Infectious diseases

HPV and cancer: The underappreciated connection

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Human papilloma virus (HPV), a common viral infection, has been linked to cancer of the genitals, anus, mouth, and throat, as well as cervical cancer. Yet a survey of US adults found that many people are not aware of this connection.

Antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infections are on the rise

Lisa Bebell, MD

Contributor

Rising resistance to antibiotics driven by overpresciption and overuse has led to a decline in the effectiveness of antibiotics in treating urinary tract infections. If your doctor wants to prescribe an antibiotic, be sure to ask if it’s necessary, and what alternatives there might be.

Can your CPAP make you sick?

Using a CPAP machine is beneficial for people with obstructive sleep apnea, but if the machine isn’t kept clean it could lead to an illness. There are sanitizing systems available, but cleaning the parts by hand is just as effective.

PrEP prevents HIV — so why aren’t more people taking it?

PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a daily medication taken to prevent HIV infection. While multiple studies show PrEP is effective, relatively few of those who might benefit are taking it. Will a 10-year initiative to reduce rates of HIV and a new formulation of PrEP help?

Chronic Lyme arthritis: A mystery solved?

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

About 60% of people infected with Lyme disease develop arthritis, and about 10% of those fail to respond to antibiotic treatment for unknown reasons. A new study has found a likely explanation for this medical mystery.

Bad viruses travel fast: Measles vaccine important for travelers

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

Because measles is so highly contagious, and because there is a significant delay before symptoms manifest, a person can carry the virus and infect others without knowing it, and many adults may not have received an effective dose of the vaccine. Many outbreaks of measles could probably be prevented if more travelers received MMR vaccine prior to foreign travel.

New donor screening protocols for clinical trials involving fecal microbiota transplantation

The FDA has issued a safety alert about the risk of transmitting drug-resistant bacteria during a stool transplantation procedure, after the death of one person participating in a research protocol.

Are antibacterial products with triclosan fueling bacterial resistance?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The FDA has banned the antibacterial agent triclosan from soaps starting in 2020. It’s still used in mouthwash, cosmetics, toothpaste and other household products and there are still concerns that striving to rid our environment of bacteria and germs helps fuel bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

Measles: The forgotten killer

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

Measles has serious, even fatal complications. A worrisome multistate outbreak underscores why preventing measles is so important. Here’s how to protect yourself, your circle, and your community –– and why you should.

Herpes infection of the cornea

Emma Davies, MD

Contributor

Different forms of the herpes virus can cause infection of the cornea that can result in pain, redness, and blurred vision. If not treated, permanent vision loss may result.