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Infections Blog

Environment Trumps Genes at Shaping Immune System: Study

Posted 14 days ago by

THURSDAY, Jan. 15, 2015 – Environment plays a larger role than genes in shaping people's immune systems, a new study suggests. Researchers compared 78 pairs of identical twins – who are nearly genetically the same – and 27 pairs of nonidentical twins, who have about 50 percent of their genes in common. Three-quarters of the immune system differences between the twins were due to environmental influences such as previous exposure to microbes or toxins, vaccinations, diet and dental hygiene. Among identical twins, environmental effects on the immune system were stronger among those 60 and older than among those younger than 20, the Stanford University School of Medicine researchers found. The study was published Jan. 15 in the journal Cell. "Nonheritable influences, particularly microbes, seem to play a huge role in driving immune variation," senior study author Mark Davis, a professor ... Read more

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More Evidence Breast-Feeding Lowers Child's Risk of Infections, Allergies

Posted 2 Sep 2014 by

TUESDAY, Sept. 2, 2014 – Two new studies further confirm the health benefits of breast-feeding. One suggests that 6-year-olds who were breast-fed have a lower risk of ear, throat and sinus infections compared to bottle-fed infants, while the other finds a similar trend when it comes to allergies. The research upholds the "many benefits of breast-feeding in the immediate newborn period," said Dr. Jennifer Wu, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She was not involved in the new studies. The studies were published online Sept. 1 in the journal Pediatrics. Current recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics urge women to breast-feed baby exclusively for the first six months of life, and then combine breast milk and other foods until at least 12 months. The two studies sought to determine if breast-feeding's health benefits lingered long after ... Read more

Related support groups: Infections, Allergies

FDA Medwatch Alert: Clinical Specialties Compounding Pharmacy Products: Recall - All Sterile Products Recalled Due To Lack of Sterility Assurance

Posted 25 Mar 2013 by

ISSUE: Clinical Specialties is voluntarily recalling all lots of all sterile products repackaged and distributed by the pharmacy due to lack of sterility assurance. The recall of all sterile products is conducted in follow-up to concerns regarding practices at the site which cannot assure the sterility of the products. BACKGROUND: This expanded recall follows the firm’s initial recall of Avastin on March 18, 2013, due to reports of five patients who have been diagnosed with serious eye infections associated with the use of the product. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notified the FDA of these endophthalmitis infections, which occur inside the eyeball. Endophthalmitis after intravitreal injection is a serious complication that can lead to permanent loss of vision. Clinical Specialties Compounding sterile products covered under this recall were distributed nationwide be ... Read more

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Dialysis Catheters Tied to Higher Risk for Infection, Death, Study Finds

Posted 21 Feb 2013 by

THURSDAY, Feb. 21 – Dialysis patients using catheters have a higher risk for death, infection and heart problems than patients using other procedures to access the blood, according to a new analysis. Researchers examined 67 studies involving nearly 600,000 dialysis patients to compare the risks associated with three procedures used to access the blood: arteriovenous fistula, arteriovenous graft and central venous catheter. An arteriovenous fistula is formed when a patient's vein and artery are connected to form a site through which blood can be removed and returned. An arteriovenous graft is a plastic channel between an artery and a vein. A third option for dialysis patients is a catheter, which patients often use to avoid surgery or needles or because of declining health. Because of kidney failure, more than 1.5 million people around the world are treated with hemodialysis. The ... Read more

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Multiple Tests Needed to Spot Infections in Newborns: Study

Posted 20 Feb 2013 by

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 20 – Multiple tests are needed to detect bacterial infections in newborns with a low birth weight, a news study suggests. The study authors looked at amniotic and umbilical cord blood samples from 44 premature infants who had low birth weights. Most of the infants had been diagnosed with early onset sepsis, which occurs within 72 hours of birth. Sepsis is a life-threatening blood infection that can be caused by a number of types of bacteria. For the new study, the researchers found that cultures commonly used to detect bacterial infections in newborns with low birth weights and early-onset sepsis failed to detect more than 20 types of bacteria. Some of those bacteria species were present in both the amniotic fluid and umbilical cord blood, the researchers said. The study results point to the need for multiple tests – such as DNA analysis – to identify bacteria that ... Read more

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Scientists Explore How Zinc Fights Off Infection

Posted 7 Feb 2013 by

THURSDAY, Feb. 7 – Many Americans take zinc supplements to zap colds, and a new study seeks to explain how the mineral works. Zinc helps fight infections by balancing the immune system's response, according to the study led by Daren Knoell, a professor of pharmacy and internal medicine at Ohio State University. "We believe that our findings help to narrow an important gap that has existed in our understanding of how this relatively simple metal helps us defend ourselves from infection," Knoell said in a university news release. Zinc deficiency affects about 2 billion people worldwide, including roughly 40 percent of the elderly in the United States. It can have severe consequences among vulnerable people, the researchers noted. Red meat and poultry are rich in zinc, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Other foods that contain zinc are beans, nuts, some shellfish, whole ... Read more

Related support groups: Infections, Zinc Sulfate, Zinc Gluconate, Galzin, Zinc Acetate, Zinc CR, Zinca-pak, Mar-Zinc, Orazinc 110, Zinc Chloride, Zinc 50 mg Pink, Zinc-220, Zincate, Micro-Zn, Verazinc

In Hospitals, Daily Antiseptic Bath May Prevent Dangerous Infections

Posted 6 Feb 2013 by

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 6 – A daily swabbing with a simple antiseptic greatly decreases the number of life-threatening bloodstream infections and drug-resistant bacteria lurking among patients in acute-care hospital units, a new study suggests. Researchers found that bathing patients with washcloths soaked with chlorhexidine – a cheap, broad-spectrum antiseptic – lowered the rate of hospital-acquired bloodstream infections by 28 percent. Highly feared multidrug-resistant organisms such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) and VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococcus) were reduced by 23 percent. "We're talking about an intervention that's very simple to implement and minimal in cost," said study author Dr. Edward Wong, chief of infectious disease at Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Richmond, Va. "This can be laid on top of all the other things [experts ... Read more

Related support groups: Infections, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus Infection

Health Tip: Antibiotic Resistance Is Dangerous

Posted 11 Jan 2013 by

-- Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in some way to survive despite a person's use of an antibiotic. Antibiotics are medications that fight a specific bacterial infection. Resistance may result when an antibiotic is over-prescribed, when it's inappropriately prescribed for an viral illness (such as the common cold), or if a person stops taking an antibiotic before the entire prescription is used. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the dangers of antibiotic resistance include: Resistant bacteria can be spread to friends, family members and coworkers. Resistant bacteria can affect entire communities with illnesses that are expensive and difficult to treat. Resistant infections can target people with weaker immune systems – such as babies, young children and older adults. Some infections can be deadly. Read more

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Experimental Dengue Vaccine Shows Some Success

Posted 11 Sep 2012 by

TUESDAY, Sept. 11 – An experimental vaccine may offer protection from dengue fever, a potentially fatal mosquito-borne illness, according to a new study. The vaccine was safe and effective against three of the four viruses that cause the disease, researchers found in the study, published online Sept. 10 in The Lancet. Dengue fever occurs in tropical and subtropical areas, according to the World Health Organization. The number of cases has increased significantly in recent years, and in 2009 the disease made a return to the continental United States. According to the Florida Department of Health, in 2009, 27 people living in Key West came down with illness via locally acquired infections, and then 66 more residents contracted the illness in 2010. The outbreak seems to have eased since then, however. Dengue symptoms typically appear three days to two weeks after a mosquito bite and can ... Read more

Related support groups: Infections, Vaccination and Prophlaxis

New Vaccine May Offer Protection From Deadly Nipah Virus

Posted 8 Aug 2012 by

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 8 – A new vaccine developed by a team of researchers may protect people and livestock from the deadly Nipah virus. The virus, upon which the Hollywood blockbuster Contagion was modeled, is found naturally in several species of fruit bats. Once infected, it causes serious respiratory distress syndrome and encephalitis. The researchers noted that in more than 75 percent of cases, those infected with Nipah die. The researchers, led by Dr. Heinz Feldmann, chief of the Rocky Mountain Laboratories' Laboratory of Virology, conducted their research on live Nipah virus in a high-security facility in Hamilton, Mont. They found that immunizing African green monkeys with a vaccine based on the Hendra virus attachment G glycoprotein completely protected them against Nipah virus infection. "There are currently no approved vaccines for prevention of infection and disease caused by ... Read more

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Reused Vials, Unsafe Injections Threatening Patients: CDC

Posted 12 Jul 2012 by

THURSDAY, July 12 – Life-threatening but completely preventable infections are being contracted by patients in the United States because health care providers fail to follow safe-injection recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a new study. The study details outbreaks that occurred in patients who received pain-relief treatments at two outpatient clinics in Arizona and Delaware this year. At least 10 patients were hospitalized with invasive Staphylococcus aureus or methicillin-resistant S. aureus infections. Other patients with infections received outpatient treatment with antibiotics. One patient was found dead. The cause of death was listed as multiple drug overdoses, but invasive methicillin-resistant S. aureus could not be ruled out, according to the researchers. At one clinic – a pain-management practice – injection-safety ... Read more

Related support groups: Infections, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus Infection

Certain Seniors at Risk for Infection After ER Visit: Study

Posted 23 Jan 2012 by

MONDAY, Jan. 23 – Seniors in long-term care facilities have a roughly threefold increased risk for respiratory or gastrointestinal infections if they visit a hospital emergency department in the fall, winter or spring, according to a new study. Canadian researchers looked at 1,269 elderly residents of 22 long-term care facilities in Toronto, Ontario, and Montreal and Riviere-du-Loup, Quebec between September 2006 and May 2008. The investigators noted that they focused on non-summer months because that's when higher rates of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections occur. During the study period, 424 of the seniors visited an emergency department for a variety of conditions other than acute respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms, and 845 did not go to an emergency department. The seniors who went to an emergency department had a higher rate of chronic illnesses and tended to be ... Read more

Related support groups: Infections, Upper Respiratory Tract Infection, Gastroenteritis

Drug-Resistant Infections in Hospitals May Be Less Deadly Than Thought

Posted 25 Oct 2011 by

TUESDAY, Oct. 25 – Antibiotic-resistant infections acquired in hospital intensive care units may be killing fewer patients than feared, new research suggests. Infections occur in 1.7 million hospitalized patients every year, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Over the past decade, the rate of resistant infections that don't respond to most antibiotics has risen in ICUs. In the study, researchers examined infections in surgical or trauma ICU patients from 2000 to 2010. They identified 799 drug-resistant pathogens and nearly 1,500 infections acquired in the ICU. While rates of drug-resistant infections rose during that period, death rates from any cause fell by 4 percent. "The bottom line is that we think that these patients who have infection are not dying from that infection after all; however, they die with that infection because, for example, they are of ... Read more

Related support groups: Infections, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus Infection

Dangerous Bacteria Hide Out in Nurses', Doctors' Uniforms

Posted 31 Aug 2011 by

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 31 – The white coats and medical scrubs worn by hospital staff may harbor hazardous bacteria, a new study finds. Researchers in Israel swabbed nurses' and physicians' uniforms and found potentially dangerous bacteria on more than 60 percent of the clothing items. The team, from the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, analyzed swab samples collected from three parts – sleeve ends, pockets and abdominal area – of the uniforms of 75 registered nurses and 60 doctors. Potentially dangerous bacteria were found on 60 percent of the doctors' uniforms and 65 percent of the nurses' uniforms. Especially dangerous drug-resistant bacteria were found in 21 of the samples from nurses' uniforms and six samples from doctors' uniforms. Eight of the samples had methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which is becoming tough to fight using conventional antibiotics. The ... Read more

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Bacterial Strain Behind 'Black Death' Plague Is Likely Extinct: Study

Posted 30 Aug 2011 by

TUESDAY, Aug. 30 – Using bones retrieved from London's medieval graveyards, scientists have isolated the strain of bacteria thought to be responsible for the Black Death, and determined that it is most likely now extinct. The plague, caused by a strain of flea-borne bacteria called Yersinia pestis, ravaged Europe close to seven centuries ago. But the variant of the bacterium behind that scourge is different from the modern strain that still causes about 2,000 new cases of bubonic and pneumonic plague each year, researchers said. The new research also confirms Y. pestis as the culprit behind the medieval outbreak, the study authors said. "The controversy as to what caused the Black Death is now resolved," said study co-author Hendrik Poinar, associate professor in the department of anthropology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. "It clearly was the bacterium Yersinia ... Read more

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