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Decline in Hospital Staph Infections, Increased Rate of Early Onset of Puberty for Girls named “Best/Worst News for Preven

Posted Aug 16 2010 11:49am
Decline in Hospital Staph Infections, Increased Rate of Early Onset of Puberty for Girls named “Best/Worst News for Prevention”

The drop in dangerous hospital staph infections in the United States was named the “Best News for Prevention” while girls beginning puberty at ages 7 and 8 was named the “Worst News for Prevention.”

The “Best/Worst” awards are announced each week in “Prevention Matters,” the blog of Partnership for Prevention. "Best/Worst News for Prevention” polls are snapshots taken during a brief period of time that reflect the views of Partnership for Prevention staff. The polls are not designed or intended to reflect a statistically valid representation of the population and should not be used as such. More information is available at http://www.prevent.org/ .


BEST

US sees drop in dangerous hospital staph illnesses



Aggressive, drug-resistant staph infections caught in hospitals or from medical treatment are becoming scarcer, another sign of progress in a prevention effort that has become a national public health priority.

The decline was seen in a federal study of methicillin-resistant staph, or MRSA. The bug often causes only a boil or skin infection. But researchers in the study focused on invasive cases that can become deadly, invading the bloodstream, flesh, lungs and bones.

Researchers found that in nine metro areas, cases of MRSA fell about 16 percent between 2005 and 2008. That translates to a drop from about 32 cases per 100,000 to 26 cases per 100,000 people.

The results suggest aggressive efforts to stop the germ from spreading are working, researchers said. Such efforts include better hand-washing by doctors and nurses, and testing for MRSA when patients are admitted to the hospital. "We're very encouraged by the results," said Dr. Alexander Kallen of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the study's lead author. But he added, "It's still too early to celebrate. A lot of work needs to be done about better ways to eliminate MRSA."

WORST

Many Girls Now Begin Puberty at Age 7, 8


The onset of puberty is continuing to drop among American girls, with many girls as young as 7 and 8 now showing the beginnings of breast development, new research shows. Among 7-year-olds, about 10.4 percent of white girls, 23.4 percent of black girls and almost 15 percent of Hispanic girls had started developing breasts, the team report in the September issue of Pediatrics. Among 8-year-olds, 18.3 percent of white girls, about 43 percent of black girls and just under 31 percent of Hispanic girls showed evidence of breast development.

Rising rates of childhood obesity -- long linked to earlier sexual development -- may be to blame, experts say.

Experts called the findings alarming. In terms of women's health, early puberty, including younger ages at menarche, or first menstrual cycle, is associated with a higher risk of breast cancer throughout the life span, Biro said. In addition, developing early is associated with psychological and social pressures that young girls may be ill-equipped to handle, including sexual advances from older boys and men, said Dr. Marcia Herman-Giddens, adjunct professor of public health at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
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