IDWeek 2012 Featured Cutting Edge Research on Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases

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With increasing public concern over influenza, healthcare-associated infections, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the global spread of new infectious diseases, the first annual IDWeek 2012™ meeting highlighted cutting-edge research, treatment and prevention strategies to help safeguard and inform patients now and in the future. IDWeek 2012™ is the first joint annual meeting of IDSA, SHEA, HIVMA, and PIDS. The meeting convenes leading researchers and practitioners from around the world to showcase the latest developments in the field. Sessions present advances in basic, translational, and clinical research in infectious diseases, including HIV infection, and healthcare epidemiology, and provide state-of-the-art updates on key topics and issues.

More than 1,500 papers, on issues such as infection prevention, adult and pediatric infectious diseases and HIV, were presented at the gathering in San Diego. More than 6,400 researchers, clinicians, quality and patient safety practitioners, epidemiologists and public health officials attended from across the country and internationally.

"The paramount goal of preventing and treating infectious diseases, including HIV, is improving patient safety and care. Doing so is among the highest priorities for all health professionals and facilities," says Liise-anne Pirofski, MD, an IDWeek chair for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.  "The depth and reach of the studies and discussion that occurred at our meeting shows how far we've come and from where the next advances in science and patient care could come in the future."

Among the relevant research presented at IDWeek, attendees received late-breaking, clinically relevant guidance on the multistate fungal meningitis outbreak. The sessions featured updates on the scope of the outbreak from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and informed practitioners of the clinical implications, including diagnostic and treatment challenges among exposed patients, from front-line clinicians managing current cases.

Select studies from the five-day event include:

- The use of antimicrobial soap and ointment can cut bloodstream infections in ICU patients. A large scale study on antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospitals shows that using antimicrobial soap and ointment on all intensive-care patients significantly cuts MRSA bloodstream infections, suggesting a simple, cost-effective change in health care practice that could save lives.

- Ultraviolet light effective for infection control in hospitals. Research shows that a specific spectrum of ultraviolet light kills drug-resistant bacteria on the door handles, bedside tables and other hospital room surfaces, pointing to a possible weapon in the battle to reduce healthcare-associated infections.

- Antimicrobial stewardship intervention succeeds in cutting inappropriate antibiotic prescribing by pediatricians. A study involving one of the nation's largest networks of pediatric practices was able to nearly halve the inappropriate use of antibiotics through quarterly monitoring and feedback of physicians' prescribing patterns. It is one of the first studies to look at antimicrobial stewardship interventions in an outpatient setting.   

- Studies target high rates of HIV medication errors among hospitalized patients. Research concludes that despite advances in electronic medical records, mistakes are still common in prescribing antiretroviral medications for hospitalized HIV-positive patients. Studies suggest that electronic medical records in combination with clinical education can greatly decrease medical errors.

- Pediatric studies show deadly danger of flu and the benefits of school vaccinations. New data shows the fatal risk influenza poses for children, even those without underlying health conditions, and the effectiveness of school-based vaccination programs in protecting student populations.  

Session suggestions for IDWeek 2013™ are now being accepted via Internet. The conference will take place Oct. 2-6, 2013 in San Francisco.

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