(November 14, 2007 - Insidermedicine) From Washington - More than a million cases of chlamydia were reported in the US during 2006, setting a record for the highest reported incidence of a sexually-transmitted infection. In a report published by the CDC, researchers found the rate of both chlamydia and syphilis infections grew by nearly 6% from 2005 levels, while gonorrhea infections jumped by 12%. The CDC estimates that, in total, about 19 million Americans a year are infected with an STD.
From Suffolk - The deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza has been confirmed as the cause of a bird flu outbreak on an English farm. The finding raises new public health concerns since the disease, which has killed over 200 people since first being reported in 2003, has no known vaccine. UK officials have ordered the destruction of almost 24,000 birds on four nearby farms as a precaution.
From San Francisco - In a follow-up to a previous story, 3,000 participants in a study of an experimental AIDS vaccine which raised the risk of contracting the disease instead of lowering it will be told if they received the actual vaccine or a placebo. Doctors decided to "unblind" the study after weighing patient safety concerns against potentially devaluing data collected as a result of study. Thus far, 49 of the 1500 people given the vaccine became infected -- 16 more people than became infected after being given a placebo.
And finally, back to Washington - American researchers have found that babies born just a few weeks premature are 6 times more likely to die in their first week of life. The study raises new awareness of the potential health impact on late preterm infants -- those born between 34 and 36 weeks of gestation, compared to 37 weeks for full-term babies. Late preterm babies account for 71% of the over 500,000 premature births each year.
For Insidermedicine in 60, I'm Dr. Susan Sharma.