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Top Infectious Disease News of the Week—November 24, 2019

NOV 29, 2019 | CONTAGION® EDITORIAL STAFF
#5: Assessing the Landscape of Eastern Equine Encephalitis Prevention and Treatment

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) has been making news headlines in 2019. The mosquito-borne illness has been existence for centuries, with 12 US-based epidemics recorded between 1831 and 1959. Annual cases have remained low over the past decade, until 2019.  

The first case in the 2019 season was confirmed in August in Massachusetts. As of November 12, there have been 36 cases of the illness reported across 8 states. This is a sharp contrast to the 6 cases confirmed in 2018. More worrisome, one-third of the cases confirmed in 2019 have been fatal.

Now, experts from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health have published a commentary in The New England Journal of Medicine describing the EEE virus along with research and development that is needed to address the growing threat of the virus and other vector-borne conditions.

Read the full article.

#4: PrEP Use is Associated With Less HIV Anxiety Among MSM

Many men who have sex with men (MSM) experience anxiety related to the prospect of acquiring HIV. This anxiety can disrupt their emotional quality of life and contribute to fears which discourage HIV testing. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is highly effective at reducing risk of HIV infection, but uptake remains low among at-risk individuals in many settings.

A new study, published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, has discovered that among eligible MSM, PrEP use is associated with lower levels of HIV anxiety, a mental health benefit that could be incorporated into initiatives which aim to increase PrEP uptake. 

Investigators gathered data using the Following Lives Undergoing Change (Flux) study, a national observational study of licit and illicit drug use among MSM in Australia. New items were introduced to the Flux study in 2018 to evaluate anxiety regarding HIV transmission.

Read the full article.

#3: Most Physicians Don't Follow WHO Guidelines in Neonatal, Pediatric Sepsis

More than 4 million newborns and children suffer cases of sepsis each year, but a new study concluded that in the majority of those cases, patients don’t receive the World Health Organization (WHO’s) recommended first- or second-line therapy.

Those are the findings of a new study based on 2015 data from 297 hospitals in 56 countries.

Writing in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, Charlotte Jackson, PhD, of the University of London, and colleagues, say there are many reasons a clinician might choose to go against WHO guidelines. However, they say the data make clear that the global medical community has diverse opinions on how best to treat the condition.

Read the full article.

#2: CDC Details Industry-Wide Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Turkey

Just ahead of Thanksgiving the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released new details into a 2017-19 multistate outbreak of Salmonella Reading linked to turkey.

The details, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, suggest the foodborne outbreak is linked to industry-wide contamination as transmission could not be traced back to a single food or facility.

The situation was initially identified in January 2018 when the Minnesota Department of Health identified a cluster of Salmonella Reading infections through routine surveillance. The pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was submitted to the CDC’s PulseNet system to search for additional infections in the cluster.

Read the full article.

#1: CDC Announces E Coli Outbreak Likely Linked to Romaine

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials have notified the public of an ongoing investigation regarding a multistate outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections likely connected to romaine lettuce. CDC, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and state officials are collaborating to identify illnesses and trace the contamination through the transmission chain. 

FDA, CDC, and state health authorities believe their traceback evidence indicates that romaine lettuce from the Salinas, California growing region is the likely source of this outbreak. 

As of November 26, 2019, a total of 67 people from 19 states have been reported infected with the outbreak strain. This number reflects an addition of 27 ill people to the numbers reported in the CDC update on November 22.

Onset of illness dates range from September 24 to November 14, 2019. Previous reporting featured an onset range that ended on November 8. 

A total of 39 hospitalizations have been reported thus far, with 6 people developing hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. There have been no deaths reported.

Antibiotics are not recommended for patients with suspected E. coli infections until diagnostic testing can be performed and E. coli infection is ruled out. Some studies have shown that administering antibiotics to patients with E. coli infections might increase their risk of developing HUS, and a benefit of treatment has not been clearly demonstrated.

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