Top Infectious Disease News of the Week—November 18, 2018


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

#5: MSM With Poor Sleep Habits Linked with Riskier Sexual Behavior

Men who have sex with men (MSM) with poor sleep habits tend to engage in riskier sexual behavior, according to new research which highlights the role of sleep quality in the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases like HIV.

The study was conducted by investigators from Hunter College at the City University of New York, Harvard Medical School, and the New York University School of Medicine.

The study, published online in the journal AIDS and Behavior, involved 559 MSM in Paris, France, who were asked about 4 sleep factors (sleep quality, sleep duration, problems falling asleep, and problems staying awake during wake-time activities), as well as their habits regarding condom-less anal intercourse and the use of substances before or during sex.

Read more about risk factors for NAFLD for people living with HIV.

#4: Salmonella Studies: New Drug-Resistant Strain, Effective Control Measure

Salmonellosis continues to be a topical public health threat for Americans, as highlighted by 2 new studies featured in the December 2018 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the monthly peer-reviewed public health journal of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Allison C. Brown, PhD, MPH, from the CDC, Atlanta, Georgia, and colleagues share data about a new strain of multidrug-resistant Salmonella Infantis that has recently emerged in the United States, linked with retail chicken meat. “This strain possesses clinically important resistance associated with higher hospitalization rates,” they stressed.

In contrast, however, Melanie Firestone, MPH, a PhD candidate from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis, and colleagues report data from a different study, highlighting 1 approach that proved beneficial to reducing rates of foodborne Salmonella infections.

Read about research being conducted on Salmonellosis.

#3: Pediatric Influenza Vaccination Rates Continue to Fall Short for 2018-2019 Season

Although influenza activity has remained low the first weeks of flu season in United States, more than one-third of parents surveyed in a nationwide poll indicated that their child is unlikely to receive the flu vaccine this season.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), during Influenza Season Week 45 (November 4 to November 10, 2018) there was a slight increase in the proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness. The proportion increased to 1.9% which is still below the national baseline of 2.2%. Influenza viral surveillance characterized the majority of influenza viruses as antigenically and genetically similar to virus components of the 2018—2019 influenza vaccine recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, indicating that this season’s influenza vaccine matches with circulating influenza A and B viruses.

In a new report published on November 19, 2018, by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, of the 1977 parents surveyed, two-thirds reported that they would have their child vaccinated against the flu this season. Seventy-seven percent of parents in the poll reported that their child’s health care provider strongly or mostly recommended the influenza vaccine, while 21% said they did not recall the physician’s recommendation. Forty-eight percent of the parents said they usually follow the recommendation from their child’s health care provider, while 38% of parents said decisions on whether or not to vaccinate their child against the flu are based on what they read or hear. According to the poll, parents in the latter group were less likely to have their child vaccinated than parents who follow their health care provider’s recommendation.

Read about pediatric influenza vaccination rates.

#2: WHO Reports on Global Antibiotic Consumption

While the countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo battles an Ebola outbreak and influenza season is upon us in the United States, it can be easy to neglect the topic of antibiotic stewardship and the multisectoral roles in facilitating resistance; however, antimicrobial resistance continues to be a threat that we face on an international level. The World Health Organization (WHO) has been working hard to address these surveillance gaps and recently released their report on surveillance of antibiotic consumption.

Each year, resistant infections are responsible for 23,000 deaths in the United States, alone, and it is estimated that the cost for treatment of such infections has doubled since 2002, exceeding $2 billion a year. A report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found that 3 out of 4 deaths from antimicrobial-resistant infections could be averted by spending just $2 per person per year through prevention efforts like hand hygiene and antibiotic stewardship.

Although we have made considerable investments in combatting antimicrobial resistance and continually monitor progress through the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), surveillance on a national level is a struggle. Imagine the challenge of such efforts in a resource-stressed country. The acts of tracking laboratory data for trends in resistance, antibiotic prescribing, and antibiotic consumption are resource-intensive efforts that are challenging for even the most developed country.

Read about the WHO’s report on global antibiotic consumption.

#1: Avoid All Romaine Lettuce, CDC Says

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising Americans to avoid consuming any romaine lettuce as health officials are investigating a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin producing-E coli O157:H7.

The CDC is working alongside health officials in several states, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate this outbreak linked with lettuce.

As of November 20, 2018, a total of 32 Americans across 11 states have fallen ill as well as 18 Canadians in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario.

The American cases have an onset of illness ranging between October 8, 2018, and October 31, 2018. Those who have become infected range in age from 7 to 84 years, with a median age of 24. Sixty-six percent are female. Data is available for 26 of the individuals and indicate that 13 (50%) have been hospitalized, including 1 person who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome. No deaths have been reported at this time.

Illnesses that occurred after October 30, 2018, may not have been reported yet due to the E coli reporting timeline.

As part of the epidemiologic investigation, public health officials have interviewed the individuals who have fallen in about their consumption and exposures in the week prior to becoming ill. In total, 14 individuals were interviewed and 11 (79%) reported eating romaine lettuce, including different types of romaine lettuce from several restaurants, as well as at home.

Whole genome sequencing has indicated that the outbreak strain has a genetic resemblance to the E coli strain that was isolated from ill individuals during the 2017 outbreak linked with leafy greens in the United States and romaine lettuce in Canada.

However, the current outbreak is not related to the spring romaine lettuce outbreak, as they have different DNA fingerprints.

At this time the FDA is working with state officials to trace back to the source of the outbreak. No common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified as the source.

Read about the E coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce.

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