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

NOV 11, 2017 | CONTAGION® EDITORIAL STAFF
Here are our top 5 infectious disease articles from this past week:

#5: Egg-Based Flu Vaccines Dealt Another Blow as Researchers Move Closer to Universal Vaccine

For the week ending October 28, 2017, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) weekly FluView report showed more signs that the 2017-2018 flu season is gaining momentum. The CDC classified influenza activity for the week as regional in Guam and 4 states, local in Puerto Rico and 12 states, and sporadic in the District of Columbia and 31 states. Rhode Island is the only state that is yet to report influenza activity. Of the respiratory specimens testing positive for the virus, 67.9% came up as influenza A and 32.1% were influenza B.

Read the rest of our weekly flu update, here.

#4: Exploring the Threat of MDR-TB in the United States

Tuberculosis (TB) has been labeled as one of the deadliest infectious diseases to humankind. Advances in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) research, coupled with the discovery of the antituberculous medications isoniazid and the rifamycins, propelled multiple international efforts to control TB that drastically changed the disease landscape.1 Yet, per the World Health Organization (WHO), 10.4 million TB cases occurred in 2015, ranking the infection among the top 10 causes of death worldwide.2

A major threat to global TB control is drug-resistant disease. Treatment for drug-sensitive TB involves prolonged combination therapy—usually at least 6 months of multidrug treatment—because of MTB’s inherent ability to evade host defense mechanisms.3 

Read more about MDR-TB, here.

#3: FDA Approves Merck’s PREVYMIS for Prevention of CMV

Merck & Co., Inc. has announced early this morning that PREVYMIS, or letermovir, has just received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be administered orally via once-daily tablets and through injection for intravenous use.

PREVYMIS will be used as a preventive tool against cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection and disease “in adult CMV-seropositive recipients (R+) of an allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT),” according to a recent article.

Read more about this FDA approval, here.

#2: FDA Releases NARMS Report on Food-borne Antimicrobial Resistance

A new report from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) details antimicrobial resistance patterns in food-borne pathogens, offering some good news as well as some new concerns regarding multidrug-resistant Salmonella.

The link between antibiotic use in agriculture and the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has taken center stage as global health officials have sought to tackle the public health threat caused by “superbugs.” Overuse of antimicrobials in the raising of farm animals has driven the evolution of drug resistance in bacteria such as SalmonellaCampylobacter coli, and Escherichiacoli. Hard-to-treat infections from such pathogens will lead to an estimated 10 million deaths each year around the world by 2050, according to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Read more about the FDA’s NARMS report, here.

#1: Mapping C. difficile Exposures and Infections in the Hospital

Mitigating Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infections are a challenging aspect of health care infection control. Prevention efforts cover an array of services and include strategies ranging from environmental services to laboratory guidance to antimicrobial stewardship, and more. New studies continue to highlight emerging preventive measures, such as the importance of patient involvement in hand hygiene efforts; however, the truth is that there are many pieces to the prevention of C. difficile infections and we continue to struggle to get a handle on this nuisance.


Hand hygiene, pathogen exposure, isolation technique, exposure to antibiotics, cleaning and disinfecting practices, and many other factors impact the spread of C. difficile throughout a health care facility. It would be valuable to learn exactly how this spore-forming organism moves through a health care facility. For example, if a patient with a C. difficile infection is in the emergency department and a non-infected patient comes in a few hours later, are they at risk?


Investigators on a new study sought to answer these questions through the use of spatial and temporal mapping of C. difficile to identify nosocomial transmission. During an evaluation of a large university hospital during one month in 2013 and 2015, investigators considered the space (emergency department, operating room, cardiology, ultrasound, etc) that was contaminated for 24 hours following a patient with C. difficile being in the space.

Read more about mapping C. difficile, here.
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