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Weekly Digest: Unexplained pneumonia outbreak sickens many in Wuhan, China; IV delivery of TB vaccine found efficacious in monkeys; A majority of European physicians are concerned about drug resistance in ICUs.

Weekly Digest: Unexplained pneumonia outbreak sickens many in Wuhan, China; IV delivery of TB vaccine found efficacious in monkeys; A majority of European physicians are concerned about drug resistance in ICUs.

Unexplained pneumonia outbreak sickens many in Wuhan, China. A mysterious strain of pneumonia with unknown origin has infected a cluster of 68 suspected individuals in Wuhan, China. All patients are being treated in quarantine, and one death has been reported. A seafood market in Wuhan where several patients were employed has been shut down for disinfection and further investigation, suggesting that the virus may have been transmitted from animals to humans. Health authorities have ruled out severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and bird flu as potential drivers of the outbreak, and now experts believe the illness may be caused by a new strain of coronavirus. [CHP, WHO, CNN, CIDRAP, NBC]

IV delivery of TB vaccine found efficacious in monkeys. Researchers tested a tuberculosis vaccine in monkeys and found a stronger protective effect of the vaccine when injected intravenously compared to intradermally. The Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine is the only existing vaccine with varying protection against pulmonary tuberculosis in humans, and is normally injected into the skin. Intravenous delivery of BCG produced a greater antigen response in blood, spleen, bronchoalveolar lavage, and lung lymph nodes in monkeys compared to aerosol or intradermal delivery. The study authors hope to test the efficacy of the intravenous TB vaccine in humans. [Nature]

A majority of European physicians are concerned about drug resistance in ICUs. According to a 2017 survey of 1,062 intensive care unit (ICU) physicians across Europe, nearly 25 percent of respondents rated multidrug-resistant bacteria as a major problem in their ICU. Approximately 33.9 and 36.8 percent of respondents rated it as a moderate or minor problem, although perceptions on the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) varied by region. More than 12 percent of physicians had encountered bacteria that was resistant to all or nearly all available antibiotics, which researchers note is of concern. [Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control]

Treating parents colonized with Staph may reduce transmission to their babies. In a four-year preliminary trial including two neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in Baltimore, Maryland, researchers found that treating parents colonized with Staphylococcus aureus decreased the risk of their babies being colonized with the same strain. Neonates with parents in the intervention group (treatment for S. aureus colonization) were significantly less likely to acquire concordant S. aureus colonization compared to neonates with parents in the placebo group (hazard ratio: 0.43). Findings suggest that treating parents for S. aureus colonization may be an effective strategy in preventing neonatal colonization. [JAMA]

WHO highlights ongoing health crises across Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa highlighted three ongoing crises in a weekly bulletin, which include Malaria in Burundi, Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and an ongoing humanitarian crisis in Nigeria. Approximately 8.5 million cases of malaria have been reported in an outbreak in Burundi, with a near doubling of cases compared to 2018. New cases of Ebola virus disease continue to emerge in the DRC where 3,256 confirmed cases and 2,232 deaths were reported in 2019. Major hurdles in the Ebola outbreak include persistent attacks on health centers and community resistance to the vaccine. Lastly, nearly 2 million people in Nigeria have been displaced, resulting in a critical humanitarian crisis. Risk of infectious disease, predominantly cholera, is high due to poor access to clean water and sanitation. [WHO]

Cholera cases drop 60% worldwide. In a new report, the World Health Organization (WHO) notes a 60 percent drop in the number of global cholera cases reported between 2017 and 2018. This significant achievement can be attributed to the implementation of vaccination campaigns and the strengthening of national cholera action plans. In 2018, approximately 18 million cholera vaccine doses were shipped to 11 countries worldwide. [WHO]

Patients who die from vaping-related lung injury more likely to have chronic conditions. In a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed the characteristics of patients hospitalized for e-cigarette/vaping-related lung injury to identify risk factors for re-hospitalization or death following hospital discharge. Patients who were re-hospitalized or died as a result of vaping-related lung injury were more likely to have at least one chronic condition, such as cardiac disease or diabetes, and to be of older age. Findings show that at least 25 percent of rehospitalizations and deaths occurred within 48 hours following discharge, which emphasizes the need for more optimal follow-up. [MMWR]

Bivalent HPV vaccine cost-effective among young women in Bangladesh. Researchers conducted a modeling study to assess the health benefits and cost-effectiveness of introducing the bivalent and quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines among adolescent women in Bangladesh. The study found the introduction of Cervarix, a two-dose bivalent HPV vaccine highly cost-effective at Gavi-negotiated prices (incremental cost-effectiveness ratio= $488 USD per disability-adjusted life year). However, neither bivalent nor quadrivalent (Gardasil) HPV vaccines were found cost-effective at listed prices in Bangladesh. [Vaccine]

Global tobacco use projected to continue declining among males and females. [CDDEP]