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An abbreviated version of CDDEP's weekly digest of public health news, focusing on research in the United States.

Research presented at the 22nd European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases reaffirms the link between catheters and ventilation devices and HAIs, and finds that HAIs quadruple patient mortality rates in ICUs.

A new game trains epidemiologists to track complex disease outbreaks.

Debate continues over the recent announcement from the U.S. Food and Drug Adminsitration (FDA) that the agency will pursue restrictions on antimicrobials for livestock, in cooperation with industry.  Robert S. Lawrence of the Center for a Livable Future asserts that the FDA’s actions don’t go far enough. Michael R. Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods at the FDA, explains why voluntary guidance is the most effective path forward.

In the midst of the debate over the FDA’s approach, Der Spiegel provides a perspective from the other side of regulation.  Stricter antibiotic policies in Germany have led to windfalls for some prescribing veterinarians.

Could prescribing antibiotics for sexual partners help curb chlamydia?

A Canadian study finds that 11% of drug use is off-label, and approximately 17% of this off-label use occurs with anti-infectives.

The newest surface to avoid in hospitals? Privacy curtains.  A study in the American Journal of Infection Control finds that 41 of 43 hospital curtains were contaminated with pathogenic bacteria (including MRSA and VRE) at least once during the three-week study period.

U.S. Health and Human Services is seeking public comment on a National Action Plan to eliminate HAIs.

NPR interviews Carl Zimmer about creating a novel generation of antivirals, as effective as modern antibiotics.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention release a state-level report on HAIs for 2010.  Twenty-one states saw reductions in rates of central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) between 2009 and 2010.  Read the CDC press release.

Why do doctors continue to prescribe drugs when they know they won’t work?  Patient pressure and habits are two contributing factors.

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