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Ohio experiences spike in Lyme disease
Date: 2012-09-04 22:35:11

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that nearly 30,000 instances of Lyme disease were reported in the Northeast and upper Midwest U.S. regions in 2009. The organization also suspected that 8,500 other illnesses that weren't diagnosed as Lyme disease could have been exactly that. Lyme disease blood testing is required to determine if symptoms the CDC lists - fever, rash, exhaustion, stunned facial muscles or aching joints - are due to this infection. If untreated for long periods of time, the bacterial illness could lead to more serious conditions, such as brain, nervous system and heart damage.

A recent article from documents Ohio officials' anxiety about an increase in potentially disease-carrying ticks in their state.

"We're finding ticks in places we didn't find them before, and we know some of those ticks are infected," said Glen Needham, associate professor of entomology at Ohio State University, quoted by the news source.

Another official, Richard Gary of the Ohio Department of Health, told that he suspects the steady rise in the tick population could be due to infected birds, livestock or deer entering Ohio from other areas. The news source states there have been 34 cases of the illness, which could have been confirmed by Lyme disease blood testing in Ohio this year, as opposed to what the CDC reports as 21 cases in 2010.

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US schools ill-prepared for influenza pandemic
Date: 2012-09-14 22:09:10

New findings from Saint Louis University indicate that less than half of American schools have protocols in place for a flu outbreak. Worse yet, only 40 percent attempted to enhance their preparedness in light of the 2009 H1N1 flu epidemic that ended 18,000 lives globally.

Influenza can be diagnosed with a lab test, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, aches, chills and runny nose. The agency notes that the majority of individuals who catch the H1N1 virus just need to rest at home to avoid spreading the illness, and do not require medical attention. The case may be different for people with who screen positive on a lab test for a pre-existing, ongoing illness such as asthma or heart disease.

"Results from this study indicate that better prepared schools were ones that involved their nurses in the disaster planning committee. The school nurse is the best person in a school district to know about infection control and be able to make recommendations about the best interventions," said research leader Terri Rebmann, associate professor at Saint Louis University's Institute for Biosecurity.

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Prisoners can benefit from medicine for hepatitis C
Date: 2012-09-28 21:25:01

When blood tests detect hepatitis C in incarcerated individuals, that doesn't make the infectious disease any more difficult to treat than it is for free individuals, according to findings from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH). This information appears in the upcoming issue of Hepatology.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hepatitis C - or chronic swelling of the liver - can be either asymptomatic, make people feel somewhat sick or cause individuals to become severely ill. It spreads through blood, meaning it can transfer from person to person through unsterilized needles for intravenous drug use and tattoos.

"Given that a history of intravenous drug use is more frequent among inmates, there is a higher prevalence of hepatitis C infection in the prison population," said lead author Michael Lucey, chief of the SMPH's Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. "[Hepatitis C] treatment during incarceration provides an opportunity to make a significant improvement to public health."

The SMPH compared two large groups of people who received affirmative blood tests for hepatitis C - one of incarcerated individuals, one of non-incarcerated people - to determine if drug therapy would produce different outcomes. After administering two types of drugs, SMPH reports that 43 percent of the prisoners responded to the treatment, while 38 percent of the free group experienced the same result.

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