Health Highlights: July 16, 2009

Swine Flu Vaccine Could Get Scarce: Experts Male Enhancement Products Recalled Female Veterans Lack Privacy at VA Facilities: Report World's Oldest Mother Dies

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

Swine Flu Vaccine Could Get Scarce: Experts

The United States could find itself short of swine flu vaccine if the virus becomes much more lethal and countries start to scramble for more of the vaccine, experts warn.

They noted that the United States makes only 20 percent of the flu vaccines it uses. The situation is even worse in Britain, which imports all its flu vaccines. Only a few countries are self-sufficient in vaccines.

"This isn't rocket science. If there is more severe disease, countries will want to hang onto the vaccine for their own citizens," Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told the Associated Press.

Leaders of countries with adequate supplies of swine flu vaccine won't be willing to share with other nations, experts predict.

"Pandemic vaccine will be a valuable and scarce resource, like oil or food during a famine," David Fidler, an Indiana University law professor who has consulted for the World Health Organization, told the AP. "We've seen how countries behave in those situations, and it's not encouraging."


Male Enhancement Products Recalled

Six male enhancement products made by Nature & Health Co. are being recalled because they contain drug ingredients that aren't declared on their labeling.

The recall includes: LibieXtreme; Y-4ever; Libimax X Liquid; Powermania Liquid; Powermania Capsule and Herbal Disiac, the Associated Press reported.

The undeclared ingredients in the products may interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs, such as nitroglycerin, and may lower blood pressure to dangerous levels, the company said. The products may also cause side effects, such as flushing and headaches.

No illnesses related to the products have been reported, the AP said.


Female Veterans Lack Privacy at VA Facilities: Report

Female veterans aren't assured of privacy when they bathe and undergo physical examinations at Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics, federal government auditors say.

No VA facility under review is complying fully with federal privacy regulations, said the Government Accountability Office, the Associated Press reported.

In many VA facilities, gynecological tables face the door. At four hospitals, female patients weren't guaranteed access to private bathing facilities. In two cases, there were no locks on bathing room doors, the GAO investigators found.

Privacy isn't the only issue for female veterans. VA hospitals lack child care and it can be difficult to find diaper-changing tables, the AP reported.

The VA knows that services for women need improvement, but changes are being made to "build the system that will provide care equal to the health care needs of all America's veterans, regardless of gender," said Patricia Hayes, chief consultant of the veterans strategic health care group at the VA.


World's Oldest Mother Dies

A Spanish woman who was the oldest ever to become a new mother died Saturday at the age of 69, according to her family, BBC News reported.

Maria del Carmen Bousada was 66 when she gave birth to twin boys in 2006. She said she received fertility treatments at a California clinic after telling doctors she was 55. A Spanish newspaper said she was diagnosed with cancer shortly after giving birth to sons Christian and Pau, who are now 2 years old.

Bousada had said there was no reason to believe she would not live as long as her mother, who was 101 when she died. Even if she died prematurely, she said, her sons would never be alone, BBC News reported.

"There are lots of young people in our family," Bousada said.

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