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November 2013 Briefing - Infectious Disease

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Infectious Disease for November 2013. 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.

Spatiotemporal Analysis Emphasizes Value of Vaccination

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 27, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Spatiotemporal data emphasizes the importance of vaccination programs, according to research published in the Nov. 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Induced Hypothermia May Be Harmful in Severe Meningitis

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 27, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The use of induced hypothermia may be harmful to adults with severe meningitis, according to a study published in the Nov. 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Rates of Undiagnosed HIV Low in State Prison Entrants

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 27, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- HIV testing of individuals entering prison identifies low numbers of HIV-positive people not previously known to the health department, according to a research letter published in the Nov. 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Insurance Exchanges May Benefit Small Medical Practices

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 27, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Small medical practices may not need to offer their employees health insurance, although there may be advantages to doing so, according to an article published Nov. 10 in Medical Economics.

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Practices Should Start Preparing for Transition to ICD-10

TUESDAY, Nov. 26, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Practices should start preparing for the transition to International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10), according to an article published Nov. 10 in Medical Economics.

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Vitamin Supplements Delay Progression of Early-Stage HIV

TUESDAY, Nov. 26, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Micronutrient supplementation reduces the risk of immune decline and morbidity in adults with early-stage HIV disease who have not yet initiated antiretroviral therapy (ART), according to research published in the Nov. 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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FDA Approves Olysio As Hepatitis C Treatment

TUESDAY, Nov. 26, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Olysio (simeprevir) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat chronic hepatitis C infection in adults.

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CDC: Students Safe to Travel Despite Meningitis Outbreak

MONDAY, Nov. 25, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Despite recent outbreaks of bacterial meningitis at Princeton University and the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), U.S. health officials said Monday that students are safe to travel home for the Thanksgiving break.

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FDA Approves H5N1 Avian Influenza Vaccine

MONDAY, Nov. 25, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first adjuvanted vaccine for the prevention of H5N1 influenza in adults at greater-than-average risk of exposure.

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Antiviral Therapy Helps Children Critically Ill With Flu

MONDAY, Nov. 25, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- In children critically ill with influenza, prompt treatment with neuraminidase inhibitors (NAIs) may improve survival, according to research published online Nov. 25 in Pediatrics.

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American Medical Groups Protesting Physician Cuts

MONDAY, Nov. 25, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Medical societies are taking action against the mass cancellations of physicians in Medicare Advantage plans in many states, according to an article published online Nov. 22 in Medical Economics.

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Family Doc Finds Mid-Level Providers Increase Revenue

MONDAY, Nov. 25, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Hiring mid-levels -- physicians assistants and nurse practitioners -- can improve productivity, resulting in increased physician take-home pay, according to an article published Nov. 10 in Medical Economics.

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White House Extends Enrollment Deadline for Health Insurance

FRIDAY, Nov. 22, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Consumers who want to enroll in a health insurance plan through HealthCare.gov will get a few extra days to sign up for coverage that will take effect on Jan. 1. The deadline for buying insurance through the federal health insurance exchange will be pushed from Dec. 15 to Dec. 23, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said during a Friday news conference.

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CDC Report: Health Disparities Persist in America

THURSDAY, Nov. 21, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Despite progress in some areas, health disparities remain for many Americans, health officials reported Thursday. These inequalities are related to income, education, sex, race, ethnicity, employment and sexual orientation, and they all affect Americans' health and well-being, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Health Care Frustration Higher in U.S. Than Other Countries

TUESDAY, Nov. 19, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Compared to 10 other high-income industrialized nations, adults in the United States are more likely to go without health care because of costs, experience difficulty paying medical bills, and deal with frustrating health insurance paperwork or disputes such as unpaid claims, according to a report published by The Commonwealth Fund.

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Global Efforts Needed to Curb Antibiotic Resistance

MONDAY, Nov. 18, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Global efforts are needed to curb antibiotic resistance, according to a report published online Nov. 16 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

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AAP/CDC Update Antibiotic Guidance for Pediatric URIs

MONDAY, Nov. 18, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released updated guidelines for the judicious use of antibiotics for upper respiratory infections (URIs) in children; these guidelines have been published online Nov. 18 in Pediatrics.

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Obama Nominates Health Care Law Backer to Be Surgeon General

FRIDAY, Nov. 15, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- An early supporter and advocate for the Affordable Care Act has been nominated by President Barack Obama to be the country's next surgeon general.

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FDA Requests Safety Measures for Topical Antiseptics

FRIDAY, Nov. 15, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is requesting manufacturers of certain topical antiseptics make changes to their labeling and packaging that will enhance product safety, according to a Drug Safety Communication issued by the agency.

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Obama: You Can Keep Your Health Plan (for a Year)

THURSDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Bending to political pressure, President Barack Obama on Thursday announced a plan to allow Americans to keep their health insurance plans for another year, even if that coverage would have been cancelled because it fails to meet new rules under the Affordable Care Act.

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First Human Infected With New Strain of Bird Flu

THURSDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- The first confirmed case of a person infected with a new H6N1 bird flu virus subtype has been reported by scientists in Taiwan, according to research published online Nov. 14 in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

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No Promises on Nov. 30 ACA Website Fix: U.S. Tech Chief

THURSDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- The nation's chief of information technology would not confirm on Wednesday whether the hobbled HealthCare.gov insurance exchange website would be fixed by month's end.

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Health Care Enrollments Fall Far Short of White House Estimates

THURSDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- The Obama administration late Wednesday released a report revealing a disappointing number of health plan enrollments through the new federal and state insurance exchanges. Just over 106,000 Americans enrolled in health plans through the new marketplaces from Oct. 1 through Nov. 2, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said during a news conference.

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Many Would Give Health Plans Private Info to Save Money: Poll

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Many Americans say they'd submit to insurance company medical tests and lifestyle monitoring in exchange for lower-cost premiums, a new Harris/HealthDay poll finds.

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Population Aging Crisis May Have Been Overestimated

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Use of an alternative measure for assessing the number of dependent older people suggests that the population aging crisis may have been overestimated, according to an analysis published online Nov. 12 in BMJ.

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Initial Health-Plan Enrollment Falls Below Expectations

TUESDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Fewer than 50,000 people have enrolled in health insurance through the federal HealthCare.gov website, according to published reports. The tally represents enrollment in the troubled federal health insurance exchange from its launch date on Oct. 1 through last week, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. HealthCare.gov serves as the insurance exchange for people in 36 states.

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Analysis Describes Economic Anatomy of U.S. Health Care

TUESDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Despite the increases in resources devoted to health care in the United States, multiple health care metrics show that the United States is trailing peer nations, according to a special communication published in the Nov. 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a theme issue on critical issues in U.S. health care.

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Obama 'Sorry' Some People Losing Health Coverage

FRIDAY, Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) -- President Barack Obama said he's "sorry" some Americans are losing their insurance coverage as a result of his signature health-reform law, but his administration is pressing ahead with the law's implementation. It's estimated that 5 percent of Americans have individual health insurance policies, and many of these people are receiving cancellation notices as insurers switch to plans that comply with new health-reform requirements.

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FDA to Ban Trans Fats in Foods

THURSDAY, Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. health officials announced Thursday a plan to phase out heart-harmful trans fats in processed foods and restaurant fare. U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D., said the proposed restrictions on the use of trans fats could prevent 20,000 heart attacks a year and 7,000 deaths.

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Telemedicine Represents Enhanced Care Model

THURSDAY, Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Telemedicine may represent an effective care model but there are associated concerns, specifically relating to reimbursement and legal issues, according to an article published Oct. 25 in Medical Economics.

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Amount of Care Similar for Rural, Urban Medicare Users

THURSDAY, Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Although there may be a limited supply of physicians in some rural areas, little difference is found in the amount of health care received by Medicare beneficiaries for rural versus urban areas within the same region, according to research published in the November issue of Health Affairs.

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For Hospitalized Adults, Light Inversely Tied to Fatigue, Mood

THURSDAY, Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- For hospitalized adult patients, light exposure is inversely associated with fatigue and total mood disturbance, according to a study published online Oct. 27 in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.

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Aspiring Doctors Are Optimistic About the Future of Medicine

THURSDAY, Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Aspiring doctors are optimistic about the future of medicine, according to a report published by the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists.

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Dolutegravir Plus Abacavir-Lamivudine Beats Combo Therapy

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with HIV-1 infection and HIV-1 RNA of 1,000 copies per mL or more, treatment with dolutegravir plus abacavir-lamivudine (DTG-ABC-3TC) is more effective through 48 weeks than combination therapy with efavirenz-tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (DF)-emtricitabine (EFV-TDF-FTC), according to a study published in the Nov. 7 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Sebelius on Exchange Website: 'Delay Is Not an Option'

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday that the Obama administration will not consider delaying implementation of health reform. Nor will it take down HealthCare.gov -- the troubled health insurance marketplace website -- while it's being fixed. "For millions of Americans, delay is not an option," Sebelius told the Senate Finance Committee during a hearing on the new health insurance marketplace. "People's lives depend on this," she said.

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Factors in Long-Term HCV Morbidity, Mortality Analyzed

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV), achieving an undetectable viral load correlates with reductions in the risk of clinical end points and death, according to a study published online Nov. 5 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Non-Interferon Regimen Found Effective for Hepatitis C

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- An interferon-free regimen of two or three drugs can effectively treat nearly all patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, including those who have failed treatment with protease inhibitors, according to a study published online Nov. 5 in The Lancet.

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Senators Seek Answers on Health Marketplace Woes

TUESDAY, Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- A top Obama administration health official said Tuesday that HealthCare.gov -- the troubled federal website used to sign up for insurance -- is improving, and insisted that private information provided during the online application process is safe and secure.

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In the Doctor's Lounge With Dr. Cindy Haines

FRIDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- This is the second issue of a monthly letter from me, HealthDay's chief medical officer and the managing editor of Physician's Briefing, HealthDay's news service for health care professionals. The intention of this letter (and the intention of what we do at HealthDay) is to provide tools of communication. At Physician's Briefing, this is by providing you, the busy and buried health care professional, news and information that matters to you in a way that won't slow you down. The intention is to provide news that can help you stay abreast of changing clinical guidelines, cutting-edge technologies, and novel treatment options. And now, we offer free Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits for you on select clinical articles, enabling you to get (at least) two birds with one stone.

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In the Doctor's Lounge With Dr. Cindy Haines

TUESDAY, Oct. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Please allow me to introduce myself: I am HealthDay's chief medical officer and the managing editor of Physician's Briefing, HealthDay's news service for health care professionals. This service is intended to provide busy physicians, nurses, and pharmacists with easily accessible, digestible health news that can keep them up-to-date and not missing a beat in their busy days providing care for those in need (and navigating the headaches and heartaches the business of medicine can too often bring). In short, this service is intended to make your professional life flow more smoothly in the way that helpful, useable, relevant, and timely information can.

Exchanges Will Be Cornerstone for Coverage Choices
Young Adults May Be Key to Making It All Work
Expect Pluses, Minuses for Those With Job-Based Coverage
If You're an Uninsured Worker, It's Your Chance to Get Covered
Medicaid Expansion Will Allow More to Get More
Many on Medicare Already Enjoying Benefits
AMA Presents: The National Journal
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One Dose of HPV Vaccine Induces Long-Term Antibodies

TUESDAY, Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Women who receive only one dose of a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine have readily detectable antibody levels that remain stable for four years, according to a study published in the November issue of Cancer Prevention Research.

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Triage System Underperforms in Children With Chronic Illness

MONDAY, Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- For children presenting to the emergency department with infectious symptoms, performance of the Manchester Triage System (MTS) is lower for those with chronic illnesses, compared to those without chronic illnesses, according to a study published online Nov. 4 in Pediatrics.

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Parental Vaccine Acceptance Linked to Provider Communication

MONDAY, Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Parental vaccine acceptance is associated with how providers initiate and pursue vaccine recommendations, according to a study published online Nov. 4 in Pediatrics.

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HPV-Based Screening Beats Cytology for Invasive Cervical CA

MONDAY, Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- For women who undergo regular screening, human papillomavirus (HPV)-based screening is more efficacious than cytology-based screening for the prevention of invasive cervical cancer, according to a study published online Nov. 3 in The Lancet.

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AAP Reaffirms Support for Condom Use in Adolescents

FRIDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports the use of condoms as an effective method of contraception in adolescents, according to a policy statement published online Oct. 28 in Pediatrics.

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CDC: Malaria Cases Reach 40-Year High in United States

FRIDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- 2011 marked the highest number of malaria cases diagnosed in the United States, according to a surveillance summary published Nov. 1 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Six People Signed Up on Day One of Federal Exchange Website

FRIDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Just six people enrolled for health insurance through the federal HealthCare.gov website the first day of operation on Oct. 1, just-released Obama administration documents show.

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Physician Buy-In Key to Reducing Health Care Costs

FRIDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Physician buy-in is essential for creation of any new payment system aimed at reducing health care costs, according to an article published Oct. 21 in Medical Economics.

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