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October 2006 Briefing - Infectious Disease

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Infectious Disease for October 2006. 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.

New Strain of Avian Flu Found in Southern China

TUESDAY, Oct. 31 (HealthDay News) -- A new strain of avian influenza has been found in market poultry in southern China in the last year, which has already spread throughout Southeast Asia and is responsible for some recent cases of human infection in China, according to a study published Oct. 30 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition. The researchers suggest that this variant may be responsible for a third wave of avian flu.

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Experimental Drug Cuts Hepatitis C Viral Load

MONDAY, Oct. 30 (HealthDay News) -- The experimental drug VX-950 can provoke a swift drop in viral RNA in patients with chronic hepatitis C, including many for whom earlier treatment had failed, according to the results of a phase 1b trial reported in the October issue of Gastroenterology.

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Regular Exercise May Reduce Risk of Common Cold

MONDAY, Oct. 30 (HealthDay News) -- In postmenopausal women, a year of regular, moderate-intensity exercise training may reduce the risk of colds, according to study findings published in the November issue of the American Journal of Medicine.

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Data On Flu Vaccine's Effectiveness Questioned

FRIDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Although public policy worldwide advises using inactivated influenza vaccine against seasonal flu outbreaks, systematic reviews show that the flu vaccine's performance is questionable, according to a report published in the Oct. 28 issue of BMJ.

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FDA Approves Drug for Chronic Hepatitis B in Adults

THURSDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Tyzeka (telbivudine) for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) in adults. Manufactured by Novartis Pharma Stein AG in Stein, Switzerland, and marketed by Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., Tyzeka is a new molecular entity.

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Clinicians Believe Teens Unlikely to Practice Safe Sex

THURSDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Despite their conviction that teens should be counseled on safe sex practices including monogamy, abstinence and condom use to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, fewer than one-quarter of clinicians believe adolescents will use these methods in the long run, according to a report in the Oct. 20 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Half of U.S. States Meet Goal for Children's Vaccination

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Although more than half of U.S. states report meeting the Healthy People 2010 goal of 95 percent coverage for child immunizations, the vaccines themselves and survey methods vary by state. In addition, most states use school reports instead of health department audits, a practice that could lead to mistakes in coverage estimations, according to a report in the Oct. 20 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Not All U.S. States Reporting Varicella Cases to CDC

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Although progress has been made toward the reporting of varicella cases to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not all states follow the 2002 recommendations for case-based surveillance, making it hard to judge the efficacy of varicella vaccination, according to a report in the Oct. 20 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Flu Vaccine Found to Be Safe in Youngest Children

TUESDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- The trivalent inactivated flu vaccine is safe for children aged 6 months to 23 months, with no serious adverse events, according to a large trial reported in the Oct. 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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New CDC Guidelines Target Drug-Resistant Infections

FRIDAY, Oct. 20 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidelines aimed at halting the increase in antibiotic-resistant infections in hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities. The CDC is urging health care facilities to launch aggressive infection-control programs targeting drug resistance.

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Increased Mortality Seen in Older Diabetics

FRIDAY, Oct. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Compared to older non-diabetic adults, older diabetics have a significantly increased risk of death, including a twofold higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease, even when their diabetes is treated, according to a study published in the October issue of the open-access journal PLoS-Medicine.

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Celiac Disease Increases Susceptibility to Active TB

FRIDAY, Oct. 20 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of developing active tuberculosis is four times higher among those with celiac disease than those with no gluten intolerance, according to a study published online Oct. 17 in Thorax.

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Valacyclovir Reduces Herpes Simplex Virus 2 Shedding

THURSDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) -- In immunocompetent patients infected with herpes simplex virus 2, treatment with the drug valacyclovir significantly reduces viral shedding, according to a study published in the October issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

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Bacterial Meningitis Has Classic Presentation in Elderly

THURSDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly patients with community-acquired Streptococcus pneumoniae bacterial meningitis commonly present with classic symptoms and have a much higher incidence of morbidity and mortality compared to younger adults, according to research in the October issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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Aggrecanase 1 May Play Key Role in Lyme Arthritis

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- New research sheds light on how infection with Borrelia burgdorferi results in Lyme arthritis, and may help pave the way toward more effective cartilage-saving treatments. The report appears in the October issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

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Sexually Transmitted Disease Re-Infection Risk Is High

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with sexually transmitted infections are at high risk of being re-infected after treatment and should be re-screened after three months, according to study findings published Oct. 17 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Pandemic Flu Priorities Lacking in One-Third of Countries

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- The World Health Organization has established preparedness guidelines in the event of an outbreak of pandemic influenza, but only about 70 percent of nations have prioritized who would receive vaccines and drugs in the event of an outbreak, according to a study published in the October issue of PLoS Medicine.

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Donor's Hepatitis C Affects Heart-Transplant Outcome

TUESDAY, Oct. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Short- and long-term survival is significantly lower among heart-transplant patients who receive hearts from donors who were positive for the hepatitis C virus (HCV) than among patients who receive hearts from virus-free donors, according to a report published in the Oct. 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Delivery of Pediatric Flu Shots Delayed in U.S.

TUESDAY, Oct. 17 (HealthDay News) -- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued a statement warning parents in the United States that delivery of influenza vaccines will be delayed until at least November. The delay affects children aged 6 months to 3 years.

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U.S. Hospital Mortality Rates Improve, But Quality Varies

MONDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Although mortality rates at U.S. hospitals are generally improving, the quality varies widely, with a typical Medicare patient having a 69 percent lower chance of dying in the best hospitals compared with the worst hospitals, according to a report published Oct. 16 by HealthGrades, an independent health care rating group.

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Monoclonal Promising to Prevent, Treat Avian Influenza

MONDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Humanized monoclonal antibodies against avian influenza virus H5N1 can prevent infection in mice when given before lethal challenge and are an effective treatment after infection with the virus, according to a report published online Oct. 14 in Respiratory Research.

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Sputum Test Quick, Accurate for Drug-Resistant TB

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- A single microscopic-observation drug-susceptibility (MODS) assay of a sputum sample provides more sensitive and faster detection of tuberculosis and multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis than conventional methods, according to study findings published in the Oct. 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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U.S. Leprosy Case Linked to Exposure to Armadillos

TUESDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- A 57-year-old woman living in the state of Georgia developed borderline tuberculoid leprosy (Hansen's disease) due to exposure to armadillos, which burrowed in a garden where she worked, according to a report published in the October issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. The woman had not traveled outside the United States, and had not been in any contact with known cases of leprosy.

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Prior ICU Occupants Pass on Antibiotic-Resistant S. aureus

MONDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) can increase the odds of infecting subsequent users of their rooms in intensive care units by 40 percent, according to a report in the Oct. 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Multi-Drug-Resistant Shigella Outbreaks on Rise in U.S.

MONDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Outbreaks of multi-drug-resistant Shigella sonnei in daycare centers are becoming more common, with outbreaks occurring in Kansas, Kentucky and Missouri during 2005, according to a report in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Oct. 6 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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New Tuberculosis Strain Identified in South Asians

MONDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have identified a strain of tuberculosis with a large deletion that affects the immune response to the bacteria, according to a study published online Oct. 6 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition. The strain appears to target patients who are ethnic South Asians.

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Too Few Americans Receive Annual Flu Shots

MONDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Influenza vaccinations for the 2004-2005 season almost doubled for children up to 2 years of age but declined in those 65 years and older, according to two reports in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Oct. 6 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The number of older Americans receiving recommended influenza vaccines falls far short of the Healthy People 2010 goal of 90 percent.

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FDA Approves New Gene-Based Diagnostic Test for HIV-1

FRIDAY, Oct. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first test aimed at detecting HIV-1 RNA in the blood to help diagnose and confirm infection. The APTIMA HIV-1 RNA Qualitative Assay, which is made by Gen-Probe Inc., of San Diego, Calif., may detect virus in early infection before HIV-1 antibodies surface.

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Deer Can Spread Prion Disease Through Blood and Saliva

FRIDAY, Oct. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Deer infected with the prion disorder known as chronic wasting disease, or CWD, can transmit the infection to other deer through saliva or blood but not urine or feces, according to a study in the Oct. 6 issue of Science. Although there are currently no known cases of deer-to-human transmission, the findings suggest that it is prudent to wear gloves when coming into contact with saliva or blood from infected animals, the authors write.

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New Blood Tests for TB More Accurate Than Skin Test

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Two new blood tests for latent tuberculosis infection, called T-SPOT.TB and QuantiFERON-TB Gold, may be more accurate and allow for better detection in immunosuppressed persons than the tuberculin skin test, according to a report in the Oct. 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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One in 10 U.K. Men Surveyed Pay for Sex

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) -- One in 10 men pay for sex, almost half of whom have a partner, according to the results of a study published in the October issue of Sexually Transmitted Infections.

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