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Health Highlights: March 29, 2016

Actress Patty Duke Dies at Age 69 Ebola No Longer a Global Health Emergency: WHO Utah First State To Require Anesthesia During Abortion Gerber Recalls Organic 2nd Foods Pouches

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

Actress Patty Duke Dies at Age 69

Actress Patty Duke has died at age 69.

"This morning, our beloved wife, mother, matriarch and the exquisite artist, humanitarian and champion of mental health, Anna Patty Duke, closed her eyes, quieted her pain and ascended to a beautiful place," according to a statement released by her family, the Hollywood Reporter said.

"We celebrate the infinite love and compassion she shared through her work and throughout her life," the statement added.

Duke received an Academy Award for best supporting actress at age 16 for playing Helen Keller in the movie "The Miracle Worker," and also won three Emmy Awards, according to the Reporter.


Ebola No Longer a Global Health Emergency: WHO

Ebola is no longer considered an international health emergency, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.

However, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said high vigilance for the deadly virus must be maintained in West Africa, the Asssociated Press reported.

Since the Ebola outbreak begain in December 2013, nearly 11,000 people have died, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

In all three countries, declarations of an end to Ebola virus transmission were followed by flare-ups of new cases. Officials say for one year after they recover, male survivors can transmit Ebola sexually to their partners, the AP reported.


Utah First State To Require Anesthesia During Abortion

Utah is the first state to require anesthesia for women having an abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later.

The bill, signed into law Monday by Gov. Gary Herbert, is based on the controversial belief that a fetus can feel pain at that point, the Associated Press reported.

Many doctors in the state and nationwide say the regulation could increase health risks to women having abortions.

Anesthesia or an analgesic has to go through the woman to reach the fetus, Dr. Sean Esplin, of Intermountain Healthcare in Utah, explained. General anesthesia would make the woman unconscious and likely require a breathing tube or large dose of narcotics, the AP reported.

Previously, women in Utah could choose whether to have anesthesia during an abortion.

In 2015, Montana lawmakers passed a bill requiring fetal anesthesia before surgeries, including abortions, performed after 20 or more weeks of pregnancy, but the bill was vetoed by the Democratic governor, the AP reported.

Abortions after about 20 weeks of pregnancy are banned in 12 states, while a number of other states give women at that stage of pregnancy the option of having anesthesia.

The way the new Utah law is written means it could affect pregnant women in many types of medical cases other than abortion.

For example, it could apply to situations such as induced labor when a woman is past her due date or the baby has to be delivered early due to pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia, said David Turok, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Utah.

Such common procedures could now require anesthesia, but "(y)ou never give those medicines if you don't have to," Turok told the AP.


Gerber Recalls Organic 2nd Foods Pouches

Gerber is recalling four batches of its Organic 2nd Foods Pouches due to a packaging defect that could result in spoilage of the products.

The recall covers two batches of Pears, Carrots & Peas pouches and two batches of Carrots, Apples & Mangoes pouches with best by dates of July 12, July 13, and July 14, 2016.

If spoilage has occurred, the pouches will be bloated or the product inside may have an off-taste or color, the company said.

Consumers with the recalled products should not use them, and can call Gerber at 1-800-706-0556 for replacement coupons.

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