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Common Flu Strain Resistant to Popular Antiviral Drug

THURSDAY, Jan. 8 -- The most common strain of flu this season is resistant to the popular antiviral drug Tamiflu, but government health officials said Thursday there is no reason to panic. The fact that the flu season so far has been slow, and that other drugs work well against this particular flu virus, has health officials adopting a watchful attitude for now. Click here to find out more! While the cause of the mutation that made the virus resistant to Tamiflu (oseltamivir) isn't known, experts suspect it was caused by the wide use of Tamiflu in other countries to treat upper respiratory infections. There were reports last year from Europe and other countries that a certain type of flu -- H1N1 -- was resistant to oseltamivir, according to Dr. Joseph Bresee, chief of flu prevention at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This year, the CDC was on the lookout for flu resistance to Tamiflu in the United States and, sure enough, it showed up. Moreover, the pr ...

Sodium, Potassium Intake Tied to Heart Disease

MONDAY, Jan. 12 -- Too much sodium and too little potassium in one's diet may increase one's risk of cardiovascular disease, a new study suggests. The findings, based on a long-term analysis by the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of almost 3,000 people with pre-hypertension, also suggests that increasing potassium consumption along with the common wisdom of lowering one's salt intake may reverse the risk. Researchers found that for people with high normal blood pressure levels (120 to 139/80 to 89 mmHg), every unit increase in the person's sodium-to-potassium ratio raised his or her chance of cardiovascular disease by 24 percent. The findings were published in the Jan. 12 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. A third of American adults have high blood pressure, defined as 140/90 mmHg or higher, while another 37 percent have pre-hypertension. More information The American Heart Association has more about factors affecting the risk of cardiovascular ...

FDA Widens Peanut Butter-Salmonella Probe

FRIDAY, Jan. 16 -- U.S. health officials said Friday that they were expanding their investigation into peanut products possibly contaminated with salmonella, as the toll from the outbreak climbed to 452 people sickened in 43 states and one in Canada, and possibly six deaths. U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials have asked food companies around the country that may have bought peanut butter or peanut paste from a Georgia facility owned by the Peanut Corp. of America to test their products for salmonella contamination. The Associated Press reported that federal health officials late Friday said at least 85 companies had purchased peanut products from the Georgia plant and 30 had been "urged" to run their own tests for the bacteria. Dr. Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, told a late afternoon teleconference: "We have traced one likely source of salmonella contamination to a plant owned by the Peanut Corp. of America in Geor ...