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Meeting Will Discuss Autism, Vaccine Link

Experts will meet this week to discuss autism and vaccines, months after a young girl won a settlement from a special vaccine court, after the government conceded that vaccines could have played a role in her autism. This week’s Indianapolis meeting is being sponsored by the mental health institute, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the CDC, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Recently, the parents of nine-year-old Hannah Poling won a government settlement out of a federal fund that compensates those injured by vaccines. Hannah was 19 months old and developing normally in 2000 when she received five shots against nine infectious diseases. Two days later, she developed a fever, cried inconsolably, and refused to walk. In the next seven months, she spiraled downward; in 2001, doctors diagnosed autism. Both girls had mitochondrial disorders. (more…)

Tomatoes Possibly Not Linked to Massive Salmonella Outbreak

Salmonella St. Paul has sickened at least 810 people across the country, and now health officials have said that tainted tomatoes might not be the cause of outbreak. The last report of a case of Salmonella St. Paul was made on June 15, which indicates the outbreak is ongoing. It could also mean that whatever food is making people sick is still being sold in grocery stores and restaurants.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Salmonella outbreak now spans 36 states and the District of Columbia have been sickened in this outbreak. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Arkansas (10 persons), Arizona (39), California (10), Colorado (8), Connecticut (4), Florida (1), Georgia (18), Idaho (3), Illinois (78), Indiana (11), Kansas (14), Kentucky (1), Maine (1), Maryland (25), Massachusetts (18), Michigan (4), Minnesota (2), Missouri (12), New Hampshire (3), Nevada (4), New Jersey (4), New Mexico (85), New York (25), North Carolina (5), Ohio (6), Oklahoma (19), Oregon (7), Pennsylvania (6), Rhode Island (3), Tennessee (6), Texas (342), Utah (2), Virginia (22), Vermont (1), Washington (4), Wisconsin (6), and the District of Columbia (1). (more…)

12 More E. Coli Cases Linked to Kroger Ground Beef

Another 12 reports of E. coli in Michigan and Ohio have been linked to recalled Kroger ground beef, bringing the total to 35. On Wednesday, Kroger recalled all ground beef products with sell-by dates between May 21 and June 8. Kroger still has not released figures on the number of meat suppliers it works with to supply its over 2,470 supermarkets and stores in 31 states. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) followed suit and is also not releasing information about the number or names of suppliers involved in the investigation, deferring to Kroger’s proprietary business relations with such firms.

Kroger has been involved in no less than four ground beef recalls involving meat suppliers and processors, according to its own news release archives. In July 2002, Kroger recalled all of its ground beef products because one of its suppliers, ConAgra Beef—one of the nation’s largest beef processors—discovered E. coli in a sample of its meat. In August 2001 and December 2000, Kroger recalled ground beef because meat from American Foods Group Inc.—a Green Bay Wisconsin-based wholesale meat supplier—was found to have the same strain of bacteria. Immediately following the 2001 recall, Kroger recalled ground beef after IBP Inc., a wholesale meat supplier based in Dakota City, Nebraska, found E. coli in some of its meat products. (more…)

More Defective ATVs Recalled

Kawasaki Motor Corp. and KYMKO USA are the latest companies to recall defective ATVs (all terrain vehicles). Earlier this week, Arctic Cat recalled 6,000 ATVs for a speed control problem. In March, Yamaha Motor Corp. recalled some of its popular Rhino models for a brake defect, and in May, Honda recalled 1400 Model Year 2008 Honda TRX500 ATVs for a brake defect.

KYMKO is recalling 1700 2008 Model Year Mongoose Youth ATVs because the carburetor can cause the throttle to stick open, posing a risk of serious injury or death to the rider. The recalled ATVs were sold by KYMCO dealers nationwide from August 2007 through June 2008 for between $1,700 and $2,100. (more…)

More Salmonella Tomato Illnesses Reported

Salmonella tomatoes have sickened 757 people, making it the largest in US history to be linked to tomatoes. Unfortunately, that number probably doesn’t come close to measuring the true size of this outbreak. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that as many as 8500 people might eventually become sick from the Salmonella tomatoes.

No one will ever know the true number of illnesses caused by Salmonella tainted tomatoes, because health officials are never notified of most illnesses. Many people with a mild case of Salmonella poisoning won’t seek medical attention, and among many of those that do, testing of stool samples – the only way to confirm Salmonella – is never done. Generally, this strain of Salmonella- St. Paul – sickens only about 400 people a year. (more…)

707 Sickened by Salmonella Tomatoes


At least 707 people have been sickened by Salmonella -laced tomatoes in 34 states and the District of Columbia. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Texas has had been the hardest hit state, with 293 illnesses reported. Other states affected by the outbreak include Arkansas (7 persons), Arizona (36), California (10), Colorado (5), Connecticut (4), Florida (1), Georgia (15), Idaho (3), Illinois (63), Indiana (11), Kansas (11), Kentucky (1), Maryland (25), Massachusetts (17), Michigan (4), Missouri (12), New Hampshire (1), Nevada (4), New Jersey (4), New Mexico (80), New York (18), North Carolina (5), Ohio (3), Oklahoma (17), Oregon (5), Pennsylvania (6), Rhode Island (3), Tennessee (6), Utah (2), Virginia (22), Vermont (1), Washington (5), Wisconsin (6), and the District of Columbia (1). At least 76 people have been hospitalized, and the CDC says that Salmonella may have also contributed to the death of a Texas cancer patient.

The CDC says that most of the illnesses were reported between mid-April and June 13, 2008. Because the CDC is continuing to receive reports of illnesses, the Salmonella outbreak is considered to be ongoing. (more…)

Court Papers Show Welding Industry Payments Influenced Research on Manganese Rod Fumes

A new article in “Mother Jones” details the way the welding industry was able to pay for research to bolster its claims that manganese welding rod fumes played no role in the development of Parkinson’s Disease among welders. According to “Mother Jones”, last October US District Judge Kathleen O’Malley -whose Ohio courtroom is the fact-finding venue for hundreds of manganese lawsuits – ordered both sides in the litigation to provide a “full and complete” accounting of any payments they made to scientists or institutions that conducted or published research on the manganese – Parkinson’s Disease link.

“Mother Jones’ has been able to obtain the court papers related to those studies, and what they found was startling.  One expert told the publication that she was shocked at the extent to which the welding companies were able to influence the studies they paid for. “This has every appearance of the industry buying science,” Erin Bigler, a professor of psychology at Brigham Young University who studies brain trauma, aging, and autism, told ‘Mother Jones’ after reviewing the documents. “I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve suspected it forever, but I’ve never seen it.” (more…)

More Studies Urged for Definity and Optison

A Food & Drug Administration (FDA) panel yesterday said that heart imaging agents like Definity and Optison, which have been linked to hundreds of cardiac reactions and 11 deaths, need to undergo more thorough safety studies. The agency had convened the panel of outside experts because it wanted advice on what safety issues to consider as companies seek approval to use the imaging agents to diagnose other conditions such as liver problems. Definity, marketed by Lantheus Medical Imaging, and Optison, distributed by GE Healthcare, are currently  approved for use during echocardiograms, ultrasound imaging procedures that take a detailed, moving picture of the heart.

The panel said that ideally, companies selling or seeking to sell such contrast agents would launch a randomized placebo-controlled study of thousands of patients to assess the potential for heart risks. However, the panel also said the companies could conduct less-thorough observational studies if the other was not practical. (more…)

Health Canada Sends Out Another Chantix Warning

Chantix users in Canada – where the anti-smoking drug is sold as Champix – are being warned again that it is associated with serious side effects, including suicidal behavior. It is the second time since April that Health Canada has issued such a warning.

In the US, Chantix has been linked to at least 40 suicides and 400 attempted suicides. In November 2007, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued an “Early Communication” that stated its preliminary assessment revealed many of the cases reflected new-onset of depressed mood, suicidal ideation, and changes in emotion and behavior within days to weeks of initiating Chantix treatment. (more…)

As Tomato Salmonella Outbreak Grows, Official Proposes FDA Office in Latin America


The Salmonella outbreak linked to tomatoes has led to talk that the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) needs an office in Latin America.  None other than Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Micheal Leavitt advocated for such an idea yesterday, during a week-long visit to Mexico and Central America.  Several Mexican states have been cited as possible sources of the Salmonella outbreak which has sickened more than 600 people across the country.  A few tomato-growing counties in Florida are also being investigated in the outbreak as well.

 Leavitt said yesterday that FDA inspectors were working with their Mexican counterparts to inspect farms, distribution centers and transportation methods. Investigators are focusing their investigation on tomatoes from three states: Jalisco, Sinaloa and Coahuila. Initially, the Salmonella outbreak halted all tomato imports from Mexico, but regulators have now cleared shipments from most of the country, except those from the three suspect states.  Other FDA inspectors are doing the same thing in parts of Florida. (more…)




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