From Our 2012 Archives

Health Highlights: May 3, 2012

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

Offspring of Cow with Mad Cow Disease was Healthy: USDA

An offspring of the California cow with mad cow disease tested negative for the illness, U.S. Department of Agriculture officials said Wednesday.

The animal was found in another state, euthanized, and brain samples were sent to the national laboratory. Officials did not name the state where the offspring was found, the Associated Press reported.

It was part of the ongoing investigation into the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in a 10-year-old cow that was euthanized at a Tulane County dairy in mid-April. That dairy and another associated with it are under quarantine.

The calf ranch where the diseased cow was raised before being sold into dairy production is being investigated, but officials said they haven't located for testing the cattle that were raised with the cow that became sick, the AP reported.

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258 Now Sickened in Tuna-Linked Salmonella Outbreak

A salmonella outbreak linked to a frozen yellowfin tuna product has now sickened 258 people in 24 states and the District of Columbia, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said late Wednesday.

In a statement, the agency said 32 people have been hospitalized but there have been no deaths reported.

The CDC says it is now including two types of salmonella in the "outbreak strains" -- Salmonella Bareilly (247 cases) and Salmonella Nchanga (11 cases).

On April 16, nearly 59,000 pounds of tuna product linked to the outbreak -- labeled Nakaochi Scrape AA or AAA -- were recalled by Moon Marine USA Corp. of Cupertino, Calif. The product, which is scraped off fish bones, was sold to grocery stores and restaurants to make dishes such as sushi, sashimi and ceviche.

As reported early in the outbreak by the Associated Press, many people who became ill reported eating raw tuna in sushi as "spicy tuna."

As of Wednesday, the CDC said illnesses linked Salmonella Bareilly had been reported in: Alabama (2), Arkansas (1), California (2), Connecticut (9), District of Columbia (2), Florida (1), Georgia (10), Illinois (23), Louisiana (3), Maryland (24), Massachusetts (27), Mississippi (2), Missouri (4), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (25), New York (39), North Carolina (4), Pennsylvania (20), Rhode Island (6), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (2), Texas (4), Virginia (16), Vermont (1) and Wisconsin (16). Illnesses linked to Salmonella Nchanga had been reported in Georgia (2), New Jersey (2), New York (5), Virginia (1), and Wisconsin (1), the CDC said.

The CDC noted that salmonella illness is often serious for infants, older adults, pregnant women and persons with impaired immune systems, and these individuals should not eat raw or partially cooked fish or shellfish.

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USDA Introduces New Rules to Combat E. Coli Contamination in Meat

Updated rules to keep potentially the deadly bacterium out of meat have been introduced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The new regulations allow inspectors to start looking for meat contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 as soon as early testing shows a potential problem. The goal of the new policy is to accelerate the USDA's ability to track down and contain contaminated hamburger and ground beef, USA Today reported.

The USDA says it will be quicker to take action if there are signs of trouble. Previously, the agency did not launch investigations into possible contaminated meat until several tests were completed, a process that often took days.

The policy change "buys us 24 to 48 hours in terms of finding the sources," said USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Elisabeth Hagen, USA Today reported.

Other new safety measures introduced by the USDA include an early reporting system that requires companies to notify the agency within 24 hours if potentially harmful meat or poultry has been shipped. The agency has also added six new E. coli strains to a government watch list.

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