WASHINGTON, July 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Updates on the impact of
climate changes on insect-borne diseases, the control of MRSA infections,
and the importance of childhood immunizations were presented today at a
news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The news
conference, sponsored by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
(NFID), also addressed the growing challenge of prevention and treatment of
infections due to drug resistant bacteria.
"Infectious diseases pose an ongoing threat to the nation's public
health," said Susan J. Rehm, MD, NFID medical director and vice chair,
Department of Infectious Disease, at the Cleveland Clinic. "As health care
professionals, we need to continue to identify these threats and educate
the public about both prevention and effective measures to help control
The challenges associated with insect-borne infections and climate
changes were presented by David M. Morens, M.D., at the National Institute
of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institute of Health
(NIH). Approximately 1.5 million of 14.8 million annual infectious disease
deaths are attributable to insect-borne diseases worldwide. These diseases,
such as yellow fever, dengue fever, encephalitis, Chagas disease and
leishmaniasis may cause conditions ranging from encephalitis to congestive
heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, blindness and hemorrhagic fevers.
Scientists are studying the effects of global warming and the impact of
climate changes on increasing insect-borne infections. "The most important
needs are better understanding of the behavior of complex ecosystems to
which insects belong, reinvigoration of scientific and public health
defenses, and more powerful tools to prevent, control and treat
insect-borne diseases," said Dr. Morens.
Additional topics discussed at the 13th Richard J. Duma/NFID Annual
News Conference and Symposium on Infectious Diseases included:
-- How Should We Respond to MRSA?: Loren Miller, MD, MPH, director of the
Infection Control Program at Harbor-UCLA, associate professor of
medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of
California, Los Angeles and faculty member in the division of Adult
Infectious Diseases at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, discussed methods to
control and prevent MRSA infections. Methicillin-resistant
Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections have become increasingly common
in the past few years. MRSA poses risk for infection within and outside
healthcare settings. MRSA are a type of Staphylococcus aureus
bacteria, commonly known as "Staph" that are resistant to many commonly
used antibiotics. "There is no simple magic bullet to respond to MRSA.
Efforts to prevent MRSA need to be multi-faceted and coordinated,"
stated Dr. Miller.
-- Childhood and Adolescent Vaccines: More Important than Ever: Larry K.
Pickering, MD, FAAP, senior advisor to the director of the National
Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases of the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, executive secretary of the Advisory
Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and professor of pediatrics
in the department of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine
outlined the successes achieved by the immunization program; the
importance and benefits of childhood, adolescent and adult immunization
platforms; the effects of an unvaccinated population; and future
advances to further improved health. "Today, recommended vaccines are
available to prevent 16 infectious diseases as well as two forms of
cancer. As future vaccines become available to prevent other infectious
diseases, cancers, and other conditions, funding mechanisms must be
protected and public confidence in the safety and effectiveness of
vaccines must not be permitted to erode," stated Dr. Pickering.
-- Prevention and Treatment of Infections Due to Drug Resistant Bacteria:
Antibiotics Can't Be the Only Answer: Robert A. Weinstein, MD,
professor of medicine and chairman of the Division of Infectious
Diseases, Stroger Hospital at Cook County and chief operating officer
at the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center for the Prevention, Care and
Research of Infectious Diseases, Rush Medical College, Chicago,
Illinois provided an overview of antibiotic resistance and infection
control practices to help reduce its occurrence. "Antibiotic
resistance is driven by lapses in infection control, as well as by
antibiotic overuse. Infection control improvements are essential to
controlling antibiotic resistance," said Dr. Weinstein.
About the News Conference and Symposium
The 13th Richard J. Duma/NFID Annual News Conference and Symposium on
Infectious Diseases was supported, in part, by unrestricted educational
grants to NFID from Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Pfizer Inc., Ortho-McNeil
Pharmaceutical, Roche, sanofi pasteur, and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.
This event is named for former NFID president and executive director
Richard J. Duma, MD, PhD, currently director of infectious diseases at
Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Florida.
About the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) is a non-profit,
tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1973 and dedicated to
educating the public and healthcare professionals about the causes,
treatment and prevention of infectious diseases. For more information,
please visit http://www.nfid.org.
SOURCE National Foundation for Infectious Diseases