Health Highlights: Nov. 8, 2018
164 People in 35 States Sickened in Salmonella Outbreak Tied to Raw Turkey FDA Says Primatene Mist Inhaler Is Back for Asthmatics Birth Control Coverage Opt-Out Finalized by Trump Administration
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
164 People in 35 States Sickened in Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Raw Turkey
Just ahead of Thanksgiving, federal health officials have bad news for turkey lovers.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the total number of illnesses in a salmonella outbreak linked with raw turkey products now stands at 164 people across 35 states.
That's 74 more cases than at the last update on July 19, 2018, the agency said Thursday.
Sixty-three people have been hospitalized, and one death was reported in California. Illnesses in the outbreak began between Nov. 20, 2017 and Oct. 20, 2018.
The outbreak strain of salmonella has been found in various raw turkey products, including ground turkey, turkey patties, as well as in turkey pet food and live turkeys, indicating it might be widespread in the turkey industry, the CDC said.
A single, common supplier of raw turkey products or of live turkeys has not been identified in connection with the outbreak.
The investigation is ongoing, the CDC said.
The agency said it is not advising consumers to avoid eating properly cooked turkey products, or for retailers to stop selling raw turkey products.
The CDC reminded consumes to always handle raw turkey carefully and cook it thoroughly (internal temperature of 165 degrees F) to prevent food poisoning.
Most people recover from salmonella infection within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe.
FDA Says Primatene Mist Inhaler Is Back for Asthmatics
A new version of an over-the-counter asthma inhaler that was taken off the market in 2011 has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
U.S. sales of Primatene Mist were halted because it contained chlorofluorocarbon propellants, which deplete the ozone layer. The new version contains hydrofluoroalkane (HFA) propellants, which are permitted under international and U.S. law.
Prescription inhalers also use HFA propellants.
Primatene Mist is the only non-prescription metered-dose inhaler available in the United States, and is approved to provide temporary relief for symptoms of mild, intermittent asthma, the FDA said.
Patients with severe asthma should not rely on this inhaler, the FDA warned.
Primatene Mist is approved only for patients who have been diagnosed with asthma by a health care provider, and is not a replacement for prescription asthma treatments, the FDA said.
In a statement issued Thursday, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) said patients should consult first with their physicians before switching to Primatene Mist.
"Asthma is not a 'do-it-yourself' disease that you can treat yourself with over-the-counter medications," warned Dr. Bradley Chipps, president of the ACAAI.
"Anyone who has asthma should be working with an allergist to make sure they are on the appropriate medication to control their disease," he said. "People should understand they shouldn't go off their regular prescription medication to start taking Primatene Mist instead. That could prove very dangerous."
Birth Control Coverage Opt-Out Finalized by Trump Administration
A birth control coverage opt-out for employers was finalized by the Trump administration on Wednesday.
The policy change means some employers with religious or moral objections won't have to provide no-cost birth control for female workers, the Associated Press reported.
The opt-out won't apply to governmental employers or large companies whose stock is sold to investors.
It's not clear how many women will be affected by the policy change.
Women's rights groups sued the Trump administration over an earlier version of the change and say they will continue their legal fight, the AP reported.
Also on Wednesday, Trump officials proposed stricter rules on Affordable Care Act plans that cover abortion to ensure that taxpayer-provided subsidies for health insurance are not used to pay for abortions, the AP reported.