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Health Highlights: April 8, 2019


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

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.

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Hunt's Tomato Paste Recalled for Mold Danger

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

After the canning process, some cans may have been damaged, creating the potential for mold. The recalled products were sold in the U.S.

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.

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Antibiotics Prescribed More Often to Children During Telemedicine Visits

Children with respiratory symptoms such as sniffling and a sore throat are more likely to be prescribed antibiotics if they're assessed during a telemedicine visit than if they're seen in person, a new study suggests.

It also found that many of those telemedicine-based prescriptions ignored medical guidelines meant to reduce the risk of side effects or contributing to antibiotic resistance, the Associated Press reported Monday.

The study of more than 340,000 children assessed for acute respiratory illness in 2015 and 2016 found antibiotic prescriptions were handed out in more than half of telemedicine visits, compared with 42 percent of urgent care clinic visits and 31 percent of doctor's office visits.

Failure to follow medical guidelines on matching treatment to diagnosis occurred in 4 of 10 antibiotic prescriptions dispensed during telemedicine visits, compared with 3 in 10 urgent care clinic visits and 2 in 10 doctor's office visits.

In most cases, that failure had to do with prescribing antibiotics for colds and flus, which cannot be treated with antibiotics, the AP reported.

The study was published online April 8 in the journal Pediatrics.

"I understand the desire for care that's more convenient and timely," lead author Dr. Kristin Ray, from the University of Pittsburgh, told the AP. "But we want to make sure that we don't sacrifice quality or safety or effectiveness in the process."

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