Health Highlights: Feb. 16, 2012

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

Raw Sprouts at Jimmy John's Linked to E. Coli Outbreak

For the fourth time since 2008, raw sprouts from the sandwich chain Jimmy John's have been linked to a foodborne illness outbreak in the United States.

Twelve cases of E. coli poisoning in five states (Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and Wisconsin) have been linked to raw clover sprouts eaten at Jimmy John's restaurants, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Associated Press reported.

The illnesses occurred between Dec. 25 and Jan. 15. Two of the victims were hospitalized.

A year ago, raw alfalfa sprouts from one of the Illinois-based restaurant chain's suppliers were linked to 140 salmonella illnesses. Sprouts eaten at Jimmy John's were linked to a 2009 salmonella outbreak in several Midwestern states and suspected in an E. coli outbreak in Boulder, Colo. in 2008, the AP reported.

The company declined to comment on the latest outbreak.


Heart Attack Grill Diner May Have Suffered Heart Attack

The Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas seemed to live up to its name after a customer suffered what may have been a heart attack.

Amateur video shows paramedics wheeling a man out of the restaurant on Saturday evening. Restaurant workers said it appeared the man had a heart attack, the Associated Press reported.

When a waitress told him a customer eating a Triple Bypass burger was sweating and shaking, grill owner Jon Basso thought it was a joke. Basso told a TV station that he heard the man is recuperating.

Details about the man's name and his medical condition weren't released, the AP reported.


Consumer Guide Reveals Toxicity of Vehicle Interiors

The Honda Civic, Toyota Prius and Honda CR-Z have the least toxic interiors, while the Mitsubishi Outlander has the most toxic passenger compartment, according to a new report by the Michigan-based Ecology Center.

The nonprofit group's guide notes that vehicle makers are reducing their use of toxic chemicals, and the industry leaders have eliminated hazardous flame retardants and PVC (polyvinyl chloride), USA Today reported.

The Ecology Center's fourth consumer guide on the topic says that 60 percent of new vehicle interiors are made without brominated flame retardants and 17 percent are PVC-free.

Chemicals used in vehicle interiors have been associated with health problems such as allergies, impaired learning and liver toxicity, USA Today reported.

"Vehicle interiors contain a unique cocktail of hundreds of toxic chemicals that off-gas in small, confined spaces," said Jeff Gearhart, research director at the Ecology Center. "Since these chemicals are not regulated, consumers have no way of knowing the dangers they face. Our testing is intended to expose those dangers and encourage manufacturers to use safer alternatives."


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