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BMJ 1999; 318 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.318.7178.212 (Published 23 January 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:212

Catheters coated with antibiotics reduce infections: Coating catheters with antibiotics can greatly reduce a major source of infection among hospital patients. This was the finding of a study in which catheters saturated inside and outside with the antibiotics minocycline and rifampicin were compared with catheters coated on the outside only with the two antibacterial agents chlorhexidine and silver sulphadiazine (New England Journal of Medicine 1999;340:1-8). Only one catheter related infection occurred among the 350patients given catheters impregnated with the antibiotics, compared with 13infections among the 370patients given catheters coated with the antibacterial agents.

New head for UK cancer institute: Dr Peter Rigby has been appointed chief executive of the United Kingdom's Institute of Cancer Research. He previously worked as head of the division of eukaryotic molecular genetics at the Medical Research Council's National Institute for Medical Research, and his research team there will move with him to the institute.

Meningoccal meningitis outbreak in Sudan: An outbreak of 126cases of meningococcal meningitis has been reported to have occurred in the northern Darfur region of Sudan last December. This is five times higher than the number reported for the same month in 1997.Cases have continued to be reported in January, with over 20deaths so far. The World Health Organisation is sending a team to help assess the situation.

Israel approves marijuana for severely ill patients: “Compassionate use” of marijuana for a small number of severely ill patients is due to be approved by Israel's health ministry, after recommendations from a parliamentary committee. The committee urged the ministry to set up a forum of experts to make exceptions to the criminal law that bars the sale and use of any amount of cannabis.

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