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Weekly Digest: Antibiotics seized at UK airport were headed to poultry farm for unregulated use; Resistance to H. pylori drug doubles in 20 years; FDA approves flu drug for high-risk patients.

Weekly Digest: Antibiotics seized at UK airport were headed to poultry farm for unregulated use; Resistance to H. pylori drug doubles in 20 years; FDA approves flu drug for high-risk patients.

Antibiotics seized at UK airport were headed to poultry farm for unregulated use. British airport officials seized a large shipment of Chinese antibiotics believed to be amoxicillin that was heading to a poultry farm in Northern Ireland. Although amoxicillin is approved for veterinary use in the UK, the antibiotic must be administered under veterinarian supervision and has been banned for growth promotion in the EU since 2006. [The Guardian]

 Resistance to H. pylori drug doubles in 20 years. According to a study presented at United European Gastroenterology Week, resistance to clarithromycin, an antibiotic commonly used to treat Helicobacter pylori infection, has more than doubled in the last 20 years in Europe (from 9.9 percent in 1998 to 21.6 percent in 2018). In 2018, 38.5 percent of H.pylori strains were also resistant to metronidazole and 16.6 percent to levofloxacin. H. pylori infection is commonly linked to stomach ulcers and cancers. [UEG Week 2019, EurekAlert!]

 FDA approves flu drug for high-risk patients. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded approval of Xofluza (Baloxavir marboxil), a single-dose antiviral drug for the treatment of uncomplicated influenza in patients at high risk for developing flu complications. High-risk patients include individuals with asthma, chronic lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, morbid obesity, and those aged 65+. Xofluza was originally approved for use in otherwise healthy individuals last October. The drug should only be used in patients 12 years and older who have been symptomatic for ≤ 48 hours. [Genentech]

 WHO notes progress and gaps in global TB epidemic. The World Health Organization’s Global Tuberculosis Report 2019 highlights significant global progress in identifying and treating new TB cases, but notes a lack in progress needed to reach the United Nation’s goal of ending the global TB epidemic by 2030. Since 2000, TB deaths have decreased 27 percent among HIV-negative patients and 60 percent among HIV-positive patients. TB incidence declined slightly between 2017-2018, by 2 percent. Drug-resistant TB cases decreased by about 10 percent in one year, but only one-third of people with drug-resistant TB accessed treatment in 2018. [WHO]

Vaccine exemption rates are on the rise among US kindergarteners. According to a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) analyzing 2018-2019 school year data, immunization exemption rates in US kindergarteners increased for the third year in a row. Overall coverage rates for two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine increased slightly from the previous year, to 94.7 and 94.8 percent respectively. However, MMR coverage rates varied by state, from 87.4 percent in Colorado to 99.2 percent in Mississippi. Oregon reported the highest vaccine exemption rate at 7.7 percent. [MMWR]

Vaccine safety is a common parental concern. In an analysis of 71 studies, researchers identified common parental beliefs surrounding routine childhood vaccines in the US. Common themes included adverse events, mistrust, perceived lack of necessity, skepticism, desire for autonomy, and morality concerns, as well as pro-vaccine views. The most commonly stated beliefs revolved around vaccine safety, including that vaccines can cause illness and that a child’s immune system can be overwhelmed from receiving multiple vaccines at once. [Vaccine]

PCV13 vaccine decreases antimicrobial-resistant pneumococcal disease. Researchers conducted a literature review from 2008 to 2017 to assess the impact of higher valent routine pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) on antimicrobial-resistant pneumococcal diseases in children and adults. The study found that the implementation of 13-valent PCV infant vaccination programs has reduced antimicrobial-resistant pneumococcal disease in countries that previously reported high rates of pneumococcal resistance. The review also noted a reduction in resistant otitis media and nasopharyngeal carriage among children in these countries. [Expert Review of Vaccines]

Inappropriate antibiotic prescribing common among Japanese patients with non-bacterial respiratory infections. According to a retrospective analysis of claims data from 2012-2017, 31.65 percent of patients with non-bacterial acute respiratory tract infections (NB-ARTI) in Japan were prescribed unnecessary antibiotics. The monthly prescribing rate for these infections decreased by 19.2 percent during the study period. Patients aged 13-39 were more likely to be inappropriately prescribed antibiotics for NB-ARTI compared to patients 60+, and clinics with or without beds prescribed significantly more antibiotics than outpatient hospital settings. [PLOS ONE]

Reductions in malaria transmission in Jiangxi Province, China. Researchers mapped spatial-temporal trends in malaria across Jiangxi Province in China from 1950 to 2017 and identified a peak in malaria prevalence from 1950-1975, followed by a continuous decline from 1976-1997, and a low prevalence fluctuation period between 1998-2017. During the study period, malaria incidence decreased as well, and transmission decreased to no local infections in 2012. [Europe PMC]

Mortality odds among patients with blood/cerebrospinal fluid infections are high in India. [CDDEP]