Health Highlights: April 28, 2017
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Mystery Disease Kills 11 Young People in Liberia, Ebola Ruled Out
Officials at the World Health Organization (WHO) say they've ruled out Ebola as the cause of an illness that's killed 11 of 17 people in the West African nation of Liberia.
According to the WHO, the "cluster of unexplained illnesses" began April 24 in an area a few hours away from the Liberian capital of Monrovia.
Most of the victims are below 21 years of age, the Washington Post reported, and their illnesses involve fever, vomiting, headache and diarrhea. Eleven of the individuals have died and five more remain hospitalized.
Even though the patients' symptoms appear similar to those of early Ebola, tests taken from seven of the deceased have come back negative for that virus, the Post said. Monrovia was a center of the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak.
According to WHO, "rapid-response" teams from WHO, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as other partners, have been sent to the affected area. There are reports that the victims may have been part of a funeral for a local religious leader, the Post said.
"Further testing underway to find out the cause of the illness and deaths," the WHO said in a statement. "The investigation teams will try to find if this could be in relation to the consumption of same food and drinks, and if there is an environmental exposure to some chemicals or bacteria."
Delay Likely for U.S. Calorie Count Law
After years of delays, U.S. rules requiring calorie labeling on all restaurant and take-out foods were set to take effect next week.
Don't count on it.
With the May 5 compliance deadline looming, certain food industry groups are pushing hard for revisions to the Obama-led legislation, the Associated Press reported Friday. The requirement -- an attempt to tackle the nation's obesity crisis -- was approved in 2010 as part of Obama's massive health care package.
The American Pizza Comunity and the National Association of Convenience Stores, among other industry groups, consider the rule excessively burdensome. The convenience stores are engaged in "a full court press" to get some changes, Jonathan Taets, an executive of the group, told the AP.
Opponents of the law hope for a break as Congress debates its enormous spending package in coming days -- either by further delaying the law or by making revisions in the larger bill, the AP reported.
Already, the Food and Drug Administration has drafted a preliminary document that would delay the compliance date, the news report said.
The law applies to restaurants, pizza chains and other businesses with 20 or more locations. They must clearly post the calorie content of food on menus, menu boards and food displays.
But, pizza-delivery companies say they should be exempt since their customers don't visit the stores. The rule "works for fast food and sit-down restaurants, but it does not work for pizza companies," Tim McIntyre, an executive at Domino's, told the AP.
Meanwhile, nutrition advocates want the rule to go forward as scheduled. "Congress and the Trump administration should listen to the millions of Americans who want to make informed choices when eating out rather than the whining of a few special interests," said Margo Wootan, a lobbyist at the Center for Science and the Public Interest.
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