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August 2007 Briefing - Infectious Disease

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Infectious Disease for August 2007. 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.

Prompt Assessment of Febrile Children Seen As Essential

FRIDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Prompt clinical assessment is essential in recognizing serious illnesses such as meningococcal disease in feverish young children, according to an editorial comment published in the Sept. 1 issue of BMJ.

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Childhood Immunization Rates at Record Level

FRIDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Immunization rates continue to be at near-record levels for U.S. children aged 19 months to 35 months, but are falling short for children aged 13 to 17 years, according to 2006 estimates released Aug. 30 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Staphylococcus aureus Infections on the Rise

THURSDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of skin and soft tissue infections due to community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) is rising, researchers report in a study published in the August issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases. Most of these cases are due to the USA300 clone, and researchers postulate that the clone's growing virulence is to blame.

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Helicobacter pylori Strain Linked to Gastric Cancer

THURSDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Infection with strains of Helicobacter pylori expressing the cytotoxin-associated (cagA) gene is strongly associated with precancerous gastric lesions, reports a study published online Aug. 28 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Resistant Bacteria in Hospitals a Growing Problem

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Among patients admitted to intensive care units (ICUs), antibiotic use, older age and comorbid conditions are risk factors for colonization with extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing bacteria, according to a report published in the August issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

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Immunodeficiency Often Goes Undiagnosed

MONDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with symptoms of primary immunodeficiency often go undiagnosed, which denies them the opportunity to receive appropriate specialist care, researchers report in the August issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

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Gene Variant May Shield Liver from Hepatitis C Harm

MONDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection are less likely to have liver inflammation and fibrosis if they have a specific variant of the gene for toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7), according to a study in the August issue of the Journal of Hepatology.

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Central Nervous System HIV Triggers Early B-Cell Response

FRIDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- HIV infection of the central nervous system triggers a strong B-cell response, with the viral load correlating with the level of plasmablasts found in the cerebrospinal fluid, according to a study published online Aug. 15 in the Annals of Neurology.

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Fruit Bat Species May Be Reservoir for Marburg Virus

THURSDAY, Aug. 23 (HealthDay News) -- The Marburg virus has been detected in a common species of African fruit bat, offering clues as to the transmission of the virus, according to a report published online in the open access journal PLoS ONE.

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More Than 400 West Nile Virus Cases in U.S. in 2007

TUESDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- There were 444 cases of West Nile virus infections reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between March 25 and Aug. 5, 2007, of which 15 cases were fatal, according to a report in the Aug. 17 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Chronic Sinusitis Linked to Smell Impairment

TUESDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Several illnesses, including chronic sinusitis, are significantly associated with smell disturbance in managed care patients, researchers report in the August issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery.

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Kindergarten Vaccination Rates Improving in U.S.

MONDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Efforts to improve vaccination rates among U.S. kindergarten children under the Healthy People 2010 initiative are paying off, according to a report in the Aug. 17 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Ninety-five percent of kindergarten children in 75 percent of states in the 2006-2007 school year received all the vaccinations required for entry to kindergarten in that state.

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Adjuvant Could Stretch Avian Flu Vaccine in Pandemic

FRIDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Low doses of an H5N1 avian influenza vaccine are still effective when combined with a new type of adjuvant, researchers report in the Aug. 18 issue of The Lancet. This type of antigen sparing could boost production capacity in the event of a pandemic and could potentially be used before a pandemic strikes, the study found.

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Norepinephrine Can Boost Campylobacter Virulence

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- When Campylobacter jejuni is grown in iron-limited media in the presence of norepinephrine, virulence-associated properties are increased compared to cultures grown in the absence of norepinephrine, according to a report in the August issue of Gut. The findings suggest that stress may affect the pathogenicity of the bacteria in food animals or humans, according to an editorial.

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Thiazolidinediones to Carry Stronger Risk Warnings

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that thiazolidinediones must carry a "boxed" warning on the risk of heart failure. This represents an upgrade to the strongest form of warning required by the FDA and stems from a review of postmarketing adverse events associated with the diabetes drugs.

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HPV Vaccine Has No Impact on Existing Infections

TUESDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- A vaccine developed to prevent infection with human papillomavirus virus (HPV) does not help clear the virus in women who are already infected, according to the results of a community-based study published in the Aug. 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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FDA Approves Two HIV Drugs for Sale Outside the U.S.

TUESDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Two medications targeting HIV infection, one of them for children, have gained tentative approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for sale outside the United States.

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Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever Could Occur Locally in U.S.

FRIDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians should be aware of the early signs of dengue hemorrhagic fever, particularly due to an increase in cases in Latin American and Mexico as well as sporadic dengue fever outbreaks in south Texas that could allow local occurrences of the more severe form of the disease, according to a report in the Aug. 10 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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U.S. Flu Season Milder Than in Previous Seasons

FRIDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Influenza activity in the 2006-2007 season peaked in the United States in February this year, and was characterized by milder infections with lower rates of mortality and pediatric hospitalizations compared with the previous three seasons, according to a report published in the Aug. 10 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. As for avian influenza A (H5N1), there were 319 cases in Asia and Africa, of which 60 percent were fatal.

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FDA Issues Warning on Red Yeast Rice Products

FRIDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning on the potentially harmful effects of three red yeast rice products that are being sold via the Internet as a treatment for high cholesterol. The products were found to contain lovastatin, the active ingredient in the prescription cholesterol-lowering drug Mevacor.

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High Triglyceride Levels Linked to Clearance of Hepatitis C

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals exposed to the hepatitis C virus (HCV) may demonstrate favorable lipid profiles despite the association to glucose intolerance. Furthermore, patients with elevations in triglycerides may have an increased ability to clear the virus, according to study findings published in the August issue of Gut.

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Artesunate Approved to Treat Severe Malaria in U.S.

TUESDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S Food and Drug Administration has granted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approval to provide intravenous artesunate to treat severe malaria on an emergency basis.

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FDA Approves HIV Drug That Blocks CCR5 Receptor

TUESDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted approval to Pfizer, Inc. to market the antiretroviral drug maraviroc, which will be sold under the trade name Selzentry. The drug is the first of a new class of drugs that combat the virus by blocking the CCR5 co-receptor on T cells.

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Medical Residents Lack Tuberculosis Knowledge

FRIDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Many medical residents in the United States are unclear about how to diagnose and treat tuberculosis, particularly cases of latent tuberculosis, according to a report published Aug. 2 in BMC Infectious Diseases.

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CDC Urges Health Check, Vaccines for Preteens

THURSDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched a national campaign for parents and physicians to promote vaccinations of preteens. The campaign coincides with National Immunization Awareness Month in August.

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Epstein-Barr Virus Linked to Poor Outcome in Lymphoma

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma who are infected with the Epstein-Barr virus have almost a threefold higher risk of death than their counterparts without the virus, according to a study in the Aug. 1 issue of Blood.

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