Infectious Disease

Despite Legislative Complaints, Media Frenzy, TB Outbreak Never Occurred at VA Facilities

Despite Legislative Complaints, Media Frenzy, TB Outbreak Never Occurred at VA Facilities

In February, five U.S. representatives from California blasted the VA in a letter to Secretary Robert McDonald, alleging the Palo Alto Medical Center failed to follow public health protocol regarding potential tuberculosis (TB) exposure.

Army Research Produces Zika Vaccine Candidate in Record Time

Army Research Produces Zika Vaccine Candidate in Record Time

Drawing on deep experience with flaviviruses that started with its namesake’s research on yellow fever in the 1800s, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) and collaborators brought two Zika vaccine candidates through early testing in just four months this spring.

When Should Physicians Recommend HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis to Patients?

When Should Physicians Recommend HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis to Patients?

ANN ARBOR, MI — Oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) gained Food and Drug Administration approval in 2012, and many commentators hailed the therapy as a “once-in-a-generation” advance.

Turning the Tide on Rising VA Hepatocellular Carcinoma Rates

Turning the Tide on Rising VA Hepatocellular Carcinoma Rates

HOUSTON — After a decade of dramatically rising rates of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) among veterans, aggressive treatment of hepatitis C infections (HCV) appears poised to turn the tide.

VA, DoD Adopting Earlier HIV Treatment to Dramatically Reduce AIDS Risk

VA, DoD Adopting Earlier HIV Treatment to Dramatically Reduce AIDS Risk

Pre-infection Immunological Health Achieved in Some Cases By Annette M. Boyle SAN ANTONIO — For years, clinicians have not recommended treating human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patients with antiretroviral therapy (ART) before they saw a significant drop in T-cell levels. Starting… Read More

Hospitals’ Routine Use of PPIs Increases Risk of Inpatient Pneumonia, C. Diff

Hospitals’ Routine Use of PPIs Increases Risk of Inpatient Pneumonia, C. Diff

VA Researchers Recommend Against the Practice in Most Cases By Brenda L. Mooney ANN ARBOR, MI — In a case where the preventive measure might be worse than the avoided outcome, hospitals at the VHA and elsewhere often routinely provide… Read More

What Factors Increase Post-Surgical C. Diff Risk at VHA?

New Research Uncovers Some Clues to Aid Prevention By Brenda L. Mooney WASHINGTON — As the VHA works to reduce the overall post-operative rate of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), important new research has uncovered some clues to the circumstances that… Read More

Cirrhosis Expected to Peak by 2021 in VA; Liver Cancer Epidemic Continues

Cirrhosis Expected to Peak by 2021 in VA; Liver Cancer Epidemic Continues

For the VA, the combination of effective treatment options and much lower prevalence of HCV in younger veterans may offer a light at the end of the tunnel — and a turning point in the steady rise of HCV-associated complications such as cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in only a few years.

For Treated Patients, HIV Status No Greater Risk for Surgery Than Older Age

For Treated Patients, HIV Status No Greater Risk for Surgery Than Older Age

Subhead: Post-operative Mortality Rates Low Among ART Users By Annette M. Boyle WEST HAVEN, CT — Historically, high post-operative mortality rates among HIV-infected patients caused many physicians and patients to defer or avoid surgery all together. For today’s veterans with… Read More

Individual Prescriber Preferences Contribute to VA’s Antibiotic Overuse

Individual Prescriber Preferences Contribute to VA’s Antibiotic Overuse

By Brenda L. Mooney SALT LAKE CITY — A study conducted in the VA health system uncovered a disturbing truth about overuse of antibiotics: A big contributor to the problem is that some clinicians prescribe the drugs to nearly every… Read More

VA Expands Initiatives to Prevent Multi-Drug Resistant Organism Infection

VA Expands Initiatives to Prevent Multi-Drug Resistant Organism Infection

The VA’s methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) prevention initiative reduced healthcare-associated MRSA infections 69% in VA acute care facilities and 81% in spinal cord injury units in five years. The VA hopes to see similar success in preventing infections with Clostridium difficile (CDI) and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) — and the MRSA bundle itself may help them do that.

Air Force Recruits Show Reduced Levels of Immunity to Common Diseases

Air Force Recruits Show Reduced Levels of Immunity to Common Diseases

Lower immunization rates have increased the number of U.S. outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, even of those considered eradicated in this country, such as measles.

VA Study Finds High-Dose Flu Vaccine Better Only for Veterans 85 or Older

VA Study Finds High-Dose Flu Vaccine Better Only for Veterans 85 or Older

Research Contradicts Other Recent Findings By Brenda L. Mooney PHILADELPHIA — As the latest influenza season finally abates, a new VA study raises questions about how effective the high-dose vaccine really is for the 65 or older cohort. Beginning at… Read More

Despite Outcry About Cost, New HCV Therapies Likely to Save Money at VA

Despite Outcry About Cost, New HCV Therapies Likely to Save Money at VA

Amid all the outcry over the high cost of new hepatitis C therapies, including congressional hearings, a simple fact has been overlooked: The VA expects to save money in the long run because of the drugs’ high cure rates. By… Read More

DoD Takes Lead Role in Push for Ebola Vaccine

DoD Takes Lead Role in Push for Ebola Vaccine

WASHINGTON — When dozens of patients suffering with fever, severe diarrhea, hemorrhage and vomiting started dying in Guinea in early 2014

VA Fails to Follow Guidelines on Hepatitis B Follow-Up Testing Rates, Treatment

By Brenda L. Mooney BOSTON – Rates of serologic testing for hepatitis B (HBV) at the VA fail to meet levels recommended by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) practice guideline, according to new research. Researchers… Read More

Danger of Pneumonia Increases with Veterans’ Worsened Health Status

Danger of Pneumonia Increases with Veterans’ Worsened Health Status

Higher Pneumonia Vaccine Rates Urged By Brenda L. Mooney PROVIDENCE, RI – With influenza season each year comes an even greater challenge for VA hospitals — a spate of pneumonia cases in older veterans. Recent research suggests the problem will… Read More

Partnerships, Drive-Throughs Seek to Increase Veterans’ Flu Immunization

Partnerships, Drive-Throughs Seek to Increase Veterans’ Flu Immunization

Free Shots Available at Walgreen’s Locations By Annette M. Boyle SAN FRANCISCO – The VA typically has influenza vaccination rates well above the national average but is trying some innovative measures to do even better. As part of the effort to increase immunizations,… Read More

Despite High Costs, VA Makes Sure Veterans Have Access to Newest HCV Drugs

Despite High Costs, VA Makes Sure Veterans Have Access to Newest HCV Drugs

By Annette M. Boyle WASHINGTON – While commercial insurers responded to the approval of the breakthrough drug sofosbuvir for hepatitis C (HCV) by implementing prescribing restrictions, limiting use to the sickest patients and charging higher co-pays because of the drug’s… Read More

Evolution of Pioneer DCVAMC Clinic Tracks AIDS/HIV Treatment Through the Years

Evolution of Pioneer DCVAMC Clinic Tracks AIDS/HIV Treatment Through the Years

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON – When the first Infectious Disease Clinic took place at the Washington, DC, VAMC in 1985, only a handful of HIV-infected patients took advantage. In fact, the disease hadn’t even been named “human immunodeficiency virus;” that… Read More

Computer Model: HCV, Associated Cancer Will Be Rare by 2036

Computer Model: HCV, Associated Cancer Will Be Rare by 2036

By Brenda L. Mooney PITTSBURGH – Will hepatitis C become a rare disease over the next two decades or so? The answer is yes, according to a computer simulation conducted by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health… Read More

After Lackland Bat Infestation, 200 Air Force Trainees Received Rabies Prophylaxis

After Lackland Bat Infestation, 200 Air Force Trainees Received Rabies Prophylaxis

SAN ANTONIO – The largest ever military investigation of rabies exposure involved more than 900 Air Force personnel interviewed and 200 receiving post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) at a cost of about $400,000.