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Research Priorities to Inform Public Health and Medical Practice for Ebola Virus Disease— Workshop in Brief

November 23, 2014 Comments off

Research Priorities to Inform Public Health and Medical Practice for Ebola Virus Disease— Workshop in Brief
Source: Institute of Medicine

The current epidemic of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), cause by a filovirus, has spread internationally, now affecting multiple continents, and has become the worst EVD outbreak in history since its discovery in 1976. While the Ebola viruses have typically been studied in laboratory settings, additional biomedical and public health research in real world settings can best prepare the United States to safeguard the public and at-risk workers.

At the request of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Institute of Medicine (IOM), in collaboration with the National Research Council, convened a workshop on November 3, 2014 with key stakeholders and experts to discuss the research priorities that could guide medical and public health practice. Discussions included the degree of transmission and biopersistence of the virus under a range of conditions and on a variety of materials, as well as issues of handling potentially infected materials, decontamination, and the training and personal protective equipment and usage of traditional and nontraditional workers involved in the full spectrum of this response.

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Trends in Use and Expenditures for Cancer Treatment among Adults 18 and Older, U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population, 2001 and 2011

November 21, 2014 Comments off

Trends in Use and Expenditures for Cancer Treatment among Adults 18 and Older, U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population, 2001 and 2011
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Highlights

  • In 2011, approximately 15.8 million adults or 6.7 percent of the adult U.S. population received treatment for cancer. This represents an increase from 2001, when 10.2 million adults or 4.8 percent of the population reported receiving treatment for cancer.
  • Medical spending to treat cancer increased from $56.8 billion in 2001 (in 2011 dollars) to $88.3 billion in 2011.
  • Ambulatory expenditures for care and treatment of cancer increased from $25.5 billion in 2001 to $43.8 billion in 2011.
  • Expenditures on retail prescription medications for cancer increased from $2.0 billion in 2001 to $10.0 billion in 2011.
  • Mean annual retail prescription drug expenditures for those with an expense related to cancer increased more than three times, from $201 per person in 2001 (in 2011 dollars) to $634 per person in 2011.
  • Inpatient hospital expenditures accounted for 47 percent of total spending for cancer treatment in 2001, but fell to 35 percent of the total by 2011.

Assessment of Stresses in the Cervical Spine Caused by Posture and Position of the Head (cell phone use)

November 20, 2014 Comments off

Assessment of Stresses in the Cervical Spine Caused by Posture and Position of the Head (PDF)
Source: Surgical Technology International

Billions of people are using cell phone devices on the planet, essentially in poor posture. The purpose of this study is to assess the forces incrementally seen by the cervical spine as the head is teilted forward, into worsening posture. This data is also necessary for cervical spine surgens to understand in the reconstruction of the neck.

Ebola Virus Disease Cluster in the United States — Dallas County, Texas, 2014

November 20, 2014 Comments off

Ebola Virus Disease Cluster in the United States — Dallas County, Texas, 2014
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Since March 10, 2014, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have experienced the largest known Ebola virus disease (Ebola) epidemic with approximately 13,000 persons infected as of October 28, 2014 (1,2). Before September 25, 2014, only four patients with Ebola had been treated in the United States; all of these patients had been diagnosed in West Africa and medically evacuated to the United States for care.

See also: Response to Importation of a Case of Ebola Virus Disease — Ohio, October 2014

New Report: The Criminalization of Food-Sharing Practices

November 19, 2014 Comments off

New Report: The Criminalization of Food-Sharing Practices
Source: National Coalition for the Homeless

On Tuesday, October 21, Fort Lauderdale Commissioners will vote on a proposed ordinance that will severely limit the capabilities of groups to distribute food to people experiencing homelessness. According to our research, over 30 American cities that have tried to introduce similar legislation in the past two years.

The new report, Share No More: The Criminalization of Efforts to Feed People In Need, documents the recent known cases of food-sharing restrictions throughout the country. Since January 2013, 21 cities have successfully restricted the practice of sharing food with people who are experiencing homelessness while at least ten others have introduced ordinances that are pending approval.

These restrictions primarily come about in three different forms; the first is by restricting the use of public property. In this scenario, individuals and organizations are generally required to obtain a permit, often for a fee, to share food in a park or in another public space. 12 cities have recently passed legislation that imposes this type of restriction.

The second type of legislative restriction is to require groups to comply with city/county/state food-safety regulations. Since January 2013, four cities have passed legislation that required individuals and organizations to comply with their food-safety regulations when sharing food with people experiencing homelessness.

Treating Ebola Patients in the United States: Health Care Delivery Implications, CRS Insights (November 4, 2014)

November 14, 2014 Comments off

Treating Ebola Patients in the United States: Health Care Delivery Implications, CRS Insights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

On September 30, 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States. This patient was the first in the United States to be treated for Ebola outside of a specialty hospital with a biocontainment unit. Shortly after this diagnosis, CDC Director Thomas Frieden expressed his confidence in the U.S. health care system, stating that we will “stop Ebola in its tracks.” Despite the assurances, two nurses who cared for the patient were diagnosed with and have since recovered from Ebola. In the wake of these additional cases, Dr. Frieden stated that the agency has had to reconsider its approach to containing the disease. In addition, the hospital where the patient received his care, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, has stated that it may have done things differently.

While the U.S. health care system has the resources to effectively identify and treat Ebola cases, a situation that is novel, emergent, and resource-intensive may test the system’s ability to effectively mobilize those resources. The care of the initial U.S. patient highlighted several system delivery issues, including (1) inefficient use of finite healthcare resources due, at least in part, to gaps in preparation; (2) challenges in coordination between local, state, and federal public health systems and the health care delivery system, including in basic infection control procedures; and (3) care coordination issues. This Insight focuses only on the first issue.

See also: The Administration’s Supplemental Request for Ebola and Other Infectious Diseases, CRS Insights (November 7, 2014) (PDF)

Meat and Poultry Inspection 2.0: How the United States can learn from the practices and innovations in other countries

November 13, 2014 Comments off

Meat and Poultry Inspection 2.0: How the United States can learn from the practices and innovations in other countries
Source: Pew Charitable Trusts/Center for Science in the Public Interest

This food safety report, written by Pew and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), highlights the need to modernize the meat and poultry inspection system in the United States to better protect consumers from the health risks posed by contaminated food.

Salmonella, E. coli, and other foodborne bacteria and viruses are nearly impossible to detect with the naked eye. Yet U.S. inspections still rely on methods developed a century ago, primarily visual examination of animals and carcasses.

Meat and Poultry Inspection 2.0 looks at the practices used by five countries and the European Union to better address the microscopic hazards that pose the greatest risks to public health. Pew and CSPI recommend that the United States find opportunities for improving meat and poultry inspection by commissioning comprehensive scientific assessments of its current approach and increasing the collection and analysis of data on food animals and production facilities.

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