* An increasing number of people newly infected with HIV have strains of the virus which are drug-resistant (JAMA, 1999; 282: 1135-41, 1142-9, 1177-9). In one study, a fifth of patients had viruses which were resistant; one mutation was found to be more than 1000 times less sensitive to normal therapy. In another study, more than a quarter of individuals studied were infected with strains with reduced sensitivity to common antiviral drugs.
* Crohn's disease is on the increase among Swedish children, as with children elsewhere (Lancet, 1999; 354: 1179). Although researchers did not attempt to explain the phenomenon, it may be prudent to ask whether it is connected with a rise in MMR vaccination rates among Swedish children. The measles component of the vaccine has already been linked with gut damage in other countries.
* Cover up those hands, nurses! Fake fingernails may be fun and look nice, but they are also happy breeding grounds for a host of pathogens, including yeasts (BMJ, 1999; 319: 1080). A small study revealed that three-quarters of nurses who wear fake nails had pathogens on their hands, compared with only one-third of those who didn't.