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Health Highlights: April 24, 2013

H7N9 Flu One of 'Most Lethal' Viruses So Far: WHO Study Identifies Riskiest Meats Another Compounding Pharmacy Announces Recall

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

H7N9 Flu One of 'Most Lethal' Viruses So Far: WHO

The virus causing the current bird flu outbreak in China is one of the "most lethal" flu viruses ever seen, according to World Health Organization officials.

Health experts are especially concerned that the H7N9 virus jumps from birds to people more easily than the H5N1 virus that appeared in 2003 and has since killed 360 people worldwide, Dr. Keiji Fukuda, WHO's top influenza expert, said at a media briefing in Beijing, the Associated Press reported.

Another cause for worry is that H7N9 infects birds without causing noticeable symptoms, which makes it difficult to track its spread.

"This is definitely one of the most lethal influenza viruses we have seen so far," said Fukuda, the AP reported.

The H7N9 virus has infected more than 100 people in China. Most of them have become seriously ill and more than 20 have died. On Wednesday, Taiwan reported its first confirmed case of H7N9 bird flu in a man who became sick after returning from a visit to China.


Study Identifies Riskiest Meats

Ground beef and chicken cause more foodborne illness-related hospitalizations than other meats, according to a new study.

Chicken nuggets, ham and sausage pose the lowest risk, according to Center for Science in the Public Interest researchers who examined more than 33,000 cases of foodborne illness, the Associated Press reported.

The analysis used more than 12 years of U.S. government data on outbreaks of salmonella, E. coli, listeria and other pathogens linked to specific meats.

To identify the riskiest meats, the researchers ranked them based on which contamination was most likely to lead to hospitalization. Some meats may have caused more illnesses but were less likely to cause severe illness, the AP reported.


Another Compounding Pharmacy Announces Recall

Another compounding pharmacy in the United States is recalling all sterile drugs that have not reached their expiry date.

The recall of nearly 100 products was announced by Nora Apothecary Alternative Therapies of Indianapolis after federal inspectors found the company's quality control processes had problems that could compromise the sterility of the products, the Associated Press reported.

Compounded drugs that are not sterile can cause infections. The company said it has not received any reports of illnesses associated with the drugs, which were made on or before April 19.

A deadly meningitis outbreak last year was caused by contaminated drugs from a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts. Since then, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been inspecting compounding pharmacies across the country, the AP reported.

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