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Bush finally signs children’s health insurance bill: After vetoing more generous bills twice (BMJ 2007;335:846 doi: 10.1136/bmj.39377.519942.13), President George Bush has signed a bill that extends health insurance coverage for children from poor and middle income families until 2009, when he will be out of office. Democrats and some Republicans wanted to include more children in the coverage.
Agency warns over fake antimalarials: With the World Health Organization predicting that this year’s climatic conditions will increase infections of malaria in Africa, where counterfeit antimalarial drugs are widespread, the UK Health Protection Agency is reminding travellers to obtain prophylaxis before departure rather than risk using products bought while abroad.
US authorities track plane passengers in tuberculosis incident: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking 44 people who sat near a woman with symptomatic multidrug resistant tuberculosis who flew from New Delhi to Chicago in mid-December. She then flew to San Francisco, where she has been hospitalised.
US lags behind in preventing deaths: The United States came last among 19 industrialised countries in preventing deaths through timely, effective health care, says a Commonwealth Fund study published in Health Affairs (doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.27.1.58). Had the US matched France, Japan, and Australia, 101000 fewer Americans would have died each year.
NEJM says doctors should not participate in capital punishment: The US Supreme Court will soon decide whether lethal injection is to be forbidden as “cruel and unusual punishment.” In an editorial the New England Journal of Medicine (www.nejm.org) opposes doctors’ involvement in execution. It will also publish a video panel discussion on the subject on 23 January.
Government warns of antibiotic misuse: As part of a strategy on combating hospital acquired infections, the Department of Health for England is launching a campaign next month to remind the public, GPs, and other doctors that antibiotics are not effective at treating many common ailments and can increase resistance. Clean, Safe Care is available at www.dh.gov.uk.