Read the latest news from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases. The links below take you to articles where you can learn more about our faculty’s latest achievements, awards, and honors.
Congratulations to Michael Angarone, DO, and assistant professor of infectious diseases at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, on achieving the John X. Thomas, Jr. Best Teachers of Feinberg Award 2017! Kudos to you on your award. The Division of Infectious Diseases very much appreciates all your hard work with medical students.
- Mandy Stadtmiller in the Daily Beast writes that the STD epidemic in the U.S. will be getting much worse. The CDC in its annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report reported that for the third year in a row the cases of the top three tracked STDs in America: chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, are rising. While HIV rates nationwide were declining in 2016, several U.S. cities, including Miami, Atlanta, New Orleans, and San Antonio, continue to see an alarming rise in HIV infections. The CDC recommends that everyone get tested for STDs at least once in their lifetime. Public health experts caution that proposed federal cuts to STD funding will cause STD rates to skyrocket, much more infertility, and billions of dollars in health care costs. Public health experts seek a return to the same levels of STD-prevention funding as occurred in the 1990s and hope for a $40 million STD-prevention budget for 2018. During the 1990s when STD prevention funding was emphasized, the U.S. almost completely eradicated syphilis. Recently, however, 52% of STD prevention clinics have faced budget cuts. The U.S. now sees all known treatments starting to fail for some cases of gonorrhea. Michael Angarone, DO and assistant professor of infectious diseases at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, states that drug-resistant bacteria [for gonorrhea] has started to appear in the U.S. Angarone adds, "So not only do you have this issue where we're seeing more cases of infection, now we're starting to see and get concerned about growing resistance to the treatment that we have."
From a study involving 34 healthcare professionals who wore either long-sleeve coats or short-sleeve coats while interacting with mannequins to simulate patient care, it was found that no transmission of pathogens occurred when doctors wore short-sleeved coats. The healthcare professionals examined either a mannequin contaminated with cauliflower mosaic virus DNA or an uncontaminated mannequin.
Michael Angarone, DO, and assistant professor of medicine in infectious diseases at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine points out that although the virus contamined those wearing long-sleeve coats more often than short-sleeved coats, only one case of transmission to an uninfected "patient" occurred. Morever, Angarone states that "there may be a risk when wearing long sleeves, but it does not prove that long sleeves are transmitting pathogens to uninfected persons." He advises all healthcare professionals to maintain "regular and consistent use of hand hygiene practices" as a best practice.
- Lisa Rapaport with Reuters reports from a study on medical error causing serious injuries that patients want their doctors to listen to them and explain what safety measures the hospital is implementing to prevent the same medical error from reoccurring. The study was comprised of 27 patients, 3 family members, and 10 staff members at three different U.S. hospitals. A total of 27 of the 30 patients and family members from the study received compensation. Patients who experienced medical errors reported a strong preference for doctors listening to them instead of talking about treatment and communicating medical information. Of the 30 participants in this study, 24 reported that they did not receive information about safety improvements. Gary Noskin, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Northwestern Medicine and professor of medicine within Infectious Diseases at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, was not involved in the study and explains how this new finding contrasts with the typical response from hospitals after medical errors: “Traditionally, hospitals follow a ‘deny and defend’ strategy providing a paucity of information to patients." He also adds that open [communication] after medical errors may prevent litigation. Physicians practicing active listening instead of talking after a medical error may prove both meaningful to patients and advantageous to hospitals.
- British researchers may have found a link between mood and flu shot efficacy, especially in adults over 65. It is possible that being in a good mood when one receives the flu shot improves his/her chances of protection from the flu. Michael Ison, MD, professor in Infectious Diseases and Organ Transplantation at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, however, warns against waiting until one is in a good mood to receive a flu shot. Ison recommends that people get a flu shot when it is offered regardless of what kind of mood they are in.
- Babafemi Taiwo, MBBS, the division chief of Infectious Diseases at Northwestern University, spearheads the division's international research in HIV/AIDS. Taiwo brings an international perspective to the division as his medical education and HIV/AIDS research stretch across two continents. Taiwo graduated from medical school at The University of Ibadan in Nigeria. He then completed residency at Berkshire Medical Center in Massachusetts and a fellowship at Northwestern University in Chicago. He also worked as an internal medicine specialist at Duke University and Duke's HIV Clinic. Taiwo encourages collaboration between investigators and clinical doctors in Nigeria and the U.S. in researching, treating infected patients, and eradicating HIV/ AIDS.
- Thursday, December 1st, 2016 marked the 28th anniversary of World AIDS Day. In a Fox News interview, Robert Murphy, MD and Director of the Center for Global Health at Northwestern University, says that while a 20% decrease in the number of new cases of HIV/AIDS in the last 10 years shows some improvement in the U.S., there has been a "net, multi-million increase" per year in the number of new cases of HIV/AIDS world-wide. Murphy adds: "treatment and care have improved dramatically, and current therapies now are very safe, very effective...so anyone can find a medication to treat themselves." He warns, however, that current therapies are not a cure, since one's immune system is compromised before beginning medication, and complications occur throughout a person's life. Murphy would like to focus on the fact that there have been "remarkable successes" in the AIDS epidemic.
Congratulations, Dr. Taiwo! Please click here to see full article.