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Health Highlights: July 18, 2017

Last Updated: July 18, 2017.

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

Mother Advocates for Newborn Safety After a Kiss Leads to Her Baby's Death

An Iowa mother is warning other parents about letting people get close to their newborns after her 3-week-old daughter died from meningitis.

Mariana was born to Nicole and Shane Sifrit on July 1. A week later the parents noticed their daughter was not eating and would not wake up. Within two hours, she stopped breathing and her organs began to fail, Fox News reported.

Mariana was taken to Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines and diagnosed with meningitis HSV-1. It's caused by the same herpes virus that causes cold sores. Neither parent tested positive for the virus, which means it could have come from someone who visited their baby.

"They touch her, and then she touches her mouth with her hand," said Nicole, CNN reported.

It's hard to determine exactly how Mariana caught the virus, but Nicole cautioned parents to be cautious when they let other people handle their babies.

As reported by Fox News, Mariana passed away Tuesday morning.

"Our princess Mariana Reese Sifrit gained her angel wings at 8:41 am this morning in her daddy's arms and her mommy right beside her," Nicole Sifrit posted on Facebook. "She is now no longer suffering and is with the Lord. Thank you to everyone who has followed her journey and supported us through this. In her 18 days of life she made a huge impact on the world and we hope with Mariana's Story we save numerous newborns (SIC) life. R.I.P. sweet angel."

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10-Year-Old Florida Boy May Be Young Victim of Opioid Epidemic

A 10-year-old boy is one of the youngest victims of Florida's opioid crisis, prosecutors say.

Alton Banks began vomiting after returning home from the neighborhood pool on June 23. He was later found unconscious and taken to the hospital, where he was declared dead, the Associated Press reported.

Preliminary toxicology tests show he had fentanyl in his system, according to the Miami Herald. There's no evidence he came into contact with the drug at home, investigators said.

They believe the fifth-grader may have been exposed to the drug at the pool or on his walk home in Miami's Overtown community, an area severely affected by the opioid epidemic, the AP reported.

Fentanyl is so strong that just a tiny bit inhaled or absorbed through the skin can be fatal, according to health officials.

Detectives are trying to determine exactly what happened to Alton. State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle is asked the public for information on how Alton came into contact with the drug, the AP reported.

"He was out playing, like we want all our children to do. ...," Rundle said. "We're anxiously hoping that someone comes forward to help us solve this horrific death."

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New Breast Cancer Drug Approved by FDA

A new drug to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The drug Nerlynx (neratinib) was approved for extended adjuvant treatment of early-stage, HER2-positive breast cancer. Extended adjuvant therapy is given after initial treatment to further reduce the risk that cancer will return.

Nerlynx, from Puma Biotechnology Inc., is the first extended adjuvant therapy for patients with early-stage, HER2-positive breast cancer and is for adult patients who have been previously treated with a regimen that includes the drug trastuzumab.

"HER2-positive breast cancers are aggressive tumors and can spread to other parts of the body, making adjuvant therapy an important part of the treatment plan. Now, these patients have an option after initial treatment that may help keep the cancer from coming back," Dr. Richard Pazdur, director of the FDA's Oncology Center of Excellence and acting director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in an agency news release.

The approval is based on a study of more than 2,800 patients who had completed treatment with trastuzumab (Herceptin) within the previous two years. After two years, 94.2 percent of patients treated with Nerlynx did not have cancer recurrence or death, compared with 91.9 percent of patients who received a placebo.


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