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Health Highlights: Aug. 10, 2020

Last Updated: August 10, 2020.

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

Seller of Phony COVID-19 Drug Indicted

Federal prosecutors have indicted a Georgia man for selling a drug he claimed would cut the risk of being infected with COVID-19 by 50%, the Associated Press reported Monday.

In a statement, prosecutors said the drug sold by Matthew Ryncarz and his company, called Fusion Health and Vitality but operating as Pharm Origins, "bore false and misleading labeling."

"Our office is committed to ensuring that businesses do not take advantage of a global health crisis and people's fears in order to unlawfully make a buck," Savannah-based U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine said in the press release.

The drug called ImmuneShot sold for $19 a bottle on a website Ryncarz created in March and was aimed at people over 50, prosecutors said.

The pitch included: "We are offering you the exclusive price of only $19 per bottle because we know that Immune Shot could be the most important formula in the WORLD right now due to the new pandemic," the AP reported.

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Legionalla Bacteria Forces CDC Office Closures

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention informed employees that office space it rents in the Atlanta area would be closed after Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease, was found in the buildings, the New York Times reported.

Fortunately, no employees have been sickened.

Legionnaires' disease is a respiratory illness that can be fatal in 10% of cases. Some experts have warned of the risk of Legionnaires when people return to buildings left vacant for months due to the coronavirus lockdown, the Times said.

The bacteria can grow in warm, stagnant water that is not disinfected. The bacteria can waft through the air and be inhaled when toilets are flushed or faucets turned on.

"Legionella is something that even though we've known about it since the 1970s or so, we're still learning about it every day," Caitlin Proctor, a postdoctoral fellow at Purdue University in Indiana, told the Times.

The CDC has guidelines to help prevent Legionella from spreading as buildings reopen. But Andrew Whelton, an associate professor of civil, environmental and ecological engineering at Purdue, said that the guidelines are not specific enough.

"This is by design," he told the Times. "Generally, federal guidance that's issued is generic, and what building owners need is prescriptive advice. It's possible that these guidelines weren't enough."

It's not clear if the buildings where the CDC closed its offices followed its own guidelines. The CDC said in a statement that "during the recent closures at our leased space in Atlanta," the agency, working with the General Services Administration, had "directed the landlord to take protective actions."

The affected building will remain closed until the problem is fixed.

"That the CDC can't prevent Legionella contamination in their buildings is a sign that we all need to be proactive about this issue," Proctor told the Times.

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Don't Eat, Sell or Serve Onions from Thomson International Inc., FDA Warns

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to use onions recalled by Thomson International Inc., as they may be contaminated with salmonella, which has sickened more than 900 people in the United States and Canada.

In the United States, 640 cases have been reported, including 85 hospitalizations. In Canada, 239 cases have been reported, with 29 hospitalizations. No deaths in either country have been reported, the New York Times reported Monday.

The recalled onions include red, yellow, white, and sweet yellow onions shipped nationwide from May 1, 2020 to Aug. 1, 2020, sold under the names: Thomson Premium, TLC Thomson International, Tender Loving Care, El Competitor, Hartley's Best, Onions 52, Majestic, Imperial Fresh, Kroger, Utah Onions, and Food Lion.

Also, other products that contain the recalled onions are being identified and recalled. So far, Giant Eagle and Taylor Farms have recalled products containing these onions.

If you can't tell if these onions are part of the recall, or if the product contains recalled onions, throw them out, the FDA adsvised.

If you have used recalled onions, thoroughly clean and sanitize any surfaces and containers that came in contact with the recalled products. This includes cutting boards, slicers, countertops, refrigerators and storage bins.

People who have symptoms of salmonella should contact their doctor. Most people with the infection develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. More severe cases may include a high fever, aches, headaches, lethargy, a rash, blood in the urine or stool. In some cases, the illness might be fatal.

Suppliers, distributors and others in the supply chain should not use, ship or sell recalled onions from Thomson International Inc. or food products containing recalled onions.

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U.S. Woman Gets Second Face Transplant

For the first time, an American woman has been given a second face transplant, the Associated Press reported Sunday.

Carmen Blandin Tarleton, from New Hampshire, whose face was disfigured by her ex-husband, is the first American and the second person ever to have a new transplant after the first started to fail. The new transplant from an anonymous donor was done at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston in July, the AP reported.

Tarleton, age 52, is expected to resume her normal activities, which all but ended when the first transplant failed a year ago.

"I'm elated," Tarleton told the AP. "The pain I had is gone. It's a new chapter in my life. I've been waiting for almost a year. I'm really happy. It's what I needed. I got a great match."

"This face looks very different than my first one and I can appreciate that. It's a different person," Tarleton said, adding the new face allows her to "fit in a little better, don't get stared at so easily."

"It is strange. I am not going to lie," she said. "I'll have to get used to it. My sister will have to get used to it. It takes a while for my friends and family to get used to what I look like now."

Over 40 patients in the world have had face transplants, including 16 in the United States. None of the American patients lost their new faces until Tarleton.

In 2018, however, a French man had a new transplant eight years after the first.

Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, who did Tarleton's first face transplant, told the AP that this donor was a much better tissue match.

"Now, I am very optimistic and hopeful that it will last a lot longer than the first transplant," Pomahac, said. "But, of course, that is wishful thinking, speculation. I don't know. She really got lucky."


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