Health Highlights: June 19, 2017

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

6 Experts Resign from President's HIV/AIDS Advisory Panel in Protest

Six experts resigned from the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS because Donald Trump "simply does not care," one of the members wrote in an op/ed piece in Newsweek.

Scott Schoettes, counsel and HIV Project Director at Lambda Legal, and five other members resigned on June 13. The council provides advice, information, and recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to promote effective treatment, prevention, and an eventual cure for HIV.

However, as "advocates for people living with HIV, we have dedicated our lives to combating this disease and no longer feel we can do so effectively within the confines of an advisory body to a president who simply does not care," Schoettes wrote in the article published June 16.

"The Trump Administration has no strategy to address the on-going HIV/AIDS epidemic, seeks zero input from experts to formulate HIV policy, and -- most concerning -- pushes legislation that will harm people living with HIV and halt or reverse important gains made in the fight against this disease."

Schoettes added that the "decision to resign from government service is not one that any of us take lightly. However, we cannot ignore the many signs that the Trump Administration does not take the on-going epidemic or the needs of people living with HIV seriously."

Many Americans aren't aware of the major impact that HIV/AIDS has in many communities or that only 40 percent of people with HIV in the U.S. have access to life-saving medications, but it is "unacceptable" for the U.S. President to be "unaware of these realities" and to "set up a government that deprioritizes fighting the epidemic and its causes."

Schoettes wrote that he and the other council members who resigned "will be more effective from the outside, advocating for change and protesting policies that will hurt the health of the communities we serve and the country as a whole if this administration continues down the current path."

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One Dead, 6 Ill in NYC Legionnaire's Disease Outbreak

A Legionnaire's disease outbreak on the Upper East Side of Manhattan has caused one death and sickened six other people, the city health department said Friday.

The patients became ill within the past 11 days in the Lenox Hill neighborhood, according to the agency, which added that four patients remained in the hospital and two had recovered and been discharged, The New York Times reported.

The patient who died was over age 90 and had other health problems, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said.

Legionnaire's disease in a bacterial infection typically contracted through contaminated water. The health department is investigating air conditioning equipment in the neighborhood for signs of Legionella bacteria, The Times reported.

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Laundry Detergent Pods a Threat to Dementia Patients

Laundry detergent pods are a greater threat to adults with dementia than to children, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission data suggests.

Over the past five years, two children and six adults with mental decline died after ingesting the pods. Of the six adult deaths, five occurred in the United States and one in Canada, the CPSC told NBC News.

The deaths were first made public by the consumer advocacy group Consumer Reports after it filed a Freedom of Information Act Request.

Consumer Reports and other safety advocates have long said the laundry pods look too much like candy and should be redesigned, NBC News reported.

"Family members caring for anyone who is cognitively impaired [should] not keep pods in the home," James Dickerson, chief scientific officer at Consumer Reports, wrote in the group's article.

"Manufacturers of liquid laundry detergent packets are fully committed to reducing accidental access to these products, which are used safely by millions of consumers every day," according to an American Cleaning Institute statement to NBC News.


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