Health Highlights: Nov. 2, 2015

Health Highlights: Nov. 2, 2015

Health Highlights: Nov. 2, 2015

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

Ground Beef Products from All American Meats Recalled Due to Possible E. Coli Contamination

More than 167,000 pounds of ground beef products are being recalled by All American Meats, Inc. due to possible contamination with potentially deadly E. coli bacteria.

The nationwide recall is for ground beef products produced by the company in Omaha, Nebraska on Oct. 16, 2015. The problem was discovered Oct. 30 when random testing by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) discovered E. coli O157:H7 in some of the company's products.

This type of E. coli can cause dehydration, blood diarrhea and abdominal cramps 2-8 days (3-4 days, on average) after people are exposed to the bacteria. Most people recover, but some develop kidney failure. Seniors and children younger than age 5 are at greatest risk.

To date, there have been no reports of illnesses associated with the recalled ground beef products sold in 60- and 80-pound boxes, according to FSIS.

Consumers with the products should throw them away or return them to the place of purchase. More information about the recall is available on the FSIS website.


Number of E. Coli Cases in Oregon, Washington Expected to Rise: Health Officials

The number of E. coli cases linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon is expected to rise, health officials say.

As of Friday, 19 people in western Washington and three people in the Portland area had become sick from E. coli. Seventeen of the patients had recently eaten at a Chipotle restaurant, the Associated Press reported.

Eight of the patients were hospitalized but there are no known deaths.

As news of the outbreak spreads, the list of potential cases is likely to grow, Marisa D'Angeli, medical epidemiologist with the Washington State Department of Health, told the AP.

Anyone who became sick with intestinal symptoms after eating at a Chipotle restaurant since mid-October should see their doctor and get tested, she advised. Anyone with blood diarrhea should see a doctor whether they have eaten at Chipotle or not, she added.

All 43 Chipotle restaurants in Washington State and Oregon were voluntary closed by the company. The reopening of the restaurants will be determined by the investigation into the outbreak, Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold told the AP.

There are no plans to close any other restaurants in other states, he added.


Many Sexually Assaulted Teens Not Tested or Treated: Study

Less than half of American teens who seek emergency department care after a sexual assault don't receive recommended tests or treatments to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, gonorrhea, and chlamydia, a new study says.

Researchers analyzed data from 38 children's hospitals nationwide. On average, 44 percent of sexually assaulted teens got recommended tests and about one-third received preventive treatment, the Associated Press reported.

Among individual hospitals, rates ranged from zero teens treated to nearly 90 percent tested, according to the study in the journal Pediatrics.

The researchers said up to 25 percent of girls and 10 percent of boys in the U.S. are sexually abused or assaulted by age 18, the AP reported.

Some teens may not be tested or treated because the sexual assault didn't involve intercourse, and some hospitals may not test teens who delay seeking care, the researchers said.

A journal editorial suggested that some sexually-assaulted teens may refuse tests and treatment, or may seek care in outpatient clinics, so the actual rates of under-treatment are unclear, the AP reported.


Actor, Politician Fred Thompson Dead at 73

Actor and former U.S. senator Fred Thompson died Sunday at age 73.

He died in Nashville after a recurrence of lymphoma, his family said. Thompson was born in Sheffield, Alabama and grew up in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., the Associated Press reported.

Along with his TV and movie acting career, Thompson was a lawyer, prosecutor, Senate counsel at the Watergate hearings, and even a Republican presidential hopeful.

He was first elected to the Senate during a 1994 special election for Al Gore's old Senate seat and in 1996 won a six-year term, the AP reported.

He appeared in at least 20 movies, including "In the Line of Fire," "Cape Fear," "The Hunt for Red October," and "Die Hard II." His TV work included the NBC drama series "Law & Order."


Medicare to Cover End-of-Life Counseling for Older Americans

Medicare, the federally run insurance program for Americans 65 and older, said Friday that it will begin reimbursing doctors who work with patients to plan end-of-life care.

Numerous physician and health groups recommended the move. Some doctors already provide so-called "advance care planning" to patients without getting paid for their time, and some private insurers cover the practice, the Associated Press reported.

Advance care planning has gained increasing acceptance in the six years since the proposal was denounced by some Republicans as "death panels," the news service said.

The Obama administration's policy change could make the talks more common for Medicare's 55 million beneficiaries. The counseling would be voluntary, and could take place during a senior's annual physical or during regular office visits, the AP said.

"As a physician and a son, I personally know how important these discussions are for patients and families," Dr. Patrick Conway, Medicare's chief medical officer, told the AP. "We believe patients and families deserve the opportunity to discuss these issues with their physician and care team."

Advance care planning wouldn't just be for the seriously ill. It could include an ongoing discussion that might change at different stages of a person's life. For example, someone who's relatively healthy might want aggressive medical efforts if injured in an accident. But, if that same person were later diagnosed with advanced cancer, he or she might make different decisions as their health worsened, the news service said.
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