Army Public Health Weekly Update, 07 January 2022

Date Published: 1/7/2022
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​The Army Public Health Update is a collection of articles taken from public sources to offer awareness of current health issues and the media coverage given to them. The articles do not necessarily represent U.S. Army Medical Command opinions, views, policy, or guidance, and should not be construed or interpreted as being endorsed by the U.S. Army Medical Command.

The Army Public Health Weekly Update does not analyze the information as to its strategic or tactical impact on the U.S. Army and is not a medical intelligence product. Medical intelligence is available from the National Center for Medical Intelligence External Link .

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Table of Contents

    ANNOUNCEMENTS

    CDC: Quarantine and isolation update

    4 January- ...If you came into close contact with someone with COVID-19 and you are in one of the following groups, you do not need to quarantine.

    - You are ages 18 or older and have received all recommended vaccine doses, including boosters and additional primary shots for some immunocompromised people.

    - You are ages 5-17 years and completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines.

    - You had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days (you tested positive using a viral test).

    You should wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days from the date of your last close contact with someone with COVID-19 (the date of last close contact is considered day 0). Get tested at least 5 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19. If you test positive or develop COVID-19 symptoms, isolate from other people and follow recommendations in the Isolation section below. If you tested positive for COVID-19 with a viral test within the previous 90 days and subsequently recovered and remain without COVID-19 symptoms, you do not need to quarantine or get tested after close contact. You should wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days from the date of your last close contact with someone with COVID-19 (the date of last close contact is considered day 0). CDC External Link

    2021 Health of the Army Family report is here

    Army Family Members play a key role in the readiness and retention of our fighting force. The Health of the Army Family initiative aims to better understand the health needs and concerns of Army Families and take action to keep the Army strong.

    - Characterizes the health and well-being of Soldiers and their Family Members in the context of the unique military events that affect, and are affected by, the Family's health status.

    - Communicates the importance of understanding, monitoring, and optimizing the health of the Army Family as a key building block of Soldier readiness and retention.

    - Specifies what is known and unknown about the health of the Army Family.

    - Serves as a call to action for diverse audiences, such as Soldiers and their Families, Army Leaders, Research and Evaluators, and Policy Makers and Program Proponents.

    For more information, please contact us.

    Email Address: usarmy.apg.medcom-aphc.mbx.hpw-webcontacts@mail.mil

    Telephone: 410-436-2303  DSN: 584-2303 APHC

    U.S. MILITARY

    Another Operation Lone Star Soldier dies amid morale crisis

    4 January- A Texas National Guard soldier assigned to the state's mission at its border with Mexico, dubbed Operation Lone Star, accidentally shot and killed himself in an alcohol-related incident Saturday and another survived a suicide attempt during the week between Christmas and New Year's Day, according to initial incident reports obtained by Army Times. The morale crisis among troops at the border, many of whom are there via long-term unit-wide involuntary activations, led Joint Task Force Lone Star's chaplains to initiate a force-wide “morale survey" Monday. Army Times previously reported a series of suicide deaths linked to the mission, whose soldiers are suffering from issues with living conditions and pay. Approximately 10,000 members of the Texas National Guard and Texas State Guard, an official state militia, are either on the border or supporting the effort from other locations in the state, according to a November operations order obtained by Army Times. The soldiers are supporting the Texas Department of Public Safety under the control of Gov. Greg Abbott, and Texas officials say they are in a state active duty status attempting to stem human and drug trafficking. Fiscal 2021 saw an all-time record level of Border Patrol apprehensions along the U.S.-Mexico border, too. Texas Military Department officials did not immediately respond to questions submitted by Army Times on Monday evening. Operation Lone Star is a distinct state-run effort with no operational connection to the federally controlled National Guard task force on the border, which Army Times investigated in December. Army Times External Link

    CID, SHARP, military justice reforms all underway

    30 December- How the Army prevents, investigates and prosecutes crimes — especially sexual assaults — will begin to change dramatically in 2022.
    The service's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program, which was highlighted as structurally flawed in the report by the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee, is undergoing a comprehensive redesign effort. While much of the reform effort is yet to be public, the Army will begin a SHARP “fusion directorate" pilot in March that will synchronize and centralize victim services, investigators and prosecutors to improve victim care. The Army's top officer, Gen. James McConville, told Army Times in October that the fusion directorate is just the beginning. “[What] we're really trying to do is move over here and get after prevention so we have a lot [fewer] incidences to respond to," McConville explained. “That's what we're trying to get to." Army officials have indicated that more changes to SHARP will come in 2022. “There's so much more work that there is to be done," one soldier explained in October. “[The fusion directorates are] the tip of the iceberg, and a small drop in the ocean of the SHARP redesign effort that is going on." For the service's Criminal Investigation Division, the reforms are coming into play from the top down. CID's new civilian director, Gregory Ford, came over from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service to transform the agency. A major part of that reform will involve transitioning CID to a 60% civilian, 40% military workforce, a step away from the service's tradition of uniformed criminal investigators. The rebalancing is expected to be complete by 2027. Army Times External Link

    Colorado Guard assisting with Marshall Fire, COVID testing

    3 January- Approximately 60 members of the Colorado National Guard are helping law enforcement respond to the devastating Marshall Fire response in Boulder County. Gov. Jared Polis declared a state of emergency, which authorized the use of unarmed CONG assets for law enforcement purposes. “People are our first priority," said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Laura Clellan, the adjutant general of Colorado. “In the midst of the longest activation in our state's history supporting the COVID-19 response, our dedicated CONG members are adequately prepared and trained to support the Boulder County, Superior and Louisville communities during this tragic event. Our hearts go out to those affected. We are neighbors and we're in this together." At the direction of the Boulder County Sheriff's Office and State Emergency Operations Center, Colorado Guard members are helping direct traffic, provide security and evacuate displaced community members from the areas affected by the disaster. Additionally, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has asked the Guard to help with COVID-19 testing due to increased lines at testing centers. About 200 CONG members will augment personnel around the state to assist with testing operations throughout January. More than 100 CONG members are already assisting the SEOC and CDPHE with vaccine and medical planning, vaccine site management, building and managing urgent care outreach, medical analysis of COVID-19 trends, and support to the CDPHE state laboratory in Denver. Joint Task Force-Centennial's COVID-19 task force, initially activated March 13, 2020, has been on duty for more than 650 days supporting the state with testing, contact tracing, planning, and vaccine transportation and distribution during the longest emergency response in Colorado history. Army.mil External Link

    Updated COVID testing requirements for "official travel" to the United States

    30 December- As you may have seen in the news, a new COVID testing requirement for inbound air travel to the U.S. went into effect on Dec. 6 requiring all air travelers to receive a negative COVID test no more than one-day prior to departure for the United States. However, the CDC recently updated their guidance, and U.S. military personnel, civilian employees, dependents, contractors, and other U.S. government employees are exempt from the new one-day testing requirement of the original CDC Order if they are traveling on official military travel orders. This exemption applies to persons on official military orders on U.S. military flights (including whole aircraft contract charter operators) and non-U.S. military flights (e.g., commercial flights).  As such, these individuals are exempt from the one-day testing requirement and are, thereby, allowed to conduct their COVID tests 72 hours (three days) prior to their departure from Europe, accordance with DoD Force Health Protection Guidance Supplement 20, dated Apr. 12, 2021.The CDC recommends that individuals on official travel carry their applicable travel orders with them to present to air carrier/operator personnel or public health authorities. It should be noted, the one-day testing exemption only applies to U.S. based carriers. Those individuals not traveling on official orders, remain subject to CDC's one-day testing requirements. If the local MTF is unable to meet official travel testing needs, official travelers should seek testing off-post or at international airports. Due to recent changes made to the Joint Travel Regulation, COVID tests for official travel are now a reimbursable expense. Individuals should check with their local medical treatment facility for information about COVID testing services and capabilities for official travel purposes. Army.mil External Link

    GLOBAL

    Biotech startup uses machine learning algorithms to predict the progress of cancerous tumors

    3 January- An Israeli biotech startup came up with a unique solution to predict the progress of the tumors in the patient's body.  Through the application of artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision, the team was able to tackle spatial biology for the potential formulation of advanced cancer treatment. An Israeli biotech startup came up with a unique solution to predict the progress of the tumors in the patient's body. According to Tittlepress, Nucleai CEO Avi Veidman built the company along with Lotan Chorev and COO Eliron Amir four years ago. Back then, the three founders were exploring how to use a software that could have a huge impact in the field of biotechnology. Back then, the startup was not focused on bringing health techs, but instead on monitoring enemies who cross the borders. The process was mainly done thanks to the satellites which surveil the intruders in Israel. Veidman said that he has transitioned from searching for "bad guys"  in satellite images to looking for them in cancer cells. At that time, his father was doing an immediate biopsy and he was surprised upon learning about the activity. With that, he applied what he learned from the biopsy. This time, he came up with establishing an algorithm to track the location of the cancer cells through a computer. However, Veidman noticed that what the biopsy doctors were doing was already outdated. Because of that, he thought of starting a small team that would work on something noble. This is when the Nucleai began its journey. Tech Times External Link

    Children's mental health may suffer if they spend too much time on electronic devices, study suggests

    1 January- Increased electronic screen time was associated with worse mental health issues in children compared to those with lower levels of screen time during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent JAMA Network Open paper published this week. The researchers conducted a longitudinal cohort study between May 2020 and April 2021 among 2026 Canadian children between the ages of two to 18 years old, measuring primary outcomes with de​pression and anxiety and secondary outcomes with conduct problems, irritability, hyperactivity, and inattention. Parents completed repeated questionnaires about their children's mental health during the pandemic, documenting how long their children spent watching television or the time their children spent on electronic devices, including digital media time, video games, electronic learning and also video-chatting time. "Compared to children and youth with lower screen use, those with higher screen use had higher levels of mental health symptoms," study co-author Dr. Catherine S. Birken told United Press Internation​al (UPI). "The more time kids spent on screens, the larger the effect was," Birken added. The American Academy of Pediatrics and Canadian Pediatric Society recommends no more than 1 to 2 hours of screen use per day, but Birken noted daily screen time among children and teenagers in the study was "substantially above the suggested limit of less than one to two hours per da​y." Fox News External Link

    COVID case counts may be losing importance amid omicron

    5 January- The explosive increase in U.S. coronavirus case counts is raising alarm, but some experts believe the focus should instead be on COVID-19 hospital admissions. And those aren't climbing as fast. Dr. Anthony Fauci, for one, said Sunday on ABC that with many infections causing few or no symptoms, “it is much more relevant to focus on the hospitalizations as opposed to the total number of cases." Other experts argue that case counts still have value. As the super-contagious omicron variant rages across the U.S., new COVID-19 cases per day have more than tripled over the past two weeks, reaching a record-shattering average of 480,000. Schools, hospitals and airlines are struggling as infected workers go into isolation. Meanwhile, hospital admissions averaged 14,800 per day last week, up 63% from the week before, but still short of the peak of 16,500 per day a year ago, when the vast majority of the U.S. was unvaccinated. Deaths have been stable over the past two weeks at an average of about 1,200 per day, well below the all-time high of 3,400 last January. Public health experts suspect that those numbers, taken together, reflect the vaccine's continued effectiveness at preventing serious illness, even against omicron, as well as the possibility that the variant does not make most people as sick as earlier versions. Omicron accounted for 95% of new coronavirus infections in the U.S. last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday, in another indication of how astonishingly fast the variant has spread since it was first detected in South Africa in late November. Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, director of ICAP, a global health center at Columbia University, said the case count does not appear to be the most important number now. Instead, she said, the U.S. at this stage of the pandemic should be “shifting our focus, especially in an era of vaccination, to really focus on preventing illness, disability and death, and therefore counting those." Daily case counts and their ups and downs have been one of the most closely watched barometers during the outbreak and have been a reliable early warning sign of severe disease and death in previous coronavirus waves. AP News External Link

    Eight tips to get better, more restful sleep

    3 January- Ideally, doctors say, adults should get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night. But, according to one national survey, about one in three American adults say they sleep far less than that most nights. For some people, the daily grind of work and family responsibilities simply doesn't leave enough time in the day for a full night's sleep. But for many others, the lack of sleep stems from a lifestyle or medical problem that might require healthier daily habits or long-term treatment from a health care provider. Long-term sleeping problems can affect your mental health, relationships, quality of life, and performance at work. "If you're experiencing persistent problems with poor sleep, or if sleep difficulties are affecting your quality of life, you should seek professional assistance," said U.S. Public Health Service Capt. (Dr.) Anne Dobmeyer, a sleep expert who is currently the DHA's section chief for Primary Care Behavioral Health Science, Development, and Education. Sleeping problems are often cited among the top reasons why service members go to a local military hospital or clinic, according to data published by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. Getting enough sleep is not a luxury. "It is something people need for good health," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet a third of American adults report usually getting less than the recommended amount of sleep, says the CDC. The ideal amount varies for individuals, but it usually ranges between seven to eight hours a night for adults. Not sleeping properly is linked with many chronic diseases and conditions, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. It can also increase risk for injury – such as motor vehicle crashes. Health.mil External Link

    mRNA Epstein-Barr Virus vaccine candidate launches phase 1 study

    5 January- Massachusetts-based Moderna, Inc. today announced the first participant had been dosed in the Eclipse Phase 1 study of mRNA-1189, the Company's Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) vaccine candidate. EBV is a common viral infection with 83% of Americans seropositive by 19 years of age. mRNA-1189 is being developed to prevent EBV-induced infectious mononucleosis (IM) and potentially EBV infection. It contains four mRNAs that encode EBV envelope glycoproteins (gH, gL, gp42, gp220), which mediate viral entry into B-cells and epithelial surface cells, the primary targets of EBV infection. Currently, there is no U.S. FDA Approved vaccine for EBV or IM. "EBV is one of the most common viral infections in the world, and even though it causes infectious mononucleosis. Adolescents who develop infectious mononucleosis are frequently absent from school for weeks and even months at a time, impacting the quality of their education and their families," commented Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, in a press statement issued on January 5, 2022. "Our research team is working to bring even more vaccines against latent viruses to the clinic." "We believe these vaccines could have a profound impact on quality of health for hundreds of millions of people around the world." While EBV infection in early childhood is predominantly asymptomatic, primary infection in adolescence can lead to infectious mononucleosis, which can debilitate patients for weeks to months, sometimes requiring hospitalization for serious complications such as splenic rupture and significant airway compromise. Precision Vaccinations External Link

    Pfizer, BioNTech to develop shingles shot, after COVID-19 vaccine success

    5 January- Pfizer Inc. (PFE.N) and Germany's BioNTech SE (22UAy.DE) will develop an mRNA-based vaccine for the prevention of viral infection shingles, collaborating for the third time after the success of their COVID-19 vaccine based on the same technology. Pfizer partnered with BioNTech in 2018 for an Influenza vaccine and again in 2020 for the COVID-19 shot that has been used across the world and has brought in billions in sales for the companies.  Shares of U.S. drugmaker Pfizer were up 1.5% at $55.35 in premarket trading. The companies said on Wednesday they expect to begin clinical trials of the shingles vaccine, which will combine Pfizer's antigen technology and BioNTech's Messenger RNA platform technology, in the second half of 2022. MRNA vaccines prompt the human body to make a protein that is part of the pathogen, triggering an immune response. If successful, the vaccine will compete with GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK.L) two-dose vaccine Shingrix, which was approved by U.S. FDA in 2017. The vaccine brought in about 2 billion pounds in revenue in 2020. Shingles typically develops in older adults who had chicken pox, or the varicella-zoster virus, when younger. Its hallmark is a painful rash that clears up within a month in most cases, but could sometimes lead to nerve pain that can linger for longer. Pfizer and BioNTech said they will share development costs and gross profits from future sales of the shingles vaccine. Pfizer will pay BioNTech $225 million in upfront payment, which includes a cash payment of $75 million and an equity investment of $150 million, as well as milestone payments of up to $200 million. BioNTech will pay Pfizer $25 million for its proprietary antigen technology. Reuters External Link

    What parents should know about sending kids back to school during Omicron

    2 January- Millions of American kids will head back to classrooms in the coming days -- just after new pediatric Covid-19 hospitalizations reached an all-time high. And that has many parents wondering what's safe as the Omicron variant sweeps the country. "We fear that it's going to get a lot worse, between getting together for the holidays and then getting back to school," said Dr. Stanley Spinner, chief medical officer at Texas Children's Pediatrics & Texas Children's Urgent Care in Houston. Some cities and school districts are taking aggressive new measures. Several Atlanta-area school districts are delaying in-person classes and starting 2022 with remote learning. In Washington, DC, all public school students and staff must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test before returning from winter break. In New York City, public school students who test positive will get a week's worth of at-home tests so they can know when it's safer to return to school. But do vaccinated students still need to wear masks? What should families do if they can't get Covid-19 tests? Should activities like choir and basketball practice be sidelined until the Omicron surge passes? CNN External Link

    What went wrong with vaccinating the world?

    30 December- The coronavirus pandemic has been slowed in developed countries thanks to massive vaccination drives. Countries have bought stocks to cover their populations, and in many cases have far more than they need. However, poorer countries generally have failed to reserve, and buy the vaccine stock they need. Now the world is faced with a problem of re-distribution, and campaigners say that the answer is to force drug companies to share their secrets, in order to make manufacturing possible in any country in the world. Three experts explain how we arrived at this point and the challenges now facing everyone involved in the fight against Covid-19. BBC External Link

    INFLUENZA

    CDC: Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report

    Key Updates for Week 51, ending December 25, 2021:

    - Influenza activity is increasing, with the eastern and central parts of the country seeing the majority of viruses reported and the western part of the country reporting lower levels of influenza virus circulation.

    - The majority of influenza viruses detected are A(H3N2). Most influenza A(H3N2) infections have occurred among children and young adults ages 5-24 years; however, the proportion of infections occurring among adults age 25 years and older has been increasing.

    - While there are little data to date, most of the H3N2 viruses so far are genetically closely related to the vaccine virus, but there are some antigenic differences that have developed as H3N2 viruses have continued to evolve.

    - The percentage of outpatient visits due to respiratory illness is trending upwards and is above the national baseline. Influenza is contributing to levels of respiratory illness, but other respiratory viruses are also circulating. The relative contribution of influenza varies by location.

    - Hospitalizations for influenza are starting to increase.

    - The flu season is just getting started. There's still time to get vaccinated. An annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect against flu and its potentially serious complications. CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine.

    - There are early signs that flu vaccination uptake is down this season compared to last.

    - Flu vaccines are available at many different locations, including pharmacies and health departments. With flu activity just getting started, there is still time to benefit from flu vaccination this season. Visit www.vaccines.gov to find a flu vaccine near you.

    - There are also flu antiviral drugs that can be used to treat flu illness. CDC External Link

    VETERINARY/FOOD SAFETY

    New year begins with recall of combo meats in Canada for Salmonella

    2 January- Certain combo meats are the year's first food recall in Canada due to microbial contamination from Salmonella.   The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has warned the public not to consume the recalled projects. Save-on-Foods is recalling certain Save on Foods brand combo meals from the marketplace due to possible Salmonella contamination. The recalled products have been sold in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Yukon. Food Safety News External Link

    Scottish report highlights COVID-19 impact on food sector

    4 January- The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on many areas, including fewer samples being taken and a decline in most foodborne pathogens, according to an annual report from Food Standards Scotland (FSS). The agency's report for the year ended March 31, 2021, mentions sampling, levels of five foodborne pathogens, enforcement and food fraud. The year was described by Ross Finnie, FSS chair, and Geoff Ogle, chief executive, as the “perfect storm" with the UK leaving the European Union and the ongoing pandemic. Coronavirus lockdown restrictions meant a sharp drop in samples submitted to labs with 150 samples per month versus 600 monthly pre-COVID. This impacted labs with private work being their key income and one public analyst lab was considering withdrawing from testing official control samples. During 2020-21, there was a large reduction of 72 percent in the number of samples taken compared with the previous year. Of 853 microbial samples, 90 were unsatisfactory, while 105 of 763 chemical samples had violations and six of 156 were non-compliant because of substitution. Food Safety News External Link

    WELLNESS

    At-home covid tests and omicron: What you need to know

    30 December- As millions of Americans scramble to navigate the holidays amid rising coronavirus cases and the rapid spread of the omicron variant, convenient testing options that can quickly detect an infection are becoming harder to find. Public health officials are urging Americans to get tested before traveling or gathering with friends and family members, citing rapid tests as an important tool for curbing a variant that is expected to cause record-high covid-19 hospitalizations in the United States. But the high demand for tests has left major retailers such as Walmart, Walgreens and CVS struggling to keep kits stocked in stores, and online orders have also been affected. What's more, new research suggests rapid tests may have reduced sensitivity to omicron compared with earlier variants in a lab study — though further evaluations of performance are ongoing. Still, Matthew J. Binnicker, the director of clinical virology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., noted that the outlook for being tested before New Year's celebrations may be better as “there's still more time for pharmacies and stores to be able to get access to those kits," he said. Meanwhile, experts such as Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden's chief medical adviser for the pandemic, are also urging people to keep New Year's gatherings small and ideally limited to family and close friends who are vaccinated and have been careful to reduce their risks of exposure. Here's what else you need to know about home tests — how they work, where to get them and when to take them. The information and recommendations in this FAQ are drawn from the Food and Drug Administration, previously published Washington Post reports and new interviews with experts. Please keep in mind that as the pandemic evolves, information about testing options is likely to change. The Washington Post External Link

    USAFRICOM

    South Africa: All indicators suggest the country may have passed the peak of the fourth wave at a national level

    31 December- A South African government spokesman said Thursday the information gathered through the system used by the Department of Health has reported a 29.7% decrease in the number of new cases detected in the week ending 25 December 2021 (89,781), compared to the number of new cases detected in the previous week (127,753).  All indicators suggest the country may have passed the peak of the fourth wave at a national level. Cases declined in all provinces except the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, which recorded increases of 14% and 18%, respectively. There has been a decline in hospital admissions in all provinces except the Western Cape. While the Omicron variant is highly transmissible, there has been lower rates of hospitalization than in previous waves. This means that the country has a spare capacity for admission of patients even for routine health services. There is a marginal increase in the number of deaths in all the provinces. Based on the trajectory of the pandemic, the levels of vaccination in the country and the available capacity within the health sector, Cabinet has decided to make the following changes to Adjusted Alert Level 1 with immediate effect:

    – The curfew will be lifted. There will therefore be no restrictions on the hours of movement of people.

    – Gatherings are restricted to no more than 1 000 people indoors and no more than 2 000 people outdoors. Where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, then no more than 50 per cent of the capacity of the venue may be used. All other restrictions remain in place. Outbreak News Today External Link

    USCENTCOM

    Saudi Arabia: Four additional MERS cases reported between October and December

    2 January - The Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health reported four additional Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases going back at least two months. The four cases include a 50-year-old male in Hafer Albatin city, Hafer Albatin reported on October 31, 2021. The man had contact with camels and died from his illness. In November, officials report a case in a 45-year-old male in Riyadh city, Riyadh on Nov. 8. This individual had no contact with camels and recovered from his illness. Two additional cases were reported in December–A 79-year-old male in Riyadh city, Riyadh died which was reported on Dec. 12. Again, this individual had no contact with camels. Lastly, on Dec. 26, an active case is reported in a 49-year-old in Turabah city, Taif with no contact with camels. This makes 17 MERS-CoV cases in Saudi Arabia in 2021. Two cases were reported in the United Arab Emirates. Since 2012, a total of 2583 laboratory-confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), including 890 associated deaths were reported globally for a case-fatality ratio (CFR) of 34.4%. The majority of these cases were reported from Saudi Arabia, which had 2182 cases including 812 related deaths (CFR 37.2%). Outbreak News Today External Link

    USEUCOM

    Sweden reports 14 percent increase in COVID-19 cases, Proportion of omicron infections rising

    29 December- During the week ending on Christmas Day, Swedish health officials reported the number of COVID-19 cases increased by 14 percent compared to the week prior. Officials say the increase looks set to continue. 36 percent were unvaccinated. In terms of the number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the number of cases was significantly higher in the unvaccinated group than the vaccinated. Since the beginning of December, the Swedish Public Health Agency has been monitoring the spread of the omicron variant using the faster typing-PCR method, while monitoring with whole-genome sequencing continues. The results from the typing PCR analyzes of samples from the country's regions have not yet been fully reported for week 51, but indicate that the proportion of cases that then consisted of omicron varied between 3 and 51% in the country's regions. The trend is clear: the proportion of omicron infections is rising, and the proportion of cases consisting of omicron is expected to continue to increase. Occupancy in healthcare has increased but is still lower than in previous periods of high spread of infection during the pandemic. To date, 52 new intensive care patients with confirmed covid-19 have been reported during week 51. In the last four weeks, the number of intensive care units per 100,000 inhabitants was twelve times higher among the unvaccinated than among the vaccinated. The number of confirmed cases of covid-19 remains low compared with previous periods of high transmission. Although we have seen an increase in the number of people who need care due to covid-19, the vaccines mean that there are much fewer now compared to previous periods of high infection spread. This shows the importance of even more people being vaccinated, and that those who are now offered a refill dose also take that dose, says state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell. Outbreak News Today External Link

    USINDOPACOM

    Japan reports more than 600 COVID-19 cases, first time since mid-October

    3 January- Officials in Japan reported 673 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, the first time the daily total topped 600 in the country since October 14, 2021. In Tokyo, 103 daily coronavirus cases were reported Monday, marking the first time in about three months that the count has surpassed 100. In Tokyo, twenty-five people are infected with the Omicron strain, 11 of whom are believed to be community-acquired. In addition, at Tokyo Daijingu in Chiyoda Ward, a cluster of 11 people was reported stopping worship at the shrine. Likewise, in Okinawa, the prefectural government reported 130 new cases of infections, the first time it confirmed over 100 infections since Sept. 25. There were 24 cases of the Omicron strain. The local government said that 16 cases were also reported at U.S. bases in the southern island prefecture. Outbreak News Today External Link

    USNORTHCOM

    U.S.: Arizona- Reports more than 1,500 total West Nile virus cases in 2021

    5 January- Since the first human West Nile virus (WNV) cases were reported in Arizona in 2003 and through 2020, the state reported a total of 1,939 cases, including a single year high of 391 in 2004. Arizona state health officials as of yesterday reported 1,567 total WNV cases (confirmed and probable) in 2021. The vast majority (85%) of the cases were reported from Maricopa County (1339), according to the most recent data. In addition, 110 deaths were reported statewide due to WNV in 2021, well more than half the total WNV deaths reported nationally. Beside Maricopa County, Pinal and Pima counties reported 120 and 94 total cases, respectively. Why the surge in 2021? One explanation is 2021 had a particularly wet summer that followed an extraordinarily dry summer in 2020. In addition, warmer-than-usual temperatures that extended through November and into early December kept the mosquito season going later than usual. WNV is a disease caused by a virus that is spread through mosquito bites. WNV is found on every continent except Antarctica. It was first detected in North America in 1999, and has since spread across the continental United States and Canada. It takes 2-6 days for a person to develop symptoms after being bitten by a mosquito infected with WNV. Only 1 out of 5 people with WNV will have symptoms. Individuals may develop a fever with other symptoms, such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people who experience these symptoms will recover completely, although fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. Outbreak News Today External Link

    U.S.: Hantavirus case investigated in southeast King County, Washington

    2 January- Health officials with Public Health – Seattle & King County report a hantavirus case in an adult resident of southeast King County, who was hospitalized in December 2021 and is now recovering. The patient reported likely exposure to a mouse infestation. Hantavirus can cause a rare but deadly disease called Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS). Hantaviruses are a group of viruses carried by rodents, and Sin Nombre virus is the type found in western North America. HPS is rarely identified in Washington state, with only 45 cases reported since 1997, mostly in eastern Washington. Since 1997 there have been eight cases of HPS in King County. Outbreak News Today External Link

    USSOUTHCOM

    Bolivia: Human rabies case reported in Potosí

    3 January- A 13-year-old teenager contracted rabies after being bitten by her own dog, the Head of the Zoonosis Program of the Departmental Health Service (SEDES) of Potosí, Ricardo Flores Valverde said. She is from the upper area of the Imperial Villa. She was bitten by her own puppy and a few days later she presented a series of difficulties in her health for which she was admitted in intensive care at a medical center where she remains with a reserved diagnosis. On December 28, samples were taken and on December 29 they obtained the diagnosis confirming that the adolescent tested positive for human rabies. “The mother stated that the patient, approximately one month before admission, had been bitten by a puppy. She claims to have had five puppies, two would have already given them away and of the three, one of them had signs of distemper, " added the doctor. Outbreak News Today External Link