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April 2006 Briefing - Infectious Disease

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Infectious Disease for April 2006. 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.

Skin Peptide Deficiency Linked to Herpes Susceptibility

FRIDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- The cathelicidin peptide LL-37 shows activity against herpes simplex virus, suggesting that increasing production of skin LL-37 might be a way to prevent eczema herpeticum (ADEH) in atopic dermatitis patients who are deficient in the peptide, according to a study in the April issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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Post-Exposure Marburg Vaccine Protects Against Lethal Virus

FRIDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- A vaccine previously shown to prevent Marburg virus infection has now been shown to protect against development of deadly hemorrhagic fever in rhesus monkeys when given as a post-exposure prophylaxis, according to a report published April 27 online in The Lancet.

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Mosquito DNA Identified That Confers Malaria Resistance

FRIDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers may have discovered why some mosquito species are naturally resistant to the infectious malaria parasite Plasmodium that can be transmitted to humans by other mosquito species, according to a report in the April 28 issue of Science. The finding may assist in developing malaria control strategies, the report suggests.

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Goiter Patients with Gastritis May Require More Thyroxine

WEDNESDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with euthyroid multinodular goiter and H. pylori-related gastritis or atrophic gastritis may require increased doses of thyroxine, according to a study published in the April 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Hepatitis B Virus Can Be Resistant to Adefovir

WEDNESDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- A rare variant of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) can be resistant to the reverse-transcriptase inhibitor adefovir after initial resistance to lamivudine, according to a report in the April 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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CT Scan May Predict Therapy Success in Acute Lung Injury

WEDNESDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- The percentage of potentially recruitable lung in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) varies and is associated with the response to positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP), according to a study in the April 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Low MMR Uptake Increasing Measles Susceptibility in U.K.

TUESDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- Parents' erroneous belief that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is linked to autism may be behind a sharp increase in measles susceptibility among nursery school children in Scotland, according to a study published online April 25 in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

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Most Physicians Would Halt Chemo at Patient's Request

MONDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- The majority of physicians would halt chemotherapy if a terminal cancer patient insisted, but fewer would comply with a patient's request to speed death with drugs, according to a survey of physicians in six European countries and Australia published in the April 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Diabetes and TB Often Linked Along Tex-Mex Border

MONDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Residents of Texas who are diabetics and live near the Mexican border are about twice as likely to have tuberculosis as non-diabetics, according to a report in the April issue of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

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Blood Tests More Accurate Than Skin Test in TB Diagnosis

MONDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Two blood tests, T-SPOT.TB and QuantiFERON-TB Gold, are more accurate in detecting tuberculosis (TB) than the standard tuberculin skin test, according to an article in the April 22 issue of The Lancet.

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HIV Transmission Not Uncommon in U.S. Prison Inmates

FRIDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- Although most HIV-positive male prison inmates are infected prior to incarceration, a significant number of them may become infected while serving their sentences, according to a study of Georgia prison inmates published in the April 21 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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CDC Reports U.S. Death Rate Has Fallen to Record Low

THURSDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- The United States death rate has fallen to a record low, life expectancy is increasing and the life expectancy gender gap is narrowing, according to a summary report, issued April 19 by the National Center for Health Statistics.

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Genes Play a Role in Susceptibility to Hepatitis C

THURSDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- The presence of certain APOE gene polymorphisms may determine susceptibility to hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, according to a study in the May issue of Gut.

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Corticosteroid May Harm Respiratory Distress Patients

WEDNESDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- Methylprednisolone is no better than placebo at improving mortality rates in patients with persistent acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and may increase the risk of death if started more than two weeks after the onset of ARDS, according to a study published April 20 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Ondansetron Curbs Vomiting in Pediatric Gastroenteritis

WEDNESDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- A single dose of oral ondansetron reduces vomiting and increases oral rehydration in children with gastroenteritis and dehydration, according to a study published April 20 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Some U.S. Foodborne Infections Drop 30-50 Percent

WEDNESDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of many foodborne infections in the United States dropped 30 to 50 percent between the mid-1990s and 2005, but stepped-up efforts are needed to fight Salmonella and other pathogens, according to data reported online April 14 in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Food Handler's Early Return to Work Linked to Outbreak

TUESDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- A Michigan food handler infected with norovirus who returned to work hours after vomiting may have spread the infection to 100 other people during a 2005 outbreak, according to a report published online April 14 in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Vigilance Urged for Virus Transmitted by Pet Rodents

TUESDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- Infectious disease specialists are aware of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), but few would test for the rodent-borne virus in immunocompromised patients with unexplained fever, according to a small survey of Connecticut physicians published online April 14 in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Half of Health Workers Would Work During Flu Pandemic

TUESDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- Only about half of public health workers say they would likely report to work during an influenza pandemic, with clinical staff more likely to report as well as those who think they would be asked to report, according to a study in the April issue of BMC Public Health.

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Two Airline Passengers May Have Spread Mumps

MONDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- State and federal health officials in the United States are investigating an outbreak of mumps in Iowa and other states and report that two passengers who traveled on nine commercial flights on two airlines between March 26 and April 2 may have spread the infection, according to a report published April 14 in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Probiotics Can Prevent Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea

FRIDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- The use of probiotics can reduce the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and Clostridium difficile disease, according to a meta-analysis published in the April issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

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Genital Tract Shedding Differs for HIV-1 and HIV-2

FRIDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- The difference in transmission rates of HIV-1 and HIV-2 may be partly due to a difference in the amount of virus shed in semen of infected individuals, according to a report in the April 4 issue of AIDS.

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Traffic and Climate Predict Spread of Disease Vectors

THURSDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- The spread of disease-carrying mosquitoes can be predicted based on climate and global air and sea travel data, according to a study examining the historical spread of Aedes albopictus and Anopheles gambiae published online April 10 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Lamivudine-Resistant HIV Best Treated Without Interruption

THURSDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- HIV-1 infected individuals harboring virus with a lamivudine-resistance mutation in reverse transcriptase (RT) have a better clinical outcome if lamivudine monotherapy is continued compared with complete treatment interruption, according to a report on a randomized pilot study in the April issue of AIDS.

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Telithromycin May Be Effective as Asthma Treatment

WEDNESDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- Telithromycin may benefit patients with acute exacerbations of asthma, according to a study published in the April 13 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Fusarium Keratitis May Be Linked To Saline Solution

TUESDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with microbial keratitis should be evaluated for possible Fusarium keratitis, a rare but serious fungal infection that is thought to have occurred in more than 100 U.S. patients in 17 states, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Many of the cases were reported in patients who wear soft contact lenses and have used Bausch & Lomb's ReNu brand contact lens solution or a generic brand manufactured by the same company.

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CDC Recommends No Changes in Menactra Administration

MONDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Despite case reports of Guillain-Barre syndrome among recipients of the MCV4 meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Menactra), providers should continue to use the vaccine under recommended guidelines and be alert for and report any side effects to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), according to an update report in the April 7 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Iowa Mumps Epidemic Mostly in Young Adults

MONDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- An epidemic of mumps in Iowa in March has produced a record number of cases for the year to date, a total of 219 by March 28, according to a report published online April 7 in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. About half of cases are in patients aged 17 to 25, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Congenital Rubella Syndrome Almost Non-Existent in U.S.

MONDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Congenital rubella syndrome has been almost completely eradicated in the United States, with only four cases reported in the past five years, according to a joint statement published in the April issue of Birth Defects Research (Part A): Clinical and Molecular Teratology.

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BCG Vaccination Cost Effective for Tuberculosis Prevention

MONDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- BCG vaccination for prevention of severe childhood tuberculosis is cost effective and should be retained in high-incidence countries located in South East Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and the western Pacific, according to a report in the April 8 issue of The Lancet.

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Mouse Study Shows Serotonin Key in Liver Regeneration

FRIDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- Platelet-derived serotonin may be involved in the initiation of liver regeneration, according to the results of an animal study published in the April 7 issue of Science. The finding suggests that serotonin agonists may benefit liver transplant patients, who often have a platelet deficiency.

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HPV Vaccine Shows Long-Term Protection Against Infection

FRIDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- A follow-up of a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine trial first reported in 2004 shows that the therapy could protect women against infection for up to 4.5 years, according to a report published online April 6 in The Lancet.

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Vaccines Seem Best Strategy to Contain Pandemic Flu

THURSDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- A computer simulation of the potential spread of pandemic flu in the United States suggests that initial vaccination with an avian-based vaccine followed by a vaccine based on human strains would be the best strategy, possibly coupled with school closures and mobility restrictions if a highly transmissible strain emerges, according to a study published online April 3 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Mortality Rates Differ Between Types of Cirrhosis

THURSDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with cirrhosis due to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) have fewer complications and a lower risk of death compared with patients with cirrhosis due to hepatitis C virus (HCV), although cardiovascular mortality is higher in NASH cirrhosis patients, according to a study in the April issue of Hepatology.

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Prevnar Cuts Antibiotic Resistant S. pneumoniae Rates

WEDNESDAY, April 5 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of antibiotic-resistant invasive Streptococcus pneumoniae declined significantly in the United States, both in vaccinated and in unvaccinated individuals, after the introduction of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (Prevnar) in 2000, according to a report in the April 6 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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MRSA Likely Transmitted in Newborn Nurseries

WEDNESDAY, April 5 (HealthDay News) -- Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) infections surfacing in healthy, full-term newborns in two hospitals in 2004 likely occurred due to transmission in the newborn nursery, according to a report published in the March 31 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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