Health Highlights: Oct. 8, 2019
American Airlines Passengers May Have Been Exposed to Hepatitis A Robin Hood Flour Recalled California Pharmacists Can Dispense HIV Prevention Pills Without Prescription Walgreens and Kroger Halt E-Cigarette Sales Bill Would Limit Nicotine in E-Cigarette Products
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
American Airlines Passengers May Have Been Exposed to Hepatitis A
Passengers on several American Airline flights in the U.S. may have been exposed to hepatitis A by a flight attendant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
The CDC said the flight attendant had diarrhea on several flights during the period in which he was considered infectious, so it is investigating and notifying passengers who may have been affected.
One of those flights was between San Francisco and Charlotte on Sept. 21, according to the Mecklenburg County Public Health Department in North Carolina, which told ABC News that it's contacted 18 local passengers, all of whom received hepatitis A vaccinations.
American Airlines would not confirm that one of its flight attendants had hepatitis A or another disease, ABC News reported.
Hepatitis A -- which affects the liver -- is usually contracted by ingesting fecal matter or contaminated food or water.
Robin Hood Flour Recalled
Certain lots of 5-lb bags of Robin Hood All Purpose Flour sold in the United States have been recalled due to possible E. coli contamination, the J. M. Smucker Company says.
The recall is for lot codes 8350 513, 8351 513, 8354 513, 8355 513 with Best if Used By dates of 6/16/2020, 6/17/2020, 6/20/2020, and 6/21/2020, respectively.
No other Robin Hood products sold in the U.S. or Canada have been recalled. No illnesses related to the recalled flour have been reported, according to the company.
It said that consumers who have the recalled flour should throw it away.
For more information, call J.M. Smucker at 1-888-569-6728.
California Pharmacists Can Dispense HIV Prevention Pills Without Prescription
California is the first state to allow pharmacists to dispense HIV prevention pills to patients without a doctor's prescription.
The legislation, signed into law Monday by Gov. Gavin Newsom, will greatly reduce the spread of HIV, according to supporters of the law, the Associated Press reported.
HIV prevention medications include pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a once-daily pill for people without HIV, and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), which is taken to prevent the virus from taking hold.
Advocates say PEP significantly reduces the risk of HIV infection, but only if it's started within 72 hours of exposure to the AIDS-causing virus, the AP reported.
Walgreens and Kroger Halt E-Cigarette Sales
Walgreens and Kroger have followed Walmart and Rite Aid in halting sales of electronic cigarettes.
"We have made the decision to stop selling e-cigarette products at our stores nationwide as the CDC, FDA and other health officials continue to examine the issue. This decision is also reflective of developing regulations in a growing number of states and municipalities," according to a Walgreens statement released Monday, CBS News reported.
Walgreens is the largest drugstore chain in the U.S.
In a statement, Kroger said it was "discontinuing the sale of electronic nicotine delivery products, or e-cigarettes, at all store and fuel center locations due to the mounting questions and increasingly complex regulatory environment associated with these products."
U.S. health officials are investigating at least 18 confirmed deaths and 1,080 probable vaping illnesses in 48 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands, CBS News reported.
Most of those cases involved people who vaped THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, while 17% used only nicotine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Bill Would Limit Nicotine in E-Cigarette Products
A bill to limit the amount of nicotine in e-cigarette products was introduced Monday by U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi in a bid "to make them significantly less addictive and appealing to youth."
The bill would restrict nicotine content to a maximum of 20 milligrams per milliliter, which matches regulations in the European Union, and would give the Food and Drug Administration the authority to reduce the cap if necessary, CNN reported.
Currently, there is no national limit in the U.S., and some brands have nicotine levels several times higher than 20 milligrams per milliliter.
Experts say high nicotine concentrations have contributed to what they say is a vaping epidemic among U.S. youth, CNN reported.
"Capping the concentration of nicotine in e-cigarettes is integral to ending the youth vaping epidemic by making these products less addictive, less appealing to youth, and less harmful to public health," Krishnamoorthi said in a statement.
He's leading a congressional investigation into youth vaping.