Health Highlights: Dec. 11, 2019

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

Hepatitis A Outbreak in Six States Linked to Fresh Blackberries

There have been 18 illnesses in six states in a hepatitis A outbreak possibly caused by fresh blackberries from the grocery stores Fresh Thyme Farmers Market and Woodman’s Market, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday.

The illnesses have occurred in Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin.

The ill patients reported buying fresh, non-organic blackberries from either Fresh Thyme Farmers Market or Woodman’s Market. The berries came from a distribution center that shipped fresh blackberries to stores in 11 states: Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Consumers should not eat any fresh, non-organic blackberries, including those frozen for later use, bought between Sept. 9-30, 2019, from Fresh Thyme Farmers Market stores in those 11 states or from Woodman’s Market stores in Wisconsin and Illinois, the FDA said.


Trump’s Clashing Top Health Officials Summoned to White House Meeting

A meeting to determine whether the Trump administration’s two top health officials can work together is set for Thursday, according to a senior White House official.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Seema Verma and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar were summoned by the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, The New York Times reported.

A series of revelations suggest significant policy and personality clashes among the top officials at the HHS. Controversial spending is another sore point, according to the newspaper.

It’s been reported that Verma requested reimbursement for $47,000 for property stolen on a trip, including jewelry priced at more than $40,000.

Verma also paid millions of taxpayer dollars to communications consultants, in part to boost her public profile. Those contracts are being reviewed by the department’s inspector general, The Times reported.


Frozen Embryo Transfer Tied to Higher Childhood Cancer Risk

Children born through the use of frozen embryo transfer have a slightly increased risk of childhood cancer, a new study suggests.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 1 million children born in Denmark between 1996 and 2012. They found that the rate of childhood cancer was 44.4 per 100,000 for children born using frozen embryo transfer, compared with 17.5 per 100,000 for children born to fertile women, CNN reported.

There wasn’t an increased cancer risk among children born to parents who used other types of assisted reproductive technology such as fertility drugs, IVF or intracytoplasmic sperm injection.

The study was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The findings are “interesting and of potential concern, but you have to look at this study in perspective,” Dr. Jeffrey Goldberg, a reproductive endocrinologist at Cleveland Clinic who was not involved with the study, told CNN.

“Fortunately, child cancers are pretty rare,” and parents shouldn’t worry about these findings, he said.

“A 2.4 fold increase is clinically significant, but these are very small numbers, and this is based on older data going back to ’96 and some of the things here may not be applicable now,” Goldberg told CNN. “I wouldn’t want this to set off alarm bells.”