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October 9th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Tainted Chicken

A Salmonella outbreak linked to a California poultry producer has sickened nearly 300 people in 18 states, health officials say. As of Tuesday morning, no recall had been issued.

Raw chicken products from Foster Farms plants have been identified as the likely source of this outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg.

The CDC first alerted FSIS to a growing number of Salmonella cases on July 1, USDA spokesman Aaron Lavallee told CNN. At the time, 18 people had been sickened in four states, and Foster Farms was a possible link between the patients. USDA investigators began "site sampling," or testing Foster Farms facilities on September 9, and concluded their analysis of the majority of the samples collected on October 7.

"The partial government shutdown did not affect the investigation or communication with the public," Lavallee said.

The Salmonella outbreak comes one week after CDC Director Tom Frieden tweeted: "CDC had to furlough 8,754 people. They protected you yesterday, can't tomorrow. Microbes/other treats didn't shut down. We are less safe."

That raises the question: With government agencies like the CDC on furlough due to the partial government shutdown, is our food supply safe?

The shutdown notice issued by the USDA indicates the the FSIS will continue to inspect birds and animals intended for use as food both before and after slaughter, supervise the further processing of meat and poultry products, ensure that meat, poultry and egg products are safe and also prevent the sale of adulterated meat or poultry products. Despite furloughing 1,218 employees, the USDA says no meat and poultry inspectors have been put on leave.

But future outbreak investigations could be affected by the government shutdown if it continues much longer, some experts say.

"The CDC is the central coordination point and often the leader of the investigation, and the state health departments all collaborate under the umbrella of CDC guidance," says Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University. "The CDC invariably is the conductor of the investigative orchestra."


October 1st, 2013
05:49 AM ET

Government Shutdown: 800,000 Workers Go Without Pay

The game of chicken failed. Neither side blinked. Now millions will pay the price.

Americans watched a colossal failure by Congress overnight - and the shut down of their government.

For weeks, the House and the Senate blamed and bickered, each claiming they're standing up for what the public wants.

In the end, it led to the one outcome nobody wanted - one that will stop 800,000 Americans from getting paid and could cost the economy about $1 billion a week.

This is the first time the government has shut down in nearly 18 years. The last time it did, the stalemate lasted 21 days.

But the largely polarizing Affordable Care Act is funded, and it’s government operations that screech to a halt. CNN's Brianna Keilar  reports on Day 1 of the closure.


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Filed under: government • Health • Health care • Healthcare
March 15th, 2013
07:32 AM ET

Moms say two ingredients in Kraft Mac and Cheese pose potential health risk – Elizabeth Cohen investigates

A health story that has two moms are taking on food giant Kraft. They started a petition online calling on Kraft to remove two ingredients from its "Mac and Cheese," a  staple in the diets of thousands of children. These mom food bloggers say the ingredients that give it its bright yellow food color are dangerous.

Now more than 220-thousand people have signed on, asking Kraft to take out the artificial colorings yellow #5 and yellow #6. They point to studies linking artificial food colorings to hyperactivity in children, and cancer in mice. Kraft has already removed them for the European versions of the popular food. Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth investigates the story.

The science behind the findings is inconclusive, Cohen reports. “There was a study done in England where they gave some kids food with these dyes in it and then gave some kids food without," Cohen explains. "And they said that they then observed that the kids who had the dyes were more hyperactive." This resulted in the ban in the United Kingdom. But other scientists claim it wasn't well done study, because the hyperactivity could have been due to other ingredients.

Cohen advises concerned parents to make their own decision or their own mac and cheese.

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Filed under: Food safety • Health • Health care • Medical
March 4th, 2013
07:39 AM ET

ADHD may continue in adulthood, lead to another psychiatric disorder – Elizabeth Cohen reports

A new study finds nearly 30% of people diagnosed with ADHD as children continue to have it well into their late twenties. Of that number, more than half (57%) had another psychiatric disorder. Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth has more on the finding.

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Filed under: Childhood • Health • Health care
September 20th, 2012
09:11 AM ET

6 million Americans will pay Obamacare penalties – Christine Romans explains new CBO report

Christine Romans on a CBO report showing 6 million Americans could pay penalties for not having health insurance.

September 20th, 2012
08:38 AM ET

Is a lack of transparency sinking the health care system? Dr. Marty Makary explains

One of the issues central to the presidential election is health care reform and President Obama's landmark legislation, the Affordable Care Act.

With health care premiums continuing to rise each year and many Americans unhappy with the quality of their health care, Dr. Marty Makary says that transparency, not policy, could be the true root of the problem.

In his new book "Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won't Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care," Dr. Makary writes, "When I listen to health care gurus propose overhauling the health care system with new ways to finance it, I often feel they are tragically off the mark.  The simplest, most economical solution to the problems of our complex system is to empower patients with information."

Dr. Makary sits down with Zoraida on "Early Start" this morning to explain how he thinks health care can be improved and medical mistakes can be prevented.

"According to good studies by doctors, 20% to 30%t of all medications, tests, procedures in health care are completely unnecessary," Makary says. "Patients really need to be empowered to say, hey look do I really need this done? If we’re going to get serious about health care costs and if patients are going to get good quality care we’re going to need to cut the waste in health care, not just pay for it differently."

Filed under: Health care
July 11th, 2012
10:35 AM ET

Rep. Hayworth: 'A plurality to a majority of Americans clearly reject the health care law'

A brand new battle over the president's health care legislation is set to hit the House floor this morning, with lawmakers scheduled to vote on repealing the law.

Rep. Nan Hayworth is the only female physician in Congress and she's offered her own alternatives for health care reform.

On Early Start this morning, Rep. Hayworth discusses recent polling on public opinion toward the Affordable Care Act and explains why she opposes the law.

Filed under: Health care • Politics
July 5th, 2012
06:23 AM ET

Romney calls health care mandate a 'tax,' contradicting a top aide – Paul Steinhauser looks at how voters could view the change

From CNN Political Ticker:

(CNN) – Mitt Romney said the federal health care reform mandate constitutes a "tax" Wednesday, contradicting the way a senior adviser to his campaign characterized his position earlier this week.

But the similar individual mandate and fee he signed into law when governor of Massachusetts is not a tax, he said in a separate interview, citing the Supreme Court's decision last Thursday.

Of the federal law, Romney told CNN's Dana Bash and Shawna Shepherd, "Supreme Court is the final word, right? The highest court in the land? They said it's a tax didn't they?"

"So it's a tax, of course, if that's what they say it is," he continued.

This morning on "Early Start," Paul Steinhauser looks at how voters could view Mitt Romney's clarification.


Filed under: 2012 election • Health care • Politics
July 3rd, 2012
06:36 AM ET

New CNN poll shows health care SCOTUS ruling has not impacted presidential race – Paul Steinhauser explains

Washington (CNN) – Thursday's landmark Supreme Court decision upholding the country's health care law appears to have had exactly zero impact on the presidential election so far, and has produced virtually no change in opinions on President Barack Obama or Republican challenger Mitt Romney, according to a new national poll.

And while the CNN/ORC International survey released Monday indicates the president with a very slight three point edge over Romney among registered voters nationwide, the presumptive GOP nominee appears to hold an eight point advantage among voters who live in the 15 states considered in play in the race for the White House.

But according to the poll, which was conducted in the four days following the high court's health care ruling, there's been a surge in enthusiasm by Democrats nationwide, and registered voters say that Obama would handle health care better than Romney.

Today on "Early Start," CNN's Paul Steinhauser explains what this poll means for the presidential race.


Filed under: 2012 election • Health care • Politics
June 29th, 2012
10:56 AM ET

Rep. Phil Gingrey: Health care legislation is 'un-American'

The U.S. Supreme Court made a landmark ruling yesterday, upholding President Barack Obama’s controversial health care legislation, or “Obamacare.”

This morning, Rep. Phil Gingrey, who is a doctor and the spokesperson for the Doctors Caucus in Congress, tells Ashleigh Banfield that he wants a full repeal of the president's law.

“The law may not be unconstitutional, but it is un-American,” Gingrey tells Ashleigh.

According to CNN polling, the majority of Americans oppose Obamacare. However, this is not due to the fact that they dislike the legislation or want it repealed.

On Early Start today, Ashleigh breaks down the opposing 51% to clarify that 13% of that figure is attributed to people who oppose the law because it is not liberal enough. Accordingly, only 34% of Americans oppose what the law represents.

Watch the clip above to see things get heated when Ashleigh asks Dr. Gingrey about these stats.

Filed under: Health care • Politics
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