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Health Highlights: May 15, 2015

Jeni's Resumes Ice Cream Production Vaccination Bill Passed by California Senate B.B. King Dies at Age 89 Bullying in U.S. Schools Declines: Survey Blue Bell Announces Listeria Monitoring Agreement with States

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

Jeni's Resumes Ice Cream Production

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams has resumed production after a recall prompted by the discovery of listeria in some of its products.

The Ohio-based company traced the listeria contamination to a machine in its Columbus kitchen. It destroyed $2.5 million worth of ice cream and then took steps to prevent future contamination, the Associated Press reported.

Jeni's said Thursday that it plans to reopen its scoop shops by Memorial Day weekend, but will be short of some flavors as supplies are rebuilt.

The company has shops in Ohio, Atlanta, Chicago, Nashville, Los Angeles, and Charleston, South Carolina, the AP reported.


Vaccination Bill Passed by California Senate

A bill passed Thursday by California senators would prohibit parents from seeking vaccine exemptions for their children due to religious or personal beliefs.

The bill would permit medical waivers only for children with health problems. Other unvaccinated children would not be allowed to go to school and would have to be schooled at home, the Associated Press reported.

The vote was 25-10 in favor of the proposal, which now goes to the Assembly.

"This is a matter of public safety. This is a matter of protecting our communities," said Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, a pediatrician and one of the senators who proposed the bill, the AP reported.

The measure was introduced after a measles outbreak late last year that sickened more than 100 people brought attention to low immunization rates in some areas of California.

Gov. Jerry Brown has not said if he would sign the bill. If he does, California would join Mississippi and West Virginia as the only states with such strict vaccination rules, the AP reported.


B.B. King Dies at Age 89

Blues legend B.B. King died Thursday night at his home in Las Vegas. He was 89.

Two weeks ago, King announced that he was in home hospice care, CNN reported.

King lived with type 2 diabetes for decades and became ill last October after a show at Chicago's House of Blues. That led to a rare cancellation of the remainder of his tour.

The Mississippi native was hospitalized for dehydration in April in Las Vegas, CNN reported.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's reign as "king of the blues" lasted more than six decades and he influenced many blues and rock musicians, including Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan.


Bullying in U.S. Schools Declines: Survey

Fewer American students say they are being bullied at school, according to an Education Department survey released Friday.

The national poll found that 22 percent of students ages 12-18 said they were bullied in 2013, which is a 6 percent decline from 2011 and the lowest level since the National Center for Education Statistics began surveying students on bullying in 2005, the Associated Press reported.

Victims of bullying were more likely to be girls than boys and more likely to be white than a member of a minority.

Bullying was reported by 24 percent of girls and 20 percent of boys, and by 24 percent of whites, 20 percent of blacks, 19 percent of Hispanics and 9 percent of Asians, the AP reported.

The most common types of bullying were being made fun of, called names, being insulted, being the subject of rumors, and being threatened with harm, according to the survey.

Cyberbullying in school or outside of school was reported by 9 percent of girls and 5 percent of boys. The most common form of cyberbullying was unwanted text messages, followed by hurtful information posted online, the AP reported.

"Even though we've come a long way over the past few years in educating the public about the health and educational impacts that bullying can have on students, we still have more work to do to ensure the safety of our nation's children," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said.


Blue Bell Announces Listeria Monitoring Agreement with States

In new agreements with Texas and Oklahoma, Blue Bell Creameries pledged to tell health officials in those states about any positive test results for listeria in its products or ingredients.

The Texas-based ice cream maker has plants in both states. The company also said it is drafting a similar agreement with health officials in Alabama, where it also has a plant, USA Today reported.

In late April, Blue Bell recalled all its products due to possible listeria contamination. Its ice cream was linked to 10 illnesses in four states, including three deaths.

"We are committed to meeting the high standards and expectations of our customers and our regulatory agencies," Paul Kruse, Blue Bell chief executive and president, said in a statement released Thursday.

"State and federal regulatory agencies play an important role in food safety, and we hope that it will be reassuring to our customers that we are working cooperatively with the states of Texas and Oklahoma in taking the necessary steps to bring Blue Bell Ice Cream back to the market," Kruse said.

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