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Health Highlights: March 30, 2017

Last Updated: March 30, 2017.

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

Funding for Antibiotics Research Announced

Up to $48 million in funding for research to fight antibiotic-resistant superbugs was announced Thursday by a global partnership called CARB-X.

The effort could lead to the first new classes of antibiotics in decades, according to the Washington Post.

There will be $24 million in immediate funding for 11 companies, which can receive up to $24 million in additional funding over three years if they achieve certain goals.

"These projects hold exciting potential in the fight against the deadliest antibiotic-resistant bacteria," said Kevin Outterson, executive director of CARB-X and a law professor at Boston University, where partnership is based, the Post reported.

CARB-X is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the London-based biomedical research charity Wellcome Trust, and also includes academic, industry and other nongovernmental organizations.

The partnership plans to invest $450 million over five years in order to push the discovery and development of new antibacterial products.


More Illnesses in E. Coli Outbreak Linked to SoyNut Butter

The number of people sickened in an E. coli outbreak linked to I.M. Healthy Brand SoyNut Butter rose by six since March 21 and now stands at 29, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

There have been 12 hospitalizations, but no deaths have been reported. Since March 21, illnesses have been reported in three more states (Florida, Illinois, and Massachusetts), bringing the total number to 12.

Consumers should not eat, and childcare centers, schools, and other institutions should not serve, any variety or size of I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter, I.M. Healthy brand granola, Dixie Diner's Club brand Carb Not Beanit Butter, or 20/20 Lifestyle Yogurt Peanut Crunch Bars, regardless of the date of purchase or the date listed on the container, the CDC said.

Parents and caregivers should check for the products, which have a long shelf life, and throw away any they find.


Homemade Slime Causes Burns on Girl's Hands

An 11-year-old Massachusetts girl suffered second- and third-degree burns on her hands from homemade slime.

Siobhan Quinn said her daughter Kathleen's burns occurred after playing with the slime, which has become a popular do-it-yourself trend due to social media. Doctors said the burns were most likely caused by prolonged exposure to borax, ABC News reported.

The most common recipe for homemade slime has just three ingredients: Elmer's glue, water and the household cleaner borax. Food coloring can also be added.

Borax is meant to be used as a household cleaner or laundry additive, and using it for other purposes could be dangerous, according to James Dickerson, chief scientific officer at Consumer Reports.

"Just because you have it around, just because it seems to be perfectly safe for those types of applications doesn't mean it should be used in anything else, particularly household slime," he said in a recent Consumer Reports news video, ABC News reported.


New EPA Chief Ignores Agency Experts' Advice to Ban Insecticide

The new head of the U.S. Environmental Agency has ignored the scientific conclusion of his own chemical safety experts that an insecticide used on many farms should be banned due to the potential risk it poses to children and farm workers.

In one of his first rulings as EPA chief, Scott Pruitt on Wednesday night rejected a petition filed a decade ago by two environmental groups that asked the EPA to ban all uses of chlorpyrifos, The New York Times reported.

Pruitt said further study of the science is needed.

In 2000, the insecticide was banned for use in most household settings, but is still used at about 40,000 farms on about 50 different types of crops, ranging from almonds to apples, The Times reported.

Last year, EPA scientists concluded that exposure to chlorpyrifos posed a number of health risks, including learning and memory problems.

However, Dow Chemical and farm groups that use chlorpyrifos said the science suggesting the risk of harm is inconclusive, especially when the chemical is properly used to kill crop-spoiling insects, The Times reported.

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