CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 22, 2013 |
Public health officials have launched a new, coordinated attack to contain a persistent outbreak of tuberculosis on downtown Los Angeles' skid row, including a search for more than 4,500 people who may have been exposed to the disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has dispatched scientists to Los Angeles to help local health officials determine why the disease is spreading and how to stop it. Officials say 11 have died since 2007. Sixty of the 78 cases were among homeless people who live on and around skid row. Scientists have recently linked the outbreak to a tuberculosis strain that is unique to Los Angeles, with a few isolated cases outside the area.
February 21, 2013 |
Several officials at the now-defunct Peanut Corp. of America knew their products may have harbored salmonella bacteria, but they covered up the evidence and sold the food anyway, alleged a 76-count federal indictment unsealed this week. Peanut butter, roasted peanuts and other items prepared at PCA's Blakely, Ga. plant were linked to a 2009 salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 700 people across 46 states and may have contributed to nine deaths. One of the largest food-based recalls in history resulted, affecting thousands of products made since 2007, including cookies, cereal and even pet treats, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
February 1, 2013 |
This season's outbreak of flu continues to be high -- especially among the elderly and the young -- but appears to be waning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday. Flu-like illnesses appeared to be falling in the East but rising in the Western states. Forty-five children have died, the CDC reported . This year's flu season began earlier and appeared harsher than in past years. For the week ending Jan. 26, the CDC said, 42 states reported widespread geographic influenza activity while seven reported regional activity.
January 10, 2013 |
An early outbreak threatens to makes this year's influenza season one of the most difficult in recent years as public health officials brace for the worst. Hospitals in the Northeast, from New Jersey to Massachusetts, are reporting record numbers of emergency room visits related to flu-like illnesses, and Boston has declared a public health emergency. At least 41 states have reported widespread flu outbreaks, more than 2,250 people have been hospitalized and 18 children have died, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
January 4, 2013 |
The Food and Drug Administration has proposed sweeping rules to curtail food-borne illnesses that kill thousands of Americans annually - and, in the process, to transform itself into an agency that prevents contamination, not one that merely investigates outbreaks. The rules, drafted with an eye toward strict standards in California and some other states, enable the implementation of the landmark Food Safety Modernization Act that President Obama signed two years ago in response to a string of deadly outbreaks of illness from contaminated spinach, eggs, peanut butter and imported produce.
January 1, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO - State regulators are responding to a deadly nationwide meningitis outbreak linked to contaminated drugs by seeking new power to inspect out-of-state pharmacies that sell special-order prescription drugs in California. In September, the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass., sent three shipments of contaminated injectable steroid solutions to 76 healthcare facilities and pain-control clinics in 23 states, including four in California. These customized drugs, which were injected into patients' spines and joints, caused 39 deaths among 620 reported cases of fungal meningitis and other infections, according to a Dec. 17 report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
November 29, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - A nomadic medical technician who held hospital jobs from Arizona to New England has been indicted in connection with a hepatitis C outbreak that infected more than 30 patients at a New Hampshire hospital and exposed thousands of others in Pennsylvania, Maryland and other states. David M. Kwiatkowski, a 33-year-old former radiology technician, was charged Wednesday by a federal grand jury with seven counts of tampering with a consumer product and seven counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud, the Justice Department said Thursday.
November 26, 2012 |
A new statistical model, built on search data from Google and principles from weather modeling, can predict flu outbreaks up to seven weeks in advance. The results, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, signify a transition in the study of infectious disease from modeling past outbreaks and events to predicting future ones. The researchers, Jeffrey Shaman of Columbia University and Alicia Karspeck of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., used data from the Google Flu Trends project, which keeps track of searches for flu-related topics and ties them to the geographic location of the searcher.
November 21, 2012 |
To date, 10 people have fallen ill - and three have died - in the hantavirus outbreak at Yosemite National Park's “signature” cabins in Curry Village, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hantavirus only infects a handful of people in the U.S. each year, but when it strikes it is deadly about a third of the time, killing by shutting down the respiratory system. Humans can catch the virus by getting bitten by infected deer mice, which carry the disease, or by inhaling virus particles that are shed in mouse feces or urine. Hantavirus cannot pass from person to person.
November 8, 2012 |
So far, 31 people have died of fungal meningitis and nearly 400 more have been sickened by contaminated steroid shots made by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass. Could these deaths and illnesses have been avoided? It's a distinct possibility, argues Boston University law professor Kevin Outterson in a commentary published online this week by the New England Journal of Medicine. Outterson, who specializes in healthcare law and pharmaceutical markets, says that a 1997 law would have given the U.S. Food and Drug Administration more authority to regulate compounding pharmacies - except that some of its provisions were overturned by the Supreme Court in 2002.