<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - Health News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/health http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.comen-usSat, 29 Apr 2017 06:41:54 -0700Sat, 29 Apr 2017 06:41:54 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[AI Predicts Heart Attacks Better Than Doctors: Study]]> Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:35:24 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_206901288533.jpg

New research suggests that artificial intelligence may be better at determining which patients are at high risk for a heart attack than their doctor, NBC News reported.

AI computer programs developed at the University of Nottingham in England were significantly more accurate at predicting which patients were at high risk.

The program's algorithm analyzes more types of patient data over a longer time period. It also takes into account the interactions of certain medications that are now known to be associated with a heightened risk for heart disease.

"You'll always need doctors and nurses. An AI algorithm won't be able to tell you that the patient was nervous because they had a big job interview in the afternoon...and thus their blood pressure was high on the day. What AI does allow is for doctors to become more efficient at their job," Dr. Stephen Weng, a research fellow at the University of Nottingham, told NBC News.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File]]>
<![CDATA[Utah Rep. Chaffetz Gives Transparent Reason for Leave]]> Thu, 27 Apr 2017 10:33:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GOPRepJasonChaffetz_1200x675.jpg

Republican lawmaker Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz revealed medical fixtures that had been holding his foot together for the last 12 years on his Instagram account.

Recently Chaffetz announced he would be taking a leave of absence and may not run for reelection in 2018. According to his Instagram post which reveals an x-ray of his foot, he said he would have the medical screws and plates removed from his foot after doctors advised him that the hardware could lead to a serious infection.

In the post, Chaffetz wrote, "Yes, I wish I could say I was cliff diving in Mexico but the truth is I fell off a ladder while repairing something in my garage." 

Chaffetz is chairman of the House Oversight Reform Committee and best known for his investigations of Hillary Clinton and alleged missteps by the Obama administration over the 2012 Benghazi attacks.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[FDA Warns of 14 'Fraudulent' Cancer Cure Companies]]> Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:53:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/FDAfakecurecancerdrugs_1200x675.jpg

The Food and Drug Administration posted warning letters sent to 14 manufacturers, telling them to remove their fraudulent cancer curing products on the internet, NBC News reported. 

The FDA said most of the products are sold websites and social media sites can be harmful and waste money. 

The products that are not tested nor approved by the FDA come in all shapes and sizes, from creams to teas. Some contain ingredients that can be risky or interact dangerously with prescription drugs.

Photo Credit: FDA Photo]]>
<![CDATA[Drugmaker's Deal With Nat'l Cancer Institute Doubles to $6M]]> Fri, 21 Apr 2017 07:49:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/2092862-cancer-treatment-generic.jpg

Local drugmaker IriSys LLC announced Thursday that its contract with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has doubled in value from $3 million to $6 million.

Under the terms of the five-year contract, IriSys will develop and manufacture new drugs for use in clinical trials supported by NCI. The deal was first initiated in June 2015 and will be in effect through June 2020.

Making drug formulations for clinical trials and pharmaceutical companies is one of IriSys’ services. The company makes materials in all dosage forms, including tablets and capsules, as well as liquids, injectables, and topical ointments here in San Diego.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[CVS, Starbucks and the Love-Hate Relationship With Sugar ]]> Fri, 21 Apr 2017 07:46:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/CVS-Starbcucks.jpg

Healthy foods are taking real estate from candy at some CVS stores, the store chain announced Thursday, a response to changing customer preferences and shopping habits, NBC News reported.

In CVS Pharmacy's new store prototype there's less space for sugary snacks, particularly at the front of the store, where healthier food, vitamins, supplements and cosmetics with more natural ingredients will be displayed.

"It seems pretty clear that CVS has a fairly serious approach to trying to create a healthier environment in its stores," said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University, pointing to its 2014 decision to stop selling tobacco products.

But she and other food branding experts note that health food labeling can mislead or misdirect consumers, too. The fancifully colored "Unicorn" Frappuccino from Starbucks could have as much as 76 grams of sugar, because Starbucks is known more for coffee than milkshakes.

Photo Credit: CVS Handout, AP]]>
<![CDATA[Sweet Drinks Linked to Dementia: Study]]> Thu, 20 Apr 2017 15:26:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NC_drinksdementia0420_1500x845.jpg

Don't be so fast to finish that soda. The latest report from the Framingham Heart Study found that people who frequently drink sodas and fruit juices are more likely to have a poorer memory and less brain volume. Additionally, people who drink artificial sweeteners were three times as likely to develop both strokes and dementia. 

<![CDATA[Skin Creams Sold in CA Contain Mercury: Health Dept.]]> Thu, 20 Apr 2017 10:10:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/La-Tia-Mana-Main.jpg

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is warning consumers to avoid using two skin creams sold at flea markets in the state – products that tested positive for high levels of mercury.

The CDPH said this week that there’s a possible health risk associated with two skin care products: La Tía Mána cream, and a second cream that comes in a similar white container as La Tía Mána, only without a label.

According to the warning, the creams – which typically hail from Mexico and are also known as “homemade” creams – contain high levels of mercury, a toxic chemical that, with regular or prolonged exposure, can cause mercury poisoning. The creams were sampled and submitted for analysis by the CDPH, health officials told NBC 7 Wednesday.

Symptoms of mercury poisoning include irritability, depression, nervousness, difficulty concentrating or remembering things, fatigue, tremors, shaking or weakness and tingling or numbness in the hands, feet or around the mouth.

The CDPH said both products were discovered as part of an investigation spearheaded by the department looking into unlawful products being sold by vendors operating at an open-air flea market in Southern California's Ventura County.

The products were both labeled and unlabeled, and according to the CDPH, were packaged "in jars consistent with past products that previously tested positive for elevated mercury content in 2014."

The products are also known to be sold in California cities through informal networks, at times via social media, often by people who brought the products into the U.S. from Mexico. NBC 7 found several Facebook pages for La Tía Mána cream that claim to be a resource for consumers trying to buy the product. Some of those pages claim to be based out of cities like Fresno and Oxnard, California.

The skin creams claim to serve a variety of uses including to lighten the skin, fade freckles, blemishes and age spots and to treat acne.

The CDPH said there have been no reports of illnesses associated with these particular creams just yet, but similar creams -- the ones that tested positive for mercury in 2014 -- have resulted in health issues nationwide.

Some of those health problems associated with similar products have included poisoning in children and babies who didn’t use the creams, but were exposed to mercury through close contact with family members who used the products.

In some cases, according to this warning issued by the CDPH in May 2014, products contained up to 21 percent mercury – or 210,000 parts per million (ppm). In the U.S., it is illegal to sell skin cream products that contain 1 ppm or more.

Health officials advise consumers to discontinue using these products and check their other skin products for harmful ingredients such as mercury; mercurio; mercurous chloride; cinnabar; calomel. Products packaged without labeling should be avoided too, the CDPH said.

The CDPH said consumers experiencing symptoms of mercury poisoning stemming from use of these products should see a doctor and call the California Poison Control System at (800) 222-1222. Consumers who see these products being sold can also reach out to the CDPH’s Food and Drug Branch complaint hotline at (800) 495-3232.

Photo Credit: California Department of Public Health]]>
<![CDATA[NBC 7 Coverage on Testing for Lead in Drinking Water]]> Thu, 20 Apr 2017 14:23:45 -0700
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<![CDATA[Mosquito Season Is Fast-Approaching; Tips on How to Protect Your Home]]> Fri, 14 Apr 2017 23:41:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/216*120/mosquito-generic.PNG

The season of mosquito-borne illnesses is back and San Diego County officials want to make sure residents are protecting themselves and their homes against the viruses that mosquitos carry.

County officials say it's important to know the signs of where mosquitos like to breed and preventing them from coming into contact with pets or humans.

Mosquitos that can carry the West Nile virus and the Zika virus love to live and breed near people.

Free standing water, commonly seen in backyards, are mosquito breeding grounds. Dumping out the water is one way to protect your home from mosquitos.

“You just want to get rid of all your water sites — even if you have dogs that drink out of [bowls] — you want to dump that out every week,” says Dr. Sayone Thihalolipavan, County Deputy Public Health Officer at San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.

County workers say that it doesn’t take much water for mosquitos to congregate – it can only take a thimble full of water for the dangerous aedes aeqypti mosquito to breed.

The aedes aeypti mosquito, also known as the yellow fever mosquito, is capable of carrying and transmitting the Zika virus.

82 people in San Diego County travelled abroad last year and came home infected with the Zika virus.

Last year, workers hand sprayed in neighborhoods such as Chula Vista, Spring Valley, and South Park to prevent the spread of the Zika virus.

South Park residents voiced their concerns at the time about the chemicals being used in the spray.

For pool owners, another way to combat against mosquito breeding is getting some fish and placing them in the pool; the county is offering free fish that eat mosquito larvae. Visit their website for a list of locations.

<![CDATA[Lupus Stole Her Legs, Not Her Heart]]> Fri, 14 Apr 2017 10:02:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Stacey-Kozel-041417_3.jpg

Lupus stole Stacey Kozel's use of her legs, but left her heart stronger than ever.

"I want to keep going and living life," said the woman from Pennsylvania now walking from California to Washington.

Kozel is hiking the roughly 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail.  It's a trip she says would take the average hiker five or six months.  She thinks it'll take her closer to seven.

That's because Stacey Kozel has Systemic Lupus, an autoimmune disease that can attack the body in a lot of different ways.  In Kozel's case, it targeted her spinal cord and nervous system.  A flareup in 2014 left her unable to walk. She now spends most of her time in a wheelchair.  

She does have braces that allow her to walk, albeit with her knees locked. It can make walking a tedious task, which makes it that much more impressive that about two years after that flareup, Kozel hiked the 2,200 mile Appalachian trail. 

"I always say the worst day on the trail is better than the best day in the hospital," she said.

So, now she is at it again, this time walking alone from the U.S. Mexico Border to the Canadian border trekking up to 20 miles a day.

While she's walking alone, she is constantly meeting people on the trail, which is a big reason why she's on the journey.

"No matter what your ability is, where you come from, how much money you have, whether you're a democrat or republican, or whatever, it doesn't matter. Out here, you're a hiker.  So, everyone is family," she said.

Kozel hopes to finish the hike by November.

Her doctors can't tell her if the disease may eventually take her life, she is adamant it will have no effect on how she lives.

"I don't want to have any regrets and I want to know that I lived every day as hard as I can.  So, that's my goal.  Now, all I have to do is walk north," she laughs.

<![CDATA[Doctor Surrenders Medical License in Sexual Misconduct Investigation]]> Fri, 14 Apr 2017 08:46:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Manuel-Tanguma-San-Marcos.jpg

A former medical doctor who practiced in San Marcos has surrendered his medical license according to The Medical Board of California after several women accused him of inappropriate and sexual advances during office visits.

Manuel Tanguma III’s medical license was surrendered on April 17. He had previously resigned from Graybill Medical Group after allegations surfaced about his interactions with patients in the company’s San Marcos office on Rancheros Drive between September 2008 and November 2015.

The medical board found Tanguma guilty of gross negligence for failing to document the care for and making “unprofessional and inappropriate comments” to multiple patients.

He also took photographs of breasts “with his personal phone and misrepresented the purpose for which the photographs were taken,” according to the legal documents.

According to court documents, after a number of doctor visits, Tanguma “kissed her for what felt like ten minutes in a 2013 visit. When Tanguma stopped kissing [the patient], he unzipped his pants and exposed [himself] to her and commented ‘Look what you do to me. Touch it.’ [The patient] froze and was horrified.”

In the complaint to the California Medical Board, a number of other patients claimed Tanguma inappropriately touched their breasts or his own penis during exams.

One patient claimed Tanguma asked for a picture of her vagina during a 2015 office visit.

Another patient said she was shown a selfie of a man’s naked penis during a June 2015 visit with Tanguma.

Tanguma’s attorney Robert Frank told NBC 7 his client was ambushed by unfounded complaints when approached for a story in May 2016.

Documents show Tanguma also surrendered a medical license in the state of New York in connection with the investigation.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Marathons May Delay Medical Care for Non-Runners]]> Thu, 13 Apr 2017 06:06:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/20151006+Marine+Corps+Marathon1.jpg Marathons can be risky for hearts, but not necessarily those of the runners. It takes longer for nearby residents to get to a hospital for emergency heart care on the day of a race and they're less likely to survive, a U.S. study finds.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Most Popular Easter Candies Ranked by Nutrition]]> Thu, 13 Apr 2017 06:21:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-57339112.jpg

'Tis the season for dyeing Easter eggs — and snacking on chocolate ones. Worried you'll wreck your healthy eating streak come Easter Sunday on April 16?

NBC News sized up the nutrition labels of some of the most popular Easter candies, with a strong focus on calories, fat and sugar content per serving — as well as the serving size.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs top the list at only 90 calories and 8 grams of sugar per serving. Health-conscious snackers can also choose Tootsie Easter Egg Shaped Pops, which rank at No. 2.

Brach’s Tiny Jelly Bird Eggs round out NBC’s list at No. 9, with 250 calories and a whopping 53 grams of sugar per serving.

Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Newlyweds Contract Brain-Infecting Parasite in Hawaii]]> Wed, 12 Apr 2017 10:23:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/4122017-bay-area-couple.jpg

California newlyweds are recovering after contracting a brain-infecting parasite on their honeymoon in Hawaii, according to a published report. 

Ben Manilla, a journalism professor at UC Berkeley, and Eliza Lape were sickened with rat lungworm disease, according to a Hawaii News Now report.

Manilla, 64, and Lape, 57, traveled to Maui for their wedding in January. After the ceremony, they stayed in Hana, Hawaii News Now reported.

Lape began presenting symptoms even before the duo’s return to San Francisco.

"My symptoms started growing to feeling like somebody was taking a hot knife and just stabbing me in different parts of my body," she told Hawaii News Now.

Rat lungworm disease is caused by a parasite that impacts rats that then excrete worm larvae. Slugs and snails consume the larvae, which are then passed on to humans who eat raw produce, freshwater shrimp or land crabs that contain traces of the worms, according to Hawaii News Now.

The parasitic worms trigger a rare meningitis that affects the brain and spinal cord.

Lape has recovered, but Manilla has spent a month in the ICU and needs to undergo rehabilitation, the TV station said.

"I've had several operations, two pneumonias, a blood clot. Right now, I'm dealing with a kidney issue, all of which was spurred by the rat lung," Manilla said to Hawaii News Now.

The couple is speaking about the experience to help other people take appropriate precautions.

"Had we known we were walking into this kind of environment, we would have had a completely different attitude," Lape told Hawaii News Now. "It really does disrupt and destroy people's lives."

Officials have noted an upswing in rat lungworm disease – at least nine cases recently – on the Big Island and on Maui, Hawaii News Now reported.

Health experts believe that number may not include people who went to private clinics, not hospitals. The Department of Health is investigating.

The Centers for Disease Control Prevention suggests when travelling in areas where the parasite is common, avoid eating uncooked vegetables. If you believe you may have similar symptoms, the CDC suggests you contact your physician.

Photo Credit: Hawaii News Now]]>
<![CDATA[Fresh Express Recalls Packaged Salad After Bat Found: CDC]]> Mon, 10 Apr 2017 05:24:22 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-71902781.jpg

Fresh Express recalled some of its prepackaged salad mix after a dead bat was found inside a container sold in a Florida Wal-mart, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Two people said they found a dead bat in their purchased package, and that they had eaten some of the salad before discovering the animal, according to a CDC statement

The center added that the bat was sent to its lab to be tested for rabies, but the animal's deteriorated condition did not allow for a conclusive test.

Wal-Mart removed the product from its store shelves.

The company on Saturday announced a recall of a limited quantity of its 5-ounce Organic Marketside Spring Mix packages. The salads were sold in a clear container with production code G089B19 and best-if-used-by date of April 14, 2017. The announcement said the recalled packages were only distributed to Wal-mart stores located in the Southeastern region of the United States.

As a precaution, the pair who ate the salad were recommended to undergo rabies treatment. However, the CDC said transmission of the disease by eating a rabid animal is "extremely uncommon."

"Both people report being in good health and neither has any signs of rabies," the CDC said in the statement.

Consumers who ate salad from recalled packages without animal matter are not at risk, the CDC added.

Still, Fresh Express advised anyone who has purchased the recalled product to throw it out and not eat it. Those who have questions or wish to receive a full refund for their purchase can call the Fresh Express Consumer Response Center 1-800-242-5472 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern Time.

The CDC said it is working with the Florida Department of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to support an investigation of the incident.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Woman's Blood Leads to Potential Treatment for Ebola Cousin]]> Sat, 08 Apr 2017 14:39:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_383650526882.jpg

A woman came back from a trip to the Uganda jungle with Marburg virus, a cousin of Ebola that's even deadlier, NBC News reported.

Now, Michelle Barnes' blood has a provided a potential cure for the infection.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University and Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. isolated an especially potent immune system protein called a monoclonal antibody from Barnes and have used it to cure monkeys infected not only with Marburg virus, but with a related virus called Ravn.

They are working to find ways to mass-produce the antibody and test it in people.

The hope is to have supplies ready in case of outbreaks of viruses like Marburg and Ebola, which killed more than 11,000 people and sickened 28,000 in a 2014-2016 epidemic in West Africa.

"If somebody needed to get Marburg virus so you could donate your cells for research, I am glad it was me," Barnes said. "I happen to have really good immunity."

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ben Curtis]]>
<![CDATA[Kaiser Permanente Unveils New Kearny Mesa Hospital]]> Mon, 17 Apr 2017 21:04:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/224*120/Kaiser-SD-Medical-Center-0408.jpg

Kaiser Permanente gave visitors a glimpse Saturday of its new facility in Kearny Mesa that will begin accepting patients at the end of this month.

The San Diego Medical Center (SDMC) is located at 9455 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. Its first patients will be admitted come April 25.

Saturday's sneak peek kicked off with activities such as ping-pong tournaments, nutritional and wellness presentations and games for kids. Food trucks and farmer’s market vendors were also there.

The new state-of-the-art SDMC includes some of the most advanced technology in health care, such as robotic and image-guided surgical equipment. There are even remote-controlled rooms where patients can adjust blinds, temperature and lighting.

The facility only uses LED lighting and is one of four health centers in the word to receive a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification. LEED-certified buildings are resource efficient, using less water and energy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Jane Finley, senior vice president and general manager of Kaiser Permanente San Diego said one clinical tool in the facility – a 75-inch screen – also doubles as a screen to watch movies.

Finley said Kaiser’s newest medical center will keep the company caring for San Diegans. It will also add local jobs.

“We are now taking care of about 610,000 San Diegans, so about one in five San Diegans we care for,” she explained. “We’ve also added quite a few jobs, just for people working in the building.”

The new facility wowed guests, including former longtime nurse Katie Moran and former VA employee Rich Moran.

“I was pretty amazed, I’m a retired nurse of 42 years and I’ve worked in a lot of hospitals and they’ve thought of just about everything,” said Katie. “Including how you feel as a patient.”

“We have a ways to catch up in the VA, to catch up to this building,” added Rich. “This is building is really something and you can see it’s all directed at the patient.”

Finley said Kaiser Permanente worked closely with the City of San Diego to make sure the traffic flow around the building will be efficient.

“We’ve added a street light in front of the building; widened the lane on Clairemont Mesa [Blvd.] and the retaining wall, we built that to prevent any erosion that might occur,” she explained. 

The preview event featured tours of the facility; those tours will continue to be given in the coming months. Visit the SDMC to schedule a tour.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Cancer-Causing HPV Virus Affects 1 in 4 US Men: Study]]> Thu, 06 Apr 2017 10:57:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/vaccine-AP_701393247962.jpg

New government statistics show that 25 percent of men have the strain of HPV (human papillomavirus or human wart virus) that causes cancer, NBC News reported.

Twenty percent of women have the same strain as well, and 45 percent of men have some kind of genital HPV, according to new data from the National Center for Health Statistics. People under 25 are able to receive a vaccine that can protect them from cancer-causing HPV strains, but for the rest of the population, the virus is still an issue.

Neck and head cancer are some of the implications of HPV, and some experts say that 70 percent of all head and neck cancers are caused by HPV, most likely spread through oral sex.

"Human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States," wrote the team at the NCHS, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Photo Credit: John Amis/AP, File ]]>
<![CDATA[People With Chronic Pain Scared by Ohio's New Opioid Rules]]> Thu, 06 Apr 2017 03:38:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_16273781823723oxy.jpg

People dealing with chronic pain say recent moves by Ohio's governor to fight the plague of opioid overdoses could leave them suffering, NBC News reported.

Gov. John Kasich restricted how many painkillers may be prescribed to patients, but people who rely on the drugs say the rules could force them to go underground to find relief from their anguish.

"We are being punished for being in pain," said Amy Monahan-Curtis, 44, who has been living in agony since 1993 due to a condition called cervical dystonia, which causes her neck muscles to contract involuntarily.

She doesn't believe assurances from officials that the rules only apply to acute pain, not chronic pain.

Photo Credit: Toby Talbot/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Pinwheels at Rady's Pay Tribute to Child Abuse Survivors]]> Wed, 05 Apr 2017 13:53:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/4-5-17-GIF-Rady+Childrens+Hospital+Chadwick+Center+Pinwheels.gif

A colorful display featuring 1,800 pinwheels in front of the Chadwick Center for Children and Families at Rady Children's Hospital this month pays tribute to abused and neglected children seen at the center this past year. 

To mark April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the royal blue pinwheels were placed on the front lawn of the Rose Pavilion of the Chadwick Center at 3020 Children's Way, near the fountain. 

Each pinwheel stands for an abused or neglected child seen or treated over the past year at the Chadwick Center. 

"Today we have 1,800 pinwheels, But if we put how many children were actually the subject of an investigation by county child welfare and child protection officials, that number would be 44,000," said Charles Wilson, Senior Director at the Chadwick Center. 

Wilson urged families, neighbors and communities to watch over each other and keep an eye out for child abuse and neglect. 

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[1 in 10 US Pregnant Women With Zika Have Babies With Defects]]> Tue, 04 Apr 2017 16:59:22 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/zikamosquito_1200x675.jpg

About 1 out of 10 women in the United States who tested positive for the Zika infection had a fetus or baby with Zika-related birth defects, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The CDC's Vital Signs report is the first to provide an analysis of a subgroup of 250 pregnant women in the U.S. with confirmed test results of Zika virus infection. Zika testing remains complex because there is a narrow timeframe for obtaining a positive laboratory result, and many infected people do not show symptoms, the CDC said. 

The lack of motivation for testing led the CDC to monitor all pregnant women with any evidence of recent Zika infection. In 2016, nearly 1,000 pregnant women from the 44 states who completed their pregnancies had some evidence of a recent Zika infection and were at risk of having a fetus or baby with Zika-related birth defects.

Most of the women acquired Zika during travel to an area where the virus was known to be present.

“Zika virus can be scary and potentially devastating to families. Zika continues to be a threat to pregnant women across the U.S.,” CDC acting director Anne Schuchat said in a statement. “With warm weather and a new mosquito season approaching, prevention is crucial to protect the health of mothers and babies. Healthcare providers can play a key role in prevention efforts.”

Zika infection during pregnancy can cause serious damage to the brain and microcephaly in developing fetuses. It also can lead to congenital Zika syndrome in babies, a pattern of birth defects that includes brain abnormalities, vision problems, hearing loss, and problems moving limbs. Babies may also appear healthy at birth but have underlying brain defects or other Zika-related health problems, the CDC said.

The report found Zika still poses a serious risk during pregnancy and it's important for pregnant women to continue taking steps to prevent exposure to the virus through mosquito bites and sexual transmission.

Nearly 1,300 pregnant women with evidence of possible Zika infection were reported to the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry from Jan. 15 to Dec. 27, 2016. Of the 1,000 pregancies completed by the end of the year, more than 50 had Zika-related birth defects. 

Confirmed infections in the first trimester posed the higest risk with 15 percent of those fetuses or babies having Zika-related birth defects, the report found. 

The CDC's registry data included all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and territories except Puerto Rico. The Zika Active Pregnancy Surveillance System is a separate system to monitor pregnancies in Puerto Rico.

In Puerto Rico, over 39,000 cases were confirmed last year and over 3,000 women confirmed with Zika infection were pregnant. Almost 400 pregnant women were hospitalized and the Zika infection led to 5 recorded deaths, according to the Puerto Rico’s health department.

Last week, the Puerto Rico Department of Health, who has worked with the CDC to combat Zika infections in Puerto Rico, showed in recent results a dramatic, continuing decline of the Zika virus. Currently, there are no pregnant women who are infected with the Zika virus and the number of infected women and men, combined is under 3000. 

Peggy Honein with the CDC's Zika Response team said that many babies born to mothers with possible Zika infection "are not receiving brain imaging after birth to help diagnose serious brain defects.” She called for healthcare providers to ask about possible Zika exposure when caring for pregnant women and their babies. 

The CDC recommended healthcare providers also educate families on Zika prevention, provide all needed tests and follow-up care and support babies and families.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mylan Hit With Racketeering Suit Over Price Hikes of EpiPen]]> Mon, 03 Apr 2017 12:25:02 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/epipen1.jpg

Mylan was slapped Monday with a class-action racketeering lawsuit that claims the company overcharged patients as part of an illegal scheme to secure sales, CNBC reported.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, alleges the "skyrocketing" list price of EpiPen was the result of the drugmaker's payments of rebates to pharmacy benefit managers — including CVS Caremark, Express Scripts and Optum Rx — which handle prescription drug benefit programs for insurance plans.

The suit noted when EpiPen prices were increasing most dramatically, other companies tried to introduce competing devices. But those companies never succeeded in displacing Epipen's market dominance because Mylan paid pharmacy benefit managers higher rebates, the suit said.

The suit claims violations of consumer protection laws of all U.S. states, as well as a violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act.

A spokeswoman for Mylan had no immediate comment on the lawsuit.

Photo Credit: AP]]>