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Category: Infections | Monthly Briefing

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August 2009 Briefing - Infectious Disease

Last Updated: September 01, 2009.

 

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

Children Should Get Priority in Pandemic Flu Fight

MONDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- The higher vulnerability of children to the 2009 pandemic influenza virus A (H1N1) means that preventive and immunization efforts should be targeted at children and young adults, according to a study published in the Aug. 28 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Childhood Immunization Levels Remain Stable and High

MONDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Vaccination rates for America's 19- to 35-month-olds remain stable and high, according to a study published in the Aug. 28 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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H1N1 Surveillance Approaches in U.K. Found Complementary

FRIDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- During the 2009 swine flu outbreak in the United Kingdom, infection surveillance reports based on patient self-reported flu symptoms closely matched, and were complementary to, surveillance reports based on the Health Protection Agency (HPA) protocol of testing at-risk individuals, according to a study published Aug. 27 in BMJ.

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Budesonide May Not Increase Pneumonia Risk in COPD

FRIDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the inhaled corticosteroid budesonide is not associated with an increased risk of pneumonia, according to a study contradicting previous research findings in the Aug. 29 special issue of The Lancet focusing on COPD.

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Human Papillomavirus May Be Linked to Penile Cancer

THURSDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, especially with HPV 16-18, may be associated with nearly half of the cases of penile carcinoma, according to a study published online Aug. 25 in the Journal of Clinical Pathology.

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Middle School Program May Delay Sexual Activity

THURSDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- In middle school students, "It's Your Game: Keeping It Real" -- a theory-driven, multi-component, curriculum-based intervention -- may help delay the initiation of sexual activity, according to a study published online Aug. 18 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

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Infant Mortality in South Africa on the Rise

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Poverty and the epidemic of HIV/AIDS, as well as sub-optimal implementation of high-impact interventions are behind South Africa's failure to improve its child mortality rates, which have risen since 1990, according to an article published online Aug. 25 in a special edition of The Lancet focusing on health in South Africa.

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Many Health Care Workers Skeptical About Swine Flu Jab

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 26 (HealthDay News) -- A survey of health care workers in Hong Kong has found that less than half would accept the offer of vaccination against influenza A H1N1 of swine origin, according to a study published online Aug. 25 in BMJ.

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Drug-Resistant Bacteria Strains on the Rise in the U.S.

TUESDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Increasingly, Salmonella ser Typhi bacteria strains isolated from typhoid fever cases in the U.S. are resistant to the standard antibiotics, and most of these drug-resistant cases appear to be contracted by U.S. citizens visiting India, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report in the Aug. 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Department Issues New HIPAA Notification Regulations

TUESDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued new regulations on Aug. 19 requiring entities covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to notify individuals after their health information has been breached.

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Relentless Spread of HIV and TB Afflict South Africa

TUESDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The dual epidemics of HIV and tuberculosis continue to spread relentlessly in South Africa, and require an urgent scaling up of public health services to bring them under control, according to an article published online Aug. 25 in a special edition of The Lancet focusing on health in South Africa.

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Non-Infectious Disease in South Africa Growing Burden

TUESDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- South Africa is struggling under the quadruple burden of communicable disease, non-communicable disease, perinatal and maternal ill-health, and disorders arising from injury in both urban and rural settings, according to a study published online Aug. 25 in a special edition of The Lancet focusing on health in South Africa.

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Current Smoking Linked to Active Tuberculosis

MONDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- In Taiwan, smokers have a doubled risk of tuberculosis compared to non-smokers, according to a study published in the Sept. 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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CDC Issues Guidance for Swine Flu on College Campuses

FRIDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued guidance for colleges and universities to plan for and respond to the upcoming flu season.

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Flu Vaccination for Children and Parents Most Important

FRIDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Schoolchildren and their parents should receive priority for flu vaccines (both seasonal and swine flu) because they are primarily responsible for transmission, according to a study published online Aug. 20 in Science.

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Synthetic Molecules Hint at Usefulness Against HIV

THURSDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Synthetic peptide-like molecules called "foldamers" demonstrated an ability to prevent HIV from infecting host cells while maintaining resistance to enzyme degradation, according to research published online Aug. 17 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Federal Guidelines Suggest Employers Plan for Swine Flu

THURSDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a series of guidelines for employers to protect the health of their employees and their businesses' bottom lines in the event of an outbreak of H1N1 swine flu over the fall and winter.

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U.S. Life Expectancy Reaches 77.9 Years

THURSDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Life expectancy in the United States has increased again, from 77.7 to 77.9 years -- a new record -- according to statistics released Aug.19 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Pandemic Flu Vaccines Should Be Fairly Distributed

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Ensuring equitable access around the world to pandemic flu vaccines will require a concerted effort by the global community to ensure that developing, as well as developed, countries get the vaccines that they need, according to an article published online Aug. 12 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Adverse Events Analyzed for Human Papillomavirus Vaccine

TUESDAY, Aug. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Most adverse events from the human papillomavirus vaccine do not exceed background rates for other vaccines, but syncope and venous thromboembolic events were disproportionately reported, according to a study in the Aug. 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Antibiotic Use for Respiratory Infections Decreasing

TUESDAY, Aug. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Antibiotic use for acute respiratory tract infection (ARTI) is on the decrease, driven down by a drop in the number of office visits by young children with otitis media, according to a study in the Aug. 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Spinal Surgery Infection Risk Subject to Many Factors

MONDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- A patient's risk of postoperative wound infection after undergoing spinal surgery can be increased by many factors, including other medical conditions, duration of surgery and red blood cell count, according to a study in the August 1 issue of Spine.

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Hepatitis Case Linked to Herbal Supplements

MONDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- A case of hepatitis has been linked to artemisinin-containing herbal supplements, according to an article in the Aug. 14 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Alarm Symptoms Often Do Not Result in Timely Diagnosis

FRIDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Many patients who present with certain alarm symptoms, including hematuria and rectal bleeding, do not receive a diagnosis in a reasonable amount of time, according to a study published online Aug. 13 in BMJ.

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Fluoroquinolone Use Spikes Risk of Resistant TB Strain

THURSDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- The overall prevalence of fluoroquinolone-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) is low, but the risk of having it is greatly elevated for TB patients who were exposed to the common antibiotic for more than 10 days, especially if the exposure occurred two or more months prior to their diagnosis, according to a study in the Aug. 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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MRSA Infection Believed to Be Surging in United States

THURSDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) infection appears to be leading a surge in skin and soft-tissue infection (SSTI) in the United States, according to a study in the September issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

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Healthy Adults Should Continue Receiving Flu Vaccine

THURSDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- People at risk of flu-related complications should be given antiviral drugs as a precautionary measure, while extending the vaccination policy may be the best course for healthy adults, according to a review published online Aug. 8 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

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MRSA Frequently Carried to Home Care Settings

THURSDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Among inpatients who are discharged to home health care, prolonged colonization with hospital-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is common and the organism can be transmitted to household contacts, according to a study published in the Aug. 10/24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Results of Enhanced Hepatitis Surveillance Program Assessed

THURSDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Enhanced surveillance programs for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection can expedite care to infected individuals, but it places a heavy burden on local health departments and there is currently no evidence that it will reduce infection or death rates, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in the September issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

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FDA Aims to Ease Access to Investigational Drugs

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published two new rules to help seriously ill patients gain access to investigational drugs and biologics, according to an Aug. 12 release issued by the agency.

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Antivirals May Not Affect Children's Flu Complications

MONDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- The neuraminidase inhibitors oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) may have little or no effect on various complications in children with seasonal influenza, according to a study published online Aug. 10 in BMJ.

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X-ray Equipment May Help Spread ICU Infections

MONDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- X-ray equipment, and the technicians using it, may represent an important link in cross-infection between patients in intensive care units, according to research published in the August issue of Chest.

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HHS Releases Reports on Health Insurance Reform

FRIDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released a series of state-by-state reports that outline its conclusions on the effects health insurance reform would have on health care for Americans, according to an Aug. 7 release issued by the agency.

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CDC Issues Guidance for Handling Influenza in Schools

FRIDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released guidelines to help state and local school and public health officials respond to 2009 H1N1 influenza in schools. The CDC and other federal agencies announced the guidelines at an Aug. 7 joint news conference.

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Gastroenteritis Linked to Risk of Developing Bowel Disease

THURSDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with Salmonella or Campylobacter gastroenteritis have both a short- and long-term increased risk of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according to a study published in the August issue of Gastroenterology.

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High Hopes for Tuberculosis Drugs, Tools in Pipeline

THURSDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- New drug regimens, vaccines, and diagnostic tools currently in development for tuberculosis have the potential to radically change the incidence of the disease worldwide, according to findings published online Aug. 3 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Extremes of Weight Linked to Death After Liver Transplant

THURSDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Underweight and extremely obese liver transplant patients are at higher risk of death than patients with less extreme weights, according to a study in the August issue of Liver Transplantation.

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Combo Regimen Effective Against Surgical Site Infection

THURSDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The combined use of systemic and locally injected antibiotics may provide optimal protection against surgical site infections, according to an animal study published in the Aug. 1 issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

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Screening Rationale May Be Affected by HPV Vaccination

THURSDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Early vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) can reduce the risk of cervical cancer by up to 70 percent, but screening should be initiated later and less often to reduce the risk of false positives, according to a review in the August issue of Gynecologic Oncology.

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Extended-Duration Antiviral Chemoprophylaxis Feasible

TUESDAY, Aug. 4 (HealthDay News) -- In healthy Caucasian and Japanese adults, administration of zanamivir or oseltamivir significantly reduces the risk of developing symptomatic influenza, according to a study published online Aug. 4 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Simple Steps Can Prevent Household Spread of Influenza

TUESDAY, Aug. 4 (HealthDay News) -- In households where a member has been infected with influenza, virus transmission is significantly less likely when all household members practice rigorous hand washing and wear surgical masks soon after the sick member develops influenza symptoms, according to a study published online Aug. 4 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Accurate Clostridium difficile Diagnosis Seen as Critical

TUESDAY, Aug. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Clostridium difficile infection is becoming increasingly widespread and virulent, making accurate diagnosis essential. But many clinicians are unsure how to best evaluate suspected cases, according to an article in the Aug. 4 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Drugs Compared in HIV Treatment

MONDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- A combination treatment for HIV infection including the novel HIV-1 integrase inhibitor raltegravir was non-inferior to the established combination treatment including efavirenz in an international multicenter clinical trial, according to a study published online Aug. 3 in The Lancet.

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