HEALTH

Study finds norovirus leading cause of acute gastroenteritis in infants, young children as rotavirus declines

BY Alaric DeArment

ATLANTA — Norovirus has emerged as the leading cause of gastroenteritis — inflammation of the stomach and intestines — in children younger than 5 years, according to a new study.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that norovirus, the most common cause of stomach flu, was responsible for nearly 1 million doctor visits by children in the United States between 2009 and 2010, costing about $273 million each year. The researchers who conducted the study estimated there were 14,000 hospitalizations, 281,000 emergency room visits and 627,000 outpatient visits due to norovirus illness among small children. More than 21 million people in the United States get infected each year and develop acute gastroenteritis, and about 800 die; young children and elderly people are considered more likely to suffer from severe infections.

"Infants and young children are very susceptible to norovirus infections, which often result in a high risk of getting dehydrated from the sudden onset of intense vomiting and severe diarrhea," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemiologist Daniel Payne said. "Our study estimates that 1-in-278 U.S. children will be hospitalized for norovirus illness by the time they turn 5 years of age. It is also estimated that about 1-in-14 children will visit an emergency room and 1-in-6 will receive outpatient care for norovirus infections."

CDC researchers tracked 1,295 infants and young children who sought medical care for acute gastroenteritis between October 2008 and September 2010, looking at more than 141,000 children in three U.S. counties. Lab tests for norovirus found it in 21% of the patients, compared with only 12% who had rotavirus. About half of the doctor visits due to norovirus infections were among infants ages 6 to 18 months, and infants and 1-year-old children were more likely to be hospitalized than older children. Still, overall rates of norovirus in emergency rooms and outpatient offices were 20 to 40 times higher than hospitalization rates.

"Our study confirmed that medical visits for rotavirus illness have decreased," Payne said. "Also, our study reinforces the success of the U.S. rotavirus vaccination program and also emphasizes the value of specific interventions to protect against norovirus illness."

According to the CDC, vaccines are currently being developed for norovirus.

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New Chapter recalls 90-count Probiotic Elderberry dietary supplement

BY Michael Johnsen

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — New Chapter on Wednesday voluntarily recalled a limited number of packages of its 90-count Probiotic Elderberry dietary supplement because it may contain an undeclared allergen – soy. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to soy run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product, the company stated.  

The one lot of affected New Chapter Probiotic Elderberry was distributed nationwide. It reached consumers through retail stores, mail order and direct delivery.

The affected product is packaged in a 90-count amber glass jar with an outer cardboard carton marked with Lot No. 01230049332, with an expiration date of Jan. 31, 2015 and the UPC No. 7-27783-00123-8.

This voluntary recall is limited only to packages of New Chapter Probiotic Elderberry bearing the above UPC, expiration date and lot number, the company noted.

 

 

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FDA advises against use of three adulterated drug products

BY Michael Johnsen

BETHESDA, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday advised consumers not to purchase or use three separate sexual enhancement products that are being promoted as dietary supplements because they contain undeclared and unapproved prescription-only ingredients. 

The three products include Libido Sexual Enhancer, a product promoted and sold for sexual enhancement on various web sites, including www.vegasredpleasure.com; Rock-It Man, a product promoted and sold for sexual enhancement on www.shopinprivate.com and in some retail stores; and Stiff Days, a product also promoted and sold both online and in stores. 

FDA laboratory analyses of the three medicines confirmed that they contain ingredients such as sildenafil, the active ingredient in the FDA-approved prescription drug Viagra, used to treat Erectile Dysfunction. "This undeclared ingredient may interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs, such as nitroglycerin, and may lower blood pressure to dangerous levels. Men with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease often take nitrates," the agency advised. 

 

 

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