Army Public Health Weekly Update, 08 October 2021

Date Published: 10/8/2021
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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


    AUSA to host COVID-19 Pandemic Response forum

    4 October- The 2021 Association of the United States Army annual meeting will address lessons learned from the Army's pandemic response, specifically accelerating the all-of-nation response at one of eight contemporary military forums on Oct. 13. The panel lead is Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, U.S. Army Surgeon General and Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command.

    Panelists will include:

    - Retired Lt. Gen. Paul Ostrowski, Countermeasure Acceleration Group (previously known as Operation Warp Speed)

    - Maj. Gen. Joe Robinson, Commander 3d Medical Command (Deployment Support)

    - Maj. Gen. Robert F. Whittle, Deputy Commanding General, Joint Force Land Component Commander, U.S. Army North (NORTHCOM)

    - Retired Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, President of the Federal Programs, WSP, and former Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)

    - Command Sgt. Maj. Victor Lariagione, U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (MRDC).

    Retired Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, AUSA Senior Fellow; President, OptumServe; and former Army Surgeon General and Commanding General of the, U.S. Army Medical Command, will moderate the forum. External Link

    Happy Birthday, DHA! Director reflects on eight years of progress

    1 October- The Defense Health Agency marked the eighth year since its creation and the launch of its mission providing a medically ready force and ready medical force to combatant commands and Military Health System beneficiaries around the world. "What I feel today - and particularly as I look back on the last 12 months – is great pride in an organization on the move, changing, improving and working in a unified way to support those who we serve," said DHA Director Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place at a hybrid in-person and online event on Oct. 1 at DHA headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia. "I see an organization looking ahead, gaining confidence, and gaining the confidence of its stakeholders." Place also said as the DHA celebrates the beginning of its ninth year as a Combat Support Agency, it is facing heightened expectations from those who count on it for support - whether that support is for overseas operations, providing routine health care at home or responding to crises like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Over time, DHA's responsibilities have expanded from managing shared health care services to being directly responsible for health care delivery at military treatment facilities. "And that responsibility will completely transition to the agency in 2022," he said. The DHA is entering the final phase of its Congressional mandate to consolidate management of a unified military health system along with the creation of local and regional "markets," where all beneficiaries will have access to all MHS resources regardless of service affiliation. External Link


    DHA's mobile apps can help you with overall wellness

    30 September- Psychologists at the Defense Health Agency's Connected Health branch have developed a new mobile app to give frontline health care providers the tools to keep themselves emotionally healthy and productive as they serve our military communities. Called the Provider Resilience app, it was launched this summer by the DHA's Web & Mobile Technology (WMT) Program Management Office. Connected Health is the branch of the DHA responsible for evaluating and integrating health technology, such as mobile apps, virtual or augmented reality programs, and wearable devices. "These last 18 months grappling with the pandemic have been really hard for our front-line caregivers," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Ralph Montgomery, WMT's deputy program manager. "We're so proud to be able to build a resource to help over-burdened providers maintain their mental health. "Many frontline providers face intense demands, sometimes leading to burnout, compassion fatigue and secondary traumatic stress. The Provider Resilience app uses psychoeducation and self-assessments to give a snapshot of the user's overall resilience rating, along with a countdown clock showing how long until the user's next vacation. User-specific ratings for compassion fatigue, burnout and secondary traumatic stress are automatically generated, allowing users to monitor their wellness over time. The app also features "stress-busting" and "satisfaction-building" tools while the Military Meditation Coach podcast helps users learn meditation and other contemplation techniques. Physical exercise cards and inspirational quotes help users take a break from daily stress. External Link

    Five ways to manage chronic pain for military wellness

    30 September- Chronic pain remains a common experience shared across military and civilian populations. This pain can result from injuries, surgeries, joint conditions or side effects from other conditions. The good news is that there are many treatments, techniques and therapies to help a patient manage your pain and bring relief. "As part of the DoD Pain Management Task Force 2010 effort, DVCIPM recommend a number of pain-management strategies that you can use alone or with other treatments to help you manage your pain," explained Dr. Chester 'Trip' Buckenmaier III, program director at Uniformed Service University of the Health Science's Defense & Veterans Center for Integrative Pain Management. "These five treatment methods are consistent with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense Stepped Care Model of Pain management." Therapeutic massage can help reduce pain in your lower back and neck. There are many different massage techniques such as Swedish massage, deep-tissue massage, and sports massage. During a massage, a licensed therapist applies pressure and other forms of manipulation, such as kneading, circular movements, or tapping, onto muscle and soft tissue. Massage can increase blood circulation, which can help reduce pain. Massages also help you feel calmer or less anxious, which in turn, can also reduce pain. Massages can be more effective at reducing lower back pain when combined with a strengthening and stretching program. Massages are generally safe, but make sure you seek treatment from a trained professional. If your lower back hurts now and then, or if you struggle with ongoing pain in this area, consider yoga to help relieve the pain, lower your anxiety, and feel more relaxed. Lower back pain is common. For most people, the pain goes away in less than three months without treatment. For others, though, lower back pain doesn't go away. When pain lasts longer than three months, it's called "chronic" pain. Yoga typically includes three benefits. First, breathing retraining can help calm and focus your body and mind. Second, yoga can increase your flexibility, coordination, and strength. Lastly, meditation exercises can help you become more aware of your actions and feelings, lower your stress levels, and improve your mood. Yoga isn't a replacement for seeing your doctor about your pain. If you have a medical condition, talk with your healthcare provider before you start doing yoga. Adding yoga to your existing pain-management plan can help ease pain from injury or other painful conditions. As a mind-body approach, it often combines meditation and breathing with exercise and stretching. External Link

    Momentum builds as Army implements Holistic Health and Fitness

    30 September- The Army's implementation of Holistic Health and Fitness, or H2F, has made significant progress over the past year as the Army's primary investment in Soldier readiness and lethality. “H2F is a key component in changing the culture of health and fitness across our force," said Col. Kevin Bigelman, the H2F Director at the U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training. “H2F enables commanders and Soldiers to optimize physical and non-physical performance, reduce injury rates, improve rehabilitation after injury, and increase overall effectiveness of the Total Army." H2F is a first-of-its-kind, Army enterprise human performance system designed to optimize Soldier readiness with physical and non-physical performance training across five H2F readiness domains: physical, mental, sleep, spiritual, and nutrition. “We are shifting away from an industrial-scale, one-size-fits-all model and using an interdisciplinary approach that looks at all aspects that impact Soldier readiness," said Bigelman. “This approach will enable us to improve and sustain Soldier readiness from their first day in the Army and throughout their entire Army career."Bigelman noted several substantial investments into H2F over the past 12 months. Last year, 28 brigades received H2F performance teams, with an interdisciplinary staff of athletic trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, physical and occupational therapists, cognitive performance specialists, and dietitians. DVIDS External Link

    Services address stressors

    4 October- Many Service Members, retirees, military families and those who provide them care are feeling heightened emotions and stress, from a number of sources. An elongated battle against COVID-19, recent events surrounding the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and strained conditions within society are all contributing factors. “We don't track by stressor, but I can tell you that between COVID, Afghanistan and some of the overall societal pressures, our utilization is high right now," said Lt. Col. James MacDonald, the chief of the Department of Behavioral Health. Regardless of the origin, stressors that cause distress, debilitate or can even provoke thoughts of self-harm can be addressed. “The wide range of reactions to everything that's going on is just that- a wide range. That's why we're highlighting the equally wide range of ways to get support," noted Dr. Dan Christensen, a psychologist and deputy chief of the DBH. There are options for support at Madigan and across Joint Base Lewis-McChord. But, the most basic form of support is closer to home. “Part of our ability to manage these emotions in a healthy way is related to the support that we hopefully all have around us. Staying connected and even discussing these emotions with family, friends or a battle buddy can provide a great deal of relief," MacDonald said. Just as with those in the DBH, a chaplain will assess the degree of community of someone seeking support from them. “The biggest thing, in my opinion, is having relationship with others," said CH (Maj.) Stephan Buchanan, a chaplain and the deputy chief of the Department of Ministry and Pastoral Care. External Link


    AstraZeneca seeks U.S. authorization of drug to prevent COVID-19

    5 October- AstraZeneca (AZN.L) has requested emergency use authorization from U.S. regulators for its new treatment to prevent COVID-19 for people who respond poorly to vaccines because of a weakened immune system. In a statement on Tuesday, the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker said it included data in its filing with the Food and Drug Administration from a late-stage trial that showed the drug reduced the risk of people developing any COVID-19 symptoms by 77%. The antibody therapy called AZD7442 could protect people who do not have a strong enough immune response to COVID-19 vaccines or to supplement a vaccination course for those, such as military personnel, who need to booster their protection further, AstraZeneca has said. While vaccines rely on an intact immune system to develop targeted antibodies and infection-fighting cells, AZD7442 contains lab-made antibodies designed to linger in the body for months to contain the virus in case of an infection. Reuters External Link

    CDC to pregnant women: Get vaccinated against Covid-19

    29 September- The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an urgent recommendation Wednesday for pregnant women and those who have recently given birth to get vaccinated against coronavirus. Women trying or planning to become pregnant and those who are breastfeeding should also be vaccinated -- but only 31% of pregnant people have been vaccinated, the CDC said. The result: thousands of pregnant women in the hospital and more than 160 dead. "CDC strongly recommends COVID-19 vaccination either before or during pregnancy because the benefits of vaccination outweigh known or potential risks," the agency said in a health alert. "As of September 27, 2021, more than 125,000 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in pregnant people, including more than 22,000 hospitalized cases and 161 deaths," it added. The CDC said 22 pregnant women had died in August alone-- the worst month yet of the pandemic. "Data from the COVID-19-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET) in 2021 indicate that approximately 97% of pregnant people hospitalized (either for illness or for labor and delivery) with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were unvaccinated," the health alert said. The risk is not just to the mother. Covid-19 in pregnancy can cause preterm birth or babies born so sick they have to go straight to the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU. "Other adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as stillbirth, have been reported," the CDC said. CNN External Link

    Experimental brain implants found to help treat severe depression

    5 October- A new experimental brain implant was found to be effective in the treatment of severe depression. Sarah, a person suffering from severe depression for over five years, said she tried all possible treatments, but nothing helped until she decided to go through an experimental procedure. According to the story by The Verge, the 36-year old Sarah had a device implanted into her brain and felt the depression lift for the first time in years. Sarah was reportedly a patient of a certain proof-of-concept trial of a brand new approach towards treating severe treatment-resistant depression. The journal Nature Medicine just recently published a post sharing that the findings opened up yet another possible strategy to help people suffering from the disorder. The study reportedly only involved Sarah and is also not clear as to how it could work for other people. The lessons coming from the trial helped researchers be able to understand more regarding the nature of depression and how they could apply other efforts in order to treat the disease. The trial actually used a technique that is known as deep brain stimulation. Research has also found that heavy smartphone use can actually lead to depression and anxiety. Tech Times External Link

    FDA authorizes new rapid COVID-19 test, says capacity will double

    4 October- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday authorized a new rapid, at-home COVID-19 test, in a move it said is expected to double the availability of such tests in the coming weeks. The FDA said it has authorized a coronavirus test from the company ACON Laboratories. It is not the first authorization of such a test, which can deliver results in as little as 15 minutes, but, amid supply shortages, the move could be key in boosting their availability. Jeff Shuren, a top FDA official, said the move "is expected to double rapid at-home testing capacity in the U.S. over the next several weeks." He said the company plans to produce more than 100 million tests per month by the end of the year and 200 million per month by February. The Biden administration has come under pressure to do more to boost rapid, at-home testing capacity, an area where experts have been pushing for more action for months. Rapid tests can, for example, help keep schools open safely. Several senators pressed Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra about the need to improve the availability of rapid tests at a hearing last week. The Hill External Link

    Nursing programs struggle to keep up amid a nationwide shortage of nurses

    1 October- Hospitals are facing a shortage of nurses across the country and experts say the problem may get worse before it gets better. While hospitals struggle to provide care, nursing schools are struggling too because they don't have enough educators.  Universities nationwide are seeing an increase in potential nursing student applications but they can't keep up with the demand. Stephania Long is a fourth-year nursing student at Notre Dame of Maryland University and says she has always wanted to be a nurse. "I decided on nursing because I really want to help people, I really want to care for them, and I think nursing is the best opportunity to do that," Long said. Long has watched as health care workers stand on the frontlines in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and she wants to help. "When I saw how selfless the nurses were who worked through the pandemic ... they were risking their own lives to take care of people and it made me want to give back to them. So when they get older its somebody else that can take over for them," Long said. Fox News External Link

    SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal neutralizing antibody therapy has utility after symptom onset

    4 October- North Carolina-based Brii Biosciences Limited presented interim results from Phase 3 of the ACTIV-2 trial, which showed that BRII-196/BRII-198 (“combination BRII-196/BRII-198"), the Company's neutralizing monoclonal antibody (mAb) combination therapy for SARS-CoV-2 virus infection, achieved a similar reduction in hospitalization or death among patients who initiated treatment early (within five days) versus late (six to 10 days) following symptom onset. Overall, BRII-196/BRII-198 reduced the risk of hospitalization and death over placebo by 78% in 837 outpatients at high risk of clinical progression. These initial results suggest that combination BRII-196/BRII-198 may remain effective in most patients who are late to treatment, potentially extending its clinical benefit in a real-world setting. Of those subjects who received treatment with BRII-196/BRII-198 within five days of symptom onset, 2% (4/196) progressed to hospitalization or death, compared with 11% (21/197) in the placebo arm. Similarly, 2% (5/222) of subjects who received treatment with BRII-196/BRII-198 at six to 10 days following symptom onset progressed to hospitalization or death, compared with 11% (24/222) of those receiving placebo. Grade 3 or higher adverse events (AEs) were less common in the BRII-196/BRII-198 treatment arm versus placebo, 3.8% (16/418) versus 13.4% (56/419), with no drug-related severe adverse events (SAEs) or infusion reactions observed. Based on these findings and the growing body of evidence supporting the use of combination BRII-196/BRII-198, Brii Bio plans to apply for Emergency Use Authorization to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by the end of 2021. Precision Vaccinations External Link

    Study shows Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness declines after six months

    4 October- A study published on Monday in The Lancet medical journal found that the efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine fell below 50 percent after about six months after the second dose. The Pfizer-funded study found that Pfizer's vaccine was 88 percent effective in the first month after full vaccination but dropped to 47 percent effectiveness at about six months. The vaccine was also found to be highly effective against the delta variant, which was found to be over 90 percent effective in the first months before dropping to 53 percent effectiveness after four months. Researchers determined that the waning immunity had to do with the amount of time since an individual was given the second shot rather than due to the highly infectious delta strain. "Our results provide support for high effectiveness of [Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine] against hospital admissions up until around 6 months after being fully vaccinated, even in the face of widespread dissemination of the delta variant," the researchers wrote. "Reduction in vaccine effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 infections over time is probably primarily due to waning immunity with time rather than the delta variant escaping vaccine protection." Protection against hospital admission remained high throughout, being 93 percent effective up to six months after administration. For the study, researchers looked at the electronic records of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) health care system, looking at all the system's patients ages 12 and up. Researchers looked at 3.4 million people in the KPSC health care system that they studied from December 2020 to last August. Researchers determined that individuals fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine had an overall 73 percent effective protection against COVID-19 infection and a 90 percent effective protection against COVID-19 related hospitalization. The Hill External Link

    U.S. resumes Afghan refugee flights after measles shots

    4 October- Afghan refugees will soon be arriving again in the U.S. after a massive campaign to vaccinate them against measles following a small outbreak that caused a three-week pause in evacuations, officials said Monday. Authorities have administered the vaccination to about 49,000 people since measles was detected among some of the evacuees, according to the Department of Homeland Security. That figure included refugees at staging areas in Europe and the Middle East, as well as those who had already arrived at U.S. military bases before the pause. The measles outbreak, detected in 24 people, had put on hold one of the largest refugee resettlement efforts in U.S. history, dubbed Operation Allies Welcome, and stranded about 15,000 at overseas transit points. “The success of this vaccination campaign demonstrates our commitment to the health and well-being of arriving Afghan evacuees, the personnel assisting this mission, and the American people," Dr. Pritesh Gandhi, the DHS chief medical officer, said in announcing the completion of the effort. Everyone coming from Afghanistan in the evacuation is also tested for COVID-19 and about 84 percent of the refugees in the U.S. and at overseas transit points have now been vaccinated for the virus, officials said. News Advance External Link


    CDC: Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report

    2020-2021 Influenza Season for Week 38, ending September 25, 2021:

    Influenza-Associated Hospitalizations- The Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET) conducts population-based surveillance for laboratory-confirmed influenza-related hospitalizations in select counties in 14 states and represents approximately 9% of the U.S. population. As in previous seasons, patients admitted for laboratory-confirmed influenza-related hospitalization after April 30, 2021, will not be included in FluSurv-NET. Data on patients admitted through April 30, 2021, will continue to be updated as additional information is received.

    Influenza-Associated Pediatric Mortality- No influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported to CDC during week 38. CDC External Link


    Lobster recalled because of Listeria concerns

    4 October- Greenhead Lobster Products of Bucksport, ME, is recalling 5,749 pounds of frozen cooked lobster because of potential Listeria monocytogenes contamination. The recalled products listed in the table below were distributed in Maine and New Hampshire and then distributed nationwide through wholesale distributors. The potential for contamination was noted after a routine sampling program by the company revealed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes...As of the posting of this recall, no illnesses have been reported in connection with the recalled products. Consumers who have purchased products listed in the table are urged not to consume this product and to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Food Safety News External Link


    To prevent the next pandemic, scientists seek one vaccine for many coronaviruses

    4 October- Kayvon Modjarrad is out to win the war against this pandemic—and the next one. An emerging-infectious-diseases researcher with the U.S. Army, Dr. Modjarrad is pursuing a vaccine to protect against a range of coronaviruses that cause disease in humans—including Covid-19 variants that might elude today's vaccines. The goal is to prevent the next new one from spreading around the globe. Such a shot might even stop coronaviruses that cause some common colds. His research team is one of roughly 20 groups around the world working on so-called universal, or pan-coronavirus, vaccines: shots that would block many related viruses at once, including ones that have yet to infect anyone. After years of battling Ebola, Zika, H1N1 pandemic flu and other new pathogens, Dr. Modjarrad and other emerging-disease experts say they want to have a vaccine in hand to blunt the next new pathogen to come along, whatever it may be. “It's our way out not just of this pandemic but this cycle of epidemics," said Dr. Modjarrad, director of the emerging-infectious-diseases branch of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Md. Three deadly new coronaviruses emerged in the past 18 years, including the virus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome or MERS, and scientists warn another is likely. Many animals, including bats and rabbits, carry coronaviruses that can spread to humans. Millions of people around the world are being exposed to the pandemic virus, SARS-CoV-2, raising the risk that new, vaccine-resistant variants will arise, scientists say. “We need to work proactively on these viruses and many, many others," said David Veesler, a University of Washington School of Medicine biochemist whose lab is testing an experimental vaccine against a group of coronaviruses. Scientists have spent years trying to develop a universal vaccine against influenza—without success yet. Coronaviruses, which mutate less often and have fewer distinct lineages, may be an easier target. But scientists say it could take years to develop one that protects against most of the coronaviruses that infect humans, with many challenges along the way. The Wall Street Journal External Link


    Rabies in South Africa: 8 cases reported to date in 2021

    1 October- In South Africa, approximately 10 human rabies cases are reported annually, largely as a result of exposure to rabid dogs. A total of eight human cases have been confirmed in South Africa to date. In addition, a further three probable cases have been reported. Increases in the number of dog rabies cases in different locations of South Africa has been reported in 2021. Districts of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces are hard hit. More than 150 dog rabies cases have been confirmed in the Eastern Cape, with at least 70 of those cases of rabies from Nelson Mandela Bay. In KwaZulu-Natal more than 200 cases of dog rabies have been reported for 2021 to date. In August 2021, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services reported two cases of dog rabies from Khayelitsha in the City of Cape Town. This was the first report of rabies in dogs from the province in decades. Rabies is not transmitted from human-to-human and each case is associated with a sick animal.  It is clear that the vaccination of dogs (and to some extent, domestic cats) is the most important intervention to support rabies prevention and control efforts. Outbreak News Today External Link


    Northwest Syria COVID-19: 'The situation is dire and will prove catastrophic if not contained'

    5 October- The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations- USA (UOSSM) reports Northwest Syria is in a critical situation with the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. Since August 15, cases have risen at an alarming rate. The current positivity rate is lingering at around 55%. Hospital beds and ICUs are threatening to reach full capacity. Currently, there are only 173 ICU beds available throughout northwest Syria. This is further exacerbated by the shortage of PPEs, medical supplies and equipment, including oxygen. The gap in oxygen supplies is at about 40%. The situation is dire and will prove catastrophic if not contained. This comes at a time when there is a growing need for humanitarian assistance in northwest Syria. Between 2020 and 2021 the number of people in need has increased from 2.8 to 3.4 million people. Under current conditions, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Northwest Syria will be devastating. Dr. Khaula Sawah, president of UOSSM USA said, “The situation is dire and deeply concerning and the results could be catastrophic with a high positivity rate, low vaccination rate and limited available ICU beds to treat the sick. In other countries, people have fought COVID-19 by staying home, social distancing, sanitizing their hands and wearing masks. When we ask the people of northwest Syria to stay home they have no home… we ask people to wear masks when there are no masks… We ask displaced and needy families to wash their hands where there is no water, and we ask people to social distance when they are living in crowded displacement camps. We call on the international community to take action by providing humanitarian and medical aid, increasing hospital capacity, and ensuring that people in northwest Syria get vaccinated to prevent a humanitarian disaster. Millions of lives are at stake.“ Outbreak News Today External Link


    Russia: Yersinia enterocolitica outbreak reported in Norilsk

    2 October- Norilsk is a city in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, located above the Arctic Circle. Earlier this week, the head of the Rospotrebnadzor department for the Krasnoyarsk Territory Dmitry Goryaev reported an  Yersinia enterocolitica outbreak affecting 44 workers of Velesstroy LLC in Norilsk. “As part of the sanitary and epidemiological investigation, according to the results of laboratory tests, the pathogen that causes intestinal yersiniosis, Yersinia enterocolitica, was identified in the patients," he noted. Earlier, the regional Rospotrebnadzor reported on the identification of violations of the requirements of sanitary legislation in the company canteen. Yersiniosis is an infection caused by the bacterium Yersinia enterocolitica. The most common symptoms are diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain, usually lasting 1-3 weeks. The reservoir for the bacterium is primarily pig. Dogs and cats can also be carriers of the bacterium. Yersinia bacteria are transmitted mainly through food, usually through infected pork products, contaminated vegetables or salads and the use of non-disinfected drinking water. Outbreak News Today External Link


    Metro Manila: COVID-19 cases dropping, 75% fully vaccinated

    4 October- The number of new COVID-19 cases in the Metro Manila, or National Capital Region (NCR) area is on the decline, according to health officials.  Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the region is reporting a 28 percent decrease in cases from the past week. For the period of September 27 to October 3, the average daily reported cases in the NCR is 3,121. The week prior, the average daily reported cases for the week of September 20 to 26 is 4,320. Nationally, cases are down also. For the period of September 27 to October 3, the average daily reported cases nationwide are 14,705 — 3,060 cases lower than the 17,765 reported infections for the period of September 20 to 26. Concerning vaccinations, 75 percent of the NCR's eligible population is now fully vaccinated and is expected to reach 84 percent next month, according to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benjamin “Benhur" Abalos Jr. By December, he said about 92 percent of NCR's population is expected to be fully vaccinated. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Philippines has reported 2,593,399 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 38,768 deaths. Outbreak News Today External Link


    U.S.:Utah health officials- 'Ivermectin is NOT a COVID-19 drug'

    3 October- Recently, the Utah Department of Health became aware of a patient who ingested large doses of ivermectin in an attempt to treat symptoms of COVID-19. The patient suffered serious health effects and was taken to a Utah hospital. Ivermectin is NOT a COVID-19 drug; there is no data to suggest this drug has any impact on COVID-19 infection. The continued promotion of the drug has led to an increase in people buying veterinary ivermectin and being hospitalized due to side effects of ingesting the drug. The CDC and the American Association of Poison Control Centers have seen a recent increase in calls related to severe side effects due to ivermectin. “I strongly encourage clinical providers to consider the harm they may cause if they provide ivermectin to patients with COVID-19 infection. While there is no data showing it helps with COVID-19 there is very strong data showing it can do harm. I also encourage pharmacists to question any prescriptions for high-dose ivermectin that is inappropriate for their clients," said Dr. Leisha Nolen, State epidemiologist at the UDOH. The Utah Poison Control Center has seen a 4.5 times higher rate of ivermectin exposures in 2021 compared with 2020. “Ivermectin exposures related to the treatment or prevention of COVID-19 account for 56% of exposures reported to us for this drug in 2021. Fifty percent of people who called us after using ivermectin as a way to treat or prevent COVID-19 have received medical help because of the exposure," said Amberly Johnson, director of the Utah Poison Control Center. Outbreak News Today External Link


    Venezuela: Yellow fever cases reported in Monagas State, according to NGO

    3 October- To date, seven cases have been reported in the Maturín de Monagas municipality, according to the NGO, Médicos Unidos Vzla. The localities where human and monkey cases have been confirmed: 1) Carapal del Tigre: 1 human and 2 positive monkeys; 2) The Merey of Amana: 6 humans and 2 positive monkeys. The death of araguatos, or Howler monkeys was previously reported in Monagas and Anzoátegui. 10 confirmed epizootics of non-human primates (araguato monkeys) have been reported in Venezuela- 7 in Monagas and 3 in Anzoátegui. 2 confirmed by PCR laboratory (both from Edo Monagas), and 8 confirmed by epidemiological link. Yellow fever vaccination coverage for Venezuela is 75 percent, while it is 78 percent in Monagas. These are the first cases that have been reported since November 2019, when an indigenous Pemón was infected in Bolívar state. Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic fever. symptoms of yellow fever (fever, chills, headache, backache, and muscle aches) develop 3-6 days after infection. About 15% of people infected with yellow fever virus will develop severe illness that can lead to liver disease, bleeding, shock, organ failure, yellowing skin (jaundice), and sometimes death. Outbreak News Today External Link