Web Zap*Germs Archive

February 11, 2006

Clostridium Infections Trigger US Gov't Conference

Infections from Clostridium sordellii and Clostridium difficile (C-diff) have prompted a scientists' conference on May 11 at the CDC in Atlanta, says The NY Times. C. sordellii infections have killed four California women who used the Mifeprex (Mifepristone or RU-486) abortion pill. C-diff has been in the news for causing fatal infections among both weak and strong hospital patients. A recent CDC report says the number of people diagnosed with C-diff during their [U.S.]hospital stays jumped from 98,000 in 1996 to 178,000 in 2003.

The conditions of the upcoming conference are rather unusual:
Security...will be unusually tight, the [unnamed FDA] official said....Attendees must register by April 15. The National Institutes of Health will also participate in the conference, according to a federal register notice.

Officials are concerned that the political controversy swirling around medical abortions may interfere with the scientific discussion, the F.D.A. official said in an interview.

"We hope to keep the focus on the science," the official said. "We're holding this in a secure government facility for a reason."
People infected with Clostridium sordellii, the [bacteria]that caused the RU-486 deaths, often fail to understand their peril until too late in part because the infections often do not produce fevers.

The F.D.A. has added strong warnings to the drug's label, describing the dangers of the bacteria. But officials say that they have no idea whether Mifeprex makes patients vulnerable to such infection.
A recent Human Events story, however, claims that RU-486 does do exactly that:
On January 28, Dr. Ralph Miech presented an explanation of how the RU-486 abortion pill kills women to a Florida conference of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG).

RU-486, he said, has an anti-glucocorticoid effect, which promotes unhealthy inflammation in the body since glucocorticoid is naturally needed to suppress inflammation. This pro-inflammatory effect of RU-486 can lead to septic shock as the bacterium Clostridium sordellii multiplies in the body, sometimes causing death. And the funny thing is, the anti-glucocorticoid effect of RU-486 was known before the FDA approved the drug. Now, women by the hundreds are having potentially life-threatening complications, and at least a few have died.


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