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Weekly Digest: Antimicrobial resistance trends in aquaculture from the last 20 years highlight the urgent need for scaled-up surveillance; Mental and neurological disorders linked to higher COVID-19 susceptibility and mortality

Antimicrobial resistance trends in aquaculture from the last 20 years highlight the urgent need for scaled-up surveillance. Researchers at CDDEP, ETH Zurich, and the Free University of Brussels reviewed 749 point prevalence surveys of antimicrobial resistance from aquatic food animals in Asia between 2000 and 2019. Concerning levels of resistance to medically important antimicrobials, researchers identified foodborne pathogens with a dual-threat profile, marked by high resistance rates to first-line antimicrobials (penicillins, sulfonamides, tetracyclines) and erosion of last-resort therapeutic options. The study identified freshwater and marine water hotspots in different parts of Asia, highlighting the urgent need for scaled-up surveillance in the region [Nature Communications]

Intensified efforts are needed to reduce economic losses and the death toll from Tuberculosis. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call for a 90% reduction in tuberculosis (TB) deaths by 2030; however, this goal seems unlikely to be met without intensified efforts, especially when considering COVID-19 related disruptions. A recent study estimated 31.8 million TB deaths between 2020 and 2050, with an economic loss of $17.5 trillion. If the goal of 90% reduction is met by 2030, 23.8 million deaths and $13.1 trillion in financial losses can be avoided; however, this would require redoubling efforts to finance TB programs. [The Lancet]

Mental and neurological disorders linked to higher COVID-19 susceptibility and mortality. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis including data from 149 papers revealed that mental and neurological disorders were associated with increased risk of infection (odds ratio of 1.67 and 2.05), illness severity (1.40 and 1.43), and mortality (1.47 and 2.08). Younger patients with mental disorders living in low and middle-income areas experienced greater disease severity and higher mortality rates. [The Lancet]

Healthcare-associated COVID-19 infections constitute less than 10 percent of overall infections in England. Researchers in England recently compiled a national study of healthcare-associated COVID-19 infections. Hospital-onset probable and definite cases represented 5.3% of all laboratory-confirmed cases and 15.4% of laboratory-confirmed cases among hospital patients. In contrast, community-onset community-acquired infections represented the vast majority (86.5%) of the laboratory-confirmed cases. [J Infect]

Bacitracin and Enrofloxacin contribute to AMR in poultry production. A recent study investigating the effects of bacitracin and enrofloxacin use in broilers detected antibiotic-resistant bacteria and genes in chicken cloaca and litter, regardless of antibiotic administration. Groups fed bacitracin had higher levels of bacitracin-resistant genes and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcaceae, 98% of which were avian rather than human-associated. These findings warrant regulation of bacitracin and enrofloxacin use in poultry production. [Microbiome]

School closures in the United Stated may have negatively and inequitably affected children’s mental health. A recent US survey of 2324 adults with at least one school-aged child reported an association between in-person schooling disruptions and worse child mental health (standardized effect size of 0.23 per year of child age). Older children, children of Black and Hispanic ethnicities, and children from families with lower income disproportionally experienced the negative health consequences of school closure. [JAMA Network]

Africa CDC announces Inaugural One Health Conference, 1-3 November 2021. To celebrate and showcase One Health approaches to research, disease surveillance, antimicrobial resistance, and outbreak investigation on the continent, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) is hosting a 3-day virtual One Health Conference from 1-3 November 2021. [Africa CDC]

Most survivors of Ebola virus disease have antibodies against one or more virus antigens. A recent observational prospective cohort study from the PostEbogui Study Group analyzed humoral antibody responses in blood samples collected from 687 Ebola survivors in Guinea. The study reported a significant decline in Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) antibodies in the 60 months following discharge, but the probability for survivors to have antibodies against one or more EBOV antigens remained high. However, 25% of the survivors had undetectable antibodies, implying that declines in population immunity to Ebola should be considered when preparing for future outbreaks. [The Lancet

Antibiotic use is associated with an increased risk of proximal colon cancer. Researchers in Sweden conducted a population-based, matched case-control study to investigate the association between antibiotic use and risk of colorectal cancer (CRC). The study, including 40,545 CRC cases and 202,720 controls, revealed a positive trend between rising levels of antibiotic use and cancer in the proximal colon (adjusted OR = 1.17, 95% CI 1.05 to 1.31) and a negative association for rectal cancer. Quinolones, sulfonamides, and trimethoprims use were associated with the risk of proximal colon cancer. [Journal of the National Cancer Institute]

Immune evasive Delta-variant has a higher transmission potential. A recent study combining molecular epidemiology and in vitro experiments mapped the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant and investigated its ability to escape the immune system responses. Initially identified in Maharashtra, India, in late 2020, the Delta variant is 6-fold and 8-fold less sensitive than the wild type Wuhan-1 to antibodies from recovered and vaccinated individuals. Higher replication rate, cell entry, and increased infectivity at mucosal surfaces were suggested to contribute to its high transmission potential, pathogenicity, and immune evasion. [Nature]

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