Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Infectious Disease for February 2009. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.
Guidelines for Prevention of Rheumatic Fever Updated
FRIDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Prevention of rheumatic fever relies on proper identification and treatment of the bacteria responsible, with penicillin being the preferred treatment, according to updated guidelines published online Feb. 26 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
Drug-Resistant Meningitis Present in North America
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Ciprofloxacin-resistant meningitis has appeared in North America, although the bacteria remain susceptible to other antibiotics, according to a report in the Feb. 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
HPV-Positive Test Less Likely Than Previously Reported
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of a positive carcinogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) test in a general population of women is less likely than previously reported, suggesting concerns over HPV testing in general clinical practice may be overstated, according to research published in the March issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Released Inmates Unlikely to Fill Antiretroviral Prescriptions
TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- A vast majority of HIV-infected prison inmates, after release, do not fill their prescriptions for antiretroviral therapy medication in a timely manner to avoid treatment interruption, according to study findings published in the Feb. 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Insurance Essential for Good Health, Well-Being
TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Having health insurance is vital for health and well-being, and when rates of uninsurance are high, even insured people are more likely to struggle to obtain necessary care, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine released online Feb. 24.
Vitamin D Levels Linked to Respiratory Tract Infections
TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Vitamin D levels are inversely associated with upper respiratory tract infections, in a robust dose-response relationship that is clinically and statistically significant, according to research published in the Feb. 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
US Health Spending May Have Hit $2.4 Trillion in 2008
TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Health spending in the United States was estimated to be $2.4 trillion last year, and is expected to account for an unprecedented share of the economy this year, according to a report published online Feb. 24 in Health Affairs.
Antibodies May Offer New Flu Immunization Approach
TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Specific antibodies directed against proteins involved in viral fusion with a host cell recognize multiple influenza A hemagglutinin subtypes, including avian H5 and pandemic H1 viruses, suggesting a promising approach for a universal influenza treatment or vaccine, according to research published online Feb. 22 in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.
Rare Brain Infection Confirmed in Patients on Efalizumab
FRIDAY, Feb. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Three cases of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) have been confirmed in patients taking the psoriasis drug efalizumab (Raptiva), according to a public health advisory issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Feb. 19.
Proposed Changes to Health Care Would Reduce Costs
THURSDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Simultaneous gains in universal health coverage, improved health outcomes and slowed spending growth would have a major impact on the development of public policy, according to a perspective published in the Feb. 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Transparency, Globalization Growing in Clinical Research
THURSDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- All clinical trial data and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration database should be publicly available, and global clinical research should be conducted in relevant populations for potential applications of the intervention, according to two articles published in the Feb. 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Implementing a Quality Improvement Faculty Path
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- A new career pathway in academic medicine, termed clinicians in quality improvement, is a justified concept to achieve and recognize excellence in patient safety, according to a commentary published in the Feb. 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Incidence of ICU MRSA Infections Declining
TUESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Incidence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) central line-associated bloodstream infections has decreased over recent years in most intensive care units (ICUs), according to research published Feb. 18 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Ads Featuring 'Drug Facts Box' Help Educate Consumers
TUESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Replacing the brief summary in direct-to-consumer ads with a "drug facts box" may result in improved consumer knowledge and judgment about medication benefits and side effects, according to study findings released online Feb. 17 in advance of publication in the Apr. 21 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Most States in Line with New HIV Recommendations
TUESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Most states' statutory frameworks aren't in conflict with 2006 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to improve HIV screening and diagnosis, according to research published in the Feb. 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Coccidioidomycosis Incidence More Than Tripled in Six Years
MONDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- There were more than three times the number of U.S. cases of coccidioidomycosis from 2000 to 2006 compared with the number from 1995 to 2000, according to a report published in the Feb. 13 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Increase Seen in Early Neonatal Group B Strep Infections
MONDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- There was an increase in the incidence of early-onset neonatal group B Streptococcus infections from 2003 to 2006, but the incidence of late-onset infections has remained stable from 2000 to 2006, according to a report published in the Feb. 13 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
HIV Gene Therapy Safe and Effective
MONDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Gene therapy using a ribozyme that targets HIV RNA is safe and has modest efficacy in reducing viral load and raising CD4+ T cell counts, according to study findings published online Feb. 15 in Nature Medicine.
No Signs of Epidemic in Current Influenza Season
MONDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The mortality rate due to pneumonia or influenza is below the epidemic threshold for the flu season so far, according to a report published in the Feb. 13 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Sequencing Advances Help Crack Code of Human Rhinoviruses
FRIDAY, Feb. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Newly completed genomic sequences of the human rhinovirus may lead to the first effective treatments for the common cold, according to a study published online ahead of print Feb. 12 in Science.
Funding Source, Not Quality, Influences Study Publication
FRIDAY, Feb. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Influenza vaccine study publication in prestigious journals is more likely to occur when a study receives industry funding but does not correlate to the study's quality or size, according to research published online Feb. 12 in BMJ.
Agencies Must Do More to Prevent Foodborne Disease
THURSDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. agencies responsible for food safety must take steps to prevent outbreaks of foodborne illness such as the current Salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter products, according to a perspective published online Feb. 11 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Blacks Over-Represented in HIV-Positive Population
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Young black men who have sex with men engage in high-risk behavior yet are often unaware of the danger of HIV infection associated with their behavior, according to a report published in the Feb. 6 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The report coincided with National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on Feb. 7, which highlights the fact that there are proportionally more blacks with HIV/AIDS compared to whites and Hispanics in the United States.
Care Coordination Programs Don't Benefit Medicare Patients
TUESDAY, Feb. 10 (HealthDay News) -- For Medicare beneficiaries with chronic illnesses, most care coordination programs have little impact on reducing hospitalizations and costs or improving quality of care, according to a report published in the Feb. 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Vaccination Campaign for Measles Ineffective in Zambia
TUESDAY, Feb. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Although a mass anti-measles vaccination campaign was unable to interrupt measles virus transmission in a region with high HIV prevalence, new research shows that oral fluid samples and satellite images are potentially useful tools to determine population immunity and the timing of vaccinations, according to an article published online Feb. 10 in The Lancet.
Corticosteroid Use Associated with Pneumonia in COPD
MONDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term inhaled corticosteroid use in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with an increased risk of pneumonia, though without a significantly higher risk of pneumonia-related death, according to a review article published in the Feb. 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
CDC Analyzes Salmonella Peanut Butter Outbreak
MONDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- The widespread outbreaks of Salmonella infections that hospitalized 116 patients and may have contributed to the deaths of eight people were traced to peanut butter and peanut paste used in other products manufactured by Peanut Corporation of America at its factory in Blakely, Ga., according to a report published in the Feb. 6 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
RSV Causes High Morbidity Among Children
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News)-- Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a substantial cause of morbidity among U.S. children, affecting not just high-risk but also previously healthy children, according to a study published in the Feb. 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Early Childhood Stress Linked to Weakened Immune System
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- A stressful early childhood impairs the long-term function of the immune system, according to research published online Feb. 2 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.
Footballers at Risk for Drug-Resistant Staph Infections
MONDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Poor hygiene, skin injuries and living in close proximity to teammates contributed to an outbreak of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection in 2007 among members of a high school football team, according to a report published in the Jan. 30 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
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