Health Highlights: Aug. 22, 2016
Federal Transgender Washroom Access Guidelines Blocked by Judge Illicit Fentanyl Found at Prince's Estate Frozen Scallops Linked to Hepatitis A Outbreak Duplicate Health Care Coverage Targeted by Federal Government U.S. Doctor Who Led Global Fight Against Smallpox Dead at Age 87
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Federal Transgender Washroom Access Guidelines Blocked by Judge
Obama administration guidelines meant to expand restroom access for transgender students nationwide have been blocked by a federal judge in Texas.
The government did not comply with federal law when it issued "directives which contradict the existing legislative and regulatory text," Judge Reed O'Connor of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas wrote in his ruling, The New York Times reported.
The case involved a challenge to the federal government's guidelines brought by officials from more than a dozen states.
A Justice Department spokeswoman said the department was disappointed with the decision and was reviewing its options. The ruling is unfortunate and premature, several civil rights groups said, The Times reported.
Illicit Fentanyl Found at Prince's Estate
Pills found at Prince's estate that were labeled as weaker painkillers actually contained the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl, according to an official close to the investigation into the 57-year-old performer's death.
Prince died April 21 of an accidental overdose of fentanyl, which is 50 times more powerful than heroin, the Associated Press reported.
A number of pills taken from Prince's estate in Paisley Park were falsely labeled as "Watson 385," which is used to identify pills that contain a mix of acetaminophen and hydrocodone, according to Drugs.com.
About a dozen pills were found in a dressing room at Paisley Park, but most were discovered in bottles of Vitamin C and aspirin inside a suitcase and bags -- including one Prince often carried with him, the anonymous official told the AP.
Records show Prince had no prescription for any controlled substances in Minnesota in the 12 months before he died, the official said. Investigators are still trying to determine how Prince obtained the illicit fentanyl.
Frozen Scallops Linked to Hepatitis A Outbreak
An outbreak of hepatitis A in Hawaii has been traced to frozen Bay Scallops distributed by Sea Port Products Corp., federal health officials say.
As of Aug. 17, 206 people in Hawaii were confirmed to have hepatitis A linked to the scallops. The illnesses began over a period of time ranging from June 12, 2016 to Aug. 9, 2016. All the patients have been adults and 51 were hospitalized.
Sea Port Products has recalled frozen Bay Scallops produced on Nov. 23 and 24, 2015. The products, which were not intended for retail sale, were distributed in Hawaii, California and Nevada.
Restaurants and other retailers should not serve or sell the scallops. Consumers should ask restaurants or retailers where their scallops came from to make sure they do not eat the recalled scallops, health officials said.
Duplicate Health Care Coverage Targeted by Federal Government
The U.S. government is taking action to eliminate duplicate health care coverage.
The move affects tens of thousands of Medicaid enrollees who are also receiving federal subsidies to help pay for private health insurance, The New York Times reported.
The federal insurance exchange has sent warning letters to consumers across the country saying they "should immediately end marketplace coverage with premium tax credits for each person" in the home who is also enrolled in Medicaid or in the Children's Health Insurance Program.
If this isn't done, the government will halt any financial assistance people receive to help pay insurance premiums, deductibles and other out-of-pocket medical costs, The Times reported.
More than nine months ago, Government Accountability Office investigators warned about the potential for duplicate coverage and double payment.
U.S. Doctor Who Led Global Fight Against Smallpox Dead at Age 87
The American doctor who led to campaign to eradicate smallpox has died at age 87.
Donald Henderson died of complications after breaking a hip, BBC News reported.
Smallpox was one of the world's deadliest diseases and killed hundreds of millions of people in the last century. The disease killed about one-third of those infected.
In 1966, Henderson was appointed by the World Health Organization to stamp out smallpox. At that time, the disease was still endemic in Africa and Asia. Most believed Henderson would fail. But instead of a mass vaccination program, he targeted outbreaks of the disease and systematically vaccinated people, BBC News reported.
It was first time an infectious disease had been combated on a global scale. Smallpox was officially declared eradicated in 1980.