Health Highlights: July 29, 2015
Legionnaire's Disease Outbreak Being Investigated in New York City: Health Officials Larger U.S. Health Care Spending Increases Expected in Coming Years Cyclosporiasis Outbreak Linked to Human Feces, Toilet Paper in Mexican Cilantro Fields
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Legionnaire's Disease Outbreak Being Investigated in New York City: Health Officials
A Legionnaire's disease outbreak in New York City's South Bronx is being investigated by city health officials.
There have been 36 cases reported since July 10, and two deaths in patients with Legionnaire's disease, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said. Water from cooling towers and other potential sources of the outbreak are being tested.
Anyone with symptoms such as fever, cough, chills and muscle aches should seek immediate medical attention, health officials advised. Other symptoms of Legionnaire's disease include headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, confusion and diarrhea.
Symptoms typically appear two to 10 days after significant exposure to Legionella bacteria, which causes the disease.
"We are concerned about this unusual increase in Legionnaire's disease cases in the South Bronx," Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said in a city news release. "We are conducting a swift investigation to determine the source of the outbreak and prevent future cases. I urge anyone with symptoms to seek medical attention right away."
Potential sources of the bacteria that causes Legionnaire's disease include hot tubs, humidifiers, whirlpool spas, hot water tanks, cooling towers and evaporative condensers of large air conditioning systems. The disease cannot be spread from person to person.
People at high risk for the illness include middle-aged and older adults (especially smokers), those with chronic lung disease or weakened immune systems, and those who take medicines that weaken their immune system.
Larger U.S. Health Care Spending Increases Expected in Coming Years
The recent slowdown in U.S. health care spending increases is coming to an end, according to projections released Tuesday by federal government actuaries.
Health spending will grow by an average of 5.8 percent a year through 2024, compared to the 4 percent annual growth seen between 2007 and 2013, The New York Times reported.
Those figures mean health spending will rise faster than the overall economy's expected growth, but won't increase as rapidly as the average 9 percent a year in the three decades before the recession, the actuaries said.
They said the struggling economy explains most of the recent slowdown in health care spending, so an increase in health spending is expected as the economy continues to grow, The Times reported.
Cyclosporiasis Outbreak Linked to Human Feces, Toilet Paper in Mexican Cilantro Fields
An outbreak of cyclosporiasis in Texas has been linked to human feces and toilet paper found in cilantro growing fields in Puebla, Mexico, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.
As a result, Mexican cilantro is being detained at the border and products from Puebla cannot enter the U.S. without inspections and certification, NBC News reported.
So far, there have been 205 cases of cyclosporiasis in the Texas outbreak. Last year, there were 200 cases of cyclosporiasis in Texas during an outbreak also linked to cilantro from Puebla.
No recall has been issued, but shoppers are being advised to ask their grocer about the origin of cilantro in stores and to thoroughly wash all fresh produce, NBC News reported.