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Health Highlights: March 12, 2020


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

Princess Cruises Pauses Operations in Midst of Coronavirus Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has led Princess Cruises to pause worldwide operations of its 18 cruise ships for 60 days, canceling trips that were scheduled to depart March 12 to May 10.

Cruise ships have been particularly hard hit in the pandemic and have been turned away by dozens of ports and countries, the Associated Press reported.

An outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, held in quarantine in Japan last month, infected hundreds of passengers and crew, and evacuation and quarantine of thousands of passengers aboard the Grand Princess, docked in Oakland, Calif, was underway this week. At least 21 passengers aboard the Grand Princess were infected with COVID-19, including one death.

Passengers currently on a Princess cruise that will end in the next five days will finish the voyages, the company said, and current voyages that extend beyond March 17 will be completed at the most convenient location for guests.

By "taking this bold action of voluntarily pausing the operations of our ships, it is our intention to reassure our loyal guests, team members and global stakeholders of our commitment to the health, safety and well-being of all who sail with us," said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises, the AP reported.

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Enoki Mushrooms From Korea Linked to Deadly U.S. Listeria Outbreak

Enoki mushrooms from Korea are the likely cause of a deadly listeria outbreak in the United States that sickened 36 people in 17 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Illnesses started between Nov. 23, 2016 to December 13, 2019, with 30 hospitalizations reported, and four deaths reported in California, Hawaii, and New Jersey.

Six cases involved pregnant women, resulting in the loss of two pregnancies, according to the CDC.

On March 9, 2020, Sun Hong Foods, Inc. recalled enoki mushrooms because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Enoki mushrooms are white, with long stems and small caps.

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Trump Dined With Brazilian Official Who Later Tested Positive for Coronavirus

A senior Brazilian official who was in close proximity to U.S. President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence has tested positive for the coronavirus, several Brazilian news outlets report.

Fabio Wajngarten, President Jair Bolsonaro's communications chief, was at Trump's oceanfront resort in Florida as part of Brazilian government delegation that dined with Trump on Saturday, The New York Times reported.

Wajngarten tested positive for the coronavirus after returning home with flu-like symptoms, and is awaiting the results of a second test to confirm the diagnosis, according to the newspaper Estadao.

News reports said that Bolsonaro and several senior officials who were in the Brazil delegation are being monitored for symptoms, The Times reported.

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Tom Hanks and Wife Have Coronavirus

Actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, have tested positive for coronavirus while in Australia.

Hanks, 63, went to Australia for a role in a movie about the life of Elvis Presley, The New York Times reported.

"We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches. Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers, too. To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the coronavirus, and were found to be positive," Hanks said in a statement released Wednesday.

He added that he and Wilson "will be tested, observed and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires," and will "keep the world posted and updated," the Times reported.

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NBA Suspends Season After Player Tests Positive for Coronavirus

The NBA season has been suspended after a player tested positive for the coronavirus.

The decision was announced Wednesday after a Utah Jazz player was found to have the coronavirus. The player is under the care of Oklahoma City health officials, CNN reported.

"The NBA is suspending gameplay following the conclusion of tonight's schedule of games until further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic," the league said in a statement.

The player's test result was reported before the cancellation of Wednesday night's game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder. The league said the player wasn't at the game, CNN reported.

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Health Benefits of Cycle Commuting Outweigh Injury Risk: Study

While there is a risk of injury if you cycle to work, it offers significant health benefits, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data on more than 230,000 commuters in the U.K., including more than 5,700 who said cycling was their main form of transportation, CNN reported.

While cycle commuting was associated with a 45% higher risk of injury than other types of commuting, cycle commuting was associated with a lower risk of cancer, heart disease and premature death, according to the University of Glasgow study published Wednesday in the BMJ medical journal.

"What we're saying is that if 1,000 people who don't currently cycle to work change their minds, on average over the next 10 years, we would see a total of 26 injuries that we would not have otherwise -- three of which would result in hospitalization of more than a week," said Paul Welsh, senior lecturer, Institute of Cardiovascular & Medical Sciences, Glasgow University, CNN reported.

"The benefit is 15 fewer cancers, four fewer heart attacks or stroke and three fewer deaths," he added.

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