Health Highlights: July 13, 2017

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

Number of Salmonella Cases Linked to Backyard Poultry Continues to Rise: CDC

Ten multistate outbreaks of salmonella infections linked to live poultry in backyard flocks are being investigated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To date, 790 people in 48 states and the District of Columbia have been affected in these outbreaks, which are expected to continue for the next several months and to surpass the 895 people sickened in live poultry outbreaks across the U.S. in 2016.

There have been 174 hospitalizations so far, but no deaths. About one-third of the patients have been children younger than five years. the CDC said in its latest update.

Any live poultry can carry salmonella bacteria, even those that appear healthy and clean. Anyone raising backyard poultry must take steps to avoid getting sick.

Safety measures include: washing hands after handling live poultry; not allowing live chickens, ducks, and geese in the house; not allowing children younger than 5 years to handle or touch live poultry and eggs without supervision; not snuggling or kissing the birds or touching your mouth, eat, or drink around live poultry, the CDC said.

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Mac & Cheese Products Have High Levels of Phthalates: Study

Macaroni and cheese mixes made with powdered cheese contain high levels of potentially harmful chemicals called phthalates, according to a new study.

Phthalates, which can get into food from packaging and equipment used in manufacturing, have been linked to genital birth defects in infant boys and learning and behavior problems in older children, The New York Times reported.

Researchers tested different cheese products and found that all 10 varieties of macaroni and cheese included in the study had high levels of phthalates, even those labeled as organic.

"The phthalate concentrations in powder from mac and cheese mixes were more than four times higher than in block cheese and other natural cheeses like shredded cheese, string cheese and cottage cheese," said Mike Belliveau, executive director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, one of four advocacy groups that funded the report, according to The Times.

The other groups were the Ecology Center, Healthy Babies Bright Futures and Safer States.

"Our belief is that (phthalates are) in every mac 'n' cheese product - you can't shop your way out of the problem," Belliveau said.

He encouraged consumers to contact manufacturers and ask them to determine how phthalates are getting into their products and take action to prevent it. Nine of the cheese products tested were made by Kraft. Company officials did not respond to requests for comment on the study findings, The Times reported.

The U.S. government phthalates from children's teething rings and rubber duck toys a decade ago.

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Court Hearing Thursday in Charlie Gard Case

The parents of terminally-ill U.K. baby Charlie Gard returned to court Thursday to present new evidence that they should be allowed to take their son to another country for experimental treatment for his rare genetic disorder.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates were to provide new written evidence to Britain's High Court. They're fighting to keep him on life support and transfer him abroad for nucleoside therapy, CNN reported.

The 11-month-old has been in Great Ormond Street Hospital in London since October. He has a genetic disorder called mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome.

The hospital requested a new hearing last week, saying there was "new evidence relating to potential treatment" for the boy, CNN reported.

In a statement read on their behalf Thursday, Charlie's parents said: "We've raised over 1.3 million, and have had invitations from specialized doctors in the U.S. and Italy. They've offered their groundbreaking treatment to us, and are confident that they can help Charlie. We will continue to make the case for us to seek treatment for Charlie with doctors that are actually specialized in mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, and we hope that the judge and the courts will finally rule in favor of us seeking treatment elsewhere."

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