical and scientific experts as well as our stronger understanding of how these systems work," Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in an agency news release.
Millions of U.S. Hospitalizations Preventable: Report
Nearly four million of the 40 million hospitalizations in the
United States in 2008 were potentially avoidable, says a federal
government report released Wednesday.
Appropriate outpatient care could have prevented these
hospitalizations of patients with conditions such as diabetes,
dehydration, and certain heart conditions and infections, according
to the latest
News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and
The analysis of data in the 2008 Nationwide Inpatient Sample
also found that preventable admissions were nearly twice as common
in rural hospitals (16 percent) as in urban hospitals (9
Among the other findings about potentially preventable hospital
- Rates were nearly one-third higher among people from
lower-income communities (12 percent) than among those from
higher-income communities (8 percent).
- Rates were lowest in the West (8 percent) and highest in the
South (11 percent).
- Patients 65 and older accounted for 60 percent of such