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Health Highlights: April 9, 2019

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

U.S. Measles Cases This Year Reach 465: CDC

The number of reported measles cases in the United States hit 465 as of April 4, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.

That’s 78 more than in the previous week’s update, CNN reported.

The update said that Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts and Nevada had their first cases of measles this year, bringing the total number of states reporting cases to 19.

The other states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington, CNN reported.

The number of measles cases this year “is the second greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000,” according to the CDC.

Last year’s total was 372 cases. The largest outbreak occurred in 2014, with 667 cases, CNN reported.

Measles is highly contagious, but it can be prevented through vaccination. One reason for the rising number of measles cases is anti-vaccine misinformation being spread by so-called anti-vaxxers, experts say.


FDA Approves First Single-Tablet, Two-Drug Treatment for Untreated HIV

The first single-tablet, two-drug regimen for treatment of adults with the HIV virus who have never taken antiretroviral drugs has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“Currently, the standard of care for patients who have never been treated is a three-drug regimen. With this approval, patients who have never been treated have the option of taking a two-drug regimen in a single tablet while eliminating additional toxicity and potential drug interactions from a third drug,” said Dr. Debra Birnkrant, director of the FDA’s Division of Antiviral Products.

The approval of Dovato (dolutegravir and lamivudine) is based on two clinical trials of more than 1,400 HIV-infected adults with no prior antiretroviral treatment.

The trials found that a regimen of dolutegravir and lamivudine was similarly effective in reducing the amount of HIV in the blood as treatment with dolutegravir, emtricitabine and tenofovir, according to the FDA.

“Having a drug-sparing treatment available that uses fewer drugs is beneficial to patients who may have issues taking multiple medications over a long period of time,” Birnkrant said in an FDA news release.

The Dovato labeling includes a boxed warning that patients infected with both HIV and hepatitis B should add treatment for their hepatitis B or consider a different drug regimen, due to the risk of liver damage.


N.Y. Judge Lifts Ban on Unvaccinated Children in Public Places

A Rockland County, N.Y. ban on unvaccinated children in public places that was meant to control a measles outbreak has been overturned by a judge.

On March 26, the county issued a 30-day emergency order prohibiting unvaccinated children younger than 18 from being in public places such as shopping centers, businesses, restaurants, schools, and places of worship, CBS News reported.

But on Friday, a judge in upstate New York lifted the ban, saying that the number of measles cases (166 confirmed cases) did not meet the requirement for an emergency order.

Most of the cases have occurred in the local ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.

The latest decision was “very wrong-headed,” said Rockland County executive Ed Day. He said he fears for the well-being of pregnant women and children, who could suffer life-threatening complications from the highly-contagious illness, CBS News reported.

Families in New York State can claim a religious exemption from vaccination requirements. A Rockland County state senator is has sponsored a bill to eliminate that exemption, something California did in 2015, CBS News reported.

“It’s very simple: Just remove all non-medical exemptions. Make it clear and simple to school administrators, make it clear and simple to parents. Cut through the nonsense that’s out there and let’s govern by the science,” State Sen. David Carlucci said.

“Or else, we’re going to have a real, real problem on our hands, and it’s not just going to be isolated to Rockland County or to Brooklyn everyone’s going to be facing this,” he added, CBS News reported.


Hunt’s Tomato Paste Recalled for Mold Danger

Possible mold contamination has led to the recall of 6-ounce cans of Hunt’s Tomato Paste No Salt Added, Conagra Brands Inc. says.

After the canning process, some cans might have been damaged, creating the potential for mold. The recalled products were sold in the United States.

Consumers with the recalled products, which have a Best By Date of Oct. 16, 2020, should throw them away or return them to the place of purchase.

For more information, go to Conagra’s website.

Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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