In brief

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 07 September 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4850

US hospital infections prolong stays by 19 days: US patients with infections acquired through health care spent 19 days longer in hospital than patients without such infections, and the cost of their care was nearly $43 000 (£28 000; €33 000) higher, show 2007 data from the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Infections were more common in hospitals with more than 500 beds, those in metropolitan areas, and private, for-profit, or teaching hospitals. A 2002 study estimated 1.7 million healthcare infections a year, resulting in nearly 99 000 deaths.

China launches mass vaccination campaign against measles: China will vaccinate nearly 100 million children against measles this month, one of the world’s largest ever public health campaigns, says the World Health Organization. More than 52 000 cases of measles were reported in China in 2009, 86% of the total for WHO’s Western Pacific region.

More targeted prevention is needed against HIV: Young white men who have sex with men continue to engage in risky sexual behaviour, adding to the spread of HIV, shows a study that looked at the genetic profiles of viruses isolated from more than 500 people with a new diagnosis of HIV infection (BMC Infectious Diseases, doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-262). The authors, from Ghent University in Belgium, say that further research is needed to design prevention programmes targeted at this group.

Half of UK adults got sunburnt this summer: Almost half (46%) of the 2000 adults taking part in a survey said they got sunburnt this year. Nearly a third (32%) of these people said their motivation was to get a tan, and half of those who burnt while trying to get a tan said they would risk burning again next year. The research, commissioned by Cancer Research UK and Superdrug and carried out on 21-22 August, found that people most commonly got burnt on their face (

Families can be told about genetic test results: Updated draft guidance from the UK Joint Committee on Medical Genetics indicates that health professionals involved in genetic testing should focus more on benefiting whole families ( This includes discussing with a patient the possibility of sharing results that could benefit other family members before getting consent for a genetic test. Disclosing important genetic information, anonymously if possible, should be explained to patients as a normal part of a genetics service.


Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4850

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