Research Roundup—Alcohol-related ER visits on the rise; Public perceptions of the opioid crisis

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The public at large may not view the opioid crisis as a national emergency, according to a new study. (Pixabay)

The number of emergency room visits related to alcohol consumption increased by more than 60% between 2006 and 2014, especially among women, according to a new study.

Researchers examined ER visit data from 945 hospitals in 33 states and the District of Columbia and found that that the total number of visits increased from about 3 million in 2006 to nearly 5 million in 2014. The reason for the increase is unclear, researchers said.

Costs related to this visits also skyrocketed from $4.1 billion to $15.3 billion in that window. The findings were published In Alcoholism Clinical & Experimental Research.

Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America issues guidance on antibiotic-resistant infections 

For patients with drug-resistant infections, hospitals often use contact precautions to avoid spreading the condition. However, there are limited guidelines on how long to keep such protocols in place, so the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America developed a framework for hospitals in case of a superbug infection.

In most cases, the guidelines recommend that clinicians wait for between one and three negative cultures before easing contact restrictions. (Announcement

A look at how the public views the opioid epidemic 

A review of public polls in The New England Journal of Medicine indicates that many Americans view the opioid crisis as a major problem, but fewer view it as a national emergency.

A 2017 poll found that 53% of respondents feel that opioid epidemic is a national issue, but just 28% said it's a national emergency. Plus, relatively few voters consider the opioid crisis as a major legislative priority; it ranked sixth in a list of priority domestic policy issues, with 24% saying it is an extremely important priority. (Article

Study examines prevalence of nonventilator hospital-acquired pneumonia 

Hospital-acquired pneumonia is a major focus of infection control efforts, and new research in the American Journal of Infection Control suggests a significant number of cases may not be ventilator related.

A review of reported data at 21 hospitals from 2014 found that 1,300 cases of hospital-acquired pneumonia were not linked to ventilators and that the majority (70.8%) were contracted outside intensive care units. Such infections were also found among younger, healthy patients. (Study

Spanish study evaluates effectiveness of repeated flu vaccines 

Researchers studied flu patients at 20 hospitals in Spain, comparing infection rates and severity of the flu contracted between the 2013-14 and 2014-15 flu seasons.

The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that patients who had been vaccinated for the flu in prior and current seasons were less likely to experience severe symptoms and effectiveness was 31% in preventing admission for nonsevere flu compared to the unvaccinated control population. In addition, the multiple vaccines were 70% effective in preventing death and 74% effective in preventing ICU admissions. (Study