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Health news
13.01.21

LANCET REVIEW: Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection to prevent person-to-person transmission of COVID-19

The authors of this recent review from Lancet investigated the optimum distance for avoiding person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) and assessed the use of face masks and eye protection to prevent transmission of viruses in health-care and community settings. The current best available evidence from 172 observational studies across 16 countries and six continents, and 44 relevant comparative studies (n=25,697 patients) suggests that transmission of viruses was lower with physical distancing of 1 m or more (compared with a distance of less than 1 m). Face mask use could result in a large reduction in risk of infection, with stronger associations with N95 or similar respirators compared with disposable surgical masks or similar. Eye protection was also associated with less infection.
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05.01.21

Diagnostic error: incidence, impacts, causes and preventive strategies

Diagnosis consists of eliciting information from history and examination, formulating a differential diagnosis, and selecting a final diagnosis based on the predictive value of specific clinical features and laboratory investigations. A timely and accurate diagnosis is every patient’s expectation, yet some form of diagnostic error occurs in up to one in seven clinical encounters, and most are preventable.
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18.12.20

LOCAL RESEARCH: High community burden of smoke-related symptoms in the Hunter and New England regions during the 2019–2020 Australian bushfires

During October 2019 – February 2020, when large parts of the country were ravaged by bushfires, there were increases in emergency presentations of respiratory illnesses in NSW. Visible smoke and prolonged periods of elevated particulate air pollution became the norm, and resulted in community concern. In order to reveal the true health impact of the bushfires, local authors investigated the proportion of the community who were affected by smoke but did not present to health services.
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04.12.20

What is Post-COVID-19 Neurological Syndrome?

As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues, researchers are beginning to understand the long-term impact of the virus on the human brain. Something they refer to as Post-COVID-19 Neurological Syndrome (PCNS). The symptoms are similar to those experienced post-stroke – but the age group is much younger. Given the scale of global infection, PCNS has the potential to become a major problem. The neurological impacts of various infections have been explored and investigated in the past, but as COVID-19 is a new virus, they are still working to understand the longer term impact of the infection.
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