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  #1  
Old 03-22-2003, 06:05 AM
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Default Mystery surrounds a virulent skin infection

http://www.activedayton.com/ddn/news...infection.html

By David Tuller
New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO | More than 1,000 jail inmates in Los Angeles County have suffered painful and aggressive skin infections caused by a bacterium resistant to many antibiotics, medical authorities say. The unusual outbreak over the last year is still not contained.

The same pathogen, which causes fast-growing boils and unsightly abscesses, also appears to have infected dozens of gay men, many of them HIV patients, in Los Angeles and San Francisco, health officials say.

Epidemiologists say the outbreaks stem from Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that causes many infections in hospitals and nursing homes.

But the experts are worried because this strain — resistant to methicillin, penicillin and other standard antibiotics — is spreading outside its traditional setting.

The ability of this bacterium to cause sudden and dangerous lesions on apparently healthy skin concerns health officials because it differs from other strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, which generally attack the skin only at weak points, like surgical incisions or open wounds.

And epidemiologists are concerned that the bacterium may develop resistance to the handful of antibiotics that still work against it.

They are also worried that it may be spreading to other groups. Dr. Elizabeth Bancroft, an epidemiologist with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, said she had received a growing number of reports of comparable ailments from people who were neither gay nor in prison.

‘‘My voice mail and e-mail are overflowing from people saying they’ve had similar infections in the past few months,’’ said Bancroft, who is overseeing an investigation to pinpoint risk factors and routes of transmission.

In the Los Angeles jail system, the authorities at first believed that the infections were from spider bites, but no spider was ever identified. As the number of cases grew and the lesions failed to respond to standard antibiotics, officials realized they were facing a more serious problem.

The standard antibiotic-resistant bacterium — which can be spread during skin-to-skin contact or indirectly through shared hospital equipment and other items — has been increasingly common in hospitals and other health care centers since the 1980s.

In recent years, health officials around the country have reported scattered outbreaks, apparently acquired through social contact outside hospitals and in various groups of children, injection drug users, athletes, American Indians and prisoners.

No one has a clear idea how widespread the skin disorder actually is outside hospitals, because states do not require doctors to report cases of drug-resistant staph infection, unlike diseases such as AIDS and tuberculosis.

But, said Dr. Matthew Kuehnert, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: ‘‘This is the largest cluster of infections that we’ve heard about in prison or jail. And we haven’t previously seen MRSA specifically being associated with gay men.

The agency plans to compare samples of the staph strain from California with those found in previous MRSA outbreaks elsewhere.

Staph infections can be fatal if antibiotics fail to control them. In the current wave, no one identified as having the ailment is believed to have died, but in some cases doctors have had to cut away diseased tissue and administer intravenous antibiotics for weeks. Dozens of infected patients have been hospitalized.

Epidemiologists have told the jail authorities in Los Angeles that increasing inmate access to showers, clean laundry and medical treatment can help bring the outbreak under control.
The exact number of cases in the parallel outbreak among gay men is unknown. But doctors in Los Angeles say they have identified more than three dozen gay patients with the skin infections. Many, but not all, have HIV.

Dr. Peter Ruane, who treats many gay men and people with HIV at Tower Infectious Disease Medical Associates in Los Angeles, said the boils and abscesses appeared suddenly, grew rapidly and were far more virulent than previous staph infections he had seen. ‘‘This is a nasty bug,’’ he said. ‘‘Some of these infections take your breath away.’’
While the outbreaks were first publicly reported in Los Angeles, doctors who treat gay patients in San Francisco say they have seen similar infections.

‘‘It’s really rampant,’’ said Dr. Bill Owen, a primary care physician in San Francisco with a gay and HIV practice. ‘‘We’ve seen 10 or 15 cases in the last couple of months.’’

Owen said he knew of other doctors in the area who had also noticed an increase in the unusual skin infections.
Health officials in San Francisco said they were aware of the reports and were considering ways to assess the scope of the problem.

Medical authorities speculate that gay men could be contracting the infections through sexual encounters or in shared facilities like gyms and steam rooms.

Through a technology known as molecular fingerprinting, health officials have already determined that the staph strain found in the jails and among gay men was virtually identical with one implicated in two much smaller outbreaks last year in Los Angeles, one among newborns and the other in young adult athletes.

The staph strain has proved resistant to a host of commonly used antibiotics besides methicillin and penicillin. But it appears to respond to some other lesser-known oral antibiotics and to vancomycin, an intravenous antibiotic.
Health officials say that even if an infection appears to have abated, it is critical that patients complete their entire course of antibiotic treatment, which helps prevent the pathogen from mutating and developing further resistance.

‘‘We don’t want the bacteria to become resistant to the antibiotics that it’s still sensitive to,’’ Bancroft said, ‘‘because that would really be a nightmare.’’

[From the Dayton Daily News: 02.04.2003]
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Old 03-22-2003, 06:14 AM
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http://www.theadvocate.com/stories/0...pider001.shtml

Inmates allege spider bites; jailers say it's an infection

By ADRIAN ANGELETTE
aangelette@theadvocate.com
Advocate staff writer

More than 30 Parish Prison inmates claim in lawsuits that they were bitten by venomous brown recluse spiders.

The two suits say the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, which operates the prison, has not worked to eliminate the hazard.

"Either no steps were taken to control the spider problem or the steps taken were wholly inadequate," one suit says.

Defendants named in the suits are East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Warden Joe Sabella, the Sheriff's Office and the city-parish.

However, attorneys for the city-parish said a state expert found that the inmates are suffering from a staph infection, not spider bites.

None of the inmates who sued has produced a spider, one lawyer said.

"No one has ever come up with a single brown recluse spider," said Leu Anne Greco, an attorney for the Sheriff's Office.

The lawsuits contend that after a spider bites, the area around the bite turns red and swells, leaving a red ulcerous sore that causes a scar.

Some of the inmates claim to have been bitten multiple times.

Greco said the city-parish and Sheriff's Office had Raoul Ratard, the state epidemiologist, review the inmates' medical files. Epidemiology is the study of disease and its distribution within a population.

Ratard determined that the health problems were caused by a staph infection called methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Greco said.

The strain of the infection is the same one that has been reported in prisons in other states, she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that since 1999, the Staphylococcus aureus has been found in prisons in Mississippi, Tennessee, California, Texas, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

MRSA is spread through physical contact, most often to people with weak immune systems, the CDC reports.
To stop the spread, patients are often isolated and antibiotics are used for treatment. Surgery is sometimes necessary at the source of the infection, the CDC says.
The infection can cause oozing boils, infections or pneumonia.

James Hilburn, an assistant parish attorney, said the staph infection is common throughout the nation and is often found in hospitals.

He also said the staph infection spreads easily. "It only needs broken skin to spread," Hilburn said.

Hilburn said Ratard found nothing wrong with the way the prison is operated. It is sprayed twice each month to kill harmful insects, including spiders.

Greco said the city-parish also had an entomologist inspect the prison, and that he found no spider problem. Entomology is the study of insects.

Brown recluse spiders are common in Louisiana, Mississippi, and the section of the United States between Dallas and Atlanta, from the Gulf of Mexico to the northern boundary of Missouri.
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Old 03-22-2003, 09:05 AM
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printed it out and mailed it to Clinton!n Thank you Teb! he is always very gratefull for information like this...you know they don't tell these men anything. If they don't hear it from us they just don't know. I know that whenever I sent something like this to Clinton, he gives the papers around all over prison to make sure many people know and can do something in time.
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Old 03-18-2004, 07:50 AM
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Hey Teb~ When Eric went to san quentin, he started getting what the co's were
calling a brown recluse spider bite, Eric has had many of these types of infections. I
know that from being in nursing for many years (LVN) that these are not spider bites,
they are Staph Infection. Eric has had them on his buttocks, hip and now on one of
his legs. I am very concerned about this outbreak at San Quentin, and have gone as far to speak to the Director of Medicine At the prison, who says it is a spider bite. B.S.!
A spider bite would respond to antiboctics, Staph Infection ususally doesn't do very
well with antiboctics. Eric has had to have daily dressings applied. He told me that he
had 4 separate doses of anitboctics in a 4 week time frame, and finally the 4th dose
cleared it up. Then he got two more, and now the one on his leg. It totally freaks me
out, as Staph Infection at San Quentin is running out of control at this prison. And the
prison is doing nothing to bring it under control. Eric will be home in 5 days and a wake
up and he will be going to our health care specialist to get this infection under control
and gone. I saw his hip one day in visiting, and I knew the minute that I saw it with
the discolor of the skin, it wasn't a spider bite. Just another "cover up" brought to you
in part of the State Prisons here in California.
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Old 07-19-2004, 06:19 PM
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I've just been informed by someone that this staph infection is rampant in a prison and nothing is being done about. Prisoners are walking around with oozing sores among the general inmate population. Sharing the same bathrooms and showers, no isolation at all.

Don't understand how they can do nothing about it. What is wrong with the people in charge?? After all the guards and workers there are being exposed as well. They in turn if infected are bringing it home to their families, who then bring it out to the general public.

Will it take a major epedimic to the general public for the people in charge to do something?? A very scary thought. After all many of these guys are being released on a daily basis.

What or whom can we contact to help in this matter??

Thank for any leads as to where I can turn to.
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Old 07-19-2004, 07:31 PM
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OTRA, I don't know who you are "supposed" to contact with something like this but you could start with the health department. Whether you get a response or not just keep ringing someone's phone at every office that might have even the slightest impact on what is going on. Nothing gets to the "higher ups" like phone calls pouring in from citizens.
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Old 07-20-2004, 01:40 PM
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That's exactly what was happening at Parchman in camp 30. Guys kept getting "spider bites" and had awful pussy sore. It took them forever to get to the doctor to get treated. Some guys actually pretended to pass out so they could get faster treatment. They were led to believe they were spider bites until one doctor finally told an inmate that it was a staph infection. This was several months ago and I don't think it's going around there anymore.

I know this sounds awful too but my husband and I both ended up with scabies which we think we got from the conjugal visit room perhaps. Anyway I kept calling and calling to get him to medical and they wouldn't see him. Finally I talked to a couple of different people and told them that if they didn't get my husband treated they would all end up with parasites and they sent him to medical that night.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric's homegirl
Hey Teb~ When Eric went to san quentin, he started getting what the co's were
calling a brown recluse spider bite, Eric has had many of these types of infections. I
know that from being in nursing for many years (LVN) that these are not spider bites,
they are Staph Infection. Eric has had them on his buttocks, hip and now on one of
his legs. I am very concerned about this outbreak at San Quentin, and have gone as far to speak to the Director of Medicine At the prison, who says it is a spider bite. B.S.!
A spider bite would respond to antiboctics, Staph Infection ususally doesn't do very
well with antiboctics. Eric has had to have daily dressings applied. He told me that he
had 4 separate doses of anitboctics in a 4 week time frame, and finally the 4th dose
cleared it up. Then he got two more, and now the one on his leg. It totally freaks me
out, as Staph Infection at San Quentin is running out of control at this prison. And the
prison is doing nothing to bring it under control. Eric will be home in 5 days and a wake
up and he will be going to our health care specialist to get this infection under control
and gone. I saw his hip one day in visiting, and I knew the minute that I saw it with
the discolor of the skin, it wasn't a spider bite. Just another "cover up" brought to you
in part of the State Prisons here in California.
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Old 07-24-2004, 04:10 PM
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Default A death from Staph infection

Just a few days ago an inmate at FCC Coleman Low died of a acute Staph infection which was not properly cured. He started vomiting blood and died on his way to the hospital. They burnt his matress and all his belongings.
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Old 07-26-2004, 12:09 AM
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My son who was in Halawa Corr. Facility here in Hawaii complained to me 6 months ago about this problem. Evidently there were a minimum of 30 guys that had which he described as very painful, huge boils. The only treatment they received was an iodine wipe. Reading this information makes me furious as my son is a heart patient and has to really watch any type of infection. Thank you so much for posting this as tomorrow I will be faxing a copy of the article to the warden over there and let him know he better take immediate action and do something for these guys.

Aloha,
MomofJosh
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Old 09-08-2004, 07:52 PM
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My fiance is in an ALabama prison and has experienced the same problem! He was given Penicillin for a couple of weeks but the "boil" is still there!!! What can be done???
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Old 09-09-2004, 12:17 AM
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That skin infection is call a staff infection and that is in the blood. It is from dirty everything..It has another name and I can't think of it..I had a article from the LA times but don't know where I put it..minnie .
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Old 09-10-2004, 09:55 PM
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Default Fighting AIDS by Issuing Condoms in Prisons

I have attached a copy of a recent article that appeared in the NYTimes. The recent increase of women contracting the AIDS virus has prompted much interest, talk and research into men "on the down low". It is quite unfortunate but the prison environment has helped to perpetuate this because of the married men who have intimate relations with their wives and also with men on the inside. I think it is a great idea to issue condoms in the prisons to help prevent the spread of this deadly virus to the unsuspecting wives of inmates.

I hope you find this article educational, informative and enlightening!

-----------------
Fighting the AIDS Epidemic by Issuing Condoms in the Prisons

September 7, 2004
By BRENT STAPLES

The novelist E. Lynn Harris has become a fixture on the
best-seller list and a favorite among black women by
writing steamy books about men who live "on the down low" -
men who cheat on wives and girlfriends by having sex with
other men. The fear of men "on the down low" is now
palpable among black women, who are more than 20 times as
likely to contract AIDS as white women and are
understandably anxious about protecting themselves. This
fixation has also become a cottage industry, dealt with in
books, lectures, plays and an episode of the popular
television series "Law & Order."

The hyperbole and exaggeration surrounding the "down low"
has taken the public health debate in a counterproductive
direction. It has spread paranoia and pushed a much-needed
discussion about bisexual behavior further underground.
Moreover, it has kept the country from focusing on the
long-neglected connection between H.I.V. and the prison
system, where infection rates are high and unprotected sex
among male inmates is far more common than prison officials
care to admit. Men who have sex with men in prison pose an
enormous threat to women when they return to the outside
world and heterosexual behavior.

In any given year, 35 percent of the people with
tuberculosis, nearly a third of those with hepatitis C and
17 percent of the people with AIDS pass through jails and
prisons. Faced with budget crises, many correctional
facilities back away from testing inmates, fearing they
will be required to pay for expensive treatments.

Condoms are banned or simply unavailable in more than 95
percent of the nation's prisons. The corrections system
processes nearly 12 million people a year. It is especially
vulnerable to AIDS and other blood-borne diseases that
spread easily through risky, unprotected sex acts.

Congress was forced to confront the issue in legislation
after a series of reports suggested that
prisoner-against-prisoner rape, often accompanied by
horrific violence, was commonplace. Concern over the
problem led to the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act of
2003, a groundbreaking law that requires the Justice
Department to collect data on prisoner-against-prisoner
rape and act to prevent it.

Research on sex in prison is limited. But a much-cited
study of California prisoners in the 1980's found that 65
percent of them participated in sex acts behind bars. The
data, though sketchy, suggests that men who regard
themselves as heterosexuals are more likely to have sex
with other men the longer they remain in jail. Starved for
intimacy, many inmates apparently enter relationships that
they would never have considered in the world outside.

In an article published two years ago in The Prison Journal
by Christopher Krebs of the Research Triangle Institute,
inmates reported that 44 percent of the people they knew
participated in sex acts in prison.

The Krebs study disputes the standard hypothesis that sex
acts behind bars mainly involve men who were already active
homosexuals. Indeed, fewer than one-third of the people
mentioned in the study seem to fit that category, which
suggests that about 70 percent experienced their first
same-sex encounters only after landing behind bars. The
infections these men pick up in prison cycle back into the
community once they are released.

The prison data cries out for an AIDS-prevention strategy
that would encompass all of the nation's jails and prisons.
At a minimum, the program would give inmates free and open
access to condoms. The American prison system is now
dominated by the dangerous notion that distributing condoms
would encourage prisoners to break the rules by having sex.
As a result, condoms are unavailable in an overwhelming
majority of jails and prisons.

Prison authorities have resisted condom distribution
despite intense criticism from public health officials, who
have pointed out time and again that condoms are freely
distributed in prisons in many countries, including Canada.


The Canadian model is commendable in that it applies clear,
specific rules throughout the prison system and leaves
little to the judgment of local prison officials. The
directive requires that condoms be made "easily and
discreetly available" in gyms, libraries, schools, laundry
rooms and other areas where inmates can get them without
having to interact with guards. The point is to ensure that
inmates do not bypass condoms out of fear or embarrassment.


The connection between the prison experience and the spread
of AIDS outside prison is especially clear in poor
communities, where a great many men spend time behind bars
at some point in their lives. But with millions of people
regularly exposed to H.I.V. in the prison system, the
entire country has both a moral and a medical obligation to
confront the sexual realities of prison life.

Until then, lives will be lost and prison-borne diseases
will continue to spread from the corrections system into
the community at large.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/07/op...d803e25527a705
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Old 09-10-2004, 10:28 PM
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Cant say I agree


The American prison system is now
dominated by the dangerous notion that distributing condoms
would encourage prisoners to break the rules by having sex.
As a result, condoms are unavailable in an overwhelming
majority of jails and prisons.


This I agree with
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Old 09-10-2004, 10:35 PM
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Well it is about time that they realize that inmates have sex...Now they are giving condoms out..Better late than never...minnie
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Old 09-11-2004, 04:02 AM
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In South African prisons it has been the norm that when an inmate gets put into custody he gets given a box of condoms. It is not a fact that they condone the sex that happens there, but AIDS is rife in SA and any prevention is better than no cure. I cant say that i condone any sexual interaction between inmates, but it does happen and it will happen, no matter what. So i say, give them the condoms and prevent them from being another statistic.
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Old 09-11-2004, 06:16 AM
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Tony told me one guy where he is got in trouble for having condoms. He got a trip to the "hole" as condoms are contraband there
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Old 09-11-2004, 07:01 AM
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You don't have to condone the activity - but if sex is taking place in prison and diseases are spreading becasue of it then it is obviously happening even if it is against the rules or policies of the prison. Is it not better to offer 'protection' to eliminate or reduce the spread of deadly disease than to ignore it and say that sex in prison does not happen becasue it is against the rules?

I recently read an article that suggested that 25% of men that leave prison with a potentially deadly and spreadable disease did not enter prison with this disease.

One of the major factors is what is the collateral damage of ignoring or not addressing this situation. Your man comes home from prison. Your man went to prison disease free. Your man now has either AIDS or Hep C. He is not exhibiting any symptoms yet. Through sexual contact you are now in danger of contracting either of these diseases. How did he get either one of these diseases? Either through sexual contact or tattoos. He may have been forced into the sexual situation or he may have entered it willingly. I think one of the main reasons that this issue is ignored is because it brings up the discussion of homosexuality - no one wants to think that their guy goes to prison straight and is gay inside the prison. This issue of 'physical contact' goes far deeper than 'am I gay or straight' - physical contact is a basic human need - some people deal with the absence of this better than others. For the straight men in prison that may engage in sexual contact with another man - they are not all of a sudden gay - they are using sex as a means to get the physical contact that they so need and desire. They are not now gay.

I am Canadian - we consider ourselves more liberal with this kind of thinking and these kinds of solutions. We offer condoms to our Inmates. We are now considering tattoo parlors in prisons so that tattoos are done in a sterile environment. We offer needle exchanges for addicts. Sometimes you can lessen the damage of the bigger issue by offering a solution or a band aid to a smaller part of the problem. We don't condone drug use, but if you get a clean needle each time you use drugs then you may be an addict but not an addict with AIDS or HepC. When you are ready to go into rehab we can clean you of the drug addiction and we don't have to treat you for another problem.

Offering condoms in prison is just good sense. Closing your eyes to the spread of disease in a prison - no matter how it is spread - is not good sense.
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Old 09-12-2004, 11:59 AM
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I agree totaly.COndoms should be passed out in prisons.and tattos should be legal in there with a sanitary place to do them. They also need to do manditory testing every year in prison.alot of people with the diseases dont tell for fear of ridicule and then they knowingly spread this to others in there thru sexual contact and needles.I also agree that it is a basic human need to touch and doesn't mean a man is gay because he has needs.they should have visits for coulples to engage in sexual contact. This would help the spread of disease tremendously.Its unfair to families on the outside to aquire these diseases from their men when they are released.Society and the goverment need to adress this problem with realistic solutions.My man has been down for almost 10 yrs and 3 more to go. The thought scares me to death that he might catch something and bring it home. They need to test test test and PREVENT... Im sure thats just wishful thinking.This is a very important topic.
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Old 09-29-2004, 08:20 PM
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Default AIDS Conference addresses AIDS in Prisons

Is the World Finally Waking up to HIV/AIDS in Prisons? A Report from the International AIDS Conference.

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File Type: pdf IDCR-sept2004.pdf (209.5 KB, 37 views)
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Old 10-08-2004, 06:31 PM
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Default ARTICLE: Flu vaccine rationing

U.S. appeals for flu vaccine rationing

Officials ask healthy people to defer to those at risk




WASHINGTON (AP) -- A top federal health official, lamenting "a very fragile vaccine production system," urged healthy people Wednesday to defer getting their influenza shots so medication will be available for those most at risk.

"We really need a long-term solution so we don't end up in this year-to-year situation where we don't have a reliable supply," Dr. Julie Gerberding said, after the supply of vaccine to the United States was abruptly cut in half.

Gerberding, head of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and other government officials appealed for voluntary rationing in the wake of a major supply interruption.

British regulators unexpectedly shut down a major flu-shot supplier Tuesday, citing manufacturing problems at the Chiron Corp. factory in England where roughly 46 million doses destined for the United States had been made.

That means only about 54 million flu shots will be available this year from a competing firm, and the U.S. government decided quickly that most healthy adults should delay or skip them to leave enough vaccine for the elderly and other high-risk patients.

Vaccine should be reserved for babies and toddlers ages 6-23 months; people 65 or older; anyone with a chronic condition such as heart or lung disease; pregnant women; nursing home residents; children on aspirin therapy; health care workers who care for high-risk groups; and anyone who cares for or lives with babies younger than 6 months.

For everyone else, "Take a deep breath. This is not an emergency," Gerberding said Tuesday. "We don't want people to rush out and look for a vaccine today."

The government has urged voluntary rationing before, during a shortage in 2000. This year, however, will mark a record shortage just before flu season begins.

"We will need the help of the public," said Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson.

Gerberding, appearing Wednesday on CBS News' "The Early Show," said that if officials "prioritize" the disbursement of available flu vaccine, "we will make it possible for people to get vaccine if they really need it."

Chiron's problem began in August, when it discovered contamination in a small amount of vaccine that delayed its U.S. shipments. Still, top U.S. health officials assured the public less than two weeks ago that close monitoring showed the rest of Chiron's supply was fine, and plenty of vaccine would be available.

Tuesday, British regulators disagreed and suspended Chiron's license for three months, officially prohibiting export of the Fluvirin brand that Chiron manufactures in Liverpool. The sanction means more than a delay, Chiron officials said. The company will ship no Fluvirin anywhere this year.

The move took U.S. regulators by surprise. Food and Drug Administration officials headed to Britain Tuesday night to investigate but wouldn't say if they would ask British regulators for a special release of shots for use here if the flu season proves a bad one.

Chiron had brought more than 1 million doses to this country before its license was suspended but hasn't released the batch, Thompson said. He would not say if those doses were potentially usable.

Thompson asked the maker of the remaining 54 million flu shots to try to make more. Aventis Pasteur plans to try, but can't increase production until it meets existing orders in November.

High-risk patients depend on flu shots because the injections are made of killed influenza virus. Other people have another option: About 1 million doses of an inhaled flu vaccine, MedImmune Inc.'s FluMist, will be available for healthy 5- to 49-year-olds. It's made from live but weakened influenza virus.

A flu treatment called Tamiflu also can protect against infection if swallowed daily during an outbreak. Manufacturer Roche Pharmaceuticals said Tuesday it would step up production in anticipation of greater demand this winter.

Flu vaccine is made using chicken eggs and takes months to brew, meaning manufacturers cannot suddenly produce more. Yet vaccine shortages and delays have plagued the country for several years, and Tuesday's debacle prompted scientists to urge that the system be modernized.

"This points up the vulnerability of our influenza vaccine supply," said Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University, a government vaccine adviser.

Congress allocated $50 million in the 2004 budget to begin making such changes, half the amount federal health officials had requested. Thompson urged Tuesday that lawmakers provide $100 million next year.

The government is taking other steps to ease the shortage:


  • CDC is working with Aventis to alter its flu-shot distribution so that shipments also go to parts of the country that had depended on Chiron's supplies.
  • FDA and NIH are studying whether Aventis' vaccine could be diluted to get two doses out of each original shot. A small NIH study several years ago suggested doing so could provide enough protection for healthy people, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease chief for the National Institutes of Health.
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Old 10-10-2004, 10:32 AM
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Default ARTICLE: Another Unnecessary Death

Another Unnecessary Death in D.C.

The Washington Post; 10/9/2004; Colbert I. King

10-09-2004

Too bad that 27-year-old Jonathan Magbie, at this late stage, didn't
know the right people. If he did, he might still be alive today. But Magbie
had no ties to this town's rich, famous or influential. As his life drew
to a close, everyone who wanted to could exercise veto power over him.
It had been that way ever since he was hit by a car at age 4 and left paralyzed from the chin down.

Magbie's story was told a week ago in The Post by reporter Henri Cauvin.
It was a sad tale about a quadriplegic, unable to breathe on his own since
childhood (and mobile only with the help of a chin-operated, motorized
wheelchair), who was arrested, convicted and sent to the city's jail for
10 days for marijuana possession. His five days in custody of the D.C.
Department of Corrections -- interrupted by a one-night stay at Greater
Southeast Community Hospital -- ended in death. Questions concerning the
quality of care provided by the hospital and the Corrections Department
to Magbie are still unanswered. Unless his mother, Mary Scott, and his
lawyer kick up a fuss, the late Magbie will be another closed chapter in
the city's long and sickening history of dumping on the least among us.

The last five days of Magbie's life, as pieced together this week through
e-mail exchanges and interviews conducted with court and corrections officials, paint a picture of a kind of official treatment that would never be accorded a senator's son or someone with friends in city hall.

Let's begin with the office of Judge Judith Retchin. On Friday, Sept. 17,
three days before Magbie appeared in court for sentencing, Retchin directed
her law clerk to check with the person in the chief judge's office who
serves as a liaison with the D.C. Corrections Department to determine whether the department would be able to accommodate a "paralyzed, wheelchair-bound defendant." The clerk was told that the jail could handle such an inmate.

But did the clerk discuss Magbie's reliance on a ventilator? The court's
e-mail response: "No. The law clerk did not inquire about a ventilator.
Mr. Magbie had never used a ventilator in the courtroom during any of his
court appearances."

A serious omission indeed. Corrections Department Director Odie Washington
told me that if his department had known Magbie needed a ventilator, it
would have advised the court that on-site ventilator care was not available
in corrections facilities. Contrary to Retchin's announcement at the time
of Magbie's sentencing, the Corrections Department could not attend to
his needs.

Let's consider other matters that have turned up since The Post's story.

The article stated that what happened between Magbie's arrival at the jail
on Sept. 20 at 2 p.m. and his being taken to the hospital at 9 p.m. was
not explained.

An Oct. 7 e-mail response from the Corrections Department to my inquiry
indicated that Magbie went through medical and mental health processing
through the afternoon of Sept. 20 and was awaiting transfer from the jail
to the jail's annex, the Correctional Treatment Facility (CTF), when he
started having difficulty breathing at 9 p.m. A registered nurse on duty
asked if he used oxygen at home and Magbie stated that he did not use oxygen at home but he needs continuous breathing ventilator treatment at night. "This is the first time that [the Corrections Department] learns of Mr.
Magbie's need for a ventilator," the e-mail stated.

The nurse told CTF doctors, and after a second medical evaluation and finding
that Magbie needed acute medical care, they decided at 9:15 p.m. to transport him as an emergency patient to Greater Southeast Community Hospital.

The Post story reported that a court official, speaking on condition of
anonymity, said that Greater Southeast discharged Magbie back to the Corrections Department the following day, and when a senior CTF doctor who believed Magbie belonged in a hospital asked Greater Southeast to take him back, the hospital refused.

"That is absolutely not true," Joan Phillips, chief executive officer of
Greater Southeast, told me on Thursday. "They did not ask us to take the
patient back."

Bill Meeks, public information officer for the Corrections Department,
concurred. No Corrections Department medical personnel asked the hospital
to re-admit Magbie, he said.

So where did that story about Greater Southeast's refusal come from? Court
spokeswoman Leah Gurowitz said she and those she spoke with didn't know.

Another query: Why did the Corrections Department retain custody of a ventilator-dependent inmate for three nights when it knew that neither the jail nor the CTF provided on-site ventilator care?

"That was not our decision," said corrections chief Washington when I asked
him for an explanation. "We provided the care directed to us by Greater
Southeast Community Hospital," he said, and cited his department's e-mail
to me: "Magbie was returned to the CTF from Greater Southeast with a patient discharge form with instructions for nasal oxygen at night as needed. No ventilator was ordered."

But does Washington's finger-pointing hold up?

According to a Superior Court e-mail reply, on Sept. 21 -- the day after
Magbie's sentencing and overnight stay in the hospital -- a CTF doctor
contacted Judge Retchin's law clerk, informed her that Magbie needed a
ventilator when he slept and inquired about procedures to transfer him
to Greater Southeast. The clerk consulted with the chief judge's liaison
to corrections and was told that the doctor should speak with the Corrections
Department's medical administrator, because the court cannot direct medical
placements.

Washington acknowledged that a CTF physician, "acting on his own," discussed the ventilator situation with Magbie's attorney and that the two reached an agreement to have Magbie's mother bring her son's ventilator to the CTF on the morning of Sept. 24. Unfortunately, by the time she arrived,
at approximately 10 a.m., her son, having difficulty breathing, had already
been taken to Greater Southeast, where he later died.

Court, corrections and hospital bureaucrats have now scurried to their
bunkers.

Jonathan Magbie wasn't always so little thought of.

Twenty-two years ago this month, a chipper 5-year old Jonathan "John-John"
Magbie was invited to take part in a White House ceremony commemorating
National Respiratory Therapy Week. He had suffered the paralyzing injury
a year earlier and was breathing with the help of a mechanical device inserted
in his neck and speaking through a battery-powered device that he operated
with a flick of his tongue.

On the way to the White House, "John-John" told his doctor, Dean Sterling,
director of respiratory care services at Children's Hospital, and nurse
Nancy Rivers that he wanted to ask President Reagan something. After the
ceremony, and as Reagan was saying hello to "John-John," the doctor said:

" 'John-John,' you had something you wanted to ask the president, didn't
you?"

"Yes," said the boy. "What are you going to be for Halloween?"

Startled, the president replied: "I think I'll just keep being me. That's
been tough enough recently" [Bob Levey's Washington, Oct. 29, 1982].

This Halloween, both are gone.

(For the record: I have never met Judge Retchin. I did, however -- along
with other family and friends -- write a letter of recommendation last
year to the judge in behalf of a jailed relative who was being sentenced
on a felony conviction. At sentencing, Retchin credited him with time served
in jail, ordered him into drug treatment and called for a subsequent assignment to a halfway house. He is now on probation and employed. As noted in an earlier column, the King family tree includes members who have attended Penn State and the state pen.)

kingc@washpost.com

Keywords: ED

Copyright 2004, The Washington Post Co. All Rights Reserved.
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Old 10-10-2004, 10:36 AM
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Default ARTICLE: Juvenile Addiction & Crime

WHY AREN'T WE TALKING ABOUT JUVENILE ADDICTIONS?

Wisconsin State Journal; 10/8/2004; William Wineke

This report ought to form the basis of tonight's presidential debate - but it most likely won't even be mentioned.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University reported Thursday that four of every five young people in the juvenile justice system either was drunk or high when committing a crime or has a long-term history of substance abuse. Of an estimated 1.9 million juveniles who are arrested for crimes and who have substance abuse and addiction problems, about 68,000 - or 3.6 percent - receive some kind of treatment for those addictions.

That's pretty shocking, isn't it? Here's an estimate that's even more shocking:
The center suggests that if we spent an average of $5,000 in treatment programs for each of the 120,000 juveniles who are now incarcerated in out-of-home facilities, those programs would pay for themselves within a year.

And those programs wouldn't have to be "successful."

All it would take, the CASA report estimates, is that just 12 percent of those children treated remain free of drugs and alcohol and commit no further crimes in order for the treatment program to break even.

By "break even" the agency means save the system the costs incurred by the juveniles in terms of committing crimes, being arrested and being incarcerated.

The report is 200 pages long and I can't really substantiate those figures here - but you can read the whole thing online at the National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse Web site.

What's important here is that we have a national scandal that could not only be addressed but that, by addressing it, we could save society billions of dollars a year and, at the same time, save thousands of lives.

I have a feeling that, if we were to do the job right, it would cost more than $5,000 a year per child. The research agency also estimates that up to 75 percent of all incarcerated juveniles suffer from "diagnosable mental health disorders" that also need treatment.

But the potential payoff is staggering. We save the productive lives of the kids we treat - at least, we save many of them. We protect the lives of the people those kids prey upon if they're not treated. And, since a very large percentage of adult inmates were originally juvenile offenders, we reduce our adult crime rate as well.

And, are we doing it? Nationally, not very well. Dane County, it must be said, has long had fairly humane juvenile policies, at least compared to the rest of the country. But county officials have trouble just holding the line on spending for social services, let alone increase funding.

Nationally, our answer to juvenile crime seems to be to get tough with the kids. As Dr. Phil would ask, "How's that working for ya?"

The CASA study makes the point another way: "Public policy for juvenile crime has focused increasingly on accountability from the juvenile offender. But accountability is a two-way street. Demanding accountability from children while refusing to be accountable to them is criminal neglect."

Isn't this issue worthy of attention from the men seeking the highest office in the land?

(Copyright (c) Madison Newspapers, Inc. 2004)
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Old 10-15-2004, 02:48 AM
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Default Corrections Health Care News

Providing HELP to HIV-Positive Offenders in the Community
By Michelle Gaseau, Managing Editor

The transition from prison cell to the community can be a bleak one for many ex-offenders: jobs are scarce, money is tight and housing is non-existent. These challenges are multiplied for offenders who are HIV positive.

A new program supported by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Health aims to address some of those problems and, in particular, help rectify health care disparities among offenders of color.

"When the inmates are being released, it's already difficult for them when they come back into society. It's even more difficult if they have a health disparity," said Agustina Martinez, Manager of Projects for the Minneapolis-based Council on Crime and Justice, the non-profit that is managing the new program.

The Healthy Educational Lifestyles Project (HELP) is designed to identify HIV positive and hepatitis C positive inmates who are released from Minnesota prisons to residences in Hennepin and Ramsay Counties. The goal, once identified, is to help these offenders develop new attitudes that will help them remain crime-free, become self-sufficient and live a healthier lifestyle. It began working with offenders last fall.

To get to this point, the council received a planning grant in 2002 that it used to create a service plan for a particular group of HIV-positive and hepatitis C-positive offenders - men and women of color.

According to Martinez, the council realized through information from AIDS-related service providers that this group of offenders had the most difficult time transitioning back into the community.

So HELP uses a two-pronged approach to assist these offenders: education and advocacy.

Education About Behaviors

The council sends staff members into two Minnesota prisons to conduct health education classes and then provide advocacy services both pre and post-release to offenders.

HELP's health educator, Willie Wessley conducts 10-week course at Lino Lakes and Rush City prisons teaching inmates about sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, hepatitis C and other health issues.

The courses have been ongoing since 2003, but this year HELP changed its curriculum to also include information and suggestions for changing high-risk behaviors that affect health.

"It's not only that they are learning the knowledge of HIV, but also what could happen if they have unprotected sex, for example," said Martinez.

In the courses, inmates are given a pre-test to determine what their knowledge base is and then a post-test to determine what they have learned. In addition, the courses offer an open forum for questions and discussion, which the council believes is an important part of learning and behavior change.

"We want to make sure they have an open place where they can discuss their issues," said Martinez.

The courses are open to all inmates with the hope of educating those who even refuse to be tested for HIV or even those who do not have HIV at all.

"Let's say they probably know they are positive and they are about to be released. What we do is as soon as they are released, within two weeks, we make them have a full medical check up -to see if they are positive or not," said Martinez.

The medical check-up is just the start of the services after release.

Post-Release Connections

HELP's advocacy services begin with staff member Eric McCoy who works with offenders pre-release to provide on-on-one counseling based on need.

The advocacy part of the program includes interactions with community clinics, doctors as well as housing program and services and employment services.

"If there's any need that we cannot provide them, we make sure that we [get] them to the right agency so they get their [needs met]," said Martinez.

And, even though the program is fairly new, it has an idea that it has made a difference.

One recent success story has given council staff the feeling that he programming is right on track.

Martinez said that one offender who began the HELP classes earlier this year was at the end of a two-year sentence and wanted to make life better for himself. He attended classes faithfully and contacted his case advocate from prison and began meeting with his advocate.

Then in March 2004, he was released and began receiving services outside. Today he works in the construction field and lives successfully in the community. Martinez believes that small success stories like this one will make a cumulative difference in the long run for many.

"He has changed his outlook on life and has a strong will to support his family," she said.

By connecting these offenders to employment and giving them a leg up in starting a new life, HELP hopes to show offenders how changes in behavior can benefit them and their loved ones.

"The hope for this program is that we can reduce recidivism and we teach them we can change their behavior," she said.

And, the more that HELP produces success stories, the more word will come back to offenders on the inside that education and asking for help is worth the effort.

"They [get] employment and they [get] housing and they have changed their ways because they have worked with a case advocate," Martinez said. "I think it's important because there is a huge stigma out there and there's not many programs that are doing what we're doing."

Resources:

Council on Crime and Justice www.crimeandjustice.org

Martinez - martineza@crimeandjustice.org

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Old 10-15-2004, 02:56 AM
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Default HIV inmates to be desegregated

HIV inmates to be desegregated
The Press-Enterprise

Some inmates at the California Institution for Men in Chino are fighting a proposal to move them into a housing unit for prisoners infected with the virus that causes AIDS. Many say they are afraid of contracting HIV themselves, but prison officials say the change is needed to keep dorms from overcrowding. Sgt. Arioma Sams said inmates in the prison's east yard permanent work crew have raised concerns about the proposed transfer into Del Norte, a two-story facility built in the 1980s to treat inmates who are HIV positive. The transfer will take place next month. Prison officials said the move is needed to save money and prevent housing units at the prison from becoming overcrowded. The Del Norte facility has space available, now that the number of inmates with HIV has gone down, officials said. AIDS is not an airborne virus and living together will not spread the disease, said Sams. The work crew and HIV-positive inmates already coexist in the yard, attending classes and visiting hours together, he said. Prisoners with HIV are already integrated with the general population at many of California's 32 other prisons, said Terry Thornton, spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections. In 2002, the California Department of Corrections estimated that about 1.4 percent of the state's 160,000 inmates are infected with HIV. Thornton said her department encourages testing and education because inmates often lead lifestyles that can lead to a higher risk of transmitting the disease, such as unprotected sex and drug use.


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Old 10-15-2004, 02:57 AM
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Default Bill would establish mental health standards for prisons

Bill would establish mental health standards for prisons
Associated Press

The beating of a man with mental problems at a Lincoln, Neb. prison demonstrates the need for setting standards for treating inmates with mental illness, a legislative committee was told Thursday. "Because a significant number of inmates have psychological, mental, drug, alcohol and other problems, it's necessary that the system recognize these problems and address them," Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha told the Judiciary Committee about his bill. Chambers said the recent beating of Daniel Luethke at the prison system's Diagnostic and Evaluation Center illustrates the need for setting such standards. Luethke, 32, has a history of mental health problems. He was booked into the Seward County Jail early on Dec. 5 on suspicion of making terroristic threats. Sheriff's deputies later took Luethke to the evaluation center after he threatened jail staff and broke a window in his cell. His aunt said Luethke had failed to take the medication he needs for his bipolar disorder. One hour after being placed in a holding cell at the center, Luethke was severely beaten, apparently by another inmate. Chambers said his plan, which would cost more than $5 million a year, is especially critical because of a plan being pushed by Gov. Mike Johanns to close two of the state's three mental health hospitals. That, Chambers said, means that more people with serious mental illness could wind up in the prison system. A report issued in December by the American Civil Liberties Union said health care for inmates in Nebraska prisons and county jails is dangerously close to cruel and unusual punishment. Although the Department of Correctional Services now provides mental health care and some substance abuse counseling and treatment, Chambers' bill would set standards for providing such treatment.
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