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Over 200 Patients Exposed to HIV and Hepatitis in New Jersey Hospital

Author Yashica Kaushal

A former employee accused of tampering with drugs may have exposed more than 200 people to hepatitis an HIV at a New Jersey medical center.

About the Potential Hepatitis/HIV Exposure

According to Reuters, Shore Medical Center, located just outside of Atlantic City, notified 213 patients via letter who were treated with intravenous medications. The concern is that the patients could have been exposed with blood-borne pathogens containing HIV or Hepatitis B or C through the employee’s blood.

Potentially infected patients were at the medical center between the dates of June 1, 2013 and September 17, 2014. 

All patients are being offered free testing and support. Dawn Thomas, a New Jersey Health Department spokeswoman, described the exposure risk as low.  

The hospital, state health department, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to investigate the incident.

About the Accused Employee

Frederick McLeish, 53, a former pharmacist at Shore is accused of removing the drugs from the vials that were used to prepare the IV solutions and replacing them with saline solution. He had been authorized to prescribe, dispense, or administer medicine. 

The hospital identified a problem and fired McLeish.

He has since been indicted with the charges of drug tampering, theft, and drug possession by the Atlantic County grand jury. He was released on the same day as the indictment.

His attorney declined to comment on the case. 

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Insufficient Resources for Full Takata Recall

Author Paige Tears-Gladstone

Demands for a total recall of vehicles harboring Takata air bags continue in spite of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) declaration that it would not help solve the problem.

Why More Widespread Recalls Are Not Feasible

Not long ago, the government demanded that Takata phase out inflators using ammonium nitrate by 2018, but many worried that the current piecemeal recall approach to the ongoing issue was ineffective. Frustrated lawmakers and safety advocates have recently begun to push for a recall of all vehicles equipped with one of the potentially-deadly Takata airbags.

NHTSA, however, says this sort of recall may be more hazardous than beneficial, according to the Consumerist. This is because such a massive recall would serve only to strain the replacement part process and would result in greater uncertainty and fear amongst consumers about whether or not their vehicles are safe to drive. NHTSA replied to the recall demands saying that the current recall list insures that the vehicles at greatest risk are soonest addressed, and that there are already insufficient replacement part quantities to meet current demands.

According to NHTSA chief Mark Rosekind, about 74% of the replacement inflators for recalled cars are made by non-Takata suppliers. However, for the remainder, the only remedy currently available would be to replace the inflator with a newer version of itself which may also degrade and need to be replaced yet again. In spite of  NHTSA’s comments, many continue to cry out for a total recall.

The Takata Recall Backstory

Takata first announced the air bag fault to the public in April of 2013, stating that the defects had arisen as a result of mishandled and improperly stored propellant chemicals. Initial recalls were limited to humid areas until the November 2014 airbag failure of a 2007 Ford Mustang in North Carolina prompted NHTSA to issue a nationwide recall.

These recalls are due to defective inflator and propellant devices that can improperly deploy in a crash and cause a shrapnel of metal fragments to be catapulted into vehicle occupants. Just last week a group of scientists announced they had confirmed the three factors which are the root of the incidences. These factors are the inclusion of propellant ammonium nitrate, manufacturing issues, and prolonged exposure to humidity.

The group states that these three conditions work in coordination to cause the airbag ruptures. Nine deaths in the United States, 10 worldwide, have been linked to the faulty inflators, with all but one incident involving a Honda model.

Records Show Takata Knew of Issue for Over a Decade

In January 2015, an independent review board led by former U.S. transportation secretary Samuel K. Skinner was formed to look into Takata’s manufacturing process and make recommendations. Internal Takata employee communications came to light in November of 2015 that showed the company was aware of inflator issues as far back as 2000 and had been manipulating their data.

In November, after being made aware of the misrepresented and altered test data, Honda declared they would cease use of any airbag components produced by Takata. They were swiftly joined in this decision by Toyota, Mazda, Honda, and Ford. That month NHTSA also issued Takata a record civil penalty of at least $70 million, but could be responsible for as much as $200 million if further violations are discovered. They also banned

Takata airbag inflators that utilized ammonium nitrate as the propellant from being installed in future cars. They were followed in this ban by Japan’s transport ministry in early-December.

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Jack and the Green Sprouts Recall Sprouts for E. Coli

Author Kathleen Becker

The owner of Jack and the Green Sprouts, Inc. located in River Falls, WI. has issued an immediate recall of alfalfa and alfalfa onion sprouts due to possible E. coli

Details of the Jack on the Green Sprouts Recall

The company has released a statement on their Facebook page regarding the recall stating, “Out of abundant caution we are voluntarily recalling alfalfa and alfalfa onion sprouts."

Although the contamination and testing does not directly point at Jack and The Green Sprouts, Health Officials are warning consumers not to consume any alfalfa sprouts that are produced by Jack and The Green Spouts at this time as E. coli can cause serious illness. 

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Jack and The Green Sprouts were packaged inside a plastic clamshell with a colorful round label that displays the variety on top, although some alfalfa sprouts could be mixed with the same package as the other sprout varieties. 

Jack & The Green Sprouts distribute throughout the upper-Midwest with the possibility of other states as well.  Locations could include grocery/cooperative stores, restaurants, salad bars and commercial food service.

E. Coli Spreads Across Multiple States

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has identified at least seven cases with E. coli O157:NM with two hospitalization. Two individuals in Wisconsin were also infected with the same strain of virus but were not hospitalized. 

The FDA is determined to find the source of the outbreak.  Minnesota officials and Jack and The Green Sprouts are cooperating with investigators at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Wisconsin Department of Health, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and the Trade and Consumer Protection (WIDATCP).

Symptoms of E. Coli

Symptoms of E. coli 0157 usually develop within two to five days after exposure.  These symptoms include stomach cramps and diarrhea often with bloody stools, either with a low -grade or no fever.  These symptoms may last between one to eight days. 

Although some E. coli 0157 infections could lead to something more serious such as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which could ultimately lead to kidney failure or other complications or even death.  The most at risk for these type complications stemming from E. coli 0157 are young children under the age of 10 and the elderly those who have weaker immune systems. 

Anyone who develops diarrhea that may be associated with E. coli should NOT be treated with anything other than what their health care provider advises or prescribes as doing so could risk developing HUS.  Anyone that thinks they may have been infected with E. coli is strongly advised to contact their health care provider immediately. 

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