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Health Highlights: Aug. 21, 2012

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

Syphilis Causes Temporary Shut Down of U.S. Porn Industry

The U.S. porn industry has temporarily shut down after one performer tested positive for the sexually transmitted disease syphilis.

The voluntary moratorium was called for Monday by the Free Speech Coalition, the pornography trade group, CBS News and the Associated Press reported.

The moratorium is expected to shut down the multi-billion dollar porn industry "until the risk to performers in the industry has been properly assessed and all performers have been tested," the trade association said in a statement.

Syphilis can be difficult to detect, so the trade group's medical experts have ordered preventative shots of antibiotics for performers. After they receive the shots, the performers can return to work within 10 days, said coalition spokeswoman Joanne Cachapero, CBS/AP reported.

The Los Angeles County Public Health Department said last Friday that it is investigating at least five possible cases of syphilis that were reported last week.

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Rosie O'Donnell Suffers Heart Attack

Rosie O'Donnell suffered a heart attack last week and doctors inserted a stent after finding a 99 percent blocked artery in the former daytime TV show host's heart.

"She is now home and resting comfortably. She is very, very lucky," a spokesperson for O'Donnell told People, the Los Angeles Times reported.

O'Donnell blogged that she experienced heart attack symptoms last Tuesday within a few hours of helping an overweight women get out of her car in a Nyack, N.Y. parking lot.

Instead of calling 911, O'Donnell decided to wait to see a cardiologist the next day, the Times reported.

"I am lucky to be here. Know the symptoms ladies, listen to the voice inside. The one we all so easily ignore. CALL 911," O'Donnell blogged.

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Cantaloupe Tainted With Salmonella Blamed for 2 Deaths

Cantaloupe grown in southwestern Indiana that was tainted with salmonella has been linked to two deaths and at least 141 cases of illness nationwide, the Associated Press reported.

Health officials in Indiana and Kentucky said Friday that they were investigating farms, distributors and retailers, and authorities recommended that all Indiana residents discard cantaloupes bought since July 7, the news service said.

Kentucky health officials urged residents not to eat cantaloupes after tests revealed that the fruit had the same strain of salmonella that killed two people and sickened more than 50 others in the state, the AP reported.

According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, salmonella -- a group of bacteria -- is the most common cause of foodborne illness in the United States. Salmonella occurs in raw poultry, eggs, beef, and sometimes on unwashed fruit and vegetables.

Symptoms include fever, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and headache. Symptoms usually last four to seven days. Most people get better without treatment. It can be more serious in the elderly, infants and people with chronic conditions. If salmonella gets into the bloodstream, it can be serious, or even life-threatening. The usual treatment is antibiotics.


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