February 2015 Briefing - Infectious Disease

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Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Infectious Disease for February 2015. 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.

AMA: Key Steps for Minimizing Liability Risk in Telemedicine

FRIDAY, Feb. 27, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Key steps should be taken to minimize the potential risk of liability resulting from use of telemedicine, according to an article published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

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CDC: Routine Procedures Lead to Two Cases of HCV Transmission

FRIDAY, Feb. 27, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Two cases of hepatitis C infection that occurred during routine surgeries highlight the need for hospitals to tighten infection control to prevent more transmissions, officials said Friday.

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Dr. Craig Spencer Speaks Out About His Ebola Experience

FRIDAY, Feb. 27, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Many U.S. politicians and media outlets hyped the threat of U.S. cases of Ebola last year, according to a newly written personal account by Craig Spencer, M.D., M.P.H., the last American Ebola patient treated in the United States. He also believes that officials and the media unnecessarily maligned those who were risking their lives to combat the West African epidemic.

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Stress Ups Risk of Peptic Ulcer Regardless of H. Pylori Status

FRIDAY, Feb. 27, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Psychological stress correlates with increased risk of peptic ulcer, with similar effects associated with Helicobacter pylori infection and ulcers unrelated to either H. pylori or use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, according to a study published in the March issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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Use of Injected Opioid Tied to HIV Outbreak in Indiana

THURSDAY, Feb. 26, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Addicts' use of a powerful painkiller is driving a large HIV outbreak in Indiana, according to health officials.

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CDC: In U.S., Half Million C. Difficile Infections in 2011

THURSDAY, Feb. 26, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Almost half a million Americans were infected with the bacteria Clostridium difficile in 2011, and 29,000 died within a month of diagnosis, U.S. health officials say. The report is published in the Feb. 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Incidence of Viral Pneumonia Up in Young Children

THURSDAY, Feb. 26, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Young children are at increased risk of becoming seriously ill with pneumonia -- but unlike in years past, the cause is usually a respiratory virus, according to a study published in the Feb. 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Post-Op Mortality Low Among HIV Patients Prescribed ART

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 25, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with HIV infection receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) have increased 30-day postoperative mortality versus uninfected patients, although absolute incidence is low, according to a study published online Feb. 25 in JAMA Surgery.

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Characteristics of Tuberculosis Source Cases Identified

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 25, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- In 26 U.S. tuberculosis outbreaks the initial source case-patients had long incubation periods and were characterized by substance abuse, incarceration, and homelessness, according to a study published in the March issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infectious Disease.

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SVR Rates Up With New Regimens for HCV and HIV Coinfection

TUESDAY, Feb. 24, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 and HIV coinfection, new regimens are effective and correlate with high rates of sustained virologic response (SVR) after treatment, according to two studies published online Feb. 23 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Centralized Reminder System Could Increase Vaccination Rates

TUESDAY, Feb. 24, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- A centralized statewide reminder system for immunizations may be a more reliable way to increase overall vaccination rates than reminders from a doctor's office, according to a report published online Feb. 23 in JAMA Pediatrics.

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Undiagnosed/Untreated HIV Implicated in Most New Cases

MONDAY, Feb. 23, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Undiagnosed and untreated people with HIV may be responsible for more than nine out of 10 new infections, according to research published online Feb. 23 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Chikungunya Virus Infection Can Mimic Rheumatoid Arthritis

MONDAY, Feb. 23, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- The mosquito-borne chikungunya virus causes joint pain and swelling similar to rheumatoid arthritis, which can make diagnosis difficult, according to research published online Jan. 20 in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

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CDC Investigating Newly Discovered Tick-Borne Virus

MONDAY, Feb. 23, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- An otherwise healthy man in Kansas became infected with a newly discovered type of virus after he was bitten by ticks, and he died of a related illness 11 days later, health official reported Friday. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team noted that the newly identified virus is a novel member of the genus Thogotovirus, which has been linked to transmission by ticks and mosquitoes in parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa.

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Measles Can Lead to Ophthalmic Complications

FRIDAY, Feb. 20, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- In the midst of the current resurgence of measles across the United States, ophthalmologists are warning that even before the telltale skin rash appears, the infection typically shows up in the eyes. In rare cases, measles can trigger long-term vision problems and even blindness.

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Patients Say Cost Matters Greatly in Choosing Doctor

FRIDAY, Feb. 20, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- The number one determining factor for selecting a doctor is whether the physician is in-network, according to a report published by Vitals.

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Fast-Replicating HIV Strains Damage Immune System Earlier

FRIDAY, Feb. 20, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Fast-replicating strains of HIV damage the immune system in the very early stages of infection, resulting in quicker disease progression, according to a study published online Feb. 17 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Ebola Transmitted Via Cough Possible, Not Likely

FRIDAY, Feb. 20, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Based on prior evidence, health workers dealing with Ebola primarily have worried about disease transmission from a patient's blood, vomit, and feces, all of which contain high levels of virus as symptoms progress, but health care workers also might need to worry about a patient's cough, authors speculate online Feb. 19 in mBio.

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Duodenoscopes Infected With CRE at UCLA Med Center

THURSDAY, Feb. 19, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Endoscopes that were used to perform digestive procedures between October and January were contaminated with carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, California hospital officials said Thursday.

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'Remission' Replaces 'Functional Cure' in HIV Case

THURSDAY, Feb. 19, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- All babies born with HIV should receive the same rapid medical response as the young Mississippi girl born with the virus who suffered a disappointing relapse last July, despite the fact that the virus later reappeared, according to a letter published in the Feb. 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Varicella Zoster Linked to Giant Cell Arteritis

THURSDAY, Feb. 19, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- New research links the varicella zoster virus to giant cell arteritis. The study was published online Feb. 18 in Neurology.

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Fear of Discrimination Keeps Many LGBT Med Students Silent

THURSDAY, Feb. 19, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Fear of discrimination is a major reason why about one-third of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) medical students stay "in the closet," new research finds. The study was published online Feb. 16 in Academic Medicine.

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Doctors, Pharmacists Least Likely Health Pros to Divorce

THURSDAY, Feb. 19, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors appear less likely to get divorced than most other health care professionals, according to research published online Feb. 18 in The BMJ.

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Article Emphasizes Importance of Apology in Medical Error

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Apology laws, which prohibit certain statements or expressions of sympathy by a physician from being admissible in a lawsuit, are unnecessary if physicians understand the importance of saying sorry and offering accountability after an error, according to an article published Feb. 4 in Medical Economics.

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Cost-Effectiveness of Immediate HCV Rx in Early Disease Analyzed

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV), immediate treatment seems to be cost-effective in those with moderate and advanced fibrosis, and can be cost-effective in patients with no or minimal fibrosis, according to a study published online Feb. 11 in Hepatology.

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Seasonal Flu Vaccine Can Offer Cross-Protection Against H7N9

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Seasonal influenza vaccines trigger immune system protection against the H7N9 influenza virus, according to a study published online Feb. 17 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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CDC: Biggest Rise in Recent Measles Cases in Illinois

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- The number of measles cases in the United States has reached 141 patients in 17 states and the District of Columbia, federal health officials reported Tuesday.

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Methylprednisolone Use Cuts Treatment Failure in Pneumonia

TUESDAY, Feb. 17, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with severe community-acquired pneumonia and high initial inflammatory response, methylprednisolone use is associated with decreased treatment failure, according to a study published in the Feb. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Young Adult Sore Throat Could Be Due to F. Necrophorum

TUESDAY, Feb. 17, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Fusobacterium necrophorum is responsible for one in five sore throats in young adults, a new study suggests. The report was published in the Feb. 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Antiviral Tx Improves Survival in Sorafenib-Treated HBV-HCC

TUESDAY, Feb. 17, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- For sorafenib-treated patients with hepatitis B virus-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HBV-related HCC), antiviral therapy with nucleoside analogues (NAs) is associated with improved survival, according to a study published online Jan. 30 in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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High Deductible Plans Factor Into Physician-Patient Relationship

MONDAY, Feb. 16, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- In an environment where patients are increasingly aware of the costs of health care, physicians need to be prepared to address these issues with their patients, according to an article published Feb. 4 in Medical Economics.

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Certain Macrolides Linked With Higher Risk of Pyloric Stenosis

MONDAY, Feb. 16, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- New research supports previous findings that erythromycin can increase the risk of infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis (IHPS). The research also indicates that azithromycin is associated with a higher risk of IHPS when given to infants under 6 weeks old. The findings were published online Feb. 16 in the Pediatrics.

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Various Strategies Used by Patients With HIV, Chronic Pain

MONDAY, Feb. 16, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- For individuals with HIV and chronic pain, various pain self-management strategies are employed, including physical activity, cognitive and spiritual strategies, and substance use, according to a study published online Feb. 3 in Pain Medicine.

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Patients Tend to Prefer Formal Physician Attire

FRIDAY, Feb. 13, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Patients often prefer physicians with formal attire and white coats, according to a systematic review published online Jan. 19 in BMJ Open.

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Limited Evidence on Management of Dyslipidemia in HIV

FRIDAY, Feb. 13, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- A detailed guide has been presented for clinicians who manage dyslipidemia in HIV-infected patients. The guide, based on and extrapolated from guidelines for the general population, has been published online Feb. 4 in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

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Latino Physician Shortage Has Worsened Since 1980

FRIDAY, Feb. 13, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- From 1980 to 2010 the Latino physician shortage worsened, according to a study published online Jan. 27 in Academic Medicine.

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HIV+ to HIV+ Kidney Transplantation May Be Feasible

THURSDAY, Feb. 12, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- New research from South Africa suggests that HIV may not be a barrier for kidney transplants between people infected with the virus. The study appears in the Feb. 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Seven Tips Help Doctors Prepare for Meaningful Use Audits

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 11, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Given that physicians are chosen for meaningful use (MU) audits at random, the best way to prepare is for a physician to assume they will be audited, according to an article published Jan. 28 in Medical Economics.

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Post-Op Infection Rate Low for Minimally Invasive Spine Sx

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 11, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- For patients undergoing posterior transtubular microscopic assisted spinal surgery, the postoperative infection rate is very low, according to a study published in the Feb. 1 issue of Spine.

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Hepatitis B Screening Endorsed Pre-Immunosuppressive Tx

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 11, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- All patients undergoing chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapies should undergo routine screening for active or prior hepatitis B viral infection, according to research published in the February issue of Hepatology.

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Americans' Complementary Health Approaches Changing

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 11, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Yoga is increasingly popular among U.S. adults and children, two new government surveys reveal. Both surveys, which were published Feb. 10 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), looked at the overall use of alternative or complementary medicine among Americans.

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Research Misconduct ID'd by FDA Often Unreported in Literature

TUESDAY, Feb. 10, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- A review of U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspection reports between 1998 and 2013 revealed 57 clinical trials in which regulators had uncovered violations serious enough to earn the agency's most severe classification -- "official action indicated," or OAI. The findings were published online Feb. 9 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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HPV Vaccination Does Not Seem to Promote Unsafe Sex in Teens

MONDAY, Feb. 9, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Getting vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV) does not appear to increase unsafe sexual practices among teen girls, according to a new study published online Feb. 9 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Confidence Not Accurate Measure of Prescribing Competence

MONDAY, Feb. 9, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- For medical students, self-reported confidence in prescribing only weakly correlates with actual competence, according to a study published online Feb. 4 in The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

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Motivational Interviewing Can Help Reach Nonadherent Patients

FRIDAY, Feb. 6, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Motivational interviewing can be a useful approach for reaching noncompliant patients, according to an article published Jan. 22 in Medical Economics.

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U.S. Lyme Disease Costs Could Exceed $1 Billion Annually

FRIDAY, Feb. 6, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- With an estimated 240,000 to 440,000 new cases of Lyme disease diagnosed every year, the illness costs the U.S. health care system between $712 million and $1.3 billion annually, according to a study published online Feb. 4 in PLOS ONE.

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Measles Diagnosis for Five Infants at Illinois Day Care

FRIDAY, Feb. 6, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- The number of measles cases in the United States continues to climb, with Illinois health officials saying five infants who attend a suburban Chicago day care center are infected.

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CDC: HIV-Related Mortality Disparities Persisting for Blacks

THURSDAY, Feb. 5, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of HIV-related mortality is still highest among blacks, and over half of all newly identified HIV-positive persons are black, according to two reports published in the Feb. 6 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Smartphone Accessory Could Help Detect HIV, Syphilis

THURSDAY, Feb. 5, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- A smartphone accessory that can detect HIV and syphilis has been developed by Columbia University researchers. The findings were published in the Feb. 4 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

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Perspective on Dr. Davidson: 'Be Like Mike'

THURSDAY, Feb. 5, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- The tragic shooting of surgeon Michael Davidson can be used as an opportunity to find meaning in tragedy, according to a perspective piece published online Feb. 5 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Low Adherence to Daily HIV Prophylaxis in High-Risk Women

THURSDAY, Feb. 5, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- In a population of predominantly young, unmarried women in sub-Saharan Africa, daily adherence to oral or vaginal tenofovir-based formulations was low, and no regimen significantly reduced the risk of HIV-1 acquisition. The study was published in the Feb. 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Flu Vaccination Rates for Nursing Home Staff Too Low

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Only about one in two U.S. nursing home workers receive an annual flu vaccination, according to a study published in the Feb. 1 issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

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Fewer Than Half of Ebola Pledges Have Reached Area in Need

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Only about 40 percent of the nearly $2.9 billion in international aid pledged to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa had reached the hard-hit countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone by Dec. 31, according to a report published Feb. 3 in The BMJ.

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Two Pneumococcal Vaccines Advised for Seniors

TUESDAY, Feb. 3, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Adults 65 and older need two pneumococcal vaccines to better protect them from sepsis, meningitis, and pneumonia, according to a revised vaccination schedule from the 2015 Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The new recommendations were published in the Feb. 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Patient Engagement Can Cut Costs, Improve Outcomes

MONDAY, Feb. 2, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Patient engagement initiatives can decrease costs without sacrificing quality care, according to an article published Jan. 22 in Medical Economics.

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