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Health Highlights: Sept. 18, 2009

VA Facilities Improve Endoscopic Safety: Report FDA Warns About Stolen Respiratory Medicines Swine Flu Vaccine Production Lower Than Expected: WHO U.S. Will Share 10 Percent of Swine Flu Vaccine With Other Nations

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

VA Facilities Improve Endoscopic Safety: Report

Progress has been made in correcting the endoscopic procedure problems at Veterans Affairs medical centers that put thousands of patients at risk for HIV and other infections, according to a report released Friday by the VA's inspector general.

The IG said surprise visits to 128 VA medical facilities found that all were compliant in following procedures and all but one of the facilities showed staff were being properly trained in the use of endoscopic devices, the Associated Press reported.

Inspections earlier this summer at several facilities found that less than half were in compliance.

Early this year, about 10,000 people were warned they may have been exposed to infections while undergoing colonoscopies or other endoscopic procedures at VA hospitals in Miami, Augusta, Ga., and Murfreesboro, Tenn. Equipment used in the procedures was improperly cleaned.

Of those patients, 50 subsequently tested positive for infections, including eight who tested positive for HIV, the AP reported.


FDA Warns About Stolen Respiratory Medicines

Consumers should be watchful for stolen respiratory medications that may not have been stored or handled properly, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Thursday.

The medications are Ipratropium Bromide Inhalation Solution, 0.02 percent, and Albuterol Sulfate Inhalation Solution, 0.083 percent, made by Dey L.P., a subsidiary of Mylan Inc. The medications were part of a shipment on a tractor trailer that was stolen in Tampa, Fla., United Press International reported.

The stolen drugs are from the following lots:

  • Albuterol Sulfate Inhalation Solution with the brand name "Dey," lot numbers 9GO4, 9FD8, 9FD9, and 9FE1.
  • Ipratropium Bromide Inhalation Solution with the brand name "Dey," lot numbers F09089, C09119 and C09120.

The FDA said consumers can get more information by contacting Dey at 800-527-4278, UPI reported.


Swine Flu Vaccine Production Lower Than Expected: WHO

Worldwide production of vaccine for the H1N1 swine flu will fall short of the previous maximum prediction of 94 million doses a week because some manufacturers are still making vaccines for seasonal flu, according to the World Health Organization.

Production problems have also contributed to the lower-than-expected weekly output of H1N1 vaccine, WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said Friday, the Associated Press reported.

Still, the WHO says that, in theory, all 6.3 billion people worldwide should receive at least one dose of the pandemic vaccine, the AP reported.


U.S. Will Share 10 Percent of Swine Flu Vaccine With Other Nations

The United States will share 10 percent of its stock of H1N1 swine flu vaccine with other countries worldwide, President Barack Obama announced Thursday.

According to the Associated Press, the White House said the vaccine will be made available to the global fight against swine flu via the World Health Organization. The United States is coordinating with Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, which are also sharing vaccines.

Speaking at United Nations headquarters in New York City, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, said that, "as vaccine supplies emerge, they will be made available to the WHO on a rolling basis to assist countries that will not otherwise have direct access to the vaccine."

The aim, she said, is to help minimize global economic and social disruptions caused by H1N1. "We invite and encourage other nations to join in this urgent global health effort, donating vaccine, money and/or technical assistance in an international effort to save lives around the world," Rice said.


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