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Health Highlights: April 4, 2012

Sushi-Linked Salmonella Outbreak Affecting 19 States: CDC Education Level Affects Longevity: Study Cheney Goes Home 10 Days After Heart Transplant

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

Sushi-Linked Salmonella Outbreak Affecting 19 States: CDC

State and local health officials are investigating an outbreak of an unusual strain of salmonella bacteria that has sickened at least 90 people in 19 states and Washington, D.C., the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday.

No specific food source has been identified, and the CDC is not steering people away from any food or restaurants. However, "on initial interviews, many of the ill persons reported consuming sushi, sashimi, or similar foods in a variety of locations in the week before becoming ill," the CDC reported in a news release Wednesday.

The illnesses -- first reported Jan. 28 and most recently on Monday -- were caused by the strain of Salmonella Bareilly. The CDC has not said which states have suffered the outbreaks.

Symptoms of salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. Most people recover within 4 to 7 days without treatment, but some cases are deadly if not treated with antibiotics. The elderly, the very young and people with compromised immune systems are most at risk of a severe illness from salmonella infection.

If you suspect you have eaten contaminated food, the CDC recommends contacting your doctor. "CDC will update the public on the progress of this investigation as information becomes available," the agency said.


Education Level Affects Longevity: Study

Americans are living longer overall, but better educated people are increasingly the main beneficiaries of gains in life span, according to a new study.

University of Wisconsin researchers analyzed data from more than 3,000 counties across the United States and found that rates of premature death (before age 75) differed sharply across counties, and that a lack of college education accounted for about 35 percent of that variation from 2006 to 2008, The New York Times reported.

That was an increase from 30 percent over an equivalent period seven years earlier.

The study also found that an average increase of one year in post-secondary education levels was associated with a 16 percent decrease in years of life lost before age 75, the Times reported.


Cheney Goes Home 10 Days After Heart Transplant

Ten days after undergoing a heart transplant, former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney has returned to his Virginia home.

After a wait of nearly two years, the 71-year-old Cheney received a new heart on March 24. Since the age of 37, Cheney has had five heart attacks. The most recent was in 2010, USA Today reported.

"As he leaves the hospital, the former vice president and his family want to again express their deep gratitude to the donor and the donor's family for this remarkable gift," said a statement from Cheney's office.

The statement also thanked doctors at Inova Fairfax and George Washington University hospitals, and the intensive-care nursing staff at the Inova Fairfax Heart and Vascular Institute, USA Today reported.


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