Infectious Disease

DoD Plays Role in Helping Contain Ebola Outbreak; Seeks a Cure

DoD Plays Role in Helping Contain Ebola Outbreak; Seeks a Cure

WASHINGTON – As the U.S. public health community desperately seeks to help contain what experts say is the largest Ebola outbreak in history and the first in West Africa, DoD also is monitoring the situation closely and has created an internal task force to “further review the situation.”

Azithromycin Saves Lives of Older Pneumonia Patients Despite Cardiac Risks

Azithromycin Saves Lives of Older Pneumonia Patients Despite Cardiac Risks

By Brenda L. Mooney DALLAS – The suspected link between azithromycin and an increased incidence of cardiovascular events was borne out in a recent VA study of veterans hospitalized with pneumonia, but that was only part of the story: The… Read More

Mostly Preventable Surgical-Site Infections Double VA Treatment Costs

Mostly Preventable Surgical-Site Infections Double VA Treatment Costs

By Brenda L. Mooney IOWA CITY, IA – In addition to increasing mortality and morbidity, surgical-site infections (SSIs) nearly double the cost of treatment of patients at the VA yet usually are preventable with good infection-control practices, according to a… Read More

Study: VA Clinicians Should Consider Antibiotic Risks Before Prescribing

Study: VA Clinicians Should Consider Antibiotic Risks Before Prescribing

By Brenda L. Mooney COLUMBIA, SC — Veterans prescribed amoxicillin over a nearly 13-year period were less likely to be diagnosed with potentially fatal heart rhythms than those using either azithromycin or levofloxacin, according to new research. The study, published… Read More

Universal Screening Key to Continued MRSA Rate Decline at VAMCs

By Brenda L. Mooney LEXINGTON, KY —  The VA requirement to obtain nasal surveillance swabs on all patients at hospital admission, unit-to-unit transfer and discharge appears to be a key component of the continued decline in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)… Read More

Few HIV Patients at VA Reduce Risks by Achieving Undetectable Viral Loads

By Annette M. Boyle Jeffery McCombs, PhD LOS ANGELES — While achieving undetectable viral loads reduces the risk of death associated with hepatitis C by 45% and other adverse liver-related complications by 27%, only 4% of eligible patients in a… Read More

VA Clinicians Optimistic about Effectiveness of New HCV Drugs

By Annette M. Boyle David Ross, MD, PhD WASHINGTON — New therapies for hepatitis C (HCV) are pouring out of the pharmaceutical pipeline and promising effective treatment with fewer side effects for many of the 170,000 veterans with chronic HCV… Read More

With HIV Treated as Chronic Disease, Adherence Challenges Develop

By Annette M. Boyle Amy Justice, MD, Ph.D NEW HAVEN, CT — With human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) now being treated more like diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases, HIV patients face some of the same issues as other veterans dealing… Read More

DoD Ahead of Curve on Emerging Respiratory Syndrome in Middle East

Annette M. Boyle SILVER SPRING, MD – While no cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have occurred in the United States or among U.S. servicemembers, DoD is taking no chances on missing any cases – and can take… Read More

With Wars’ End, Human-Use Protocol Approved for Acinetobacter Antibiotic

By Brenda L. Mooney BETHESDA, MD – After years of red tape, the military finally has received approval to proceed with the human-use protocol for Arbekacin, an antibiotic shown in laboratory tests to be effective against multi-drug resistant (MDR) pathogens… Read More

VA Facilities Now Must Follow State Rules on Reportable Diseases

By Sandra Basu Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), chairman of the HOuse Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations WASHINGTON – As Congress considers legislation to require VA medical facilities to follow reportable infectious disease laws in the state… Read More

Right Amount of Information Affects Vaccine Rates

HINES, IL — Receiving appropriate amounts of information from valid sources may affect adherence to infection control recommendations during pandemics, according to researchers from the Center for Management of Complex Chronic Care, Hines, IL, VAMC. In a report published in… Read More

Flu Vaccines Equally Effective in Military Population

SAN DIEGO — Trivalent influenza vaccine (TIV) and live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) were similarly effective in preventing influenza, influenza-like illness and pneumonia in active duty U.S. servicemembers, according to a new study.1 For the report appearing in the journal… Read More

Genetic Sequencing Shows HIV Vaccine Effect

SILVER SPRING, MD — Using genetic sequencing, military scientists have found new evidence that the first vaccine shown to prevent HIV infection in humans also has an effect on viruses in those already infected. The report, published recently in the… Read More

Anthrax Vaccine Didn’t Increase Soldiers’ Disability

AMHERST, MA – Prior exposure to anthrax vaccine adsorbed (AVA) did not increase risk of disability separation from the Army or receipt of disability compensation from the VA, according to a consultant study.1 Authors of the study from ENVIRON International… Read More

Military Close to Human Ebola ‘Cocktail’ Treatment

Military Close to Human Ebola ‘Cocktail’ Treatment FREDERICK, MD — Military researchers have moved a step closer to protecting humans against the deadly effects of Ebola virus. A new Ebola virus study has shown promising preliminary results, preventing disease in… Read More

Effect on INR from Antibiotics in Warfarin Patients

RICHMOND, VA – Even though antibiotics may lead to an increase in international normalized ratio (INR) for older veterans on stable warfarin therapy, that may not result in clinically significant outcomes of bleeding or hospitalization, according to a new report.1… Read More

Protocol Can Speed Antibiotics for Sepsis

TACOMA, WA – Sepsis, one of the leading causes of death in critical-care units, can progress rapidly, making early initiation of antibiotics critical. A recent study from Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, WA, underscores that a sepsis protocol can… Read More

Proton Pump Inhibitors Increase Infections in Cirrhosis Patients

RICHMOND, VA — The rate of serious infections is significantly increased for patients with decompensated cirrhosis who take proton pump inhibitors (PPI), according to a recent study.1 Researchers from McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Richmond, VA, sought to determine… Read More

Invasive Fungal Infections Complicate Treatment, Increase Mortality of IED-Wounded Servicemembers

By Brenda L. Mooney BETHESDA, MD – Invasive fungal wound infections are on the increase in military personnel wounded by improvised explosive devices, leading to significant morbidity and even death in some cases where the victims initially survived. David R.… Read More

Triple Therapy for Hepatitis C: High Cure Rate, Greater Risks

Annette M. Boyle LOS ANGELES — The approval last year of the first new drugs for treatment of hepatitis C (HCV) in 20 years substantially increased the rate of virologic cure for patients with the most common form of the… Read More

Telemedicine Program Improving HCV Care for Rural Veterans

By Sandra Basu WEST HAVEN, CT — Twice-a-month online sessions hosted by the VA Connecticut Healthcare System are not typical telemedicine initiatives in which clinicians provide care to individual patients over electronic media. Instead, hepatitis C (HCV) specialists are training… Read More