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Health Highlights: July 1, 2019

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

Kentucky Health Department Wins Court Fight Over Ban on Unvaccinated Students

State health officials were within their power to ban students from school during a chickenpox outbreak, the Kentucky Court of Appeals says.

The ruling issued Friday upheld a lower-court decision in a case involving the Northern Kentucky Health Department and two Catholic schools in Boone County, about 25 miles south of Cincinnati, NBC News reported.

In March, a chickenpox outbreak at Assumption Academy of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart School led state health officials to order unvaccinated students to stay away from class and extracurricular activities.

Sacred Heart 12th grader Jerome Kunkel was unvaccinated and challenged the ban in court. He later came down with chickenpox.

The appeals court ruling is a "resounding victory for public health," the Northern Kentucky Health Department said Monday, NBC News reported.

The department said it exercised "reasonable, appropriate and necessary" actions "to control the spread of a highly infectious disease."


Salmonella Outbreak in Eight States Linked to Mexican Papayas: CDC

A salmonella outbreak that's sickened 62 people in eight states appears to be linked to whole, fresh papayas from Mexico, U.S. health officials report.

Most of the sick people are adults older than 60. Twenty-three people have been hospitalized, putting the hospitalization rate at 66%, compared with about 20% in a typical salmonella outbreak, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The illnesses began between Jan. 14, 2019 and June 8, 2019, and most have occurred since April. No deaths have been reported.

Illnesses have been reported in Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Texas.

It's believed that the source of the outbreak is whole, fresh papayas from Mexico that were sold in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, according to the CDC.

It said that people in those states should not eat, serve or sell whole, fresh papayas imported from Mexico or eat fruits salads or other foods that contain papaya from Mexico.

Most people infected with salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment.


Rule Allowing Health Care Workers to Refuse to Perform Abortions Put on Hold

A Trump administration rule that would permit health care workers to refuse to perform abortions or other treatments on moral or religious grounds has been put on hold.

The rule was supposed to take effect on July 22, but implementation will be delayed while it's challenged in a California court, the Associated Press reported.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its opponents in court agreed Friday to delay a final ruling on the matter until Nov. 22, and the deal was approved Saturday by a federal judge in San Francisco.

In their lawsuit, opponents allege that the department exceeded its authority with the rule, the AP reported.

Religious conservatives back the rule, but critics claim it could lead to the denial of medical attention for LGBT people or women seeking abortions, a legal medical procedure.

"The Trump administration is trying to systematically limit access to critical medical care for women, the LGBTQ community, and other vulnerable patients," San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement Friday. "Hospitals are no place to put personal beliefs above patient care."


Child Dies From E. Coli After Visit to San Diego County Fair

One of four children who became ill with E. coli after visiting the San Diego County Fair has died.

Three of the children did not require hospitalization, but the youngest -- a 2-year-old boy -- died from complications of E. coli infection at a hospital last week, the county said in a statement Friday, CNN reported.

All four children visited animal areas or the petting zoo, which were later closed to the public, the county said.

Symptoms of E. coli infection include stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Officials advised anyone who had symptoms on or after June 8 to inform a health care provider, CNN reported.

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