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Category: Infections | Monthly Briefing

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April 2009 Briefing - Infectious Disease

Last Updated: May 01, 2009.

 

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

New Web-based Information Source to Support UK Clinicians

THURSDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- The United Kingdom's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has announced the launch of NHS Evidence, a Web-based evidence resource for clinicians, public health professionals of the National Health Service, and others involved in making patient care decisions. The announcement came in the April 30 issue of The Lancet.

NICE home page
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NEJM Commends New Conflict of Interest Proposal

THURSDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- A new proposal to control conflict of interest is notable for its breadth and variety of recommended solutions, according to a Perspective article published online April 29 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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WHO Rasies Influenza Epidemic Alert Level From 4 to 5

THURSDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that the United States has had its first fatality as a result of swine flu. The case was a 23-month-old Mexican boy who was in Houston for medical treatment. Also, on April 29, the World Health Organization raised the influenza epidemic alert level from 4 to 5, meaning a pandemic is imminent.

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Telaprevir-Based Drugs Show Promise to Treat Hepatitis C

WEDNESDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- Phase 2 clinical trials of treatment regimens based on telaprevir in combination with peginterferon alfa-2a and ribavirin show significantly improved virologic responses in chronic hepatitis C virus patients, according to two studies published in the April 30 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Abstract - McHutchison
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Abstract - Hezode
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FDA Requires OTC Pain Relievers to Display Warnings

WEDNESDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- Popular over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers and fever medications containing acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) will be required to display prominent warnings about the risks of liver damage and internal bleeding, under a new rule announced April 28 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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CDC Confirms 64 Swine Flu Cases in United States

WEDNESDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 64 cases of swine-origin influenza A (H1N1) virus in the United States as of April 28, including five cases requiring hospitalization. The cases have occurred across five states, including 45 in New York, 10 in California, six in Texas, two in Kansas and one in Ohio, according to a dispatch on April 28 in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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H1N1 Swine Flu Susceptible to Oseltamivir and Zanamivir

WEDNESDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- The swine-origin influenza A virus H1N1 is susceptible to both neuraminidase inhibitors oseltamivir and zanamivir, but is resistant to the M2 ion channel blockers amantadine and rimantadine, according to a dispatch on April 28 from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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FDA Issues Emergency OK for Broad Use of Antiviral Drugs

TUESDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- In response to the threat of a swine flu epidemic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to permit broader use of the antiviral medications zanamivir (Relenza) and oseltamivir (Tamiflu), and the use of the rRT-PCR Swine Flu Panel diagnostic test.

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Pharmacist Involvement May Decrease Medication Errors

TUESDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- Adding a pharmacist to health care teams may significantly decrease patients' risk of adverse drug events and medication errors, according to a report published in the April 27 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. A second study indicates that an interdisciplinary medication reconciliation intervention can also reduce unintentional medication discrepancies with potential for harm.

Abstract - Murray
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Abstract - Schnipper
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Steep Copayments Increase Risk of Non-Adherence

TUESDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- In patients who are newly diagnosed with a chronic disease, higher out-of-pocket costs for medications are associated with an increased likelihood of non-treatment, according to a study published in the April 27 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Abstract
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Number of US Swine Flu Cases Rises, CDC Reports

TUESDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- At least 40 cases of swine flu have been confirmed in the United States, prompting a wide range of governmental actions to counter what could become a worldwide pandemic, according to Richard Besser, M.D., acting director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Swine Flu Declared Public Health Emergency in US

MONDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- Two recent cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection in Southern California raised the possibility that the virus can be transmitted by human-to-human contact, according to a report published in the April 24 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Subsequently, the number of U.S. cases continues to rise and U.S. officials have declared it a public health emergency.

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Infection Not Uncommon in Girls Before Sexual Activity

FRIDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Positive tests for human papilloma virus (HPV) in young girls who were not yet sexually active suggest a wider subclinical prevalence of HPV infection than previously thought, according to a study reported in the May issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Abstract
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Prenatal Flu Exposure Linked to Lower Intelligence Scores

THURSDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to the Hong Kong flu in utero may be associated with lower intelligence in adulthood, according to research published online ahead of print March 18 in the Annals of Neurology.

Abstract
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Having Health Insurance May Not Improve Mortality Risk

THURSDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- People without health insurance have about the same mortality rate as people with health insurance, according to an observational study published online April 21 in Health Services Research.

Abstract
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Stretches Without Health Insurance More Common

WEDNESDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Periods of uninsurance have become more common in recent decades, particularly among those with less education, according to research published in the April 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Continuity of Care Declining for Medicare Beneficiaries

TUESDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- Medicare beneficiaries in the hospital in 2006 were much less likely to be seen there by a familiar physician than those in the hospital a decade earlier, according to a study reported in the April 22/29 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Abstract
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Chlamydia Screening Still Only Covers Four In Ten

MONDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- The national screening rate for chlamydia has increased from 25.3 percent in 2000 to 41.6 percent in 2007, but more extensive screening is needed to reduce the burden of infections, according to a study published in the April 17 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Triple Vaccine Approval Expanded To Cover Adults

MONDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has expanded the approved age indication for the tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis vaccine, Boostrix, to cover patients aged 10 to 64 years instead of the previous age indication of 10 to 18 years, according to an article published in the April 17 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Drug-Resistant TB Remains a Worldwide Threat

THURSDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- Drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) remains a serious worldwide problem with the median prevalence of multidrug-resistant strains of TB as high as one in five new cases in some hot spots, according to the results of a survey by the World Health Organization reported in the April 16 online edition of The Lancet.

Abstract
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Home Treatment of Malaria May Lead to Overuse of Drugs

TUESDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- Although malaria cases managed at home are treated promptly, they are also prone to overuse of malaria drugs, according to the results of a study published online April 14 in The Lancet.

Abstract
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Fungal Infection Still Stalks Tennessee Mountain Region

TUESDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- The Appalachian Mountains of northeastern Tennessee around Johnson City remain a hotspot for the fungal infection blastomycosis, according to study findings published in the April issue of the journal Chest.

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Injecting-Drug Users Still Put Themselves at Risk for HIV

FRIDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Injecting-drug users accounted for 6,600 (12 percent) of the new cases of HIV detected in the United States in 2006, and many report engaging in HIV-associated behaviors, according to a report published in the April 10 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Genetic Components Affect Liver Transplant Prognosis

FRIDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- In liver transplant recipients, killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor genotype and killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor-human leukocyte antigen C ligand compatibility may significantly affect the recurrence and progression of hepatitis C disease, according to a study published in the April issue of Liver Transplantation.

Abstract
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Editorial

Hepatitis B Infection Often Severe in Hepatitis C Carriers

FRIDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- In chronic carriers of hepatitis C virus, superinfection with hepatitis B virus is frequently severe but it also may lead to clearance of hepatitis C virus infection, according to study findings published in the April issue of Hepatology.

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Financial Rewards for Healthy Behavior Can Be Effective

FRIDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Although paying people to engage in healthy behaviors or successfully tackle unhealthy ones can be effective, it may carry unintended consequences, according to an editorial published online April 9 in BMJ.

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Hepatitis B Surface Antigen Levels Useful in Prognosis

FRIDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with hepatitis B e antigen-negative chronic hepatitis who are treated with peginterferon alfa-2a, on-treatment quantification of hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg) may predict which patients are most likely to be cured, according to a report published in the April issue of Hepatology.

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Minimum Threshold Suggested for HIV Antiretroviral Therapy

THURSDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- In AIDS-free HIV-infected patients, a CD4 cell count of 350 should be the minimum threshold for initiation of antiretroviral therapy, according to a study published online April 9 in The Lancet.

Abstract
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More Effective Hepatitis Drugs Needed, Math Model Predicts

MONDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- A new mathematical model indicates that more efficacious drugs are needed to overcome severe hepatitis infection and trigger a sustained-virologic response (SVR), especially for those with cirrhosis, according to a report in the April issue of the journal Gastroenterology.

Abstract
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Light-Sensitive Drug Delivery Under Development

FRIDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- Light-sensitive intelligent materials that can selectively deliver drugs to appropriate sites or in response to changes in the body have been developed but still need improvement, according to a review published online Feb. 13 in Photochemistry and Photobiology.

Abstract
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Moxifloxacin May Accelerate Tuberculosis Cure by Months

FRIDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- The standard first-line tuberculosis treatment regimen enhanced with the fluoroquinolone moxifloxacin can cure the disease three times faster than standard treatment alone, researchers report in the April 4 issue of The Lancet.

Abstract
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Early Antiretroviral Therapy Benefits HIV-Positive Patients

THURSDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- In asymptomatic HIV-positive patients, early initiation of antiretroviral therapy significantly improves survival compared to deferred initiation, according to a report published online April 1 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Birth Weight Associated With Leukocyte Count in Adults

THURSDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- Adult levels of leukocytes -- the primary cells behind the inflammation that is associated with chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes -- vary according to weight at birth, according to study findings published online March 10 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Abstract
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Electronic Prescribing Online-Learning Tools Launched

THURSDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. physicians will be able to better evaluate electronic prescribing systems thanks to a new online learning center on ePrescribing launched April 1 by the American Medical Association.

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Changes Needed in New-Drug Evaluation Process

WEDNESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- The evaluation process for new drugs is overdue for an overhaul, which could provide benefits for the public and the pharmaceutical industry, according to a point-counterpoint commentary published online March 31 in BMJ.

Abstract - Garattini
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Abstract - Tremblay
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Oxycodone Effective for Herpes Zoster Pain Relief

WEDNESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with herpes zoster, controlled-release oxycodone effectively relieves pain and is generally well-tolerated, according to a study published in the April issue of Pain.

Abstract
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Editorial

New Health Program Leads to Questions in the UK

WEDNESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- A new British program to improve patient choices and competition in the health care marketplace may lead to excess capacity in some areas and instability in others, according to a commentary published online March 31 in BMJ.

Abstract
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