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Health Highlights: July 13, 2012

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

Consumers Should Avoid Mexicali Cheese Corp. Products: FDA

Consumers should not buy or eat any products from the Mexicali Cheese Corp. due to the threat of listeria, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday.

The agency issued the warning after the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes was found in the Woodville, N.Y. company's finished products, which were distributed in the New York City area, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

Retailers are being asked to remove any Mexicali cheese products from their shelves. The products are packaged in a rigid 14 oz. plastic tub with the plant number 36-0128 and a code of 071512. The containers have the following product names:

  • Mexicali Queso Fresco Mexicano, Mexican Style Fresh Cheese
  • Acatlan Queso Fresco, Fresh Cheese
  • Mi Quesito Mexicano, Mexican Cheese
  • Quesillo Ecuatoriano, Ecuadorian Style Cheese

Listeria contamination can cause listeriosis, a disease that primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems. Listeria can cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women, the FDA said.

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New Database Will Speed Response to Foodborne Illness Outbreaks

The genetic codes of 100,000 types of bacteria found in food will be compiled in a free public database that can be used by scientists to trace the causes of foodborne illness outbreaks.

The database, being set up at the University of California, Davis, will enable investigators to identify food that carries bacteria responsible for a given outbreak and also what country it came from, The New York Times reported.

The new database is expected to reduce from weeks to days the length of time it takes to respond to foodborne illness outbreaks.

The project was announced Thursday by Food and Drug Administration official Steven M. Musser. "It's actually a big deal from a scientific standpoint," he told The Times.

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Salmonella Illness Tied to Baby Chicks Hits People in 26 States

A total of 144 people in 26 states have become ill so far in a salmonella outbreak linked to chicks and ducklings from Mt. Healthy Hatchery in Ohio, says a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention update released Thursday.

Here are the number of ill persons in each state: Alabama (4), Arizona (1), Delaware (1), Georgia (5), Illinois (1), Indiana (3), Kansas (1), Kentucky (5), Louisiana (1), Maine (4), Maryland (1), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (2), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (1), New York (16), North Carolina (14), Ohio (37), Pennsylvania (11), Rhode Island (1), South Carolina (1), Tennessee (11), Texas (2), Vermont (1), Virginia (10), and West Virginia (7).

Thirty-two people have been hospitalized. One death was reported in New York, but it's unclear if the salmonella infection contributed to this death, the CDC said. Thirty-six percent of the ill people are children age 10 or younger.

The same hatchery was linked to a 2011 outbreak of salmonella.

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