In brief

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 13 January 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b101

First UK baby free of BRCA1 is born: The first baby in the UK to have preimplantation genetic diagnosis for the BRCA1 mutation, which is linked to breast cancer, has been born. The mother and baby girl are doing well. Women with this mutation have an 80% chance of developing breast cancer and a 60% chance of developing ovarian cancer in their lifetime.

Burma begins polio vaccination of children: Burma, with financial backing from Unicef and the World Health Organization, is to vaccinate more than seven million children against polio. The country was declared free of polio in 2003, but it re-emerged in 2006. The programme, being carried out in January and February, will cost at least $5m (£3.4m; €3.7m).

Trust has made “huge strides” in infection control: Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust has substantially improved its infection control since an investigation by the Healthcare Commission in 2007 identified serious failings, the watchdog says. About 120 people definitely or probably died as a result of Clostridium difficile infection at the trust from 2004 to 2006. The trust reported its lowest rate of C difficile infection in three years, for January to March 2008. However, more nursing staff are needed, and learning from complaints and incidents needs to improve.

Complaint from Roy Meadow is rejected: The Press Complaints Commission has rejected a complaint from Roy Meadow about an article in the Times, which referred to him as having “gone beyond his remit” when he acted as an expert witness in the cases of Angela Cannings and Sally Clark and submitted statistics based evidence even though he was not a statistician. The commission concluded that the Times columnist had sufficient grounds to have interpreted Professor Meadow’s involvement in the way she had.

Calls to NHS Direct over Christmas were up 16% on last year: NHS Direct answered 255 562 calls between 20 December and 1 January this year, up from 221 225 in the same period last year. The busiest day was Saturday 27 December, when the service answered 29 179 calls, then Boxing Day, with 26 130 calls. The early outbreaks of colds, flu, and the winter vomiting bug were partly responsible for the higher demand.

Measles cases rise in England and Wales: A total of 1217 cases of measles were reported in England and Wales to the end of November 2008, exceeding the total of 990 reported for the whole of 2007. Most recent cases (74%) were concentrated in the North West, South East and West Midlands NHS regions and were linked with outbreaks in nurseries and schools. Mary Ramsay, an immunisation expert at the Health Protection Agency, warned of an epidemic and urged parents to have their children vaccinated.


Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b101

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