January 2009 Briefing - Infectious Disease

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Infectious Disease for January 2009. 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.

Immune Memory Attributed to Natural Killer Cells

FRIDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- The natural killer cells of the innate immune system "remember" prior activation, allowing them to become more easily reactivated, according to research published online Jan. 30 in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Measles Virus May Lead to New Prostate Cancer Treatment

THURSDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- A measles virus strain engineered to express the human carcinoembryonic antigen shows promise in the treatment of prostate cancer, according to research published in the January issue of The Prostate.

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Clinical Information Technology Leads to Safer Hospitals

TUESDAY, Jan. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Hospitals that make use of clinical information technology to automate notes, records, order entry and clinical decision support have lower mortality rates, fewer complications and also save money, according to a report published in the Jan. 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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CDC Reports Increase of Hib Infections in Minnesota

MONDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Five children in Minnesota have become ill with Haemophilus influenzae serotype b (Hib) in the past year, and one of them died, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Jan. 23.

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Single HIV Variants Found in Heterosexual Transmission

FRIDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Most individuals who become infected with HIV through their spouse are infected with a single viral variant, according to a report published online Jan. 23 in PLoS Pathogens. The study also found that individuals who become infected with multiple viral variants often have inflammatory genital infections, suggesting that the mucosal barrier is largely responsible for the genetic bottleneck.

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Ethical HIV Testing in Poor Countries Needed

THURSDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Testing a patient's blood without their consent for HIV is important for HIV surveillance, but needs to be carefully implemented in developing countries to ensure that testing is done ethically, according to an article published online Jan. 20 in PLoS Medicine.

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Protein Activity Points to Bacterial Persistence

THURSDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- A greater understanding of the mechanisms that underlie persistence in Escherichia coli may point to therapies that reduce bacterial multi-drug tolerance, according to research published in the Jan. 16 issue of Science.

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Vaginal Herpes Microbicide Protects Against Infection

THURSDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- A vaginal microbicide targeting a herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) gene and a host gene protects mice against infection for a week, researchers report in the Jan. 22 issue of Cell Host & Microbe.

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Peanut Butter Crackers, Dog Snacks Among Recalled Items

THURSDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- The list of recalled products resulting from the recent Salmonella typhimurium outbreak has grown, and officials believe a processing plant in Blakely, Ga., may be the source of the outbreak, according to officials speaking at a teleconference conducted Jan. 21 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Pediatric MRSA Infections Increase Alarmingly

MONDAY, Jan. 19 (HealthDay News) -- The nationwide prevalence of pediatric methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) head and neck infections grew 16.3 percent between 2001 and 2006, according to a study published in the January issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery.

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New Guidelines Issued for Tuberculosis Testing

MONDAY, Jan. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Although culture remains the gold standard for laboratory confirmation of tuberculosis, nucleic acid amplification testing should be standard practice in suspected cases because it shortens the amount of time required to diagnose the disease from one or two weeks to one or two days, according to updated guidelines published in the Jan. 16 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Hospitalizations Decline in Young Children with Pneumonia

MONDAY, Jan. 19 (HealthDay News) -- In 2005 and 2006, the incidence rates for all-cause pneumonia hospitalizations among children under age 2 significantly declined compared with the 1997-1999 rates, suggesting an association with the introduction of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) in 2000, according to a report published in the Jan. 16 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Maternal La Crosse Encephalitis Virus Identified

MONDAY, Jan. 19 (HealthDay News) -- The first known case of La Crosse encephalitis virus (LACV) infection in a pregnant woman, with evidence of possible congenital infection of her infant, occurred in 2006-2007 in West Virginia, according to a report published in the Jan. 16 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Combined Screening More Effective for Cervical Cancer

FRIDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Screening for cervical cancer by first testing for human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA followed by triaging with cytology and further HPV tests is more effective than performing a Pap smear alone, according to research published online Jan. 13 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Dramatic Decline Seen in Pneumococcal Meningitis

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Since the pediatric heptavalent pneumococcal vaccine (PCV7) was introduced in 2000, rates of pneumococcal meningitis among children and adults have substantially declined in the United States. But there has been a worrisome recent increase in meningitis caused by non-PCV7 serotypes, according to an article published in the Jan. 15 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Link Between Hepatitis C Virus, Liver Cancers Explored

TUESDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is associated with over a twofold increased risk of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC), suggesting the risk of HCV-associated cancer is not limited to hepatocellular carcinoma, according to research published in the January issue of Hepatology.

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Rates of Chlamydia, Syphilis Rising in United States

TUESDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Noteworthy elements in the U.S. surveillance of sexually transmitted diseases for 2007 include a high rate of chlamydia, especially in women; increasing syphilis, especially in men who have sex with men; and ongoing racial disparities, according to an annual report issued Jan. 13 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Schistosoma Japonicum Reduced After Intervention

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Reducing the rate of Schistosoma japonicum transmission is possible with the use of a comprehensive strategy of interventions, researchers report in the Jan. 8 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Europe Falling Short in Measles Elimination Goal

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Despite 20 years of routine childhood measles vaccination in Europe, suboptimum coverage in some countries probably will prevent the continent from reaching its goal of eliminating the disease by 2010, according to an article published online Jan. 7 in The Lancet.

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Health-Care Associated Cases Have More Severe Pneumonia

TUESDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with health care-associated pneumonia had more severe disease and higher mortality than those with community-acquired pneumonia, according to research published in the Jan. 6 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Genes Convert Harmless Flu to 1918-Like Flu

TUESDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Adding four genes from the 1918 pandemic influenza virus, which may have caused 50 million deaths worldwide, to a relatively harmless contemporary flu virus can convert the virus into a 1918-like virus, according to research published online Dec. 29 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Hundreds Acquired Hepatitis B, C in US Health Care Settings

TUESDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- More than 400 people were found to have acquired hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) in non-hospital health care settings since 1998 in the United States, with more than 60,000 estimated to have been at risk during these outbreaks, according to research published in the Jan. 6 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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FDA Approves New Test to Screen for HIV in Donated Blood

MONDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first nucleic acid test that screens for the presence of two divergent HIV types in donated blood and tissue, according to a news release issued by the FDA on Dec. 30.

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Unpasteurized Milk Likely Source of Campylobacter Outbreak

MONDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- An outbreak of Campylobacter jejuni that occurred in Kansas during 2007 was likely due to the consumption of fresh cheese produced from unpasteurized milk, according to a report in the Jan. 2 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Cervical Cancer Cofactors Linked to Secondary Cancers

MONDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Among survivors of cervical cancer, the risk of a second smoking-related cancer is significantly higher in cervical squamous cell carcinoma patients than in adenocarcinoma patients, according to study findings published online Dec. 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Immunization Schedules for 2009 Released

MONDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Three health groups have released updated immunization schedules that include new influenza vaccination recommendations, according to a report published in the Jan. 2 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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