BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7096.1774 (Published 14 June 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1774

Three deaths from chickenpox, two of them in healthy young women, are reported in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (1997;46:409-12). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention argues that deaths of this kind–and the risk from chickenpox to people who are immunocompromised–make a strong case for universal immunisation with the vaccine that has been available in the United States since 1995. The report also emphasises the value of early treatment with antiviral drugs for adults who develop chickenpox.

Around 1000 people die each year in England and Wales of mesothelioma, but by the year 2020 the annual death toll is expected to be close to 3000 (Thorax 1997;52:496-7). In most cases exposure to asbestos can be shown to have occurred, but not in all. A few children develop mesothelioma, and asbestos is thought not to play any part in their disease, and the cancer has also been linked with environmental minerals, sugar cane, and ionising radiation.

Operation Blade was an initiative organised by the police in Strathclyde, Scotland, with the aim of persuading young men to hand in their knives. Stopping and searching were intensified, and the education campaign got a lot of publicity. As measured by attendances at the accident department of Glasgow Royal Infirmary, however, the operation did not reduce the numbers of assaults with …

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