Health Highlights: May 4, 2008

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

Nationwide Recall Issued for 286,000 lbs of Prepared Meat Products

Complying with a U.S. government alert that there is a "reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death," a New York City company that sells processed foods has recalled 286,000 pounds of prepared beef, pork and poultry, the New York Times reports.

The danger is from the bacterium listeria, which causes listeriosis, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the newspaper says. It is the second time in three months that Gourmet Boutique of Jamaica, Queens, has been cited for possible listeria contaimination., the Times says. So far, no inicidents of illness have been reported, the newspaper says.

    • Nationwide Recall Issued for 286,000 lbs of Prepared Meat Products
    • Deadly Children's Virus in China Shows Signs of Spreading
    • Medical Society to Review Lyme Disease Antibiotic Treatment Guidelines
    • FDA Cautious About Expanding Use of Painkiller Fentora
    • FDA Panel to Assess Abuse-Resistant OxyContin
    • In Vitro Fertilization Doesn't Affect Menopause: Study

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, listeriosis symptoms include fever, muscle aches, and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea. Nervous system symptoms can include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or convulsions. The disease can also cause miscarriage.

The bacterium was discovered by USDA food inspectors in Florida, the Times reports, and the company voluntarily issued the recall.

Gourmet Boutique's products are sold in supermarkets nationwide under the following names: Gourmet Boutique Curry Chicken Salad, Gourmet Boutique Turkey Club Twister and Jans Buffalo Bob tortilla wrap sandwiches, according to the Times.

Frozen foods recalled included Archer Farms mini beef burritos, pulled-pork burritos and chicken burritos. There were also salad product in the recall, the Times reports, and they were produced between April 19 and April 24, according to the USDA. The frozen products were produced between Oct. 23, 2007 and April 23, 2008, the USDA said.

The fresh food products had sell-by dates of May 2 and May 3.


Deadly Children's Virus in China Shows Signs of Spreading

A virus that has killed 24 children in one city alone and spread to thousands of China's youngest residents has prompted that country's health ministry to issue a nationwide alert calling for increased efforts to keep the disease from spreading, the Associated Press reports.

The city of Fuyang in central China was described by health officials as having a "relatively large" outbreak of Enterovirus 71 (EV-71), a type of hand, foot and mouth disease, the wire service reported. In addition to the 24 deaths, 3,321 cases of the virus had been reported as of last Thursday, and almost 1,000 people remained hospitalized, the A.P. said.

There are signs the disease is spreading, according to the wire service, with at least one other death attributed to EV-71 in another province. The disease strikes children, usually under age 10, and while affecting the feet and mouth, is not related to foot and mouth disease found in animals.

Symptoms include fever, mouth sores and rash. EV-71 is spread by direct contact with discharges from the nose and throat.

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