If you were born between 1945 and 1965, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is “talkin’ ‘bout your generation.” The issue: hepatitis C, a serious and potentially fatal liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV).
“It’s a silent epidemic among baby boomers,” says Lehigh Valley Health Network internal medicine physician Joseph Yozviak, DO, with the Hepatitis Care Center. “Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne infection in the United States by far, but despite that, 75 percent of people who are infected don’t know it.”
Boomers have a five-times-higher prevalence of infection-indicating antibodies to the virus and account for more than three quarters of all chronic adult cases in the United States. That’s why the CDC now recommends that anyone with a 1945-to-1965 birthday get screened for hepatitis C with a blood test. If you are in that age range, ask your primary care doctor to do a blood test for antibodies to hepatitis C. Read More
Both Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) and St. Luke’s University Health Network are warning area residents that a deadly strain of the flu is still here. Contrary to recent years, this current version of the flu is affecting younger, healthier people who may not have gotten their flu shot this year.
In a joint statement from Luther Rhodes, MD, LVHN’s chief of hospital epidemiology and infection control, and Jeffrey Jahre, MD, Sr. Luke’s senior vice president for medical and academic affairs and chief of infectious diseases, both say this flu season has picked up momentum, and people are feeling the symptoms more severely and all at once. More concerning is the fact that reasonably healthy people under age 50 who have not been vaccinated are becoming seriously ill very rapidly.
The types of patients both health networks are seeing are those whose conditions have deteriorated quickly from having normal flu symptoms that transition into a life-threatening situation in fewer than 24 hours. Read More
The company that makes a liquid pain reliever for infants has recalled specific lots of the medicine because they could contain tiny plastic particles.
Families who bought the recalled lots of Concentrated Motrin Infants’ Drops Original Berry Flavor in half-ounce bottles should stop using the medication and dispose of it, according to the company’s website. You can request a refund or a coupon to replace the product.
Plastic particles about 1 mm in size (the size of a poppy seed) were discovered in a lot of the medicine that was not released to stores. The particles were in ibuprofen, the active ingredient in the Concentrated Motrin Infants’ Drops that came from a third-party supplier, according to McNeil Consumer Healthcare. The company decided to recall all lots that used the same batch of ibuprofen.
The particles are non-toxic, and if a child ingested medication from the recalled bottles, the likelihood of adverse medical effects is unlikely, the company says.
“If parents have questions, they can call their doctor or pharmacist to help answer them,” says pediatric pharmacist Jenny Boucher with Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital. Read More
A new flu vaccine that protects against four strains of influenza will be offered to children in Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN)’s primary care physician practices.
The traditional trivalent vaccine contains two strains of influenza A and one strain of influenza B, because the influenza A strains were causing more severe illness and hospitalizations. The World Health Organization decides which strains to include in the vaccine.
“Over time it has been noticed that more severe disease and hospital admissions are due to the influenza B strains,” says LVHN pharmacist Jarrod Kile. “Therefore, drug companies have been working toward a quadrivalent vaccine that contains two strains of influenza A and influenza B to better protect the public against the influenza virus.”
The new quadrivalent vaccine eventually will replace the trivalent vaccine that has been available historically. But this year, drug companies have been able to produce only a limited supply of the quadrivalent vaccine. Read More
People at high risk for influenza complications should avoid agricultural fairs this season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends.
The advice was prompted by reports that people were infected with swine flu after being exposed to pigs at an agricultural fair in June, according to a CDC advisory. The cases involved the H3N2v strain of the influenza A virus.
The viruses are like those detected last summer, when a multi-state outbreak sickened 306 people, hospitalizing 16 and killing one. Symptoms are similar to those of the seasonal flu, including fever, cough, inflammation of the throat, headache and muscle pain.
People at high risk for influenza complications include: Read More