CDC recommends meningitis vaccine for children and teens
NEW YORK The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is encouraging vaccination to combat meningococcal meningitis, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Meningococcal meningitis affects 1,400 to 2,800 Americans per year, but can kill patients rapidly, especially children, sometimes within 24 hours. Early symptoms of the disease resemble the flu, but rapidly turn into high fever, vomiting, rash and, in some patients, gangrene and organ failure. About 10 percent of people who contract it die. Up to 20 percent of patients experience kidney damage, brain damage and amputations. Adolescents and young adults are at increased risk of contracting it.
Sanofi Pasteur began selling Menactra, a vaccine against the disease, in 2005. According to the Web site for the vaccine, one vaccination can help prevent a child from getting the disease. The vaccine remains effective for eight to 10 years.
The Journal reports that New Jersey will begin requiring vaccinations for sixth graders, while some states require college students to be vaccinated or sign a waiver indicating that they have decided not to be.
AIDS expert calls for increased funding, testing
MEXICO CITY Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said that the United States must immediately appropriate $200 million in order to test 10 million people for the deadly disease over the next three years.
“Without an accurate picture of the epidemic, vastly underestimated for the past ten years, we have missed countless opportunities to intervene with effective public health strategies,” noted Weinstein.
He further stated that, “Identifying all those who are infected and linking them to treatment, is the only way to break the chain of new infections and begin to address the nation’s runaway epidemic.”
Two M.D.s plead guilty to illegal $126 million Internet pharmacy
WASHINGTON Two California doctors have pleaded guilty to conspiracy for their participation in an illegal Internet pharmacy business. The business, according to the Department of Justice, generated more than $126 million in revenue from sales.
The business, known as Affpower, involved Chandresh Shah and Gerald Morris, both M.D.s, who pleaded guilty back on July 8. The two, along with 16 other defendants were indicted on July 27.
According to the indictment, the Affpower enterprise sold controlled and non-controlled prescription drugs through numerous affiliated Web sites to customers who lacked prescriptions for the drugs from a personal physician. From August 2004 to June 2006, the Affpower enterprise allegedly received more than one million Internet orders for controlled and non-controlled prescription pharmaceuticals from customers in all 50 U.S. states.
Morris and Shah admitted Affpower enterprise doctors conducted no physical or mental examinations before issuing prescriptions, had no contact with customers and had no physician-patient relationship with any customer for whom the doctors prescribed drugs.
The trials are scheduled to take place in March and April.