Health Highlights: Feb. 17, 2009

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

Food Banks Throwing Out Thousands of Pounds of Recalled Food

U.S. food banks are throwing out thousands of pounds of food products recalled in the nationwide salmonella outbreak linked to Peanut Corp. of America.

The discarded products include peanut butter, cereals, cookies, nut mixes and granola bars, items which are vital to food banks because of their long shelf life and durability, the Associated Press reported.

The Houston Food Bank has thrown out 3,000 pounds of recalled products. The Cleveland Food Clinic has tossed out 1,000 pounds of food and has put another several thousands pounds of food on snacks on hold until the recall list is finalized. More than 1,300 pounds of food has been discarded or quarantined at the Food Finders Food Bank Inc. in Lafayette, Ind.

    • Food Banks Discarding Thousands of Pounds of Recalled Food
    • Counterfeit Toothbrushes Pose Choking Hazard
    • U.K. Confirms First Case of Human Mad Cow Disease in Hemophilia Patient
    • Many Factors Can Contribute to PTSD Risk

"At a time when food banks are struggling, everything inevitably has an impact," Karen Ponza, spokeswoman for the Cleveland Food Clinic, told the AP.

So far, more than 1,900 products have been recalled due to the salmonella outbreak, which has sickened nearly 600 people and caused nine deaths.


Counterfeit Toothbrushes Pose Choking Hazard

Counterfeit toothbrushes that pose a choking hazard have been distributed across Canada and consumers should check their toothbrushes to make sure they're authentic, says Health Canada.

The agency said it has received at least one report of a counterfeit product's bristles becoming dislodged and caught in a person's throat, CBC News reported.

The counterfeit toothbrushes are labeled as Colgate Navigator, Colgate Massager, Colgate 360, the Oral B Classic 40 and Oral B Contura.

Authentic Colgate toothbrushes can be identified by the packaging, labeled in English and French only, that states "Distr. by/par: Colgate-Palmolive Canada Inc." They also have a lot code molded into the brush handle just under the brush head, CBC News reported.

Genuine Oral B brushes can be identified by the Oral B logo manufactured as part of the handle, while the fake versions may have the logo printed in silver test across a peel-away label.

Consumers who suspect they have a counterfeit brush should stop using it immediately, Health Canada said.


U.K. Confirms First Case of Human Mad Cow Disease in Hemophilia Patient

The first case of the human form of mad cow disease in a hemophilia patient has been confirmed by the U.K.'s Health Protection Agency (HPA).

The male victim, who was over 70 years old, received plasma products before rules were introduced to limit contagion. A post-mortem showed he had variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), but he showed no symptoms of the disease while alive and died of other causes, BBC News reported.

This is the first confirmed case of vCJD in up to 4,000 hemophiliac patients in the U.K. who received blood plasma transfusions between 1980 and 2001. They've been told they have a low risk of developing the disease.

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