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Health Highlights: Feb. 18, 2019

Last Updated: February 19, 2019.

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

Cereals Recalled Due to Undeclared Gluten

Certain batches of EnviroKidz Choco Chimps, Gorilla Munch and Jungle Munch cereals are being recalled by Nature's Path Foods because they may contain undeclared gluten (wheat and barley).

People who have a wheat allergy, celiac disease or sensitivity to gluten and wheat should not consume the cereals due to potential harm to their health.

The products were sold in the United States (10-oz packages) and Canada (284-gram packages).

For more information, call Nature's Path Consumer Services at 1-866-880-7284, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. PST

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Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Raw Turkey Products Now at 279 Cases: CDC

Sixty-three more cases of illness in a salmonella outbreak linked to raw turkey products have been reported since Dec. 21, 2018, bringing the total number to 279, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in an update.

Cases have been reported in 41 states and the District of Columbia, and 107 people have been hospitalized. One death was previously reported in California.

The outbreak strain of salmonella has been identified in various raw turkey products, including ground turkey and turkey patties, and in raw turkey pet food and live turkeys, indicating it might be widespread in the turkey industry, the CDC said.

A single, common supplier of raw turkey products or of live turkeys has not been identified that could account for the whole outbreak. The outbreak strain could be present in many facilities and suppliers, meaning many brands and types of foods containing raw turkey could be affected.

Ill people infected with the same salmonella strain have been reported in Canada, health officials say.

The investigation is ongoing and more information will be provided as it becomes available, the CDC said.

It said it is not advising consumers to avoid eating properly cooked turkey products, or for retailers to stop selling raw turkey products.

The CDC said consumers should always handle raw turkey carefully and cook it thoroughly to prevent food poisoning. The agency does not recommend feeding raw turkey to pets.

People get sick from salmonella 12 to 72 hours after swallowing the germ and develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. Most people recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe, the CDC said.

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Immunotherapies Prove Their Mettle Against Kidney Cancer

Adding immunotherapy to targeted cancer therapy boosted survival for kidney cancer patients, two new studies show.

Researchers found that kidney cancer patients had much better outcomes when immunotherapy was combined with the targeted therapy drug Inlyta (axitinib), compared to those who received the first-line kidney cancer drug Sutent (sunitinib), CNN reported.

One study used the immunotherapy Keytruda (pembrolizumab), while the other used Bavencio (avelumab).

Average progression-free survival was 13.8 additional months of life among patients treated with avelumab plus axitinib, compared with 7.2 months among those treated with sunitinib, CNN reported.

Average progression-free survival was 15.1 months among patients treated with pembrolizumab/axitinib and 11.1 months among those who received sunitinib.

Patients who received the combination treatment had a 47 percent lower risk of death and a 31 percent lower risk of cancer progression or death than those who received sunitinib, CNN reported.

The studies were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"This is a proof of principle that we can do this if the drugs are in the same class and tolerated when combined," Dr. Toni Choueiri, senior author of the avelumab study, told CNN. Choueiri is director of the Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brighmam and Women's Hospital.

Overall, new immunotherapies have "have made a revolution in many, many tumors," said Choueiri, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

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Chronic Wasting Disease Found in Deer in 24 States

Chronic wasting disease has been found in wild deer, elk and moose in 24 states, and hunters should avoid handling or eating potentially infected meat, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned.

The agency said that animals with the disease -- which affects the central nervous system -- can experience severe weight loss, lack of coordination and listlessness, and become more aggressive and less cautious of people, CNN reported.

Chronic wasting disease is believed to be transmitted between animals through bodily fluids, the CDC said.

While the agency said there is no evidence this disease can spread to people, it warned hunters to be careful around potentially infected animals, CNN reported.


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