Media Advisory - Understanding What's New And What's Hot In Infectious Diseases

    VANCOUVER, Feb. 28 /CNW/ - Canada's leading clinical and medical
microbiologists and infectious disease specialists will gather in Vancouver,
BC, on March 1, 2008, starting at 8:00 am, to share the latest findings from
research on antibiotic resistance, mumps outbreaks, new drug treatment for
Hepatitis B, and new classes of antiretrovirals for HIV treatment. Part of the
AMMI Canada and CACMID Annual Conference 2008, their discussions will focus on
this most pressing public health issue with specific attention to:

    -   Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs - Canadian healthcare
        practitioners are increasingly recognizing the importance of good
        antimicrobial stewardship as they are faced with the problems of
        escalating antibiotic resistance, difficult-to-treat infections and
        slowed new drug development. Participants will consider the tools
        available in Canada that would help to optimize antimicrobial use.

    -   Epidemiology of Mumps - Acting on concerns about re-emerging mumps in
        Canada, participants will discuss how Canada will manage the current
        mumps outbreaks, and review the lessons learned during this outbreak
        including the limitations of diagnostic testing.

    -   New drug treatment to Hepatitis B - Participants will hear about
        encouraging new therapeutics and approaches in the assessment,
        management and treatment of Hepatitis B.

    -   New drugs, new hope for HIV - Participants will hear encouraging
        results and progress reports from leading researchers concerning the
        development of a new class of antiretroviral drugs, offering hope to
        patients with drug-resistant strains of the HIV virus.

    All educational sessions, clinical vignettes and symposia are open to
media. The Annual Conference is organized by the Association of Medical
Microbiology and Infectious Disease Canada ( and the Canadian
Association for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (

    About Antimicrobial Stewardship

    Antimicrobial Stewardship describes programs and policies that assist
health care providers to use antimicrobials more wisely. The primary goals of
such programs are to reduce antimicrobial resistance and improve patient care.
In the hospital, it entails a system of data collection methods and
antimicrobial use guidelines which promote the optimal selection, dosing and
duration of prescribed antibiotics. The implementation of Antimicrobial
Stewardship should prevent or slow down the emergence of resistance among
    Antimicrobial resistance is a substantial threat to public health in
Canada. The extent of antimicrobial overuse is exemplified in the outpatient
setting by the therapy of respiratory tract infections. Approximately 50 per
cent of upper respiratory tract infections and 80 per cent of acute bronchitis
are treated with antibiotics, despite evidence that antibiotics have little
impact in the resolution or outcome of these predominantly viral illnesses.

    About Mumps

    Mumps is an acute viral illness characterized by fever and swelling of
salivary glands under the jaw and in the cheeks. Although usually a mild to
moderate childhood disease, complications may include deafness and meningitis.
In adolescent and adult males, orchitis (painful inflammation of one or both
testes), may occur. The mumps virus is spread by direct contact with or
inhalation of the secretions from an infected person's nose or mouth, such as
saliva contact and airborne respiratory droplets.
    Cases of mumps have declined significantly in Canada since the
introduction of vaccination programs against the disease in the early 1970s.
However, outbreaks have occurred in 2006 and 2007 focused in Nova Scotia and
New Brunswick with cases also occurring in other provinces too. In late
2007/early 2008, there has also been a mumps outbreak in Alberta.

    About Hepatitis B and treatment

    Hepatitis B is considered a "silent infection" because most people don't
have symptoms when they are first infected. Symptoms could include skin
turning yellow (this is called "jaundice").
    Around 90 per cent of healthy adults who are infected with Hepatitis B
will "recover" from the virus within six months. Another 10 per cent of
infected adults are diagnosed as being "chronic carriers" of the virus as it
stays in their blood and liver, and they are able to pass it on to others.
Less than 1 per cent of infected adults can have a severe reaction and die
from liver failure within several weeks.
    Today, there are promising new treatment for people living with chronic
hepatitis that can slow down liver damage caused by the virus. Several drugs
are in the experimental stage, while others are being tested in the laboratory
or in small groups of people.

    About HIV infection and treatment

    The advent of HAART in the 1990s had a major impact on the treatment of
HIV. While unable to eliminate the virus from the body, the use of
combinations of drugs from different classes proved effective in reducing
symptoms, improving immune status, and delaying the onset of AIDS.
    However, over time some infected individuals develop drug resistance and
become unresponsive to all the drugs in a particular class. According to the
World Health Organization (WHO), as many as 20 per cent of people in North
America and Europe are infected with strains of HIV resistant to at least one
class of antiretroviral drug.
    The development of novel therapies is proving to be a challenge and is
focusing on novel mechanisms of action. Many emerging HIV therapies have
reached clinical development.

    For more information about the AMMI Canada - CACMID Annual Conference
2008 go to

For further information:

For further information: To pre-register for the Conference or to
request an interview, please contact Grace Elasmar, AMMI Canada, Tel. (905)
820-4922, Cell. (416) 452-4624,

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