Top Infectious Disease News of the Week—December 15, 2019


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

#5: How Effective is Telemedicine for Infectious Disease Consultations?

The clinical effectiveness of telemedicine infectious disease consultations has yet to be studied to the degree that its effectiveness can be measured until now, according to an analysis published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases.

Investigators from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (WUSTL) searched various medical databases in order to review the current evidence for clinical effectiveness of telemedicine infectious disease consultations. The team wanted to measure outcomes of mortality, hospital readmission, antimicrobial use, cost, length of stay, adherence, and patient satisfaction.

The study authors wrote that telemedicine could potentially expand infectious disease expertise to underserved areas, thereby reducing mortality and improving clinical outcomes in those areas. A shortage of infectious disease physicians, like the one seen today, may also contribute to less access to these specialists in economically disadvantaged areas.

Read the full article.

#4: The Burden of STIs Among Individuals Using PrEP

Both globally and in the United States, rates of sexually transmitted infections (STI) have been growing at an alarming rate. A major concern is that there is limited integration of broader sexual health services within pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) provision programs, where risk for STI transmission is likely to be elevated.

A new systematic review and meta-analysis study of the global epidemiologic characteristics of STIs among individuals using PrEP shines light on both STI prevalence at initiation and during PrEP use. Results of the study, published in JAMA Network Open, indicate a high burden of STIs among both individuals starting and persistently using PrEP.

Results suggest that PrEP provision is concentrated among those at high risk, but that more must be done to prevent STIs among those who persistently use the HIV prevention medication.

Read the full article.

#3: Ebola Vaccine Approved by FDA

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that the Ebola vaccine Ervebo has been approved for administration in individuals 18 years of age and older. This is the first vaccine for the prevention of Ebola virus disease that has been authorized in the United States. The approval was granted to Merck & Co., Inc.

Ervebo is administered as a single-dose injection and is a live, attenuated vaccine.

“While the risk of Ebola virus disease in the US remains low, the US government remains deeply committed to fighting devastating Ebola outbreaks in Africa, including the current outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” said Anna Abram, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Policy, Legislation, and International Affairs in the FDA's statement.

Read the full article.

#2: CDC's "Biggest Threats" Report for Antibiotic Resistance Highlights Challenge: Public Health Watch

Among other things, the holidays are a time for lists, most of the fun or entertaining variety.

Think: “Best of” rankings or gift ideas.

However, the latest list from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is anything but fun. Earlier this month, the agency released its latest “biggest threats” report on antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

And, there’s a lot to be concerned about for infectious disease and public health specialists.

“We believe there are encouraging signs of progress that reflect action,” Arjun Srinivasan, MD, CDC’s associate director of health care-associated infection prevention programs, told Contagion®. “That said, we all agree that more needs to be done.”

Read the full article.

#1: CDC Investigating Campylobacter jejuni Outbreak Linked to Puppies From Pet Stores

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is collaborating with public health officials in several states to investigate an outbreak of multidrug-resistant human Campylobacter jejuni infections linked to contact with puppies from pet stores, including Petland.

As of December 17th, the outbreak strain has been identified in 30 people infected with Campylobacter jejuni in 13 states. There have been 4 hospitalizations and no deaths reported.

Of the 24 people interviewed, 21 reported contact with a puppy. Of the 21 people reporting contact with a puppy, 15 reported contact with a puppy from a pet store.

In addition, 12 of those 15 people were linked to the chain pet store Petland. Of the 12 people linked to Petland, 5 are employees.

Illnesses began between January 6, 2019, and November 10, 2019. The age of those infected ranges from 8 months to 70 years, with a median age of 34.

Whole genome sequencing was used to perform DNA fingerprinting on bacteria collected from the ill. Testing has found that bacteria in this outbreak are closely related to bacteria from people who became ill in the 2016-2018 outbreak of multidrug-resistant Campylobacter jejuni infections also linked to pet store puppies. In the 2016-2018 outbreak, 87% of people reported contact with a puppy from Petland stores and 25 people were employees.

Investigators also reported 8 more ill people linked to the current outbreak who had contact with a puppy at Petland, but CDC did not include these people in the outbreak case count because samples were not available for testing.

Read the full article.

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