Top 5 Contagion&reg News Articles for the Week of May 28, 2017


In case you missed them, here are our top 5 articles for the week of May 28, 2017.

This week’s top news articles highlighted research findings including that antibiotics fail to treat around 22% of adults with pneumonia. In addition, an ongoing outbreak of Mumps at the Pennsylvania State University that started in January has caused more than 80 illnesses. Amidst this, the US Food and Drug Administration approves a yellow fever vaccine for investigational use to be administered to travelers visiting yellow fever-endemic areas. And our top article for the week? Several outbreaks of norovirus that dominated schools in California, forcing some to close their doors

Read more about our Top 5 articles of the week:

#5: Researchers Identify Risk Factors for Antibiotic Failure Among Pneumonia Patients

The only guideline currently in place for the treatment and management of community-acquired pneumonia was published in 2007 by the American Thoracic Society and the Infectious Disease Society of America.

Now, new research shows that initial antibiotic therapy treatment fails in 1 in 4 adults with community-acquired pneumonia. The study was presented at the 2017 American Thoracic Society International Conference. The research group conducted the study with two goals in mind: to fill the gap left by the lack of “real-world,” large-scale data, which is needed to understand why antibiotics fail to treat infection in some individuals; and to identify ideal antibiotic choices for best treatment outcomes. The group collected data on more than 250,000 patients who presented with community-acquired pneumonia between 2011 and 2015. The average age among these patients was around 52 years, and most patients were female.

The authors defined treatment failure as: refilling the original antibiotic prescription, switching antibiotic regimen, hospitalization, or emergency room visits. Although treatment may have succeeded after patients were retreated (with another antibiotic or a second prescription of the same antibiotic), the researchers note that excessive use of antibiotics may lead to Clostridium difficile infection.

To read about the factors that increase the risk of treatment failure, click here.

#4: How Does the Flu Vaccine Effect Preterm Vs. Full-Term Infants?

Researchers led by Carl D’Angelo, MD, a physician in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York, compared flu vaccine response in preterm versus full-term infants.

A similar study conducted in 2011 investigated the efficacy of administering the measles vaccine in preterm infants, due to the lower levels of antimeasles antibodies found in this population in comparison to their full-term counterparts. This study found that preterm infants should be vaccinated for measles at 5 months, rather than 9 months.

More recently, the researchers led by Dr. D’Angelo set out to examine the “relationships among the frequencies of influenza-specific antibody secreting cells (ASC) and ASC subsets (including LLPC) and antibody responses to influenza vaccines,” among these populations. Infants included in the study received their first flu shot (2 doses of inactivated, trivalent IV or quadrivalent IV during the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 flu seasons) between 7 and 17 months. The first dose was administered on day 0 of the study, while the second was administered on day 28.

To read more about the research group’s findings, click here.

#3: Mumps Outbreak at Penn State Infects More than 80 Individuals

An outbreak that started in January at Penn State has not been declared over. According to local news sources, the outbreak has infected almost 90 individuals on campus.

Penn State immunization recommendations require most students to receive 2 doses of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, unless they are exchange students, non-degree-seeking students, World Campus students, or are immune to infection, among others. Nevertheless, “most of the confirmed mumps cases are in students who received the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recomended two doses of MMR vaccine,” according to University Health Services (UHS).

According to Shelley Haffner, infectious disease manager at UHS, “While many students who contracted mumps earlier this semester are no longer infectious, we are still continuing to see several new cases each week on campus… It is important that everyone take steps not only to protect themselves from possible exposure, but also to prevent exposing others should they develop symptoms.”

Penn State has already taken the necessary measures to prevent further spread of the outbreak, including barring some students from campus, and isolating others.

Read more about the outbreak here.

#2: FDA Approves Investigational Yellow Fever Vaccine for Travelers

As the yellow fever outbreaks grow in Brazil and Angola, supplies of the standard yellow fever vaccine, YF-VAX, are becoming depleted.

The yellow fever outbreak in Brazil has been ongoing since December 2016, and has continued to infect and claim lives. Until now, there have been more than 3,000 suspected cases in the country, and more than 400 deaths. But it doesn’t stop there. The outbreak has also infected non-human primates, causing around 3,660 deaths in the population.

Recently, Brazil has administered more than 24 million doses of the standard YF-VAX vaccine, which has led to a staggering 95% coverage rate in 285 municipalities, and between 74% and 94.9% in 375 others. This has led Sanofi Pasteur to announce that YF-VAX will not be available until mid-2018, leaving many travelers without any infection prevention options.

Now, in an effort to provide an option for infection prevention for travelers wishing to visit yellow fever-endemic areas, the US Food and Drug Administration granted approval for another vaccine, Sanofi Pasteur’s Stamaril, to be used under the Expanded Access Investigational New Drug Application. However, this vaccine has been in use in more than 70 other countries to date.

Read more about yellow fever vaccines here.

#1: Norovirus Outbreaks Take California Schools by Storm

Norovirus outbreaks have been sweeping “Eureka” state schools since May 1, and have infected thousands of students and staff.

Among the affected schools, those in Yolo County have been hit hardest, with around 3,400 infected. In addition, 2 schools closed their doors on May 26 due to a high number of cases. In a recent statement, Tom Pritchard, interim superintendent stated, “While we have enhanced our cleaning efforts and worked to limit student interactions on campus, we need to take an even more aggressive approach at these two schools to end the outbreak.”

However, these are not the first large-scale norovirus outbreaks to hit California this season. In early spring, hundreds of students (and their family members) in Santa Monica and East Bay area schools came down with the infection.

To limit the number of cases, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has advised that those individuals who present with norovirus-like symptoms stay home from school and avoid contact with others, so as to not spread infection, for 2 days until symptoms subside. Proper hand hygiene and surface disinfection are highly recommended.

In a statement, Karen Smith, MD, MPH, the CDPH director stated, ““Norovirus is very infectious and can spread rapidly wherever people congregate and share food and bathroom facilities. Fortunately, most people with norovirus infection will recover quickly, usually in one to three days.”

Read more about these outbreaks here.

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