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Archives Of Infectious Disease Blog From Medicineworld.Org


September 7, 2010, 7:39 AM CT

Antibiotic-resistant infections slowing

Antibiotic-resistant infections slowing
The United States must focus on conserving the use of antibacterial drugs, or face a public health crisis from rapidly rising rates of antibiotic-resistant infections, as per an analysis out today.

Evidence indicates that our nation's supply of antibiotics is being depleted by resistance, which occurs when infection-causing microbes mutate or change so that they no longer respond to widely-used therapys. Most proposals to solve this problem focus on giving pharmaceutical companies financial incentives to develop new drugs that could replace those that are no longer working.

But a new report published recently in the recent issue of Health Affairs suggests that approach won't work for long. New drugs will face microbial foes that figure out how to evade therapy, say two medical policy experts.

"This is a war we cannot win unless we adopt a two-pronged strategy: one that would boost the supply of new drugs and at the same time preserve the ones we have left," says Aaron Kesselheim, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., one of the paper's co-authors. He conducted the analysis of antibacterial drugs and their impact on public health through a grant from Public Health Law Research (PHLR), a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

The current pharmaceutical reimbursement system gives companies an incentive to oversell antibiotics, says Kesselheim, who is also an instructor in medicine in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. Companies that have spent large sums of money on research and development for a new drug often seek to turn a profit on that product as quickly as possiblebefore resistance sets in, he says.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


August 31, 2010, 7:02 AM CT

Mandatory flu vaccine for all health-care workers

Mandatory flu vaccine for all health-care workers
Influenza vaccination of healthcare personnel is a professional and ethical responsibility and non-compliance with healthcare facility policies regarding vaccination should not be tolerated, as per a position paper released recently by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA). The paper, published in this month's Infection Control and Healthcare Epidemiology journal and endorsed by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), stresses influenza vaccination of healthcare personnel as a core patient safety practice that should be a condition of both initial and continued employment in healthcare facilities.

As per SHEA, their recommendations apply to all healthcare professionals in all healthcare settings, regardless of whether the professional has direct patient contact or whether he or she is directly employed by the facility. The policy also applies to students, volunteers, and contract workers. The only exemptions, say the epidemiologists and infectious disease physicians, should be in cases of medical contraindications.

"The transmission of influenza in healthcare settings is a substantial safety concern for both patients and healthcare personnel and deserves our attention and action," said Neil Fishman, MD, president of SHEA. "Healthcare providers are ethically obligated to take measures proven to keep patients from acquiring influenza in healthcare settings. Required vaccination is the cornerstone to a comprehensive program designed to prevent the spread of influenza which also includes identification and isolation of infected patients, adherence to hand hygiene and cough etiquette, the appropriate use of protective equipment, and restriction of ill healthcare personnel and visitors in the facility." .........

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August 27, 2010, 7:23 AM CT

Vaccine has cut bacterial pneumonia

Vaccine has cut bacterial pneumonia
The number of children admitted to English hospitals with bacterial pneumonia decreased by a fifth in the two years following the introduction of a vaccine to combat the disease, according to a new study published recently in the journal Thorax

Bacterial pneumonia is a serious illness caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria that mostly affects babies, young children and elderly people. In Europe, around one in ten deaths in the under-fives is caused by the disease.

Bacterial pneumonia usually develops as a complication following a respiratory tract infection such as influenza. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, wheezing, fever and loss of appetite.

In September 2006, a vaccine known as PCV7 was introduced into the childhood primary immunisation programme across the UK, to protect against seven different strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria.

Today's study, led by researchers from Imperial College London, shows that in the first two years following the introduction of this vaccine, hospital admissions for bacterial pneumonia decreased by 19 per cent amongst children aged under 15 years. Admissions for empyema, a rare and serious complication of bacterial pneumonia, decreased by 22 per cent.

The pneumococcal vaccine is administered at two, three and 13 months of age. When it was first introduced there was a catch-up campaign for children up to two years. Take-up of the vaccine over the study period was high. It was administered to an average of 84 per cent of eligible children in England in the first year following its introduction and 91 per cent the following year.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


August 26, 2010, 10:55 PM CT

Vitamin A and HIV virus in breast milk

Vitamin A and HIV virus in breast milk
Vitamin A and beta-carotene supplements are unsafe for HIV-positive women who breastfeed because they may boost the excretion of HIV in breast milk---thereby increasing the chances of transmitting the infection to the child, a pair of new studies suggest.

Epidemiologist Eduardo Villamor of the University of Michigan School of Public Health says transmission of HIV through breastfeeding happens because breast milk carries viral particles that the baby ingests. Supplementing HIV-positive women with vitamin A and beta-carotene appears to increase the amount of the virus in milk.

This appears to be partly because the same nutrients raise the risk of developing subclinical mastitis, an inflammatory condition which causes blood plasma to leak into the mammary gland and viral particles to then leak into the milk, he says.

Villamor's findings are published in two separate articles in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the Journal of Nutrition. The results are significant because they provide biological explanations for a prior report that supplementation with these nutrients increased chances of mother-to-child HIV transmission.

"So there are now strong arguments to consider the implications of supplementation to pregnant or lactating women who are HIV-positive," said Villamor, associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health sciences. "It does not look like it's a safe intervention for them."........

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August 25, 2010, 6:47 AM CT

Mumps Vaccine Coverage Should Be Improved

Mumps Vaccine Coverage Should Be Improved
Eventhough immunity to mumps is high in the United States, mumps vaccine coverage must be maintained and improved to prevent future outbreaks, as per a newly released study, now available online, in the September 1, 2010 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Mumps-a viral illness found in most parts of the world-can cause serious complications, including deafness, sterility, meningitis, and encephalitis. Since 1977, mumps vaccination has been recommended in the U.S. and is given as part of the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine. Two doses are currently recommended for children. By 2000, the annual number of reported U.S. mumps cases had declined to less than 500. But in 2006, the country's largest mumps outbreak in 20 years began on college campuses in Iowa and resulted in more than 6,000 reported cases. This event raised questions about how to prevent future outbreaks and about the feasibility of eliminating mumps.

To measure the U.S. population's immunity to mumps, Preeta K. Kutty, MD, MPH, and other scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) obtained blood samples from 6- to 49-year-old participants in a nationwide health survey and tested the samples for antibodies to mumps. Serum samples were tested and survey data were collected during 1999-2004 from more than 15,000 people. Scientists observed that 90 percent of the participants had antibodies to mumps; this is on the lower end of what is needed to protect the overall population through "herd immunity"-the proportion of the population that needs to be vaccinated to stop transmission of mumps.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


August 11, 2010, 7:46 PM CT

Natural vaccine against malaria

Natural vaccine against malaria
A study reported in the journal Science Translation Medicine proposes that preventative therapy with affordable and safe antibiotics in people living in areas with intense malaria transmission has the potential to act as a 'needle-free' natural vaccine against malaria and may likely provide an additional valuable tool for controlling and/or eliminating malaria in resource-poor settings.

This research, which was conducted by a multinational team of scientists from the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (LSHTM), Heidelberg University School of Medicine, the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Gera number of, and the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya, observed that infection with malaria parasites during administration of preventative antibiotics developed a vaccine-like immunity against re-infection.

Approximately half the world's population is at risk of malaria and about one million people (mainly children living in sub-Saharan Africa) die each year from malaria, a mosquito-borne parasitic disease. Malaria parasites are transmitted to people through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Only an estimated 10 to 100 parasites per mosquito bite invade the liver where they replicate. About a week after infection, tens of thousands of parasites are released into the bloodstream where they are responsible for malaria's recurring fevers and cause life-threatening complications.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


August 9, 2010, 7:19 AM CT

Tattooing and risk of hepatitis C

Tattooing and risk of hepatitis C
Youth, prison inmates and individuals with multiple tattoos that cover large parts of their bodies are at higher risk of contracting hepatitis C and other blood-borne diseases, as per a University of British Columbia study.

The scientists evaluated and analysed 124 studies from 30 countries, including Canada, Iran, Italy, Brazil and the United States, and found the occurence rate of hepatitis C after tattooing is directly linked with the number of tattoos an individual receives. The findings appear in the current issue of the International Journal of Infectious Diseases

Tattoos have become increasingly popular in recent years. In the U.S., an estimated 36 per cent of people under 30 have tattoos. In Canada, approximately eight per cent of high school students have at least one tattoo and 21 per cent of those who don't have one want one. During tattooing, the skin is punctured 80 to 150 times a second in order to inject color pigments.

"Since tattoo instruments come in contact with blood and bodily fluids, infections appears to be transmitted if instruments are used on more than one person without being sterilized or without proper hygiene techniques," says main author Dr. Siavash Jafari, a Community Medicine Resident in the UBC School of Population and Public Health (SPPH).........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


August 8, 2010, 10:43 PM CT

New anti-viral drug for hepatitis C

New anti-viral drug for hepatitis C
Adding a direct acting anti-viral drug to the standard therapy regimen for hepatitis C significantly increases the cure rate in the most difficult to treat patients, as per a research report published Monday in the online edition of the journal The Lancet

The research team, led by Paul Kwo, M.D., of Indiana University School of Medicine, reported that adding the drug nearly doubled the therapy's effectiveness when given for 48 weeks in one therapy arm of the study.

An estimated 3.2 million Americans and 170 million people worldwide are infected with the hepatitis C virus, but a number of do not know it. In the United States, 70 percent of affected individuals are infected with genotype 1 hepatitis C, the most difficult to treat. Eventhough there appears to be no symptoms for years, long-term infection can cause cirrhosis and the disease is a leading cause of liver cancer and liver transplantation. Hepatitis C infections occur mainly through transmission of infected blood, such as via injection drug use, and there is no vaccine.

Currently fewer than half of patients with genotype 1 hepatitis C are treated effectively by the standard combination of two drugs, peginterferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin, which is typically given for 48 weeks. The therapy can be difficult for some patients due to anemia and other side effects.........

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August 6, 2010, 7:25 AM CT

Unlocking Secret of Rabies

Unlocking Secret of Rabies
A bat in flight could be ferrying disease to other species.

Credit: Ivan Kuzmin
Most infectious diseases infect multiple host species, but to date, efforts to quantify the frequency and outcome of cross-species transmission (CST) of these diseases have been severely limited.

This lack of information represents a major gap in knowledge of how diseases emerge, and from which species they will emerge.

A paper published this week in the journal Science by a team of scientists led by Daniel Streicker of the University of Georgia has begun to close that gap.

Results of a study, conducted by Streicker and co-authors from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and Western Michigan University, provide some of the first estimates for any infectious disease of how often CST happens in complex, multi-host communities--and the likelihood of disease in a new host species.

"Some of the deadliest human diseases, including AIDS and malaria, arose in other species and then jumped to humans," said Sam Scheiner of the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Division of Environmental Biology, which co-funded the research with NSF's Directorate for Geosciences through the joint NIH-NSF Ecology of Infectious Diseases Program.

"Understanding that process," said Scheiner, "is key to predicting and preventing the next big outbreak".........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


August 5, 2010, 7:08 AM CT

New Way to Boost Vaccines,

New Way to Boost Vaccines,
As the medical community searches for better vaccines and ways to deliver them, a University of Rochester scientist believes he has discovered a new approach to boosting the body's response to vaccinations.

Richard P. Phipps, Ph.D., observed that the same molecules used in drugs that treat diabetes also stimulate B cells in the immune system, pushing them to make antibodies for protection against invading microorganisms.

The University of Rochester Medical Center has applied for international patent protection for this discovery.

Phipps believes further research will show that low doses of insulin-sensitizing drugs might be useful as vaccine adjuvants, especially for people with weakened immune systems who cannot produce a proper antibody response. This would include some infants, the elderly, and patients with chronic health problems that lower immunity.

Currently the only widely approved vaccine adjuvant in the United States is alum. A vaccine adjuvant is a substance added to a vaccine to improve the body's immune response. Various forms of aluminum salts have been used for 70 years. (Adjuvants are added to some vaccines but not all. For example, live viral vaccines given during childhood and seasonal flu vaccines do not contain adjuvants.).........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston have found a genetic marker that may identify individuals at greater risk for life-threatening infection from the West Nile virus. Results of the study are reported in the Nov. 15 print edition of Journal of Infectious Diseases.

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