Health Highlights: Dec. 4, 2018

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

New Drug Treats Dogs Scared by Loud Noises

A drug to treat dogs that are frightened by loud noises has been approved for use in the United States.

Pexion (imepitoin tablets) is for dogs scared by loud noises such as fireworks, street/traffic racket, and gun shots, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

Clinical trials show that the drug reduced noise-averse dogs' reactions to fireworks. The drug was approved by the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine and will be available by prescription only.

The drug is given to the dog twice daily starting two days before an expected noise event and treatment continues through the event.

The most common side effects were difficulty standing and walking, increased appetite, lethargy, and vomiting. But three of the 90 dogs that received Pexion in the trial became aggressive, including growling at a young child and lack of restraint or self-control towards other dogs.

The drug's label information advises owners to carefully observe their dogs during treatment, the FDA said.

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More Raw Beef Recalled Due to Salmonella: USDA

More raw beef in the United States has been recalled due to possible salmonella contamination, the Department of Agriculture says.

A unit of Brazil's JBS is recalling more than 12 million pounds of raw beef that was shipped around the U.S. In October, JBS Tolleson in Arizona recalled about 7 million pounds of beef, the Associated Press reported.

To date, 246 illnesses have been reported, according to the USDA.

The most recent recall covers products with the USDA inspection number "EST. 267" that were packaged between late July and September. The agency said any of the recalled products still in people's freezers should be thrown away, the AP reported.

Salmonella can occur in raw poultry and meat, which needs to be properly handled and cooked, the USDA said. Cooking kills salmonella.

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Cases of Polio-Like Illness Now at 134, But Season May Have Peaked

The number of U.S. cases of a devastating polio-like disease striking kids, called acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), has now reached 134, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

However, this year's outbreak appears to have peaked and is expected to decline for the remainder of 2018, agency officials added.

The mysterious illness is thought to be related to infection with a common type of virus called an enterovirus. AFM can cause paralysis.

As of Nov. 30, there had been 134 cases of AFM confirmed in 33 states out of 299 cases reported to the CDC. This is an increase of 18 confirmed cases from the previous week, but most of the latest confirmed cases occurred in September and October.

Even though fewer cases are expected in coming months, health officials will continue to study AFM in order to learn more about the condition in order to better diagnose, treat, and prevent it in the future, according to the CDC.

The agency noted that there is a pattern of higher numbers of confirmed cases every two years. There were 120 in 2014, 22 in 2015, 149 in 2016, and 33 in 2017.

Most cases are reported between August and October, with significant reductions in November. That pattern appears to be repeating this year, CDC said.

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