Health Highlights: Sept. 14, 2008

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

Pet Food Recalled After Salmonella Link Suspected

Two isolated cases of a type of the salmonella bacterium known as Salmonella Schwarzengrund in humans has caused a Pennsylvania pet food manufacturer to recall a number of dry dog and cat food brands nationwide.

Mars Inc.'s Mars Petcare is recalling cat and dog food made at its Everson, Pa. facility, according to wire service reports.

While Mars Inc. maintained no direct connection has been made between illness in either animals or humans and its pet food product, the possibility that two humans may have contracted salmonella caused the recall, which began at the beginning of August.

WHAT TO KNOW
    • Pet Food Recalled After Salmonella Link Suspected
    • Cervical Cancer Vaccine Approved to Combat Two Related Cancers
    • China Says Milk Powder Caused More than 400 Cases of Kidney Stones in Babies
    • Japan Has 36,000 Centenarians
    • Boss Gender Affects Worker Health
    • Brain Infection Kills Patient Who Took Rituxan

The latest announcement expanded the pet food brands being recalled to include some Pedigree brands, Country Acres, Retriever, Doggy Bag, Members Mark, Natural, Ol' Roy, Special Kitty, Paws & Claws, Wegman's, Pet Pride, PMI Nutrition and Red Flannel.

Consumers should look for "17" as the first two digits of the second line on the Universal Price Code. Pedigree products will have "PAE" on the bottom line. Cionsumers can also call 1-877-568-4463 for more information.

Salmonella Schwarzengrund is one member (serovar) of the salmonella family. According to the U.S. Food and Drug administration, symptoms in humans include fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Animal symptoms include lethargy, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), fever, and vomiting. Some pets will only have decreased appetite, fever or abdominal pain.

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Cervical Cancer Vaccine Approved to Combat Two Related Cancers

Gardasil, the vaccine used to guard against cervical cancer, has been approved for similar use against two more gynecological malignancies.

According to the Associated Press, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the drug, manufactured by Merck Pharmaceuticals, to guard against cancers that attack the vagina and vulva.

Gardasil fights most of the strains the papillomavirus (HPV) that cause cervical cancer. About 20 million Americans carry HPV, but not all of them develop cancer. About 5,000 women get vulva and vaginal cancer annually, according to the wire service.

"Anytime we have evidence of additional cancer protection, that's a really important piece of information," the A.P. quotes Rick Haupt, Merick's executive director for HPV vaccines, as saying.

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China Says Milk Powder Caused More than 400 Cases of Kidney Stones in Babies

China's latest health problem was acknowledged Friday when its health minister said 432 babies had developed kidney stones from drinking a contaminated milk powder, the Associated Press reports.

At a news conference, Health Minister Gao Qiang said the chemical melamine had been found in the powder, the wire service reported. Melaminie is the same involved in the massive pet food recall last year, according to the wire service.

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