October 17 to 21 is International Infection Prevention Week, so we present our top articles on infection prevention including stories on rheumatoid arthritis, pneumonia, fibromyalgia, urinary tract infections, and the flu.
During this time, many health organizations raise awareness on infection prevention to educate the public about ways to prevent illness and the risks associated with certain infections.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients missing influenza and pneumonia vaccinations face a higher risk of infection, according to research. The researchers looked at data from over 15,000 patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis who were treated with some types of immunosuppressive medications. At least one in five patients were not vaccinated for influenza, and one in two patients were not vaccinated for pneumonia.
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis have a heightened risk for infection, so vaccination guidelines should be utilized in order to reduce the risk of harmful infections in these patients.
Lead researcher Dr. Will Dixon said, “There is no national data on vaccination uptake broken down in a way that allows us to pull out those with RA. Only one study in the US has looked at whether patients with rheumatic diseases are being vaccinated prior to starting immunosuppressive therapy.” Continue reading…
Pneumonia risk is higher among celiac disease patients who are not vaccinated against the infection. The study compared 9,803 celiac patients with 101,755 controls, and the rate of pneumonia was found to be similar. But the researchers did find a 28 percent increased risk in celiac patients who were unvaccinated, compared to the controls.
The increased risk was seen in patients younger than 65, was highest around the time their celiac disease had been diagnosed, and was maintained for over five years after diagnosis. Only 26.6 percent of the patients were vaccinated after being diagnosed with celiac disease. The authors wrote, “As only a minority of patients with celiac disease are being vaccinated, there is a missed opportunity to intervene to protect these patients from pneumonia.”
Fibromyalgia incidences are higher in patients with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Hepatitis B infection is a potentially life-threatening illness, which primarily affects the liver and can be acute or chronic. Previous research has revealed higher fibromyalgia rates among those with hepatitis B infection.
For the study, the researchers looked at 118 hepatitis B patients who were divided into three groups: HBV carriers, chronic active HBV patients, and patients who had been treated with antiretroviral therapy for at least three months. Sixty age- and gender-matched healthy individuals were also assessed as a control group.
The serum levels of the liver enzyme aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase were found to be much higher in HBV patients – which points to liver damage – compared to the control group. Characteristic fibromyalgia symptoms were also found to be more prevalent among HBV patients.
Further to these findings, the researchers concluded that fibromyalgia incidences are indeed higher among HBV patients and that hepatitis B should be. Continue reading…
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) caused by E.coli bacteria can be prevented by bladder cells, according to research findings. The study, conducted by Duke Health researchers, explored the way bladder cells physically eject bacteria that cause UTIs. They compare the response to vomiting as a way to rid the stomach of harmful substances.
The findings suggest there is a method to use this natural ability of the bladder cells to help address recurring UTIs.
Senior author Soman Abraham said, “Because E. coli are able to hide inside of the bladder cells, it’s especially difficult to treat UTIs with regular antibiotics. So there is increased need to find new strategies for treatment, including co-opting any preexisting cellular tactics to combating infection.”
First author Yuxuan Miao explained, “When the cells have trouble digesting the materials in the lysosomes, a logical way to get rid of this potential hazard is to throw it up.”
The bladder cells physically expelled the bacteria through the cell membrane. Continue reading…
With the end of summer, the new season kicks in – the flu season. Even if it isn’t quite cold outside just yet, it’s a good time to start preparing yourself for the flu season ahead, and the best way to do that is with the flu shot. Although last flu season was considered quite mild thanks to warmer temperatures, there is no guarantee that this year will follow suit. Taking preventative measures is still important for reducing the risk and keeping your family healthy.
Cindy Weston, an assistant professor at Texas A&M University, explained, “Every year, people die from influenza. After sizable outbreaks, people will respond with large amounts of vaccinations, but they should be getting vaccinated every year to protect those most vulnerable, mainly children and the elderly.”
The CDC recommends the flu shot for persons over the age of six months – including pregnant women.
Some people are unable to receive the flu shot due to their allergies, and that is why it’s so important that everyone else stay up-to-date with their vaccinations in order to reduce the risk of passing on the flu to these people. Continue reading…