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Health Headlines - August 10

Posted Aug 10 2011 12:01am

Strawberries Linked to Oregon E. Coli Outbreak
Strawberries from a farm in northwestern Oregon have been linked to an E. coli outbreak that's claimed one life and caused at least nine other cases of illness, state health officials say.
The strawberries came from the Jaquith Strawberry Farm in Newburg, about 25 miles southwest of Portland, according to the Oregon Public Health Authority, the Associated Press reported.
The source of the E. coli bacteria is likely fecal matter from a deer, said Dr. Paul Cieslak, the authority's communicable disease manager. The farm does not appear to have done anything wrong, he noted.The fatality was an elderly woman who died of kidney failure. Of the nine others who became ill, four have been hospitalized, the AP reported.-----New Antibody May Help Lead to Universal Flu VaccineA new antibody that acts against 30 of 36 strains of influenza may prove helpful in efforts to develop a universal flu treatment and vaccine, according to scientists.The CH65 antibody can attach to the surface part of the flu virus that mutates every season, Agence France-Presse reported.The new antibody was found in cells from a person who received the flu vaccine for 2007. The study appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."What this tells us is that the human immune system can fine-tune its response to the flu and actually produce, albeit at a low frequency, antibodies that neutralize a whole series of strains," said lead author Stephen Harrison of Children's Hospital Boston, AFPreported."Our goal is to understand how the immune system selects for antibodies and use that information to get better at making a vaccine that will take you in a direction that favors breadth over specificity."-----Teen Pregnancy 'Contagious' Between Sisters: StudyNew research suggests that teenage pregnancy is "contagious" between sisters.The study of more than 42,000 Norwegian teenage girls found that they were more likely to become pregnant if their older sister had a baby as a teenager. The chances of a younger sister having a teenage pregnancy increased from one in five to two in five if the older sister had a teenage pregnancy, BBC News reported.The risk of teen pregnancy among younger sisters was strongest when sisters were close in age or from poorer families."Sisters generally spend more time together than schoolmates or friends and so sisters are likely to be influenced by the behavior of their siblings," the researchers wrote, BBC News reported.-----Former Head of NIH, American Red Cross DiesThe former head of the U.S. National Institute of Health and of the American Red Cross died on the weekend.Dr. Bernadine Healy, 67, died Saturday, according to a funeral home in Ohio near Cleveland. The cause of death wasn't released but Healy had suffered from brain cancer, the Associated Press reported.In 1991, Healy was appointed the first female director of the National Institutes of Health. In 1994, she lost a bid to run for the U.S. Senate in Ohio as a Republican. She became president of the American Red Cross in 1999 but resigned just two months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.The resignation was due to disagreements with the board, including what to do with nearly $500 million collected by the Red Cross following 9/11, the AP reported.
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