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Top 5 Contagion® News Articles for the Week of April 9, 2017

The Top 5 articles of the past week highlighted new research that proposed a connection between chronic hepatitis B and C infections and Parkinson’s disease. In addition, we provided additional coverage from the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) 2017 Conference, where Laura Conway, RN, PhD, CIC, provided conference attendees with advice on how to ‘pick their battles’ when it comes to choosing infection surveillance targets. In light of the recent spring holidays, we provided the latest on a beef recall ahead of making Passover brisket, as well as the latest on the newest surge in influenza B cases across the United States. Finally, we provided coverage of a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report which showed that almost one quarter of the US population is infected with some form of high-risk human papillomavirus.
#5: Hepatitis & Gut Microbiome May Provide Potential Links to Parkinson's Disease
After reviewing the medical records of “patients with a first case of hepatitis B (~22,000 patients), hepatitis C (~48,000 patients), autoimmune hepatitis (~6,000 patients), chronic active hepatitis (~4,000 patients), and HIV (~20,000 patients) between 1999 and 2011” from a British database,” researchers determined that individuals infected with chronic hepatitis B and C infections may be at increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. In fact, according to the study results, “those patients with hepatitis B infection were 76% more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those falling in the ‘relatively minor conditions’ category, while those with hepatitis C infection were 51% more likely to develop the disease.” More research is needed to suggest a correlation.
In related news on Parkinson’s, researchers studying the disease have proposed that the disease may not start in the brain; rather, it may start in the gut and then travel to the brain. In their study, the researchers studied alpha-synuclein molecules which “tend to clump together and form fibers that damage the nerves in the brain.” The researchers used genetically-modified mice that overproduced the fibers, and placed them in environments of different levels of sterility. According to the research findings, those mice that were placed in non-sterile cages went on to develop Parkinson’s disease. When treated with antibiotics, the disease symptoms in the mice were reduced, suggesting that, “something in the microbiome” was enhancing the symptoms and that the “gut microbiota might ‘regulate’ the associated symptoms of the disease.
To read more about chronic hepatitis and the gut’s association with Parkinson’s, click here.

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