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Although indigenous transmission of malaria was eradicated from the United States in the late 1940s, every year about 1,500 malaria cases occur. Most infections occur in people who travel abroad, and one of every 100 U.S. travelers with diagnosed malaria die. Researchers looked at records of U.S. travelers in a national registry who died of malaria between 1963 and 2001 (Review, p. 547). Of 123 deaths, most (105 people, 85.4 percent) were considered preventable. For 83 of these, the patient's own actions may have contributed to death: not taking necessary preventive medicines; not following the prescribed regimen for the medications, or not seeking medical attention promptly (within two days) when symptoms occurred. For 70 of the 105 deaths (66.7 percent), medical errors may have contributed to the deaths: clinicians did not prescribe the correct preventive medicines; did not diagnose malaria when the patient first reported symptoms; did not begin treatment promptly after diagnosis, or did not treat with the appropriate antimalarial drug. Researchers call for better education of both travelers and health care providers and identify sources and resources where both groups can get up-to-date and accurate information.
A new, 14-year study of 45,756 men without initial gallstones or gallstone disease finds that the men who ate the most unsaturated fats were 18 percent less likely to develop gallstones than the men who ate the least unsaturated fat (Article, p.514). Unsaturated fats include both monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Monounsaturated fats are found in olive, peanut and canola oils and in avocados and most nuts. Polyunsaturated fats are found in safflower, corn and canola vegetable oils and in fatty fish such as salmon and tuna. This study did not determine the optimal amount of unsaturated fat intake.