Health Highlights: Aug. 30, 2019
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
'Rhoda' Star Valerie Harper Dead at 80
Valerie Harper, star of two iconic TV sitcoms of the 1970s "The Mary Tyler. Moore Show" and her own spinoff hit, "Rhoda," died Friday from cancer at age 80.
Harper's passing was confirmed to CNN by Harper's daughter Cristina Cacciotti and Deanna Buskey, a family friend.
Buskey told CNN that the family was not "providing details at this time," but Harper had made no secret of her long struggle against cancer. First diagnosed with lung cancer, in 2013 Harper was also found to have another form of cancer, leptomeningeal carcinomatosis.
In July, husband Tony Cacciotti posted on Facebook that he would not follow the advice of Harper's doctors and place her into hospice care. Even though her condition was worsening, Caccioti said he would "do my very best in making Val as comfortable as possible." Buskey and other family members also launched a "Go Fund Me" campaign to help pay for Harper's care.
Born in New York, Harper started out as a dancer in the 1950s before joining the renowned comedy troupe Second City. She shot to fame in the 1970s after being cast as Mary Richard's wisecracking friend Rhoda Morgenstern, playing a more caustic foil to Mary Tyler Moore's character.
That character became so popular that it led to the "Rhoda" spinoff, and Harper earned four Emmys for the role.
Harper's career faltered in the 1980s when NBC cast her in "Valerie," about a mother raising kids. But contractual issues led to her dismissal from that show. After that she remained active as an actress, appearing in guest roles on many TV series and even appearing in a 2000 movie, "Mary and Rhoda," which reunited the two actresses and characters.
More Than 1,000 People Now Sickened by Salmonella from Live Poultry
An outbreak of Salmonella linked to backyard poultry flocks has now sickened more than 1,000 people in 49 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A CDC advisory said 235 cases have been reported since July 19 and 175 people have been hospitalized. Two people have died in the outbreak -- one in Ohio and one in Texas.
Nearly 200 of those sickened are under age 5.
Contact with backyard poultry, such as chicks and ducklings, is the likely source of the disease, which causes diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps, CDC said.
Those sickened reported getting poultry from several sources, including farm stores, websites and hatcheries.
Six of the strains making people sick have been identified in samples from backyard poultry areas at homes in California, Minnesota and Ohio and from retail stores in Michigan and Oregon, CDC said.
The current outbreak is the largest linked to backyard poultry since 2017, when a record 1,120 people were sickened and one died.
As the CDC explained, you can get Salmonella after touching poultry or places where they live and roam. Birds carrying the bacteria can appear healthy and clean.
To prevent illness, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching poultry or anything in their environment, CDC advised. If soap and water aren't available, use hand sanitizer.
Never let backyard poultry inside your home. Take care to keep them away from areas where food or drink are prepared, served, or stored, including outdoor patios, the CDC added.
Salmonella infections usually last four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment, the CDC said. If you're concerned about symptoms such as a fever over 102 degrees, blood in your bowel movements or frequent vomiting, see a doctor.
Dozens of Massachusetts Communities at 'Critical Risk' of Dangerous Mosquito-Borne Virus
There is a "critical risk" of a dangerous mosquito-transmitted virus in 28 Massachusetts communities, the state health department warns.
It also said that 37 more communities are at high risk and another 126 are at moderate risk for Eastern equine encephalitis, which can cause rare and potentially fatal illness in humans, CNN reported.
The virus has been confirmed in four people this year, detected in seven horses, and found in 366 mosquito samples, state health authorities said.
The virus appears occasionally in Massachusetts. Recent outbreaks in 2004-2006 and 2010-2012 resulted in illness in 22 people, CNN reported.
"As we head into the Labor Day weekend and the month of September people should not forget to bring and use an EPA-approved mosquito repellent for any outdoor activities," Dr. Monica Bharel, the state public health commissioner, said in a news release.
"The peak time for transmission of mosquito-borne illness extends through September here in Massachusetts," Bharel added.
Congolese Girl in Uganda Dies From Ebola
A Congolese girl who tested positive for Ebola in Uganda has died, officials said Friday.
Because the 9-year-old girl passed from Congo to Uganda through an official entry point, Ugandan health officials believe she had no contact with any Ugandan, CBS News reported.
An official said the girl's body will be repatriated with her mother back to Congo for a funeral.
On Friday, the World Health Organization said the number of Ebola cases in Congo have reached 3,000, with 1,893 confirmed deaths, CBS News reported.
CDC Boosts Efforts to Fight Congo Ebola Outbreak
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stepped up its efforts to help fight the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
There have been 3,004 cases and 2,006 deaths in the Ebola outbreak in the country as of Aug. 28, according to the DRC health ministry.
Previously unaffected areas -- including the province of South Kivu -- have recently reported cases, which increases the risk of the outbreak spreading within DRC and to neighboring countries, the CDC said.
Recently, the CDC doubled the number of outbreak response experts in DRC and will have 30 responders on the ground by Sept. 1. To date, there have been more than 360 deployments by CDC staff.
"Far too many lives have been lost in this Ebola outbreak. The DRC, U.S. government, and international partners are working hard to overcome the significant challenges to stopping the spread of this disease in DRC," CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said in an agency news release.
"CDC is prepared for a long-term public health response in DRC and its neighboring countries, and we agree with our World Health Organization colleagues about the need for a change in the response to bring this outbreak to an end," he added.