Health Highlights: June 14, 2019

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

More Sickened by Salmonella From Backyard Poultry

Having chickens or ducks in your yard might carry salmonella dangers, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns.

The agency says an outbreak of the gastrointestinal illness, tied to backyard poultry, has now sickened nearly 280 people in 41 states and sent 40 to the hospital. Although salmonella illness can be severe, so far no deaths have been reported.

Some of the infections have proven resistant to treatment by multiple antibiotics, the CDC noted.

The bacterial disease is being spread by having contact with the birds. People who got sick said they touched chicks and ducklings they bought from agricultural stores, websites and hatcheries.

A third of those sickened are kids under five who may have gotten too close to young poultry.”Don’t kiss backyard poultry or snuggle them and then touch your face or mouth,” the CDC advises.

To prevent salmonella the CDC advises:

  • Wash your hands after touching poultry anything in their environment.
  • Keep backyard poultry out of the house, especially in places where food is prepared, served, or stored.
  • Set aside shoes to wear while taking care of birds and keep those shoes outside.
  • Kids under five and adults over 65 and those who have health problems that reduce the effectiveness of their immune system shouldn’t touch chicks, ducklings, or other poultry.
  • Never eat where poultry live or roam.
  • When cleaning any equipment or materials used to raise or care for poultry, stay outside.

People infected with salmonella can have diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps that usually lasts four to seven days. Most people recover without treatment.


Maine Legalizes Assisted Suicide

Maine has become the eighth state to legalize medically assisted suicide.

“It is my hope that this law, while respecting the right to personal liberty, will be used sparingly,” Gov. Janet Mills, told the Associated Press.

Under the law, doctors can prescribe a lethal dose of a drug to terminally ill patients and it will not be legally a suicide.

The bill had failed to pass in a state referendum and also a number of times in the state Legislature. It finally passed by one vote in the House and a narrow margin in the Senate.

The new law was praised by Staci Fowler, who took on the fight for the law in honor of her friend Rebecca VanWormer, the AP reported.

VanWormer died of breast cancer in 2017 and had pressed for such a law for years before her death.

“This is what she wanted,” Fowler told the AP. “And now everybody has the option that she didn’t have.”


New York Halts Religious Vaccine Exemption

Reacting to an ongoing measles outbreak, New York state has eliminated the religious exemption for not vaccinating children.

Most school systems require proof of vaccination to allow a child to attend class, but by claiming their religion doesn’t allow vaccinations, parents could duck the requirement, the Associated Press reported.

Not everybody was happy about the new law. Parents of hundreds of unvaccinated kids protested in Albany claiming the law violated religious freedom.

“People came to this country to get away from exactly this kind of stuff,” Stan Yung, a Long Island attorney, told the AP.

Those who supported the bill said that religion shouldn’t trump science. In 1905, the U.S. Supreme Court said states can enforce vaccination laws.

When the bill was debated in the Assembly, members reminded their colleagues of the deadly disease prevented by vaccines.

“I’m old enough to have been around when polio was a real threat,” said Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, D-Manhattan. “I believe in science…. Your personal opinions, which may be based on junk science, do not trump the greater good,” the AP reported.


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