Infectious Disease

VA Research: Vancomycin Lowers Death Rates in Severe C. Diff Infection

VA Research: Vancomycin Lowers Death Rates in Severe C. Diff Infection

SALT LAKE CITY — Severe illness caused by the bacteria Clostridium difficile (C. diff) is now the most common hospital-acquired infection in the United States. A new VA-led study suggests, however, that it is not always being treated appropriately.

Infectious Disease Specialist Uses Telehealth for Rural Veterans With HIV

Infectious Disease Specialist Uses Telehealth for Rural Veterans With HIV

Veterans living in rural areas face a lot of challenges, the most common of which is having to travel long distances to access VA medical care.

Don’t Forget Leishmaniasis When Servicemembers Have Mysterious Symptoms

Don’t Forget Leishmaniasis When Servicemembers Have Mysterious Symptoms

Military physicians stumped by a diagnosis might want to consider leishmaniasis in personnel returning from Iraq or Afghanistan, according to a new report.

Eight Years Later, VHA’s ‘MRSA Bundle’ Continues to Push Down Infection Rates

Eight Years Later, VHA’s ‘MRSA Bundle’ Continues to Push Down Infection Rates

When the VHA implemented a nationwide prevention initiative against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), healthcare facility-associated infections (HAIs) were unacceptably high.

Low Vitamin D Doesn’t Explain Low Flu Vaccination Response in HIV Patients

BETHESDA, MD – While vaccination is the most important preventive strategy against influenza, post-vaccination antibody responses are often inadequate, especially among HIV-infected persons, according to a new study. The report, published recently in the journal Vaccine, pointed out that vitamin D… Read More

Percentage of Flu Vaccines Obtained At Pharmacies Up, Not Overall Rate

In the not-too-distant past, influenza vaccines could only be obtained in clinics or physicians’ offices. That changed over a 14 year period from 1996 to 2010 when 41 states changed statutes to allow pharmacists to provide immunizations.

Hospital Stays Drop With Early Antivirals for Pregnant Women With The Flu

How beneficial is early initiation of influenza antiviral treatment administered to pregnant women hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza?

Timing of Flu in HIV Patients Vaccinated Early

SAN DIEGO – Past research has shown that patients with HIV infection vaccinated early in the flu season are generally more likely to contract influenza or influenza-like illness (ILI), compared with those receiving late vaccination. The reason likely is that… Read More

Staph, Influenza Co-Infection Increases Mortality

IOWA CITY, IA – Co-infection with Staphylococcus aureus and influenza more than quadruples the risk of death compared to those without influenza, according to a new study. The article published recently in the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s… Read More

VA Healthcare Workers Have Relatively Low Flu Vaccine Rates

ANN ARBOR, MI—Multiple national recommendations encourage all healthcare workers to get the influenza vaccination, thereby reducing the chance they will pass the virus on to their patients. Despite a patient population of older and sicker patients more likely to develop… Read More

For Veterans and Armed Forces, Risk Remains Despite Flu Shots

For Veterans and Armed Forces, Risk Remains Despite Flu Shots

While influenza vaccine is the first line of defense against an infectious disease that can dramatically affect troop readiness, it is far from 100% effective.

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.