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Category: Infections | Monthly Briefing

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March 2011 Briefing - Infectious Disease

Last Updated: April 01, 2011.

 

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Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Infectious Disease for March 2011. 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.

Tetanus Cases Rare but Some Populations More Vulnerable

THURSDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- Tetanus cases and fatalities in the United States have decreased by more than 95 percent and more than 99 percent, respectively, since the disease became reportable in 1947, but sporadic cases do still occur, and some populations are more at risk for contracting the potentially life-threatening disease, according to research published in the April 1 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Boceprevir Nets Higher Virologic Response in Hep C

WEDNESDAY, March 30 (HealthDay News) -- The addition of boceprevir to the standard treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 infection appears to result in a higher rate of sustained virologic response both in patients who have never been treated and those who have received prior treatment, according to two studies published in the March 31 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Online Health Records Less Used by Minorities, Poor

WEDNESDAY, March 30 (HealthDay News) -- Online personal health records (PHRs) are less frequently used by racial or ethnic minorities and patients with low annual income, according to a study published in the March 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Inadequacies Identified in HIV Health Care Provision

TUESDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- The health system is inadequately prepared for the challenges of addressing the health needs of HIV-positive individuals, according to the report "HIV Screening and Access to Care," published online March 17 by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

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Four-Dose Rabies Prevention Vaccine Schedule Endorsed

TUESDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention committee has proposed a reduced schedule for prophylactic rabies vaccine, and the recommendations have been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases, according to a policy statement published online March 28 in Pediatrics.

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Decline Seen in Global Youth Mortality Over Last 50 Years

TUESDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- Overall mortality declined substantially between 1955 and 2004 in children aged 14 years or younger and in females aged 15 to 24, but a smaller decline was evident for males aged 15 to 24 years, according to a study published online March 29 in The Lancet.

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Room Cleaning Linked to Lower Drug-Resistant Infections

TUESDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- Enhanced intensive care unit (ICU) cleaning may reduce methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) transmission, according to a study published in the March 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Disclosing Agent Determines If Operating Rooms Are Clean

MONDAY, March 28 (HealthDay News) -- The use of an environmentally stable disclosing agent allows hospital staff to determine if an operating room (OR) has been cleaned and reveals that many surfaces are not cleaned, according to a study published in the March issue of the AORN Journal.

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Fracture Rates Slightly Higher in HIV Patients

FRIDAY, March 25 (HealthDay News) -- People with HIV infection have a higher bone fracture rate compared to the general U.S. population, according to a study published online March 10 in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

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U.S. Shingles Vaccine Approval Expanded

THURSDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- The Zostavax shingles vaccine is now approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for people aged 50 and older.

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Tuberculosis Rates in United States at All-Time Low

THURSDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- The rate of tuberculosis (TB) infection in the United States continues to decline, but the goal of elimination has not been met, and the infection disproportionately affects foreign-born individuals and ethnic minorities, according to a report published in the March 25 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Window Period Infection Risk Low in High-Risk HIV Donors

THURSDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- Among HIV high-risk donors (HRDs), the predicted risk of window period (WP) infection is low and varies significantly according to donor behavior, according to a meta-analysis published online March 2 in the American Journal of Transplantation.

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Reduced Hours for Trainees Has Had Little Effect in U.S.

THURSDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- Reducing work hours for doctors in training to less than 80 per week has had little impact on patient outcomes or postgraduate training in the United States, according to a literature review published online March 22 in BMJ.

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Rheumatic Disease Patients Require Two Flu Vaccine Doses

WEDNESDAY, March 23 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases require two doses of flu vaccine to achieve the same antibody response as one dose elicits in controls, which may be due in part to the influence of specific disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), according to a study published online March 7 in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

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Hydrocortisone Lowers Risk of Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia

TUESDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- Intravenous hydrocortisone decreases the risk of developing hospital-acquired pneumonia in intubated trauma patients, according to a study published in the March 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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HIV Tropism Testing Guidelines Established

TUESDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- The European Consensus Group on the clinical management of tropism testing has established guidelines for tropism testing prior to the initiation of maraviroc therapy for HIV; the guidelines have been published online March 22 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

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Antibiotics Reduce Risk of ICU-Acquired Infection

MONDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- Critically ill patients given prophylactic antibiotics may be significantly less likely to be infected by intensive care unit (ICU)-acquired, highly resistant microorganisms, according to research published online March 21 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

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Oral Vaccine May Prevent Half of Cholera Episodes

MONDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- The currently available oral cholera vaccine may prevent 50 to 60 percent of cholera episodes in the first two years after vaccination, but its effectiveness is unlikely to last beyond three years, according to a review published in the Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews.

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Multifaceted Approach Reduces Pneumonia in ICU

MONDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- Rates of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) can be significantly reduced with the implementation of multifaceted intervention aimed at increasing the use of evidence-based therapies in the intensive care unit (ICU), according to a study published in the April issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

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Group B Strep Still Main Cause of Neonatal Meningitis

MONDAY, March 21 (HealthDay News) -- Group B streptococci (GBS) is still the dominant cause of neonatal bacterial meningitis, whereas Escherichia coli (E. coli) is the most common cause among preterm infants, according to a study published in the March issue of The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.

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Artesunate Provides Superior Treatment for Severe Malaria

FRIDAY, March 18 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment of severe malaria with artesunate is superior to quinine for both adults and children, according to a review published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

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CDC: HIV Transmitted Through Living Kidney Donation

THURSDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- Despite HIV screening of the donor, using serologic testing, HIV was transmitted from a living kidney donor to the transplant recipient recently in New York City, according to a report in the March 18 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Professional Values of U.S. and U.K. Doctors Examined

THURSDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- A core of professional values exists among doctors in the United States and the United Kingdom, though significant differences exist in how these values are expressed and prioritized, according to a study published online March 7 in BMJ Quality & Safety.

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Novel Virus May Be Cause of Severe Febrile Illness in China

THURSDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- Chinese researchers have identified a novel bunyavirus that may be the cause of severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS); their research has been published online March 16 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Hepatitis A Virus Antigenic Variants Identified

THURSDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- An outbreak of hepatitis A in men who have sex with men (MSM) revealed several antigenic variants of the hepatitis A virus, which may have escaped the protective effect of vaccination, reinforcing the importance of completing vaccination schedules, especially among the immunocompromised, according to a study published online March 16 in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

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Short Nurse Staffing Linked to Higher Patient Mortality

WEDNESDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) -- Patient mortality appears to be higher when nurse staffing falls eight or more hours below target level and during nursing shifts when patient turnover is high, according to research published in the March 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Fever Not Tied to Influenza Virus Shedding Duration

WEDNESDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) -- Health care personnel (HCP) infected with influenza (H1N1) 2009 virus who return to work 24 hours after defervescence may still be shedding virus, according to a study published online March 16 in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

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U.S. Death Rate Reaches All-Time Low

WEDNESDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) -- The age-adjusted death rate for the United States has fallen for 10 straight years and has reached an all-time low of 741 per 100,000, or 2,436,682 deaths, in 2009, down 2.3 percent from 2008, according to a new report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

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Outcomes Differ Among Hepatitis C-Related Vasculitides

WEDNESDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) -- Among patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related vasculitis, those with polyarteritis nodosa (PAN) have a more severe and acute clinical presentation and a higher rate of clinical remission, according to a study published online Feb. 25 in Arthritis Care & Research.

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More Cholera Cases and Deaths Expected in Haiti

WEDNESDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) -- Mathematical modeling estimates that more cases of cholera than expected will occur in the coming months in Haiti, but many could be averted by the provision of clean water, vaccinations, and increased antibiotic distribution, according to a study published online March 16 in The Lancet.

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U.S. Has Higher Rates of Chronic Disease Than England

MONDAY, March 14 (HealthDay News) -- Americans experience higher rates of chronic disease and markers of disease than their English counterparts at all ages, according to a study published online March 9 in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

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Risk of Infection, Malignancy With Anti-TNF Therapy Unclear

FRIDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with early rheumatoid arthritis taking anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapy without prior use of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARD)/methotrexate do not have an increased risk of serious infections or malignancies, according to a meta-analysis published online Feb. 25 in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

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Many Hepatitis C-Positive Patients Are Uninsured

FRIDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) are more likely to be uninsured, and the rate of insurance coverage is even lower in those who are eligible for treatment, according to a study in the March issue of Hepatology.

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CDC: Many HIV-Exposed Children Get Pre-Chewed Food

FRIDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- Approximately one-third of caregivers of HIV-exposed children aged 6 months or older provide the children with premasticated food from themselves or someone else, with younger and black caregivers reporting premastication more frequently than older and non-black caregivers, according to a report in the March 11 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Statins May Lower Markers of Immune Activation in HIV

THURSDAY, March 10 (HealthDay News) -- Atorvastatin use decreases cellular markers of immune activation and inflammation in patients infected with HIV type 1 (HIV-1), though it does not affect plasma HIV-1 RNA levels, according to a study published online Feb. 15 in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

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HealthGrades Finds Rates of Patient Safety Events Vary

WEDNESDAY, March 9 (HealthDay News) -- Patients treated at hospitals rated with a HealthGrades Patient Safety Excellence Award have, on average, a 46 percent lower risk of experiencing a patient safety incident compared to those treated at the lowest-ranked hospitals, according to the eighth annual HealthGrades Patient Safety in American Hospitals Study published online March 9.

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Ethnic Differences Seen in Academic Measures for U.K. Docs

WEDNESDAY, March 9 (HealthDay News) -- United Kingdom-trained physicians and medical students with ethnic minority backgrounds tend to underperform academically compared to their white peers, according to a meta-analysis published online March 8 in BMJ.

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Pharmacological Meta-Analyses Rarely Report Disclosures

TUESDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News) -- Meta-analyses of pharmacological treatments rarely include information addressing primary study funding and conflicts of interest (COIs) of the authors for the included randomized control trials (RCTs), according to a study published in the March 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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FDA: Adverse Events Tied to Kaletra in Preterm Infants

TUESDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has notified health care providers of a revision to the label of lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra) oral solution to include a new warning, as administration of the oral solution may result in serious health problems among premature babies.

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Drugs Reach the Foci in Non-Sclerotic Tuberculosis

FRIDAY, March 4 (HealthDay News) -- Effective bactericidal concentrations (EBCs) of three antitubercular drugs are found in osseous tissues around spinal tuberculosis foci, except for an area of osseous tissues 4 mm surrounding the sclerotic wall, according to a study published online Feb. 9 in Spine.

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Sexual Behavior in U.S. Adults Little Changed Since 2002

THURSDAY, March 3 (HealthDay News) -- Most adults in the United States have experienced vaginal sex, but the number of younger adults reporting no sexual contact has increased since 2002, according to the March issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health Statistics Report.

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High Hepatitis B Immunity in U.S. Children, Adolescents

THURSDAY, March 3 (HealthDay News) -- Children and adolescents in the United States have high rates of immunity against hepatitis B virus (HBV), although adults have much lower rates, according to a study published in the March 1 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Role of Diabetes in Premature Death Is Substantial

WEDNESDAY, March 2 (HealthDay News) -- Diabetes is substantially associated with premature mortality from cancers, infectious diseases, external causes, intentional self-harm, and degenerative disorders, according to research published in the March 3 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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FDA Cracking Down on Unapproved Prescription Drugs

WEDNESDAY, March 2 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration intends to remove select unapproved prescription cough, cold, and allergy medications from the U.S. market, the agency has announced.

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Higher Spending Does Not Improve Sepsis Outcomes

WEDNESDAY, March 2 (HealthDay News) -- There is substantial variation in both hospital spending and mortality rates for patients with sepsis among hospitals, but higher levels of spending are not associated with improved survival, according to a study published in the Feb. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Type of Health Care-Associated Infections Is Falling

TUESDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSIs) in intensive care units (ICUs) has decreased by more than half since 2001, but the infections continue to occur in substantial numbers in inpatient wards and outpatient hemodialysis centers, according to research published in the March 1 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Roflumilast Approved for Form of COPD

TUESDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- Roflumilast has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat flares of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) involving chronic bronchitis.

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Oral Steroid Therapy Improves Chronic Rhinosinusitis Symptoms

TUESDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) and nasal polyposis with oral steroids followed by topical steroids is more effective than topical steroids alone, according to a study in the March 1 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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HPV Incidence, Clearance in Men Linked to Sexual Behavior

TUESDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- Incidence and clearance of genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in men are strongly associated with sexual behavior, according to a study published online March 1 in The Lancet.

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