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BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7070.1424 (Published 07 December 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1424

Meningitis outbreak hits Cardiff university: Two students from the University of Wales, Cardiff, have died of meningitis. Three more students from the same hall of residence are being treated at the University Hospital of Wales, one of whom is in intensive care. Communicable disease experts believe that the group C strain of meningitis is to blame. Students at the hall of residence have been given prophylactic antibodies, and a vaccination programme is now in place.

US clinics take sperm from dead men: Sperm samples are routinely taken from dead men at the request of their partners and families, according to a report in New Scientist. Preliminary results of a survey by two bioethicists in the United States were reported at the International Association of Bioethics in San Francisco. More than a dozen clinics have so far admitted to harvesting sperm from cadavers and storing it for later use, and three times as many said that they had been asked to perform the procedure.

Leading US haematology centre investigated: The US Food and Drug Administration and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office are conducting criminal investigations into the blood testing practices of the New York Blood Center. The move follows allegations that the centre's laboratory workers are encouraged to tamper with test results and violate safety practices to increase productivity.

London's homeless people die at 42: Research by the charity Crisis has found that homeless people in London are dying on the streets at an average age of 42 years, five years younger than in 1992. The research report, Still Dying for a Home, looked at London coroner's court records for the year to 31 August 1996 and found records of 74 deaths of homeless people.

WHO and drug industry to tackle antibiotic resistance: The World Health Organisation and the pharmaceutical industry have agreed a framework to contain the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria. One strategy already under way is the development of a global network of laboratories using reliable methods for testing bacteria for antibiotic resistance (WHONET). Laboratories in Africa are to introduce this system of monitoring for the first time.

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