Health Highlights: Jan. 22, 2016

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

Cough Syrup With Morphine Recalled

Licorice cough syrup distributed by Master Herbs, Inc. is being recalled because it contains morphine.

The presence of morphine — a powerful narcotic painkiller — is not declared on the label of the Licorice Coughing Liquid. Accidental morphine consumption can cause severe allergic reactions, breathing problems and death.

To date, no one has suffered harm from the product, according to the California-based company.

It is recalling all lots of the cough syrup in 100 ml bottles, which were distributed to Chinese grocery stores in various cities in California, New Jersey, Hawaii, Illinois, Ohio and Nevada.

Consumers with the product should stop using it and return it to the place of purchase. For more information send an email to


California Child Vaccination Rates Increase

Childhood vaccination rates in California rose in nearly every county last fall, a new report says.

For the 2015-16 school year, 92.9 percent of kindergarten students were up-to-date on their shots, a 2.5 percent increase from the previous term, according to the California Department of Public Health.

The rate of vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella rose from 92.55 percent from 2014-15 to 94.59 percent this year, National Public Radio reported.

A law repealing parents’ ability to easily refuse vaccines on behalf of their children takes effect in California in July, but there has already been a decrease in the number of parents citing personal belief exemptions, from 2.54 percent of kindergartners in 2014 to 2.38 percent this year.

Last year, there was a major measles outbreak linked to Disneyland.

“I can only assume that this (increase in vaccinations) is in part a response to … the measles outbreak and the publicity that that received,” Dr. Art Reingold, head of epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health, told NPR.

“It’s unfortunate that fear or outbreaks of disease are necessary to get people to do what we’d like them to do, but I think that’s human nature,” he added.

Other possible reasons include stricter school vaccination requirements and public health campaigns, NPR reported.

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