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Health Highlights: March 9, 2015

Two Missouri Poultry Facilities Quarantined Due to Bird Flu Virus CPR-Assistance System Approved by FDA San Francisco Kidney Transplant Chain Patients Recovering Compensation Fund for Tainted Steroid Victims Grows to $210 Million

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

Two Missouri Poultry Facilities Quarantined Due to Bird Flu Virus

Two commercial poultry facilities in Missouri have been quarantined after the H5N2 strain of bird flu was detected, state agriculture officials said Sunday.

The strain, which has been detected in Minnesota and three other states recently, is deadly to poultry but poses no immediate health threat to humans, according to officials, CBS News/Associated Press reported.

The two facilities in Missouri where H5N2 was found are located in Asbury in the southwest and the mid-state community of Fortuna, officials said.

It's not clear how many birds were infected, but all the flocks at the facilities will be killed and won't enter the food system, officials said. They added that tests are being conducted at neighboring properties to ensure the virus has not spread, CBS/AP reported.

In Minnesota, the H5N2 bird flu virus wiped out a flock of 15,000 turkeys in about a week.


CPR-Assistance System Approved by FDA

A system to assist first responders performing CPR on people in cardiac arrest has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It said the system may improve cardiac arrest patients' chances of survival.

The ResQCPR System includes two devices meant to be used together. One of the devices is called the ResQPump Active Compression Decompression CPR Device. It has a double-grip handle that attaches to the patient's chest with a suction cup, allowing the rescuer to push to deliver compressions and lift for decompressions, which is different than standard CPR.

The device features a pressure gauge that helps first responders maintain recommended compression depth and a timing mechanism to help rescuers maintain the ideal compression rate.

The second device is called the ResQPod 16.0 Impedance Threshold Device, which fits onto a rescue face mask or breathing tube. When placed on the patient, it blocks airflow into the chest during chest decompression with the ResQPump, reducing the pressure inside the patient's chest and drawing more blood back to the heart, the FDA said.

Drawing more blood into the heart can mean a greater amount of blood flowing out of the heart during the next compression, which may mean better overall blood circulation compared to standard CPR.

Used together, the two devices may boost the amount of oxygenated blood circulated through a cardiac arrest patient's body during CPR, the FDA said.

The agency's approval of the system is based on a study that compared survival rates of 813 cardiac arrest patients who received standard CPR and 842 who received CPR with the new system. The survival rate was higher among those who received CPR with the new system.

"Most people who suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital die," Dr. William Maisel, acting director, Office of Device Evaluation, FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in an agency news release.

"The ResQCPR System may increase oxygenated blood circulation during CPR, which in turn may improve the likelihood of survival in adult patients with out-of-hospital, non-traumatic cardiac arrest," he explained.


San Francisco Kidney Transplant Chain Patients Recovering

Six kidney transplant patients are recovering after receiving new organs as part of donation chain at a San Francisco hospital.

The transplants were conducted last Thursday and Friday at the California Pacific Medical Center. The patients range in age from 24 to 70 and some of those who had surgery Thursday were already walking around on Friday, said center spokesman Dean Fryer, the Associated Press reported.

Most of the patients are from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Kidney donation chains occur when a person wants to donate a kidney to a relative or friend but their organ is incompatible with that person. Instead, the donor and recipient connect with others in the same situation in order to swap compatible kidneys.


Compensation Fund for Tainted Steroid Victims Grows to $210 Million

There is now $210 million in a compensation fund for victims of a fungal meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people and sickened more than 750 in 20 states.

The outbreak was traced to a tainted injected steroid made by the New England Compounding Center, which is now bankrupt.

More than $100 million was originally set aside for victims, but recent court documents show the fund received $70 million more in settlements from two companies that did business with the compounding center in Framingham, Mass., according to the Boston Globe, the Associated Press reported.

Payments from the fund could begin going out to victims later this year, according to lawyers.

Two former executives of the compounding center pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, and 12 others also face charges, the AP reported.

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