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Health Highlights: Sept. 8, 2016

Egyptian Strawberries Linked to Hepatitis A Outbreak in Seven States Cancer 'Moonshot' Priorities Outlined in New Report U.S. Senate Panel Will Examine EpiPen Price Hike

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

Egyptian Strawberries Linked to Hepatitis A Outbreak in Seven States

Frozen strawberries from Egypt have been linked to a foodborne hepatitis A outbreak that's affected 89 people in seven states, U.S. health officials say.

Thirty-nine of the patients have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.

There have been 70 cases in Virginia, 10 in Maryland, 5 in West Virginia, and 1 each in New York, North Carolina, Oregon and Wisconsin.

Investigators traced the outbreak to frozen strawberries from Egypt that were used in smoothies sold before Aug. 8 at Tropical Smoothie Cafe outlets in Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe says it has switched to another strawberry supplier for all its restaurants nationwide.

Hepatitis A is a serious illness that affects the liver. Symptoms include yellow eyes or skin, abdominal pain, or pale stools. Symptoms of hepatitis A infection can take up to 50 days to appear.


Cancer 'Moonshot' Priorities Outlined in New Report

Immune-based therapy and genetically profiling patients' tumors in order to provide more personalized treatment are among the research priorities needed to speed progress against cancer in the United States, according to new recommendations from a panel of cancer experts and patient advocates advising the White House's cancer "moonshot" project.

Other suggestions include findings ways to minimize cancer treatment side effects, finding out what causes childhood cancer, and greater use of certain proven anti-cancer strategies, the Associated Press reported.

The moonshot initiative was proposed by Vice President Joe Biden after his son, Beau, died of brain cancer in 2015.

The panel's recommendations offer a "bold but feasible scientific proposal," and will be sent to the cancer moonshot task force, according to Dr. Doug Lowy, acting director of the National Cancer Institute, the AP reported.


U.S. Senate Panel Will Examine EpiPen Price Hike

The massive price increase of EpiPens in recent years will be examined by a U.S. Senate panel.

EpiPens are used by millions of Americans to prevent deadly allergic reactions, but the price has risen from about $100 to more than $500 since 2008, NBC News reported.

A preliminary inquiry on Mylan Pharmaceuticals' huge markup was announced by the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

"Our review of this matter will be robust, thorough, and bipartisan," according to a joint statement from panels chairman Rob Portman of Ohio, and ranking member Claire McCaskill of Missouri, NBC News reported.

"Parents and school districts in Ohio, Missouri and across the country need affordable access to this life-saving drug, and we share their concern over Mylan's sustained price increases," the statement said.

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