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Number of whooping cough cases increases in Wales
Date: 2012-10-26 02:09:37

According to BBC News, there were 185 cases of whooping cough reported in Wales as of late September this year, which is a significant increase from the 37 cases reported in 2011.

Whooping cough, which can be detected with a lab test, is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It can result in death and disability in infants, and it spreads through bacteria that gets expelled into the air when a patient sneezes or coughs.

BBC News reported that pregnant women were encouraged to receive the immunization last year in order to protect their infants in the womb. Mary Ramsay, M.D., of the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said that parents should monitor their little ones for severe coughing fits and a "whoop" noise, which characterizes the disease. She also suggested that babies be kept away from siblings who have contracted the ailment.

According to the news source, there have been 10 infant fatalities due to whooping cough this year. Although it poses the greatest risk to infants, it affects people of all ages, but most adults make a full recovery after being treated with antibiotics.

... Full Story

Hand washing may be the most effective way to reduce MRSA infections
Date: 2012-10-26 01:52:38

A nine-year study conducted at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), revealed that hand washing, in conjunction with other simple hygiene measures, reduced the risk of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection by 95 percent in intensive care units.

Many hospitals implement vertical prevention measures, during which they conduct a lab test on cultures taken from patients and quarantine individuals with MRSA. Instead, the VCU researchers took a horizontal approach, where they encouraged everyone in the ward to frequently wash their hands. They found that the hygiene compliance method was not only effective in reducing infections, but it also cut costs.

"Our study showed that using a simple approach over a nine-year period resulted in low rates of MRSA infection," said research author Michael B. Edmond, M.D., M.P.H. "Patient safety is the key benefit to this approach. We found that it not only prevents MRSA, but other infections that are transmitted via contact. It can also save hospitals a lot of money."

Edmond also noted that quarantining patients is detrimental to their health because it can produce anxiety, depression and bed sores, and isolated patients are also visited less frequently by doctors and nurses.

These new findings, according to the researcher, will increase the hospital's efforts in encouraging its staff to wash their hands.

MRSA characteritics... Full Story

Flu shot linked to reduced risk of heart disease and fatalities
Date: 2012-10-31 17:39:58

New studies presented at the 2012 Canadian Cardiovascular Congress showed that receiving the influenza vaccine may help reduce the risk of heart disease and death.

The research looked at 3,227 subjects, half of whom had a history of heart disease and had been part of ongoing studies since the 1960s. Half of the subjects were issued the flu shot, while the other half were given a placebo. The results showed that participants who were given the vaccine were 50 percent less likely to suffer from cardiovascular events like heart attack or stroke.

Research author Jacob Udell, M.D., a cardiologist at Women's College Hospital and the University of Toronto, noted that the findings supported previous claims that people who have suffered a heart attack should get the flu vaccine. But he also reported that a larger international study should occur to provide concrete evidence of the shot's benefits, besides its ability to ward off the flu, which can be detected with a lab test.

According to Udell, the rates of people getting the vaccine are not high enough, and this research may help increase those numbers.

"The use of the vaccine is still much too low, less than 50 per cent of the general population; it's even poorly used among healthcare workers," Udell said. "Imagine if this vaccine could also be a proven way to prevent heart disease."

Vaccine facts... Full Story

2012 was second worst year for West Nile Virus
Date: 2012-10-19 16:33:44
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that as of Oct. 16, there have been 4,531 human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) reported, reaching a death toll of 183, making this year's outbreak the second worst in six years. Of all the WNV cases, 51 percent were classified as being neuroinvasive diseases, such as meningitis or encephalitis, while 49 percent were non-neuroinvasive.... Full Story

NECC drugs linked to meningitis
Date: 2012-10-16 17:05:40
The Washington Post reported that an outbreak of meningitis infections have been linked to drugs produced by the New England Compounding Center (NECC). Originally, the infections were tied to a steroid known as methylprednisolone acetate, which was taken via injection by nearly 14,000 people.... Full Story

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