Health Highlights: April 10, 2015

By on April 10, 2015

Health Highlights: April 10, 2015

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

Record Number of West Nile Deaths In California Last Year

The drought in California may have contributed to the high number of West Nile cases and the record number of deaths from the disease in the state last year, officials say.

The state Department of Public Health said there were 31 West Nile deaths in California last year, the highest number since the state began recording cases of the disease in 2003, the Associated Press reported.

Officials also said that 801 people in California tested positive for the West Nile virus in 2014, which was short of the record of 880 cases a decade ago. Last year, Orange County had the highest number of cases of the mosquito-borne disease, with 263.

The drought may have contributed to last year’s high number of West Nile cases and deaths because birds and mosquitoes were attracted to the same few water sources, according to Dr. Karen Smith, director of the state’s health department.

“As birds and mosquitoes sought water, they came into closer contact and amplified the virus, particularly in urban areas. The lack of water could have caused some sources of water to stagnate, making the water sources more attractive for mosquitoes to lay eggs,” Smith told the AP.


Vitamin Shoppe Pulls Dietary Supplements Containing Speed-Like Drug

Dietary supplements with a speed-like substance have been pulled from its shelves, Vitamin Shoppe said Wednesday.

The national vitamin store chain took the action after a new study found that the supplements labeled as containing a shrub called Acacia rigidula actually contained a compound called BMPEA, ABC News reported.

BMPEA — stimulant originally created in the 1930s as a replacement for amphetamines — is not a regulated drug and has never been studied in humans.

The study published in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis found that 11 of 21 dietary supplement brands labeled as containing Acacia rigidula actually contained BMPEA. The supplements claimed to help with weight loss, cognitive function and athletic performance, ABC News reported.

“If these findings are confirmed by the FDA, these products should not be sold as dietary supplements,” Vitamin Shoppe said in a news release.

“There’s an unbelievably potent stimulant, a close relative, a brother of amphetamines — that’s found in multiple different brands of supplements,” study author Dr. Pieter Cohen, a professor at Harvard Medical School, told ABC News.

“But much more alarming than this is that even though the FDA has known about this for the last two years, they have done absolutely nothing to remove these supplements from the market,” he added.

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