Army Public Health Weekly Update, 16 September 2022

Date Published: 9/16/2022
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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


    VA expands airborne hazards and open burn pit registry eligibility​​

    31 August- More than 325,000 service members and veterans have joined the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry to date, and recent updates expand eligibility and make it easier for service members and veterans to participate. “These updates are important in that they demonstrate the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs collective resolve to keep our service members and veterans informed about the registry, support requirements in National Defense Authorization Acts, and support the recently signed Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022,” according to Steve Jones, Force Readiness and Health Assurance Policy director. “The DOD and the VA remain committed to better understanding and mitigating the health effects of deployment-related exposures such as airborne hazards and open burn pits.” In 2014, the VA developed the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry to help service members and veterans document potential exposure to airborne hazards while deployed overseas. The registry is a secure database of health information provided by service members and veterans that helps the VA collect, analyze, and publish data on health conditions that may be related to environmental exposures experienced during deployment. After completing the online questionnaire, participants have the option to discuss their health care with a provider in an optional medical evaluation. He​ External Link


    From Sabers to Syringes: Olympic Fencer Begins Military Medical Career​​

    7 September- Navy Ensign Eliza Stone, an Olympic fencer, joined the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) School of Medicine this year. She brings tenaciousness and drive and knows a thing or two about working alongside teammates who continually lift up one another. Stone foresees these skills being essential as she works her way through medical school and embarks on a career as a military physician. "The whole point of fencing is to win the bout regardless of the opponent or outside circumstances," Stone said. She explained that fencing is not as simple as picking up a saber and taking a swing at one another, as some might think. It's also similar to medical school in that it requires a lot of training and application of learned skills, she said. There are also complicated strategies, the study of your opponent's psyche, and knowing what choices to make. The bouts become a flurry of moves and counters with mental "traps"; happening in quick succession. Stone competed at on the international fencing circuit and would ultimately rank fourth in the sport. She medaled in the 2018 World Championship, won the 2019 Pan American Games, and made it to the 2020 Olympics in Japan. "Going to Tokyo was one of the biggest honors of my life because it was the culmination of years and years of hard work," Stone said. While she was on the international circuit, a seed grew that had been planted in her childhood. Stone's grandfathers were doctors in the Army and Navy during World War II, one of whom was at the Pearl Harbor attack. Her view of her grandfathers resonated with her over the years, and solidified her decision to go to medical school after earning her undergraduate degree. External Link


    Boston Children’s Hospital researchers find antibody that neutralizes all major COVID variants in tests on mice​

    13 September- An antibody developed by Boston Children's Hospital researchers has been shown to neutralize all major SARS-CoV-2 variants, including all Omicron strains, which could lead to a new treatment, the hospital said. “We hope this antibody will prove to be as effective in patients as it has been in pre-clinical evaluations thus far," Dr. Frederick Alt of the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at Boston Children's, a senior investigator on the study, said in a statement from the hospital last month. “If it does, it might provide a new therapeutic." He said the antibody could “also contribute to new vaccine strategies." Using genetically modified mice, hospital researchers, collaborating with colleagues from Duke University, found the antibody SP1-77, which neutralizes the original SARS-CoV-2 strain and its variants including Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Omicron, the hospital said. SP1-77 “potently neutralized all major SARS-CoV-2 variants through the recently emergent BA.5 variant," researchers said in the study, which was published in August in the journal Science Immunology. If further research pans out, SP1-77 “would have potential to be a therapeutic against current and newly-arising" variants of concern, said the study, whose first author was Boston Children's researcher Sai Luo. The study also suggested that SP1-77 might be “useful in a cocktail" with other currently authorized antibody treatments such as bebtelovimab. “SP1-77 ... neutralizes these variants by a novel mechanism," co-author Dr. Tomas Kirchhausen of Boston Children's said in the statement. “These properties may contribute to its broad and potent activity." The researchers are seeking patents for the antibody and the genetically altered mice used to produce it. ​Boston Globe External Link​​

    Cannabis use during pregnancy may cause mental health problems in children​

    12 September- Children whose mothers used cannabis after the fifth or sixth week of pregnancy may be more likely to develop mental health problems in early adolescence, a new study suggests. An analysis of data from more than 10,000 children aged 11 and 12 revealed that exposure to cannabis in utero was associated with a higher risk of developing disorders such as ADHD, aggressive behavior, conduct disorder and rule-breaking behavior, according to the report published in JAMA Pediatrics. “The take-home message from this study is that there is some evidence that one should be cautious about using cannabis during pregnancy,” said the study’s first author, David Baranger, a postdoctoral research associate at Washington University in St. Louis. The new study is an association and can’t prove that cannabis is the cause of the mental health problems, Baranger said. However, the results fall in line with earlier research on the same children, who were participants in the ongoing Adolescent Brain​ Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. The long-term project, which is supported by the National Institutes of Health, has been tracking the brain development of nearly 12,000 children via MRI scans. The brain scans of the children “showed a hint of a potential impact of cannabis,” Baranger said. NBC News External Link

    How is technology changing healthcare?​

    13 September- The future of Healthcare is connected with technology. In the coming years, technology like artificial intelligence, 3D printing, robotics, and nanotechnology will significantly impact the medical field. As technology is changing many other fields, we can also see some positive impacts of technology in the healthcare sector. Technology is helping medical professionals to do their jobs efficiently and provide more opportunities for patients for better treatment. The future of Healthcare will depend greatly on technology. That's why health workers should embrace emerging technology techniques in order to stay relevant to their field. Here are some ways through which technology is changing the healthcare sector. ​Te​ch Times External Link​​

    Loss of smell may be permanent for long COVID sufferers​

    12 September- Local doctors are seeing COVID-19 cases where people have either not recovered their sense of smell or the sense is dulled.The loss of or decreased sense of smell some long COVID-19 sufferers experienced may be permanent, according to a recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).The JAMA study looked at 219 patients with long COVID and neurologic symptoms, 64% of whom had olfactory dysfunction, which is the reduced or distorted ability to smell. The study saw the highest prevalence for olfactory dysfunction among women, adults, and outpatients.The study found that patients with olfactory dysfunction may develop severe olfactory loss—such as hyposmia, a decreased sense of smell, or anosmia, a partial or full loss of sense of smell—and it may persist for more than one year after the onset of symptoms, suggesting that olfactory dysfunction may become permanent in patients with long COVID. The study also found patients with olfactory dysfunction also typically had long periods of long COVID symptoms. Journal News External Link

    Pfizer starts late-stage trial of mRNA-based flu vaccine​​​

    ​​14 September- Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) said on Wednesday it had started a late-stage U.S. trial of an influenza vaccine involving 25,000 patients, among the first such studies for a messenger RNA flu shot. The company said that the first participants had been dosed with the vaccine, which is based on the same technology used in its widely-used COVID-19 shot developed in partnership with Germanay's BioNTech SE​. Influenza causes 12,000 to 52,000 deaths in the United States every year, but the strains used in vaccines have to be changed annually ahead of the flu season as circulating viruses keep evolving. Messenger RNA technology allows changing the vaccine strains relatively faster, and Pfizer expects this flexibility and its rapid manufacturing to potentially allow better strain matches in future years. Reuters External Link​​

    So you haven't caught COVID yet. Does that mean you're a superdodger?​

    ​​7 September- Back in the early 1990s, Nathaniel Landau was a young virologist just starting his career in HIV research. But he and his colleagues were already on the verge of a landmark breakthrough. Several labs around the world were hot on his team's tail. "We were sleeping in the lab, just to keep the work going day and night because there were many labs all racing against each other," Landau says. "Of course, we wanted to be the first to do it. We were totally stressed out." Other scientists had identified groups of people who appeared to be completely resistant to HIV. "People who knew they had been exposed to HIV multiple times, mainly through unprotected sex, yet they clearly were not infected," Landau explains. And so the race was on to figure out why: "Are these people just lucky or did they really have a mutation in their genes that was protecting them from infection?'" he asks. Now 25 years later, scientists all over the world are trying to answer the same question but about a different virus: SARS-CoV-2. NPR External Link​​

    With increased virus activity, providers urged to be alert for signs of rare polio-like syndrome in kids​

    12 September- Pediatricians and top health officials are warning about an uptick in activity of a common virus that in rare cases can cause a polio-like syndrome in young children. The virus, an enterovirus known as EV-D68, is one of the bugs that regularly circulates and infects us from time to time, typically just causing colds. But occasionally, children infected with it will develop limb weakness and a progressive form of paralysis, what’s called acute fl​accid myelitis, or AFM. And now, after a pandemic-related break in EV-D68, the virus appears to be roaring back, with health officials concerned it could foreshadow more cases of AFM. On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health alert to providers that EV-D68 seemed to be at least partially behind an increase in hospitalizations last month among kids with respiratory infections and that the virus seemed to be outpacing other types of cold-causing bugs. And pediatric infectious disease physicians are urging pediatricians and clinicians at emergency departments and urgent care centers, as well as parents, to be on the lookout for early signs of AFM. STAT News External Link


    CDC: Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report

    2021-2022 Influenza Season for Week 35, ending September 3, 2022​​:

    Outpatient Respiratory Illness Surveillance-The U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet) monitors outpatient visits for influenza-like illness [ILI (fever plus cough or sore throat)], not laboratory-confirmed influenza, and will therefore capture respiratory illness visits due to infection with any pathogen that can present with similar symptoms, including influenza, SARS-CoV-2, and RSV. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, health care-seeking behaviors have changed, and people may be accessing the health care system in alternative settings not captured as a part of ILINet or at a different point in their illness than they might have before the pandemic. Therefore, it is important to evaluate syndromic surveillance data, including that from ILINet, in the context of other sources of surveillance data to obtain a complete and accurate picture of influenza, SARS-CoV-2, and other respiratory virus activity. 

    Mortality S​urveillance- Based on NCHS mortality surveillance data available on September 8, 2022, 9.6% of the deaths that occurred during the week ending September 3, 2022 (week 35), were due to pneumonia, influenza, and/or COVID-19 (PIC). This percentage is above the epidemic threshold of 5.5% for this week. Among the 1,769 PIC deaths reported for this week, 963 had COVID-19 listed as an underlying or contributing cause of death on the death certificate, and seven listed influenza, indicating that current PIC mortality is due primarily to COVID-19 and not influenza. The data presented are preliminary and may change as more data are received and processed.​ CDC External Link​​


    Starbucks Espresso drink recalled over metal fragments in product​

    9 September- Pepsico Inc is recalling certain Starbucks Vanilla Espresso Triple Shot beverages because of possible contamination by foreign material, specifically metal fragments. The recalled products were distributed in Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Oklahoma and Texas. The recall was initiated on Aug. 15 and is ongoing. It was posted by the Food and Drug Administration on Sept. 8. Consumers who have purchased the recalled product are urged to stop consuming the product and return it to the place of purchase.  Foodborne foreign objects that are hard and sharp are likely to cause serious injury or dental injury. Food Safety News External Link​​


    How poor sleep can wreck your eating habits​

    13 September- Want to improve your diet? Try getting better sleep. In recent years, researchers have discovered that our sleep habits strongly influence the amount and types of foods we eat and even whether we gain or lose body fat. Losing sleep can trigger brain and hormonal changes that stimulate food cravings, which can drive us to consume more calories, especially from junk foods rich in fat and sugar. If you’re among the millions of adults who are chronically sleep deprived, research suggests that getting just on​e hour of additional sleep each night can lead to better eating habits and may even help you lose weight. For many people, a good night’s rest is hard to come by. Sleep experts say that the average adult should get at least seven hours of nightly sleep. Yet at least 1 in 3 adults routinely fails to get enough shut-eye. Some people skimp on sleep so they can stay up late working or surfing the web. Millions of adults also struggle with conditions that disrupt their sleep, such as chronic insomnia, sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome. The Washin​gton Post External Link​​​​​


    Half a million Somali children under 5 at risk of dying from famine​

    13 September- More than 500,000 Somali children under five are expected to suffer severe acute malnutrition and risk death from famine this year, a number unseen in any country this century, the U.N. children's agency said on Tuesday. "We've got more than half a million children facing preventable death. It's a pending nightmare," James Elder, spokesperson for the U.N. children's agency UNICEF said at a Geneva news briefing.​The United Nations has warned that parts of So​malia will be hit by famine in coming months as the Horn of Africa region faces a fifth consecutive failed rainy season. The projection is more severe than in 2011, when famine killed more than a quarter of a million Somalis, around half of whom were children.The prediction of 513,000 children likely to suffer from severe malnutrition was an increase of 30 percent from an estimate in June. Fox News External Link


    Jordan reports 1st monkeypox case​​​

    10 September- The Ministry of Health reported Thursday the first monkeypox case in Jordan. The patient is a 30-year-old citizen who traveled to several European countries and returned to Jordan on August 20, 2022. The ministry added, in a statement, that the symptoms began to appear on the individual on August 25, 2022, with a high temperature, sore throat, muscle pain with enlarged lymph nodes, and he was treated on the basis of a sore throat, but after five days, skin blisters appeared and on 7/9/2022 a doctor who suspected that the case was monkeypox, so he took a samples that were tested (PCR) in one of the labs which was positive. The ministry indicated that the patient is now in good health and in the stage of full recovery and isolated at his home. The case is now being investigated and close contacts are counted to be followed up accordingly. Outbreak News Today External Link​​


    Europe authorizes Maryland's COVID-19 booster for adults​

    13 September- Maryland-based Novavax, Inc. announced yesterday that the European Commission (EC) had approved the expanded conditional marketing authorization of the Nuvaxovid™ COVID-19 vaccine in the European Union as a homologous and heterologous booster for active immunization to prevent COVID-19 in adults. Nuvaxovid has also been authorized in Japan, Australia, and New Zealand as a booster in adults and is actively under review in other markets. The EC previously granted authorization for Nuvaxovid to prevent COVID-19 in December 2021 and in adolescents in July 2022. "We are pleased to offer the first protein-based vaccine as both a primary series and booster in the European Union," commented Stanley C. Erck, President, and CEO, of Novavax, in a press release on September 12, 2022. As part of Phase 2 trials, a single booster dose of Nuvaxovid was administered to healthy adult participants approximately six months after their primary two-dose vaccination series of Nuvaxovid. The third dose produced increased immune responses comparable to or exceeding levels associated with protection in Phase 3 clinical trials. In the COV-BOOST trial, Nuvaxovid induced a robust antibody response when used as a heterologous third booster dose. Precision Vaccinations External Link​​


    China Co​vid lockdowns leave residents short of food and essential items​​

    12 September- Residents under Covid lockdowns in areas across China are complaining of shortages of food and essential items. Tens of millions of people in at least 30 regions have been ordered to stay at home under partial or full lockdowns. "It's been 15 days, we are out of flour, rice, eggs. From days ago, we run out of milk for kids," said one resident in western Xinjiang. Authorities are scrambling to contain local outbreaks ahead of the Communist party's congress in October. China's zero-Covid policy requires strict lockdowns - even if just a handful of cases are reported. On Monday China recorded 949 new Covid cases across the entire country. The policy has prompted rare public dissent from citizens and has also been accused of stifling economic growth. In Xinjiang a weeks-long lockdown in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture near the border with Kazakhstan has seen desperate residents appeal for help on social media. One post showed a video of an Uyghur man overcome with emotion, saying his three children had not eaten for three days.​ B​​BC External Link​​


    Monkeypox outbreak slowing in the U.S., but health leaders say critical challenges remain​​

    13 September- New monkeypox cases in the United States have been steadily dropping in recent weeks, with cases reported in the first week of September cut to about half of what they were at their peak a month ago.But the recent death of a Los Angeles County resident – the first attributed to monkeypox in the US – is a tragic reminder that the outbreak is ongoing and still poses risks.“There is some hope around these cases leveling off. That should not be anybody’s solace that this outbreak is done,” David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, said at a briefing Tuesday.“We still have to ramp up our efforts to respond to this outbreak. And there are many, many data questions, clinical care questions, research questions that remain to be answered about this very unusual outbreak of a known virus over the decades that is presenting itself very differently in the United States.” CNN External Link​​


    Brasília is the city with the most dengue in Brazil: Health Ministry​​

    13 September- The Brazil Ministry of Health in a recent bulletin reports the capital city of Brasília has seen the most probable cases of dengue fever. Between January 2 and August 28 , the Federal District had 61,597 dengue records. There were 12,963 more cases than the second place city, Goiânia, which had 48,634 probable cases of the disease, according to the Ministry of Health. To date, Brazil has recorded 1,329,488 cases between January and August. Normally, dengue proliferates in the rainy season , but the numbers continue to increase in the Federal District, which completed 116 days without rain to August 31. The infectologist of the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases in the DF, David Urbaéz, explains that the mosquito that transmits dengue, Aedes aegypti, has adapted to the drought. The Federal District is 116 days without rain and the air humidity is no more than 25%. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) , the ideal is 60%. Outbreak News Today External Link​​