BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 08 June 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1438

US advises streptococci checks in pregnancy: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that pregnant women have routine vaginal and rectal cultures for group B streptococci one month before delivery. They advise that women who test positive as asymptomatic carriers of group B streptococci be treated with penicillin or other antibiotics during labour. It has been estimated that 1 in 500 neonates develops group B streptococci infections each year.

Doctors discriminate against smokers: A report from the British Heart Foundation says that fewer smokers with angina are given coronary artery bypass grafting—1.03 per 1000 a year compared with a rate of 1.45 per 1000 among ex-smokers.

US Halcion case issue unsettled: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said last week that prosecutors should investigate whether Upjohn hid safety concerns about the sleeping pill Halcion. But the drug, which was removed from British markets in 1991, can stay on the US market because it has been designated as safe so long as users follow instructions on the pills' label exactly, said the FDA in a long awaited report to Congress.

GP numbers up by 10% over a decade: The number of general practitioners in England has risen by more than 10% over the past 10 years, with all of this increase occurring among women, according to figures published by the Department of Health. In 1995, 31% of general practitioners were women, compared with 21% in 1985.

MRC will research Gulf war syndrome: The UK's Medical Research Council has launched a call for research proposals to investigate the reported illnesses in veterans of the Gulf war. The Ministry of Defence says that it will help to fund those studies judged to be of the highest quality.

Patients at risk are not taking medicines: Nearly one in five patients who had had kidney transplantation are not taking antirejection drugs, according to a report from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. As a result 91% have either rejected the kidney or died. Patients who took drugs as prescribed had an 18% rejection or death rate.

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