Health Highlights: June 25, 2020
Congo Marks End of World's 2nd Deadliest Ebola Outbreak Texas Pauses Reopening as COVID-19 Cases Rise Pregnant Women May be at Increased Risk From Coronavirus, Analysis Suggests U.S. Salmonella Cases Linked to Backyard Poultry Reach 465: CDC Starkey Spring Water Has 'Concerning' Levels of Arsenic: Consumer Reports Bayer to Pay $10 Billion to Settle Roundup Lawsuits People From States With High Coronavirus Rates Must Quarantine Upon Arrival in NY, NJ and Connecticut
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Congo Marks End of World's 2nd Deadliest Ebola Outbreak
The end of the second deadliest Ebola outbreak in history was officially marked Thursday by the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The outbreak began in August 2018 and resulted in 2,280 deaths, the Associated Press reported.
"We are extremely proud to have been able to be victorious over an epidemic that lasted such a long time," said Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe, who led the nation's Ebola fight and whose team developed a new treatment for the previously incurable disease.
Despite the official end of the outbreak, the country faces other serious health threats, including a new Ebola outbreak in the north and the world's largest measles epidemic, the AP reported.
Texas Pauses Reopening as COVID-19 Cases Rise
As COVID-19 cases surge in Texas, the state is pausing its reopening process and freeing up hospital beds for COVID-19 patients.
Texas has recorded more than 130,000 cases and nearly 3,000 deaths. Currently, the state has more than 4,300 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, more than double the number at the start of June, The New York Times reported.
Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order suspending elective procedures at hospitals in four counties, and said that businesses that already reopened can continue to operate, but any further reopening is on hold in Texas, one of 29 states with rising numbers of cases.
On Wednesday, the U.S. reported its largest one-day total since the start of the pandemic: 36,880 new cases. On the same day, Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas reported their highest single-day totals, according to The Times.
Pregnant Women May be at Increased Risk From Coronavirus, Analysis Suggests
Pregnant women may be at greater risk from the new coronavirus than those who aren't pregnant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis suggests.
It's based on data from U.S. women with confirmed coronavirus infections between Jan. 22 to June 7. The analysis found that pregnant women are more likely to be hospitalized, admitted to intensive care, and to be put on a ventilator, The New York Times reported.
The findings, presented to a federal immunization committee on Wednesday, seem to contradict the CDC's assertion since the start of the pandemic that the new coronavirus doesn't seem to "affect pregnant people differently than others."
However, the analysis didn't include a crucial consideration -- whether pregnant women with the new coronavirus were hospitalized for labor and delivery -- which would have significantly affected the findings, The Times reported.
U.S. Salmonella Cases Linked to Backyard Poultry Reach 465: CDC
The number of salmonella infections linked with backyard poultry has reached 465 in 42 states, an increase of 368 since the last update on May 20, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.
There have been 86 hospitalizations, and one death has been reported in Oklahoma. About one-third of cases involve children younger than 5.
Nearly twice as many salmonella infections associated with chickens, ducks and other backyard poultry have been reported this year compared to the same time last year, the CDC said.
People can get salmonella infections from touching live poultry or their environment, and poultry carrying the bacteria can appear healthy and clean.
The CDC said people with backyard poultry should always wash hands thoroughly after touching poultry or anything in their environment. Use one pair of shoes when taking care of poultry and keep those shoes outside your home. Don't let poultry in your home. Don't let children younger than 5 years touch poultry.
Starkey Spring Water Has 'Concerning' Levels of Arsenic: Consumer Reports
"Concerning" levels of arsenic were found in Starkey Spring Water sold by Amazon, Consumer Reports said Wednesday.
That brand of bottled water had arsenic levels ranging from 9.49 to 9.56 parts per billion (ppb), which is three times higher than other brands tested by Consumer Reports, according to CBS News.
The levels of arsenic in Starkey Spring Water, made by Whole Foods, are just below federal limits for bottled water, but higher than the legal limits for tap water in some states.
Consumer Reports noted that Starkey Spring Water was recalled in 2016 and 2017 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that it contained arsenic levels as high as 12ppb.
Starkey Spring Water meets FDA standards for heavy metals, according to Whole Foods.
In 2016, bottled water overtook soda as the No.1 drink sold in the United States because many consumers believe it's healthier than other bottled drinks, CBS News said.
Bayer to Pay $10 Billion to Settle Roundup Lawsuits
Bayer has agreed to pay more than $10 billion to settle thousands of U.S. lawsuits alleging that its weedkiller Roundup causes cancer.
That amount includes $1.25 billion for potential future claims from people who used Roundup and may develop a cancer called non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in the coming years, The New York Times reported.
Bayer bought Roundup manufacturer Monsanto in 2018 and has maintained that Roundup is safe.
"It's rare that we see a consensual settlement with that many zeros on it," said Nora Freeman Engstrom, a professor at Stanford University Law School, told The Times.
People From States With High Coronavirus Rates Must Quarantine Upon Arrival in NY, NJ and Connecticut
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut officials say travelers from states with high coronavirus infection rates will have to self-isolate for 14 days, and will face significant fines if they don't obey.
As of Wednesday, that included people from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Utah, Texas, according to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, CNBC reported.
That list of states could change depending on their infection rates, he added.
Cuomo said visitors from listed states who don't voluntarily quarantine for 14 days will be fined and placed under mandatory quarantine. Fines will be $2,000 for the first violation, $5,000 for the second and up to $10,000 if they cause harm, CNBC reported.
"We worked very hard to get the viral transmission rate down. We don't want to see it go up because a lot of people come into this region and they can literally bring the infection with them," Cuomo said at a press conference with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont.
Coronavirus cases are rising in 27 states, Cuomo noted.
"Nationally, we should admit the reality. Denial is not a life strategy. It never is. Those 27 states are going up. More people are being infected and more lives will be lost," he said, CNBC reported.