December 2012 Briefing - Infectious Disease

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Infectious Disease for December 2012. 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.

Recent U.S. Food-Linked Listeriosis Outbreaks Shorter

FRIDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Compared with earlier outbreaks, more recent food-associated listeriosis outbreaks in the United States have been shorter and affected fewer people, according to research published online Dec. 12 in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

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Sustained Virological Response Lowers Mortality Risk in Hep C

FRIDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Sustained virological response (SVR) is associated with lower all-cause mortality in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) and advanced hepatic fibrosis, according to a study published in the Dec. 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Varizig Approved to Reduce Chickenpox Symptoms

FRIDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Varizig (varicella zoster immune globulin) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to minimize chickenpox symptoms when administered within four days of exposure to the virus that causes the disease.

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Motor Vehicle Incidents Common in Medical Residents

FRIDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- During training, internal medicine residents commonly experience motor vehicle incidents, including crashes and near misses, but less commonly experience blood and body fluid (BBF) exposures, according to research published in the December issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

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Antimicrobial Resistance Up in K. pneumoniae Isolates

THURSDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Klebsiella pneumoniae (K. pneumoniae) isolates from U.S. inpatients are becoming increasingly resistant to antimicrobial agents, according to a study published in the January issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

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Substantial Morbidity, Mortality From Fungus-Tainted Steroid

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Considerable morbidity and mortality resulted from the use of three lots of fungus-contaminated methylprednisolone acetate, recalled by the pharmacy, according to a preliminary report published online Dec. 19 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Vertex Announces Boxed Warning on Hepatitis C Drug

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- In the wake of multiple deaths, the oral hepatitis C drug telaprevir (Incivek) will now carry a boxed warning, according to a statement released Dec. 19 by Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

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Amoxicillin of Little Benefit in Lower-Respiratory Infection

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- In cases of lower-respiratory-tract infection when pneumonia is not suspected, amoxicillin provides little symptomatic benefit, according to a study published online Dec. 19 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

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Many Docs Use Social Media to Find, Share Medical Data

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Most physicians use social media on at least a weekly basis, and report that it improves the quality of patient care they deliver, according to a study published in the September/October issue of the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

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HPV Diagnosis at Older Age May Be 'Latent' Infection Reactivation

TUESDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Among U.S. women with a sexual debut before the sexual revolution, a lower cumulative probability of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection may be masking an age-related increase in HPV reactivation, according to a study published online Dec. 12 in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

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AAP Urges United Nations Not to Ban Thimerosal in Vaccines

MONDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- In response to the United Nations (UN) Environmental Program international treaty, which seeks to reduce mercury exposure from different sources, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has joined the World Health Organization (WHO) in urging the UN to reconsider their stance on thimerosal (ethyl mercury), a component used in multi-dose vaccine vials to prevent contamination. The AAP's statement of endorsement of the WHO's recommendation along with three related commentaries have been published online Dec. 17 in Pediatrics.

Statement of Endorsement
Commentary 1
Commentary 2
Commentary 3

Raxibacumab Approved for Inhalational Anthrax

MONDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Raxibacumab injection has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat inhalational anthrax, an infectious disease caused by breathing in deadly anthrax spores, the agency said Friday.

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Health Care Satisfaction Rated As High by Unacculturated Hispanics

MONDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Hispanic patients, particularly unacculturated Hispanics, rate their health care experience more highly than do other patient groups, according to a study published in the October issue of the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health.

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Tenofovir Effectively Treats Adolescents With Chronic HBV

FRIDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- In adolescents infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV), once-daily tenofovir treatment for 72 weeks effectively suppresses HBV DNA and normalizes alanine aminotransferase (ALT) values, regardless of prior HBV treatment exposure, according to research published in the December issue of Hepatology.

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HCV-Related Transplants Most Needed By Those Born 1941-60

THURSDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Patients born between 1941 and 1960 are creating the largest demand for liver transplants due to hepatitis C virus (HCV)-associated liver disease, according to a study published in the December issue of Liver Transplantation.

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Despite cART, Anal Cancer Risk Still High for HIV-Infected

THURSDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- For HIV-infected patients, despite combined antiretroviral treatment (cART), the risk of anal cancer is still much higher than in the general population, according to a study published in the Dec. 10 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Secondhand Smoke Ups Child Meningococcal Disease Risk

THURSDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) correlates with an increased risk of invasive meningococcal disease in children, according to a study published online Dec. 10 in BMC Public Health.

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Current Health Costs Pushing Docs to Make Urgent Choices

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- The current growth in health care's share of the gross domestic product (GDP) and need to implement learning health systems is forcing physicians to make important choices, according to a perspective piece published online Dec. 12 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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New SARS-Related Virus Does Not Use SARS Receptor

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- A new human coronavirus (hCoV-EMC) originating in the Middle East that is related to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus does not use the same receptor as the SARS virus, according to a study published online Dec. 11 in mBio.

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Number of Independent Physicians Continues to Decline

MONDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Physician business models are transforming, with a sustained shift away from independent practice, according to report released by the consulting firm Accenture.

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Longer UTI Treatment Doesn't Reduce Recurrence Among Men

MONDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- For men with urinary tract infection (UTI), longer duration of antibiotic treatment does not reduce recurrence; and treatment of preoperative bacteriuria has no clinical benefit, according to two studies published online Dec. 3 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Anticompetitive Market Power Common in Managed Care Plans

FRIDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- For each of the three most popular types of managed care plans in the United States (point-of-service plan [POS], health maintenance organization [HMO], and preferred provider organization [PPO]), anticompetitive market power is widespread, according to a Nov. 28 news release from the American Medical Association (AMA).

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Health Care Law Boosts Savings on Meds for Medicare Recipients

FRIDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Savings on prescription drugs related to the Affordable Care Act have reached $5.1 billion, according to a Dec. 3 news release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Discharge Cleaning Doesn't Rid All A. baumannii Contamination

FRIDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Contamination with multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (A. baumannii) may persist even following terminal cleaning of hospital rooms, according to a study published in the December issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

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Reports Raise Concerns About Antiseptic Product Contamination

THURSDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Recent reports linking outbreaks of infection to antiseptic products have prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to evaluate the need for sterile manufacture of such products, according to a perspective piece published in the Dec. 6 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Fungus Was Deadly Infection Source Following Tornado

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Following the 2011 Joplin, Mo., tornado, a cluster of cutaneous mucormycosis fungal infections was observed, which correlated with substantial morbidity and mortality, according to research published in the Dec. 6 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Tetanus-Diphtheria-Pertussis Shot Deemed Safe for Seniors

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Immunizing older adults with the tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine appears to be safe, according to a study published online Nov. 28 in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

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Few Internal Medicine Residents Choosing Primary Care

TUESDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Only about one in five graduating internal medicine residents in the United States plan to enter general internal medicine (GIM), which is more common among graduates of primary care programs, women, and U.S. medical graduates, according to a study published in the Dec. 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Five-Hour Protected Sleep Feasible for Medical Interns

TUESDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Implementation of a five-hour period of protected sleep is feasible for medical interns on long shifts, resulting in interns getting more uninterrupted sleep and feeling more alert the next day, according to a study published in the Dec. 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Use of Clinical Decision-Support System Can Improve HIV Care

TUESDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Use of a clinical decision-support system (CDSS) appears to be beneficial in HIV care, with improvements noted in CD4 cell counts and clinic follow-up, according to a study published in the Dec. 4 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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CDC: Flu Season Has Started and Hitting Hard

TUESDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Flu season descended on the United States early and hard this year, with significant increases in flu activity observed in just the past two weeks, according to a Nov. 30 weekly surveillance report published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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ART Cuts HIV Infection in Serodiscordant Couples in China

MONDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- For uninfected partners of HIV-positive individuals in China, transmission is reduced with antiretroviral therapy for the HIV-positive individual, according to a study published online Dec. 1 in The Lancet.

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Collaborative Program Cuts Colorectal Sx Site Infections

MONDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Implementation of a collaborative quality improvement program correlates with a more than 60 percent reduction in surgical site infections for patients undergoing colorectal procedures, according to a report published online Nov. 28 by the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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Increasing Number of Workers in Self-Insured Health Plans

MONDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- There has been a recent increase in the percentage of workers in the private sector who are enrolled in self-insured health plans, in which the employer assumes the financial risk related to health insurance (unlike a fully-insured plan, where the insurance company assumes the risk), according to research published in the November issue of the Employee Benefit Research Institute's Notes.

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