Army Public Health Weekly Update, 14 January 2022

Date Published: 1/14/2022
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​​​​NOTICE: There will be no Army Public Health Weekly Update next week. Publication will resume on 28 January 2022.  

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. Ar​my Medical Command.

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Table of Contents

    ANNOUNCEMENTS

    2022 MHS Research Symposium opens for 'abstracts'

    6 January- Abstracts for the 2022 Military Health System Research Symposium are due by Feb. 16, 2022. MHSRS serves as the Department of Defense's premier scientific meeting for the unique medical needs of the warfighter. The annual symposium provides a collaborative environment for military medical care providers with deployment experience, DOD scientists, academia, international partners, and industry to exchange information on research advancements. The theme of this year's meeting is "Optimizing Readiness – The Power of Military Medical Research," and conference programming will focus on four topics: Warfighter Medical Readiness, Expeditionary Medicine, Warfighter Performance, and Return to Duty. Panels will feature topics such as combat casualty care, military operational medicine including psychological health and resilience, clinical and rehabilitative medicine, and military infectious diseases, to include COVID-19. Before the 2021 symposium was cancelled due to the pandemic, more than 1,800 abstracts spanning more than 60 warfighter-related topic areas had been accepted for oral or poster presentations. The MHSRS website is the best source of information on the 2022 MHSRS Call for Abstracts, and includes the 2022 breakout sessions and instructions on how to submit an abstract. The 2022 MHSRS Call for Abstracts will not be extended past the closing date. Anyone planning to submit an abstract(s) must submit the appropriate documents by Feb. 16, 2022. While the location and date of the 2022 MHSRS have not been determined yet, the conference is expected to be held in person, if conditions permit. Details will be posted on the MHSRS website, when available. Health.mil External Link

    U.S. MILITARY

    Military medical treatment facilities could improve access to emergency obstetric care in underserved areas

    10 January- In the United States, maternal mortality rates remain higher than in comparable countries and racial disparities persist. While many countries have experienced improvements in maternal mortality rates, U.S. rates increased to an estimated 16.9 pregnancy-associated deaths per 100,000 live births between 2006 and 2016 and currently has a higher maternal mortality ratio than more than 50 other countries. Longer travel times to access obstetric care are associated with worse outcomes for mothers and babies, and only about 61.6 percent of the U.S. population has timely emergency access (within 30 minutes) to obstetric care. A new study led by investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital evaluates a potential solution that could improve access: partnering with military medical treatment facilities (MTF), which could provide high-quality obstetric care, including emergency cesarean delivery. The researchers identified 17 facilities with capacity to offer care in underserved areas, particularly in rural communities."Offering emergency cesarean sections in underserved regions has the potential to not only improve care for pregnant patients in need of emergency access, but it also has the potential to address inequities and support military readiness," said senior author Molly Jarman, PhD, MPH, of the Brigham's Center for Surgery and Public Health (CSPH). "We have health care resources that need more patients, and we have patients in need of health care. While the maps of need and capacity do not overlap perfectly, when they do, we have an opportunity to open the door." News Medical Life Sciences External Link

    Nearly twice as many military members died from suicide July-Sept than from coronavirus since pandemic's start

    9 January- Over 150 members of the U.S. military took their own lives in the third quarter of 2021 which represents a greater total than the number of service members who have died from the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. According to data released by the Pentagon, 163 service members committed suicide in Q3 of 2021 which broke down into 70 active service members, 56 reserve members, and 37 members of the National Guard.Suicides among active members of the military dropped from Q2 to Q3 but suicides rose among reserve and National Guard members. Nearly twice as many members of the U.S. military died of suicide from July to September than have died from the coronavirus during the entire pandemic. As of January 8, 86 members of the military have died from the coronavirus. In September, the total number of coronavirus deaths in the military was 43 and the doubling of deaths from September to January is partially due to the Delta variant spike, the Pentagon says. Fox News External Link

    'Open notes' approach builds stronger provider-patient relationships

    4 January- Improving health outcomes, through better communication and engagement with patients, is a cornerstone of practice in the Military Health System. MHS GENESIS, the Department of Defense's new electronic health record, is helping standardize care delivery of this best practice, specifically through its patient portal. The portal includes the first MHS implementation of the concept of open notes, which enables patients to access the notes providers write to document each clinical encounter.Open notes offer many evidence-based advantages through mutual communication, understanding, and collaboration. Even so, some providers are a bit cautious about the approach. These clinicians worry that patients might misinterpret or disagree with the note contents, potentially leading to interpersonal friction or adverse clinical outcomes. Undoubtedly, encouraging patients to explore their providers' perspective on clinical interactions fundamentally changes their relationship with providers. Adapting to open notes is easier than you may think, however, and helps providers meet patients where they are and build stronger, more trusted relationships. Open notes enables two-way communication and feedback that encourages providers and patients to feel that they are not just on the same page, but in the same boat on a shared journey. Health.mil External Link

    GLOBAL

    A growing gap between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated

    11 January- Some of the timeliest data on Covid-19 outcomes by vaccination status comes from New York City and the Seattle area, and the two are telling a consistent story. Cases for vaccinated and unvaccinated residents alike are rising: They're rising because vaccination often does not prevent infection from the Omicron variant. It reduces the chances substantially — as you can see above — but vaccinated people still face a meaningful chance of infection. What vaccination does is radically reduce the chance of severe Covid illness. Look how different these charts on hospitalizations looks from the previous charts on cases: (The number of Americans hospitalized with Covid has surpassed last winter's peak.) Some experts believe that the hospitalization gap between the vaccinated and unvaccinated is even larger than these charts suggest. The official data on Covid hospitalizations includes many people who are hospitalized for other reasons — say, a heart condition or a bicycle crash — and who test positive for the virus while being treated. About one-third of Covid hospitalizations fall into this category, according to a recent analysis at the University of California, San Francisco. In New York State, 43 percent of people hospitalized with Covid were admitted for other reasons. It's true that some of these incidental Covid hospitalizations still cause problems. The virus can harm people whose bodies are weakened by other medical conditions, and all Covid cases put added stress on hospitals, because patients must be isolated. (“Hospitals are in serious trouble," Ed Yong writes in The Atlantic.) Still, many incidental Covid cases in hospitals do not present much risk to the infected person. And Omicron is so contagious that it has infected many vaccinated people, likely inflating the hospitalization numbers more than previous variants have. The New York Times External Link

    Home COVID tests to be covered by insurers starting Saturday

    11 January- Starting Saturday, private health insurers will be required to cover up to eight home COVID-19 tests per month for people on their plans. The Biden administration announced the change Monday as it looks to lower costs and make testing for the virus more convenient amid rising frustrations. Under the new policy, first detailed to the AP, Americans will be able to either purchase home testing kits for free under their insurance or submit receipts for the tests for reimbursement, up to the monthly per-person limit. A family of four, for instance, could be reimbursed for up to 32 tests per month. PCR tests and rapid tests ordered or administered by a health provider will continue to be fully covered by insurance with no limit. President Joe Biden faced criticism over the holiday season for a shortage of at-home rapid tests as Americans traveled to see family amid the surge in cases from the more transmissible omicron variant. Now the administration is working to make COVID-19 home tests more accessible, both by increasing supply and bringing down costs. AP News External Link

    Infectious disease expert urges new national strategy to "coexist with COVID"

    12 January- As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow across the country — with an alarming number of children being hospitalized in recent days — some experts are calling for a new approach to fight the pandemic. One of those experts, Dr. Céline Gounder, joined "CBS Mornings" on Monday to explain why she's urging the Biden administration to update its national strategy for a "new normal" of life with COVID-19. "We're going to have to coexist with COVID," she said. The epidemiologist and infectious disease expert co-authored a letter published Thursday in the Journal of the American Medical Association outlining the proposal, which would not include the eradication or elimination of the virus. Some of the key measures described in the letter include vaccination, wearing N95 or KN95 masks, improving ventilation and air filtration, and testing to figure out who's contagious and who's not, and who needs treatment. The goal, Gounder said, is to save lives and prevent hospitalizations. "And how do we do that safely, where people are not ending up in the hospital, where our hospital system is not buckling under the weight of all of those COVID cases as it is now?" Gounder said Monday. Meanwhile, signs suggest the Omicron variant may hit the U.S. harder than in other countries. The number of reported daily cases topped 800,000 on one day last week, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That does not include those who tested positive with at-home tests or have mild symptoms and never got tested at all. CBS News External Link

    National Guard steps in to alleviate pressure on hospital overwhelmed by Omicron wave

    9 January- An incoming tide of patients is slowly drowning UMass Memorial Medical Center, and the US military's National Guard is working to plug the gaps. In wave after daily wave, the emergency crews pull up to the ambulance bay, dropping off patients for which there is no room. "It's just the perfect storm for a nightmare here in the emergency department," says Dr. Eric Dickson, the CEO of the hospital and an emergency physician. The main hospital in central Massachusetts is already over capacity at 115%, and the numbers are only expected to rise in the coming weeks as the Omicron variant spreads rapidly across the region. The primary Covid-19 testing site in downtown Worcester has been packed. On Tuesday, the positivity rate was 40%, according to the hospital, more than double what it was one year ago. The most severe of those cases, the hospital warns, will show up over the next two weeks, a period when the hospital is already short-staffed. About 500 people are out with Covid, mostly medical staff who have tested positive for Covid or are exhibiting symptoms. Dickson calls it the "wild card" for the hospital -- an unknown that will affect the hospital's very ability to treat incoming patients. The space, he says, can be found. But are there enough staff to allow the hospital to function? The Massachusetts National Guard is part of that solution, deploying to hospitals just after Christmas. "We have soldiers and airmen that may be computer programmers, that may be school teachers, they may be working in the community, business people, whatever that is, and they're filling very different roles this time," says Lt. Col. Patrick Donnelly of the Massachusetts National Guard, "roles as drivers or as transport people within the hospital - food service, security, and patient observance." It is the third Covid activation for this Guard unit since the beginning of the pandemic two years ago, and even though it came at an "awkward time" during the holiday season, Guard members stepped up for the mission. CNN External Link

    Receipt of COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy and preterm or small-for-gestational-age at birth

    7 January- COVID-19 vaccines are recommended during pregnancy to prevent severe maternal morbidity and adverse birth outcomes; however, vaccination coverage among pregnant women has been low (1). Concerns among pregnant women regarding vaccine safety are a persistent barrier to vaccine acceptance during pregnancy. Previous studies of maternal COVID-19 vaccination and birth outcomes have been limited by small sample size (2) or lack of an unvaccinated comparison group (3). In this retrospective cohort study of live births from eight Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) health care organizations, risks for preterm birth (<37 weeks' gestation) and small-for-gestational-age (SGA) at birth (birthweight <10th percentile for gestational age) after COVID-19 vaccination (receipt of ≥1 COVID-19 vaccine doses) during pregnancy were evaluated. Risks for preterm and SGA at birth among vaccinated and unvaccinated pregnant women were compared, accounting for time-dependent vaccine exposures and propensity to be vaccinated. Single-gestation pregnancies with estimated start or last menstrual period during May 17–October 24, 2020, were eligible for inclusion. Among 46,079 pregnant women with live births and gestational age available, 10,064 (21.8%) received ≥1 COVID-19 vaccine doses during pregnancy and during December 15, 2020–July 22, 2021; nearly all (9,892; 98.3%) were vaccinated during the second or third trimester. CDC External Link

    Stay home or work sick? Omicron poses a conundrum

    9 January- As the raging omicron variant of COVID-19 infects workers across the nation, millions of those whose jobs don't provide paid sick days are having to choose between their health and their paycheck. While many companies instituted more robust sick leave policies at the beginning of the pandemic, some of those have since been scaled back with the rollout of the vaccines, even though omicron has managed to evade the shots. Meanwhile, the current labor shortage is adding to the pressure of workers having to decide whether to show up to their job sick if they can't afford to stay home. “It's a vicious cycle," said Daniel Schneider, professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. “As staffing gets depleted because people are out sick, that means that those that are on the job have more to do and are even more reluctant to call in sick when they in turn get sick."Low-income hourly workers are especially vulnerable. Nearly 80% of all private sector workers get at least one paid sick day, according to a national compensation survey of employee benefits conducted in March by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But only 33% of workers whose wages are at the bottom 10% get paid sick leave, compared with 95% in the top 10%. A survey this past fall of roughly 6,600 hourly low-wage workers conducted by Harvard's Shift Project, which focuses on inequality, found that 65% of those workers who reported being sick in the last month said they went to work anyway. That's lower than the 85% who showed up to work sick before the pandemic, but much higher than it should be in the middle of a public health crisis. Schneider says it could get worse because of omicron and the labor shortage. What's more, Schneider noted that the share of workers with paid sick leave before the pandemic barely budged during the pandemic — 50% versus 51% respectively. He further noted many of the working poor surveyed don't even have $400 in emergency funds, and families will now be even more financially strapped with the expiration of the child tax credit, which had put a few hundred dollars in families' pockets every month. AP News External Link

    U.S. coronavirus surge could peak later this month, expert says, but the next few weeks are critical

    11 January- The current Covid-19 surge in the US, fueled by the Omicron variant, could peak later this month -- but the next couple of weeks are critical, a health expert says. Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, warns long-term planning is needed to avoid continued stress on the health care system, as hospitals become full, schools struggle to keep students in class and testing remains difficult to access. "We're seeing two sets of things happening: A lot of vaccinated people getting infected. We're doing fine. Largely avoiding getting particularly sick, avoiding the hospital; a lot of unvaccinated people and high-risk people who have not gotten boosted and they're really filling up the hospitals, and so our hospital systems are under a lot of stress," Jha told ABC's "This Week." "Then we have to start thinking about a long-term strategy for how do we manage this virus and not go from surge to surge feeling like we don't really have a longer-termed approach," said Jha. According to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services, about 24% of hospitals are reporting a "critical staffing shortage." Of the approximately 5,000 hospitals that reported this data to HHS on Saturday, nearly 1,200 -- about 1 in 4 -- said they are currently experiencing a critical staffing shortage, the largest share of the entire pandemic. More than 100 other hospitals said they anticipate a shortage within the next week. CNN External Link

    U.S. hospitals strained with influx of patients amid latest COVID-19 surge, staffing shortages

    9 January- For nearly two years, day after day, under exhausting and often dangerous conditions, health care workers across the country have continued to care for the nation's sickest Americans who have fallen victim to coronavirus. As the highly infectious omicron sweeps through the country, the United States is now facing its most significant coronavirus infection surge to date, putting additional pressure on an overtaxed health care system. "We have seen an incredible proliferation of the virus in hospitals, such that we went from a place where virtually no county in the country was at risk of exceeding its capacity to well over half are now. I don't like to make predictions, but things could get very bad in the coming couple of weeks," Dr. Jeremy Faust, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, told ABC News. Although preliminary global studies indicate that the omicron variant may cause less severe illness than prior variants, health officials say that the sheer numbers of infections caused by the new variant could still overwhelm the health care system. The burden on the health care system is made worse by nationwide staffing shortages and hospital capacity at elevated levels as many other patients seek care for non-virus related reasons. "Due to the tsunami of omicron cases, the volume is affecting our health and community service," said Dr. Rebecca Weintraub, assistant professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. "While we are very lucky hospitalizations have decoupled, the vast spread is alarming." Late last month, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the White House, pointed to the disparity between cases and hospitalization as a "strong" indicator that omicron is less severe, as the U.S. has not experienced a concomitant increase in the relative percentage of hospitalizations. Even so, Fauci warned that there will still be many virus-positive Americans who will seek medical care, creating further strain on hospitals. ABC News External Link

    INFLUENZA

    CDC: Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report

    Key Updates for Week 52, ending January 1, 2022:

    - 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). Earlier in the season, most influenza A(H3N2) infections occurred among children and young adults ages 5-24 years; however, in recent weeks, the proportion of infections occurring among other age groups, especially adults age 25 years and older, has been increasing.

    - 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 continues to increase 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 continue to increase. The cumulative hospitalization rate in the FluSurv-NET system is higher than the rate for the entire 2020-2021 season, but lower than the rate seen at this time during the four seasons preceding the COVID-19 pandemic.

    - 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

    Aoun brand 'Tahineh' recalled after testing finds Salmonella

    11 January- Fattal International North America Inc. is recalling Aoun brand “Tahineh" from the marketplace because of possible Salmonella contamination. This recall of tahini was triggered by Canadian Food Inspection Agency test results. The recalled product has been sold in Ontario and Quebec and may have been distributed in other Canadian provinces and territories. As of the posting of this recall, there have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product. Consumers should check to see if you have the recalled product in your home. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the location where they were purchased. Food Safety News External Link

    Clams recalled for botulism risk after being sold unrefrigerated

    10 January- Moncton Fish Market Ltd. is recalling Moncton Fish Market brand “La" Stimpson's Surf Clams that have been sold unrefrigerated from the marketplace because the product may permit the growth of Clostridium botulinum. This recall was triggered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's inspection activities. The recalled product has been sold at Moncton Fish Market, Moncton, New Brunswick. As of the posting of this recall, there have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product. Consumers should check to see if you have the recalled product in your home. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the location where they were purchased. Food Safety News External Link

    WELLNESS

    The emotion that's standing in the way of your healthy change: Ambivalence

    10 January- After losing 30 pounds a few years ago, Rosanna Gill wanted to lose 10 more, but a few factors kept her from making the effort it would require. After all, she didn't need to drop additional weight for health reasons. Plus, she was already sticking with a healthy, balanced diet and was happy enough with how she looked. As a result, Gill felt ambivalent about changing her eating and drinking habits. It wasn't until she realized that her ambivalence was giving her an excuse “not to do something" that Gill, 35, a confidence coach and podcaster in Watertown, Mass., vowed to take action. “I decided that feeling meh about myself was reason enough to make some changes." Ambivalence, which essentially means having conflicting feelings about something, makes many people uncomfortable. But it is a normal part of change, experts say. “With every change, people have some ambivalence, because change means moving out of something you're comfortable or familiar with and into something that's not familiar. It disrupts the person's life a bit," said Carlo DiClemente, professor emeritus in psychology at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and author of “Addiction and Change." Whether you want to lose weight, upgrade your diet, exercise more frequently, cut back on alcohol, quit smoking or something else, ambivalence about making that change will probably be part of the equation. Chances are, the ambivalence has less to do with the goal itself and more to do with the hard work and discomfort that may lie on the path to achieving it, said James E. Maddux, professor emeritus in psychology and a senior scholar in the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being at George Mason University in Virginia. The Washington Post Wellness External Link

    USAFRICOM

    Nigeria reports 3 confirmed monkeypox cases in December, 34 total for 2021

    10 January- The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported three confirmed monkeypox cases in December 2021 in Cross River, Lagos and Delta states, bringing the total confirmed cases for the year to 34. A total of 98 suspected cases has been reported between January 1st and December 31st, 2021. No deaths were reported. Since September 2017, when Nigeria saw a return of monkeypox, a 512 total cases have been reported, including eight deaths, from 32 states in the country. Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with monkeypox virus. Monkeypox occurs throughout Central and West Africa, often near tropical rain forests. People become infected with the monkeypox virus through contact with the bodily fluids of infected animals or humans (alive or dead), including respiratory droplets, or through contact with materials contaminated with the virus. Symptoms include fever (≥100.4°F), headache, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes, followed by a rash. Patients are usually ill for 2–4 weeks. Monkeypox is fatal in as many as 1 to 10% of people who become infected. Prior vaccination against smallpox may provide protection against monkeypox. 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

    Germany: Goose dies at Heidelberg Zoo, Infected with H5N1 avian influenza

    9 January- The Heidelberg Zoo in Germany is reporting the death of a goose at the zoo earlier this month. The bird was infected with the pathogen, H5N1 avian influenza. Presumably the goose got infected from one of the wild birds that fly to the lake. Further deaths in the zoo in connection with the bird flu pathogen are not yet known. In order to protect the other feathered zoo inhabitants, security measures are now being taken immediately in close consultation with the veterinary authorities at the city of Heidelberg and the Baden-Württemberg Ministry for Food, Rural Areas and Consumer Protection. The zoo has over 400 birds in over 80 bird species, some of which are highly endangered such as the Socorro pigeons or the rare hornbills. In order to protect them as best as possible from infection, many of the birds have been brought into their homes or covered retreats since Friday. In order to avoid virus transmission by passing wild birds, all aviaries are covered with tarpaulins and tightly reinforced. In addition, bodies of water are drained so as not to attract any more wild birds. Constant controls and samples are taken for all bird species in order to determine the spread of the pathogen as early as possible. Outbreak News Today External Link

    USINDOPACOM

    H5N6 avian influenza: China reports 1st case of 2022

    8 January- After reporting a record 31 human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) in 2021, Chinese health officials are reporting the first case of 2022 in Guangdong Province. According to the Guangdong Provincial Health and Health Commission, the patient is a 43-year-old female from Zhongkai District, Huizhou City.  The patient is currently in critical condition and is being admitted to a designated hospital in Huizhou. Health authorities were notified of the case on January 7. Animal Viruses and Humans, a Narrow Divide: How Lethal Zoonotic Viruses Spill Over and Threaten Us Experts believe that the cases that appear this time are sporadic cases, and the risk of transmission of the virus is low at this stage. Experts remind: the public should continue to remain vigilant and take the following measures to prevent H5N6 and other bird flu. Outbreak News Today External Link

    USNORTHCOM

    Rabies in the U.S. 2021: 'This recent spate of cases is a sobering reminder that contact with bats poses a real health risk'

    7 January- In 2021, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a total of five human rabies cases/deaths, including three cases from September to November linked to bat bites/exposure. In today's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), health officials discuss the three latter cases. During September 28–November 10, 2021, CDC confirmed three human rabies deaths in the United States, all in persons who did not seek postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) after bat exposures that occurred during August 2021. The cases during fall 2021 occurred in two adults and one child, all male, from Idaho, Illinois (ironically reported on World Rabies Day), and Texas. The deaths were associated with three bat species: Lasionycteris noctivagans (silver-haired bat), Tadarida brasiliensis (Mexican free-tailed bat), and Eptesicus fuscus (big brown bat). All three species are common in the United States and have been implicated in previous rabies cases. One patient submitted the bat responsible for exposure for testing but refused PEP, despite the bat testing positive for rabies virus, due to a long-standing fear of vaccines. The other two patients did not realize the risk for rabies from their exposures, either because they did not notice a bite or scratch or did not recognize bats as a potential source of rabies. Two of the bat-associated cases were considered avoidable exposures: one was attributed to a bat roost in the patient's home, the other to the patient picking up the bat with bare hands. Two patients released the bat, rather than capturing it for testing. “We have come a long way in the United States towards reducing the number of people who become infected each year with rabies, but this recent spate of cases is a sobering reminder that contact with bats poses a real health risk," said Ryan Wallace, DVM, MPH, a veterinarian and rabies expert in CDC's Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology. Outbreak News Today External Link

    USSOUTHCOM

    Salmonella: Salta, Argentina reports 1,643 cases in 2021

    9 January- In a follow-up on the Salmonella situation in Salta province, Argentina, The Salta Ministry of Public Health reported that, in 2021, they confirmed 1,643 cases of salmonellosis in the province.  “Of the total number of cases, 72% were concentrated in the city of Salta and 28% in the interior of the province," officials said. According to provincial statistics, children from 0 to 14 years of age are the most affected by salmonellosis, adding 1,008 cases, which is equivalent to 61.35% of the total. The most affected departments in the province were Capital (1,199 cases), Cerrillos (102), Rosario de Lerma (70), Chicoana (63), Los Andes (40), Cafayate (39), Metán (23), La Caldera (14), La Viña (14) and Molinos (11). Outbreak News Today External Link