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Health Highlights: Sept. 4, 2012

Last Updated: September 04, 2012.

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

U.K. Warns Citizens About Hantavirus Outbreak in Yosemite

The hantavirus outbreak at California's Yosemite National Park has become an international concern after the Health Protection Agency in the United Kingdom said it was contacting citizens believed to be at risk.

In a statement Monday, the agency said it was "providing health advice and information ... about the ongoing situation in the U.S." to about 100 people believed to have visited Yosemite between June 10 and Aug. 24, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The agency also said it was working with U.S. and European health officials in responding to the hantavirus outbreak.

So far, six cases of the rodent-borne disease, including two deaths, have been linked to certain tent cabins in Curry Village, one of Yosemite's most popular campgrounds. Park officials have sent letters and emails to about 3,100 people who reserved any of the 91 affected tent cabins, the Times reported.

The U.S. Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention said last week that an estimated 10,000 people had stayed in the tent cabins between June 10 and Aug. 24.


Diet Groups Support NYC Ban on Big, Sugary Drinks

Diet groups support New York City's proposed crackdown on super-sized, sugary drinks.

The backing of prominent weight loss organizations such as Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig comes just before next week's Board of Health vote on the proposal. Others who support the plan include doctors and elected officials, the Associated Press reported.

"There has been a lot of discussion about obesity, but little action, which is why we at Weight Watchers support what this administration is doing to help New Yorkers live healthier," Weight Watchers North America President David Burwick said.

Under the proposal, restaurants, movie theaters, food carts and sports arenas in the city would have to stop selling sodas and other sugary drinks in servings larger than 16 ounces. The crackdown on large sugary drinks is a sensible way to fight obesity, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

An opposition group called New Yorkers for Beverage Choices says it has the support of more than 2,000 businesses and 201,000 individuals, the AP reported.


Rabbis Say They'd Ignore NYC Ban on Circumcision Ritual

If New York City enacts a proposed law requiring parental consent for a circumcision ritual linked to two infant deaths, ultra-orthodox rabbis say they will defy it.

During the 5,000-year-old ritual called metzitzah b'peh, a mohel removes the infant's foreskin and uses his mouth to stop the bleeding. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says at least 11 city infants are believed to have contracted herpes from the practice, two of whom died and two of whom have irreversible brain damage, ABC News reported.

Under the proposed law, mohels would be required to explain the oral suction procedure and its risks, and have parents sign a waiver. Ultra-orthodox rabbis insist the ritual is safe and say they refuse to tell parents there is any health risk to infants.

"This is the government forcing a rabbi practicing a religious ritual to tell his congregants it could hurt their child," Rabbi David Niederman, executive director of the United Jewish Organization of Williamsburgh, told ABC News. "If, God forbid, there was a danger, we would be the first to stop the practice."

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