Top 5 Contagion&reg News Articles for the Week of November 26, 2017


Stay up-to-date on the latest infectious disease news by checking out our top 5 articles of the week.

#5: Vaccine Effective Against 91% of Bacteria Causing Common Invasive Meningococcal Disease in US

We know “there’s an app for that.”

However, more importantly, there is likely also a vaccine for that—at least the most common type of invasive meningococcal disease in children and young adults.

In a study published in the November 15, 2017 issue of mSphere—the online, open-source journal of the American Society of Microbiology—researchers from the Division of Bacterial Diseases of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in Siena, Italy, concluded that the 4-component vaccine MenB-4C (Bexsero) is effective against up to 91% of strains of the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis, which causes meningococcal disease.

To read more about the vaccine, just go here.

#4: Five US States Have Been Hit by Serious Hepatitis A Outbreaks

Most health professionals know about the ongoing hepatitis A outbreak that is ravaging the state of California, but they may now know about the outbreaks that have also sprung up in Michigan, Colorado, Utah, and now, Kentucky.

Just last week, on November 21, 2017, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) declared an acute hepatitis A outbreak in the state of Kentucky that reportedly spans multiple counties including Shelby, Bullitt, Hardin, Henry, Anderson, Mason, Christian, Madison, Fayette, McCracken, Hopkins, Leslie, and Jefferson, which reported 19 out of the 31 confirmed cases.

Read more about hepatitis A outbreaks in the US, here.

#3: GenePOC C. Diff Test Approved by FDA

GenePOC’s assay for Clostridium difficile (C. diff), GenePOC CDiff, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today.

The qualitative in-vitro diagnostic test, GenePOC CDiff, detects the toxin B gene of toxigenic C. diff strains directly from stool samples within 70 minutes. It is approved for use on unformed stool specimens obtained from patients suspected to have C. diff infections.

Traditional infection testing methods used to identify toxigenic C. diff like toxigenic culture and enzyme immunoassays have been found to be labor intensive, to increase delays and have limited sensitivity.

Read more about the FDA approval, here.

#2: Young Adults Engaging in More Diverse Sexual Practices

New research published in the Journal of Adolescent Health has found that younger individuals of today are partaking in a broader range of sexual practices than their counterparts 20 years ago. Knowledge of current trends in sexual behavior can be used to better tailor sexual education policy to ensure that this population remains safe and healthy.

“By shedding light on when some young people are having sex and what kinds of sex they are having, our study highlights the need for accurate sex and relationships education that provides opportunities to discuss consent and safety in relation to a range of sexual practices,” lead author of the study Ruth Lewis, PhD, MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow in Glasgow, Scotland, said in the official press release. “This will equip young people with the information and skills they need to maximize their wellbeing from their outset of their sexual lives.”

Read more about the University of Glasgow study, here.

#1: Building Bridges Between Infectious Disease Physicians and Psychiatrists

Complex problems require complex solutions with interdisciplinary cooperation.

When state mental hospitals were filled with mentally ill patients who had syphilis, everyone recognized the close association between infectious disease and psychiatric illness. In fact, in 1927, the first Nobel prize in Psychiatry was awarded to Dr. Julius Wagner-Jauregg who recognized the association between infections and mental illness and introduced malaria inoculation, which proved to be very successful in treating dementia paralytica. After the introduction of penicillin, the gap between these two specialties widened with specialization and fragmentation in medicine resulting in few physicians maintaining updated capability in both infectious disease and psychiatry. Most infectious disease physicians have very little current training in neurochemistry, psychoimmunology, or the pathophysiology of mental illness. Likewise, many psychiatrists have little current training in infectious diseases and psychoimmunology.

More recently, this gap has been bridged by advances in evolutionary medicine, a growing recognition of the significance of the microbiome, improved brain imaging and testing capabilities and discoveries in psychoimmunology which have greatly expanded our knowledge of the pathophysiology of mental illness. Now, many, including the Center for Disease and Prevention recognize chronic diseases and the mental illnesses can stem from infectious agents.

Read more about the importance of bridging the gap between the two disciplines, here.

Feature Picture Source: Epicantus / flickr / Creative Commons.

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