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public health 7 articles

FDA is working to improve cybersecurity on network-connected medical devices

mobile medical app

Cybersecurity worries affect more than just retailers and businesses. Even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has begun addressing concerns regarding how to best protect patient health and information from hackers. Malware infections that have led to the compromise of millions of customers’ data has obviously put federal agencies like the FDA on its toes. If malware were to penetrate a medical device or network-connected FDA computer, the repercussions could be monstrous, including unauthorized password distribution, failure to receive periodic updates and unsecure access to private networks. Although the FDA has not reported any specific devices or systems that ... Read More

Pipeline rupture leaves section of California City knee-deep in oil

oil spill LA - Gawker image

Half a square mile of Glendale, Calif., in Los Angeles County is knee-deep in crude oil after an estimated 10,000 gallons of crude oil escaped from a ruptured above-ground pipeline in the early morning hours on Friday. The Los Angeles Fire Department said that it had crews in the area “hand vacuuming” the spilled oil, “mopping what’s left behind, and pressure washing the area with a sap solution,” according to Reuters. The leak was first reported about 12:15 a.m. Pacific time in the 5100 block of San Fernando Road and shot up to 50 feet in the air, according to ... Read More

Antibiotic-resistant salmonella in Foster Farms chicken worries health officials

chickens

An outbreak of salmonella that has sickened 300 people in 18 states has public health officials investigating the sources of contamination worried that the particular strain of bacteria is extremely antibiotic-resistant. The massive outbreak is linked to raw chicken from Foster Farms facilities in California and is the second major salmonella outbreak this year traced to the company. Earlier this year, at least 134 people in 13 states were sickened by Foster Farms poultry. Thirty-three of those people required hospitalization to treat the illness. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hospitalization rates are more than ... Read More

Emotions overflow at public forum about Gardasil, as vaccine ‘victims’ speak out

What was designed to be a public health information forum about the HPV vaccine turned into an emotional scene as self-described “victims” of the vaccine spoke out about serious side effects linked to the drug. Perhaps the most well known of these vaccines, which are promoted as protection against the human papillomavirus (HPV), is Gardasil, manufactured by Merck. HPV, which is transmitted sexually,  is linked to the development of cervical cancer and, more recently, cancers of the throat and anus. The public forum was held in an Indianapolis community, sponsored by the Indiana Immunization Coalition. It featured among its panelists ... Read More

Common industrial, household products linked to Parkinson’s disease

Common man-made chemicals found in a variety of industrial and household products have been linked to Parkinson’s disease, according to a study published this week in the Annals of Neurology. Trichloroethylene, or TCE, is a chemical commonly used as an industrial solvent for cleaning metal parts. Perchloroethylene or tetrachloroethylene, also known as PERC, is a chemical commonly used for dry cleaning of fabrics. Both chemicals are found in metal degreasers, metal cleaners, paint, spot removers and carpet-cleaning fluids. The study found that TCE exposure was associated with a sixfold increased risk for developing Parkinson’s disease, and PERC exposure was associated ... Read More

FDA fights rapid rise in egg-related illness with new safety rules

Responding to a sharp increase in the number of illnesses linked to contaminated eggs, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has introduced tougher safety requirements for large-scale egg producers. The agency says that the new rules can eliminate nearly 80,000 illnesses and save 30 lives every year. The measures target the spread of Salmonella Enteritidis bacteria throughout egg producing facilities. The salmonella bacteria frequently contaminate eggs and the products in which they are used. Since May 2010, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified a nationwide, four-fold increase in the number of Salmonella Enteritidis isolates reported by state and ... Read More

Former CDC director to head Merck’s vaccine division, Gardasil

Merck and Co. announced yesterday that Dr. Julie Gerberding, the former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will head the pharmaceutical giant’s vaccine division. Dr. Gerberding served as the CDC director from 2002 to 2009, stepping down when President Barack Obama took office. As head of Merck’s $5 billion global vaccine arm, Dr. Gerberding will likely be responsible for revitalizing Gardasil’s waning sales. Merck won FDA approval for the vaccine in 2007 and immediately launched an aggressive campaign to make Gardasil shots mandatory for school girls as young as 11. However, the ambitious plan ultimately failed, ... Read More