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  • This Month's Story List

    Here's what we're working on for the Texas Medicine's 2017 Symposium Issue on Infectious Disease your next opportunity for advertising!

    The symposium on infectious diseases covers ethical challenges related to infectious diseases, emerging infectious diseases, future epidemics, the infectious disease outbreak investigation process, health care-associated infection prevention, antimicrobial resistance, the hygiene hypothesis, and infectious disease physician workforce needs.

     Guest editor: Edward J. Sherwood, MD

    Edward J. Sherwood, MD, serves on the clinical faculty of Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. He earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from Boston University after serving with the U.S. Marines in Vietnam. He trained in internal medicine and infectious diseases at Boston City Hospital. His career has included clinical practice, teaching, hospital administration, and public health. He fulfilled the Peter Principle upon appointment as interim dean of Texas A&M Health Science Center and was more recently elected to membership in the Gold Humanism Honor Society.


    Improving the national infectious disease strategy

    By David Lakey, MD, associate vice chancellor for population health and chief medical officer for The University of Texas System

    Public health and medicine working together

    By Jeffrey L. Levin, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Occupational Health Sciences and Occupational and Environmental Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler

    Umair A. Shah, MD, executive director of Harris County Public Health and serves as the local health authority for Harris County

    Philip P. Huang, MD, health authority and medical director for the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department and chair of the TMA Committee on Infectious Diseases 

    Health care-associated infections: what we've learned

    By Charles J. Lerner, MD, a hospital epidemiologist in private practice in San Antonio

    Jane D. Siegel, MD, a pediatric infectious disease physician and medical director of the Corpus Christi State Supported Living Center for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

    Multiply, extremely resistant organisms: what you need to know

    By Oladapo A. Abodunde, MD, a 2016 graduate of the Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School

    Paul Southern, MD, an infectious diseases clinician and professor at UT-Southwestern

    James P. Luby, MD, an infectious diseases clinician and professor at UT-Southwestern 

    Allergies vs. infections

    By Wesley W. Stafford, MD, past chair of the TMA Council on Science and Public Health and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine



    Emerging infectious diseases, animals, and future epidemics

    By Herbert L. DuPont, MD

    Emerging and reemerging infections have become prevalent in the United States since the 1970s, causing illness, death, and fear among the public. The published literature was reviewed to offer a perspective on risk factors for disease acquisition and to allow a prediction of the next microbial assault after Zika. Four well-integrated factors contribute simultaneously to this problem: animals colonized or infected by human pathogens, microbes recurrently changing their virulence, a growing number of susceptible people, and climatic and environmental factors encouraging disease transmission. After Ebola and Zika the next pathogen likely to emerge in an important way in the United States is a new mutant RNA arising from a well-established virus family. Standard public health principles, including monitoring general populations for disease, developing new reagents as pathogens arise, and implementing control efforts such as effective antibiotic stewardship programs and vaccine development and administration will minimize damage from the emerging organisms. 

    Herbert L. DuPont, MD, is director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health and is a clinical professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.


    Typhoid fever on the half shell

    By Linda Gaul, PhD, and John Hellerstedt, MD

    Protecting the public from communicable infectious disease outbreaks is one of the most important, and most challenging, functions of public health. Foodborne outbreaks are not uncommon, and they can be especially difficult. This true story of the epidemiologic investigation into a typhoid fever outbreak illustrates the critical importance of timely reporting by frontline clinicians, extensive inter-professional teamwork, and statewide coordination.  

    Linda Gaul, PhD, is the state epidemiologist. She was a faculty member in biological sciences at The University of Texas at Austin for 11 years.

    John Hellerstedt, MD, is commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services. Before that, he served as chief medical officer of the Seton Family of Hospitals.


    Prevention of health care-associated infections in an era of public reporting

    By Chetan Jinadatha, MD, and Edward J. Septimus, MD

    Health care-associated infections (HAIs) are a leading cause of wasted health care dollars and, prevention of HAIs is a quintessential pillar of patient safety and satisfaction. Catheter associated urinary tract infections, central line associated blood stream infections, ventilator associated pneumonias, surgical site infections, and Clostridium difficile infections are the important HAIs seen in U.S. hospitals. Clostridium difficile infections are an emerging threat to the modern health care systems, attributed to antibiotic overuse and resistance. Combined payment bundle increases the pressure on hospitals to take ownership of hip and knee replacement surgery patients. HAI is heavily penalized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, not to mention the potential for negative publicity with public reporting. The role of initiatives such as prevention bundles, decolonization, antibiotic stewardship, and no-touch disinfection are emerging, but hand hygiene still remains the most important step in preventing HAIs.

    Chetan Jinadatha, MD, is chief of infectious diseases at the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System in Temple and is an assistant professor of medicine at Texas A&M Health Science Center.

    Edward J. Septimus, MD, is medical director of infection prevention and epidemiology at the Hospital Corporation of America.


    The growing threat of antimicrobial resistance

    By Jose M. Munita, MD; Samuel Shelburne, MD; David E. Greenberg, MD; and Cesar A. Arias, MD

    The emergence and widespread dissemination of multidrug-resistant organisms is considered one of the three most important public health threats for humankind in the 21st century and jeopardizes the practice of modern medicine. Failure to tackle this problem in a comprehensive fashion could result in a dire post-antibiotic era, impairing the future development of treatments against important diseases, such as cancer and transplant medicine, among others. Here, we provide a global perspective of the problem and describe some of the most important antibiotic-resistant organisms affecting the health of our patients. In addition, we discuss some of the ongoing efforts to deal with the antimicrobial resistance crisis.

    Jose M. Munita, MD, is associate professor of the Clinica Alemana - Universidad del Desarrollo in Santiago, Chile, and adjunct assistant professor of the University of Texas at Houston.

    Samuel Shelburne, MD, is associate professor in the departments of Infectious Diseases and Genomic Medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. 

    David E. Greenberg, MD, is an associate professor of infectious diseases and microbiology at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

    Cesar A. Arias, MD, is the director of The University of Texas Center for Antimicrobial Resistance and Microbial Genomics at The University of Texas McGovern School of Medicine in Houston.


    Can we be too clean for our own good? The hygiene hypothesis reviewed

    By Sheenal Patel, MD, and Rebecca Gruchalla, MD

    The hygiene hypothesis began as an attempt to explain the relatively rapid rise in atopic diseases. Strachan's early hypothesis regarding the role of family size and exposure to early childhood infections in the development of atopic diseases has clearly evolved to integrate the possible effects of hygiene, eradication of parasitic infections, immunizations, improvements in home heating and ventilation, dust mite exposure, breastfeeding duration, diet, parental smoking, pollution, and exposure to pets and farm animals. However, as most of our understanding at the current time still comes from observational and epidemiologic studies, further investigations are needed to help uncover which of these genetic and environmental factors are indeed the causes behind the increases in allergic rhinitis and asthma. 

    Sheenal V. Patel, MD, is a second-year allergy and immunology fellow at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

    Rebecca S. Gruchalla, MD, is a professor of internal medicine and pediatrics and director of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at UT-Southwestern.


    The infectious disease manpower crisis: finding the cure

    By Steven L. Berk, MD

    The challenges of infectious diseases, including new pathogens, dangerous outbreaks, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and the perils of international travel have never been more publically appreciated. These challenges require a well-trained workforce of infectious disease specialists. Just when the need appears to be greatest, however, the interest in infectious diseases among today's young physicians is at its lowest point.

    Steven L. Berk, MD, is executive vice president, provost, and dean of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine. 




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