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Health Highlights: Dec. 8, 2012

Health Highlights: Dec. 8, 2012

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

South Africa's Nelson Mandela Hospitalized

Nelson Mandela, the first black president of once white-ruled South Africa, was admitted to a military hospital Saturday for medical tests. But the nation's president said there was "no cause for alarm" over the 94-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner's health, the Associated Press reported.

A statement issued on behalf of President Jacob Zuma said that Mandela was doing well and was receiving medical care "consistent for his age." The statement provided no other details, the AP said.

Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison for fighting the racist white rule system known as apartheid, became South Africa's first black president in 1994 and served one five-year term. He later retired from public life, and last made a public appearance in 2010 when South Africa hosted the World Cup soccer tournament, the news service reported.

Mandela was hospitalized for a night in February for minor diagnostic surgery for an abdominal complaint. In January 2011, he was admitted to a Johannesburg hospital for a respiratory infection. He was released several days later, the AP reported.

During his years of imprisonment he contracted tuberculosis.

3 More Mass. Compounding Pharmacies Ordered Closed

Three compounding pharmacies in Massachusetts have been ordered to halt operations following unannounced inspections by state regulators. The inspections came in the wake of a deadly meningitis outbreak linked to another compounding pharmacy in the state, the New England Compounding Center.

OncoMed Pharmaceutical Services stopped production at its Waltham facility after an inspection revealed issues with the storage of chemotherapy drugs. Pallimed Solutions was told to cease production of sildenafil citrate (sold as Viagra) after inspectors found that it had been prepared with improper components. The Whittier Pharmacist was told to halt sterile compounding after unspecified violations were identified, CBS News/The Associated Press reported.

As of Dec. 3, 363 cases of fungal meningitis and more than 150 spinal infections have been linked to contaminated steroid injections made by the New England Compounding Center, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thirty-six people have died.

The outbreak has raised questions about the regulation of compounding pharmacies, which mix medications. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg has asked lawmakers to give the FDA more authority and funding to oversee compounding pharmacies, which are regulated by states, CBS News/AP reported.

Nurse in Kate Middleton Radio Prank Reportedly Commits Suicide

News reports suggest that the nurse at a London Hospital who was tricked into providing two Australian radio hosts with information about the Duchess of Cambridge's pregnancy condition has committed suicide.

At about 9:35 a.m. Friday, officers responded to reports of a woman found unconscious at an address in central London, Scotland Yard said. She was pronounced dead at the scene, and the death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious, CBS News reported.

King Edward VII hospital confirmed the nurse's death.

Earlier this week, the two radio hosts called the hospital and pretended to be Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles asking about the Duchess of Cambridge, the former Kate Middleton, who was being treated for severe morning sickness.

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