Health Highlights: Oct. 26, 2020

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

Five Pence Staffers Test Positive for COVID-19

Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now quarantined, CBS reported.

“Vice President Pence and Mrs. Pence both tested negative for COVID-19 today, and remain in good health,” Pence’s press secretary Devin O’Malley said in a statement Friday. “The Vice President will maintain his schedule following the CDC guidelines for essential personnel.”

Besides Short, political adviser Marty Obst and three members of his staff are infected with the coronavirus, CBS reported. Pence’s office said Sunday morning that the vice president and second lady tested negative for the virus.

Pence is currently campaigning for President Trump, but staffers considered in close contact with Short were pulled from the latest campaign swing, CBS reported.

Short’s positive test calls into question the White House’s coronavirus safety protocols, CBS reported. Pence is the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.


AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson Resume U.S. COVID Vaccine Trials

Drugmakers AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are ready to resume paused coronavirus vaccine trials after health scares, CNN reported.

The AstraZeneca trial was stopped in early September, and Johnson & Johnson’s was paused earlier this month.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the restart after reviewing all the safety data, CNN reported. The AstraZeneca trial has already resumed in other countries. That trial was stopped after a Britain volunteer developed an unexplained neurological condition.

Johnson & Johnson’s trial was halted because one participant had an “unexplained illness,” for which “no clear cause” was identified, the company said.

Government health officials and outside experts have said the holds are an example of how the safety process is protecting Americans from any potentially dangerous vaccines, CNN reported.


CDC Warns of Listeria Outbreak

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued an alert about a multi-state outbreak of listeria infections.

The outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes has been reported in three states. All 10 infected people were hospitalized and one death was reported in Florida.

All those infected have reported eating Italian-style meats, such as salami, mortadella and prosciutto, either prepackaged deli meats or meats sliced at deli counters. The investigation is in process to see if a specific type of deli meat or common supplier is linked to illness.

To avoid getting sick:

  • People at higher risk for getting sick with Listeria should avoid eating deli meats unless heated to an internal temperature of 165F or until steaming hot just before serving.
  • Wash your hands after handling deli meats. Clean refrigerator shelves, kitchen countertops, utensils and other surfaces that may have come into contact with deli meats.
  • Don’t let juice from deli meats get on other foods, utensils and food preparation services.
  • Keep factory-sealed, unopened packages of deli meats in the refrigerator for no longer than two weeks. Keep open packages and meat sliced at a local deli in the refrigerator for no longer than five days.

Listeria can cause different symptoms, depending on the person and the part of the body affected.

  • Pregnant women typically have only fever and other flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue and muscle aches. Infections during pregnancy, however, can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn.
  • Other people may have symptoms including headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions, in addition to fever and muscle aches.
  • Symptoms usually start one to four weeks after eating contaminated food.
  • The infection is treated with antibiotics.