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August 2014 Briefing - Infectious Disease

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Infectious Disease for August 2014. 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.

Report Highlights Progress, Challenges in Health IT

FRIDAY, Aug. 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Progress has been made toward widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), although there are still barriers to adoption of advanced use of EHRs, according to a report published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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Gene Research Yields Insights Into Ebola Virus

FRIDAY, Aug. 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Genetic research performed during the early days of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has given scientists unprecedented insight into how the virus mutates and spreads.

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CDC: Most U.S. Toddlers Getting Their Vaccines

THURSDAY, Aug. 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- More than 90 percent of children 19 to 35 months of age are getting the vaccines that prevent measles, mumps, and rubella; polio; hepatitis B; and varicella, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new findings were published in the Aug. 29 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Ebola Outbreak Could Infect 20,000 People, U.N. Says

THURSDAY, Aug. 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The deadly Ebola outbreak hitting four West African nations could eventually infect more than 20,000 people, the World Health Organization announced Thursday.

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AMGA: Physician Turnover Still High in 2013

THURSDAY, Aug. 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For the second year running, physician turnover remains at the highest rate since 2005, according to a report published by the American Medical Group Association (AMGA).

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Doctors Frequently Experience Ethical Dilemmas

THURSDAY, Aug. 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For physicians trying to balance various financial and time pressures, ethical dilemmas are common, according to an article published Aug. 7 in Medical Economics.

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Preventive Bundle Cuts Colorectal Surgical Site Infections

THURSDAY, Aug. 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Implementation of a preventive surgical site infection (SSI) bundle is associated with a reduction in SSI rates after colorectal surgery, according to a study published online Aug. 27 in JAMA Surgery.

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Team Approach Improves Practice Efficiency

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The increasing administrative requirements of a medical practice are requiring a team-based approach to care, and physicians must learn to manage the team, according to an article published Aug. 7 in Medical Economics.

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Transmission Rate for MERS Studied in Household Contacts

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The rate of transmission of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) from patients to household contacts is about 5 percent, according to research published in the Aug. 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Health Care Protective Gear Lacking in Ebola Outbreak

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Health care workers in poor nations often do not have enough protective gear to keep them safe from being infected with blood-borne viruses such as Ebola and HIV, according to a study published online Aug. 8 in Tropical Medicine & International Health.

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CDC Director: Ebola has 'Upper Hand' in Outbreak

TUESDAY, Aug. 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- While officials and health experts have the means to prevent Ebola from spreading, the deadly virus currently has the "upper hand" in an outbreak that has killed more than 1,400 people in West Africa, according to the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health Highlights: Aug. 26, 2014

Hospitals Should Follow CDC Recommendations for Ebola Care

TUESDAY, Aug. 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Hospital and health care providers should follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendations for care of patients with Ebola, according to an ideas and opinions piece published online Aug. 21 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Restrictive, Non-Solicitation Covenants Are Valid

MONDAY, Aug. 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Restrictive and non-solicitation covenants are valid and can be enforced, according to an article published Aug. 5 in Medical Economics.

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U.S. to Tighten Access to Certain Narcotic Painkillers

FRIDAY, Aug. 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is going ahead with tough new controls on painkillers containing hydrocodone, which has been tied to a surge in dangerous addictions across the United States.

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Many Americans Harbor Unfounded Fears About Ebola

FRIDAY, Aug. 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Many Americans know little about how Ebola is transmitted and harbor unfounded fears about the possibility of an outbreak in the United States, a new survey shows. About four in 10 adults said they are worried that there will be a major Ebola outbreak in the United States, and one-quarter are concerned that they or an immediate family member will get sick with the deadly virus in the next year, according to the latest Harvard School of Public Health poll.

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Organizations Can Help Docs Retain Their Independence

FRIDAY, Aug. 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Ways for physicians to remain in independent practice are highlighted in an article published Aug. 7 in Medical Economics.

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U.S. Health Care Workers With Ebola Released From Hospital

THURSDAY, Aug. 21, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The two American health care workers infected with the deadly Ebola virus while doing missionary medical work in West Africa have been released from the Atlanta hospital where they have been slowly recovering for several weeks, officials said Thursday.

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Infections May Up Pediatric Stroke Risk in Short Term

THURSDAY, Aug. 21, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Minor infections appear to have a strong, but short-lived, effect on pediatric stroke risk, according to a study published online Aug. 20 in Neurology.

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New Therapy May Combat Lethal Virus in Late Stages

THURSDAY, Aug. 21, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A new agent tested in nonhuman primates shows efficacy in the treatment of the Marburg virus (MARV), a filovirus which is closely related to the Ebola virus, even in the late stages of the infection, according to research published in the Aug. 20 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

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RSV Inhibitor Reduces Viral Load in Challenge Study

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 20, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For healthy adults challenged with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), an oral RSV-entry inhibitor, GS-5806, is associated with reduced viral load, according to a study published in the Aug. 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Organized Processes Help Practices Hire Well

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 20, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A defined process is necessary to help physicians hire the right staff for their practice, according to an article published July 24 in Medical Economics.

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Clarithromycin Linked to Increased Risk of Cardiac Death

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 20, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- There is a significantly increased risk of cardiac death associated with clarithromycin use, according to a study published online Aug. 19 in BMJ.

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ACOG: All Pregnant Women Should Receive Influenza Vaccine

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 20, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- All pregnant women should receive influenza vaccine, regardless of their stage of pregnancy, according to an American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee Opinion published in the September issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Screening Programs Identify SCID in One in 58,000 Infants

TUESDAY, Aug. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Newborn screening programs in the United States have identified severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) in one in 58,000, with high survival seen in SCID-affected infants, according to a study published in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Docs Must Consider Liability When Ordering Screening Tests

TUESDAY, Aug. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians and health care providers must be aware of their potential liability when ordering screening tests, according to an article published July 24 in Medical Economics.

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Boxed Warnings Are Common in Novel Therapeutics

TUESDAY, Aug. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Boxed warnings are common on recent drug approvals, and many occur years after approval, according to a research letter published online Aug. 15 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Commentary Focuses on 2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

TUESDAY, Aug. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The Ebola epidemic is spreading in West Africa, with little hope for treatment, and an experimental therapy is unlikely to be provided to African patients, according to two commentaries published online Aug. 19 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Liberia Ebola Clinic Attack Could Harm Efforts to Control Outbreak

MONDAY, Aug. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- An attack on an Ebola quarantine center in Liberia's capital and the possible disappearance of a number of patients could be a major setback in efforts to contain and halt the outbreak of the deadly disease.

Health Highlights: Aug. 18, 2014

Docs Should Emphasize Child Benefit From MMR Vaccination

MONDAY, Aug. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Emphasizing the direct benefits of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination to the child is more helpful in increasing the intention of parents to vaccinate, according to research published online Aug. 18 in Pediatrics.

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Quadrivalent HPV Vaccine Has Lasting Benefit for Teens

MONDAY, Aug. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV4) vaccine seems safe and effective for adolescents, according to a study published online Aug. 18 in Pediatrics.

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Review: Previous Respiratory Conditions Tied to Lung CA Risk

FRIDAY, Aug. 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Several common respiratory diseases are tied to an increased risk of lung cancer, according to a study published online July 23 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Antibiotic Regimens Similar for Premature Membrane Rupture

FRIDAY, Aug. 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- There is no difference in fetal or maternal outcomes among women with preterm premature rupture of membranes who receive azithromycin instead of erythromycin, according to a study published online Aug. 4 in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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WHO: Scope of Ebola Outbreak May Be 'Vastly Underestimated'

FRIDAY, Aug. 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The magnitude of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa may be far greater than the current statistics indicate, officials from the World Health Organization said Friday.

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FDA Warns of Fake Ebola Treatments on the Internet

FRIDAY, Aug. 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- As the death toll in the West Africa Ebola outbreak passes 1,000, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning against products sold online that claim to treat the deadly disease or prevent infection.

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Chikungunya Vaccine Deemed Immunogenic and Safe

FRIDAY, Aug. 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A chikungunya virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine is immunogenic and seems safe, according to a study published online Aug. 15 in The Lancet.

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Prevnar-13 Should Be Routine for Seniors

THURSDAY, Aug. 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A second vaccine to protect seniors against pneumonia has been recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Health Highlights: Aug. 14, 2014
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Direct Bacteria Injections Can Shrink Tumors

THURSDAY, Aug. 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Direct injections of a common bacteria into a tumor can shrink solid tumors, according to a preliminary study published in the Aug. 13 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

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Extra Time Spent Counseling, Coordinating Care Billable

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Extra time spent counseling patients and coordinating care can be billed using evaluation and management (E/M) and prolonged service codes, according to an article published July 24 in Medical Economics.

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Research Offers Clues to How Ebola Disarms Immune System

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers say they've discovered how the deadly Ebola virus disables the immune system. They hope the findings will prove valuable in efforts to find treatments for the disease taking hundreds of lives in Africa. The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 1,000 people, and the death rate among those infected with the virus is up to 90 percent, according to the World Health Organization.

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High-Dose Trivalent Flu Shot Better Protects Seniors

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A high-dose, trivalent, inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV3-HD) is associated with improved protection for seniors against laboratory-confirmed influenza infection compared with standard-dose trivalent, inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV3-SD), according to a study published in the Aug. 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Viral Infections in 14 Kansas City-Area Infants Under Investigation

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Similar viral infections among 14 infants in the Kansas City area are being investigated by health officials. The infections were caused by HPeV3, a virus that can cause meningitis and other inflammation. No deaths have occurred, but all of the infants have been hospitalized, CBS News/Associated Press reported.

Health Highlights: Aug. 13, 2014

Meta-Analysis Strategy Impacts Estimation of Tx Outcome

TUESDAY, Aug. 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Estimation of treatment outcome varies with the meta-analysis strategy, according to a study published in the Aug. 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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WHO Experts Give Nod to Using Untested Ebola Drugs

TUESDAY, Aug. 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A panel of ethicists specially appointed by the World Health Organization says it is ethical to give untested treatments to people battling Ebola in the current outbreak.

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Review: Rifamycin Regimens OK As Alternative for Latent TB

TUESDAY, Aug. 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Short-term rifamycin-containing regimens may be an effective alternative treatment for preventing active tuberculosis, according to research published online Aug. 12 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Hand Hygiene Plus Glove Use Cuts Preemie Infections

TUESDAY, Aug. 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Nonsterile glove use after hand hygiene is associated with a reduction in gram-positive bloodstream infections and possible central line-associated bloodstream infections among preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit, according to a study published online Aug. 11 in JAMA Pediatrics.

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EHR Adoption Increasing, But Stage 2 Criteria Often Not Met

MONDAY, Aug. 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Most U.S. hospitals and office-based physicians have adopted electronic health records (EHR), according to two studies published in the August issue of Health Affairs.

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Ethicists Weigh Questions Over Early Release of Ebola Drugs

MONDAY, Aug. 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- As the number of dead in the West African Ebola outbreak nears 1,000, many people are calling for the wider production and release of untested medicines that might help patients.

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Intervention Cuts Catheter-Related Pediatric UTIs

MONDAY, Aug. 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Enactment of a quality improvement prevention bundle at a tertiary care children's hospital significantly reduced the rate of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), according to research published online Aug. 11 in Pediatrics.

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Issues to Consider With Integration of Telemedicine

FRIDAY, Aug. 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Integrating telemedicine raises various considerations, including operational and legal issues, according to an article published July 24 in Medical Economics.

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WHO Declares Ebola Outbreak a 'Public Health Emergency'

FRIDAY, Aug. 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The World Health Organization on Friday declared the outbreak of deadly Ebola virus in West Africa a "public health emergency."

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CDC Raises Ebola Outbreak Response to Highest Alert

FRIDAY, Aug. 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday raised the level of its response to the West African Ebola outbreak to its highest alert status, and CDC is offering resources for clinicians on Ebola virus disease management.

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FAQ: Management of Patients With EVD in U.S. Hospitals

Zoster Vaccine Still Effective With Subsequent Chemo

FRIDAY, Aug. 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Zoster vaccine is effective even for individuals who subsequently undergo chemotherapy, according to a study published online Aug. 4 in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

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Guidelines Issued for Managing Listeriosis in Pregnancy

FRIDAY, Aug. 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Recommendations have been developed for pregnant women with presumptive exposure to Listeria monocytogenes. These guidelines were published as a Committee Opinion online Aug. 5 in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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VA Health Care Reform Bill Signed Into Law

THURSDAY, Aug. 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A bill signed into law Thursday by President Barack Obama is meant to provide veterans with easier access to government-paid health care.

Health Highlights: Aug. 7, 2014

FDA Approves Orbactiv for Drug-Resistant Skin Infections

THURSDAY, Aug. 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The antibacterial drug Orbactiv (oritavancin) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat drug-resistant skin infections in adults, the agency said in a news release.

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FDA: Some Home Tattoo Kits Recalled Due to Infection Risk

THURSDAY, Aug. 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Inks in some home tattoo kits are contaminated and could cause skin infections, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

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HIV Infection Linked to Lower Risk of Multiple Sclerosis

THURSDAY, Aug. 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- HIV infection is associated with a significantly decreased risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study published online Aug. 4 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

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Fears of U.S. Ebola Outbreak Unwarranted, Experts Say

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The decision to bring two American aid workers infected with Ebola back to the United States has kicked up controversy, causing some to fear a local outbreak of the virus. But experts in infectious disease say there's close to no chance that this will cause an Ebola outbreak on these shores.

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No Benefit From Immune-Enhanced Enteral Nutrition

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Use of high-protein enteral nutrition enriched with immune-modulating nutrients (IMHP) does not reduce the incidence of infectious complications among mechanically ventilated, critically ill patients compared to standard high-protein enteral nutrition (HP), according to a study published in the Aug. 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Experimental Serum May Have Been Key to Ebola Recovery

TUESDAY, Aug. 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- An experimental serum never before tried in people may have been pivotal in helping treat two Americans stricken with Ebola, according to media reports.

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Influenza-Like Illness Carries High Pediatric Risk

TUESDAY, Aug. 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- More than one in three children presenting to the emergency department with influenza-like illness develop severe complications, according to a study published online Aug. 4 in Pediatrics.

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Many Physicians Have Secondary Income

MONDAY, Aug. 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Many physicians report earning income from sources other than their primary practice/employer, according to an article published July 24 in Medical Economics.

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Hepatitis C Could Become Rare Disease in 20 Years

MONDAY, Aug. 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. health officials estimate that over three million Americans currently have chronic hepatitis C -- most of whom don't know it because the infection usually causes no symptoms. But with recent treatment advances, hepatitis C could become rare by 2036, researchers report in the Aug. 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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CMS Recognizes Telehealth in New Physician Fee Schedule

FRIDAY, Aug. 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Earlier this month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued proposed rules for updates to the Physician Fee Schedule and will accept comments until Sept. 2, according to an article published July 7 in Medical Economics.

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Florida Officials Issue Warning on Vibrio Bacteria

FRIDAY, Aug. 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Florida health officials are cautioning visitors to the state's beaches about the threat of Vibrio vulnificus bacteria in warm seawater this summer.

Health Highlights: July 31, 2014

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