Health Highlights: July 12, 2019

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

1 in 5 Nonsmoking U.S. Workers Exposed to Secondhand Smoke

Nearly 20% of nonsmoking American workers are exposed to secondhand smoke on the job, a new study finds.

Slightly more than 10% have frequent (two or more times a week) secondhand smoke exposure at work, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, CNN reported.

The highest rates of exposure (65%) are in the commercial and industrial machinery and equipment repair industry, while the construction sector has the highest number (2.9 million) of exposed workers.

Employees in states with stricter smoke-free workplace rules have lower rates of secondhand smoke exposure, the CDC study added.

Secondhand smoke puts nonsmokers at risk for lung cancer, heart disease and stroke. In 2013-14, 1 in 4 nonsmokers were exposed to secondhand smoke, which was linked with about 41,000 deaths of adult nonsmokers, CNN reported.

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Rabies Warning Issued for Walt Disney World Resort Area

A rabies warning was issued for Walt Disney World Resort and the surrounding area after a rabid cat scratched two employees.

The 60-day warning was issued by the Florida Department of Health in Orange County for a two-mile radius of the intersection of Interstate 4 and Epcot Center Drive, which includes Disney’s Epcot Center theme park, USA Today reported.

Laboratory tests confirmed rabies in the cat, which scratched two cast members. They did not contract rabies, according to Disney World spokeswoman Erica Ettori.

“We are relieved the two cast members received timely treatment and are back to work,” Ettori told USA Today.

Because the cat may have spread rabies to other animals, the Florida Department of Health advised people in the affected area avoid stray cats and dogs, as well as wildlife. So far, the cat is the only rabid animal that’s been found in the area.

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Medicare Drug Rebate Plan Withdrawn by Trump Administration

A plan to let Medicare patients receive rebates that drug companies currently pay to insurers and middleman has been withdrawn by the Trump administration.

The rebates would have been paid directly to seniors in Medicare’s Part D program when they filled their prescriptions.

The goal of the much-touted plan was to reduce the financial burden of expensive medications for seniors, but there was resistance from within the White House and from insurers, employers and pharmacy benefit managers, the Associated Press reported.

Critics of the plan got a boost when the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated it would have little effect on drug prices and would cost Medicare $177 billion over 10 years due to higher taxpayer-subsidized premiums.

The drug industry supported the plan over other proposals being considered by lawmakers, the AP reported.

The rebate plan was withdrawn “based on careful analysis and thorough consideration,” according to White House spokesman Judd Deere, who said the administration is looking at bipartisan legislation in Congress to lower drug prices.

There are bills that would cap drug copays for people with Medicare. Currently, some patients taking costly medications for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions have copays on par with a mortgage payment, the AP reported.

Another proposal is for “inflation rebates” that drug companies would be pay directly to Medicare if they boost prices beyond a yet-to-be-set point.

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Fertility Clinic Sued After Embryo Implanted in Wrong Woman

A California couple says a fertility clinic mistakenly implanted their embryo in another woman, who gave birth to their son and another son belonging to another couple.

Anni and Ashot Manukyan are suing the CHA Fertility Center in Los Angeles for the mix-up involving three separate couples, the Associated Press reported.

The New York woman who gave birth to the two boys believed she had twins using genetic material from her and her husband, according to the lawsuit.

Genetic tests showed that the two boys were not related to the couple and were not related to each other, the Associated Press reported.

Last week, the New York woman and her husband filed a separate lawsuit.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: July 2019

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