Health Highlights: Jan. 7, 2009

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009; 12:00 AM

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

No Cause Given for Ongoing Salmonella Outbreak

The salmonella bacterium continues to sicken hundreds of Americans, and the latest strain has caused an outbreak in 42 states during the past three months, with a reported 388 cases.

USA Today reports that officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have become concerned enough about the latest incidences to form a task force to find the cause.

This can be a daunting task. For example, more than 1,400 people in the United States suffered from salmonella poisoning in 2008 before the source was found -- peppers imported from Mexico. And another 401 cases in 41 states were reported in November, caused by the bacterium in microwaveable pot pies.

Infectious disease specialists don't yet know the source of the current illnesses, if there is indeed a single source.

The CDC says salmonella symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps and fever, and it usually is spread by fecal matter coming in contact with food people eat, whether animal or vegetable.

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Fewer Than Half of Distressed Adults Sought Treatment

Of the 24.3 million adults who had serious psychological distress (SPD) in 2006, fewer than half (44.6 percent) sought treatment, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration said Wednesday.

"This report shows that mental health problems affect almost 10 percent of people over age 18 years old, but less than half receive services that could help improve their situation," SAMHSA Acting Administrator Eric Broderick said in a news release.

The SPD rate was highest among adults aged 18 to 25 (17.9 percent), followed by those aged 26 to 49 (12.2 percent) and 50 or older (7 percent). Of adults 18 to 25, 29.4 percent received mental health services, compared to 47.2 percent among people 26 to 49 and 53.8 percent of those 50 and older.


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