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Top 5 Contagion&reg News Articles for the Week of December 17, 2017

In case you missed them, we've compiled the top five infectious disease articles from this past week.

#5: ACAAI Updates Practice Parameters on Flu Shots for Individuals with Egg Allergy

Individuals with an egg allergy do not need to avoid an annual flu shot, according to updated practice parameters recently published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

Despite conflicting reports on the effectiveness of the annual flu vaccine, it remains one of the best ways to avoid becoming infected with influenza. Therefore, health care practitioners are advised to encourage their patients to receive the vaccine each year, especially those patients who are at increased risk for severe complications from influenza as well as individuals who live with or care for persons who are at higher risk for influenza-related complications, including health care personnel, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Read more about the updated practice parameters, here.

#4: Twelve US States Are Now Reporting Widespread Flu Activity

In a new report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shares that 12 states are experiencing widespread flu activity, up from 7 states the previous week. The weekly FluView report for week 49 ending December 9, 2017, adds California, Wisconsin, Missouri, Ohio, New York, and Connecticut to the list of states seeing widespread flu. In addition, the proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) continued to rise above the national baseline—from 2.3% the previous week to 2.7%—and 7 of the 10 regions of the United States reported ILI levels at or above their baselines. Puerto Rico and 26 states reported regional flu activity, and 10 states reported local flu activity.

Read the rest of the flu update, here.

#3: Tracing Pseudomonas aeruginosa Throughout a Hematology Unit

Hospital infection control is difficult health care-associated infections seem to come from everywhere; however, a hematology unit comes with its own challenges and risks. Patients hospitalized in a hematology unit are fighting for their lives, making infection prevention efforts that much more vital. Many of these patients have severely weakened immune systems and are susceptible to opportunistic infections. Whether it is influenza viruses or aspergillosis, outbreaks can easily happen in a hematology unit and they often move swiftly and cause significant damage. Recently, investigators from the United Kingdom found that the environment can be a major source of outbreaks of one particularly vicious pathogen: Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa).

P. aeruginosa is one of those opportunistic organisms that tend to prey on immunocompromised patients. The bacterium thrives in a range of environments, but it tends to do best in moist settings. Infections are often limited to those who have a weakened immune system and/or are hospitalized.

Read more about P. aeruginosa, here.

#2: New HIV Test Approved by FDA

In vitro diagnostics company, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, announced today that the US Food and Drug Administration has approved their VITROS Immunodiagnostic Products HIV Combo Reagent Pack and Calibrator on the VITROS 3600 Immunodiagnostic System. According to a press release from Ortho, the Vitros HIV Combo test is a fourth-generation test that can detect both HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibodies (Ab) and the p24 antigen (Ag). This enables the test to detect HIV-1 acute infection earlier than the previous third-generation test.

Read more about the new HIV test, here.

#1: Using a One-Health Approach to Combat Tick-Borne Diseases

Infections transmitted by ticks are increasingly recognized as important causes of disease in humans and pets in North America, said Susan Little, DVM, PhD, DACVM (parasitology), Regents Professor of Parasitology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, in a recent US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity webinar.

Indeed, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced the appointment of 14 members to the new Tick-Borne Disease Working Group. This group will provide expertise to help HHS in its efforts to identify unmet needs and research priorities in tick-borne diseases (TBDs), to improve federal coordination of efforts related to this serious public health problem.

Although ticks were first shown to be responsible for transmitting disease at the end of the 19th century, TBDs have significantly emerged and expanded in recent decades, and several novel infections have been identified.

Dr. Little noted that the last 3 decades have seen a dramatic rise in the number of certain species of ticks and their geographic distributions worldwide. The expansion in tick populations has led to an increased risk of infection for humans and animals with both established tick-borne agents and newly recognized ones, creating a serious One Health problem.

The introduction of infections to humans in new geographic locations can “catch local physicians off guard because they are not used to seeing certain TBDs in their local areas,” said Dr. Little.

Read more here.

Feature Picture Source: Fotolia.