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New CDC Study Finds Dramatic Increase in E-cigarette-Related Calls to Poison Centers

Posted on April 22, 2014

The number of calls to poison centers involving e-cigarette liquids containing nicotine rose from one per month in September 2010 to 215 per month in February 2014, according to a CDC study published in today’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The number of calls per month involving conventional cigarettes did not show a similar increase during the same time period.

More than half (51.1 percent) of the calls to poison centers due to e-cigarettes involved young children under age 5, and about 42 percent of the poison calls involved people age 20 and older.

The analysis compared total monthly poison center calls involving e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes, and found the proportion of e-cigarette calls jumped from 0.3 percent in September 2010 to 41.7 percent in February 2014.  Poisoning from conventional cigarettes is generally due to young children eating them. Poisoning related to e-cigarettes involves the liquid containing nicotine used in the devices and can occur in three ways: by ingestion, inhalation or absorption through the skin or eyes.

“This report raises another red flag about e-cigarettes – the liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes can be hazardous,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.  “Use of these products is skyrocketing and these poisonings will continue.  E-cigarette liquids as currently sold are a threat to small children because they are not required to be childproof, and they come in candy and fruit flavors that are appealing to children.”

E-cigarette calls were more likely than cigarette calls to include a report of an adverse health effect following exposure. The most common adverse health effects mentioned in e-cigarette calls were vomiting, nausea and eye irritation.

Data for this study came from the poison centers that serve the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories. The study examined all calls reporting exposure to conventional cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or nicotine liquid used in e-cigarettes.  Poison centers reported 2,405 e-cigarette and 16,248 cigarette exposure calls from September 2010 to February 2014. The total number of poisoning cases is likely higher than reflected in this study, because not all exposures might have been reported to poison centers.

“The most recent National Youth Tobacco Survey showed e-cigarette use is growing fast, and now this report shows e-cigarette related poisonings are also increasing rapidly,” said Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H., Director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health.  “Health care providers, e-cigarette companies and distributors, and the general public need to be aware of this potential health risk from e-cigarettes.”

Developing strategies to monitor and prevent future poisonings is critical given the rapid increase in e-cigarette related poisonings. The report shows that e-cigarette liquids containing nicotine have the potential to cause immediate adverse health effects and represent an emerging public health concern.







Nearly 10 Percent of U.S. Adults Now Have Diabetes: Study

Posted on April 21, 2014

(HealthDay News) -- The percentage of Americans with diabetes has doubled since 1988, with nearly one in 10 adults now diagnosed with the blood-sugar disease, researchers report.

To read more of the article, click here.







Whooping Cough Bacterium Evolves in Australia

Posted on April 21, 2014

The bacterium that causes whooping cough, Bordetella pertussis, has changed in Australia - most likely in response to the vaccine used to prevent the disease - with a possible reduced effectiveness of the vaccine as a result, a new study shows.

A Univsersity of New South Wales (UNSW)-led team of researchers analyzed strains of Bordetella pertussis from across Australia and found that many strains no longer produce a key surface protein called pertactin.

About 80% of the 2012 whooping cough cases in Australia studied by the team were caused by pertactin-free strains. Pertactin is one of the three proteins, made from purified extracts of Bordetella pertussis bacteria, which are present in the vaccine currently used in Australia. The other two are pertussis toxin and filamentous haemagglutinin.

"It's like a game of hide and seek. It is harder for the antibodies made by the body's immune system in response to vaccination to 'search and destroy' the whooping cough bacteria which lack pertactin," says the senior author of the study, Associate Professor Ruiting Lan, of the UNSW School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences.

"This could mean that these pertactin-free strains have gained a selective advantage over bacterial strains with the pertactin protein."

The study is published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Australia has only recently emerged from an epidemic of whooping cough that went on for an unusually long period – with about 142,000 cases from 2008 to 2012. Although the number of cases identified was greatly increased by more and better testing, the epidemic was still a major one. Nine babies died of whooping cough during the five years.

The research, led by UNSW PhD student Connie Lam, involved the analysis of 320 bacteria samples from patients with whooping cough obtained during 2008-2012 from five states – NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

The proportion of pertactin-free bacteria rose from five per cent of cases tested in 2008 to 78 per cent in 2012. Pertactin-free strains of pertussis have also been detected overseas, including in countries such as France and the United States.

"The fact that they have arisen independently in different countries suggests this is in response to the vaccine," says Associate Professor Lan.

There is no evidence that the pertactin-free strains are more harmful than other strains, and it is not yet clear whether they reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine in the short or long term.

"More studies are needed to better understand the effects of vaccination on the evolution of the organism," says Associate Professor Lan.

The current acellular vaccine, purified down to three antigens, was introduced in 1997 to replace the previous whole-cell vaccine, after side effects such as fever and crying dissuaded many parents from starting or completing the three doses of vaccine required by six months of age.

"The acellular pertussis vaccine produces antibodies against pertussis toxin which is the main cause of severe disease symptoms produced by the whooping cough bacterium. Vaccination is still the only way to protect against whooping cough, especially for the youngest babies who are most at risk of severe illness," stressed Associate Professor Lan.

Babies need to be immunized at six to eight weeks of age, four months and six months, with a booster at four years.







Contest for Dental Assistants from DentalEZ: Enter to Win a Free ErgoSure™ Stool

Posted on April 17, 2014

Malvern, PA – DentalEZ® Group, a supplier of innovative products and services for dental health professionals worldwide, is pleased to announce its #MYERGOSURE Sweepstakes. Currently running on the DentalEZ Group Facebook page, the sweepstakes provides all participants a chance to win a free ErgoSure operator or assistant stool.

Open to all practicing licensed dentists, hygienists and dental assistants, the #MYERGOSURE sweepstakes runs from April 3, 2014 through June 30, 2014. Entering the sweepstakes is easy. DentalEZ Group Facebook fans can simply visit the DentalEZ Facebook page at facebook.com/dentalezgroup and click on the “#MYERGOSURE SWEEPSTAKES” tab. An online registration entry form will appear and dental professionals will be prompted to complete the form as instructed.  

Non-fans of the DentalEZ Facebook page can also enter for a chance to win. All dental professionals who are not currently fans of the page are invited to visit the DentalEZ Facebook page and will be eligible to enter the sweepstakes simply by choosing to “like” the page. Once the page is liked, the online registration entry form will appear and the dental professional will be prompted to enter their contact information to be entered in the sweepstakes.

#MYERGOSURE Sweepstakes participants can submit up to one entry per day, and each submission counts as one entry for the grand prize. The grand prize winner will be selected and notified in a random drawing on or about July 14, 2014.  

The design of all ErgoSure Stools centers on the long-standing DentalEZ philosophy of offering ergonomic design and functionality. All ErgoSure Stools are equipped with 4 independent seat mechanisms for easy adjustment of height, seat tilt, back in and out, and concealed height-adjustable lumbar support. All adjustable features enable the dental professional to easily position the stools while seated using one hand.

All ErgoSure stools are equipped with an integral non-slip skin foam technology texture that is fluid-proof and easy to disinfect. ErgoSure operator stools include a built-in adapter for easy attachment of Free-Motion Elbow Supports, which effectively support the elbow during procedures but do not interfere with the movement of the dental professional.

To enter the #MYERGOSURE Sweepstakes, please visit facebook.com/dentalezgroup.

Please visit DentalEZ Group’s ErgoSure stool product pagefor more information on the complete line of ErgoSure stools. 







World Health Organization Issues First Hepatitis C Treatment Guidelines

Posted on April 16, 2014

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued its first guidance for the treatment of hepatitis C, a chronic infection that affects an estimated 130 million to 150 million people and results in 350 000 to 500 000 deaths a year.

The publication of the "WHO Guidelines for the screening, care and treatment of persons with hepatitis C infection" coincides with the availability of more effective and safer oral hepatitis medicines, along with the promise of even more new medicines in the next few years.

“The WHO recommendations are based on a thorough review of the best and latest scientific evidence,” says Dr Stefan Wiktor, who leads WHO’s Global Hepatitis Programme. “The new guidance aims to help countries to improve treatment and care for hepatitis and thereby reduce deaths from liver cancer and cirrhosis.”

WHO will be working with countries to introduce the guidelines as part of their national treatment programs. WHO support will include assistance to make the new treatments available and consideration of all possible avenues to make them affordable for all. WHO will also assess the quality of hepatitis laboratory tests and generic forms of hepatitis medicines.

“Hepatitis C treatment is currently unaffordable to most patients in need. The challenge now is to ensure that everyone who needs these drugs can access them,” says Dr Peter Beyer, Senior Advisor for the Essential Medicines and Health Products Department at WHO. “Experience has shown that a multi-pronged strategy is required to improve access to treatment, including creating demand for treatment. The development of WHO guidelines is a key step in this process.”

Nine key recommendations

The new guidelines make nine key recommendations. These include approaches to increase the number of people screened for hepatitis C infection, advice as to how to mitigate liver damage for those who are infected and how to select and provide appropriate treatments for chronic hepatitis C infection.

Screening

WHO recommends a screening test for those considered at high risk of infection, followed by another test for those who screen positive, to establish whether they have chronic hepatitis C infection.

Mitigating liver damage

Since alcohol use can accelerate liver damage caused by hepatitis C, WHO now advises that people with chronic hepatitis C infection receive an alcohol assessment. The Organization also recommends providing counseling to reduce alcohol intake for people with moderate or high alcohol use. In addition, the guidelines provide advice on the selection of the most appropriate test to assess the degree of liver damage in those with chronic hepatitis C infection.

Treatment

The guidelines provide recommendations on existing treatments based on interferon injections as well as the new regimens that use only oral medicines. WHO will update recommendations on drug treatments periodically as additional antiviral medicines are registered on the market and new evidence emerges.

Prevention

The 2014 recommendations also summarize for policy makers and health care workers interventions that should be put in place to prevent transmission of hepatitis C, including measures to assure the safety of medical procedures and injections in health care settings and among persons who inject drugs. Rates of new hepatitis C infections remain unacceptably high in many countries because of the reuse of injection equipment and lack of screening of blood transfusions.

“Many people remain unaware - sometimes for decades - that they are infected with hepatitis C,” says Dr Andrew Ball, Senior Advisor for Policy, Strategy and Equity for WHO’s HIV/AIDS Department where the Global Hepatitis Programme is housed. “Today’s launch highlights the need for more awareness and education on hepatitis for the general public. Greater awareness on the risks associated with hepatitis C should lead to a demand for services and expansion of laboratory capacity and clinical services so that more people can be tested, treated and cured.”

There are five main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. Hepatitis B and C have the greatest public health impact because they cause chronic infection which can progress to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Hepatitis A and E, spread though unsafe water and contaminated food, have the potential to cause outbreaks in certain populations.

Hepatitis C virus is most commonly transmitted through exposure to contaminated blood. Those at risk include people undergoing invasive medical procedures and therapeutic injections where there is poor infection control. Also at risk are those exposed to contaminated injecting and skin piercing equipment, including through injecting drug use, tattooing and body piercing.

The WHO Guidelines for the screening, care and treatment of persons with hepatitis C infection were launched on the eve of the opening of the 2014 International Liver Congress, attended by around 10 000 delegates in London.







Crosstex/SPSmedical Launches New High-Level Disinfectant Website

Posted on April 16, 2014

Crosstex/SPS medical has developed an informational website for healthcare professionals dedicated to the High-Level Disinfectant: Rapicide® OPA/28.

Rapicide® OPA/28 High-Level Disinfectant from Crosstex/SPSmedical is a fast-acting, long lasting, highly compatible high-level disinfectant that ensures a safe and healthy environment for patients and staff. This reusable ortho-phthalaldehyde disinfectant is designed for use on heat-sensitive, semi-critical devices that are unsuitable for sterilization. Recognized as a leader in sterilization & infection prevention training, with award winning speakers and a commitment to best practices, Crosstex/SPSmedical is proud to offer this new educational website, which includes a web-based seminar approved for 1.0 FREE accredited CEU by IAHCSMM, CBSPD, and CBRN.

Product Features include:

-10-minute high-level disinfection time at room temperature (20ºC min.)

-Up to 28-day reuse period with no mixing or activation required

-Effective inactivation of TB, Hepatitis Viruses, MRSA, VRE, and HIV

-Easy-to-read Rapicide® OPA/28 Test Strips to accurately measure the ortho-phthaladehyde solution for effectiveness (with an intuitive pass/fail color chart on bottle)

-Less irritation to the eyes, nose and throat than Glutaraldehyde* because of the low percentage of OPA (.575%) *epa.gov

Website Features:

-Rapicide® OPA/28 HLD and Rapicide® OPA/28 Test Strip Instructions for Use

-A Future Date Calculator that allows customers to track reuse life and expiration dates

-Materials Safety Data Sheets

-Solution Log Sheets to keep track of MRC test results, test dates and operators

-Frequently Asked Questions

-And a 7-Step Instructional Product Wall Chart that coaches users on proper personal protection equipment all the way through the disposal of used chemistry

Crosstex/SPSmedical, A division of Cantel Medical Corp., have joined forces to serve the healthcare community as global manufacturers of infection control and prevention products. Crosstex/SPSmedica; offers high quality, innovative products, the majority of which are manufactured in the United States in their FDA-registered manufacturing facilities. Sold in more than 100 countries, the range of products distributed to medical, dental, and veterinary practices include: Secure Fit® technology face masks, Sure-Check® sterilization pouches, STEAMPlus® Class 5 Integrators, in-office and mail-in biological monitoring products and services, sterilization packaging, Rapicide® OPA/28 HLD, patient towels, surface disinfectants, hand sanitizers, gloves, sponges, cotton products, saliva ejectors, evacuator tips and the Crosstex Patients Choice® line of preventive products.

For more information visit www.Crosstex.com or www.SPSmedical.com







Bulimia Causes Widespread Dental Problems, Says Study

Posted on April 16, 2014

INTELIHEALTH - Nearly all women with bulimia have dental problems, and most do not talk about their condition with a dentist, a study has found.

To read the article, click here.







Dentists Block Proposal to Allow Licensed Dental Practitioners

Posted on April 15, 2014

In 2012, nearly 68,000 adults went without dental care because they could not afford it, according to the advocacy group Vermont Oral Health Care for All.

That group is behind a push to create a state license for a mid-level dental practitioner position that would be a step above a dental hygienist and a step below an actual dentist.

To read more of the story, click here.







DANB Publishes 2014 Editions of State Publications

Posted on April 15, 2014

The Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. (DANB) has recently updated the Meet State Requirements section of its website with the latest state dental assisting requirements.

“The ‘meet state requirements’ section of DANB’s website has a wealth of information about the dental assisting requirements for each state, plus contact information for the state dental boards,” said DANB Executive Director Cindy Durley, M.Ed., MBA. “Navigating state requirements can be difficult, since each state has different requirements. However, DANB exams and certifications are recognized or required by 38 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

DANB also published the updated state dental assisting information in the 2014 editions of its state publications:

-DANB’s 2014 State Career Ladder Templates for Dental Assistants features easy-to-use charts with information on each state's rules and regulations for dental assistants. Each state chart highlights job designations for dental assistants; education, exam and training requirements; allowable functions; non-delegable functions; and levels of supervision required in each state.


-DANB’s 2014 State Fact Booklet provides a synopsis of current state requirements and excerpts from state dental practice acts related specifically to the dental assistant, as well as dental board contact information, the number of DANB certificants in each state, comparative salary information, information on expanded functions and radiography requirements, general dental assistant-related information on anesthesia and sedation regulations, and a list of Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)-accredited dental assisting programs.

 

“DANB’s state publications are a great resource for dental professionals or state legislators who are looking for the latest information on dental assisting regulations and requirements — all in one place,” Durley explained.

 

While visitors to DANB's website can download much of this information at no cost, those who wish to obtain print copies can order them from DANB for a fee. To place an order for the publications, click here for the order form or call 1-800-367-3262.







Feds Release Updated Action Plan to Combat Viral Hepatitis

Posted on April 14, 2014

A statement by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases,

Ronald O. Valdiserri, MD, MPH

Federal partners have launched an updated Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis (2014-2016), building upon the nation’s first comprehensive cross-agency action plan to combat viral hepatitis.

The three-year renewal of the Action Plan builds upon the substantial progress accomplished since 2011 by agencies and offices from across the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as with our partners at the Departments of Justice, Housing and Urban Development, and Veterans Affairs, to prevent new infections and improve the diagnosis, care and treatment of individuals living with chronic hepatitis C in the United States.

Between 3.5 and 5.3 million Americans are living with chronic viral hepatitis, and most of them do not know that they are infected. Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplantation in the United States. In addition, it is a leading infectious cause of death in the U.S., claiming the lives of 12,000–18,000 Americans each year.

In recent years we have made significant progress in addressing these challenges. With the new advances in hepatitis C treatment, more widespread availability of safe and effective vaccines for hepatitis A and B, and more opportunities for testing for hepatitis C under the Affordable Care Act, we have arrived at a critical moment. By harnessing these and other developments, we have the potential to reduce the toll of viral hepatitis in the U.S. and save many lives.

Thanks to the outstanding commitment of our public and private partners, we are closer than ever to realizing the potential of this plan.

To access the full Action Plan for the Prevention Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis (2014-2016) visit www.aids.gov/hepatitis.







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