Health and Fitness

FDA Updates Statement On The Investigation Into The Salmonella Montevideo Outbreak

The Food and Drug Administration, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service, continues to work closely with the Rhode Island Department of Health and other states in the investigation of an outbreak of Salmonella Montevideo infections associated with certain Italian-style sausage products including salami/salame. The CDC reports that 207 people have been infected with a matching strain of Salmonella Montevideo in at least 42 states and the District of Columbia. Recently, the CDC and public health officials in multiple states conducted an epidemiologic study by comparing foods eaten by 41 ill and 41 well persons. Preliminary analysis of this study suggested salami/salame as a possible source of illness: click here. On Jan. 23, 2010, Daniele International Inc. recalled ready-to-eat varieties of Italian style meats and expanded its recall a week later to include additional ready-to-eat meats. The recalled products, including salami and Hot Sopressata Calabrese, are regulated by the USDA: click here.

Uterine Infection In Pregnant Women Linked With Asthma In Preterm Infants, Study Finds

A study published Tuesday in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine suggests that preterm infants born to women who had a uterine inflammation known as chorioamnionitis face an increased likelihood of developing asthma by age eight, USA Today reports (Rubin, USA Today, 2/2). Chorioamnionitis, a bacterial infection, affects roughly 8% of pregnancies and, by some estimates, is linked with more than 50% of preterm birth -- those before 37 weeks' gestation. Symptoms of the infection include a fever higher than 100.4 degrees, high maternal or fetal heart rate, uterine tenderness, foul-smelling amniotic fluid and elevated white blood-cell counts (Maugh, Los Angeles Times, 2/2). However, the condition can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are not definitive and might not occur in some women who have the infection, according to lead author Darios Getahun, a scientist at Kaiser Permanente Southern California's Department of Research and Evaluation ( USA Today, 2/2).

Three Years Out, Safety Checklist Continues To Keep Hospital Infections In Check

The state of Michigan, which used a five-step checklist developed at Johns Hopkins to virtually eliminate bloodstream infections in its hospitals' intensive care units, has been able to keep the number of these common, costly and potentially lethal infections near zero - even three years after first adopting the standardized procedures. A report on the work is being published in the February 20 issue of BMJ (British Medical Journal). Peter Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a patient safety expert, says the widely heralded success in Michigan - the first state system to tackle in a wholesale fashion infections in central-line catheters ubiquitous in intensive-care units - has significantly changed the way physicians think about these infections. "Prior to our work, we thought these were largely inevitable infections and that they were simply a cost of being in the hospital, " says Pronovost, the report's leader and the developer of the checklist.

New Technology Aims To Repair The After-Effects Of Gum Disease

Advances in tissue engineering are offering the promise of being able to restore lost bone and gum tissue following periodontal disease. About a third of the population are affected by chronic inflammatory gum disease which can result in loss of the bone and other tissues that support our teeth. Professor Saso Ivanovski, Listerine Chair in Periodontology at Griffith's School of Dentistry and Oral Health, said even when the infection or inflammation was brought under control, people can be left with an unsightly appearance and poor function. The colloquial expression 'long in the tooth' is often used to describe people and things of a significant age, however the unsightly effects of severe gum disease and gum retraction leading to wobbly teeth are not confined to the elderly. "Smoking, uncontrolled diabetes, stress and genetic susceptibility are some of the risk factors for gum disease, which affects people of all ages, " he said. Advanced disease affects about 10 per cent of the population.

PATH To Pay FDA 480,000 To Speed Creation Of Pneumococcal Vaccine For Developing World

The FDA on Monday said it's entering into a collaboration with the nonprofit group PATH "to speed creation of a pneumococcal vaccine for children in developing nations, " United Press International reports (2/1). "The bacteria, Streptococcus pneumoniae, can cause fatal infections of the ear, lungs, blood and brain; worldwide, it kills almost one million children a year, " the New York Times writes. According to the FDA, PATH, which receives funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will pay the agency $480, 000 to perform a key step needed to build the vaccine, the New York Times reports (McNeil, 2/1). According to an FDA press release, its goal "is to improve the efficiency of a key technology in the development of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine candidates. The technology is used to link a piece of the bacterium's surface coating, a polysaccharide made up of long chains of sugars, to a special molecule called a carrier protein in a process called conjugation. When carrier proteins are joined with the polysaccharides, they significantly increase the strength of the immune response (2/1).

Research Fellowship To Halt Super Bug Invasion, Australia

A new Queensland Government Fellowship presented today by the Governor of Queensland will be used by a researcher to try to combat an extreme super bug even more aggressive than resistant Staphylococcus strains. Queensland Health and University of Queensland researcher Professor David Paterson received a Senior Clinical Research Fellowship to stem the invasion of mega super bugs, which are resistant to all antibiotics and current treatments. Professor Paterson - an infectious diseases researcher at UQ's Centre for Clinical Research (UQCCR) and the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital - received the Fellowship from the Office of Health and Medical Research (OHMR). Professor Paterson said the new strain of bacteria had "extreme drug resistance" or XDR. "These are real super bugs, far worse than MRSA (the Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and even the more aggressive Community Acquired MRSA strain, " he said. "There are currently no treatment options at all." Professor Paterson is one of three researchers to receive a total of $8.

Billion Dollar Market For Malaria Vaccine Products Should Interest Drug Developers

With increased attention on finding a cure for the scourge of malaria, recently highlighted by the announcement of a large research and development grant from the Bill Gates Foundation, and with several candidates already in the pipeline, there could be a $1 billion market for malaria vaccine products by 2017, according to healthcare market research publisher Kalorama Information, which recently published a survey of emerging vaccine products titled: "What's Next in Vaccines? HIV, Malaria, Rabies, MRSA, and 30 Other Vaccine Targets in the 2010-2020 Pipeline." According to Kalorama, the potential market is likely to spur companies to develop innovative products for a disease that kills nearly two million people each year. "The attention on this disease comes at a time when pharmaceutical companies are positive about vaccines as part of their business model and searching for new targets, " said Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information. "A vaccine has long been the desired solution to malaria, and now the pieces seem to be coming together.

Study Supports Seasonal Influenza Vaccine For Young Infants

Vaccination against seasonal influenza is safe and produces a protective immune response in infants as young as 6 to 12 weeks, concludes a study in the February issue of The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health, a leading provider of information and business intelligence for students, professionals, and institutions in medicine, nursing, allied health, and pharmacy. Although confirmatory studies are needed, the results suggest that seasonal flu vaccine could be included in the standard vaccinations for infants less than 6 months old, according to Dr. Janet A. Englund of University of Washington, Seattle, and colleagues. Flu Shots Yield Good Immune Response with Few Adverse Events In the study, 1, 375 healthy U.S. infants were randomly assigned to receive two doses of the standard trivalent seasonal flu vaccine or an inactive placebo vaccine. ("Trivalent" means that the vaccine offers protection against three strains of circulating influenza virus.

WHO Hails New Gates Foundation Support For Decade Of Vaccines

The World Health Organization welcomes the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledge of US$ 10 billion over the next ten years to accelerate global vaccine efforts. "The Gates Foundation's commitment to vaccines is unprecedented, but needs to be matched by unprecedented action. It's absolutely crucial that both governments and the private sector step up efforts to provide life-saving vaccines to children who need them most, " said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. Vaccines and immunization have played a major role since the last century in overall health gains. Smallpox has been eradicated, polio is on the verge of being eradicated and more than 2 million deaths are averted each year. "Building on these achievements, we can take immunization to the next level, with the expanded uptake of new vaccines against major killers such as pneumonia and rotavirus diarrhoea, " said Dr Chan. "An additional two million deaths in children under five years could be prevented by 2015 through widespread use of new vaccines and a 10% increase in global vaccination coverage.

Swine Flu Vaccination Available For All Until March 31, Ireland

The Swine Flu Vaccination programme is moving into its final phase, where Swine Flu vaccine is being made available to the general population through HSE Clinics nationwide. Anyone in the target groups* who has not yet been vaccinated is advised to come to a HSE clinic for their vaccine before March 31st. In addition, any members of the general public who have not yet been offered vaccine may now come to a HSE clinic for swine flu vaccine. Some GPs who have remaining vaccine supplies may also be able to vaccinate their patients. Other mechanisms for members of the general population are also being put in place by the HSE including offering vaccines to large companies and organisations who are in a position to offer vaccines to their staff through in-house occupational health facilities. To date, approximately 800, 000 people have been vaccinated and are now protected from any future swine flu circulation. The HSE is continuing the schools vaccination programme in primary and secondary schools and some HSE clinics in the weeks ahead.

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