Health Highlights: July 20, 2007
Bush to Undergo Colonoscopy Saturday Production Problems Cited at Georgia Chili-Sauce Plant China Closes Plants Involved in Pet Food Recall CVS Recalls Sippy Cups for Choking Hazard 2nd Diagnosis of Resistant TB Changed FEMA Suppressed Warnings Over Hurricane Trailers: Report
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Bush to Undergo Colonoscopy Saturday
President Bush will undergo a routine colonoscopy Saturday at Camp David, Md., and Vice President Dick Cheney will take over the presidential duties during the procedure, the White House said Friday.
Press secretary Tony Snow told reporters that Bush's colonoscopy, for which he will be under anesthesia, is a routine procedure recommended by his doctors. "The president has had no symptoms," Snow said.
Bush, who is 61, last had a colorectal cancer check on June 29, 2002, in a procedure that began at 7:09 a.m and ended at 7:29 a.m. He woke up two minutes later but did not resume his presidential office until 9:24 a.m, the Associated Press reported.
Two polyps discovered during examinations in 1998 and 1999 make Bush a prime candidate for regular examinations. For the general population, a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer is recommended every 10 years. But for people at higher risk or if a colonoscopy detects precancerous polyps, follow-up colonoscopies often are scheduled in three- to five-year intervals.
"Although no polyps were noted in the exam in 2002, age and history would suggest that there's a reasonable chance that polyps will be noted this time," Snow said. "If so, they'll be removed and evaluated microscopically."
Snow said results would be available after 48 hours to 72 hours, if not sooner.
The procedure, supervised by Dr. Richard Tubb, the president's doctor, will be done by a team from the National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda, Md.
Production Problems Cited at Georgia Chili-Sauce Plant
The Augusta, Ga., factory that produces canned chili sauce suspected in a rare botulism outbreak had production problems earlier this year, but an inspection of the canned product at the time found nothing unusual, the Associated Press reported Friday.
The Castleberry's Food chili sauce found at homes in Indiana and Texas where victims were sickened was produced about two months ago, around the same time as the production problems were discovered, the AP said.
At the time, cans were coming out of a heating process too hot to be sent into a cooling area, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the AP. The company temporarily stopped production to make sure that the cans hadn't expanded, which could have fostered contamination, said the CDC expert, Ezra Barzilay.
An investigation of the cans and their contents by state, company and independent experts found no problems, the wire service said.
On Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration urged anyone who had 10-ounce cans of Castleberry's, Austex, and Kroger hot dog chili sauce with "best by" dates of April 30, 2009 to May 22, 2009 to throw the product away.
Botulism, caused by a bacterial toxin, causes muscle paralysis and can hospitalize victims for months. It's fatal in about 8 percent of cases, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
China Closes Plants Involved in Pet Food Recall
China says it has revoked the licenses of three manufacturers involved in shipping contaminated pet food ingredients to the United States and in exporting mislabeled drug ingredients, The New York Times reported Friday.
The Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Company and the Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Company are alleged to have added melamine -- a chemical used to make plastics -- to pet food ingredients that wound up killing or injuring thousands of pets in the United States, the Times said. It led to one of the largest pet food recalls in U.S. history.
Chinese regulators also said they had closed the Taixing Glycerin Factory, which was accused of mislabeling a toxic product used to make antifreeze as a sweetener. The chemical ended up in cold medicine and led to the deaths of at least 100 people in Panama, the Times said.
The Chinese government also conceded that several domestic companies had shipped seafood laced with banned antibiotics to the United States, the newspaper reported. Chinese regulators said they didn't catch the problem earlier, because the seafood producers hadn't been properly registered.
In June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned imports of certain Chinese-produced shrimp, catfish, eel and other seafood after finding prohibited chemicals on the products.
Earlier this month, China executed the former chief of its food and drug agency on charges of accepting bribes in exchange for approving untested medicines.
CVS Recalls Sippy Cups for Choking Hazard
CVS pharmacies are recalling some 84,000 sippy cups made in China, because toddlers can chew through the plastic spouts, posing a choking hazard, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said.
The Playschool "No Spill" cups were sold at CVS stores nationwide from September 2006 through April 2007 for about $5. Distributed in a variety of colors, they have serial number 382814, which is printed on the back of the packaging.
CVS has 36 reports of toddlers chewing through the plastic spout, causing one choking incident and three near-choking incidents, the CPSC said. No injuries have been reported.
Consumers should stop using the products immediately and return them to the store where purchased for a refund.
For more information, contact CVS at 866-434-0098.
2nd Diagnosis of Extreme Resistant TB Changed
Another person thought to have an extremely drug-resistant form of tuberculosis has had his diagnosis downgraded to a less-dangerous form, the second time this year that an American appears to have been misdiagnosed with the resistant strain, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Robert Daniels, 27, had been kept under armed quarantine in Arizona since being diagnosed with extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR TB) and for failing to wear a mask in public, his lawyer told the newspaper.
Earlier this week, Daniels was transferred to National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, where his diagnosis was downgraded. It's the same hospital treating the Georgia man who sparked an international health scare when he traveled to and from Europe for his wedding, despite initially being told he had XDR TB.
Atlanta attorney Andrew Speaker, too, had been diagnosed initially with XDR TB and later had his diagnosis downgraded.
Since both men don't have the most drug-resistant form of the highly contagious disease, they can be treated with a wider array of drugs, and their survival chances are significantly higher, the Times reported.
Since 1993, there have been 49 cases of XDR TB in the United States, the newspaper said.
FEMA Suppressed Warnings Over Hurricane Trailers: Report
Since the beginning of last year, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has covered up warnings from its own staff that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita victims living in government-funded trailers have been exposed to dangerous levels of a toxic chemical, the Washington Post reported Friday.
Levels of formaldehyde gas measured in the trailers have been found to be up to 75 times the recommended threshold for American workers, the newspaper reported.
Citing a "trail of e-mails" obtained by Congressional investigators, the Post said reports of the problem first surfaced in March 2006, and a trailer resident sued FEMA in May of that year. The newspaper quoted from a June 2006 communication from a FEMA logistics expert, who cited an advisory from the agency's Office of General Counsel that FEMA avoid routine testing of the trailers, which "would imply FEMA's ownership of this issue."
FEMA tested no occupied trailers after March 2006, when initial tests found formaldehyde levels at 75 times the recommended maximum, the newspaper said. On June 27, 2006, a man in Slidell, La., was found dead in his trailer after having complained of fumes, the Post said.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has been holding hearings on the matter.
Formaldehyde, a wood preservative, can cause vision and respiratory problems. Long-term exposure has been linked to cancer, asthma, bronchitis, and allergies in children, the Post said.