Health Highlights: Aug. 4, 2014

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

Patient at NYC Hospital Being Tested For Ebola

A man who had recently been to West Africa arrived at the emergency department of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City Monday morning with symptoms consistent with the Ebola virus, according to media reports.

The patient, whose name has not yet been released, is suffering from a high fever and gastrointestinal illness and is being kept in isolation as staff await test results, the New York Times said.

Hospital spokeswoman Dorie Klissas said that privacy issues preclude the release of any details about the man's occupation, what country he had visited or possible exposures of family and friends. Klissas did not give a timeframe for when the results of the test might become available.

When asked about the risk to hospital staff should the patient test positive for Ebola, Klissas said that, "All necessary steps are being taken to ensure the safety of all patients, visitors and staff."

Other illnesses might explain the patient's symptoms, and experts note that Ebola is only spread by direct contact with body fluids.

Another man was kept in isolation at a New York City area hospital after arriving with a fever on a flight from West Africa. However, the man's fever passed and it is clear he does not have Ebola, Ian Michaels, a spokesman for The New York Health and Hospitals Corp., told the Times.

West Africa has been struggling over the past few months with the worst outbreak ever of the highly fatal Ebola virus, with the World Heath Organization saying the death toll is now estimated at 887.

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Gun Control Advocate James Brady Dies at 73

Former White House press secretary and gun control advocate James Brady died Monday at age 73.

Brady was seriously wounded in the head during the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. He later became an campaigner for gun control and a federal law requiring a background check on handgun buyers is named after him, the Associated Press reported.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the White House press briefing room are named in his honor.

"We are heartbroken to share the news that our beloved Jim 'Bear' Brady has passed away after a series of health issues," his family said in a statement, which did not say where Brady was when he passed away, the AP reported.

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Toledo's Tap Water Ban Lifted

A tap water ban in Toledo, Ohio, has been lifted.

Mayor D. Michael Collins made the announcement Monday morning and assured residents that the city's drinking water is safe, the Associated Press reported.

The ban was implemented early Saturday after tests revealed that the city's water system contained high levels of toxins believed to be linked to algae in Lake Erie. Residents were told not to drink, brush their teeth, cook or wash dishes with tap water.

As of late Sunday, there had been no reports of serious illnesses associated with the tap water problem, according to the AP.

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Plums, Peaches Recall Expanded by California Company

A recall of fresh, whole peaches, nectarines, plums and pluots is being expanded by Wawona Packing Company of California due to possible listeria contamination.

Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, seniors, and people with weak immune systems. Listeria infection can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women.

On July 19, the Wawona Packing Company issued a recall for specific fresh, whole peaches, nectarines, plums and pluots packed between June 1 and July 12, 2014. The expanded recall covers all such fruits packed between June 1 and July 17.

The recalled products include the brands Sweet 2 Eat, Sweet 2 Eat Organic, and Mrs. Smittcamp's, and were also packed under private labels. Anyone with the recalled products should throw them away.

For more information, consumers can go to Wawona's website or call the company at 1-888-232-9912, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST or Saturday and Sunday between Sun 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. EST.

Published
Monday, August 4, 2014