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Study: Fatigued Medical Interns Infect Their Patients with Herpes Viruses; The CBCD Sees a Parallel with “The Doctor’s Plague”
Date:1/14/2014

Rochester, NY (PRWEB) January 14, 2014

During the 1600’s through the 1800’s doctors contributed unknowingly to what is now known as “The Doctor’s Plague.” In this time period, doctors did not know that they needed to wash their hands. This led, at times, to the death of vulnerable patients. In the same way, medical interns and hospital staff today don’t know that they may be unwittingly transmitting herpes viruses to their patients. The CBCD explains.

A study showed that severe fatigue contributed to latent herpes virus reactivation in modern medical interns. The reactivated virus was then transmitted unknowingly to patients as medical interns made their rounds. The study was published on November 9, 2011 in the journal of Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases (2).

Study authors wrote that “Chronic exposure to complex cognitive and noncognitive stressors (during medical residency) can progress to distress (and) leads to general fatigue (which) has been shown to alter immune responsiveness and (lead to) reactivation of the latent herpes viruses… (2).” In other words, medical interns are exposed to situations that cause extreme fatigue. This fatigue weakens the immune system, which in turn, reactivates the latent herpes virus.

“Physicians, especially those in training, typically work long hours and are often fatigued due to sleep deprivation; fatigue contributes to the human component of medical errors and, thus, jeopardizes patient safety. Decrease in cognitive function was observed among Ob/Gyn residents and medical students … (2).” Moreover, study authors wrote that in these medical interns, “We have detected reactivation of latent herpes viruses that suggests immune suppression (2).”

Reactivation of latent herpes viruses in medical interns places patients at risk. As the study notes, “Fatigue among residents and increased shedding of herpes virus DNA are the major findings of thi
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