The Top 5 articles this past week provide information on hepatitis B virus infections in pregnant women and how the infections impact their offspring. In addition, new information on the deadly Candida auris
fungus was recently revealed at the 2017 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Conference and included in one of the top articles for the week. New guidelines to prevent influenza pandemics and a focus on the dangers of flawed infection control research studies are also presented. And, finally, our top article highlights a newly discovered compound that has been found to stop the replication of the Zika virus in human cells.
#5: Two-Thirds of Pregnant Women with High Viral Loads of Hepatitis B Go Untreated
When left untreated, hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in pregnant women can cause chronic HBV infections in their offspring at birth. Despite this information, recent research has shown that many pregnant women who are infected with HBV go untreated during their pregnancy.
According to research presented by lieutenant Ruth Link-Gelles, PhD, MPH, at the recent 2017 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Conference, if administered correctly, post-exposure prophylaxis “is effective in about 95% of perinatal HBV infections,” but, “many women who should be receiving treatment to protect their infants are not tested for viral load and, as a result, are not treated for the infection during pregnancy.”
After looking at demographic, clinical, and maternal antiviral treatment information from the medical charts of HBV-infected pregnant women in Michigan and New York City, the team found that the women who were both treated and non-treated were of similar age and most were of Asian or Pacific Islander descent. The researchers noted that the study had limitations, such as the fact that 98% of the data included in the analysis was from New York City and 63% of the data “had to be dropped due to exclusion criteria.”
More on the results of the study is available here
#4: More Information on Candida auris Revealed at 2017 CDC EIS Conference
New information continues to come to light about Candida auris
, a strain of fungus that appears to have developed immunity to “most, if not all, antifungal drugs.” The fungus has remained largely controlled in the United States; however, it has been “associated with hospital-related outbreaks and high mortality in several countries.”
spoke with Sharon Tsay, MD, an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer in the Mycotic Diseases Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the recent EIS conference. Dr. Tsay stated that, “lots of people have C. auris
on their skin and have no symptoms at all; [however, infection with the particularly virulent fungus] really affects the sickest of the sick, [such as] people in nursing homes, infants, and individuals with other medical conditions.”
Indeed, Paige Armstrong, MD, revealed during a media briefing that alarming outbreaks of antifungal-resistant-C. auris
in Columbia occurred in two separate neonatal intensive care units. The resistant strain of Candida
is “particularly disturbing because it mirrors the behavior associated with emerging antibiotic-resistant bacteria.” According to Dr. Armstrong, “This is an emerging fungus acting like a superbug.”
to read more about the new findings on C. auris
, including how to best prevent the spread of infection.