Oct 8 2012
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Public Health News Roundup: October 8

CDC: Meningitis Outbreak Climbs to 91; Pharmacies Identified
There are now 91 people in nine states infected with meningitis due to apparently contaminated steroids, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seven people have died. Manufacturer New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass. has recalled the suspect methylprednisolone acetate. CDC says the length of time it takes for meningitis symptoms to appear means more cases are likely. CDC released a list of pharmacies that received the steroid. Read more on infectious diseases.

Study: Few Patients Ask About Physicians’ Hand Hygiene
Have you ever asked your doctor whether they washed their hands before examining you or performing a procedure? Only about 1 in 5 patients do, according to a new national survey. Hospitals encourage patients to ask, yet only 21% asked in the hospital and 17% asked at their doctor’s office; less than 1 in 10 asked “frequently” or “all the time,” according to the American Medical Association. Poor hygiene contributes to increased infections from doctor’s visits and hospital stays. “One in 20 patients who goes into the hospital is going to get one of these health care-associated infections, and we need to educate patients about ways to prevent them,” said William Jarvis, MD, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist. “As they understand what the risks are, these signs are reminders to them to remind health care workers about hand hygiene.” Read more on prevention.

Study: Half of Kids with Autism Run Away
A new study in the journal Pediatrics shows that about half of children with autism had wandered away from their caregivers at least once. Of the 1,218 kids surveyed, 316 went missing for an average of approximately 40 minutes. The study was headed by the Interactive Autism Network Project at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore. Paul Law, MD, the project’s director, said it is the lack of social skills and social bond makes children with autism more likely to wander away. "There's an enormous burden that all families are undergoing to keep their families safe,” Law told Reuters. “The amount of diligence, and not going out in public, and staying up late at night…just the general anxiety that families live under because of concerns with this is just torturous." Read more on safety.

Tags: Infectious disease, News roundups, Prevention, Public and Community Health, Safety