Health Highlights: Sept. 8, 2015

Health Highlights: Sept. 8, 2015

Health Highlights: Sept. 8, 2015

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

World Supply of Snakebite Anti-Venom Getting Low

Aid agency Doctors Without Borders is warning that the global supply of anti-venom for snakebites is running dry, leaving tens of thousands of people at risk, mostly in developing nations.

According to a statement from the group, stockpiles of Fav-Afrique, made by drug company Sanofi-Pasteur, will run out by June of 2016, the Associated Press reported.

Sanofi-Pasteur last year made the decision to stop producing Fav-Afrique at one of its plants and make a rabies treatment there instead. Doctors Without Borders now estimates that there will be no other anti-venom ready to replace Fav-Afrique for at least two years.

"We are now facing a real crisis," Dr. Gabriel Alcoba, the charity's snakebite adviser, said in the statement.

A Sanofi Pasteur spokesman said the company stopped making the venom remedy because competitors were selling cheaper products, and the drug maker announced in 2010 it would stop making the therapy, the AP reported.

"It's very strange that (health officials) are only realizing this problem five years later," said Sanofi Pasteur spokesman Alain Bernal. He said the company has offered to transfer the anti-venom technology to others but "nothing has materialized yet."

According to the AP, over five million people suffer snakebites each year, leading to 100,000 deaths annually and many more cases requiring amputation or other disabilities.


Cucumbers Recalled Following Salmonella Outbreak

Cucumbers that may be linked to one death and nearly 300 illnesses in 27 states have been recalled by their California supplier, U.S. health officials said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Mexico-grown cucumbers were distributed in Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Florida; Idaho; Illinois; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Minnesota; Mississippi; Montana; Nevada; New Jersey; New Mexico; Oklahoma; Oregon; South Carolina; Texas; and Utah.

The company, Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce of San Diego, on Friday voluntarily recalled its "Limited Edition" brand cucumbers because they may be responsible for the Salmonella Poona infections, the CDC reported.

This type of cucumber, known as a "slicer" or American cucumber, is dark green and 7 to 10 inches long. CDC officials said the cucumbers appear to have caused 285 illnesses since July 3 and the Aug. 17 death of a 99-year-old woman in San Diego.

If you don't know if your cucumbers were recalled, the CDC suggested asking your supplier. Or, if you're in doubt, throw them out.
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