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Clinical Microbiology Issues Update - August 2012


  • ASM Comments on Fee Determinations for New CPT Codes
  • Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter
  • ASM Attends Senate Labor-HHS-Education Briefing
  • ASM Comments on FDA Draft Guidance for Industry
  • ASM Joins Coalition to Avert Cuts to Science Budgets


  • ASM Teleconferences
  • ASM Conferences
  • ASM Journal Articles of Interest
  • mBio® Journal Earns a High Impact Factor in Latest Rankings


  • HHS Opens Phase 3 of Healthcare-Associated Infection Plan for Public Comment
  • FDA approves first drug for reducing the risk of sexually acquired HIV infection
  • FDA, UC Davis, Agilent Technologies and CDC create public food pathogen genome database
  • FDA approves first over-the-counter home-use rapid HIV test
  • CDC Public Health Grand Rounds
  • MMWR Articles of Interest


  • Lab Tests Online Honored with 2012 IAVA Communicator Award
  • PV Testing Update: Understanding New Guidelines, Assessing New Technology
  • Sustaining Public Health Capacity in an Age of Austerity
  • Articles of Interest     


ASM Comments on Fee Determinations for New CPT Codes
On July 17, Vickie Baselski, Chair of the PSAB Professional Affairs Committee provided comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding payment methodology to be used for certain new CPT codes which will be included in the 2013 Medicare Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule.  To see the recommendations, please click the link http://www.asm.org/index.php/public-policy-2/97-policy/documents/7818-cms-13

Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter
The July issue of the Minority Microbiology Newsletter has been published by the Committee on Microbiological Issues Impacting Minorities. You can read the newsletter by going to this link:  http://www.asm.org/index.php/public-policy-2/135-policy/documents/newsletters/minority-microbiology-mentor-newsletter/7851-mmm-7-12

 ASM Attends Senate Labor-HHS-Education Briefing
ASM staffer Kimberly Walker attended the July 30 Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research Town Hall Meeting with the Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Majority Clerk.  The meeting was held in the Senate Dirksen Office Building and focused on strategies for member organizations to keep informed of the appropriations process.

ASM Comments on FDA Draft Guidance for Industry
The ASM submitted comments to the Food and Drug Administration on two Guidance Documents for Industry, "The Judicious Use of Medically Important Antimicrobial Drugs in Food-Producing Animals" and "New Animal Drugs and New Animal Drug Combination Products Administered in or on Medicated Feed or Drinking Water of Food-Producing Animals: Recommendations for Drug Sponsors for Voluntarily Aligning Product Use Conditions with GFI."  To see the comments in full, please go to http://www.asm.org/index.php/component/content/article/97-policy/documents/7814-fda-213

 ASM Joins Coalition to Avert Cuts to Science Budgets
The ASM joined with approximately 3,000 organizations to forestall the sequestration or across-the-board cut to nondefense discretionary programs as required by the Budget Control Act in 2013.  A letter, delivered to Congress on July 12, asked members to adopt a balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include indiscriminate cuts to programs addressing science and public health. The goal of the letter is to educate Congress about the impact of funding decreases on a range of national priorities that strengthen economic growth, safety, security and public health.  To read the letter, please go to:  http://publichealthfunding.org/uploads/NDDLetter.Final.July2012.pdf



ASM Conferences
6th ASM Conference on Biofilms (ASM Biofilms 2012)
September 29 - October 4, 2012
Miami, Florida

For a complete list of upcoming ASM conferences, please see http://conferences.asm.org/.

ASM Journal Articles of Interest
Copper Surfaces Could Reduce Hospital Acquired Infections
Research from the Medical University of South Carolina suggests that adding copper to hospital surfaces which are commonly touched by medical personnel and patients could help reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections.  The findings appear in the July 2012 issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology. Please click the link for more. http://www.asm.org/index.php/asm-journal-tipsheets/88-news-room/journal-tipsheets/7838-tip0712b

UVC Light Kills Wound Bacteria
Ultraviolet (UVC) light can eradicate wound-infecting bacteria on mice increasing both survival and healing rates, according to a paper in the July 2012 issue of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. The light did not damage the animals’ skin or delay wound healing, says principal investigator Michael R. Hamblin, of the Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.  More can be found at the link.  http://www.asm.org/index.php/asm-journal-tipsheets/88-news-room/journal-tipsheets/7837-tip0712c

Package Inserts Overstate Diagnostic TB Tests’ Accuracy
Clinicians and laboratory professionals often rely on manufacturers’ package inserts to assess the accuracy of diagnostic medical tests. However, package inserts frequently greatly overstate such tests’ accuracy, according to a case study of package inserts for tuberculosis (TB), which is published in the July 2012 Journal of Clinical Microbiology.   Click the link for more information. http://www.asm.org/index.php/asm-journal-tipsheets/88-news-room/journal-tipsheets/7836-tip0712d

mBio® Journal Earns a High Impact Factor in Latest Rankings 
The online open-access journal mBio® is now ranked among the top 20 highest-impact microbiology journals according to Thomson Reuters, which has just released its Journal Citation Reports for 2011.


HHS Opens Phase 3 of Healthcare-Associated Infection Plan for Public Comment
HHS announced that Phase 3 in the 5-year National Action Plan to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections: Roadmap to Elimination (HAI Action Plan) is available for comment. The new Long-Term Care (LTC) chapter focuses on combating HAIs in nursing facilities and skilled nursing facilities.  The LTC strategy proposes to expand the activities of multiple federal and nonfederal partners to combat HAIs prevalent in LTC settings, including urinary tract infection (UTI), lower respiratory tract infections, influenza and influenza-like illness, Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), and skin, soft tissue, and wound infections.  For more, see: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-07-23/pdf/2012-17925.pdf

FDA approves first drug for reducing the risk of sexually acquired HIV infection
On July 16, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Truvada (emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate), the first drug approved to reduce the risk of HIV infection in uninfected individuals who are at high risk of HIV infection and who may engage in sexual activity with HIV-infected partners.  The full announcement can be seen here: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm312210.htm

FDA, UC Davis, Agilent Technologies and CDC create public food pathogen genome database
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the University of California, Davis, Agilent Technologies Inc., and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a collaboration to create a public database of 100,000 foodborne pathogen genomes.   Open access to the database will allow researchers to develop tests that can identify the type of bacteria present in a sample within a matter of days or hours, significantly faster than the approximately one week it now takes between diagnosis and genetic analysis.  For more, see the full announcement: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm311661.htm

FDA approves first over-the-counter home-use rapid HIV test
On July 3, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test, the first over-the-counter home-use rapid HIV test kit to detect the presence of antibodies to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and type 2 (HIV-2). The test is designed to allow individuals to collect an oral fluid sample then place that sample into a developer vial, and obtain test results in less than 40 minutes. The full announcement can be found here:  http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm310542.htm

CDC Public Health Grand Rounds
The next CDC Grand Rounds Presentation is entitled “High-Impact HIV Prevention” and will take place on Tuesday, August 21, 1 p.m. – 2 p.m., EDT.  The live presentation can be streamed from the following link: http://www.cdc.gov/about/grand-rounds/

MMWR Articles of Interest

World Hepatitis Day
The second annual World Hepatitis Day, first established by the WHO in 2010, was celebrated on July 28, 2012. Viral hepatitis is a largely silent epidemic; however, it is the leading cause of liver cancer and cirrhosis around the world.  For more information, please see the link:  http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6129a1.htm?s_cid=mm6129a1_w

Pertussis Epidemic — Washington, 2012
Since mid-2011, a substantial rise in pertussis cases has been reported in Washington state.  The Washington State Secretary of Health declared a pertussis epidemic in April; by June 16, the reported number of cases in Washington in 2012 had reached 2,520. To see the report, please click the link http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6128a1.htm?s_cid=mm6128a1_w

Notes from the Field: Tuberculosis Cluster Associated with Homelessness — Duval County, Florida, 2004–2012
Because of concern over potential ongoing TB transmission involving hard-to-reach populations, the Duval County Health Department, Florida Department of Health, and CDC conducted an investigation during February 15–March 13, 2012. As of March 13, review of medical records and interviews with TB patients had identified 99 related cases.   Social network analysis identified one particular shelter and an outpatient mental health facility that serves the homeless community as the sites of concern for TB transmission during 2010–2012.  For this report in its entirety, pleas click the link http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6128a5.htm?s_cid=mm6128a5_w

Babesiosis Surveillance — 18 States, 2011
In recent years, reports of tick borne and transfusion-associated cases of babesiosis have increased in number and geographic distribution, but the lack of a standard case definition has hindered the ability of public health authorities to monitor cases and to develop prevention and control measures. In January 2011, national surveillance for human babesiosis was begun, using a standard case definition developed jointly by CDC and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. To see the report, click the link.  http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6127a2.htm?s_cid=mm6127a2_w

CDC Grand Rounds: the TB/HIV Syndemic
TB and HIV act synergistically within a population to cause excess morbidity and mortality.  The complications of diagnosing persons with human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) (PWHA) with Mycobacterium infections are discussed within this report.  See the full report at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6126a3.htm?s_cid=mm6126a3_w


Lab Tests Online Honored with 2012 IAVA Communicator Award
Lab Tests Online was recently recognized with an Award of Distinction in the 18th Annual Communicator Awards. Lab Tests Online was developed in the US by the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) in collaboration with 16 other laboratory organizations, including the ASM, and launched in 2001.   Last year, 30 million patients, caregivers, and medical professionals from around the world visited the  Lab Tests Online website for free information on hundreds of tests, conditions, and screening recommendations.  The Communicator Awards is given by the International Academy of the Visual Arts (IAVA), a body comprised of top-tier professionals from a "Who's Who" of acclaimed media, advertising, and marketing firms.  For more, see http://labtestsonline.org/site-news/mnews/2012-communicator-award/

HPV Testing Update: Understanding New Guidelines, Assessing New Technology
This August 28, an AACC webinar will address the current guidelines for cervical cancer screening are and how they predict risk. Participating will be Mark Stoler, MD, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA and Frederick Nolte, PhD, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC. The webinar will start at 2:00 PM.  For more information, see: http://www.aacc.org/events/meetings/Pages/6908.aspx#

Sustaining Public Health Capacity in an Age of Austerity
The Institute of Medicine Forum on Microbial Threats will host a public symposium to explore the scientific and policy dimensions of developing and maintaining an effective public health system and workforce for the surveillance, detection, and response to infectious disease threats to health. 

September 10-11 beginning 8:30 AM Eastern.  For more information, see http://www.iom.edu/Activities/PublicHealth/MicrobialThreats/2012-SEP-10.aspx

Articles of Interest

Fragments of Lyme Disease Bacteria Linger in Joints After Treatment
Wall Street Journal
July 31, 2012
Scientists discovered bacterial fragments in the joints of mice treated for Lyme disease that may be the underlying cause of persistent arthritis-like joint pain following Lyme infections, says a report in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Is 'Improved' Vaccine Causing Whooping Cough Outbreaks?
US News & World Report
July 31, 2012
A change in vaccine composition, from whole cell to acellular, may partly explain current whooping cough outbreaks in the United States and Australia, according to researchers.