Health Highlights: Dec. 4, 2019

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

Sushi, Salads and Spring Rolls Recalled Due to Possible Listeria Contamination

Possible listeria contamination has triggered the recall of ready-to-eat sushi, salads and spring rolls made by Fuji Food Products and sold at major retailers in 31 U.S. states.

The recalled products are sold at locations including Trader Joe’s, 7-Eleven, Walgreens, Food Lion, Hannaford, Giant Eagle, Porky Products, Bozzuto’s, Supreme Lobster and Superior Foods, CBS News reported.

The recalled products are packed in plastic trays with clear lids. Consumers who bought the products should throw them away, Fuji said. Consumers with questions can call (888) 667-1504.

Operations at a Fuji plant in Brockton, Mass., have been suspended as an investigation is conducted, according to the company, CBS News reported.

Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious, and sometimes fatal, infections in children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.


FDA Commissioner Nominee Backed by Senate Committee

The U.S. Senate’s health committee voted Tuesday to advance the nomination of Dr. Stephen Hahn as the new Food and Drug Administration commissioner.

The full Senate must vote on Hahn’s nomination before he can become the head of the FDA. Hahn is a cancer specialist and medical executive at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Several Democrats on the Senate health committee voted against President Trump’s nominee due to uncertainty about his commitment to ban flavored vaping products and tackle the nation’s teen vaping crisis, the Associated Press reported.

In his confirmation hearing last month, Hahn avoided answering questions about his plans for regulating vaping, saying only that he would follow the “science and data,” rather than political ideology.


New Federal Program Provides Free HIV Prevention Drugs to Uninsured

A new program to provide free HIV prevention drugs to people who can’t afford them because they don’t have health insurance was announced Tuesday by the U.S. government.

Use of these daily drugs — called PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) — significantly reduces the risk that a person who is HIV-free will contract the AIDS-causing virus through sex or injection drug use, the Associated Press reported.

However only about 18% of the 1.2 million Americans who might benefit from the medications got a prescription last year, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

Without insurance, the drugs can cost a person up to $2,000 a month, the AP reported.

Expanding access to PrEP is an important part of the federal government’s aim of ending the nation’s HIV epidemic by 2030.