Health Highlights: April 26, 2019
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Trump Urges Measles Vaccine for All Kids
In a switch from his previous stance on the potential dangers of childhood vaccines, President Donald Trump on Friday urged all Americans to vaccinate their children.
"They have to get the shots. The vaccinations are so important. This is really going around now. They have to get their shots," Trump told reporters on the White House lawn Friday morning, CNN reported.
Trump's call to action came as the number of measles cases in the United States hit 695 -- the highest annual toll since the disease was declared eradicated in 2000.
In making the announcement about the record number of measles cases on Wednesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pointed to anti-vaccination sentiment among pockets of parents as a driving force behind the surge in cases. Many of these parents believe that vaccines are linked to autism.
However, the CDC has declared there is no link between the two, and earlier research suggesting a link has long since been rebutted.
Trump's latest tweet seems to run counter to previous statements where he has claimed that vaccines could trigger autism, CNN reported.
During a presidential primary debate in 2015, CNN reported that Trump said, "Autism has become an epidemic. Twenty-five years ago, 35 years ago, you look at the statistics, not even close. It has gotten totally out of control. I am totally in favor of vaccines. But I want smaller doses over a longer period of time."
Trump was even more emphatic in his first tweet on the issue, back in 2012: "Massive combined inoculations to small children is the cause for big increase in autism," his post claimed. That sentiment was reiterated in a 2014 tweet, CNN reported.
Hundreds Quarantined for Measles at Two Los Angeles Universities
Quarantine orders have been issued to more than 200 students and employees at the University of California, Los Angeles, and California State-Los Angeles because they may have been exposed to measles.
This comes just days after a measles outbreak was declared in Los Angeles County, The New York Times reported.
At California State-Los Angeles, county officials issued quarantine orders to people who may have been exposed to a contagious person who visited a university library on April 11.
"At this point, 127 staff employees and 71 student employees have been sent home under quarantine orders," the university said Thursday night, The Times reported.
At UCLA, a student with measles went to classes in two buildings on April 2, 4 and 9 while contagious, according to Chancellor Gene Block.
"Upon learning of this incident, UCLA immediately identified and notified more than 500 students, faculty and staff with whom the student may have come into contact or who may have otherwise been exposed," Block said in a statement, The Times reported.
Initially, 119 students and eight faculty members were issued quarantine orders. By late Thursday, the number of students and staff under quarantine was 82.
"We expect the trend to continue as more people provide proof of immunization or are shown by tests to have immunity to measles," according to the university, The Times reported.
The quarantine period ends on April 30 for UCLA and on May 2 for California State-Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said.
It also said that other measles exposures may have occurred this month at Los Angeles International Airport and at several restaurants near Glendale, The Times reported.
Food Poisoning Cases Rise in U.S.
Reported cases of several types of food poisoning rose last year in the United States, but it's likely that the actual rates have remained largely unchanged, the U.S. Centers Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.
Increases in reported illnesses could be due to new diagnostic tools that detect more cases, the Associated Press reported.
The data show that more needs to be done to make food safer, according to Rob Tauxe, director of the CDC's foodborne illness division.
The two most common causes of infection -- salmonella and campylobacter -- have been longtime problems, he noted. Both are spread through animal feces.
The report is based on data from 10 states, but is considered indicative of trends nationwide, the AP reported.
First Confirmed ID of "Kissing Bug" in Delaware
The first confirmed identification of the bloodsucking "kissing bug" in Delaware involves one that bit a girl on the face last summer, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
The bug can transmit a parasite that causes Chagas disease, which can lead to serious heart and gastrointestinal complications, CNN reported Thursday.
"The girl who was bitten had no ill effects," according to the CDC report released Thursday.
Despite the confirmed presence of the kissing bug, the agency said there is no current evidence of the Chagas-causing parasite in Delaware, CNN reported.
Chagas is endemic to Latin America, but transmission of the parasite that causes it could increase in the United States because of climate change, experts have warned.