Army Public Health Weekly Update, 18 June 2021

Date Published: 6/18/2021
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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


    2020 Health of the Force Report

    The 2020 Health of the Force Report is here! Through annual reporting of key indicators that impact readiness and Soldier well-being, Health of the Force improves awareness and understanding of the health status of the Army. Results are communicated through an online digital platform and traditional reports. The Health of the Force suite of products gives leaders tools to advance programs and strategies that improve performance and reduce illness and injury. APHC


    Armed Services Blood Program donors keep the world beating

    14 June- World Blood Donor Day is celebrated every June 14 to raise awareness about the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank blood donors for their voluntary, lifesaving gifts. As the official military provider of blood products to the U.S. armed forces and military community, the Armed Services Blood Program honors donors who help ensure mission readiness. "Outside of the blood industry and medical world, blood is not generally thought of until it's not there or needed," said Army Col. Audra Taylor, ASBP's division chief. "It would not be possible for  ASBP to fulfill its mission if not for our donors – they're the heart of our program." That mission involves providing quality blood products and services for military health care operations worldwide in both peace and war. Doing so requires the ASBP, a Defense Health Agency joint service operation, to -- collect, process, store, distribute, and transfuse blood and products to ill or injured service members, their families, retirees, and veterans around the world. "We focus on equipping the war fighter with the lifesaving blood and blood products they need on the battlefield as well as in military medical treatment facilities (MTF) worldwide," added Taylor. For Army Lt. Col. Jason Corley, director of the Army Blood Program, blood is all about a ready medical force, one of the DHA's missions. "Medical providers must have blood on-hand in case it's needed for casualty resuscitation," he said. "Providers and deployed medical forces are not considered capable if they don't have their required blood inventory." Additionally, "ensuring a ready medical force requires thinking of all the things it takes to stand ready in supply, in capability, and in emergencies," said Taylor. As such, ensuring MTFs have immediate and easy access to safe and viable blood and blood products globally is vital. "Blood is a critical resource needed for successful combat casualty care," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Erica Nance, ASBP's branch chief of Global Health Engagement. "The Department of Defense has a global presence, and military medicine is present where our U.S. forces operate." External Link

    Hernias: What every service member should know

    11 June- This June, the Military Health System celebrates National Men's Health Month, and sheds light on a variety of medical areas that primarily impact men. June is also Hernia Awareness Month. According to the National Institutes of Health, men are eight to 10 times more likely than women to develop inguinal hernias. So, what is a hernia? And what do you need to know about diagnosing, treating, and preventing hernias? Your abdomen is covered in layers of muscle and strong tissue that help you move and protect internal organs. A hernia is a weakness or defect in this muscle wall that allows internal organs or fat to protrude through the abdominal wall causing a bulge, explained Navy Cmdr. (Dr.) Jesse Bandle, vice chairman, Department of General Surgery, Naval Medical Readiness and Training Command in San Diego. "The most common hernias occur near areas where blood vessels or other structures naturally penetrate, or have penetrated the abdominal wall," Bandle said, such as the umbilical cord in men, women, and infants, and the inguinal canal near the groin, most frequently in men. Inguinal hernias usually show up as lumps near the groin or testicles, and most often appear on the right side. External Link

    Service members and police are teaming up to stop suicide

    15 June- When a service member attempts to take one's life off-base, their chain of command may be the last to find out. Local police and first responders often lack the military knowledge and on-base connections to ensure a service member receives the care they need after attempting suicide, according to David Conley, head of suicide prevention organization One More Day. That's why One More Day created Operation Better Together, which pairs police officers and service members in a suicide prevention course with the goal of combining resources in the fight against military and veteran suicide. "Military personnel don't commit suicide on bases. It's just so rare that that happens," Conley told Military Times. "They commit suicide out in the civilian world, so it makes sense that we get these officers as trained as we can." Operation Better Together uses the ASIST program — a 16-hour course that Conley calls the "Rolls Royce of suicide prevention" — to teach the basics of responding to suicide attempts and to get military and law enforcement personnel acquainted with one another. The new program has already been through one iteration, a pilot course last November with approximately 40 members of the Idaho National Guard and 10-15 police officers from local departments. Army Times External Link

    Six new COVID-19 cases at U.S. military bases in Japan, none in South Korea

    14 June- Two U.S. military bases in Japan reported six new COVID-19 cases between Friday and Monday evenings, while commands on the Korean peninsula had no infections to report. Kadena Air Base on Okinawa announced Saturday that five people are in isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus respiratory disease. Three patients were identified as close contacts of known positives and were already in quarantine, according to a post on the installation's Facebook page. Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni released a statement Monday announcing one new patient. That individual tested positive while in quarantine upon arrival to the installation, the Marines said. New daily infections across Japan remain in the thousands, with 1,387 cases reported on Sunday by national broadcaster NHK. Of those, 304 were from the Tokyo metropolitan area. U.S. Forces Japan announced Friday that installations will start administering coronavirus vaccines to local employees on a volunteer basis. They may choose between the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, according to a USFJ press release. "This new initiative will be implemented in close coordination with the Government of Japan's ongoing effort to vaccinate the Japanese population and will help further accelerate that effort," the press release said. USFJ and the Japanese government reached the decision after noting declining cases on U.S. military bases, the release said. The announcement came a day after U.S. Forces Korea gained Department of Defense permission to vaccinate eligible contractor family members who are U.S. citizens and 12 years of age or older. Stars and Stripes


    Artificial intelligence to help scientists increase efficacy rates of sleep disorder treatments

    9 June- According to the University of Copenhagen, Artificial Intelligence Systems are now used to increase the efficacy of sleep disorder treatments. Sleep disorders, including difficulty sleeping, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea are only some of the most common problems that many people suffer from. They sometimes take a toll on their mental and physical health. However, various forms of sleep disorders remain undiagnosed, and sometimes, treatments do not work as effectively as researchers hope. As a resolution, the Department of Computer Science at the University of Copenhagen decided to collaborate with the Danish Center for Sleep Medicine found in the Danish hospital, Rigs Hospital. This collaboration aims to develop an Artificial Intelligence System algorithm that could improve sleep disorder diagnosis and treatments, and better understand the disorders. Tech Times External Link

    CEO "comfortable" Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine protects against more severe Delta variant

    15 June- Pfizer's CEO is expressing confidence about the efficacy of his company's COVID-19 vaccine against the Delta variant, which was first discovered in India and has America's top scientists sounding the alarm. "I feel quite comfortable that we cover it," Pfizer CEO and Chairman Albert Bourla told CBS News' Jan Crawford. "We will not need a special vaccine for it. The current vaccine should cover it." The United States is about to reach 600,000 recorded coronavirus deaths, even with conditions dramatically improving thanks to widespread vaccination. Over the weekend, leaders from the world's seven wealthiest democracies committed to donating more than one billion vaccine doses to poorer countries over the next year. The U.S. is contributing about half of those doses through a partnership with Pfizer. And Bourla believes Pfizer is ready to leap into action with new vaccines to protect against the possible variants within 100 days. "We have surveillance systems in all the countries — all over the world —when a new variant emerges, immediately, we are testing how the current vaccine behaves compared to this variant," he said. CBS News External Link

    COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment reduced risk of death by 20% in certain hospitalized patients

    16 June- New York-based Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced positive results from the largest clinical trial assessing any monoclonal antibody treatment in patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19. The UK RECOVERY trial found that adding investigational REGEN-COV™ to usual care reduced the risk of death by 20% in patients who had not mounted a natural antibody response on their own against SARS-CoV-2, compared to usual care on its own. "The hope was that by giving a combination of antibodies targeting the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we would be able to reduce the worst manifestations of COVID-19," said Sir Peter Horby, Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases in the Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, and Joint Chief Investigator for the RECOVERY trial, in a press statement. "There was, however, great uncertainty about the value of antiviral therapies in late-stage COVID-19 disease." REGEN-COV (casirivimab and imdevimab) is a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies (also known as REGN10933 and REGN10987) designed specifically to block the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, using Regeneron's proprietary VelocImmune® and VelociSuite® technologies.  RECOVERY is the first trial large enough to definitively determine whether REGEN-COV reduces mortality in patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19. Previous Phase 3 trials in non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients have shown that REGEN-COV reduced viral levels, shortened the time to resolution of symptoms, and significantly reduced the risk of hospitalization or death. Precision Vaccinations External Link

    Delta variant of Covid spreading rapidly and detected in 74 countries

    15 June- The Delta variant of Covid-19, first identified in India, has been detected in 74 countries and continues to spread rapidly amid fears that it is poised to become the dominant strain worldwide. With outbreaks of the main Delta strain and several of its sub-lineages confirmed in China, the US, Africa, Scandinavia and the Pacific, concern increasingly is focusing on how it appears to be more transmissible as well as causing more serious illness. In the US, according to the former Food and Drugs Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb, cases of the Delta variant are now doubling roughly every two weeks and account for 10% of all new cases, while in the UK it accounts for more than 90% of new cases. While health authorities around the world are collecting and sharing data on the spread of the new variant, the fear is that in countries in the developing world with less robust monitoring systems, the Delta variant may already have spread much further than has been reported. MSN External Link

    First patient set to receive controversial Biogen Alzheimer's drug

    16 June- A U.S. hospital on Wednesday will give the first infusion of an expensive, controversial new Alzheimer's drug from Biogen Inc. (BIIB.O) before Medicare had even said what it will pay for - and with some doctors upset by its approval last week. The first administration of the drug, Aduhelm, outside of a clinical trial is scheduled to take place in Providence, Rhode Island, at Butler Hospital's Memory and Aging Program. "We are opening a new era in treatment," Brown University Medical School neurology professor Dr. Stephen Salloway told Reuters. He said the Butler Hospital program has around 100 patients likely to be good candidates for the drug, which is given as a monthly intravenous infusion. Aduhelm was approved based on evidence that it can reduce brain plaques, a likely contributor to Alzheimer's, rather than proof that it slows progression of the fatal mind-wasting disease. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the drug - despite the objection of its own expert advisory panel - for all patients with Alzheimer's, although Aduhelm has only been tested for patients in the early stages of the disease. "Hopefully clinicians will follow the clinical trial guidelines, because we really don't have any evidence for more advanced patients with Alzheimer's," Salloway said. Some doctors are wary even of prescribing Aduhelm for that group. Dr. David Knopman, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota was one of three experts who resigned from a panel of advisors to the FDA which had recommended that the agency not approve Biogen's drug. Reuters External Link 

    Flu shots and COVID-19 vaccine mix very well

    15 June- A global leader in influenza prevention announced that the company co-authored the first study to demonstrate the safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy profile of a COVID-19 vaccine when co-administered with a seasonal influenza vaccine. Maryland-based Novavax, Inc. conducted the sub-study as part of a Phase 3 clinical trial of NVX-CoV2373, its recombinant protein COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The co-administration sub-study enrolled 431 volunteers in the UK, all of whom received either an adjuvant, trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine (aTIV) or a cell-based, quadrivalent seasonal influenza vaccine (QIVc) provided by New Jersey-based Seqirus US. The non-peer-reviewed study results published on June 13, 2021, suggest that the efficacy of both the influenza vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine candidate appeared to be preserved.  No additional safety concerns were found with co-administration, and adverse events were similar to the incidence and severity for each vaccine when administered separately. This study's limitations include the small size of the sub-study, lack of formal pre-specified non-inferiority statistical assessment of immunogenicity, and the lack of randomization in recruiting the influenza sub-study, immunogenicity, and reactogenicity cohorts. Precision Vaccinations External Link

    Headache and runny nose linked to Delta variant

    14 June- A headache, sore throat and runny nose are now the most commonly reported symptoms linked to Covid infection in the UK, researchers say. Prof Tim Spector, who runs the Zoe Covid Symptom study, says catching the Delta variant can feel "more like a bad cold" for younger people. But although they may not feel very ill, they could be contagious and put others at risk. Anyone who thinks they may have Covid should take a test. The classic Covid symptoms people should look out for, the NHS says, are:

    - Cough

    - Fever

    - Loss of smell or taste

    But Prof Spector says these are now less common, based on the data the Zoe team has been receiving from thousands of people who have logged their symptoms on an app. BBC External Link

    'Miraculous' mosquito hack cuts dengue by 77%

    10 June- Dengue fever cases have been cut by 77% in a "groundbreaking" trial that manipulates the mosquitoes that spread it, say scientists. They used mosquitoes infected with "miraculous" bacteria that reduce the insect's ability to spread dengue. The trial took place in Yogyakarta city, Indonesia, and is being expanded in the hope of eradicating the virus. The World Mosquito Programme team says it could be a solution to a virus that has gone around the world. Few people had heard of dengue 50 years ago, but it has been a relentless slow-burning pandemic and cases have increased dramatically. In 1970, only nine countries had faced severe dengue outbreaks, now there are up to 400 million infections a year. Dengue is commonly known as "break-bone fever" because it causes severe pain in muscles and bones and explosive outbreaks can overwhelm hospitals. BBC News External Link 

    Moderna asks FDA for adolescent COVID vaccine approval

    14 June- Moderna has filed for emergency use authorization from the FDA to give its vaccine to adolescents aged 12-17, the company said in a news release. If Moderna receives authorization, it would become the second vaccine distributed to adolescents in the United States. The Pfizer vaccine was authorized in May for use in children aged 12-15. "We are encouraged that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was highly effective at preventing COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 infection in adolescents," Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in the news release on Thursday. "We have already filed for authorization with Health Canada and the European Medicines Agency and we will file with regulatory agencies around the world for this important younger age population." Moderna announced in late May that its COVID-19 vaccine was safe and appears to be effective in children ages 12 to 17. The company released early results from a clinical trial that enrolled 3,732 adolescents, including two-thirds who received two doses. Blood tests showed that the vaccine created an immune response similar to that in adults. President Joe Biden has said that getting adolescents vaccinated is a key part of his plan to bring the COVID pandemic under control. The two-dose Moderna vaccine saw approval for adults18 years of age and older in mid-December. The Pfizer vaccine was approved that same month for people 16 and older. WebMD External Link 

    Novavax says Covid-19 vaccine shows 90.4% overall efficacy in US/Mexico Phase 3 trial

    14 June- The American biotechnology company Novavax announced on Monday that its coronavirus vaccine candidate was found to have an overall efficacy of 90.4% in a Phase 3 trial conducted across the United States and Mexico. Additional analyses of the trial are ongoing, according to the company, and will be submitted to peer-reviewed journals for publication. The trial results appear consistent with the efficacy and safety profile the vaccine previously showed in a Phase 3 trial conducted in the United Kingdom, Dr. Gregory Glenn, president of research and development for Novavax, told CNN. "Different continent, different population, different viruses floating around, and yet, we still see really good efficacy," Glenn said. "This is what you want to have." The study launched in December and enrolled 29,960 adults across 113 sites in the United States and six sites in Mexico. Some of the participants were given a placebo and some were administered two doses of the Novavax vaccine 21 days apart. The company said the vaccine was "generally well-tolerated" and common side effects included pain at the injection site, lasting less than three days, and fatigue, headache and muscle pain, lasting less than two days. CNN External Link 

    Teen suicide attempts spiked during COVID-19 lockdowns: CDC

    12 June- The percentage of teenagers who were hospitalized for suspected suicide attempts spiked in 2020 and 2021 amid COVID-19 lockdowns, a new study shows. Researchers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found the rate at which girls ages 12 through 17, in particular, were visiting the emergency department (ED) for suicide attempts between February and March of 2021 increased nearly 51% compared to the same period in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools and businesses to close their doors. Researchers also noted a nearly 4% increase in ED visits for suspected suicide attempts among boys ages 12 through 17 over the same time period. While the study published Friday does not examine causes of suspected increased suicide attempts, it notes that "some researchers have cautioned about a potential increase in suicides during the COVID-19 pandemic on account of increases in suicide risk factors." Risk factors include a "lack of connectedness to schools, teachers and peers" due to physical distancing measures, "barriers to health treatment," "increases in substance abuse" and anxiety related to "family health and economic problems." ED visits for "mental health concerns and suspected child abuse," which are also risk factors for suicide, "also increased in 2020 compared with 2019 (5), potentially contributing to increases in suspected suicide attempts," researchers wrote. General mental-health-related ED visits among teens ages 12 through 17 increased 31% in 2020 compared to 2019. Fox News External Link 


    CDC: Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report

    2020-2021 Influenza Season for Week 22, ending June 5, 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 22. CDC External Link


    Freshpet recalls certain dog food from Publix, Target for risk of Salmonella

    14 June- Freshpet Inc. is recalling of a single lot of Freshpet "Select Small Dog Bite Size Beef & Egg Recipe Dog Food" because of potential contamination with Salmonella, which can be harmful to pets and their owners. "Our Freshpet Team had designated this single lot for destruction, but it was inadvertently shipped to retailers in limited geographic markets between June 7 and June 10, 2021," according to the company's recall notice. "The limited number of impacted products may have been sold at: Publix in Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia, and at limited Target locations in Arizona and Southern California. Most of the product was intercepted at retailer distribution warehouses and not delivered to retail stores. If pet parents have products matching the following description in their possession, they should stop feeding it to their dogs and dispose of it immediately." The recalled 1-pound bags have the UPC number 627975012939 and the lot number 1421FBP0101. They all have a sell-by date of Oct. 30, 2021. " Please call us if you have any of the recalled product, Freshpet Select Small Dog Bite Size Beef & Egg Recipe Dog Food (1 LB bags), with Sell by Date 10/30/2021, for a refund or for your convenience you may use the following link to request a refund: Sell by Date, along with UPC code and lot code, can be found on the bottom and back of each bag," according to the recall. Food Safety News External Link

    Tuna suspected for a dozen illnesses in Italy

    12 June- At least 12 people are sick in Italy with tuna being investigated as the source of their illnesses. The foodborne outbreak is suspected to have been caused by thawed yellowfin tuna steaks with added water from Italy and raw material from Spain. In recent days, nine people with symptoms such as such as nausea, vomiting and loss of consciousness or fainting were reported to the Tuscany local health unit (ASL) and admitted to two hospitals before later being discharged. They all reported consumption of tuna in various forms at two different restaurants in Florence. Officials have visited both restaurants to assess the hygienic conditions, conservation of the product and details on traceability. Samples of tuna were sent for chemical and bacteriological analyzes. Officials also went to the distribution center in Florence that supplied the two restaurants and blocked goods related to the lot potentially involved. Food Safety News External Link


    The health benefits of coffee

    14 June- Americans sure love their coffee. Even last spring when the pandemic shut down New York, nearly every neighborhood shop that sold takeout coffee managed to stay open, and I was amazed at how many people ventured forth to start their stay-at-home days with a favorite store-made brew. One elderly friend who prepandemic had traveled from Brooklyn to Manhattan by subway to buy her preferred blend of ground coffee arranged to have it delivered. "Well worth the added cost," she told me. I use machine-brewed coffee from pods, and last summer when it seemed reasonably safe for me to shop I stocked up on a year's supply of the blends I like. (Happily, the pods are now recyclable.) All of us should be happy to know that whatever it took to secure that favorite cup of Joe may actually have helped to keep us healthy. The latest assessments of the health effects of coffee and caffeine, its main active ingredient, are reassuring indeed. Their consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of all kinds of ailments, including Parkinson's disease, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, gallstones, depression, suicide, cirrhosis, liver cancer, melanoma and prostate cancer. In fact, in numerous studies conducted throughout the world, consuming four or five eight-ounce cups of coffee (or about 400 milligrams of caffeine) a day has been associated with reduced death rates. In a study of more than 200,000 participants followed for up to 30 years, those who drank three to five cups of coffee a day, with or without caffeine, were 15 percent less likely to die early from all causes than were people who shunned coffee. Perhaps most dramatic was a 50 percent reduction in the risk of suicide among both men and women who were moderate coffee drinkers, perhaps by boosting production of brain chemicals that have antidepressant effects. The New York Times External Link


    Typhoid outbreak kills 17 in Kwango, DRC

    13 June- On Friday, Provincial Minister of Health of Kwango, in western Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Didier Tshikisa made the following announcement about a typhoid outbreak: "Since the start of this quarter, this disease, which has taken on an epidemic character, has killed 17 out of more than 360 cases recorded in the health zone of Popokabaka in the territory that bears the same name." Regarding the response, Minister Tshikisa said: "Efforts are being made to limit the spread or better to eradicate it altogether. The population is made aware of hygiene measures. The notability of the province is not to be outdone. Obviously, the solution will be found shortly." Typhoid fever, caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi, is a life-threatening bacterial infection. Typhoid fever is still common in the developing world, where it affects about 21 million people annually. Salmonella typhi lives only in humans. Persons with typhoid fever carry the bacteria in their bloodstream and intestinal tract. In addition, a small number of persons, called carriers, recover from typhoid fever but continue to carry the bacteria. Both ill persons and carriers shed S.typhi in their feces. Outbreak News Today External Link


    Iran investigates suspected anthrax outbreak in Ilam

    15 June- According to a report from the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), officials in Ilam province in western Iran are investigating a suspect anthrax outbreak in livestock. The Director General of Veterinary Medicine of Ilam, Dr. Ramin Poranjef said an unusual number of cattle in a ranch located in the Majin section of Darhshahr city were lost and that all animals of this village were quarantined. "This rural rancher has 170 head of livestock, 9 of which have been lost due to some reasons that are still under investigation, and in the research performed, the possibility of anthrax is more likely than other reasons. Although most of the symptoms indicate the occurrence of anthrax, samples have been sent to the country's reference laboratories, and the cause of death of these animals cannot be determined until the final results and results of these tests are obtained," Poranjef said. Outbreak News Today External Link

    Saudi Arabia: Taif man is 9th MERS case of 2021

    10 June- The Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health (MOH) reported this week on a new case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). The patient is a 63-year-old man from Almwaih City, Taif who had contact with camels. This is the ninth MERS case of 2021 in the Kingdom and the 10th overall (one in the United Arab Emirates). Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a virus transferred to humans from infected dromedary camels, according to the World Health Organization. It is a zoonotic virus, meaning it is transmitted between animals and people, and it is contractible through direct or indirect contact with infected animals. MERS-CoV has been identified in dromedaries in several countries in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. In total, 27 countries have reported more than 2,500 cases since 2012, leading to nearly 900 known deaths due to the infection and related complications. Outbreak News Today External Link


    Germany: H1N1v influenza case reported in teen

    11 June- The World Health Organization (WHO) reports on a a human case of infection with an influenza A(H1N1)v virus in Germany recently. The individual infected is a 17-year-old boy from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania who developed an influenza-like illness onset on 18 April 2021. The virus was confirmed with genome sequencing conducted at the National Influenza Centre (NIC) at the Robert Koch Institute in a sample collected as part of routine sentinel surveillance. Sequencing indicated the virus belonged to the Eurasian avian-like (EA) lineage of swine influenza A viruses, specifically clade 1C.2.1. The patient worked on a swine farm a few days prior to illness onset. After developing respiratory symptoms, he was isolated as SARS-CoV-2 infection was suspected. There were no symptoms in other workers at the farm or other members of the case's family and the case has recovered. Further animal health and virological investigations are ongoing. Outbreak News Today External Link 


    H5N6 avian influenza case reported in Chengdu, Sichuan Province

    13 June- Officials with the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) report monitoring a human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. The case involved a 49-year-old woman living in Chengdu. She developed symptoms on May 13, and was admitted for treatment on May 16. The patient is now in serious condition. From 2014 to date, 31 human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) have been reported by the Mainland health authorities. Avian influenza is caused by those influenza viruses that mainly affect birds and poultry, such as chickens or ducks. Clinical presentation of avian influenza in humans includes eye infection (conjunctivitis), flu-like symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches) or severe respiratory illness (e.g. chest infection). The incubation period ranges from 7 to 10 days. The more virulent forms can result in respiratory failure, multi-organ failure and even death. People mainly become infected with avian influenza virus through contact with infected birds and poultry (live or dead) or their droppings, or contact with contaminated environments (such as wet markets and live poultry markets). Human-to-human transmission is inefficient. People in close contact with poultry are more susceptible to contracting avian influenza. The elderly, children and people with chronic illness have a higher risk of developing complications such as bronchitis and chest infection. Outbreak News Today External Link


    U.S.: Connecticut- Two Powassan virus infections reported

    16 June- Connecticut state health officials reported two residents have tested positive for the tick-borne disease, Powassan virus (POWV). These are the first cases reported in 2021 in the state. The two patients who tested positive are between the ages of 50 and 79 and both became ill during the third week of April. Laboratory tests confirmed the presence of antibodies for POWV and both were hospitalized with central nervous system disease. Both patients were discharged from the hospital and are recovering. The Connecticut Department of Public Health says 10 cases of POWV associated illness were reported in Connecticut from 2016 to 2020. Two deaths have been reported. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Powassan virus disease is a rare, but often severe disease caused by a virus spread to people by infected ticks. The number of reported cases of people sick from Powassan virus has increased in recent years.  Powassan virus belongs to a group of viruses that can cause infection of the brain (encephalitis) or the membranes around the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Powassan virus infection. The best way to prevent Powassan virus disease is to prevent tick bites. Outbreak News Today External Link

    U.S.: Michigan reports first hantavirus case

    12 June- The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Washtenaw County Health Department are investigating the first confirmed human case of Sin Nombre hantavirus detected in Michigan. An adult female in Washtenaw County was recently hospitalized with a serious pulmonary illness from Sin Nombre hantavirus. The individual was likely exposed when cleaning an unoccupied dwelling that contained signs of an active rodent infestation. Hantavirus was first discovered to be responsible for hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in ill patients in the southwest United States in 1993. HPS has since infected people throughout the U.S. and the Americas. Hantavirus infections are associated with domestic, occupational or recreational activities that bring humans into contact with infected rodents. Most cases have been identified in adults and tend to occur in the spring and summer. "HPS is caused by some strains of hantavirus and is a rare but severe and sometimes fatal respiratory disease that can occur one to five weeks after a person has exposure to fresh urine, droppings or saliva from infected rodents," said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. "Anyone who comes into contact with rodents that carry hantavirus is at risk for HPS and healthcare providers with a suspect case of hantavirus should contact their local health department to report the case and discuss options for confirmatory testing." Humans become infected when freshly dried materials contaminated by rodent excreta are disturbed and inhaled, get into breaks in the skin or on mucous membranes or when ingesting contaminated food or water. Bites from rodents can also transmit hantavirus. The highest risk of exposure takes place when entering or cleaning rodent-infested structures. There are not any documented person-to-person cases of hantavirus transmission in the U.S. Outbreak News Today External Link


    Diphtheria outbreak in the Dominican Republic prompts CDC travel notice

    11 June- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel notice last week for the Dominican Republic due to a diphtheria outbreak. We reported last month that the Dominican Republic has reported 12 confirmed diphtheria cases,  including 9 deaths. In recent years, vaccination against diphtheria in the Dominican Republic has declined and health officials there are now reporting cases of the disease among children throughout the country. People (including travelers) who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated against diphtheria are at risk of getting sick. CDC says all travelers to the Dominican Republic should make sure they are up to date with diphtheria vaccination. Diphtheria is a serious infection caused by strains of bacteria called Corynebacterium diphtheriae that make toxin (poison). Infection can lead to difficulty breathing, heart failure, kidney failure, paralysis, and even death. CDC recommends infants, children, teens, and adults get vaccinated to prevent diphtheria. Diphtheria skin infections are more common in tropical areas. They are not usually severe. However, people who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated against diphtheria can develop serious respiratory diphtheria after touching the skin sores of someone with diphtheria skin infection. Outbreak News Today External Link