Health Highlights: Oct. 10, 2016
U.S. Health, Medical Groups Receiving Sponsorships from Soda Makers Nestle Recalls Ice Cream Drumsticks Due to Listeria Fears Reports Highlight Substandard Care at Native American Hospitals Hurricane Matthew May Temporarily Reduce Zika Threat in Florida
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
U.S. Health, Medical Groups Receiving Sponsorships from Soda Makers
Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo provided sponsorships to 96 health and medical groups in the United States between 2011 and 2015, a new study says.
Those organizations included the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to Boston University researchers Daniel Aaron and Michael Siegel, the Washington Post reported.
During the study period, one or both of the companies lobbied against 29 proposed public health bills or regulations meant to reduce soda consumption.
"Now, most organizations refuse tobacco money," the study authors wrote. "Perhaps soda companies should be treated similarly."
The Post said Coca-Cola and PepsiCo did not respond to a request for comment about the study, but a statement was provided by the American Beverage Association, which represents the two companies.
"America's beverage companies are engaged in public health issues because we, too, want a strong, healthy America. We have a long tradition of supporting community organizations across the country. As this report points out, some of these organizations focus on strengthening public health, which we are proud to support," the statement said.
In response to the study, the American Heart Association said it "is leading efforts to reduce consumption of sugary drinks," the Post reported.
It also stated: "To achieve our goals, we must engage a wide variety of food and beverage companies to be part of the solution. As clearly evidenced by our work, under no circumstances does such occasional funding have any influence on our science and the public policy positions we advocate for."
Aaron and Siegel began investigating the issue more than a year ago after noticing soda sponsorships for various health events. They were surprised to discover the number of sponsorships the two soda makers provided to health and medical groups, the Post reported.
The study raises concerns that the companies are using sponsorships to silence potential critics.
Save the Children was a strong supporter of soda taxes until 2010, when it received a $5 million grant from Coca-Cola. The groups denies the grant influenced its policy, the Post reported.
Nestle Recalls Ice Cream Drumsticks Due to Listeria Fears
Possible listeria contamination has led to the recall of Nestle Drumstick Club 16 count Variety Pack and 24 count Vanilla Pack, the company says.
The two pack sizes contain 4.6 fl.oz. cones and were distributed nationally. Listeria monocytogenes was found on equipment surfaces on the production line at the Bakersfield, Calif. plant where the products are made, Nestle said.
However, there have been no positive test results for listeria in the products themselves and no illnesses have been reported do date, according to the company.
Consumers with the products listed should not consume them, but instead should return them to the place of purchase or call or text Nestle Consumer Services at 1-800-681-1676 for replacement.
In healthy people, listeria infection can cause short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. But Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious and cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems, as well as miscarriage and stillbirth in pregnant women.
Reports Highlight Substandard Care at Native American Hospitals
A number of factors contribute to the often substandard care provided at hospitals that serve Native Americans, a federal government agency says.
Problems at the 28 hospitals directly operated by the federal Indian Health Service include outdated equipment and technology, shortage of resources and difficulty attracting and keeping skilled employees, according to the Office of Inspector General, Health and Human Services Department, the Associated Press reported.
In the two reports released Friday, the inspector general's office also criticized the Indian Health Service's limited oversight of compliance with federal regulations and quality of care.
The inspector general's office said that while the Indian Health Service's eight regional offices do attempt to monitor the quality of the hospitals that serve Native Americans, those efforts are minimal in some areas, the AP reported.
Hurricane Matthew May Temporarily Reduce Zika Threat in Florida
Hurricane Matthew could temporarily help reduce the Zika virus threat in Florida, according to experts.
The storm's torrential rains wash away adult mosquitoes, including those of the Aedes aegypti species that transmit the Zika virus, CNN reported.
Heavy rains and flooding also wash away larvae from mosquito breeding sites, such as tires, bird baths and flower pots, Ben Beard, chief, Bacterial Diseases Branch, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The first mosquitoes to reappear after a major storm aren't the ones that pose a threat to public health.
"We associate severe rain events like tropical events and hurricanes with increases in nuisance mosquitoes, not with disease-spreading (mosquitoes)," Beard told CNN.
Another benefit from Matthew is that it hit late in the season.
"The mosquito population naturally declines starting in September. As the season begins to change, the mosquito threat naturally begins to go down, so in this sense, time is on our side," Beard told CNN.
However, the storm could eventually lead to increased risk, another expert said.
"People who have lost their homes and are living in temporary shelter or are trying to rebuild end up being exposed to elements a lot more, and there is greater potential for them to be bitten" by mosquitoes, Dawn Wesson, a professor at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, told CNN.
Since the end of July, there have been 141 locally transmitted cases of Zika reported in Florida.