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Health Highlights: Oct. 4, 2019


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

Actress Diahann Carroll Dies at 84

Diahann Carroll, who broke barriers in the 1960s with her TV show "Julia," has died from cancer at 84. As the star of the NBC sitcom from 1968 to 1971, she ushered in new opportunities for black actors.

"Julia" was a hit with both black and white viewers. In its first season it climbed to No. 7 in the Nielsen ratings, the New York Times noted.

Jack Gould, in his review of the show in the Times, noted that Hollywood is known for "tiptoeing around anything too controversial." But, "at all events the breaking of the color line in TV stardom on a regular weekly basis should be salutary," he added.

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North Carolina Outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease Traced to Hot Tub Display

An outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease that has sickened 116 and killed one at the state fair may have started at a hot tub display, North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services reported Wednesday.

Also, eight people who visited the fair have been sickened with Pontiac fever, which is a milder form of Legionnaires' disease. In all, 80 people have been hospitalized, CNN reported.

Walking by the display of hot tubs is the likely source of the disease, state health officials say. Exposure was also more likely during the latter half of the fair, they note.

One sample taken from the fair has tested positive for Legionella bacteria and other tests are being done, CNN said.

"Finding Legionella in one water sample is an important piece of the puzzle, but it does not tell us how so many people were exposed at this event," state epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore said in a statement. "To get Legionnaires' disease or Pontiac fever, you have to breathe in Legionella in aerosolized water, meaning small droplets like mists or vapors."

Legionnaires' disease is found naturally in the environment but "can spread in water systems like hot water tanks, cooling towers of air conditioning systems, decorative fountains and hot tubs or spas that are not properly maintained," North Carolina health officials said. It can be treated with antibiotics, CNN said.

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King Arthur Flour Recall Expands Due to E.coli Fears

King Arthur Flour, which has previously announced a recall of flour due to possible contamination with E. coli 026 has added lots of its Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (5 lb. & 25 lb) to the recall, the company announced.

The flour was milled at an ADM Milling, in Buffalo, N.Y., and distributed by King Arthur Flour and sold nationwide.

To date, the company hasn't had any confirmed reports of illnesses related to this product.

The product affected by this voluntary recall is Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (5 lb. & 25 lb.). For a complete list of specific product UPC numbers and lot codes under recall, check here.

This is an expansion of a recall announced June 13, 2019.

People who have any of these products should throw them out and may apply for a refund or replacement, the company said.

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Government Wants Marketing Data From Juul and 5 Other Vaping Companies

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has asked Juul, R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co., Fontem US, Logic Technology Development, Nu Mark and NJOY to give them marketing materials going back to 2015.

Thursday's announcement comes at a time when e-cigarettes are being targeted by health officials and politicians as their use soars among America's teens, the Associated Press reported.

The FTC is asking for the marketing material to get a better understanding of the sales of vaping products and how they're promoted. Promotions include giveaways, online influencers and targeting colleges.

Juul has indicated it would cooperate with the FTC probe, the AP reported.

It's against federal law for tobacco companies, but not vaping companies, to give away products, sponsor sports events and advertise on television, radio, public transportation and billboards.

According to a government survey, more than 1 in 4 high school students say they have used e-cigarettes in the past month. An ongoing outbreak of severe lung illnesses and deaths linked to vaping is also concerning, the AP reported.

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U.S. Will Keep Measles Elimination Status

Despite recent outbreaks among unvaccinated people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects the United States will maintain its measles elimination status.

The New York State Department of Health said Thursday that it's been more than 42 days since any new cases of measles, linked to last October's outbreak, have been reported in New York's Sullivan and Orange counties, and outbreaks in Rockland County and New York City have also subsided, CNN reported.

"However, this outbreak is a grave reminder that we need heightened vigilance around measles, as well as other vaccine preventable diseases, and we continue to address the myths and misinformation driving these outbreaks. CDC continues to encourage parents to speak with their family's health care provider about the importance of vaccination. We also encourage local leaders to provide accurate, scientific-based information to counter misinformation. Vaccines remain the most powerful tool to preserve health and to save lives," the CDC said in a statement.

The measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, which means it was no longer endemic in the country, CNN said.

That status can be taken away by the World Health Organization when measles has been spreading continuously for a year. The United States would lose face if elimination status were removed, public health experts have said.

In 2019, 1,243 cases of measles in 31 states were reported to the CDC. Most of these cases occurred in New York among people not vaccinated against the disease. It's the highest number of cases since 1992, CNN said.

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