BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 27 January 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:202

US increase in deaths from infectious diseases: Deaths from infectious diseases in the US rose by 58% between 1980 and 1992, with the AIDS virus, respiratory diseases, and blood infections the main culprits, says a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study of death certificates was reported in JAMA (the journal of the American Medical Association) and showed that by 1992 the death rate from infectious disease was 65 per 100000.

Sex determination banned in India: The use of sex determination techniques such as amniocentesis to identify female fetuses for abortion has been outlawed in India. The new law, which came into effect on 1 January, also prohibits informing pregnant women or their relatives of the sex of a fetus.

Irish nurses may ballot over strikes: Irish nursing unions were earlier this week due to decide whether to ballot members on a series of two day strikes planned for March, April, and May, after a two year deadlock in their pay talks. Late efforts were being made by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to avert the stoppage. There are 26000 nurses in the Republic of Ireland.

Dutch claim lowest abortion rates: The Dutch association of abortion clinics has claimed that the Netherlands maintains the lowest abortion rates in the world. The association says in its latest annual report that the rate per 1000 fertile women increased from 5.6 in 1991 to 6 in 1994. The figure for England and Wales is 13.

UK police to get CS sprays: CS canisters are to be issued to 2500 frontline police in Britain in a six month trial. Training and written guidance will emphasise that only officers facing violence are justified in using the canisters, which send out a jet of CS gas to a range of three metres.

Polio eradication campaign advances steadily: The battle to eradicate polio worldwide by the year 2000 is making good progress, says the World Health Organisation. The organisation reports that some 300 million children received supplementary immunisation against polio in 51 countries around the world last year.

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