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April 2014 Briefing - Infectious Disease

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

Cholesterol Metabolism Linked to Lack of HIV-1 Progression

WEDNESDAY, April 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Cholesterol metabolism seems to be associated with a lack of HIV-1 trans infection, seen in HIV-1 infected nonprogressors (NPs), according to a study published online April 29 in mBio.

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Limited Associations for Antiretroviral Tx, Birth Defects

WEDNESDAY, April 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- There is a specific association between in utero exposure to zidovudine and heart defects; however, most ART drugs are not linked to birth defects, according to a study published online April 29 in PLOS Medicine.

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ACOG Issues Guidelines for Routine HIV Testing for Women

TUESDAY, April 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Females aged 13 to 64 years should undergo HIV testing at least once in their lifetime, with annual testing thereafter recommended based on risk factors, according to a Committee Opinion published in the May issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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USPSTF Recommends Behavioral Counseling to Prevent STIs

MONDAY, April 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends intensive behavioral counseling for all sexually active adolescents and adults at increased risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In a second recommendation, the Task Force also advises chlamydia and gonorrhea screening for women at risk of infection.

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Pediatricians Should Plan for Anthrax Attack

MONDAY, April 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Children may require different treatment than adults after exposure to anthrax, according to a report published online April 28 in Pediatrics.

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CDC: Measles on Upswing Despite Vaccines' Effectiveness

FRIDAY, April 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Vaccinations have prevented an estimated 732,000 deaths, 21 million hospitalizations, and 322 million illnesses among U.S. children born in the last 20 years, according to a government report published in the April 25 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Physician Groups Find Fault With Medicare Payment Data Release

THURSDAY, April 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physician groups cite major problems associated with the release of Medicare payment data, according to an article published April 16 in Medical Economics.

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Impact of Rising Incidence of Measles Discussed

THURSDAY, April 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- With the rising incidence of measles, the importance of vaccination should be emphasized and precautions must be exercised in cases of suspected measles, according to a commentary piece published online April 24 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Educational Changes Suggested for Patient-Centered Medicine

THURSDAY, April 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Changes in medical education and training are suggested to help new physicians address the needs of patients and their families, according to an ideas and opinions piece published in the April 22 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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FDA Proposes Accelerated Medical Device Approval Plan

WEDNESDAY, April 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed a new program that would provide expedited access to high-risk medical devices intended for patients with serious conditions whose medical needs are not met by current technology.

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Homes Now 'Reservoirs' for Superbug MRSA

TUESDAY, April 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is now taking up residence in people's homes, according to a new study published online April 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Pre-HPV Vaccine, Most Oropharyngeal Cancers HPV+

TUESDAY, April 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Most oropharyngeal cancers in the United States diagnosed between 1995 and 2005 were positive for human papillomavirus (HPV), specifically HPV 16 or 18, according to a study published in the May issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infectious Diseases.

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Task Force Recommends Ways to Improve Price Transparency

MONDAY, April 21, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Price transparency frameworks, which provide price information presented in the context of other relevant information, should be developed to meet patients' needs, according to recommendations presented in a report from the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).

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AMA Examines Economic Impact of Physicians

FRIDAY, April 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians who mainly engage in patient care contribute a total of $1.6 trillion in economic output, according to the American Medical Association (AMA)'s Economic Impact Study.

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Int'l Medical Education Standards Not Equivalent to U.K. Standards

FRIDAY, April 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- International medical graduates passing the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) of the General Medical Council (GMC) have lower performance on MRCP(UK) (Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians) and MRCGP (Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners) and on annual review of competence progression (ARCP) examinations, according to two studies published online April 17 in BMJ.

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White House: 8 Million People Signed Up for Health Insurance

FRIDAY, April 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Eight million Americans signed up for private health insurance during the just-concluded first enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act, the White House announced Thursday afternoon.

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Salmonella Cases Dip but Food Poisoning Rates Remain High

FRIDAY, April 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- While the United States has seen a decline in the number of Salmonella illnesses in recent years, there's been little progress overall in reducing food poisoning outbreaks, according to a report published in the April 18 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Experimental Measles Drug Shows Promise in Animal Trials

THURSDAY, April 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists have successfully tested in animals a new drug that might one day protect people infected with measles from becoming ill, according to research published in the April 16 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

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One in 20 U.S. Adults a Victim of Diagnostic Errors

THURSDAY, April 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Diagnostic errors affect at least one in 20 U.S. adults, according to research published online April 17 in BMJ Quality & Safety.

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Patient-Clinician Relationship Impacts Health Care Outcomes

THURSDAY, April 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The patient-clinician relationship has a small but significant effect on health care outcomes, according to a study published online April 9 in PLOS ONE.

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Educator Discusses Key Issues for Future Doctors to Consider

THURSDAY, April 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The key issues for future physicians are discussed in an article published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

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MRSA Isolate Acquired vanA Resistance During Therapy

THURSDAY, April 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers report that a bloodstream infection of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in a patient with a serious skin condition acquired vancomycin resistance during antibiotic therapy, according to a report published in the April 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Continued Reliance on Windows XP May Threaten Data Security

WEDNESDAY, April 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians who use Windows XP in their practices may be affected by Microsoft's recent discontinuation of support for the program, according to an article published April 8 in Medical Economics.

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Patients Paying Much More for Specialty Drugs

TUESDAY, April 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Many Americans are paying less for prescription drugs, but some are having to deal with sharp rises in the cost of specialty medicines for rare or serious diseases, according to a new report.

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Younger Adults Hit Hardest This Flu Season

TUESDAY, April 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The H1N1 flu was the predominant influenza strain in the United States this year, but it packed a lot less punch than in 2009 when it caused a worldwide pandemic, health officials report.

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As Ebola Outbreak Spreads, Hopes for Vaccine Years Away

MONDAY, April 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- As a major outbreak of Ebola virus spreads through the West African nations of Guinea and Liberia, public health officials are struggling to contain the pathogen before it slips into neighboring countries.

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Alcohol May Hinder Immune Response in Wound Healing

MONDAY, April 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Binge alcohol exposure impairs key components of the immune system involved in wound repair, which may account for the delayed wound healing seen in people who are injured while intoxicated, according to an animal study published online April 1 in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

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Cytomegalovirus Tied to Anemia With Kidney Disease

MONDAY, April 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Cytomegalovirus (CMV) may contribute to anemia in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), according to a study published online April 10 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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New Health Secretary to Confront Health Care Reform Hurdles

MONDAY, April 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- With the resignation of U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Friday, the Affordable Care Act will get a fresh face. But turning around public perception of the controversial health care reform law in a politically charged mid-term election year poses an enormous challenge for the department's next leader, policy experts said.

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$31.3B Spent on Development Assistance for Health in 2013

FRIDAY, April 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Disease burden, income, and funding levels are not always aligned in the allocation of development assistance resources, according to a study published online April 8 in Health Affairs.

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CDC: Measles Cases Linked to U.S. Adoptions From China

FRIDAY, April 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A series of measles cases in the United States involving children adopted from China highlights the importance of vaccinations for any adopted child from overseas, according to a report published in the April 11 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Sebelius Stepping Down As HHS Secretary

FRIDAY, April 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is stepping down from her position, after overseeing the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act that remains unpopular with some Americans and virtually all Republican lawmakers.

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Financial Incentives Improve Completion of HBV Vaccination

THURSDAY, April 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Modest financial incentives significantly improve adherence to hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination programs among patients receiving opioid dependence treatment, according to a study published online April 9 in The Lancet.

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Updated Reviews Issued for Oseltamivir, Zanamivir Use in Flu

THURSDAY, April 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Oseltamivir and zanamivir reduce the time to symptomatic improvement in influenza by about half a day, but evidence to support claims of reduced admissions to hospital or complications of influenza is lacking, according to two systematic reviews of regulatory information published online April 10 in BMJ.

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Fewer Americans Overwhelmed by Medical Bills

WEDNESDAY, April 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- While millions of Americans still feel hamstrung by medical expenses, a new government report shows that some people are getting relief.

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More Justification Needed for Choosing Wisely Selections

WEDNESDAY, April 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Most services included in specialty medical societies' Top 5 lists for the Choosing Wisely campaign are based on evidence demonstrating equivalent but not superior benefit, with higher risk or higher costs compared to other options, according to a research letter published in the April 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Some Doctors Paid at Least $3 Million Each by Medicare

WEDNESDAY, April 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A small number of doctors received at least $3 million each in Medicare payments in 2012, for a total of nearly $1.5 billion, according to an analysis of Medicare claims data released Wednesday by the White House. In total, Medicare paid individual physicians nearly $64 billion in 2012. The median payment was just over $30,000, the Associated Press reported.

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Stroke Risk May Be Elevated After Herpes Zoster Infection

TUESDAY, April 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Risk of stroke may be increased following herpes zoster infection, according to research published online April 8 in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

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Drinking Coffee Cuts Risk of Liver Cirrhosis Mortality

TUESDAY, April 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Coffee consumption is associated with reduced risk of mortality from cirrhosis related to non-viral hepatitis, according to research published online in Hepatology.

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Newly Eligible for Expanded Medicaid Are Healthier

MONDAY, April 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Persons newly eligible for expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are not sicker than pre-ACA enrollees, according to research published online March 26 in Health Affairs.

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CDC: U.S. Traveler Returning From Africa Has Lassa Fever

MONDAY, April 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A person returning to the United States after visiting West Africa has been confirmed as having Lassa fever and is recovering after being treated at a Minnesota hospital, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday.

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Patients Select Fewer New Docs at Bottom of Tiered Ranking

MONDAY, April 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Patients are less likely to select a new physician ranked in the bottom of a tiered network, but often don't switch if their current physician is ranked at the bottom, according to research published online March 11 in Health Services Research.

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AMA Provides Resources to Aid Physicians' Collections

FRIDAY, April 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The American Medical Association (AMA) has released resources to help doctors confront policy jumpers who may pose a financial risk to physicians during the Affordable Care Act's 90-day premium grace period, according to an article published March 25 in Medical Economics.

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Transplant Drugs Cut Persistent HIV Levels

THURSDAY, April 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Immunosuppressant therapy taken following kidney transplantation may help reduce persistent HIV burdens in infected patients, according to a study published online April 3 in the American Journal of Transplantation.

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Emerging Drug Resistance May Up Gonorrhea Incidence

THURSDAY, April 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Ciprofloxacin resistance may be tied to increased gonorrhea incidence, according to a report published in the April issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infectious Diseases.

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Half of Uninsured Don't Intend to Sign Up for Health Coverage

WEDNESDAY, April 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- About 50 percent of uninsured adults do not intend to sign up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act's health care exchanges, according to an article published March 26 in Medical Economics.

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Men With HIV May Face Higher Risk of Coronary Artery Disease

WEDNESDAY, April 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Men who are infected with HIV are at greater risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), according to research published in the April 1 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Optimization of HIV Tx in Prison Improves Viral Load

TUESDAY, April 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Optimization of HIV treatment regimens during incarceration results in the majority of prisoners achieving viral suppression by release, according to a study published online March 31 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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CMS: Medicare Beneficiaries Saved $3.9B on Meds in 2013

TUESDAY, April 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- In 2013, 4.3 million seniors and people with disabilities saved an estimated $3.9 billion on prescription drugs, an increase from the 2012 savings, according to a report published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Research Provides Clues on How Gut Microbes Boost Immunity

TUESDAY, April 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Gut bacteria direct innate immune cell development via promoting hematopoiesis, according to a mouse study published in the March 12 issue of Cell Host & Microbe.

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