Health Highlights: Dec. 15, 2007

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

CDC Cancels Bids for National Medical Processing Center for Ground Zero Workers

A national plan to provide medical assistance workers from outside the New York metropolitan area who came to assist in The World Trade Center cleanup immediately after its destruction in 2001 has been put on hold, the New York Times reports.

The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had requested bids to establish a business processing center to administer medical claims at clinics across the country from workers who were experiencing after-effects, especially respiratory problems.

WHAT TO KNOW
    • CDC Cancels Bids for National Medical Processing Center for Ground Zero Workers
    • New Human Bird Flu Cases Reported in Asia
    • Recalled Valucraft Booster Cables Pose Shock Hazard
    • More Blood Contaminants Found in People with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma: Study
    • Minnesota Bans Mercury in Cosmetics
    • FDA to Issue New Guidelines for Drug-Coated Stents

But late in the day on Dec. 13, the CDC cancelled the bidding process, saying that those interested in giving a proposal seemed confused about the requirements for obtaining the government contract, the Times reports.

This latest snag in systematizing medical relief for the thousands of people who came to ground zero from outside new York City after Sep. 11 2001, was "a sign of continued confusion and lack of commitment to this program within this administration," the newspaper quotes Dr. James M. Melius, chairman of the steering committee for the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program, as saying.

The national business center was to help in recruiting doctors to treat those who had medical problems resulting from working at ground zero and to standardize reimbursement. Melius told the Times the national program also would administer a centralized pharmaceutical benefits plan designed to save money over separate prescription plans.

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New Human Bird Flu Cases Reported in Asia

The avian flu that health officials worry may still cause a worldwide pandemic has surfaced again in Asia, claiming more human victims, the Associated Press reports.

While there is still no evidence that the H5N1 flu virus has mutated to allow human-to-human transmission, people who raise fowl or are constantly around birds continue to be vulnerable.

Indonesia Friday announced its 93rd human death this year, out of 115 people infected with avian flu, the wire service said.

And the first human case of bird flu case in Myanmar was reported by the World Health organization, the A.P. said. The 7-year-old girl, who became ill in late November, has recovered.

In the eastern Nanjing province of China, a father and son became ill earlier this month. The son, 24, has died, the wire service said, becoming Chinas 17th bird flu victim.

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Recalled Valucraft Booster Cables Pose Shock Hazard

About 140,00 Valucraft car booster cables are being recalled because the clamps were assembled incorrectly, resulting in reverse polarity. This poses electrical shock and explosion hazards, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says.

The Chinese-made cables were sold for between $12 and $20 at AutoZone stores across the United States and on AutoZone's Web site from June 2007 through October 2007.

valucraft recall

AutoZone Parts Inc., of Memphis Tenn., has received four reports of incidents of reverse polarity that led to minor property damage.

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