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Center For Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy

Health and climate change; Severe recurrent malaria factors

A close-up image of a mosquito on a leaf.

Strengthening health systems in rural Africa through community-based strategies reduces child mortality.

A two-stage random sample survey of reproductive-aged women residing in treatment and comparison districts in rural northern Ghana was used to estimate the incremental effect of the Ghana Essential Health Interventions Program (GEHIP) -a community-based health systems strengthening program – on three child morbidity conditions (diarrhea, fever, and cough), as reported by participants in survey interviews. After controlling for various sociodemographic factors, regression analysis showed that household location within a GEHIP district was related to a 45% reduction in fever and 47% reduction in cough. [Plos One]

The antimicrobial and antibiofilm properties of some medicinal desert plants support their sustainable use in treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Some medicinal desert plants have been used in traditional medicine to treat UTIs. UTIs primarily stem from the ability of pathogens to form biofilms in the urinary tract. Bioactive compounds derived from desert medicinal plants have been found to possess antimicrobial as well as antibiofilm activity against uropathogens, with a minimum biofilm inhibitory concentration in the range of 31.5–250 μg/mL for the plant extracts. [Applied Biotechnology and Biotechnology]

Health and climate change perspectives from healthcare workers.

Researchers conducted a cross-sectional study to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to health and climate change among healthcare workers in India. Over 3,000 healthcare workers responded to a structured questionnaire between October and December 2020. Knowledge about climate change and its immediate health effects due to exposure to heat (80.9%), cold (79.2%), and disease vectors (79.1%) were prevalent among the respondents, but awareness of delayed or indirect health effects, such as malnutrition, was relatively low (58.4%). 72.7% of respondents wanted to learn more about the connections between infectious disease outbreaks and climate change, and 43.9% wanted to learn about the role of HCWs in raising awareness on the impact of climate change. [The Journal of Climate Change and Health]

Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) need a bottom-up view of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) transmission.

High-risk AMR transmission points in LMIC settings, such as urban spaces and food-animal production settings, are often addressed with top-down and infrastructure-dependent interventions to combat AMR. However, these LMIC settings outside of hospitals require a combination of strong regulatory oversight and bottom-up AMR-containment approaches. Under-utilized genomic approaches should be bolstered to expose AMR transmission channels, and hotspots. Greater access to technological innovations must be promoted to help AMR containment and prevention in low resource settings. [Nature]

Wastewater-based surveillance could facilitate the development of targeted COVID-19 prevention in prisons.

Wastewater-based surveillance has been used to monitor population-level infection trends and variant spread during the pandemic. Prisons are high-risk settings for COVID-19 transmission. From a disease surveillance perspective, they are unique, in the sense that most prison residents contribute regularly to the same wastewater stream, providing a representative indicator of COVID-19 cases, when combined with clinical surveillance data. However, challenges to implementation of wastewater-based surveillance in prisons include restricted access to sample collection and ethical concerns due to prisoners’ marginalized status in society. [The Lancet]

Destigmatizing infectious diseases will help control their transmission.

Many media outlets have noted that recent outbreaks of Monkeypox in non-endemic countries seem to be moving primarily through networks of men who have sex with men. However, Monkeypox can affect everyone, and countries in Africa, historically impacted by Monkeypox, have called for more attention to the illness for years. With lessons learned from the HIV/AIDS crisis and COVID-19, people must feel safe and supported and not stigmatized to report Monkeypox symptoms, with the main objectives being getting tested, and accessing care. Fear of social or economic consequences could cause transmission to go undetected, ultimately harming individuals and whole communities. [Scientific American]

Severe recurrent malaria is impacted by antimalarial treatment completion and other factors.

To investigate factors influencing the severity of recurrent malaria in primary healthcare centers in South Sudan, researchers conducted an unmatched case-control study using routinely collected clinical data on individuals who received a diagnosis of severe malaria at three primary healthcare centers from September 2019 to December 2019. Of 289 recurrent malaria cases included in the study, the prevalence of severe recurrent malaria was 66.1%. Severe recurrent malaria was detected in 76.7% of those who did not complete malaria treatment and 35.1% of those who completed malaria treatment. The likelihood of severe recurrent malaria was lower among married individuals (odds ratio 0.33), individuals who were employed (OR 0.35), and individuals who ate at least twice daily (OR 0.22). In contrast, individuals who used preventive measures more likely to have severe recurrent malaria episodes than those who did not use preventive measures (OR 3.83). [Conflict and Health]

COVID-19 associated mucormycosis in India.

Mucormycosis, a fungal infection prominently caused by Rhizopus arrhizus, was studied in four male patients in India. Three of the patients presented with mucormycosis post-COVID-19 infection and recovered through surgery and antifungal therapy, the fourth patient who presented with the mucormycosis while infected with COVID-19, died in intensive care. Diabetes mellitus (DM) and use of steroids are major risk factors for COVID-associated mucormycosis (CAM). Controls over hyperglycemia and the use of steroids, as well as early treatment, are necessary to mitigate CAM burden. [Microbiology Society]

Income and media sources impact COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.

To assess public attitude towards COVID-19 vaccines and identify factors that lead to vaccine hesitancy, researchers surveyed staff and students at Jimma University, in Ethiopia, from July 31 to August 12, 2021. Of the 358 participants selected, half of the participants were hesitant to COVID-19 vaccination. Middle-income participants were two times more likely to be vaccine-hesitant than lower-income individuals (adjusted odds ratio 2.17). Those who sought COVID-19 information from multiple sources were 74% (AOR 0.26) less likely to be hesitant than those using one media source. Vaccine side effect concerns, doubts about effectiveness, and belief in traditional remedies for COVID-19 increased the likelihood of vaccine hesitancy by 31%, 42%, and 37% respectively. [BMC Public Health]

Resistance to azithromycin in Neisseria (N.) gonorrhoeae may prompt changes in therapy.

The antimicrobial susceptibility of N. gonorrhoeae was assessed in 3,239 samples from 26 countries across the EU/EEA in 2019., Resistance to ceftriaxone and cefixime remained uncommon in EU/EEA countries in 2019 with a significant decrease in cefixime resistance between 2016 and 2019. However, a significant increase in observed azithromycin resistance during the same period threatens the effectiveness of the dual therapy (ceftriaxone + azithromycin), currently recommended internationally for ceftriaxone-resistant cases. [BMC Infectious Diseases]