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Health Highlights: March 7, 2019

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

Climate Change Management Worse Under Trump: Report

The U.S. government's management of climate change is worse under the Trump administration, the Government Accountability Office said in a new report.

The list, which outlines the fiscal risks faced by the federal government, has been compiled by the GAO since 1990 and presented to Congress every two years, CNN reported.

Of the many areas of concern that need improvement, "three areas have actually regressed," and managing the financial threats posed by climate change is one of them, GAO Comptroller General Eugene Louis Dodaro told the Senate Appropriations Homeland Security Subcomittee on Wednesday.

The other two are the Environmental Protection Agency's process for assessing and controlling toxic chemicals and NASA acquisition management, CNN reported.

The new report said that because the Trump administration has revoked policies that had partially addressed climate change and has failed to follow recommendations in previous reports, climate change requires "significant attention," CNN reported.

Severe storms and other problems caused by climate change have cost American taxpayers nearly half a trillion dollars since 2015, according to the GAO report.

"The last several years have been some of the most costly in U.S. history," Dodaro said, CNN reported.


Wisconsin Man Charged After Breaking Measles Quarantine

A Wisconsin man faces criminal charges after he broke a measles quarantine to go to the gym.

Court documents show that Jeffery Murawski, 57, of Brookfield, was charged Feb. 22 with a misdemeanor count of willfully violating the recommendations of a local health officer or subjecting others to danger of contracting a communicable disease, NBC News reported.

His wife, Christine Bennett, 58, faces the same charge for allegedly helping her husband break his quarantine.

Murawski had been placed under quarantine in his home last spring by Waukesha County health officials. It's alleged that he escaped his home by hiding inside a car driven by his wife, NBC News reported.

An off-duty sheriff's deputy who knew of the quarantine order on Murawski saw him with a gym bag walking down a street and getting into a car driven by his wife, according to the court complaint.

If convicted, Murawski and Bennett face a maximum of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine, NBC News reported.


Teen Who Defied Mom to Get Vaccinated Testifies Before Congress

It's crucial to counter fraudulent social media information about vaccines that alarms parents, says the U.S. teen who started getting vaccinated against his mother's wishes when he turned 18.

Speaking before Congress on Tuesday, Ethan Lindenberger of Norwalk, Ohio, said his mother believed online conspiracies about vaccines, leaving him and his siblings vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases, the Associated Press reported.

"I grew up under my mother's beliefs that vaccines are dangerous," Lindenberger told a Senate health committee. He said he'd show his mother scientific studies but she instead relied on illegitimate sources that "instill fear into the public."

Last December, Lindenberger defied his mother and began catching up on his missed vaccinations.

It's important to "to inform people about how to find good information" about vaccinations and to remind them how dangerous vaccine-preventable diseases are, he told the committee.

The hearing was held as the U.S. faces a number of outbreaks of measles, which can be prevented by vaccination. So far this year, there have been more than 200 cases in 11 states, the AP reported.


Sperm Retrieved From Brain Dead West Point Cadet

Sperm was retrieved from a West Point cadet who had been declared brain dead after a skiing accident.

The retrieval of sperm from 21-year-old Peter Zhu was granted by a judge at his parents' request. The retrieval occurred Friday before his organs were removed for donation later that day at Westchester Medical Center, the Associated Press reported.

The judge ordered the sperm stored pending a court hearing March 21 to determine the next steps.

Peter Zhu was declared brain dead Wednesday, four days after a skiing accident at West Point fractured his spine and cut off oxygen to his brain.

His parents, Monica and Yongmin Zhu of Concord, California, said in a court petition that they wanted to fulfill at least part of Peter's oft-stated desire to one day raise five children. Peter was their only male child, the AP reported.

The first documented sperm removal after death occurred in 1980 and the first baby conceived using the procedure was born in 1999, according to medical journals. The request is typically made by a surviving spouse.


Salmonella Spurs Recall of Sunstone Organics Kratom

Two lots of Sunstone Organics Kratom are being recalled due to potential salmonella contamination.

The lots include Sunstone Organics White Vein Kratom Lot 119 and Sunstone Organics Maeng Da Kratom Lot 124A in both capsules and powder form and in all sizes.

No reports of illness associated with the recalled products have been reported, according to the company.

For more information about the recall, call Sunstone Organics at 541-972-3327.

Symptoms of salmonella infection can include illness and vomiting. Death can occur in some cases. The risk of illness is highest for people with a compromised or weak immune system, including the elderly and young children.

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The news stories provided in Health News and our Health-E News Newsletter are a service of the nationally syndicated HealthDay® news and information company. Stories refer to national trends and breaking health news, and are not necessarily indicative of or always supported by our facility and providers. This information is provided for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.