Annals of Internal Medicine is published by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM), an organization of more than 115,000 internal medicine physicians and medical students. The following highlights are not intended to substitute for articles as sources of information. For an embargoed fax of an article, call 1-800-523-1546, ext. 2656 or 215-351-2656.
(In the Balance, p. 190 and 197; Editorial, p. 202.)
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) says there is not enough evidence to recommend for or against counseling patients in primary care settings to become physically active (Recommendations and Rationale, p. 205). Reviewing evidence-based data, the Task Force found mixed or inconclusive evidence that counseling actually motivated patients to increase activity (Summary of Evidence, p. 208). The Task Force did not look at the benefits of exercise in this review. It is known that regular physical activity helps prevent many diseases and may lengthen life. The Task Force's aim here was to evaluate the evidence that counseling patients about exercise in primary care settings is an effective way to make them more active.
A review describes the history, epidemiology, virology, treatment, diagnosis, reporting, and prevention of West Nile virus in the United States and Canada (Review, p. 173). Researchers looked at medical literature and national monitoring reports through May 2002. West Nile virus, first identified in the United States in New York City in 1999, by 2001 had been found in 27 states, the District of Columbia and Ontario, Canada. It has infected at least 149 people in 10 states, according to surveillance reports. Older people, especially people over 70, are most at risk for developing severe symptoms, such as meningitis and encephalitis, and for dying. Vaccines are being developed, but at this time, two strategies seem best to prevent exposure to the virus: public mosquito control programs to reduce the mosquito population; and individual tactics such as using mosquito repellants, avoiding places where mosquitos are biting, eliminating standing water from gardens and yards, using window screens and wearing long-sleeved clothing.