New England Compounding Center Blaming Cleaning Company for Meningitis Outbreak

Plus: 2012 worst year from whooping cough since 1955; HPV can reawaken during menopause; and more health news.

The pharmacy at the center of the fungal meningitis outbreak is now blaming their cleaning company for the 650 infections and 39 deaths in the U.S. According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the New England Compounding Center used cleaning service UniClean. They cleaned as scheduled once a month. The cleaning company denies the charges. Talk about shifting blame. [NBC News]

A 27-year-old woman received smokers lungs in an organ transplant and died of lung cancer 16 months later. The British woman had cystic fibrosis and was using an oxygen tank to survive. Would she have been better off waiting for a different set of lungs? Doctors say no, especially if she was critical. Smokers organs are used in hospitals around the world, including the U.S. [Good Morning America]

Findings released last week in the Journal of Infectious Diseases says that reactivation of the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus may increase around age 50 and be responsible for more later-life infections than new ones, researchers said. Signs of the cancer-causing HPV in women near or at menopause may be a reawakened dormant infection, suggesting a risk for women who came of age in the ‘‘sexual revolution’’ in the 1960s and ’70s. [Globe]

2012 was the worst year for whooping cough since 1955 according to health officials at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 42,000 cases were reported last year, the most in six decades, but officials are still doing tallies and say that number could rise to 50,000. The good news is that deaths were down last year, and experts say that is due to doctors diagnosing and treating the disease faster. [NBC News]

President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act on Jan. 4, 2010. But it has been under review for two years and finally cleared Friday. The FDA is proposing two significant rules that should greatly increase the safety of the U.S. food system, experts say. They cover food production-facility safety and fruit and vegetable safety on the farm and in the packing shed. The legislation gives the FDA the ability to focus on prevention of problems instead of waiting for outbreaks to occur. [USA Today]