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iStock/Thinkstock(INDIANAPOLIS) -- Health officials said on Friday that a HIV epidemic in rural Indiana among injection drug users is still not under control, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue a nationwide alert.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence announced that he is extending a state of emergency to battle the epidemic, as officials say more than 140 cases have been reported this year in one small town.

“142 positive HIV tests have now been reported in southeastern Indiana. That's 136 confirmed and six preliminary and we literally have new cases being reported every day, literally on an hourly basis,” said Indiana State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams on Friday.

Indiana Department of Health Chief Medical Consultant Joan Duwve said people are shooting up as often as 10 times a day and sharing with family and friends.

“They'll take the quarter of their oxymorphone pill, dissolve it, and inject it with whoever happens to be with them,” he said.

Duwye added that despite the agency’s efforts, new cases are being diagnosed daily.

“As of April 21st when the MSWR was written, a total of 135 persons have been diagnosed with HIV infection. The large majority of them residing in a city of only 4200 people,” Duwye said.

The CDC issued a warning on Friday to health officials nationwide over the increase in prescription drug abuse leading to a resurgence of HIV and hepatitis C.

CDC Director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Jonathan Mermin, said needle sharing is to blame to the outbreak, and behind the nationwide warning.

“We're issuing a health advisory to alert public health departments and health care providers nationwide of the increasing Hepatitis C epidemic and the possibility of current or future HIV outbreaks among people who inject drugs,” he said on Friday.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Over half of the foods in advertising directed at children were ineligible for advertising if they followed government standards, the CDC says in a new report.

The CDC looked at a list of over 400 foods approved by the industry regulated Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative and compared them against the government’s recommendations, which have limits on fat, sugar and sodium.

Researchers found that 53 percent of the CFBAI products did not meet these limits.  

Sugar was the most common nutrient that exceeded government recommended limits, with 32 percent of advertised products exceeding the sugar limit.  

Children on average see 10 to 13 food-related advertisements every day.  

The governmental agencies involved in creating these recommendations include the CDC, FDA, Federal Trade Commission, and the US Department of Agriculture.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After a botulism outbreak following a church potluck in Ohio left a woman dead and sickened up to 28 others, health officials say canned food could be to blame.

Officials are looking into canned fruits and vegetables as well as pasta and potatoes salads and other menu items, according to Ohio Department of Health spokeswoman Shannon Libby.

So, you may be wondering how to keep your pantry safe in time for picnic season.

Here's what you need to know:

What is botulism?

Botulism is caused by a nerve toxin released by certain bacteria, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"All forms of botulism can be fatal and are considered medical emergencies," according to the CDC. "Foodborne botulism is a public health emergency because many people can be poisoned by eating a contaminated food."

Symptoms can take between 6 hours and 10 days to arise, and they include double vision or blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing and muscle weakness, according to the National Institutes of Health.

How common is it?

"Botulism has virtually been eliminated in this country," said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

There are about 145 cases a year in the U.S., according to the CDC. Only 15 percent of those are foodborne. The rest are either wound-related or something called infant botulism, which involves consuming the spores.

Why is it found in canned goods?

The bacteria Clostridium botulinum releases the toxin that causes botulism as part of its natural anaerobic process, meaning it multiplies in an oxygen-free environment, like a sealed can, Schaffner said.

"Back in the day when there was a lot of home-canning, people didn't always meticulously follow protocols," Schaffner said. "The spores were not killed and given that this was now an environment in a sealed container, the bacteria could multiply and produce the toxin."

With the advent of commercial canning and better understanding of botulism to put food safety procedures in place, he said it's now rare to have a canned good-related botulism outbreak.

What can you do to stay safe?

Unless the Ohio potluck investigators find that the food that caused the illness was commercially canned, Schaffner said people have nothing to worry about. But if they see a can that is puffy or dented, discard it.

"Spoilage of one kind or another likely occurred," he said. "There's no reason to subject yourself to any kind of chance of getting sick."


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -– The number of heroin users has continued to increase over the past 10 years.

From 2002 to 2013, the number of heroin users has increased from 404,000 to 681,000, while the number of users undergoing treatment has increased from 277,000 to 526,000, according to a survey released Thursday by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The increase has overwhelmed some substance abuse treatment facilities, with almost one in ten of them working above capacity, according to researchers.

With over 11 million abusers of prescription pain medication, there was increasing concern that many of them would become heroin users.  

While there is evidence that abusers of prescription pain medication are at greater risk for becoming heroin users compared to non-prescription drug abusers, only a small number of them actually make the transition, according to the survey’s authors.  

Heroin users increase in number every year, and while treatment programs try to keep pace, researchers say it is an ongoing issue that needs to be addressed and monitored.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Blue Bell Ice Cream(NEW YORK) -- After a listeria outbreak that shut down Blue Bell Ice Cream operations and left three consumers dead, the company has announced a reboot.

Starting April 27, Blue Bell will "embark on an intensive cleaning program," the company said, and retrain employees at all four of its ice cream plants for the next week or so. The reboot will involve enhancing existing preventive measures, teaching hundreds of plant employees new cleaning techniques and making design changes to equipment. All ice cream made during that time will not be for sale to consumers.

"We just needed to set a reset button and get it right," Blue Bell spokesman Joe Robertson told ABC News, adding that they have not yet decided when to resume normal ice cream production.

The 108-year-old ice cream company expanded its earlier recalls this week to include all Blue Bell products. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also announced this week that listeria cases tied to Blue Bell Ice Cream had an illness onset date dating back as far as January 2010, after retrospectively reviewing old cases for the DNA fingerprints.

The CDC has confirmed 10 listeria cases tied to Blue Bell in four states. Three of these patients died, according to the CDC.

When the first Blue Bell products tested positive for listeria and the company issued a recall, Robertson said Blue Bell identified the piece of equipment and shut down the whole room of the plant. The company had already recalled 25 ice cream products when a batch of half-gallon chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream tested positive for listeria, too, prompting the complete recall.

"We've always worked to make the very highest quality ice cream," Blue Bell CEO and President Paul Kruse said in a statement. "We intend to make a fresh start and that begins with intensive cleaning and enhanced training. This is a paradigm shifting event at Blue Bell and we want to put in place new systems to drive continuous improvement."

Although most people who are exposed to listeria don't become sick, it can be a very serious illness, said ABC News chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser. It kills about 260 people a year, according to the CDC.

"Ice cream isn't one of those foods that we tended to worry about because of pasteurization, where you heat the milk that would kill listeria," he said. "So they’re going to be looking very hard at these factories to try to figure out what went wrong here."

Although there is a "zero tolerance" policy at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration when it comes to listeria, food safety expert Sandra Eskin told ABC News that companies aren't required to test for it -- at least not until the Food Safety Modernization Act is implemented later this year.

Robertson said Blue Bell had been testing for listeria and other bacteria, but it will begin testing even more going forward.

On Thursday, another ice cream company, Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream, announced that it was recalling all products after a positive listeria test. In a statement to ABC News, the FDA said it does not believe the outbreaks are related.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.





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