Health Highlights: Jan. 12, 2018
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Health Insurer Centene Doesn't Provide Adequate Access to Care: Lawsuit
Health insurer Centene was slapped with a lawsuit Thursday by customers who claim the company does not provide adequate access to doctors in 15 states.
"Members have difficulty finding -- and in many cases cannot find -- medical providers," who will accept patients with Centene policies, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington State, The New York Times reported.
"Centene misrepresents the number, location and existence of purported providers by listing physicians, medical groups and other providers -- some of whom have specifically asked to be removed -- as participants in their networks and by listing nurses and other non-physicians as primary care providers," the lawsuit alleges.
The company has not seen the lawsuit, according to a Centene spokeswoman.
"We believe our networks are adequate and we work in partnership with our states to ensure our networks are adequate and our members have access to high-quality health care," she said in an email, The Times reported.
Wild Monkeys in Florida Could Pass Herpes to People
Some non-native monkeys in Florida carry herpes B, a virus that can be dangerous to people, a new study says.
Researchers found that some rhesus macaques in Silver Springs State Park have the virus in their saliva and other bodily fluids and could spread the disease, the Associated Press reported.
Up to 30 percent of Florida's wild macaques may be actively excreting the virus, according to the researchers from the universities of Florida and Washington.
Their study was published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.
No transmissions of hepatitis B to people from wild rhesus macaques in Florida or elsewhere have been reported, but the virus has been deadly in 21 of the 50 people known to have contracted it from macaque bites and scratches while working with the monkeys in laboratories, according to the CDC, the AP reported.
The study authors warned Florida's wildlife agency that the infected rhesus macaques should be considered a public health concern. State wildlife officials said they're considering how to deal with the monkeys, which are native to Asia.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wants to rid the state of the invasive monkeys, according to a spokeswoman.
"The commission supports the removal of these monkeys from the environment to help reduce the threat they pose. This can be done in a variety of ways," Carli Segelson said in an email, the AP reported.
Eric Clapton Reveals Tinnitus Hearing Problem
Musician Eric Clapton revealed that he has a hearing problem but plans to continue working.
In an interview Tuesday on the U.K.'s BBC Radio 2, Clapton said he's "going deaf." He explained that he has tinnitus, a condition that is characterized by constant ringing in the ears and is often caused by loud noise, ABC News reported.
Along with his hearing problem, the 72-year-old also said he has nerve damage that can affect his ability to play guitar. "My hands just about work," he said.
"I'm still going to work. [I'm] doing a few gigs. I'm going to do a show at [London's] Hyde Park in July. The only thing I'm concerned with now is being in my 70s and being able to be proficient," Clapton said, ABC News reported.