Top Infectious Disease News of the Week—June 23, 2019


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

#5: Drugs in the Pipeline for Gram-positive, C difficile, and Non-tuberculosis Mycobacterial Infections

A trio of speakers at ASM Microbe 2019 provided a look at the latest developments in drugs intended to quell gram-positive pathogens, including Clostridioides difficile (C diff) and non-tuberculosis (TB) mycobacterial infections.

Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium, the ever-present methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and penicillin-non-susceptible Streptococcus pneumoniae remain threats. “The clinical pipeline to these pathogens is dominated by derivatives of established classes. New drug classes to address resistance with existing classes are fewer and none of the new classes of antibiotics have translated into clinical development,” said Sushmita Lahiri, PhD, with Macrolide Pharmaceuticals (now Zikani Therapeutics), in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Eravacycline and omadacycline were recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Iclaprim for the treatment of acute bacterial skin and skin structure infection (ABSSSI) was turned down by the FDA in February of this year, with more data needed. None of these drugs feature a novel mode of action.

Read about the pipeline symposium from ASM Microbe 2019.

#4: Rotavirus Vaccine Linked to Lower Risk of Type 1 Diabetes

Infants fully vaccinated against rotavirus were 33% less likely to develop type 1 diabetes later in life than those who weren’t vaccinated, according to a new study.

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, examined nationwide health insurance data of nearly 1.5 million infants in the US between 2001 and 2017. Those who received the pentavalent vaccine, which protects against 5 different types of rotavirus, had a 37% reduction in their risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Those who received only part of the recommended vaccinations saw no reduction in the incidence of type 1 diabetes.

“Rotavirus vaccination may be the first practical measure that could lower the risk of developing type 1 diabetes,” Mary A.M. Rogers, PhD, MS, research associate professor at the University of Michigan Department of Internal Medicine, told Contagion®.

Read about the link between rotavirus and diabetes risk.

#3: Multiple Site Testing for MRSA Carriage Increases Detection by 25%

Screening multiple anatomic sites for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) increased detection of the bacteria by 25% compared with single site testing of the anterior nares alone.

Investigators from the University of Wisconsin-Madison presented data at ASM Microbe 2019 evaluating the necessity of multiple site testing (MST) for MRSA.

“Identification of MRSA carriage helps reduce transmission and guide antimicrobial therapy. Molecular testing via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of swabs from the anterior nares (AN) is commonly performed to rapidly detect MRSA; however, testing additional anatomic sites, such as the oropharynx (OP) and/or axilla and groin (AG), has been reported to increase sensitivity in studies from the early 2000s at high MRSA prevalence centers,” investigators wrote. “In this study, we sought to determine the ability of MST to increase MRSA detection at a low prevalence academic center.”

Read about multiple site testing for MRSA.

#2: New Tech Helps Cut Down on Catheter-Associated UTI Rates

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a serious threat for hospitalized patients. These infections can impact the bladder, ureters, and kidney, and are the most common type of health care-associated infection in the United States. For those acquired during hospitalization, 75% of UTIs are related to a urinary catheter, which is highly concerning as 15-25% of hospitalized patients have a catheter during their course of care.

It is estimated that each year, there are roughly half a million catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) in the United States, which result in 13,000 deaths. On top of the substantial morbidity and mortality, these infections are also costly, with an estimated overall cost of $340 million annually.

As a result of this very serious condition and its prevalence in the US health care system, prevention efforts have focused on a range of things—reducing the prevalence of catheters overall, ensuring catheter utilization is appropriate, and initiating new research and development (R&D) projects. One of these new R&D efforts has involved external female catheters, which are an alternative non-invasive effort to manage patients who are incontinent.

Read about reducing CAUTIs with new tech.

#1: Survey Reveals Prevalence of Vaccine Misinformation

Vaccine hesitancy, which is defined as delaying in accepting or a refusal to receive vaccines, has been making headlines this year as outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles are on the rise. As such, earlier this year the World Health Organization reported that vaccine hesitancy was 1 of the top 10 threats to global health in 2019.

Most professionals in the health care and science fields accept that vaccines are both important to disease prevention, but also the safest and most effective way to stop the spread of preventable diseases. However, Lisa Cuchara, PhD, a professor of biomedical sciences at Quinnipiac University, notes that a basic internet search not only reveals vaccine hesitancy but also conspiracies about vaccines.

Therefore, Cuchara conducted a study with the intentions of examining vaccine knowledge (and myths/misconceptions belief) in the science and health care communities in comparison to individuals not in the community; determining if a curriculum decreases vaccine misconceptions; and determining which myths/misconceptions about vaccines are most prevalent.

The findings of the research were presented at ASM Microbe 2019.

For the study, data was collected from 17,229 participants through SurveyMonkey. In total, 5246 participants identified as full-time students in a science or health care major (HSS), 3221 participants identified as a full-time student not pursing a science or health care major (nonHSS), 2368 individuals reported being employed in science or health care (HCW), and 4361 individuals reported not working in science or health care (nonHCW).

According to the study abstract, the results reveal the prevalence of vaccine misinformation in society.

“For example, 67% has ‘HEARD that you can get the flu from the flu vaccine’ and 24% KNEW ‘someone that gotten the flu from the flu vaccine’ despite the fact that the virus in flu shot is killed/ cannot cause flu,” Cuchara writes.

Read about the prevalence of vaccine misinformation.

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