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March 2014 Briefing - Infectious Disease

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

Azithromycin, Levofloxacin Up Cardiac Risk in Study of Veterans

MONDAY, March 31, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Use of azithromycin or levofloxacin is associated with increased risks of death and cardiac arrhythmia compared with amoxicillin use, according to a study published in the March/April issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

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One in 12,000 Hospital Deliveries Result in Cardiac Arrest

FRIDAY, March 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Cardiac arrest occurs in approximately one of every 12,000 hospitalizations for delivery, according to a study published in the April issue of Anesthesiology.

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NCHS Estimates Health Insurance Coverage for 2013

THURSDAY, March 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- In the first nine months of 2013, 6.7 percent of children and 20.5 percent of adults were uninsured, according to a study published online March 27 by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

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White House Extends Affordable Care Act Enrollment Deadline

WEDNESDAY, March 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Americans who've started applying for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act but can't complete the process by the March 31 enrollment deadline will be given an extension.

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1 in 25 Inpatients Has Health Care-Associated Infection Daily

WEDNESDAY, March 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- There were an estimated 648,000 patients with 721,800 health care-associated infections in U.S. acute care hospitals in 2011, according to research published in the March 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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AMA Introduces Medical Education Initiative

WEDNESDAY, March 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The American Medical Association's (AMA) Accelerating Change in Education initiative is being introduced in 11 medical schools in an effort to shift the focus of education toward real-world practice and competency assessment, according to an AMA report.

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Americans Seem Unprepared for Health Insurance Exchanges

WEDNESDAY, March 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals in the United States seem not to be sufficiently informed about the health insurance exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a study published online March 24 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Surgical Site Infection Rate Down With Lower Target Glucose

TUESDAY, March 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For patients undergoing hepato-biliary-pancreatic surgery, having a lower blood glucose target (4.4 to 6.1 mmol/L) is associated with reduced incidence of surgical site infection (SSI), according to a study published online March 12 in Diabetes Care.

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JC Virus Detectable in Natalizumab-Treated MS Patients

TUESDAY, March 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Mononuclear cells from natalizumab-treated multiple sclerosis (MS) patients harbor JC virus (JCV), according to a study published online March 24 in JAMA Neurology.

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Most Bloodstream Infections Are Community-Onset

TUESDAY, March 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Most bloodstream infections (BSIs) are community-onset and health care-associated, and Staphylococcus aureus is the most common pathogen, according to a study published online March 18 in PLOS ONE.

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Oropharyngeal Cancer Symptoms May Differ Based on HPV-Status

MONDAY, March 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Initial symptom presentation seems to differ for human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive versus HPV-negative patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC), according to a study published online March 20 in JAMA Otololaryngology.

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Patient Request Impacts Doc Prescribing Behavior

MONDAY, March 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Patients requesting specific medications are more likely to be prescribed those medications, according to research published in the April issue of Medical Care.

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Practices Can Take Steps to Improve Care Transitions

FRIDAY, March 21, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Implementation of a rigorous process can improve transitions of care, according to an article published March 10 in Medical Economics.

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CDC: Tuberculosis in the United States Hits Record Low

THURSDAY, March 20, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Rates of tuberculosis in the United States are falling, with cases at a historic low, health officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday, noting that improved screening of immigrants has helped reduce incidence.

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FDA Approves Impavido to Treat Tropical Parasitic Disease

THURSDAY, March 20, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Impavido (miltefosine) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat adults with leishmaniasis, a tropical disease caused by a parasite that's transmitted by the bites of sand flies.

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Review: Tamiflu Saved Lives During Swine Flu Pandemic

WEDNESDAY, March 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The antiviral drug Tamiflu (oseltamivir) reduced the risk of death by 25 percent among adults hospitalized during the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic, according to a review published online March 19 in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. In addition, antiviral treatment within 48 hours of developing flu symptoms halved the risk of death compared with starting treatment later or receiving no treatment.

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Offices With Open Floor Plans Tied to More Sick Days

WEDNESDAY, March 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Offices with open floor plans and no individual workstations may take a toll on employee health, according to a study published in the February issue of Ergonomics.

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Haemophilus Influenzae Infection Up in Pregnancy

WEDNESDAY, March 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of Haemophilus influenzae (H. influenzae) disease is increased during pregnancy, and infection correlates with poor pregnancy outcomes, according to a study published in the March 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Lower HPV Uptake for Women Attending Sexual Health Services

WEDNESDAY, March 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For young women attending sexual health services in England, human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination uptake and completion rates are lower than national data, with an overall completion rate of 47 percent, according to a study published online March 17 in Sexually Transmitted Infections.

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Same Meningitis Strain Behind Drexel, Princeton Outbreaks: CDC

TUESDAY, March 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The strain of bacterial meningitis that killed a Drexel University student earlier this month is the same strain behind a Princeton University outbreak last year, federal health officials said Tuesday. This suggests that the outbreak strain might still be present in the Princeton community and that the situation requires close monitoring, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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TB Control Program in China Linked to Drop in Prevalence

TUESDAY, March 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The implementation of a tuberculosis control program in China was associated with a reduction in prevalence and increased treatment, according to a study published online March 18 in The Lancet.

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Hepatic Decompensation Higher With HIV, HCV Co-Infection

TUESDAY, March 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Patients co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) have higher rates of hepatic decompensation than those with HCV monoinfection, according to a study published in the March 18 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Definition of Pneumonia Impacts Hospital Mortality Rates

TUESDAY, March 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Risk-standardized hospital mortality rates are higher with a broader versus a narrower definition of pneumonia, according to a study published in the March 18 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Penicillin 'Allergy' Complicates Inpatient Care

TUESDAY, March 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with a history of penicillin "allergy," even though that may be inaccurate, spend more time in the hospital and have a greater risk of acquiring antibiotic-associated infections, according to research published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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Insurers Must Offer Same-Sex Couples Spousal Benefits

MONDAY, March 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Health plans that offer benefits for heterosexual couples must do the same for same-sex married couples, the Obama administration says.

Other Health Highlights: March 17, 2014

Rx Expenditures Expected to Rise in 2014

MONDAY, March 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Drug costs are projected to rise 3 to 5 percent across all care settings in 2014, according to a study published in the March 15 issue of the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy.

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Most Influenza Infections Seem to Be Asymptomatic

MONDAY, March 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For individuals infected with influenza, most cases are asymptomatic, and a minority of those with confirmed disease have medically attended illness, according to a study published online March 17 in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

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Improving EHR Interoperability Is a National Priority: HHS

FRIDAY, March 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Interoperability of electronic health record (EHR) systems is a national priority of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, according to an article published March 4 in Medical Economics.

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Gel May Offer Postexposure Protection Against HIV Infection

FRIDAY, March 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Use of a vaginal integrase inhibitor-containing gel may be able to protect against vaginal HIV infection in a macaque model, according to an experimental study published in the March 12 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

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CDC: Woman to Woman HIV Transmission Rare, but Possible

THURSDAY, March 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A case report of a woman who was infected with HIV during sex with another woman shows that such transmission of the virus is possible, health officials say. The report is published in the March 14 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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AMA: CMS Wants Physician Input on Practice Transformation

WEDNESDAY, March 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians are being given the opportunity to describe what resources they need in order to transition to value-based models of care, according to a report published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

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White House: More Than Four Million Have Signed Up for ACA

TUESDAY, March 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- More than four million Americans have signed up for health coverage through state and federal insurance marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration announced Tuesday.

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Medicare Drug Plan Changes Withdrawn by White House

TUESDAY, March 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Proposed changes to the Medicare prescription drug program have been withdrawn by the Obama administration after strong opposition from patient groups.

Other Health Highlights: March 11, 2014

Discrepancies ID'd in Studies on ClinicalTrials.gov, Journals

TUESDAY, March 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly all clinical trials reported on ClinicalTrials.gov and published in high-impact journals report at least one discrepancy in cohort, intervention, or results, according to a research letter published in the March 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Keeping Salaries Secret Harms Worker Performance

MONDAY, March 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Keeping salaries secret hurts worker performance and increases turnover of top talent, according to a study published online Jan. 13 in the Academy of Management Journal.

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Consultant Offers Tips for Evaluating Staff Pay

MONDAY, March 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Setting salaries and dealing with raises for a practice's staff can be tricky, according to an article published Feb. 24 in Medical Economics.

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Outpatient Abx Culprit in Most Childhood C. Difficile Cases

FRIDAY, March 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Antibiotics prescribed in doctors' offices are linked with a majority of Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection cases in children, according to a new study published online March 3 in the Pediatrics.

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CDC: Child Care Flu Vaccination Requirements Seem Effective

FRIDAY, March 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Requiring the flu vaccination for child care admission seems to have increased vaccination rates and led to lower hospitalization rates for influenza in young children, according to a report published in the March 7 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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AMA Grants Curriculum Efforts to Address Health Disparities

FRIDAY, March 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Medical schools are beginning to change their curriculum to address ways to eliminate health disparities, according to the American Medical Association (AMA).

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Gender Gap Exists in Domestic Duties of Working Physicians

FRIDAY, March 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Gender differences exist in domestic activities among career-oriented academic physicians with children, according to a study published online March 3 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Relative Value Units Useful In Evaluating Practice Finances

THURSDAY, March 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The Relative Value Unit (RVU) is a useful tool for managing practice finances, according to an article published Feb. 25 in Medical Economics.

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Drop in Compensation Gap for Primary Care Docs, Specialists

THURSDAY, March 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- From 2012 to 2013, there was a 5.7 percent increase in the median total cash compensation for primary care physicians, with a smaller gap seen for medical and surgical specialists, according to the results of a recent survey from SullivanCotter.

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Cautious Optimism for 'Cure' of HIV-Infected Babies

THURSDAY, March 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The hope that newborns can be "cured" of HIV with early, aggressive drug treatment was bolstered this week with the announcement that a second baby appears to be free of the virus following therapy that began just four hours after her birth.

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Long-Acting Injectable Drug May Protect Against HIV

THURSDAY, March 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A long-acting, injectable drug can protect monkeys from repeated exposure to the simian/human immunodeficiency virus, according to an animal study published online March 4 in Science.

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Value-Based Insurance Plans Can Up Rx Adherence

WEDNESDAY, March 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Value-based insurance design (VBID) plans with certain features aside from solely lowering cost sharing can increase medication adherence, according to a study published in the March issue of Health Affairs.

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CDC: Antibiotics Often Prescribed During Hospitalization

WEDNESDAY, March 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Inpatients frequently receive antibiotics, and in many cases antibiotic prescribing could be improved, according to a report published in the March 4 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly.

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Gap in Regulatory Coverage Affects 5 to 16 Percent of Trials

WEDNESDAY, March 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Human subjects protections (HSP) policies do not provide regulatory coverage for all clinical trials, while up to about a quarter of trials are considered overlap trials, according to a research letter published in the March 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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WHO Program Improves U.S. Medical Facility Hand Hygiene

WEDNESDAY, March 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For U.S. health care facilities, participation in the World Health Organization (WHO) global campaign to improve hand hygiene practices is associated with improved hand hygiene, according to a study published in the March issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

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Docs Nominate Top U.S. Internal Medicine Residency Programs

TUESDAY, March 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The top U.S. internal medicine residency programs have been ranked by physicians and include Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and the University of California in San Francisco, according to an article published by U.S. News & World Report.

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Study Quantifies Prevalence of Chronic HCV Infection

TUESDAY, March 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is about 1 percent, with 2.7 million U.S. residents estimated as having chronic HCV infection, according to a study published in the March 4 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Women-Specific Research Is Still Inadequate

MONDAY, March 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Women are still underrepresented in medical science and research, and sex differences are often ignored, according to a report published March 3 by the Brigham and Women's Hospital.

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Routine Childhood Vaccines Result in Cost Savings

MONDAY, March 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The 2009 routine U.S. childhood immunization schedules resulted in considerable economic savings; however, public health communications about vaccines seem not be to effective, according to two studies published online March 3 in Pediatrics.

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CMS: No More Delays to ICD-10 Implementation Deadline

MONDAY, March 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- There will be no more delays to the Oct. 1, 2014, deadline for implementation of the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10), according to an article published Feb. 27 in Medical Economics.

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