Public Health News Roundup: June 26
The H1N1 flu epidemic that struck in 2009 killed may have killed 15 times more people than reported, according to a new study in Lancet Infectious Diseases. According to the study, during the pandemic 18,500 laboratory-confirmed deaths were reported to the World Health Organization from April 2009 through August 2010, but as many as 575,400 people may have actually died, according to a review of the epidemic by an international group of scientists. The study also found that the majority of deaths were in people under 65, although in seasonal flu those over 65 are more likely to die of the virus, and populations in low-income countries were particularly hard hit. Read more on flu.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has released new guidelines in the Annals of Internal Medicine recommending that doctors screen all of their patients for obesity and, if appropriate, refer them to a lifestyle-management program to help them lose weight. The task force report did not discuss weight loss drugs or bariatric surgery. Read more on obesity.
Young children with allergies to milk and egg experience reactions to these and other foods more often than researchers had expected, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in Pediatrics. The study researchers also found that caregivers often fail to give epinephrine, which can be life saving, when a reaction occurs. Read more on children's health.
A new analysis by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill finds that that mild or intense physical activity before or after menopause may reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. However, weight gain may negate the benefit of the exercise. The study was published in the journal Cancer.
The study included 1,504 women with breast cancer and 1,555 women without breast cancer who were between the ages of 20 and 98, and were part of the Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project, an investigation of possible environmental causes of breast cancer. Read more on cancer.
The Dole Company is recalling bagged salads from Kroger and Walmart stores in six states because of possible contamination with listeria. No illnesses have been reported so far. Read more on food safety.